21 Days of Pursuit

21 More Days

This message was written by Lydia Tate.

Thank you Lydia for all your support and encouragement, you are a blessing to me in so many ways. - David


“Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the King of creation!
O my soul, praise Him, for He is thy health and salvation!”
-
Jo­ach­im Ne­an­der 1680, Lobe den Herren, den mächtigen König der Ehre (Trans. Catherine Winkworth)

These past three weeks have been full of His help. In so many ways have we seen the Lord again and again answer us when we call on Him. For our car, our health, our home, all our day-to-day needs, even protection from uncertain situations. God alone deserves the praise for the things we have witnessed.

Up and Down
As David went in to work this past Tuesday, things were up in the air. Many questions arose: What would the Board say at the meeting? Has enough money come in? What next?

When I called in to check on him Tuesday evening before the meeting, situations had been up and down. This whole three weeks, that’s been the character of his days - up and down - a virtual roller coaster of situations and emotions. We can honestly say that the Lord has done all of the work these three weeks - and He has seen to it that He alone can receive the glory.

David saw an entire week away from the office simply due to his health and our car. Amid our frustration, we see that God alone can receive the glory when David is laid up!

SONlight Board Meeting

And what is the result of the 21 Days of Pursuit?
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Waiting for the Lord - Day 21

But those who wait for the LORD’s help find renewed strength;
they rise up as if they had eagles’ wings,
they run without getting weary,
they walk without getting tired.
- Isaiah 40:31 (NET)

So, I’m waiting for the Lord.

For 21 days I have been really trying to raise financial support for SONlight. I have had a few people say they will start supporting SONlight, and a few increase their giving to SONlight, and a few generous one-time donations.

Part of me is excited and thrilled to be doing what I love, and to be growing in passion for what I am doing, but the other part of me is still a bit nervous. I know that I am to be obedient in pursuing what the Lord has called me to, and I know that He is capable of big things. But ultimately things are out of my hands, the battle is God’s.

So, I am trying to be obedient, and I am waiting.

Eagle’s Wings
Praise the Lord for His word. When I am dejected and discouraged, he brings a verse to my heart and mind, and I see something that I have not seen before.

“Those who wait for the Lord’s help find renewed strength” - This was always the part of the verse that I remembered as the key point. The rising up, running, and walking, were just the outcomes of the “renewed strength”.

But, today for the first time, I got something I had not gotten before. The wings are the key... or rather an Eagle’s wings.

An eagle has powerful wings, and in Israel the large Golden Eagle has a wingspan of up to 8 feet.
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But I believe this verse is not alluding to the renewed strength in the power of these wings...
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Singing in the Rain - Day 20

It’s raining outside, but I hear a bird singing.

It’s a funny thing really. It has been a dreary and wet day, and the rain is coming down constantly, but there is a bird outside just chirping and singing away like it is a beautiful spring day.

If it can be raining outside, and miserable, and yet a bird without a roof or walls, or any food in the pantry can be singing and praising the Lord in her own way, how much more should we be singing and praising the Lord no matter what might be happening around us.

So do not be afraid; you are more valuable than many sparrows.
- Matthew 10:31 (NET)


When it Rains...
I just got a phone call from my wife. She had taken our youngest, Josiah (21 months), to the doctor, and she was driving the family minivan home. She explained that the minivan started bucking and running rough, and that the check engine light started blinking...
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Men's Retreat - Days 16-19

No updates for the last few days, because amongst other things I was out of town on a men’s retreat with BridgePoint Bible Church. Now, this is not my home church, but my grandparents, Harold and Pauline Tate, have attended the church for many years, and recently my parents, Hank and Jeannie Tate, have started to attend as well.

So at this men’s retreat there were three generation of Tate men, and we enjoyed a good time of fellowship, worship, and study through the life of Elijah.

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We started in 1 Kings 17, and enjoyed learning through the life of Elijah as he served the Lord in faith and obedience.

There was also some free time, and as men, many of us participated in manly activities like hiking, fishing, mountain biking, and skeet/target shooting.

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This is me shooting the shotgun I got for my birthday last year. I had to leave early, but before I left I was in 2nd place having hit 7 out of 10 clay pigeons. (Not bad for the first time shooting it, and the first time skeet shooting in over 10 years.)
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She Considers a Field - Day 15

My wife has always been fond of Proverbs 31:10-31. She reads it regularly, has most of it memorized, and really tries to apply the precepts of this example of an “ideal wife” in her own life. There have been many times where she has dwelt on a particular portion of this passage.

