- Phil Berquist
These past couple months the Lord has put it on my heart to begin intentionally praying over Deacon and the man he will become. Prayers for his heart, his passions, his future and his character. Though I know my prayers for him will change in some ways as he grows and I begin to know his heart, my desire is to always be interceding for him, throughout his life.
Below are some of the prayers and scriptures that I will be praying over him over the next few weeks, months and years:
1. That God would call him out of his sin and that he would respond in faith.
But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. - John 1:12-13
My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. - John 10:27-28
2. That his life would be a picture of God's goodness, faithfulness and grace.
Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel, and not frightened in anything by your opponents. This is a clear sign to them of their destruction, but of your salvation, and that from God. - Philippians 1:27-28
3. That he would be a man of integrity, and that he would pursue purity, humility and righteousness.
So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. - 2 Timothy 2:22
4. That he would love people well.
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. - 1 John 4:7
Let all that you do be done in love. - 1 Corinthians 16:14
5. That he would bravely follow after the Lord.
Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you. - Deut. 31-6
6. That he would be a Christ-like servant.
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. - Philippians 2:3-4
For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. - Galatians 5:13
7. That he would be passionate about God's Word.
Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. Psalm 1:1-2
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. - 2 Timothy 3:16-17
8. That his life would be marked by joy, not merely comfort or happiness.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. - Romans 15:13
I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure. - Psalm 16:8-9
9. That he would marry a godly woman and lead his family in righteousness and love.
Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her - Ephesians 5:25
Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God's church? - 1 Timothy 3:2-5
10. That he would be used by God for His kingdom purposes.
Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. - Romans 6:13
How far along? 30 weeks! I feel like we're officially at the counting DOWN stage
How big is baby Wilson? The size of a head of lettuce (18 in, 3.2 lbs)
Maternity clothes? Yes. I've had to pick up a couple things recently to get me through these last few months/weeks.
Stretch marks? Not really.
Sleep: I have been sleeping like a rock... I only wish I could get more of it!
Best moment this week: Having Jeremy home again after a week apart. I am beyond grateful for him and all his love/support!
Miss Anything? Non-maternity clothes.
Movement: Oh my goodness, yes! I've started playing hide and seek with him when I'm driving. It typically starts with him hitting me hard around my ribs, and me poking him until he moves (or "hides") again!
Food Cravings: Nope. I still have a major sweet tooth though!
Anything making you queasy or sick: Nothing in particular.
Labor Signs: No.
Belly Button in or out? Neither, but probably more in than out.
Wedding rings on or off? I've started wearing a stand-in ring since my fingers will occasionally swell. I hate not having my actual wedding ring on, but it's just a temporary fix.
Happy or Moody most of the time: Happy!
Looking forward to: My next ultrasound. It feels like it has been forever since we've gotten to see our little guy move around!
As our church has considered Christian community over the past several months, certain things have really resonated with me. As we strive to really be the Church and truly experience Christian community, diversity cannot be ignored. I think there are a few factors that have fueled this soapbox in my life.
My background plays some part, I’m convinced. I spent nearly the first 10 years of my life in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas. I was born in San Benito, and then lived in Brownsville and McAllen before moving to Albuquerque, NM (and finally Houston). If you’re not familiar with the Valley, trust me when I say there is a pervasive Latino culture. Whereas larger cities have pockets of other cultures like “Chinatown” or “Little Italy,” most of the Valley is “Little Mexico.” So, I grew up celebrating Charro Days and next door to a boy whose name I thought was Meho and whose grandparents I called Abuela and Abuelo. (Later I realized they were calling him “mijo” which is a term of endearment meaning “my son” and abuela and abuelo mean grandma and grandpa!) Anyway, I’ve always been pretty comfortable around Hispanic cultures/people and probably a little more sensitive to cultural diversity, in general, because of my roots.
Another factor that has increased my cultural awareness is participation in international missions. Cultural diversity will definitely cross your mind when you go from being in the majority to being in the minority with regard to skin color, language or customs! If you’re a believer, you need to engage the world with the Gospel! Houston is one of the most culturally diverse cities in America. Embrace it!
More recently, I’ve even noticed some lack of diversity within our existing church crowd. I don’t mean that our church crowd isn’t reaching people different than us. That’s the point I was trying to make in my previous paragraphs! The point I’m making now is that we’ve built up walls even between our mostly white, middle-class selves. I think I’ve been more aware of it recently because I’ve worked closely with or entered into several different church demographics over the last few years.
For my first 10 years or so on staff at HNW, I worked with junior high and high school students. That was my world. My community and fellowship was with students and student workers (mostly apart from their families). Then I transitioned to the College and Young Singles (CYS) ministry. Since I started working with CYS, I have gotten married and, in the next 3 months, will have a son! The changes in scenery, community and Life Groups have been distinct!
The predominant thinking in modern church culture is to provide a Christian community for every little stage of life. And while there is definitely something to be said for affinity and the power of the shared experience, it’s still important that we pursue diversity demographically as we pursue diversity racially and culturally.
It really irks me when Christian college students don’t want to be in fellowship with Christian twenty-somethings… or when married twenty-somethings don’t want to be in fellowship with married thirty-somethings… or when married folks without kids don’t want to be in fellowship with married folks with kids... or when marrieds and singles don’t want to be in fellowship with each other… or young folks don’t want to be in fellowship with senior adults, etc. etc.
This is not the heart of the Gospel. The heart of the Gospel is what Paul writes about in Galatians 3:28 when he says, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
It’s the power of Christ to break down walls and unite the different into one, in Him. Shame on us for rebuilding walls that Christ has demolished and for creating walls that never should have existed to begin with!
Because, in case you don’t realize, Heaven will not be segregated into our convenient, customizable demographics and English is not the official language. One of the sweetest blessings I've ever experienced is worshiping with Christians in other nations. It’s a great reminder of how diverse the new heavens and new earth will be! We celebrated this truth in Kenya with a favorite praise song that the children sing, boasting, “We are many, but we are one!”
If you believe the plea in the Lord’s Prayer that says “your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven,” you should appreciate diversity now, because we can’t practice for eternity in uniformity.
How far along? 28 weeks! Officially in my THIRD trimester!!
How big is baby Wilson? The size of a small cabbage. He's around 3 pounds and 17 inches.
Maternity clothes? Maternity clothes, or regular clothes with plenty of stretch, are a necessity these days. My belly is large and in charge!
Stretch marks? *sigh* I think I found my first one the other day. It's tiny and hard to see though, so I'm hoping that's as bad as they get.
Sleep: This past week I've been in a constant state of tiredness. It might have something to do with how I've started waking up in the wee hours of the morning to go to the restroom again...
Movement: Still plenty of kicks and jabs I feel movement all over my stomach, but mostly up by my ribs. Thankfully none of it has been painful yet!
Food Cravings: I've been nursing a major sweet tooth these past two weeks (and throughout my entire life, if we're being honest). The chocolate chip cake that Jeremy's Mom made tasted like HEAVEN to this pregnant lady.
Anything making you queasy or sick: Not recently.
Labor Signs: Nope.
Belly Button in or out? Neither
Wedding rings on or off? On.
Happy or Moody most of the time: I've probably been more moody these last few weeks than I have been up to this point. I blame the lack of sleep. And the lack of sweets.
Looking forward to: Finding out what our little guy looks like! I know I'm still 3 months out, but I can't wait to see that precious face and kiss all over him.