The following are my notes from this morning’s sermon by Bruce Wilkinson, author of the famous The Prayer of Jabez. I’ve actually never read the book because it didn’t really interest me and I try to not fall for every little trend.
Summary of my notes:
Bruce Wilkinson asked how many of us have prayed for God to use us in a big way. Many of us raised our hands but, obviously, those prayers have not been answered. It’s because we give up too easily. Continuance of seeking God to use us in a big way will put us into places we won’t expect and Mr. Wilkinson gave us some personal examples of situations where God answered those prayers.
We went the I Chronicles 4:10, which is the prayer of Jabez. The first part of the prayer is where Jabez asks God to bless himself. Wilkinson spoke about how hard that was to pray because it is seems very contrarian to how we are to behave. He then pointed us to Matthew 7:7-11 for guidance on how Christ tells us to ask for blessings from God. I believe that if we are seeking God’s will then we will not be asking from purely selfish motives.
The next section of Jabez deals with enlarging our boundaries. In this, we must be patient. In Acts 1:8 God clearly wants us to be focused bigger than our own little existence. We need to ask God “let me do more for You”. God will present us with opportunities to work for God mostly through other people. It is people that truly matter to God and it is people that God wants us to help bless. He will give us those opportunities but we must not say “no”. One concern brought up by Wilkinson is the fear of having too much on our plates but the answer is that God will make our plate bigger if He needs to. We just need to make sure that we keep the things God wants us to do and dump the things He doesn’t want us to do.
This all leads to the purpose of why Wilkinson came to our church; Dream for Africa. Wilkinson now lives most of the time in South Africa to deal with the starvation, orphans and AIDS. He spoke of how all the food programs from the outside just aren’t working. Wilkinson has been teaching Africans how to plant gardens, which can feed eight people. This is the old “give the man a fish” vs. “teaching the man to fish” principle. He dealt with the AIDS issue head on; abstinence before marriage and faithfulness in marriage works. Places where condom distribution is the main method of AIDS prevention don’t work. Compare Uganda with the ABC method vs. other parts of the continent or even the
rest of the world. If someone doesn’t use a condom just once, they can be infected or infect someone else. He then mentioned that there are now 43 million orphans in Africa. Devastating!
Wilkinson then called upon 300 from our church to go to Africa for 10 days in the early part of summer. I did not commit but took some information. I’m going to be praying about this trip as there are many barriers to break through keeping me from going. Let’s see what God does.
I guess I’ll also go pick up a copy of The Prayer of Jabez.