Lately she has been considering verse 16, and she wanted to get my opinion on how best to apply it in her life. I told her that I would study the passage and pass along what insights I am able, and I decided to share my thoughts here as well.

Proverbs 31
Lets look at the context of this verse, before we consider the meaning and application of a specific portion of it.

Proverbs 31, as we see in verse 31 was written by King Lemuel. Some attribute only the first 9 verses to King Lemuel, and say that 11-31 were written by Solomon, or Lemuel’s mother, or some unknown writer. Now this is the only reference we have to King Lemuel, and we are not exactly sure who he was, although some seem certain that he was a king of the North Arabian nation of Massa. Jewish legend even likes to identify Lemuel as Solomon, and thus his mother as Bathsheba.

Regardless of the true identity of the author of Proverbs 31:11-31 we can rest assured that this passage is important, true, inspired, and worthy of being included in the Bible...
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Ups and Downs - Day 13/14

So, if you were paying really close attention you have noticed that I had an update a couple of days ago that had a prayer request for me not getting sick like last week. And then there was no update yesterday.

Well, it seems that the answer to that prayer request was yes and no.

I did not get as sick as I was last week, but I did spend all of Monday night and all day Tuesday on the couch unable to think clearly, and quiet sick. I was so mentally foggy, that I did terribly when my wife and I took a break on Monday to play a few rounds of one of my favorite board games, Quoridor:
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She beat me 4 or 5 times in a row, which is more times than I have ever lost that game before, in total. So I was sick and really out of it...
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Weekend - Day 12

So this past weekend was not one of any significance. I played the good husband and worked on some household tasks, and finished some projects. I played the good father and played catch with my oldest son for the very first time (he is starting his first season of Little League Baseball), and we had a good time.

I did manage to get the application finished to Wilcrest Baptist Church, so be praying that it is received well. It was a large application, and it took more time than I anticipated. Hopefully the answers I have written will allow me to be more prepared for other church applications...
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Halfway There - Day 11

Another day has passed in my 21 day pursuit of financial support for SONlight. In a sense this has been a hard journey, but it has also been a blessed one as well.

I have had trouble setting up as many meetings as I would like, and staying on top of correspondence with a growing list of people is a large and difficult task. It is very intimidating looking at my daily to do list, and it is big chore to stay on top of everything.

I do have a meeting set up for Monday at 11:45, so be praying that it goes well, but unfortunately due to some urgent things that need to be address with my car and with my wife’s car, I will need to take a day off to work on them. Pray that I can fix them up in one day with success, and without delay or trouble.

Church Applications
I finished an application to Cypress Bible Church yesterday, my Office Supervisor up at SONlight goes to this church, and she was able to connect me to the right people to make that application. Pray that the application is well received, and that SONlight can get another church supporting us...
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Too Many Men - Day 10

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Ever just have one of those days? Where it seems that no matter how hard you are trying to move forward it seems that your stuck?

Yesterday I had one of those days. It felt like no matter how hard I tried to stomp on the gas to get unstuck, the more my wheels just spun in the mud. I was working and trying hard, but it was not until I slowed down and refocused that things started t settle down.

See, I got stuck working on our contact management software trying to get errors sorted out so I could print off mailing labels for the monthly newsletter. I am really excited about the monthly newsletter for March, and I was doing my very best to get all of the errors sorted out. But when it came down to it, it was not until I had gone through the 16 pages of corrections for a third time that I was finally able to finish.

It took just about my entire work day, but I did finish. It was hard though, because I desperately wanted to get back to working on networking with people to try and set up meeting for talking about SONlight, but it just did not happen. But right towards the end of the time that I was working, my wife called to check on me and prayed with me over the phone.

It was during that prayer that I think I gained a bit of insight into why the Lord had taken me through a day where I was not able to make any great headway in my pursuit of support for SONlight.

You Have Too Many Men
I got the impression yesterday that the Lord brought me through this week the way that he did for the same reasons that he worked in Judges 7.

When God raised up Gideon to go to battle against the Midianites, Gideon took all 32,000 of his men to move into position as they prepared to go to battle. But God said to Gideon “You have too many men for me to hand Midian over to you. Israel might brag, ‘Our own strength has delivered us.’...”
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Excited in the Lord - Day 9

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Today was a pretty exciting day. Not for any one particular reason, but for just a lot of small reasons.

I was finally feeling better after two days of being sick, and all through the day I continued to feel better and better.

