Ask, Seek, Knock

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If you had to summarize Jesus’ major teachings on prayer into one major thought it would be this, “Persist! God loves you and hears you so, keep believing! Persevere! Don’t give up!” Often we give up praying because we give up on believing. When we remind ourselves of our father in heaven’s love for us, it gives us hope to keep asking, it gives us courage to keep seeking and it gives us perseverance to keep knocking.

PRAYER REQUEST

Please pray for Venture Missionary families

  • Stephen and Katie Kleinjung, who are leaving for Thailand with their son Shepherd this week.
  • Jared and Health Van Ravenhorst, who are preparing to go to Thailand in October as Venture Missionaries.
  • Brian and Amanda Elliot, Venture Missionaries to Chiang Mai who just had their baby, Piper. Piper was born with intestinal complications but is recovering well. Please pray for continued healing for Piper and comfort and strength for Brian and Amanda.

This week Venture is kicking off development for what could be the most impacting program Venture has ever started. Please pray for clear direction, creativity, wisdom and for God’s will to be done here. We’ll keep you posted in the coming months as development happens.

SCRIPTURE READING

Try and read this again, for the first time. Go slow and insert your own words for each idea:

Our Father in heaven, may your name be kept holy. May your Kingdom come soon. May your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us today the food we need, and forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us.  And don’t let us yield to temptation, but rescue us from the evil one. For yours is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever and ever. Amen

Matthew 6:9-13 NIV

ANCIENT PRAYER OF ST. FRANCIS OF ASSISI

You are holy, Lord, the only God, and Your deeds are wonderful. You are strong. You are great. You are the Most High. you are Almighty. You, Holy Father are King of heaven and earth. You are Three and One, Lord God, all Good. You are good, all Good, supreme Good, Lord God, living and true. You are love. You are wisdom. You are humility. You are endurance. You are rest. You are peace. You are joy and gladness. You are justice and moderation. you are all our riches, and You suffice for us. You are beauty. You are gentleness. You are our protector. You are our guardian and defender. You are our courage. You are our heaven and our hope. You are our faith, our great consolation. You are our eternal life, Great and Wonderful Lord, God Almighty, Merciful Savior.

 

 

Prayer: The Big Picture

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Jesus said to his disciples, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” Matthew 28:18-20

We need to think differently of prayer. We underestimate the impact that our small prayers can have in the world and ultimately in God’s kingdom. We think that God does not have time for our requests. We may feel invisible in a world full of deep needs. We forget that God truly listens to our prayers with attentiveness.

Would we pray differently if we realized that each and every prayer is a small piece of a great cosmic puzzle, which when fitted together will allow for the completion of the grand picture of the Almighty Lord’s plan for humanity and the universe? We pray toward something that is magnificent – the fulfillment of the Father’s purposes and His kingdom come.

When we pray, we should do so with the big picture of God’s purposes in mind. We must pray knowing that our utterances make a difference in the fulfillment of god’s Heavenly purposes. We must pray with boldness and confidence knowing that God hears us and is faithful. We must pray with the understanding that all authority has been given to us and we must pray unceasingly for the sake of God’s Kingdom. Oh what a glorious mystery! That the Lord of the universe would entrust us unfaithful creatures with the authority of Heaven. Surely, we as disciples of Christ must take action and pray today.

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to this will, he hears us. 1 John 5:14

Courageous And Bold

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As a team we have been asking this questions, “What is a bold, courageous prayer you could pray everyday this year?” For many of us, it might be a prayer we’ve given up on, or even quit believing God has heard. Scripture says many things about prayer, but a major theme is this: persistence. Heaven and earth have been moved by the persistent prayers of regular men and women. It almost seems God is waiting for us to boldly pray.

 

SCRIPTURE READING

O God, you are my God; I earnestly search for you. My soul thirsts for you; my whole body longs for you in this parched and weary land where there is no water. I have seen you in your sanctuary and gazed upon your power and glory. Your unfailing love is better than life itself; how I praise you! I will praise you as long as I live, lifting up my hands to you in prayer. You satisfy me more than the richest feast. I will praise you with songs of joy. I lie awake thinking of you, meditating on you through the night. Because you are my helper, I sing for joy in the shadow of your wings. I cling to you; your strong right hand holds me securely.

Psalm 63:1-8

 

Lorica of Saint Patrick

At Venture we end up coming back to this prayer again and again. Try and pray it each morning for the next month and see what happens.

I arise today

Through the strength of Heaven;

Light of the sun,

Splendor of fire,

Speed of lightning,

Swiftness of the wind,

Depth of the sea,

Stability of the earth,

Firmness of the rock.

 

I arise today

Through God’s strength to pilot me;

God’s might to uphold me,

God’s wisdom to guide me,

God’s eyes to look before me,

God’s ear to hear me,

God’s word to speak for me,

God’s hand to guard me,

God’s way to lie before me,

God’s shield to protect me,

God’s hosts to save me

Afar and near,

Alone or in a multitude.

