It has been a busy few days at ABC. This past Monday, we were excited to officially launch our new weekday preschool, “Little Lights Preschool.” This ministry marks a new milestone in the life of our church, as we now offer a fully licensed preschool operating 4 days a week at ABC. We were even able to expand the age range for our classrooms, and we are now privileged to minister to children from 6 months to Pre-K through our church’s preschool. The community’s response has been outstanding, and we were blessed to max out our enrollment and begin wait lists for many more families. Be sure to thank our Preschool Minister, Rachel Tovar, and our Little Lights Director, Eby Whatley, for their outstanding work. They have put in countless hours to get us to this point, and I’m excited to see what God is going to do as we shine His light into the lives of these little ones.
As we all know, ABC is not the only ones kicking off a new school year this week. Some schools started back last week, but several other school districts and private schools returned to the classrooms this week. Of course, this is all happening during complicated times. I know many parents, educators, and politicians have been debating how to best proceed with school amidst the current COVID climate. With that in mind, I think it is important for our church to lift our schools up in prayer this week. We need to be praying for their safety, but also for peace as parents and educators work together to find a way to press forward together. This Sunday, we’ll have a time of prayer for our schools, and we’re also going to give you an opportunity to be a prayer partner all next week. At the conclusion of our services, we will hand out wristbands with an ABC students first name and grade level. We’re going to encourage our church members to wear a bracelet all next week and pray for that child by name every day. Our hope and prayer is that our children and youth will have a meaningful year filled with personal growth and development as they press on this school year.
The truth is our world needs a lot of prayer right now. Every day, there seems to be some sort of new bad news. Many of us have been tracking Haiti’s situation this week. Weeks ago, you may remember their president was assassinated, and they have sadly endured lots of political and economic turmoil for many years. Unfortunately, things got worse as they suffered through a 7.2 magnitude earthquake last Saturday. The nation has confirmed nearly 2,000 deaths at this point, and the country is struggling to figure out how to move forward. I know many of our hearts have also been with the people of Afghanistan. It is heartbreaking to watch the Taliban seize control and see the suffering that is coming to the Afghani’s land. Western allies are frantically trying to find a way out, Christians are being hunted down, and women are being exploited every day. There are some horrific things happening around our world, and I think it’s important for us to do two things this week.
First, we should all be counting our blessings. I know it’s easy to become cynical and angry in our own political climate. We too have problems here in the United States, but I still do believe we are blessed to live in the greatest nation in the world. We should thank the Lord for what we have, as our hardships are often very small when compared to the hardships of many of our brothers and sisters around the world. But secondly, I think we also need to be in prayer. As we learned from Daniel last week, God does listen to the prayers of his people. Those prayers are so essential, especially during hard times. I think about Daniel’s example in chapter 6. You might remember, Daniel got word that Darius had signed a new decree outlawing men and women to petition any god other than him. How did Daniel respond? “When Daniel knew that the document had been signed, he went to his house where he had windows in his upper chamber open toward Jerusalem. He got down on his knees three times a day and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as he had done previously” (Daniel 6:10 ESV).
In a moment of crisis, Daniel did not run from God, he ran to Him. Our world is in a moment of crisis, and it is important for us to follow Daniel’s example. I encourage you to also get on your knees this week. Our physical posture before God is an important thing. Even at 80+ years old, Daniel understood that there was value in him kneeling before God. In doing so, he was humbly surrendering himself to His King and His will. On his knees, Daniel would give thanks for what he had and petition for God’s supernatural help. This week, I encourage you to find your room to kneel in. Take time to pray for Afghanistan and Haiti. Pray for our schools. Pray for our political leaders, even the ones you don’t agree with. Give thanks for what God has given you before you petition Him for what He has not given you. This basic spiritual discipline will renew your mind and realign your heart with God’s purposes for your life. Prayer sustained Daniel, just as it likewise sustained Jesus Christ during His ministry. My prayer is that we would follow their examples because it will likewise empower us to live faithfully during trying times. I look forward to praying with you this weekend and continuing our series, “Last Things.” I hope to see you there at 9am or 11:11.