Author Archives: Lane Corley

Mobilizing Prayer with a Prayer Calendar

Church leaders are known for encouraging prayer. Encouraging an action is not as effective if the person is not actively involved in it. Encouraging works best from alongside or behind, when you’re observing an action. I’ve recently been inspired by a prayer mobilization tool called the Prayer Calendar. This tool and the habits that go along with it, go further than personal prayer, but are meant to draw other people into your life of intercession and create a culture of prayer around your life.

Here’s how to get started:

1. Make a list of 30 to 90 people who you know that need prayer. 

2. Focus first on those who are lost or whose spiritual condition is unknown to you. 

3. Put these in a spreadsheet numbered 1-30. So if you have 60 names, you will make two columns. If 90 names, 3 columns. I’ve made a template for you HERE.

4. Pray for the names on the corresponding day of the month that you’ve written or typed in everyday. So the names in row 1, you’d pray for every 1st day of the month. The names on row 25, you’d pray for every 25th day of the month.

Other tips here:

      • You could organize the columns if you’d like into Lost, Unknown Spiritual Condition, Family, Church Family, Missionaries or whatever.
      • I have about 150 people in my Prayer Calendar, so 5 columns of 30. Which allows me to intercede for 5 people each day.

How does this draw people in and create culture? It seems pretty individualistic at this point. 

5. Call or text one or more of the people you pray for everyday and let them know you are praying for them. Ask them if they have any prayer requests. Pray with them on the phone if the occasion is right for that.

Disciple Making Tip:

      • If they are already believers, tell them what you’re doing and ask them if they’d like to join you in making a prayer calendar for themselves.
      • If yes, set up a time to meet with them to go over the plan for a prayer calendar.
      • A yes, and a follow up here may tell you that this is a person ready to say yes to obedience and becoming a disciple maker. This may be someone that you can train and mentor and partner with.

What does this process do? 

  • It helps you organize the intercession part of your prayer life, which is essential to the life of a Disciple Maker. In Matthew 6:1-18, Jesus talked about three key habits of kingdom people: Giving, Praying, Fasting. Why were these three, so important? Lots of reasons, but one is: YOU HAVE TO BE ORGANIZED TO PRACTICE THEM. If you don’t set a budget, you probably won’t give. If you don’t set a time and place and make a list, you probably won’t pray. If you don’t plan your meals and make a commitment, you probably won’t fast. Intercession requires organization. The Prayer Calendar has worked to establish intercession for me.
  • It helps create a culture of prayer around your life. When you call or text people and let them know you are praying for them, you are letting them know what your life is about. You’re establishing yourself as a person they can call with needs or problems. Those people that have called me through the years and ask how they could pray for me are all close to my heart. They are unforgettable. They are now on my prayer calendar and will be getting calls from me as well.
  • It helps you find persons of peace. Those who are excited about your efforts to pray for them and who may say yes to establishing their own prayer calendar are people God has prepared for this time. Your prayer for them and your call to them may very well be a divine appointment that propels them into spiritual maturity and binds the two of you together as partners in disciple making from now on.

Get Started Mobilizing Prayer!

Take some time this week to make your list and start your prayer calendar. If we want to make disciples, we must do what Jesus did, and he prayed regularly and consistently. Go beyond encouraging prayer. Mobilize prayer and expand the kingdom as Jesus did.

For more information on this process check out these resources:

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7:14 – 10:01 – 4:02

Establishing prayer as a priority and rhythm of life is about being intentional. Jesus said, “When you pray, go into your private room, shut the door, and pray to Your Father who is in secret” Matthew 6:6. Three intentional acts in this one verse – “Go…shut…pray…” We see the intentionality of Jesus, as he often withdrew to quiet places to pray. Developing intentional rhythms for prayer and communion with God must be a priority for the believer.

