Beyond Jabez: Expanding Your Borders

Beyond Jabez: Expanding Your Borders

by Bruce Wilkinson, Brian Smith

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780307563545
Publisher: The Crown Publishing Group
Publication date: 08/26/2009
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 208
Sales rank: 721,240
File size: 3 MB

About the Author

Bruce Wilkinson is the chairman of Dream for Africa and Ovation Productions and is the author of the fastestselling nonfiction book of all time, The Prayer of Jabez, and two New York Times #1 bestsellers. He is the founder of Walk Thru the Bible and Global Vision Resources. He and his wife, bestselling author Darlene Marie, divide their time between Georgia and South Africa. They have \one son and two daughters and are the proud grandparents of six.


From the Hardcover edition.

Read an Excerpt

BEYOND JABEZ


By Bruce Wilkinson Brian Smith

Multnomah Publishers

Copyright © 2005 Exponential, Inc.
All right reserved.

ISBN: 1-59052-367-9


Chapter One

For the most part, not much happened in Familiar that hadn't happened before. Ordinary thought he was content. He found the routines reliable. He blended in with the crowd. Until the day Ordinary noticed a small, nagging feeling that something big was missing from his life.

I need twenty-five volunteers," Pastor Denny Bellesi announced to his unsuspecting congregation. He scanned the packed auditorium for responses.

The members of Coast Hills Community Church sat in puzzled silence.

What in the world was their pastor up to now? Worshipers slouched in their seats, trying to look inconspicuous.

Eventually, twenty-five curious people stood before the congregation-some willingly, some reluctantly. The pastor then handed each a crisp $100 bill.

"I invite you to take part in this Kingdom Assignment," he told the astounded volunteers. "The rules are simple. One, this is not your money; it is God's. Two, you are to use this money to further God's kingdom beyond the four walls of the church. And three, you must report back in ninety days and share with everyone how you invested the money."

He further surprised his congregation by announcing that the church didn't want a penny of this money back. He repeated the exercise in the following three worship services, eventually distributing $10,000 to one hundred members of his church. Men, women, and even children were recipients of this "investment cash."

Pastor Bellesi had recently finished preaching a series about how to use money for God's purposes. He felt that his church was ready-financially and spiritually-to take on the exciting challenge of investing in God's kingdom.

Denny knew the risk he was taking. He was well aware of the unusual responsibility that he had placed on his congregation. But the people rose to the challenge, and the Kingdom Assignment impacted more lives than anyone anticipated. What began as a simple lesson in stewardship for one church is still touching lives around the world.

One man raised $10,000 by sending e-mails to friends and old classmates, challenging them to match the original $100 amount. He donated the funds to a couple whose two young daughters had just died from a rare blood disorder.

A woman told several friends about the Kingdom Assignment during a birthday celebration. She and her enthused companions raised $1,800 and donated the cash to a struggling single mother of three, who worked during the day and attended college at night.

A nine-year-old girl sent her money to a four-year-old girl in Oregon to help pay for the ailing child's heart surgery.

A local chiropractor elected to take his portable massage table and a hundred Burger King hamburgers down to skid row once a month and adjust the aching backs of those who live and sleep on the streets.

Another man was inspired to invest $50,000 in a Bible seminary in China after hearing about the Kingdom Assignment.

One young man who had grown up in an abusive home invested his money in a mentoring program for abused kids. He also participates in the program, which has helped him discover a part of God's purpose for his life.

Just a few weeks after giving his congregation their Kingdom Assignment, Pastor Bellesi read The Prayer of Jabez and it impacted him deeply. He then gave copies to all his staff. Denny Bellesi and his wife, Leesa, began to pray together, asking the Lord to "expand their territory." They had no idea that their territory was about to explode.

First, a regional newspaper caught wind of the good deeds coming out of the church and ran a feature story on their front page. Soon after, the Associated Press picked up the story, and papers around the world printed the heartwarming tale. Woman's Day and People magazines wrote articles about the wonderful happenings as a result of the Kingdom Assignment. Denny and Leesa began receiving calls from all over the world with requests for magazine and radio interviews.

And their territory just kept expanding.

One day, the Bellesis got a phone call from an associate producer with NBC's Dateline. She asked if they could follow the story for a year. Denny and Leesa agreed, so a film crew showed up at the church to interview Denny and several of the Kingdom Assignment participants. The church members made the most of the opportunity to expand God's territory by sharing what God had done for them.

In the midst of this flurry of activity, Leesa wrote a proposal for a book chronicling the results of the Kingdom Assignment. Leesa and Denny soon landed a book contract with a major Christian publisher.

The Bellesis were so overwhelmed by the enormity of God's blessings that they were being forced to depend on God. And that was good! The Kingdom Assignment had become so big that only God could take the credit.

Like the proverbial pebble making ripples in the pond, the impact of the Kingdom Assignment continues to spread. These ripples have touched the lives of people in many countries, including Sudan, China, Vietnam, and Mexico.

And it shows no sign of losing momentum.

Never Too Late

Since the publication of The Prayer of Jabez in 2000, I have received numerous letters with stories of how God has used people who prayed with the faith of Jabez. Like the Kingdom Assignment, some of these are big, splashy stories of spectacular miracles from the hand of God. But many of God's miracles happen in quieter, but no less eternally significant, fashion.

Let me tell you about a special seventy-year-old lady named Mamie. Her faith in God had always been strong. But when declining health required that her family place her in an assisted-living home, Mamie began to manifest negative traits they had never seen before-resentment, suspicion, emotional withdrawal. Her children wondered what had happened to the woman who had raised them.

