Tag Archives: burden

Ministry Isn’t An Afterthought

I seldom ever just draw for the sake of drawing. It’s likely with a blog or a request in mind that I doodle the “Jesus Chick” cartoon that I use so often. Today, I finished some work for the Bible College, began to process my thoughts about a blog topic and determine what might follow that as far as getting something accomplished for the Kingdom and then my mind drifted. To a place of just wonderment. A siesta of sorts. I know… I just came back from a siesta. Four nights of revival and two at the beach and the sad part is, I needed that siesta to remind myself that I need to take more siestas.

Most people who look at my life look at me as an “unemployed woman” who occasionally serves the Lord (which isn’t a real job according to most), sings a little on the side (which is technically goofing off) and is readily available to forget about the laundry and dishes (true story) and go off on jaunts across the world with her bestie and play with her grandbabies with the remainder of her spare time. I just wore myself out talking about my time off!

I thought, perhaps today, I’d share a little about the glamorous days of “The Jesus Chick.” If you’re in the ministry, you can no doubt identify in many ways. If you’re not, please use this as a catalyst to pray for those of us who “don’t have a real job.”

On Monday’s I pack my guitar and song books into the car and travel to our local nursing home. I sing and minister in word to about 10-15 long term care residents. I try to sing songs of their childhood faith so that they can chime in. What a blessing that is to see patients who can’t remember their name half the time, recall every word of “How Great Thou Art!” Sitting across from me is usually a very cranky faced woman. She breaks my heart. She knows religion but she doesn’t know Jesus. She’s bitter at the world and my music soothes her soul temporarily, but just like Saul, who hired David to soothe his, when the music stops… so does the peace. She doesn’t know peace. I carry that home in my guitar case. It gets heavy sometimes.

On Monday nights a couple of friends and I meet at the church for a Bible journaling class where we share our art, but more importantly we share our heart. We’re burdened for our people. We want our churches to grow, we want our friends and family to experience the fire of Jesus! During the day I prepare handouts for the girls and conversation starters. Everyone needs conversations of the heart. It helps us grow in our own faith when we sow seeds into the lives of others. Good seed. That’s important to know. Stay away from those who sow weeds in your garden.

Wednesday’s I have a teen ministry where I try to sow good seed and pull the weeds of the world from the lives of children. Good grief there’s a lot of weeds to pull. If it’s been a while since you’ve sat down with teens to have an in depth conversation about their life you’d be shocked at what they face and be awed that they can come out of it unscathed. Only in Jesus.

If you follow this blog you know I have weeks of abundant writing and weeks of less. It depends on how much life takes its toll on my time. I sing at every opportunity. Often times for secular events hoping that my words in song and my testimony in between will spark a conversation with someone in the audience.

Spare time is often helping other ministries with promotion and publication art. And then when the weekend rolls around it’s game on for Jesus! I teach Sunday School, sing solo and sing in the choir, organize events and take care of our own church publications and such.

Does it sound like I’m complaining or bringing attention to my works for Christ? I surely hope not. That’s not my intent. My intent is to allow you to see that ministry may appear that it’s an afterthought; especially for those who work “real” jobs. But carrying the burden for souls in a guitar case, a hymnal, a cyber church and the occasional back pocket or purse is a heavy load. There’s no time off from your mind. I speak not only of myself but of ministers all over the world. Serving God is the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done in my entire life, I’m sure they’d say the same.

But sometimes you just want to fly away… or splat a mud puddle in cute boots.

“And I said, Oh that I had wings like a dove! For then I would fly away, and be at rest.” PSALM 55:6

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This blog is in it’s 8th year. Hosted on godaddy.com for the past five. Expenses incurred for the operation of this site are without complaint and with gratitude for the opportunity. If the Lord would impress you to give to help cover some recent technology issues, I’d be grateful. I’ve not been in the world’s workforce for 3 years and for that I glorify God. It’s given me the opportunity to not only write and work on music, but minister to nursing home patients, volunteer in the Christian School teaching art and help other ministries with marketing. All of which require technology, communication, time and gasoline. Again it’s without complainT… but just in case you have a desire to help, or have “extra money” 🙂 Know that I would be eternally grateful.

Here’s the Link

 

Has the church lost it’s compassion?

Has the church lost its compassion for souls? I don’t really have to wonder. I need only look at my own life for the answer. I get so wrapped up in the “stuff” of the church that I forgo the winning of souls. In n the book of Matthew 9 we see the heart of Jesus that should reflect the hearts of the children of God. When He looked around at the multitudes of people He was moved with compassion. This verse is the precursor to the often quoted 9:37b “The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few.” There is still a multitude, and it is unfortunate that the laborers are still few.