One intentional step that has helped me prioritize prayer is using technology to remind me to pray regularly throughout the day. My smart watch buzzes everyday at 7:14am, 10:01am, and 4:02 pm. These times are reminders of three key verses for prayer and intercession.

7:14am

2 Chronicles 7:14 says, “if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

This is my usual devotional time, and this alarm reminds me to pray for humility, desire, forgiveness, and healing for our nation and the nations of the world. I’ll usually pull up the Unreached People of the Day during this time and pray for them as well.

10:01am

Romans 10:01 is the Apostle Paul’s heart for his fellow country men – “my heart’s desire and prayer to God concerning them is for their salvation.”

This is the normal break time for my work, so it’s a great time to pray. This alarm reminds me to spend some time praying for people I know who are far from God. You can develop an active list using a process called Oikos Mapping and pray for those people everyday.

I usually also pray the 10:02 prayer for laborers at this time as well –  “The harvest is abundant, but the workers are few. Therefore, pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into his harvest. 

4:02pm

James 4:2-3 says, “You do not have because you do not ask. You ask and don’t receive because you ask with wrong motives.”

This alarm, toward the end of the day, gives me an opportunity to stop and ask –

  • What have I needed today, that I haven’t asked God for?
  • What or who have I thought about today, that I haven’t prayed about yet?
  • Where have my motives been selfish?

These three prayer prompts have helped establish times of prayer throughout the day. Consider setting alarms for yourself for 7:14am, 10:01am, and 4:02pm and join me in prayer.

  • How have you established rhythms of prayer?
  • What verses would be prayer prompts for you?

Considering the Cost of Disobedience

David’s disobedience to God cost his family peace (2 Samuel 12). Solomon’s disobedience to God cost his sons a united kingdom (1 Kings 11). Adam’s disobedience cost humanity fellowship with God (Romans 5:19). Our acts of disobedience may not be as earth shattering as these, or will they? We never know the cost of disobedience to God. Thinking about the cost of disobeying Christ’s command to “Go… make disciples” (Matthew 28:19-20). What if my neglect to be a faithful witness and disciple maker cost someone a place in eternity? What if my neglect to be a faithful witness to someone in my neighborhood that moves to another country and doesn’t have a faith to pass on to next generations and unbelievers?

Considering the cost of disobedience, makes me want to obey. And in every act of obedience is the potential for more growth as the risk leads us to trust God and experience God and display our love for God (John 14:21, 23).

The cost of disobedience may never be fully known, but it will be high.

Lord, make me an obedient, willing servant of your will.  

More Than a Church Member

The identity and mission of a Christian is so seldom lived to the full. The reason is that so few fully accept it. We consider ourselves as “just a church member” or define ourselves by our past or our weaknesses. How does Jesus define us and what is the identity that He wants us to accept and live out? I find statements of our new identity in Christ almost every day in the Bible. A few of my favorites and some of the most challenging statements of our identity are found in Matthew 4:18-22; Matthew 28:18-20; 2 Corinthians 5:18-20.

  • Fisher of Men – Matthew 4:19
  • Disciple Maker – Matthew 28:19
  • Persuader of People – 2 Corinthians 5:16
  • New Creation – 2 Corinthians 5:17
  • Reconciled – 2 Corinthians 5:18
  • Messenger of Reconciliation – 2 Corinthians 5:18-19
  • Ambassador of Christ – 2 Corinthians 5:20
  • Righteousness of God – 2 Corinthians 5:21

These statements of identity speak to the task and the mission that God has laid out for us. We are to be about…

  • Finding and catching people
  • Teaching people how to follow Jesus
  • Persuading people
  • Sharing the message that leads to a right relationship with God
  • Representing God before the world

Are you living as “just a church member”? Does your past or weaknesses define you, more than the mission of God? If you are a Christian, Jesus has decided that He wants to use you, to shape you, to empower you. Say yes to Jesus’ call and take up this new identity.

