When I think
of the Bible characters that stepped into the unknown at the instruction of the
known, my heart is encouraged. When I get ready to take my first step, it’s
always a flutter. It’s usually followed by nausea and fever blisters. Weird
right? That’s what stress and nerves do to me. Once I get past the first step
and start walking on the new ground I settle in pretty quickly. But those first
steps often feel like a cliff.
stepped out of the Ur of Chaldees he may or may not have felt a little apprehension.
The Bible just says he went. But in the book of Shari it will say, see went…
but she didn’t feel good.
When Moses was
told to step into the leadership role of Israel, He argued with the Lord that
he wasn’t very good with a bullhorn. So God gave him a mouth piece named Aaron.
But it didn’t take him out of the role of leader.
When God made
David King, he was in one of the lowest positions of the day, a shepherd boy.
But God used all that position to make him a mighty defender and a man who
could lead people with the same passion he lead sheep.
picked “Team Jesus” from the crowd, He picked a variety of twelve characters
with a variety of talents. We know their names 2,000 years later because of the
impact they had in their work.
I just wrote
really got to experience a comfort zone, because God is always doing something
in my life. Sometimes it’s because He’s fixing what I broke, and that’s very
uncomfortable! Today is no different. A new ministry direction is on the
horizon with doing things I’ve had a passion to do for 20 years. But this time
it’s on God’s terms. So it makes me feel a little better about taking the first
I hope that in
sharing my thoughts on my zone, that maybe it will help you navigate yours a
the following a matter of prayer when it comes to the new Jesus Chick
God would open the doors (not Shari)
provides a team of people with a passion for the work.
The work will
focus on the following areas:
the Gospel (always first and foremost)
abuse educations programs
That would be
why I need a team. There is a huge amount of work on my plate. But I want to
reach as many people as I can with this ministry and give them the tools to
beyond excited about the direction of my ministry. Thanks to a generous act on
my sister Shelia’s part and the grace of Almighty God, I will soon be a 501c3
ministry which will open the doors for me to do more and create a team of
ministry people, not just solo me. Who is sometimes (oftentimes) so tired. So what does that have to do with the message
has to do with the great commission in Matthew 28:19-20 ~ 19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations,
baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
20 Teaching them to observe all things
whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the
end of the world. Amen.
children of God that should be our primary focus. So today is a Recharge Monday.
I needed it. Not that I’ve forgotten that it’s my responsibility as a disciple
of the Lord Jesus, but that my battery sometimes runs low.
So How’s your
doesn’t need a recharge? I need one multiple times a day. Burdens get on me
like cat and dog hair on a black sweater. That should sum it up pretty good if
you’ve been around critters. So how does my ministry, your battery and all this
me doing what I’ve been called to do, which on Monday is to recharge your
battery after I first recharge mine.
did that today as I read 2 Chronicles 15, verses 1-15.
is returning from battle and he’s met by a prophet who encourages him to go on
with the work of the reformation of Israel by promising him that the presence
and help of God will go with him.
I’m not a prophet, but I can make that promise to you today because I have it
too. It is freely given to anyone who seeks God. He is a very present help
available to us without even speaking a word. He just knows.
or not you’ve been in a battle, Monday’s always seem to bring on the feeling of
too much work for one week. At least that’s how mine is starting.
back to the story. Asa is returning from battle. And the word reads.
the Spirit of God came upon Azariah the son of Oded:
2 And he went out to meet Asa, and said unto him, Hear ye me, Asa,
and all Judah and Benjamin; The Lord is with you, while ye be with him; and if ye seek him, he
will be found of you; but if ye forsake him, he will forsake you.
3 Now for a long season Israel hath been without the true God, and
without a teaching priest, and without law.
One sure fire way to
get into trouble is to not have the teaching of God. As a teacher, I need
taught. I don’t profess to know
everything. But I know where to find it. And if I can’t find it, I have a
Pastor who can help me find it. He may not have the answer off the top of his
head either, because he’s not done learning. So point one for today is
Seek Him While You Can
Finding time in a
day to get alone with God may not be easy, but it should be a priority. Israel
had gotten themselves into trouble, into a battle because they’d been without
three things. The Power of God, The Prophecy of God and the Practices of God.
