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Elder's Prayer - December 24, 2019

Elder's Prayer

Merry Christmas wishes to all of our members and visitors

In a moment, after I am done praying, we will be collecting a special offering.

If you are a guest or a visitor, please know that you are more than welcome to give an offering but please do not feel obligated to.

The ministries of this local congregation are well funded by the committed members of this body. To God be the glory!

We collect these offerings only twice a year, Good Friday and Christmas Eve. Each time, our elders prayerfully tell us what it is earmarked for. This year, all of the special offering collected will go towards our International Missions endeavor in Central Asia.

Our members know that we have been earmarking for the same cause the last few times so you deserve an update as where it was spent in 2019 and how it will be spent in 2020.

In 2019, God has blessed us with little over $10,000 ($10,705) for the missions:

$1065 was given directly to the International Mission Board for Global Missions Support for the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering

$640 was given directly to the North American Mission Board to support mission work in our region.

$4,000 was given to support the K-Team Retreat for IMB Workers to be held in May of 2020.

$5,000 was given (in addition to our budgeted contributions) to the Cooperative Program of the SBC to support our collective-missions efforts with over 45,000 other churches.

In 2020 we are looking to:

Support members of SWBC who will be traveling inland to receive training for ministry in Central Asia.

Support a ministry in Central Asia, that teaches and trains church leaders.

Lord willing, we’ll look to take two trips to Central Asia.

First to assist with the Workers Retreat in May 2020.

There is a 2nd trip planned to engage with believers, churches, and assist with local leadership in relationship building.

We will look to support our members who will be traveling for that.

Lastly, we are looking to prayerfully investigate of a potential new ministry with IMB workers who are members of SWBC and are serving in South Asia.

All that I shared, will be made available via our newsletter and more specific details on the trip, locality and the figures, will be shared in our Members Meetings through next year. Please prioritize and plan on attending those.

I want to read a passage of Scripture that is normally not associated with Christmas, but it communicates an important truth about Christmas. Please listen to me as I read Philippians 2:5-7

"5 Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men."

Christ made Himself of no effect by taking on human nature in His incarnation. The Lord of Lords and the King of Kings became a slave.

John Calvin said that, “The One who sustained all things by the Word of His power, submitted Himself to be sustained by the breast of a young Hebrew maiden.”

Christmas is remembering that God the Son has stooped that far.

Those of us who celebrate Christmas ought to strive to have the same attitude that Christ had toward His incarnation, as we fulfill the one-another’s of the Scripture. Let’s pray.

Father God who did not spare His own Son, our hearts tremble at the thought of how unworthy we are to be the recipients of your great love.

A mere thank you is not enough.

We surrender our lives as a living sacrifice to be conformed to the image of your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. Please help us to have the same attitude that Christ had in humbling Himself to the extent that He did that we may be His.

Lord, I pray for the scores of IMB missionaries around the world. Please bless them and use them for your glory. Please encourage their souls this Christmas season. Please protect them and their families from the enemy. Please grant them to enjoy the fruit of their labor.

I pray for one of our own serving in Asia, Robby and Rachel Angell. Please bless them, encourage them, honor them and use them as you graciously used your servants in the book of Acts.

I pray the same for our partners in Central Asia. I pray for stability in ministry leadership. This is your gospel ministry that you called us to. The harvest is plentiful, Master. Please send in more laborers, if it’s your will, from our midst. Please bless our partnership in the gospel with them. Be glorified in our offering, tonight and use it for the extension of your Kingdom. Thank you for enabling us to give what we received from you.

In Jesus name we pray, Amen.