“Practical mentoring” is a part of Northeastern Baptist College’s mission. Recently, a student asked an important mentoring question. “President Ballard, what do you do in your personal time with the Lord?” The question pleased me. A part of mentoring is sharing practical life experiences.
TIME WITH THE LORD
“Daily, I follow a Scripture reading plan and a prayer plan,” I said. “My prayer time begins with praise and moves to petition. My petitions include praying for:
- My family,
- Our students, staff, faculty,
- Churches in the area, and
- Several friends.
In addition, I receive four ‘daily devotional thoughts’ via email. I read each of the verses and often the chapters in the Bible where the verses are located. This allows me to enjoy a planned reading, and a variety of passages beyond my reading plan.” A growing personal relationship should be relished, not rushed.
A recent devotional reading was based on 1 Chronicles 29:13, “Now therefore, our God, we thank You and praise Your glorious name.” Reflecting on the verse inspired a time of praise and thanksgiving to our amazing Lord! That morning I added to my usual praise and petitions, praise and thanks for:
- My prayer partners,
- All our God has done to establish NEBC, and
- How He allows our NEBC family to impact the hearts and lives of individuals in the Northeast.
I then returned to read 1 Chronicles 29 on my Bible app. I was surprised.
You probably remember, David wanted to build the Temple but God did not allow it. He promised that Solomon would do the job. David was, however, allowed to prepare the way for his son.
Here is the surprise. First Chronicles 29 is about a successful fund raising campaign. David gathered abundant building materials for the future Temple (vs. 1-2). In addition, he gave an exorbitant personal offering [110 tons of gold and 260 tons of silver] (vs. 3-5). He stated the reason: “because I have set my affection on the house of my God” (v. 3).
The king’s generosity inspired others. The nation’s leaders “offered willingly” (v. 6) an even larger offering [gold—190 tons; silver—375 tons; bronze—675 tons; iron—3,750 tons] (vs. 7-8). In addition, “the people rejoiced, … because with a loyal heart they had offered willingly to the Lord” (v. 9). David followed up, leading the people in a time of praise and thanksgiving (vs. 10-20).
David’s gifts, over and above what he collected, caught my attention. He gave from his own treasure. He gave out of affection for the Lord’s house. Right then I asked the Lord to show me a way I can give to Phase 1 of Forming the Framework for the Future. I gave earlier this year, as did other faculty, staff, and students. But I wanted to give in a special way—as David did. Obviously, I don’t have David’s special treasures, so I needed the Lord to show me how I can give. As I continued to seek Him, he reminded me of my special treasure.
Most Sundays I have the high privilege and great joy of preaching God’s Word at a local church. Sometimes the church gives an honorarium. When this happens, I use the funds for special things I would not otherwise be able to do. Last week the Lord showed me that I could commit these funds to the campaign. Beginning with Sunday November 19th through the end of 2017, I have committed before the Lord to give any and all honorariums given to me.
A second thing in 1 Chronicles 29 caught my attention. Israel’s other leaders responded to David’s gift. They too gave liberally. So, I am asking the Lord to stir up the hearts of pastors and other Christian leaders to give willingly to the campaign over the next few weeks.
Seeing David give, and seeing the response of other leaders across the nation, the Bible says the people, “with a loyal heart offered willingly to the LORD.” It started with David. It expanded to other leaders in the nation. Soon, everyone wanted to give. Not only did they give willingly and with a loyal heart, the Bible says they “rejoiced” to give. It was a joyful celebration. Giving became a part of their worship, praise, and thanksgiving. I am asking the Lord to do the same over the next few weeks of NEBC’s Forming the Framework for the Future Campaign.
I am so excited about this thanksgiving and giving opportunity! I cannot wait to see all that the Lord is going to do. Wouldn’t it be great if we not only met the $5,000,000 goal before Christmas, but we actually exceeded it? I don’t know how the Lord will accomplish this, but however He does it, we will rejoice! We will offer our praise! We will give Him thanks!
With Great Anticipation,
Mark H. Ballard