If you’re a child of
God, saved by the blood of Jesus, you can’t lose God, but you can lose His
power by not renewing your relationship with Him on a daily basis. Not just on
Sunday, but every day.
The Word of God is
forever, because it’s settled in Heaven. It hasn’t been the most read book in
the world without reason. God made it that way. But our failure to read it, the
very prophecy of God will suck the life out of you like leaving the lights on
in your car. The juice, the water of the word eventually drains out like the
juice in a battery if we’re not renewing ourselves by reading His word.
And while we’re not
under the law as the Israelites were, being away from God for very long will
cause you to forget the practices of Christianity. The behaviors. It’s so easy
to get drawn away from the things of God and into the things of the world without
warning when we’re not in a good relationship with God Almighty.
So every day we need
to be seeking the power of God, Reading the Prophecy of God and living in the
practice of God.
Serve Him While You Can
4 But when they in their trouble did turn unto the Lord God of Israel, and sought him, he was found of them.
5 And in those times there was no peace to him that went out, nor to
him that came in, but great vexations were upon all the inhabitants of the
6 And nation was destroyed of nation, and city of city: for God did
vex them with all adversity.
7 Be ye strong therefore, and let not your hands be weak: for your
work shall be rewarded.
It’s a privilege to
go, teach and observe everything that God shows us in His word. I know that not
everyone is a teacher, but you are an example. When the children of Israel got
into trouble they sought God. That’s good advice! And it’s always the example
we want to set for others.
Everyone messes up
in life. We all fall. We haven’t come very far, if any, since the days of the
Israelites battle. We still need God to clean up our messes. But after the
fall, after the struggle, pick yourself up and start serving again. Don’t let
Satan convince you to delay it, because it can cause you to stay out way too
Always remember that
Satan is a liar. And the last thing he wants is for you to receive rewards of
God. So, he can stop them, by stopping you.
Succeed While You Can
There will be days of defeat. We all
have them. But start every week with an attitude of successful living.
Encourage yourself in the Lord because great is that reward and it is the
Matthew 28:19-20 Commission.
Listen to what happened when Asa got
8 And when Asa heard these words, and the prophecy of Oded the
prophet, he took courage, and put away the abominable idols out of all the land
of Judah and Benjamin, and out of the cities which he had taken from mount
Ephraim, and renewed the altar of the Lord, that was before the porch of the Lord.
9 And he gathered all Judah and Benjamin, and the strangers with
them out of Ephraim and Manasseh, and out of Simeon: for they fell to him out
of Israel in abundance, when they saw that the Lord his God was with him.
10 So they gathered themselves together at Jerusalem in the third
month, in the fifteenth year of the reign of Asa.
11 And they offered unto the Lord the same time, of the spoil which they had brought, seven
hundred oxen and seven thousand sheep.
12 And they entered into a covenant to seek the Lord God of their fathers with all their heart and with all their
13 That whosoever would not seek the Lord God of Israel should be put to death, whether small or
great, whether man or woman.
14 And they sware unto the Lord with a loud voice, and with shouting, and with trumpets, and
15 And all Judah rejoiced at the oath: for they had sworn with all
their heart, and sought him with their whole desire; and he was found of them:
and the Lord gave them rest round about.
won mighty battles, they celebrated their victories and they had rest. Who
wouldn’t want their week to end like that!?
It started with a conversation with a friend and woman of God Angel Murchison two days ago. We were sharing the many things that God has done with our lives and the countless ways He has used us in our prospective ministries. As we spoke the words “vessel and voice” came into my mind; how blessed I was that by being a willing vessel, allowing my voice to be used for the glory of God I had become of value.
Just for the record, I’ve always been of value to God. After all He died for me. But in my own eyes I struggle with worth, and for certain worthiness.
The thought continued into a conversation with my friends Daniel and LuAnn Johnson as we worked on a Christmas giving project together. We were trying to be willing vessels. We were using our voice, and we knew that it was of value for the Kingdom… but deed…. We weren’t sure how.
By doing all the things that God had laid on our heart to do, we weren’t really seeing the fruit of our labor by way of souls being saved and lives being changed. So what’s a girl to do if “there ain’t no proof in the pudding?” (that’s an old time colloquialism for evidence of effectiveness).
So this girl went to the word of God.