Questions:

  • What are things that have defined you in your life?
  • How have you been shaped by the mission of God?
  • Who are people in your life that you know live out the identity that Jesus desires?
  • Have you said yes to Jesus? Are you ready for Him to re-define your life as a Disciple Maker?
  • Who around you lives out the identity of a disciple maker every day?

Lost in Louisiana’s Metros

Louisiana has nine Metropolitan Statistical areas, which includes all of our major cities and 34 of our 64 parishes. 82% of the population of Louisiana lives in one of these Metro areas. These are not all urban areas. Extremely rural parishes including Union and Grant are included in these areas.

So how are we doing at reaching Louisiana’s Metros? 

Combined – Link with Metro by Metro Breakdown

  • 3,655,086, live in Louisiana’s Metros
  • 76.5% are potentially spiritually lost
  • 26.2% or 957,829 are evangelicals
  • 3.1% or 111,486 attend a SBC Church
  • There are 956 SBC churches in our Metros, which means there is 1 church for 3,823 residents.

Data on each Metro area individually:

By Population: 

Metro Population
New Orleansincludes Jefferson, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Charles, St. John the Baptist, St. Tammany, St. James 1,167,866
Baton Rougeincludes Ascension, East Baton Rouge, East Feliciana, Iberville, Livingston, Pointe Coupee, St. Helena, West Baton Rouge, West Feliciana 802,484
Lafayetteincludes Lafayette, St. Martin, Acadia, Iberia, Vermilion 426,897
Shreveport-Bossierincludes Bossier, Caddo, De Soto  398,594
Houma-Thibincludes Lafourche, Terrebonne 208,178
Lake Charlesincludes Calcasieu, Cameron 199,607
Monroe – includes Ouachita, Union 176,441
Alexandria – includes Grant, Rapides  153,922
Tangipahoa  121,097

By Potential Lostness: 

Metro Lost % Lost
Tangipahoa 98,743 81.5%
New Orleans 921,058 78.9%
Baton Rouge 615,413 76.7%
Shreveport-Bossier 301,040 75.5%
Monroe 132,834 75.2%
Lafayette 316,971 74.2%
Houma-Thib 153,567 73.8%
Alexandria 113,342 73.6%
Lake Charles 143,782 72.0%

By Evangelical Population: 

Metro Evang % Evang
Houma-Thib 22,651 10.9%
Lafayette 61,335 14.4%
New Orleans 186,390 16.0%
Tangipahoa 34,691 28.6%
Baton Rouge 241,123 30.0%
Lake Charles 61,906 31.0%
Shreveport-Bossier 189,528 47.5%
Alexandria 73,499 47.8%
Monroe 86,706 49.1%

By SBC Attendance and Churches: 

Metro SBC Attenders % SBC  SBC Churches Church to Population
Houma-Thib 2,477 1.2% 29 1 / 7,179
Lafayette 6,653 1.6% 60 1 / 7,115
New Orleans 24,473 2.1% 191 1 / 6,114
Baton Rouge 22,194 2.8% 192 1 / 4,709
Tangipahoa 4,450 3.7% 60 1 / 2,018
Lake Charles 8,221 4.1% 64 1 / 3,119
Shreveport-Bossier 17,764 4.5% 146 1 / 2,730
Monroe 13,438 7.6% 99 1 / 1,782
Alexandria 11,816 7.7% 115 1 / 1,338

Where the Rubber Meets the Road

TheWheelObedience is where the rubber meets the road in the Christian life. The Wheel Illustration was a tool a friend used to help me grow in my faith. If you’re unfamiliar with it, it is a simple way to help someone solidify the basics in the Christian life, identifying two verses with six topics that are must for believers. It’s the start of the Navigators Topical Memory System. Jesus is the Center of the Wheel. Fellowship, Witnessing, The Word of God, and Prayer are the spokes. But where the rubber meets the road is OBEDIENCE. It’s not enough just to know truth about Christianity. Putting it into practice through obedience is where the Christian life takes off. This is what I found out as I grew in my faith as a young believer. I struggled to make sense of church, as many do. But when I combined what I was learning, with active doing, the lights began to come on.

