Sunday, April 13, 2014

Humility or Humiliation

Do you ever get the sense the United States of America is on the brink … that we are approaching a tipping point? Do you discern that we stand at the edge of ominous cliffs; debt cliffs, family cliffs, moral cliffs, spiritual and emotional cliffs? Does anyone think that Organized Religion or Disorganized Politics can save the day? Dare we Americans not think we are invincible in our own strength lest the sun set on the land of the free and home of the brave. Indeed, every empire, dynasty and superpower before us ended up on the ash heap of history. Analysis reveals most superpowers lasted 200-250 years before their foundations crumbled and the disintegration came from within. If you don’t believe me ask a Hittite, consult a Babylonian or an Assyrian, locate a Mede/Persian or an Inca, Mayan or Aztec. Unless we learn the lessons of history we are doomed to repeat them. In other words, our choice is HUMILITY OR HUMILIATION.

The solution is to return to our foundations. William Penn warned, “If we will not be governed by God then we must be governed by tyrants.” Benjamin Franklin said, “I have lived a long time and have observed that God governs in the affairs of men. Unless the Lord builds the house they labor in vain who build it. Unless we rely on His aid in this political house, we will be no different than the builders of Babel.” In other words our choice is HUMILITY OR HUMILIATION. Wasn’t this illustrated in King Nebuchadnezzar, King Belshazzar and Haman? 2 Chronicles 7:14 announces, “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, will forgive their sin, and heal their land.” James 4:6b says “God is opposed to the proud but gives grace to the humble.” In other words, it is HUMILITY OR HUMILIATION.

At the core our Foundation is the person of Jesus Christ. I find myself drawn more than ever to the unique message, death, resurrection and person of Jesus. There is something about Him that transcends religious, political and relational barriers. He is the clue and climax of history and in Him I feel a surge of hope. He had no motorcades, no armies, no parades, no weapons or secret service. His tools were a towel, a cross, an empty tomb, a few scars and a handful of insignificant ragamuffins who became the most unstoppable force in human history. In time people everywhere said, “There is another King. His name is Jesus!”

Surely this can happen again. Isn’t God’s grace still available? If there was a first Great Awakening can’t there be a second? If God could reach the brutal Ninevites … can’t He do the same thing today? If a Nebuchadnezzar was reached … can’t our leaders be reached today? The choice is HUMILITY OR HUMILIATION.

Speaking Opportunities
April 1    Jefferson Parish Luncheon
April 4    Grace Adventures Celebration
April 17  Oilfield Fellowship
April 22  30-minute television program
April 22  Profile of Champions Outreach
April 26  WW2 Museum
May 4     Countryside Fellowship in Savage, MD

Grace Adventures 3rd Anniversary Celebration
Throughout the fall I watched person after person became downcast in the aftermath of the government shut down and polarization. Many people of Faith were discouraged at the very time I was seeing God show up daily in Caesar’s household. At our gathering this month, I had a Louisiana State Senator and two Representatives, an attorney, a former New Orleans Saints player and a pastor speak of their faith while illustrating how a new breed of courageous leaders are being raised up to serve with courage and integrity. It was a cherished evening. One surprise was a formal House of Representatives Resolution NO. 58 commending GRACE ADVENTURES “spiritual support provided to the legislators through Michael Sprague’s ministry as chaplain of the Capitol Commission.” It was signed and sealed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives.
3rd Anniversary Celebration In Pictures
Michael and Donna


Torrance Small, Former NFL Player
Rep. John Schroeder

Rep. Tim Burns

Sen. A. G. Crowe
Pastors Bailey, Young and Sprague
Prayer for Elected Leaders

 
Betting the Farm on God,


Michael


Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Capitol Commission Partnership





I am excited to announce, while remaining President of my non-profit 501(c)(3) Grace Adventures, I have chosen to affiliate and partner with the Capitol Commission as their chaplain to the State Capitol in Baton Rouge. The motto of the Capitol Commission is “Reaching Capitol Communities for Christ.” The mandate is not to reform society through political influence or legislation, but to be a vehicle of God in transforming the hearts and minds of elected officials with the Good News of Jesus Christ. This national organization has chaplains in about half of the fifty states and is well on its way to all fifty. I will serve as their state leader for Louisiana.

I share a kindred spirit with the chaplains of the Capitol Commission to be an organization without political motives. We are here to change hearts. We work one-on-one and in small groups with legislators, lobbyists and staff. We build trust, relationships and pray with leaders who carry huge loads and juggle lots of pressure. What a mission field among the folks in the Capitol Community. May statesman like Daniel, Joseph, Nehemiah, Esther and Debra be once again raised up for such a time as this. You can check out the Capitol Commission website at www.capitolcom.org. The new Louisiana page will up soon.