I had a great meeting this morning with an old family friend and I was encouraged by the way the meeting went, and by his responses to our conversation about SONlight. It also appears that I may have another door opened for another church and to share at a prayer meeting.

I also really enjoyed putting the March newsletter together, and I am praying and hoping that as people get it they would prayerfully consider how to help me meet my goals in raising support for SONlight. I am asking for three different ways for people to help, and I am excited to see what kind of responses we will get...
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Sick and Tired - Day 7/8

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Usually when someone says they are “sick and tired” it is because they are trying to express their frustration with a situation. Something like, “I’m sick and tired of the traffic in Houston.”

However, for me the last two days I have literally been sick and tired. All day Monday I was incapable of doing anything. I spent the entire day with a mild fever, and a wicked nasty cold or something. I started to feel a bit better last night, but then today I was again sick.

I had some more energy this afternoon, so I was able to finish working on a short video of the recognition of Harold and Pauline Tate at the 2010 BridgePoint Bible Church missions banquet.

The video is 6 minutes long and can be viewed here.
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Please take a moment to watch it, and if you would like, leave a comment for Harold and Pauline in appreciation of their many faithful years of service.
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Faithful to Follow - Day 6

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Today was the last day of the 2010 BridgePoint Bible Church, and I had the opportunity to share with the Faithful to Follow Sunday school class at BridgePoint. It was a nice time, and I was able to speak for about 25 minutes about SONlight and share some of the exciting numbers about the ways that Lord is using SONlight.
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I shared many of the same exciting numbers about our broadcasts, that I shared in yesterday’s entry. There were probably about 30 members of the class, and it was exciting to share with them information that they had never heard about SONLight, or about my calling to full-time ministry at SONlight. We had some good one on one conversations before and afterwards, and I think that I was able to get one more financial supporter.
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Unexpected Blessings - Day 5

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Today my wife, Lydia, and I went to a couple of events at BridgePoint Bible Church as they are nearing the end of their missions conference. I went to a men’s breakfast and was able to share for a few minutes about SONlight and how the Lord brought me to work here. And I also had some good conversations with several people before and after the breakfast.

While I was at the breakfast, Lydia went to the “Prudent Princess” fashion show and clothing swap. This was an event that the ladies of BridgePoint put together to spotlight the options available for thrifty shopping at resale shops, and then there was a huge clothing swap. All of the ladies brought in clothes that did not want anymore, and the ladies of BridgePoint turned the entire concourse into a large clothing shop.

So Lydia was unexpectedly blessed as she came home with 7 bags of clothes. P1010887
This was a huge blessing, because she has lost quite a bit of weight over the last many months, and we have not been able to afford to replace her wardrobe that was several sizes too big. So many of the BridgePoint ladies came alongside of Lydia and helped her find just about every single item that was in here size, and blessed her so much that she was moved to tears.

And then to top that off they took up a love offering for us and each of the other missionaries. It was a wonderful morning, and particularly so because we had seriously debated having Lydia stay home with the boys because the two youngest ones had runny noses. But we went, and were both so thankful that Lydia was able to go.

Surprising Numbers
Tonight as I was preparing for speaking to a sunday school class at BridgePoint, I started to put together some of SONlight’s numbers in a new way.

I have found that SONlight is really in avery unique position. As far I have found, we have a larger network of radio stations playing our evangelism spots than any similar ministry, and we have the largest network of secular stations by far.

Just considering the 6o second stations, and conservatively assuming that our spots are only played once a day on our approximate 1600 stations, then every month, 800 hours of SONlight evangelism spots are played, and 575,000 spots are played annually. And that does not count the over 10,000 to 30,000 internet radio stations.

All of the air time for these radio messages is donated by the participating radio stations, and for those stations in the US market, the estimated fair value of similar air-time is approximately $42 for each “spot.”

So assuming that each station only plays one message per day, each year, SONlight gets the equivalent value of $24,192,000 in radio air time.

Each of those 575,000 spots has a quick gospel presentation and in total they reach a potential audience of one billion people per month, but our annual budget is hundred of thousands dollars less than other similar ministries.

As some have put it it, SONlight is a great bang for a buck.
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Digging Ditches - Day 4

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Today was another big day as I work towards meeting my goals in contacting people by email, following up on the phone, and setting up face to face meetings as I work towards raising additional support for SONlight.

I have had some good phone calls so far, and have a few meeting set up for next week, and I had a very interesting lunch meeting today that might result in some interesting developments later on down the road. Stay tuned for some for those possible developments in the future.