2 Timothy 2:20-21
But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonor. If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work
Gold, silver, wood and earth. I look at those materials and I can see various people who align metaphorically. I view myself as an earthen vessel, a clay pot crafted in the Master’s hand as the scripture relates in Romans 9:21
Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?
We are, I am, what the Master makes me to be. Unfortunately there are times that all I see is “God made me weird.” I have quirky ways, weird ideas and take random leaps of faith or fiction that sometimes end well, and other times end in disaster. And God has to put me back on the wheel and work the bumps out of life again.
Ever watchful for an opportunity to serve.
That’s why I do crazy things with people like LuAnn and Daniel Johnson like host a community Christmas party. They’re a little crazier than me because they drove from North Carolina to West Virginia. But God said go, and so they did. And God said join them, and so I did. And together we make a good team because we look for opportunities to make a difference in someone’s life and for the chance to tell the world that Jesus Saves!
Victory doesn’t always look like crossing the finish line for a trophy. Sometimes it looks like an unfinished project.
As Daniel, Luann, their young Clayton and I, fed and encouraged the folks who came to our Christmas party, we attempted to sow seeds on a cold December day, believing that they’d take root and grow into something amazing for the Kingdom. But if we’re honest there were some seeds that fell on stony ground. Those seeds suck the life out of me because they make me feel like a failure and cause me to question once again the value of my ministry reach.
And then a man walks through the door that just needed to feel like someone cared, and we did. And it was in that moment that I see the hand of God and heard the Spirit whisper… “that’s why you’re here.”
I felt the ribbon go around my neck and the Lord kiss my cheek and say “well done, thou good and faithful servant.” We were vessels of honor and value. Sanctified (set apart from the way the world views obedience and victory) and meet (of value) for the good work that the Lord has for us in the Kingdom.
Victory! It’s not always the big wins that are of value. Sometimes the value is in the little we do being vigilant vessels.
I hope you enjoyed this word today, and I pray you’ll share this post as well as the ministry of www.theJesusChick.com. Over the next month I’m working on a my website style as well as it’s content in hopes of being a bigger blessing and opening the doors of opportunity.
You too are a valuable vessel! God bless you and Merry Christmas from the Jesus Chick!!!!
For the record, I’ve never ask that about the heart attack. I know full well why that happened. I like bacon. And all the other things in life that taste oh so good, but are the world’s worst choice. But I do quite often question God as to why He chooses me to be a part of His plan, why He tolerates my disobedience and stupidity and allows me to have such a wonderful life. Yes, heart attack and all, it’s wonderful. There are countless other people He could choose, and yet I’m among the 1 out of 12 that He chooses to use.
I don’t know if that’s a correct percentage but it sounded good. It’s not the 1 in 12 of humankind, it’s the 1 in 12 of the church. Which as I can see in previous experience is the bulk of most church people who serve. Although my home church Victory Baptist probably is blessed with a higher percentage than that. Studies show it’s 10% of the church that does 90% of the work. And there’s an abundance of work that nobody is doing at all. But off of that bad news let’s talk about why me, why you? Why does God continue to tolerate us?
Matthew 16:13-20 is where I got the 1 in 12 analogy.
When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Then charged he his disciples that they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ.
When Jesus asked the question of the 12, “Who do men say that I am?” Eleven of His own men, who believed He was God, gave the world’s reasoning. “Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.” But when it came down to the question of who they say Christ is, none of the eleven responded. It wasn’t that God wasn’t using them in the ministry, that He didn’t have a plan for them. And this is only one glimpse of their story which is far greater than any story I’ll likely have. But I believe it is a glimpse of the church.
In most cases 11 out of 12 in any given congregation are willing to repeat what they’re told, but few are willing to go out on the limb and experience Christ for themselves. They love being spoon fed the word on Sunday morning, but few pick it up any other time throughout the week to experience the power of God in their life and hear what truth He would reveal if they’d but just step out of their comfort zone.
The disciples knew Jesus was God. Emanuel. In the flesh. They were saved! But Jesus, in the person of Christ is a depth of knowledge that can only be known by those willing to search past the world’s reasoning of faith. That’s where it often stops for me too at times, if I’m honest. I love the miracles! Shoot fire, I am one! But when it comes to the true life that Christ lived, His reasoning for coming; I’d rather go back and talk about the fun stuff. The disciples knew that the world didn’t get who Jesus was, but they hadn’t gotten it either. God’s plan was so much bigger than what the disciples had understood thus far.