How many souls will we pass today? I’m not always out and about but I thought about the quick run I made yesterday to the local convenience store. Too quick to think about Jesus, I guess. One thing about living in a community the size of ours is we usually know who’s in church and who’s not. The girl behind the counter was not. Where was my compassion?

But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd. ~ Matthew 9:36

Three things I see in Matthew 9:36 that stirs my soul today to serve Him.

The Wanderers

The multitudes of the souls that wander aimlessly in search of something, anything that will give them a sense of belonging and purpose. And we have it but don’t bother to share it. The world is directionally challenged because the church’s GPS is on silent. We have the map to direct them to Heaven, but we’re not doing it. Long before I was saved I knew there was a direction I should be traveling, but deed, I couldn’t find it. The church was silent. No one who came across my path bothered to look at the longing in my eyes to be a part of Heaven. I had a family who loved me, but I knew something was missing. I longed for a sense of purpose and I found it when I found the Heavenly Father. I wandered 34 years before a soul compassionate to move the world was moved enough to tell me about Jesus.

The Weary

They’re fainting. You can see it in their eyes. Everyone struggles. We have no idea on the outside what is going on the inside.  I have to wonder today what would have happened yesterday if I had taken the time with that store clerk just to say, I’d like to pray for you if you have a need. I have a feeling she’d have told me, but I didn’t ask.

The Wanting

Just as it was in Jesus’ day, so it is today. The world fills our heads with the vanity of religion. Vanity from the standpoint that it is filled with traditions and obligations as the saints “do what they have to do” for the sake of the church and call it faith. Why would anyone want what the church has today? A body of believers who put God on a schedule and only allow Him to speak to their souls from 11 a.m. to noon on Sunday. A handful come back Sunday evening and Wednesday, but there is a multitude visible to the world who see them having no desire for a relationship with the One called Jesus. The One, who when they’re ask, they’ll say He means everything to them, but in truth doesn’t mean anything to them outside the walls of the church. Why would they want that?

Jesus wept for His community. When’s the last time we wept for ours?

My friend LuAnn drove 5 hours to share the gospel with our community at the barn blast a week or so ago. She has an obedient compassion filled soul. I’ve seen it in the preachers I heard last week and this week. Last night was another night of Revival, week 2 for me. My soul is stirred because I see the compassion in a man to win souls. Tonight is my turn to share the gospel with the teens in my youth group. Tomorrow night is another night of revival. The harvest is plenteous!

Whomever it was that said the eyes are the window to the soul, knew of what they spoke. Take the time to look someone in the eye today, and pray that God would open the door to share the gospel. The Spirit has to lead… but you have to follow to make it happen.

Praying over your lunch… ask the waitress if you can pray for them.

Have a track in your pocket or purse… it’s not doing any good there.

See someone hurting… patch the hole in their heart by sharing a piece of yours.

 

 

Exercise Don’t Come Easy

exercise

Ecclesiastes 1:13 ~ And I gave my heart to seek and search out by wisdom concerning all things that are done under heaven: this sore travail hath God given to the sons of man to be exercised therewith.

Ol’ Solomon. Or so tradition has it. Some believe Solomon wrote the Song of Solomon in his youth, the book of Proverbs in his middle age, and the book of Ecclesiastes when he was old. His entire life he’d given to search out the wisdom of God, and it was often a burdensome feat.

I get that. Especially this week, only it’s not a burdensome feat, but rather burdensome feet that have got me in sore travail. Another crazy antic in the life of Shari found me in nothing less than a Physical Education teacher class with PE teachers being trained to implement SPARK curriculum. Shari… the blogger… who exercises her mind, not her body, although I should have been. Shari… the out of shape blogger has had 3 six hours days of jumping, dancing, hoola hooping… (don’t go there, not a pretty image) and now has a sore heel due to the “cute” little flat sandals I wore the first day, not knowing I was going to be actually in this class, not just helping to set it up.

How much better it would have been had I been studied up. Or at least thinner.

I fear there will be those taking the tests of life, and especially the final, unprepared and sore vexed for answers from their lack of exercise of faith. Solomon himself said it was a hard task to study the things of God, even before the days of Facebook and Twitter and all the other gadgets and activities that consume our time. How much more now… are these gadgets and activities a trial or blessing. We need time to prepare.

It’s not only preachers who need to “study to show themselves approved” (2 Timothy 2:15). Studying scripture is not for the bible scholar, although they need it, but for every common man, woman and child so that when the trials of life come upon them they’ve had an exercised faith that’s ready for the work out. Someone dies, someone’s ill, financial struggle, broken hearts and all of life’s frustrations are covered in the training manual. And practiced in the lives of saints if you’ll watch them every day.

