Unless your head has been buried in the sand, you know that a huge evangelistic outreach event is happening this weekend. The Greater Birmingham Festival of Hope is being conducted by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. Franklin Graham has been speaking at these events since 1989, following in the footsteps of his father and his crusades. Each night will feature music by well-known artists and a Gospel presentation by Franklin Graham. Several church and ministry leaders have been working with the BGEA people for over a year to make this event happen The free event will be held at Bartow Arena tonight, tomorrow night, and Sunday night. Visit www.greaterbirminghamfestival.org for more details.
Phil. 2:1-11 – 1 Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, 2 make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. 3 Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; 4 do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. 5 Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. 8 Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Lord God, we humbly and gladly confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. He is the only begotten Son of God, the very Word of God who existed before time with the Father. Words cannot express our awe and our gratitude for His obedience, humility, and love which He displayed when He laid aside everything that was rightfully His to become like us and to die for us. We love You, Lord, and we praise Your great name.
Father, our fallen nature makes it so easy to get excited for big events like this festival for all the wrong reasons – reasons that are rooted in pride and selfish interests. We pray that You would rid every leader, planner, employee, and volunteer involved in this festival of those sinful motives. Cause their eyes to be fixed on You. Thank You that through this planning process, the men who have been part of the leadership planning team have sought Your will at every step, even when it could have cost a great deal. We thank You that this event has already been bathed in prayer at every step. We pray that You would honor the intentions of their heart to make this event one that would glorify Christ and further the Gospel in the Greater Birmingham area.
We pray for Your divine protection over every single person who will be involved and/or attending the festival this weekend. We ask that You would not allow the enemy to hinder even one person from getting there. If there are some who plan to be in attendance in order to cause disruption or even harm of some kind, we ask that You would instead set them free from darkness and bring them into Your kingdom of Light through the event this weekend.
We pray for the continued and increasing fellowship of the Spirit among the leadership and among all those who come bearing the name of Christ. Cause us all to be of the same mind, maintaing the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose of magnifying You and bringing lost people to You. Cause every Christian there, from the leaders, the planners, the volunteers to the attendees, to humbly regard others before ourselves. And Lord, even beyond this weekend, cause this event to change our mindsets and perspectives. Lord, compel and convict Your Church in Birmingham to be like Christ – being so radically in love for the lost that we lay aside every right and privilege we have in order to become obedient to whatever You call us to do, to lay down our politics, our dogma, our traditions, our comforts, even our very lives for the Gospel, for the Kingdom of God, for Jesus. God, we pray that our city would never be the same, and that Your Church in this city would never be the same after this weekend.
We pray that in the Greater Birmingham area, every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. In the name of Jesus and for His glory we pray all of this. Amen.