Peter. Oh I can relate with him on so many levels. Mainly just his failures. But I can also relate with his zeal. He was the one that when Christ ask “Who He was,” Peter quickly answered “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Whew and Glory! That ought to make you shout. Peter got it. He was Jesus’ star student for the day.
When I first got saved, and still yet today, I would seek men of God to listen and study and try to find the unmeasurable, unattainable depth of Jesus. He’s fun! I think of Peter like that. He wanted to experience all he could with his time with Christ. When God said get out of the boat, Peter jumped, and it was Peter who said “I’ll never deny you!” and I’m sure he meant it, but he did. Just like I do. I fail miserably. But this day Peter didn’t fail, and God gave Peter the most incredible gifts because he was willing to search deeper. He gave him a ministry, and He gave him the power to bind on earth and loose in Heaven!
We too can have that. But not without searching for the wisdom of Christ to go with it.
I can’t look at a Krispy Kreme donut and bind its power on earth without understanding that God’s got a sweeter treat for me in Heaven. Silly analogy but truth none the less. I have to look past the world’s reasoning and get a hold of Heaven. You do too. I’m glad you’re along for the journey, else you’d not take the time to read this chick’s blog.
I’m on the mend and hope to be on the road soon, singing and speaking for the cause of Christ. If you’d like me to come and share the Lord’s word, hit the message button and let’s talk!
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
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.
I’m not sure who it was, but from a testimony in the back of our church during Sunday worship I heard, “See the Need.” It was like the Lord put a post it note up on the bulletin board of my mind and said, remember why you’re here.
Lord: Get my Attention
It’s so easy to get caught up in the day to day of life and forget the purpose of Christianity. Above all it’s to see souls saved, but Christ didn’t only preach, he encouraged and taught the disciples how to take care of the people left in their charge. The world has been left in our charge with a service we’re to provide, can you see the need? We can’t fix the world, but we can one by one, see a need and fulfill it.
A burden on my heart has been the waste in my life.
How much food do I throw out in the course of a week that someone, living alone would appreciate?
How many clothes do I have that I never wear that someone could use? Not taken to a thrift store (which is fine) but hand delivered to someone so that they could know I care.
How many times have I wasted time when I could have called on someone that was sick, provided food or ran an errand?
How many times has God laid the prison ministry on my heart and I’ve failed to follow it through?
Matthew 25:35-40 lays it out plain and simple:
For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
Lord help me to see the need.
Lord: Give me an Action
I am the queen of good intentions but if I don’t make a plan, it goes in the pile of other unfinished projects. Now that God has my attention, I need to take action. I need to make a list of the needs I see.
MHHS Nursing home visitation
CRJ Prison ministry evangelization
Elderly alone that could use encouragement
Clothes that need given away.
These are needs very much in my wheelhouse of completion. I’ve made my list now to get it done. Who or what is on your list?
Lord: Give me Ability
Working in the ministry takes stamina, finances and opportunity. All of which is the Lord’s will and supply and in the discipline of my living. There are things I can do better, rest more, spend less and look for or make opportunity. And by all means prayer should be in every step of the path. Today will be Nursing home visitation, guitar class, and bible journaling. These are God’s plans for me. You’ll have to decide your own. But I can almost guarantee God has laid a burden on your heart already and you’ve seen the need. Let’s get busy!
I’m forever and a day plotting and planning life. Likely at least 99% of the time my plans never come to fruition. I’m a dreamer and a planner. But the question is, “Do they line up with the Master’s Design?” The one from the foundation of the earth. I tend to omit that theology when I’m in my scheming mode? Opting for the Shari approach of design and destruct.
The verse to follow in Isaiah caused this to come to mind as I was planning for the adventures of the Jesus Chick in 2018.
The wild beasts of the desert shall also meet with the wild beasts of the island, and the satyr shall cry to his fellow; the screech owl also shall rest there, and find for herself a place of rest. There shall the great owl make her nest, and lay, and hatch, and gather under her shadow: there shall the vultures also be gathered, every one with her mate. Seek ye out of the book of the Lord, and read: no one of these shall fail, none shall want her mate: for my mouth it hath commanded, and his spirit it hath gathered them.
