How to survive when one of “those” calls come in

mason's wreck

Just in case you were wondering… they survived. And we Rejoice!

It was a call in the wee hours of the morning that rustled my husband and I up from our sleep today. I watched him go into full rescue mode as he has one thousand times over the past 20 or so years of emergency services. (I’m not real sure of that time frame or the number of calls) It’s mostly a blur. He goes into rescue mode and I cry out to God for David and his comrades and for the people in distress. As the call went out my first thought was, it’s likely nobody I even know, but I’ll pray anyway. As it turns out it was somebody I knew, a cute little Sunday School boy from ages past… or just a few short years. It was a miracle of all miracles that he was okay (ish) He was still a long way from okay, and he sure could use your prayers.

As a Momma I want to shield every kid I know, my own and everyone else’s from harm, but it’s just not possible. We live in a fallen world where sorrows happen and no one is immune. The good, the bad and the ugly are in the same boat when it comes to heartache. So how do we get through? There’s one major key and several doors to getting through the hard times.

  1. Know God is Creator and Controller of All

1 Peter 4:19 ~ Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.

Any verse that is 4:19 is significant in my life because my husband’s emergency service unit number is 419. So those verses capture my attention. This morning’s was poignant and timely. For whatever reason, my friend’s accident was according to the will of God. I don’t have to like it, but I have to understand that the Creator of all the universe has our little piece of the world in His control.

  1. Know that the door to understanding is personally knowing the Creator

My friend’s family are Christians, meaning they personally have a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. It doesn’t make days like today easy but it grants them peace in knowing that God takes care of all their needs in the hour they need it.

Another 419 verse that I have clung to so often is Philippians 4:19 ~  But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. And I’m sure my friends are clinging to that today.

I pray you have that peace too! If not, shoot me a message, I would love to show you where to find it.

Why I have no desire to grow up

chick grownup

As a youth leader there has to be at least a level of immaturity about you, or so I believe. You’re entitled to your own opinion if you disagree, but just so you know, I just rolled my eyes at you. I   highly doubt that anyone in my teen class is any more excited to get to Wednesday night class than I am, unless it’s one of the three other teen leaders who would also roll their eyes at you if you told them to grow up. It’s a fun time. We love the youth of Victory Baptist Church and try our very best to teach relative, culturally aware lessons to the teens that will help them in their growth as a Christian and leave them with bible knowledge, not just a feel good lesson.

Whenever possible I treat them as equals. Let’s face reality… if you have a room full of teens there is at some point the necessity of saying “If you two don’t knock it off I’m sending you up stairs.” I could probably count on one hand the times I have to say that, for the most part they’re a respectful group of people. They’re also a hoot to hang around. That’s why I have no desire to grow up. Teens keep me in touch with reality. While I’m trying to stay culturally tuned in to what they’re tuning into, I’m also staying culturally aware of what’s dragging them away from the gospel.

Here’s a few misnomers of youth ministry…

Youth don’t want to learn about Jesus

Wrong. Adults don’t want to tell them about Jesus, because most adults are not prepared to answer the questions that might derive from talking about Jesus. Teens are eager to learn about Jesus and are concerned about their future. They’ve heard just enough about end times to make it a very scary issue and one that’s easier to ignore than face the reality of an unsaved existence during those times. What peace they’re afforded when they’re brought up in a church that teaches end time events and the reality of how God takes care of His people.

Youth are too involved in other activities to take the time for church:

Wrong. Parents are too apt to encourage youth to place other activities over church. It also allows them to lay out of church to “support” their children. Yes… I’m a tad bitter.

But I watch as parents will pump thousands of dollars into extracurricular activities in hopes of giving their kids an edge and yet will scoff at a request for a few extra dollars for a youth event at church. Please tell me the percentage of kids who actually use their extracurricular skills post-graduation and I’ll counter that statistic with my own which is – 100% of them will face God in eternity. I win.

I could argue this till the cows come home, but those who need the message are not likely to tune in to www.theJesusChick.com. So why bother right? Because I know there are other youth workers out there who understand when they hear the scripture in Matthew 19:14 ~ But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.”

The disciples were viewing children as a distraction to the ministry… they are the ministry! Sometimes as a youth worker when you’re begging for teachers and ministry help, it almost feels like they look at you as a distraction. Heaven forbid we should disrupt the regularly scheduled service for a good time, and in so doing lead a child to Christ.