Now, we don’t obey, so that we can be accepted by God. We’re accepted by God, because of Jesus’ work on the cross. We also don’t obey and work in our own power. We’re empowered by a resurrected and ascended Christ, who has sent His Spirit to be present with us as we follow him. The work of Christ and the power of Christ is promised to us when we believe and are experienced in full as we obey.

Your obedience to God puts you on the road to spiritual maturity, fruitfulness, and a growing faith in God’s power. Disobedience is a ditch, a flat tire, a dead end for spiritual growth.

What command of Christ have you neglected in your Christian life? Have you been fully obedient to everything Christ has asked you to do? If you had to describe the wheels of your Christian life, what would they be like? In need of repair? Ready to for the road?

Faith – Fellowship – Fruit

Three things God desires for each of us. Three things every disciple must pursue.

1. Faith. When Jesus was asked what work needed to be done to be acceptable to God, he answered: “This is the work of God–that you believe in the one he has sent” (John 6:29). Faith in the person and work of Jesus Christ in his incarnation, death, burial, and resurrection, saves us (Ephesians 2:8-9) and makes us right with God (Romans 4:25). Have I placed my FAITH in God’s provision of eternal life through Jesus Christ? Who have I shared my FAITH with recently? Does your faith extend to giving to God?

2. Fellowship. One of the big WHY’s of Christ’s sacrifice is that God wanted a relationship and fellowship with us. He desired the fellowship of Adam and Eve in the garden restored. He wanted the relationship broken by sin reconciled (See 2 Corinthians 5:17-21). We carry on the relationship with God through prayer and devotion (Matthew 6:6). How is my FELLOWSHIP with God? How is my life of devotion with God? Am I spending time with God in prayer? Am I spending time in His Word, the Bible? Am I experiencing the peace and joy of His presence?

3. Fruit. Our Faith in and Fellowship with the Lord will produce fruit. The fruit of Godly character (see Galatians 5:22-24) and the fruit of people reached and disciples made (Matthew 28:18-20). Every person should expect fruit. Fruit is not automatic. It does require some labor on our part (Colossians 1:28-29). Jesus asked us to pray for more laborers, assuming we are laboring ourselves. What fruit do I have to offer God? Have I noticed a change in character? Who am I discipling? Who am I praying for the opportunity to share with? “My Father is glorified by this: that you produce much fruit and prove to be my disciples” John 15:8.

Faith. Fellowship. Fruit. God desires for each of us the discover the blessings of salvation by Faith, the joy of Fellowship with Him, and the reward of producing Fruit for His glory. How are you pursuing Faith, Fellowship, and Fruit-bearing in your life today?

Lost in Louisiana

Jesus said he came “to seek and to save the lost” Luke 19:10

The Baptist Faith and Message says that it “is the duty and privilege of every follower of Christ and every church of the Lord Jesus Christ… to seek constantly to win the lost to Christ.”

Being spiritually lost is described in the Bible as being alienatedfrom God, guided by the flesh, perishing, under wrath, and many more terrifying descriptions for the present and eternal life of an individual. Followers of Christ must be committed to follow His example and command to seek and save the lost.

One of the assumptions that kills the mission to the lost is that we think most people are already saved or have a church they attend. Below is a compilation of Parish by Parish data that shows how many are potentially lost, how many evangelicals there are, and how many attend southern baptist churches across Louisiana.

The tool used calculates Spiritual Lostness by:

  • # of non religious adherents + cults
  • # of Christian adherents (all denominations including Roman Catholics) minus 60% of total (using Barna’s figure that 60% of people that claim to be Christian, do not profess to believe in Christ as a means of salvation)
  • Add 60% to non-adherents + cults = number of lost individuals
  • Also shown is how many may be reached by a non-traditional or new church. 50% of the lost say they would attend church if invited. So, 50% would not. These are the radically unreached.