About this time, Mamie's daughter JoAn read The Prayer of Jabez. She was encouraged by its teaching and became convinced that her mother needed the perspective it provided. The irony was that, all her life, JoAn could remember her mother frequently exhorting the family, "Trust the Lord to enlarge your territory." But JoAn had never known the source of the quote. Until now.

The next time she visited her mother, JoAn was shocked to see the bitterness and despair etched into Mamie's face. The ailing woman felt she had lost everything of importance-her home, her possessions, her independence-and was certain she had nothing left to live for.

Mamie's expression began to change, however, as JoAn reminded her mother of the perspective Mamie had spent her life teaching her children: God is faithful and He loves to give; He will be with us as we step out boldly in faithful obedience.

JoAn read 1 Chronicles 4:10 to her mother: "And Jabez called on the God of Israel saying, 'Oh, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain!' So God granted him what he requested."

"Yes," said Mamie softly, as though talking to herself. "That's what He does."

"Mom, God has set you right in the midst of people who need you," JoAn said. "Here you are with thirteen other women, all under the same roof. You've spent your whole life influencing others for good. I'm not going to just stand by and watch the devil rob you of your joy and ministry during the last years of your life!"

At that, Mamie smiled for what may have been the first time in months.

JoAn challenged her mother to share with her fellow residents what she had learned about God's love throughout her seven decades of life. They prayed together for God's direction and strength, and by the time JoAn left, Mamie was a new woman with new purpose.

A few days later, Mamie called JoAn and asked her to bring cookies and tea for a meeting she had organized. She had invited a Christian friend named Esther to come speak to her fellow residents in the nursing home's living area.

On the day of the event, anticipation shone on each woman's face as a parade of thirteen walkers and wheelchairs made its way down the corridor. Not one of them could remember the last time they had been invited for tea!

The atmosphere in the home was transformed. Esther's sharing and then a series of subsequent events-including a mini-concert by Mamie's grandchildren-brought hope and new faith into the lives of several of the elderly ladies.

Some time later, when Mamie became gravely ill with congestive heart failure, she was certain she was on her way to heaven. But when her condition improved, she told JoAn, "I guess God isn't finished with me yet. There must be something more He wants me to do."

Whether you have six days or sixty years remaining, God still has you here on earth for a purpose. I pray that this book will help you catch the vision for what God wants to do in your life, that you will experience incredible fulfillment and produce results of eternal value.

Jabez the Man

You'll notice in both of these stories that people were already learning to trust God to see His hand of power in their lives even before The Prayer of Jabez came to their attention. In fact, Jabez's prayer has been in our Bibles, influencing people's lives for thousands of years, and it will still be there long after the little book I've written has crumbled to dust and been forgotten. People have been praying Jabez's prayer and living by these principles for centuries, but God has seen fit in the last few years to let Jabez's example change millions of lives around the world-perhaps including yours.

So let's take a moment to look again at the man whose heart of faith has made such an impact in our day. In the book of 1 Chronicles, we find only two verses about Jabez, nestled in the middle of a long list of names-within the genealogy of no less a personage than King David himself. The second of these verses contains Jabez's prayer. But if we step back one verse, we learn more about the man and his circumstances: "Now Jabez was more honorable than his brothers, and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, 'Because I bore him in pain'" (1 Chronicles 4:9).

First, note the meaning of his name. The word jabez literally means "pain." Maybe his mother had difficulty giving birth. Or maybe other painful circumstances overwhelmed her at that time. In any case, imagine growing up and hearing over and over, "Hey, Pain! What's up?" Or introducing yourself, "Hi, everyone. I'm Pain." No doubt the boy had some significant obstacles to overcome before he developed into a man of strong faith! Jabez's legacy has encouraged millions whose lives started in pain, teaching them that they can overcome their circumstances and become a person whom God calls "honorable."

Indeed, Jabez was known to be "more honorable than his brothers." The word honorable as used here means "respected." Jabez lived in such a way-with maturity, wisdom, and a sense of honor-that he stood out from the crowd. He was admired for all the right reasons. And so he serves as a worthy example for us to follow even today.

We also learn from this passage that Jabez "called on the God of Israel." The word call here means "to cry out for help." The prayer of Jabez was not an off-the-cuff inquiry ("Oh, Lord, by the way ..."); his was a heartfelt, passionate plea. Given what we're told about Jabez in the Bible, I think we can infer that this prayer represented an overriding theme in his life-a constant, deep desire.

A Passion So Great ...

Have you ever wanted anything that badly? For a moment, try to imagine a desire so intense that it drives everything else from your consciousness. Then imagine asking God, day after day with fervent intensity, to fulfill in your life four very specific yet seemingly audacious requests.

Imagine that you long for God's blessing-spiritual or material, or both-abundantly poured out, according to His eternal riches and generous wisdom.

And then, as He pours out His blessing on your life, imagine aspiring to take new territory-not primarily for yourself, but for Him and His purposes.

And as your borders expand and the responsibility God entrusts to you grows to the point that it becomes overwhelming, picture yourself crying out desperately for His hand of power to enable you to steward the responsibility well.

Now consider that under these conditions you might become so sensitive to sin's destructive effect that you plead with God, Keep me from evil! so that you might pursue His best for your life without hindrance.

If you can begin to grasp this passion, this mind-set, this wondrous habit of faith-filled prayer, then you've already started to expand your borders into the next stage of God's adventure for you.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from BEYOND JABEZ by Bruce Wilkinson Brian Smith Copyright © 2005 by Exponential, Inc.. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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