Anne Graham Lotz
“Capitol Commission shares with government leaders and legislators of every political persuasion the love of God as proclaimed through the gospel of Jesus Christ, challenging them to live a transformed life personally and professionally that is founded upon biblical truth. I commend this strategic and vital ministry to you.”
- Anne Graham Lotz, president of AnGeL Ministries

 
“Believing the Gospel is non-partisan, and needed by all, Capitol Commission
Dr. Erwin Lutzer
has the vision of sharing the Good News with all who are in government, no matter their political affiliation. Great idea! And Biblical!”
  –Dr. Erwin W. Lutzer, Senior Pastor of the Moody Church, Chicago

Prayer for Leaders and Our Ministry 
One of my colleagues was talking with a Christian man who was ranting and raving about the political condition of our nation. He took a breath and asked the man a quick question, “How about praying for the salvation of these people?” The man stopped, thought, and then replied with a simple and blunt, “NO!”  Has it come to this? Does mudslinging, scandalizing, distortions and bitterness have to rule the day? Isn’t an honest discussion in the public square superior? Shouldn’t our spiritual beliefs overshadow and direct our political beliefs? 1 Timothy 2:1-4 commands us to pray for our leaders. Would you pray for Donna and me as well?


1.   Pray for the 2014 Louisiana Legislative Session that kicks off March 10th and runs through June 2nd. I am committed to work at the Capitol three days a week during the next three months and still keep everything else going. Pray for the Legislators, Lobbyists and Staff Bible studies as they are launched.
2.   Praise for the New Orleans Leaders Forum. One of the men in this group created a major movie that will appear in your neighborhood theatre next month entitled, “God’s Not Dead.” Check it out!
3.   Pray for our latest endeavors … Creating a Northshore Leaders Forum … Hosting a 13-week TV series on apologetics, and speaking one of the weeks.
4.   Pray for Donna and continued knee issues.
5.   Praise for people’s lives being transformed. Pray for the seven people sharing a slice of their story on April 4 at our 3rd Anniversary Event. All are welcome.





Grace Adventures
 3rd Anniversary Celebration
 and Thanksgiving
 of God’s Good Works
Join Michael and Donna on Friday, April 4th at 7:00pm as Michael gives you a glimpse of what he sees weekly.  Joining him will be several Louisiana elected leaders, a former New Orleans Saints player, and business leaders who will share how their lives and leadership have been impacted by their faith.  Michael will speak about the hope of our country and where Grace Adventures is headed in the future. This event is being held at the ROC on the First Baptist Church Covington Campus, 16333 Louisiana Hwy. 1085 in Covington. Please come celebrate with us. Invite your friends. This is NOT a fundraiser or political event. Please RSVP at MDSprague00@bellsouth.net.

Betting the Farm on God,
Michael

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Join us for the Rescheduled Grace Adventures 3rd Anniversary Celebration


 
When:
7:00PM
Friday, April 4th, 2014 

Where:
The ROC
(Bright colorful building on
First Baptist Church Campus)
16333 Louisiana Hwy. 1085
Covington

Please join Michael and Donna Sprague for an evening of thanksgiving and celebration of God's good works in our community and state. 

So few people ever hear anything good happening in Caesar's household. It seems like nothing ... or at least nothing good is happening in government or among leaders. Many are deeply troubled about our country and its future. Indeed, one would have to be blind to not see the Storm Clouds pressing in.

Grace Adventures, my nonprofit, has given me a different vantage point and I would like you to get a glimpse of what I see weekly.  The problems in business and government are real but God is always at work.

I would like to invite you to join me on Friday, April 4th at 7pm for a little over an hour. I have asked some Louisiana elected leaders, business leaders, and a former New Orleans Saints player to share how their lives and leadership have been impacted by their faith.  I will share a little how there is hope for our country and where Grace Adventures is headed in the future.  I am so thankful to be serving in this community and this state and want to share this with you.

Please invite guests. Dessert social following the celebration. 

PLEASE RSVP

to 985-502-4265 or

MDSprague00@bellsouth.net

This is NOT a fundraiser or political event.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

“Follow Me” ~ Jesus




I just returned from my now annual trek to Washington, DC for the National Prayer Breakfast with the Louisiana delegation. The Thursday morning breakfast included  all the visible amenities including dignitaries like President Obama, First Lady Michelle, Vice-President Biden, the Presidents of Albania and Haiti, Senators and Congressmen, Religious and Political Leaders from 130 countries, Bethany Hamilton (evangelical surfer who lost an arm to a shark) and gospel singers Yolanda Adams and Steve Green. There was no talk of Health Care, Immigration, or Elections. A humble dependence upon God was sensed. Partisanship, Polarization and Division were set aside for 90 minutes.