This message is for my comrades in the ministry, to help you understand the importance of immature people like me who enjoy telling young people about Jesus. Jesus is still the “funnest” Guy I know. And the opportunity to work with youth who are not jaded by life is one of the greatest experiences and learning opportunities a grown up can have; b

ecause for those few hours we spend in the presence of young people we remember what it was like to love Jesus as He intended.

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What to do when church folk upset us

chick love

I love encouragers in the faith, and our Pastor is one such man. He can expound the truth of the gospel and leave you both convicted, yet encouraged. He has just the right amount of salt and sugar in his delivery. Yesterday’s sermon from the book of Philemon stuck to my soul like glue and I thought I’d share some of my thoughts from his message in hopes of encouraging you.

Philemon 1:9-10

 Yet for love’s sake I rather beseech thee, being such an one as Paul the aged, and now also a prisoner of Jesus Christ.  I beseech thee for my son Onesimus, whom I have begotten in my bonds: Which in time past was to thee unprofitable, but now profitable to thee and to me:

Onesimus was a servant of Philemon who had, for whatever reason, wronged Philemon and packed his panties and hit the road. I know that analogy is wrong on so many levels, but he left Philemon without so much as a “fare thee well” and Philemon was still upset.  From the opening address of Paul’s letter to Philemon we know that he is a respected man of God, a fellowlabourer as Paul calls him, not a slacker by any means. He’s not a disgruntled church worker, Philemon’s a servant in good standing in the house of the Lord, albeit he’s still human. Hmmm… can it possibly be that good servants still have bad days? Follow me around for more than 15 minutes and you’ll find out.

Paul’s letter is packed full of so much wisdom for the leaders and the lead that an entire gospel conference could be held in its honor. It’s truth!

The nature of the beast of a congregation of believers is an argument waiting to happen on every given day that we’re together because we all come with an opinion and it usually differs. Were it not for the almighty grace of God and the realization that none of us are worthy it wouldn’t work. There has to be a level of humility in the church for it function as God intended, it has to be done for “love’s sake”.

I love the congregation of Victory Baptist Church. It’s been a family to me for 19 years. I have not always agreed with everyone in the congregation, but I love them. I’ve upset people, but they loved me in spite of it. We’ve had people who have left our congregation much like Onesimus, without so much as a fare thee well, and I was hurt. They didn’t leave on good terms with the congregation of the Lord and even though I’m a “good fellowlabourer” in Christ, I was upset. Not that they left… but the way they left. God calls people to other congregations, to other places of service; but He never calls anyone out of church. Why would He? He died for the church.

There are some evangelists that I love listening to. They stir my soul and encourage me in the faith, but they’re not my Pastor. This isn’t a message to puff up my own Pastor, this is a message that God laid on my heart this morning to encourage you to be faithful to your own church, lest Paul needs to write you a letter. It’s my letter both to the Philemon and Onesimus of any given congregation, likely every congregation.

When I left the home church on February 18th 1996, that I was raised in, I was an Onesimus. I wasn’t saved and God needed me in another location to get me saved, a place where my tender heart would accept the gospel and a place where I would be discipled. That was Victory Baptist Church. I didn’t leave like I should have, but I really didn’t know I was leaving. I thought I was “visiting” another church. Who knew I’d visit for almost 20 years! Since that time much has happened in my life spiritually, I’ve grown in the grace of Christ and I think that my fellowlabourers in that congregation have forgiven me. My point of that story is… I wasn’t saved when I left.

When unsaved people leave our churches, our hearts should be broken, but not angry. And we should take a long look at ourselves first and see if we could have done more, or something else within the guidelines of scripture so that they would stay. But when a saved person leaves the congregation of the Lord, and not for the purpose of another ministry that is when I need a stern talking to from the Lord. Because I’m upset. And I didn’t realize that I was that upset until my God filled Pastor preached to my heart yesterday. So what’s the solution? I can’t make the people return, but I can stop being upset. Paul was a literal prisoner in jail because of his service for Christ but I’ve been somewhat of a prisoner in my own thoughts by not releasing those emotions.

Paul said that for love’s sake he was reaching out to Philemon to try and restore his relationship with Onesimus. For love’s sake I needed my relationship restored; even though it’s only restored on one side.

What an awesome lesson for me today… perhaps you too. If I’ve been an encourager in your faith please share this message…. For love’s sake. And if God lays it on your heart to encourage me with a comment, please do!

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