Whatever You Request: Say a Prayer for Prosperity

“Believe me: I am in my Father and my Father is in me. If you can’t believe that, believe what you see—these works. The person who trusts me will not only do what I’m doing but even greater things, because I, on my way to the Father, am giving you the same work to do that I’ve been doing. You can count on it. From now on, whatever you request along the lines of who I am and what I am doing, I’ll do it. That’s how the Father will be seen for who he is in the Son. I mean it. Whatever you request in this way, I’ll do.” John 14:11-14

Sometimes when we read this passage in traditional translations, we only hear Jesus say, “Whatever you request, I’ll do it.”

That can produce a lot of skepticism! You hear people say, “Oh really, so if I want a Mercedes Benz, all I have to do is ask Jesus, and I’ll get one?”  Or, “I can pray to win the lottery, and if I really believe I’m going to win, then I will?” Continue reading

Sacrifice

Do you see someone skilled in their work?
They will serve before kings. (Proverbs 22:29)

Sacrifice is an intimidating word, but I’m here to tell you that it is a major component of success. God wants you to give some of what you earn to help others. That’s your sacrifice. He wants you to give cheerfully, but that shouldn’t be hard. After all, He’s promised to give you what you need.

It’s amazing, when you think about it, the way God has made the world. He doesn’t need people to push the Gospel. He could do it however He wants to do it. But that’s the way He set things up. He wants people to bring the Gospel to the nations. He wants us to use our own resources to love our neighbor. This is genius! It’s how we learn to serve. Continue reading

Ask Me and I’ll Help You

Continuing this week with my reflections on prayer:

Prayer is a really important part of our work to end human trafficking.  We have access to God, and God knows the best way to succeed in ending slavery forever.  We can ask Him, and He’ll help us.  So we should ask.  Success will come so much sooner!

Wounded Prayer

Last week, Jill asked how prayer fits with grace.  My podcast this week deals with prayer, and here’s Part I:

Next time, we talk about how prayer helps in the fight to end slavery.

Please keep the questions coming.  I love seeing them and I’m looking forward to offering some thoughts!  Thanks for listening, and I’ll see you next Monday.

Clay to be Molded, Part 2

The health, wealth, and prosperity Gospel might be a little bit mixed up.  It puts a lot of emphasis on the Bible’s promise that God will prosper you.  Unfortunately, people take that to mean that if they get saved, then Bam!  They become prosperous.

But that’s not going to work.  Just because you accept Jesus, that doesn’t mean you’re instantly transformed. So when the newly converted don’t become prosperous, they lose hope in God.  “Well, obviously there’s no God.  See, I’m not prosperous. They said I was going to be wealthy and prosperous, and my life’s still just as bad as it’s always been.”

There’s more to the lifestyle of Jesus than taking that first step.  Yes, you start by loving Jesus.  Yes, you embrace what He stands for.  You accept His sacrifice for you. But the time still comes when you have to figure out who you want to be, in Christ.  You have to decide who you want to be, in Christ. Continue reading

Clay to be Molded, Part I

People find themselves wondering why God hasn’t changed them. They have asked God for the things they want, but they still don’t have them. Or they have a picture of what the life of a believer should be like, but they aren’t there yet. They might be asking, “Why hasn’t God done something huge in my life? Why doesn’t God speak to me?”

I think the time comes in every believer’s life where we have to say, “God, I’m open to it.”

When you say, “God, I’m ready for a change,” I think God says, “Finally! Finally you’re ready.” But you have to truly give yourself up to Him.  Continue reading

What Should I Pray For?

My son, if you receive my words,
And treasure my commands within you,
So that you incline your ear to wisdom,
And apply your heart to understanding;
Yes, if you cry out for discernment,
And lift up your voice for understanding,
If you seek her as silver,
And search for her as for hidden treasures;
Then you will understand the fear of the Lord,
And find the knowledge of God. Proverbs 2:1-5

Happy New Year! Last time, I promised to describe the meaning that the Book of Proverbs had for me in the 2012 postseason.

During the playoffs, there were a lot of guys playing through injuries, including me. We were all tired. And we had to use everybody in the playoffs this year. There was a new guy every day. And that was huge for us, for the whole team. There was a lot of weight on everybody’s shoulders. We didn’t rely on just one guy to carry us. We relied on everybody.

I relied a lot on knowing and hearing God. Continue reading

Thumbs Up to God! Part 2

My postseason story in 2010 was about praying for forgiveness and praying judgments off of my teammates. My 2012 postseason story was quite different. Now God was elevating me. He was allowing me to pitch the best I’ve ever pitched in my career. My manager, Bruce Bochy, kept putting me into games in key situations, and I kept executing in those situations.

And the thumb on my pitching hand was sprained! It hurt so much! And yet, when I needed it to, the pain went away. I know adrenaline was a factor. I know there are a lot of different ways that doctors can explain what happened with my thumb. But I truly believe that God grabbed my thumb and took the pain away, right when I needed Him to. Continue reading

Thumbs Up to God! Part 1

This year’s postseason was a little different for me than the 2010 postseason. In 2010, I wasn’t as much a part of the postseason as I was this year. In 2010, I was definitely part of one big game, one of the biggest games of my career. It was really cool to be such a big part of that one situation and that one game. But this time around, I was in almost every game, pitching in very big situations. It felt like I was always there, in the seventh and eighth innings, with the game on the line.

In Game 5 of the Division Series in Cincinnati, I pitched a scoreless seventh and got us out of a jam. I walked up into the dugout because I was going back out for the eighth inning. A line drive came right at me into the dugout. Did you see it? I fell down the dugout steps avoiding the ball, and sprained the ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) of my thumb. It was a pretty good sprain. I couldn’t throw a curveball! I couldn’t even grip the ball the way I wanted to. Continue reading

World Series 2012: Who Is God’s Favorite Team?

If the Almighty God backed your team in one of the biggest contests in sports, it would be an unmistakable advantage. So who does God favor to win the World Series? I don’t know! I think that’s one of the ultimate questions to ponder.

Ministers struggle with the question of whether God takes sides in sports. They have such a hard time answering it that they kind of give up. They say, “You know what? I don’t know if God necessarily cares if you win or lose. I think He cares about your heart and how you are as a person.”

I’ve thought about that. And I can’t accept it! Continue reading