During this training a young man sat down at our breakfast table before the day started and out of the corner of my eye I watched him bow his head and bless his food. He not only had trained his body, but trained his mind in Spiritual things as well. I was so grateful! I had wondered that morning if my own faith would be understood that day, and God sent another of his warriors to the table as if to say… you’re not alone Shari.

Perhaps to day you’re in the midst of exercise of faith. Train on. God will strengthen you in the trial.

So… what if today you stood before God taking the final, are you prepared? Would you have the answer if He ask, “Why should I allow you to enter Heaven?”

I’ll even give you a cheat sheet. The answer would be given by Christ when He said, “They’re mine. They’ve claimed Me as their Savior, trusted me for their Salvation. They ask me into their heart at the age of _____.”

Could you fill in the blank? If not you’ve failed, and that’s one exam you can’t afford to fail, because there’s not a do-over. Eternity in Hell will be the penalty.

A loving God will not make you prepare, it’s your choice. I hope you’ve made it! If you’d like to know more or you’re unsure, follow this link: http://thejesuschick.com/the-road-to-salvation/

Incapacitated Christianity – The Revolving Door

The door of many if not most churches seems to be a revolving door; constantly moving with people disillusioned with spirituality. God created us in such a manner that we’re drawn there. Scripture says in John 12:32And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.” There is an innate desire for a relationship with God. Why some deny it and others embrace it I do not know, but I believe in my heart that everyone has it. I know personally, as far back as I can remember, there was a desire to know God and a fear of dying without Him. There was a hole in my heart, I knew something was missing. So in 1996 when that hole became whole I was excited, and I haven’t stopped being excited. But I am ever aware of the revolving door and that I too could be one step away.

Has it been a perfect seventeen years of utter bliss in our church? Of course not. My pastor always said “If you find the perfect church, don’t join it, you’ll mess it up!” But I remember the feeling of that hole of uncertainty and I have no desire to return to that life. So why do people leave the church?

They’re Wounded

I’ve seen my fair share of hurt feelings in the church. Sometimes it was an unintentional mishap, and other times it was stupidity at its finest. But it ended with someone leaving the church. And I discovered another hole in my heart. I understand the pain that Apostle Paul felt when he wrote to Timothy saying “For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica.” 2 Timothy 4:10 It hurts when a brother or sister in Christ walks out on Christ.

I’m sure they would argue that they did not walk out on Christ, but instead would say they walked away from that place. And if indeed they left there and went to another body of Christ with a good heart toward their previous church then I would say “Amen. I’ll miss you, but I wish you well.” But they generally don’t go to another church they just stop and fall out on Christ. And the wound will not heal without the balm of Gilead. Jeremiah 8:22 wrote “Is there no balm in Gilead; is there no physician there? why then is not the health of the daughter of my people recovered?” When you walk away from Christ, there is no healing for that wound.

They’re Weak

A Christian who fails to read the Word of God, or attend church regularly is weak. It’s as if they’ve started on a long journey having passed up the eight course dinner, eating instead a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. And they grow weary. And things that would not have upset them, has now been magnified; or they just gradually lose their appetite. Either way the end result is they no longer desire to be fed the Word of God.

I blame some of those on the body of believers who fail to disciple new converts. I was blessed with brothers and sisters who did not leave my side as a new child of God. They called me and encouraged me to stay faithful. We had breakfast and lunch and talked about the Word of God. There was multiple opportunities to come to the church for fellowship, revival and prayer. And day by day I grew in strength and had no desire to leave that banquet table where I feasted.

They’re Weighted

Probably one of the hardest to see walk out that door. They didn’t get upset with anyone, they may have been grounded in church for many years, but they just have too much of the world on their shoulders. Often times its family issues, finances or work. They just can’t drop it at the altar. Every day they carry this load of care on them and it keeps wearing them down. And it breaks them. And it breaks the heart of Jesus Who would have gladly taken that burden from them if only they would have allowed it. They’ve forgotten Matthew 11: 29-30 where Jesus said “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

I’m not casting a stone at any one of these incapacitated Christians, because I’ve been too near that revolving door myself when I could have just thrown my hands in the air and said, I can’t do this, I’ve been wounded, weak and weighted down with the sorrows of life. But HALLELUJAH!  I’ve always been made aware that in the worst of times it’s better to be with Jesus than alone.

I love ya today, and I’m praying that if you’re stepping toward that revolving door, you’ll step away. Don’t let Satan feed you the lie that walking out on God will fix anything. That’s God’s church you’re walking away from. If it is a Bible preaching church it belongs to no man. Stay in the game.