Yes. You can probably poke holes in the data, or you can say, “What if this is true?” – “What will it take to reach that many people in my community?” “Is my church able to reach the lost as it is?” “What am I doing to change these numbers?” If you could start a movement to reach thousands of lost in your community or region or the state, what would it to look like?

  • SBC Attendance numbers are from 2018 Annual Church Profile Data.
  • Population figures are from the 2010 Census. We’ll be looking forward to updating this with new 2020 Data in the very near future.
  • Data on Adherents is mostly from The Association of Religious Data Archives – thearda.com.

 

Lostness Across Louisiana

  • Parish by Parish LINK (includes populaton, evangelical population, SBC attendance, church to population ratio)
  • Louisiana Worksheet LINK 

 

  • Estimate shows that 76% of Louisiana may be spiritually lost. That is over 3.4 million!
  • 28% of Louisiana’s population are evangelicals.
  • 26% are Roman Catholic.
  • 41% are none’s or non-affiliated.
  • Only 3.5% of Louisianians attend an SBC church. Less than 8% of the population are resident members of an SBC church.

If you add all these numbers to the fact that baptisms, worship attendance, and Bible Study attendance are all down and at historic lows for Southern Baptist in Louisiana, it points to our need of a movement of God to turn the tide of lostness in our state. Revitalization? Yes! Crusade Evangelism? Yes! Sunday School Growth? Yes! Church Planting? Yes! We need all hands and all ideas on deck!

How goes it in your Parish? 

Here are Parish by Parish Worksheets on Lostness throughout Louisiana –

  1. Acadia Parish
  2. Allen Parish
  3. Ascension Parish
  4. Assumption Parish
  5. Avoyelles Parish
  6. Beauregard Parish
  7. Bienville Parish
  8. Bossier Parish
  9. Caddo Parish
  10. Calcasieu Parish
  11. Caldwell Parish
  12. Cameron Parish
  13. Catahoula Parish
  14. Claiborne Parish
  15. Concordia Parish
  16. De Soto Parish
  17. East Baton Rouge Parish
  18. East Carroll Parish
  19. East Feliciana Parish
  20. Evangeline Parish
  21. Franklin Parish
  22. Grant Parish
  23. Iberia Parish
  24. Iberville Parish
  25. Jackson Parish
  26. Jefferson Davis Parish
  27. Jefferson Parish
  28. Lafayette Parish
  29. Lafourche Parish
  30. LaSalle Parish
  31. Lincoln Parish
  32. Livingston Parish
  33. Madison Parish
  34. Morehouse Parish
  35. Natchitoches Parish
  36. Orleans Parish
  37. Ouachita Parish
  38. Plaquemines Parish
  39. Pointe Coupee Parish
  40. Rapides Parish
  41. Red River Parish
  42. Richland Parish
  43. Sabine Parish
  44. St. Bernard Parish
  45. St. Charles Parish
  46. St. Helena Parish
  47. St. James Parish
  48. St. John the Baptist Parish
  49. St. Landry Parish
  50. St. Martin Parish
  51. St. Mary Parish
  52. St. Tammany Parish
  53. Tangipahoa Parish
  54. Tensas Parish
  55. Terrebonne Parish
  56. Union Parish
  57. Vermilion Parish
  58. Vernon Parish
  59. Washington Parish
  60. Webster Parish
  61. West Baton Rouge Parish
  62. West Carroll Parish
  63. West Feliciana Parish
  64. Winn Parish

The Resurrection was Just the Beginning!