“Let us not seek the Republican answer, or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.” ~ John F. Kennedy

What intrigues and motivates me about the three-day event is not the breakfast but the unmistakable message in conversations behind the scenes in small groups and one-on-one which are invisible to C-SPAN. Our country is in trouble. Everyone senses this. Perhaps we are as divided a nation as any time dating back to the Civil War. Does anyone think that Organized Religion or Disorganized Politics can save the day? Every four years our best candidates debate and share the best solutions they can devise. We invest significant money and technology into solutions. Despite these efforts we have more crime, brokenness and problems. Perhaps the root problem in America and the World is deeper. Perhaps it is a Spiritual and Heart issue?

The unmistakable solution that was offered last week was an invitation to follow Jesus. Knowing Jesus, loving Jesus, following Jesus, depending upon His grace, trusting His guidance, and dying with Him in our everyday lives is the greatest opportunity ever extended to a human being. It wasn’t Christianity that was lifted up. It wasn’t Religion lifted up. It wasn’t Republicanism lifted up or a Democratic Brand. It wasn’t Catholicism that was lifted up or Baptist, Methodist or Pentecostalism. It was Jesus! Jesus wasn’t a Christian and He never asked someone to become a Christian. He said, “Follow Me.” There is a power in this unique gospel, unique person and unique gift that changes lives and in time can turn the world upside down. There is something about Jesus that transcends religious and political barriers. Samaritans who were regarded as heretics and Romans who were thought of as barbarians found themselves around Jesus saying, “I want to follow that man!” Isn’t this the need today for our country and world?

One of the leaders told me a personal haunting story as to our world’s predicament. He was in a South American country and the Ranking National Religious Leaders infighting was front page news. This leader was begged to meet with the Religious Leaders. When he arrived there were five older Religious Leaders present and 25 younger emerging leaders. He started by asking, “Do you have any questions for me?” One of the younger men asked, “Why don’t young people go to church anymore?” He said, “You will probably throw me out of here. They don’t like you and after three days in your country neither do I.” He told them that a new commandment had been given to love one another, that all men will know you are my disciples by the love you have for one another, that oneness will demonstrate to the world that God sent the Son. He said that young people are sick of political and religious infighting and though they don’t understand it all theologically…young people are attracted to unconditional love and people who die to themselves. He talked about Jesus and His words, “Follow me.” The older leaders weren’t moved but the younger leaders said, “This is the most exciting thing we have ever heard. We have never heard it before. Where can we get this material?” The answer my friend spoke, “Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.”

“He’s wild, you know. Not like a tame lion.” ~C.S. Lewis on Aslan, the Christ-figure in The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe

Revitalization in our country starts with me and you. Will we re-hear the call of Jesus, “Follow me”? I’m devoting 2014 to sink my teeth into Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. I’m going to pray and focus on Relationships. I want friends near and far away to meet Jesus. Grace Adventures is committed to inspiring a network of leaders who are committed to friendship with Jesus and each other.

Praise and Prayer
Praise for personal time last week with three Senators and four Congressmen. We had great conversations about spiritual things.

  • The Bible studies at the State Capitol in Baton Rouge with Representatives and Lobbyists start on March 13th. The session runs from March 10-June 2. Pray for open doors.
  • Pray for key speaking opportunities this month with the New Orleans Leader Forum and the Christian Legal Society.
  • Pray for the rescheduled (due to ice) Third Year Grace Adventures Anniversary Celebration on April 4th. All are welcome to attend. Speakers include a State Senator, two State Representatives, several businessmen, a former New Orleans Saints player and Michael Sprague. Pray God is glorified and people discover there is hope for America.
  • Pray for Donna. Last year’s knee surgery has not repaired the problem and she is going in for another MRI.

Betting the Farm on God,
Michael

Friday, January 24, 2014

POSTPONEMENT OF 3rd ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION


After getting some feedback from Emergency Management in St. Tammany Parish, due to predicted bad weather, I am postponing the 3rd Anniversary Grace Adventures Event tonight at 7pm. Please help me get the word out. This event will be rescheduled. Be safe everyone.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Merry Christmas from our Family to Yours!

Merry Christmas from Michael and Donna


Our new calling is almost three years old now. GRACE ADVENTURES sprouted with a dedication to reach Political, Business and Spiritual leaders for Jesus, one leader at a time. This ministry is like a tiny, tiny, tiny mustard seed that gets planted in the ground. No one says, “Amen” to a mustard seed. Nobody says, “Yeah, slow organic growth.” So many want the Kingdom style to be swift, forced, visible, and powerful, but Jesus says go with the mustard seed approach, emphasizing slow, steady, stealthy, healthy planting, watering and cultivating. In time the Kingdom bursts forth with fruit 30, 60 or 100 fold. The grand vision is to serve behind the scenes to reach and train up leaders so that these Christ-followers from the political, business and spiritual arenas become fruitful in the community.