Christ shield me today

Against wounding.

 

Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,

Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me,

Christ on my right, Christ on my left,

Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down,

Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me,

Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,

Christ in the eye that sees me,

Christ in the ear that hears me.

 

I arise today

Through the mighty strength

Of the Lord of creation.

 

 

More Like Jesus in 2015

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The question that keeps resonating in my heart at the beginning of this year is this, “What does it look like to be a more intentional disciple of Jesus in 2015?” We are taking time to pour through the Gospels and find out how Jesus talked, how he thought, his actions, and his habits and how we can be like him. Take some time to think and pray about what it would look like to end the year more like Jesus.

PRAYER REQUEST

Right now there is a Venture team serving in Thailand led by our own Aaron Smith. Please pray for the refugees and children they are ministering to, and for God to change the lives of the team.

The first few weeks of this year we are trying to get the second legal shipment of food directly into Burma. Sometimes the second shipment is harder than the first, so please pray for God’s grace. There are thousands of refuges in dire need.

Pray for the Venture leadership team. Please pray that we can serve the Venture community as we follow Jesus together.

SCRIPTURE READING

Christian tradition calls this passage the first recorded Hymn of the Church

You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges, he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on the cross. Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor and gave him the name above all other names, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Philippians 2:5 – 11

PRAYER OF SAINT AUGUSTINE

Lord Jesus, let me know myself and know Thee,

And desire nothing save only Thee.
Let me hate myself and love Thee.
Let me do everything for the sake of Thee.
Let me humble myself and exalt Thee.
Let me think nothing except Thee.
Let me die to myself and live in Thee.
Let me accept whatever happens as from Thee.

Let me banish self and follow Thee,

and ever desire to follow Thee.
Let me fly from myself and take refuge in Thee,
that I may deserve to be defended by Thee.
Let me fear for myself, let me fear Thee,
and let me be among those who are chosen by Thee.
Let me distrust myself and put my trust in Thee.

Let me be willing to obey for the sake of Thee.

Let me cling to nothing save only to Thee,
and let me be poor because of Thee.
Look upon me, that I may love Thee.
Call me that I may see Thee,
And forever enjoy Thee.

 

 

Prepare your heart for the coming of Christ

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For centuries, our brothers and sisters around the world have spent this season preparing their hearts for the coming of Christ. The final words of the Bible are simply “Come, Lord Jesus.” As we fast and pray today, let’s spend time inviting Christ to come into our hearts, our families, our work, our service, our words, and neighborhood, and our Venture communities around the world. Let the Holy Spirit prepare you for Christ to come into your life in a greater way.

PRAYER REQUEST

Christmas time is an especially poignant time to remember our missionaries serving overseas away from their families so that others might experience the love of Christ. Please pray for our Venture Missionaries and Partners:

Jon and Elissa Kuert

Brian and Amanda Elliot

Bill and Millicent Thweatt

Mackenzie Geier

Julie Kummer

Solomon Sorcher

Marker and Janie Durene

SCRIPTURE READING
May God be gracious to us and bless us
and make his face to shine upon us, Selah
that your way may be known on earth,
your saving power among all nations.
Let the peoples praise you, O God;
let all the peoples praise you!
Let the nations be glad and sing for joy,
for you judge the peoples with equity
and guide the nations upon earth, Selah
Let the peoples praise you, O God;
let all the peoples praise you!
The earth has yielded its increase;
God, our God, shall bless us.
God shall bless us;
let all the ends of the earth fear him!

Psalms 67

PRAYER OF THANKSGIVING – SAINT THOMAS

O Lord -  

Your grace has achieved for us 
all that You had spoken and promised. 
Grant us access to the place of Your peace. 
You are our Consoler, 
You are our life Remedy, 
You are our Standard of Victory. 
 
Blessed are we, O Lord, 
because we have known You!
 
Blessed are we, 
because we have believed in You!
 
Blessed are we, 
because we bear Your wounds 
and the sign of Your Blood on our countenances! 
 
Blessed are we, 
because You are our great hope! 
 
Blessed are we, 
because You are our God forever!

 

Win VIP passes to meet Bob Goff!

We are very excited to have Bob Goff as the keynote speaker at the 2014 Venture Gala. Not because he’s a New York Times bestselling author, or even because he founded Restore International, an organization that Venture has partnered with for the last two years on the Love Does Tour to help bring hope to children in Africa.

We’re excited to have Bob at the Venture Gala this year because he inspires everyone he interacts with to live life simply loving people. 

And now you have the chance to get up-close and personal with the man himself. If you register for the 2014 Venture Gala within the next 72 hours you will be entered into a drawing to win two passes to an exclusive VIP party with Bob Goff! 

Register for the Venture Gala by 8:00 AM on Sunday, September 21 for your chance to win.