Tomorrow I will be at BridgePoint Bible Church again for a men’s brunch, and I am hoping and praying that I will have the opportunity to make good contact with some men and talk about SONlight. And possibly get a few names and contacts to contact as I fund raise.

2 Kings 3
In part of my study today I read through a really interesting passage today that spoke to me in my quest through this fund raising period.

First, a brief explanation of the events leading up to this passage. Jehoram, the son of Ahab and Jezebel, had become king, and the king of Moab decided that since Ahab had died, he didn’t really feel continuing his tribute payments. So he stopped. And Jehoram was not really pleased with this rebellion so he went to the king of Judah, Jehoshphat, and convinced him to go fight against Moab.

Jehoshphat agreed, and so they went to attack Moab, but as Jehoshphat was experienced in war, they opted to attack Moab in a surprising way by coming through the desert of Edom. So these two kings, and their armies, march through Edom towards Moab. The King of Edom joins their party and verse 9 tells us that “They wandered around on the road for seven days and finally ran out of water for the men and animals they had with them.”

So in their thirst and despair, Jehoshphat decides to consult a prophet of God about their plight. So they learn that Elisha the prophet is nearby, so they go down to meet him...
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Getting SONlight in the Sunlight - Day 3

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Today I attended the Keenager & Missionary Fellowship Luncheon at BridgePoint Bible Church as part of their missions week. (I will be at other events there on Saturday morning, Sunday morning, and Sunday evening.)

It was an enjoyable time of fellowship and sharing, and each of the missionaries and associated ministries was able to share about their ministry and what has happened in their lives and family over the past year. I got to hear a lot of fantastic accounts from missionaries from around the world: Scott Ulrich, Robin Ulrich, and Leah were there and shared about their respective ministries.

I shared about what the Lord has been doing at SONlight over the last year. The ways in which God brought me to SONlight, and in turn a various few of the improvements that I have been making and the ways in which SONlight has grown. I also talked about my 21 day pursuit of financial support and asked for their prayers, and support in that.

Then during the fellowship I had some great conversations with a number of people about SONlight, and got to share one on one with quite a few people. One of the ones I talked to was Dan Walsh, and he came up with the snappy title of today’s post: Getting SONlight in the Sunlight.

Spreading Awareness of the Scope of SONlight
It is a pretty simple statement, but it holds quite a bit of truth. One of the things that I am trying to do, is to get people aware of not only SONlight, but of the reach and impact of SONlight. A lot of people may not be aware of SONlight as a ministry, but even those who are, and often those who have given in the past or have been involved as a volunteer in the past, are not aware of the scope of SONlight in its present role.

As best as I can tell, SONlight reaches more secular radio stations with evangelism messages than any other ministry, and it does so with a budget that is grossly under similar types of ministries. All of our radio messages are played for free on over 1600 radio stations. Which works out to a minimum of 500 hours of free radio time every month to a potential audience of 1 billion people...
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A Big Task - Day 2

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It is probably clear to anyone that it is a huge task to raise the support that SONlight needs within the short span of 21 days. I am certainly burdened by the size of the task at hand, but I have to keep reminding myself that it is not my job to bring in this income for SONlight, it is the Lord’s. SONlight is and has always been the Lord’s ministry, and we are only here to serve Him.

So as I look at the monumental task of raising support, I am reminded of my recent read through 1 Kings 18 and the account of Elijah and the prophets of Baal on Mt. Carmel. It may not be immediately obvious, but bear with me on this parallel illustration.

Competition on Mt. Carmel - 1 Kings 18:20-46
Of course most people who spent anytime in Sunday School as child are familiar with this account of the confrontation between these pagan prophets and Elijah, the prophet of God. We first see Elijah set out the ground rules for this “competition”. The 450 prophets will get to choose a bull, prepare it, place it on the wood on their alter, and then pray for fire from Baal...
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21 Days of Pursuit - Day 1

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Tonight was the second SONlight board meeting since I became Executive Director. The last meeting and tonight’s meeting were very important for the future of SONlight, as we are now going month by month to determine how best to use the limited financial resources we have.

Since May of last year, I have been receiving my salary from a large endowment SONlight received several years ago. That endowment filled in the gaps in the SONlight budget for a number of years, and was a great blessing each year. But when I came to SONlight full-time, it was because it was evident that for SONlight to continue, big changes and updates to the ministry were necessary...
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