The Kingdom is bursting forth in 2013: 

A new Bible study started at the State Capitol for members of the House of Representatives.  Imagine some of the most influential leaders discussing how the Word of God relates to life and work.

Many new friendships among Legislators, government leaders, lobbyists, staffers, political operatives, journalists and security staff.

Michael with Gov. Jindal
A new study was just approved at the State Capitol for year-round staffers in the House, Senate, and Jindal Administration.

A study for Lobbyists. Yes, Lobbyists.

A lawyer who, last year put faith in Jesus, is now teaching the Bible and preparing for seminary.

A business man is sharing his faith hundreds of times and leading a seeker investigative study.

Outreach event where over 200 people registered a faith decision for Christ.
Leadership St. Tammany
Business leaders received training in apologetics and how to share the good news.

Military leaders encouraged, invested in and then sent out to impact their world.

Open doors to share the Gospel with atheists, agnostics, seekers, skeptics, irreligious and religious. The mission field is white unto harvest.

New one-on-one appointments with leaders all over the state. What a spiritual feast. Only God!

Numbers of divine appointments with national leaders in Washington: with the Senate, House, Christian Embassy, The Fellowship and Prison Fellowship.

Just this week, a businessman attending his first Bible study ever commented that he wanted to learn “anything and everything” he could from the Bible.
 

Abraham Lincoln famously said, “My concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God’s side.”


Our Message
Our message simply put is JESUS. Our interest is not for people to love Christianity but to love JESUS. Our focus is not so much to get people to heaven but get people to a personal relationship with God and then heaven gets thrown in. We cannot fix anybody, but we can bring people to the real JESUS and allow Him to do what we could never do – transform a human life. We desperately want to learn from Richard Halverson, former Chaplain of the United Stated Senate, “In the beginning the church was a fellowship of men and women centering on the living Christ. Then the church moved to Greece, where it became a philosophy. Then it moved to Rome, where it became an institution. Next, it moved to Europe, where it became a culture. And, finally, it moved to America, where it became an enterprise.” GRACE ADVENTURES exists to introduce leaders to Jesus Christ and disciple them so that they may effectually impact their sphere of influence for the glory of God.

Community Speaking Opportunities in 2013
Louisiana Legislative Retreat
Building Dedication
Veteran’s Hospital Staff
 
Praying at LA House of Representatives

LA House of Representatives
New Orleans Leadership Forum
Leadership St. Tammany
LA Dental Association
Officers’ Christian Fellowship
Urban Impact
Touch Global
Christian Legal Society
Channel 10, Cable Television
Pulpit Supply
Men’s Retreats
National Day of Prayer
Leadership Revisited
Colorado Disaster
 
North Carolina Adventures

North Carolina Adventure
Commissioning Address
 
Forcey Missions Conference

Missions Conference
Christian school

Financial Update
I have not mentioned finances since last December.  For a man who has been called “pathetic” at fundraising, God gave us enough to get started. The core of the ministry has been supported by people making monthly commitments to GRACE ADVENTURES, and this has been supplemented by one-time gifts. I am grateful. As a faith-based ministry, I am responsible to raise all of my monthly support.

Please pray for:
New monthly commitments to join the team.
End-of-the-year special gifts for projects.

End of the year project:
No emotional appeals. No fundraising tactics. If you are looking for a Kingdom place to invest, if our work registers in deep ways, c’mon and jump in and move Grace Adventures forward. Last year’s end-of-the year giving allowed our lean ministry budget to do additional outreach and free up Donna somewhat with some strategic bookkeeper help. Thank you.

Thank you
Donna and I would not be able to strategically focus this way without friends who partner with us in prayer, encouragement and support. We are most grateful. YOU play a huge role in every business person who finds faith … every lonely leader who is encouraged … every person who is reminded not to quit … every seed sown … every political leader who discovers Jesus is worth following … every revitalized soul who discovers their purpose. Paul put it this way in Philippians 4:17, “Not that I seek the gift itself, but I seek for the profit which increases to your account.”

2013 Special Memories

Spent Mother's Day with Jonathan and Patricia














Enjoyed a Baseball Game while on Vacation






 

Patricia received her Master's Degree










 
 
 
 
Coach Joe Gibbs spoke at a Men's Event in Mandeville







 
Donna ran into Gold Medalist Gabby Douglas after the National Prayer Breakfast.
















Betting the Farm on God,

Michael