To get more Venture Gala information and register for the event, click here.

Bob Goff at the 2014 Venture Gala! from Venture Expeditions on Vimeo.

 

Prayer and Fasting – September 2

By Ryan Skoog, President & Co-founder of Venture Expeditions

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Prayer Request

For the past year we have petitioned God to give us the Government clearance to get a container of meals directly into Burma to help displaced refugees. This month, we have received all of the necessary approvals and will try for the first time to move a shipment of food directly across the border. Please pray we are able to get food and the Gospel through to many refugees.

On October 3rd, hundreds of people will hear the Venture story at our annual Gala. Please pray that God will be glorified and that we will all respond as he leads us.

Prayer

O Lord my God,
Teach my heart this day where and how to see you,
Where and how to find you.
You have made me and remade me,

And you have bestowed on me
All the good things I possess,

And still I do not know you.
I have not yet done that
For which I was made.
Teach me to seek you,
For I cannot seek you
Unless you teach me,
Or find you
Unless you show yourself to me.

Let me seek you in my desire,
Let me desire you in my seeking.
Let me find you by loving you,
Let me love you when I find you.

- Saint Anselm

Scripture

Most every morning of my adult life I’ve prayed the prayers in Ephesians for my family, friends, and vulnerable and unreached people. Putting someone’s name in these prayers every day has been specially meaningful and powerful for me and many others. Try praying through this prayer several times today, putting in the names of people you know, and refugees you don’t know.

Ephesians 3:16-21

For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

 

 

 

Fulfilling More Than Physical Needs

Reflecting on Venture’s theme of “biblical justice” in Thailand

By Rebekah Jacobson

I first remember hearing the term “biblical justice” with Venture Expeditions. Of course, I had heard about justice itself many times before and I was familiar with various non-profits whose purposes were to establish justice for people.

However, the act of justice is incomplete if it only strives to do good for others. Justice needs to be more than philanthropy; otherwise its influence is only temporary.

Justice needs to be biblical, as described in Isaiah 61:1: “The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners.”

Jesus quoted this at the beginning of his ministry, and because we, as Christians, are called to be imitators of Christ, then we are called to be advocates of biblical justice.

The Gospel must be shared alongside acts of justice in order for an eternal impact to be made. This is biblical justice.

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Ryan Skoog stated it well at a Venture Expeditions meeting last spring before I came to Thailand: “Justice without God is just giving people a smoother ride to hell.”

This sounds harsh, but it is reality. Biblical justice is the only way that ensures that both the physical needs and spiritual needs of others are met.

The last core theme of Venture Expeditions is biblical justice. In my previous three blogs, I wrote about Venture’s model of physical sacrifice in community with Christ. This is the means of Venture’s work, and the product of these elements is to establish biblical justice.

In Thailand, there are two main outputs of biblical justice: the HOSEA Center and the feeding program along the Thai-Burmese border.

The HOSEA Center is Venture’s human development foundation located about 10 miles outside of Chiang Mai. The center hosts an after-school program during the week for children to learn English, and on Saturdays, the volunteers at the center teach Bible lessons to the children.

Education is one goal of the center, but more importantly is the goal of sharing the Gospel with every child that walks through its doors. By learning English, the children have greater job opportunities, which give them a brighter future.

However, English-speaking skills will eventually simmer. It is the Gospel that will change the children’s lives by giving them hope for the future, because in Buddhism, hope is nonexistent. Buddhists are very individualistic, and they do things simply to gain merit towards a better life once they are reincarnated.

It is so crucial that the Gospel is communicated to the children at the HOSEA Center. Currently, there are eight Christian children who attend the center regularly. These children are being discipled by mentors and each other, and some of them would like to be missionaries and pastors someday.

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The feeding program along the Thai-Burmese border is a project that Venture operates with FMSC (Feed My Starving Children). A ministry in a town near the border stores the packaged meals and then distributes them to a refugee camp six times each year.

These meals provide physical nourishment to the refugees. Because the refugees do not have I.D. cards, they do not receive sufficient income. Sometimes feeding their family is a challenge, so the FMSC meals help with this.

One lady thanked the Venture team at a meal distribution site this summer: “We are very happy to receive this food and we thank God for bringing friends here.”

In addition to handing out FMSC meals, however, the program seeks to share the Gospel with the recipients of the meals as well. The ministry workers as well as short-term teams, like Venture’s team over the summer, host services to share the Gospel with the refugees.

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It is so important that nourishment is spiritual as well as physical. If the Gospel is not being shared along with the distribution of food, then only physical hunger is relieved. The spiritual hunger still aches inside.

Biblical justice is the reason that Venture Expeditions exists. Venture doesn’t just help people for people’s sake, but they help people to glorify God. They want the kingdom of God to be established on earth, and in order to do this, injustice must be eliminated and the Gospel must be spread.

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