A neat, often untold part of Jesus’ resurrection story is its festival. We know about Passover festival’s relation to the crucifixion of Christ, but there was also a festival happening on the day of the resurrection. It was called the Festival of Firstfruits. On the first day after the Passover Sabbath, which would have been Sunday, every Jewish male would be bringing a sheaf of barley to the temple. That barley would be offered to God, whose acceptance of the offering was a pledge for a greater harvest to come. Fifty days later, the Jewish people would celebrate the Festival of Weeks or Pentecost to celebrate that greater harvest of wheat that God provided.

Seeing any parallels?

Paul helps us out in 1 Corinthians 15:20-23:

“Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead also comes through a man. For just as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive.”

Christ resurrection, among many other provisions, serves as a pledge of a greater harvest to come. A harvest of people who are dead in sin, but will be made alive in Christ (Ephesians 2:4-5).

Fifty days after the resurrection, during the Festival of Pentecost, Jesus had ascended, the Holy Spirit was poured out on the Church, and 3,000 were added to the kingdom (see Acts 2). A truly greater harvest.

So What? A few takeaways:

  • The resurrection was just the beginning! The resurrection of Christ is God’s pledge to bring a harvest from our lives as believers. The life of Christ within us is power to produce fruit for God. The fruit of godly character and a harvest of disciples made. What is my life producing?
  • The harvest doesn’t come without laborers and labor. Fields still have to cultivated, seeds still have to be planted, weeds must be dealt with. He pledges resurrection power to us. We should pledge to work the fields and to do our part to assure a harvest of disciples made for him. What am I doing to prepare for a harvest?

Fifty Days Until Harvest

What will you have to offer God? How many could God add to your church if you, in dependence on Christ, allowed him to use you for a harvest? Get started:

  • Ask God everyday to make you fruitful.
  • Prepare the fields through identifying who you can reach.
  • Plant seeds by sharing the gospel in every way you can.
  • Get equipped HERE.

Lord, Thank You for Remembering Me

On Friday of Holy Week, Jesus was unjustly convicted, mocked, humiliated, tortured, and crucified. While on the cross, he spoke seven times and each of these statements are a significant part of the story of Jesus and his life lived and given for us. The saying that fascinates me the most, is Jesus’ interaction with the two criminals crucified with him.

Luke tells us (23:39-43), that one mimicked the mockery of the crowd – “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!” (v. 39). His response to Jesus drips with mockery, unbelief, and entitlement. I’ve responded to God like this at times. “I don’t deserve this.” When I did. “Aren’t you God? Why don’t you do something?” When he had given me opportunity and direction.

The other criminal though, responded with humility, faith, honesty, and brokenness. He confessed his guilt and professed his belief in Jesus’ innocence – “we’re getting back what we deserve for the things we did, but this man has done nothing wrong” (v. 41). He then in faith and humility, sought grace – “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom” (v. 42).

When grace from God is sought with humility, faith, honesty, and brokenness, it will be given. 

Jesus extended his grace and gift of salvation to this guilty criminal – Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise” (v. 43). The simple prayer of the criminal was answered.

The promise to the criminal is for anyone who believes with humility and faith. Anyone can gain paradise, a place in Christ’s kingdom for all eternity, by trusting Jesus. In his death, Jesus demonstrated that He remembered us. In his death, he was busting wide open the doors to paradise, to eternal life, to relationship with God, to God’s Kingdom. In his death, he remembered our sin, our separation from God, our brokenness, our eternal destiny. He remembered. We’re not entitled to it. We can’t demand it. It’s given as a free gift to the humble, believing sinner.

A few good, Good Friday questions:

  • Have I acknowledged my guilt?
  • Have I professed my belief in the person and work of Jesus Christ?
  • Have I sought grace from God in humility and brokenness?
  • Is Jesus’ promise mine?  “you will be with me in paradise.”
  • Who do I know that needs to hear this story today?

Lord, thank you for remembering me. When I was lost in sin, you made a way for me to know you. Thank you for the gift of grace and salvation. Thank you for the promise of eternal life. Thank you for seeking and saving the lost. 

 

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