God’s got a plan. He has one for the wise owls and even the nasty vultures that lay in wait to eat the spoils of the dead. He has mates for both and a life span of days, months or years. Only He knows.
So how does our planning and hatching of schemes come into play with God’s design? Does it matter? As we’re nesting, hatching and gathering, what’s God’s role? Good questions…
The Nest (Where we reside)
Funny thing about the nest building birds, they don’t need credit cards to get the job done! They’re not concerned with the latest trends or whether or not the carpet and drapes match. Without a plan, they just build with what’s on hand and God never fails to provide.
As 2018 stands just a few days away I’m thinking about where I reside in life right now. What has God placed within a hands breadth to make myself home where I am. Apostle Paul said that “ in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.” Phil. 4:11 and he told Timothy in 1 Timothy 6:6 that “godliness with contentment is great gain.”
Contentment doesn’t come easy in my nest. I want stuff… lots of stuff. I’m a gatherer of bells and whistles, also known as basses, guitars, fiddles and such. Songbooks galore and a coffee cup with the reminder of an adventure gone by. Stuff. But none of that stuff makes a nest or makes me content. It quite often clutters the nest and makes me feel claustrophobic. So what is it that I need in my 2018 nest to make me content? I ask God that very question. For me the answer was “security.” It’s what I have lacked since God put me in full time ministry without even so much as part time money. The is no money for stuff… or sometimes even bills.
The Hatching (Where we plan)
This is where I must seek God’s guidance. I need to feel productively satisfied. I need to see the fruits of my labor. That sometimes comes in the form of web statistics. I love knowing that I have reached people with the gospel and encouraged their spirit. But counting isn’t always healthy psychologically; numbers do not always prove the fruit.
When I began to plan for the Minnesota mission trip, I didn’t even seem to have the support of many in my church family. As the time quickly approached and I wasn’t funded it left my heart sickened that people didn’t believe in me. The funding ended up coming from outside sources that were a huge blessing in the end.
As I begin planning for the 2018 mission field, that faith test is a reminder that it is God who provides, not people. If God says go and do, I have to leap forward believing it will be done, because His will, will be done.
The Gathering (Where we reap)
As the year came close to an end, I sat in church on a Wednesday night and my eight year old nephew looked up and me and said, “I want to be saved.’ I went through the plan of salvation, just as I had with his ten year old sister a few months before. I reaped the reward of seeds being sown in his life. That feeling never gets old. They are young and who knows who might be saved through their lives serving Christ.
It’s my prayer that my 2018 mission field is filled with souls along the path that God will design and the path that I follow will be without detour so that no soul, blessing or intent of God goes un-gathered. I pray that my ministry gathers support, so that I may freely serve without a financial burden. But if it does not, I pray that I will understand and believe in God’s design to go in faith and watch Him provide.
Ministry needs/desires (God knows which):
Three things that you can pray about for God’s provision for my ministry.
Recording equipment for podcast and music recording that would expand my ministry reach
A new computer that “thinks faster,” my HP has brain damage most days causing delays, reboots etc. Mainly frustration.
A new iPad… mine I fear is is on the verge of crashing and I use it often as a source of speaking notes and music.
What about you… What’s God hatching up for you in the coming year? I’d love to hear, I’d love to pray and connect to even more with people serving the Lord, or desiring to know more about Him.
Nothing gets my dander up like an injustice to God’s people… especially if they’re my people. This is a thought that weighs heavy on my mind for more than a few reasons. You don’t have to look very far to find injustice in the world, and probably one of the craziest (in my opinion) is that of little league sports. It’s what prompted this blog, but this in actuality has very little to do with Little League ball. Mainly because little league ball “seldom” has anything to do with the state of one’s eternal destination. Although it could with the right coach! That being said, the coach that has my knickers in a knot isn’t really concerned with eternity, unless of course he thinks that God has a special place for league winners. Pretty sure He doesn’t, just saying.
But I’ve seen more than my fair share of little league coaches who act like the world is coming to an end because a 4th grade boy, who was afraid of being nailed by the ball of an inexperienced pitcher, wouldn’t “step in and take one for the team.” Or a dozen other scenarios that he was sure ruined his chances as a major league coach. Coaches who don’t understand why a child with ADHD can’t sit still on the bench after his meds have worn off from having to sit still in his classes for 7 hours of the day. Oh… yes… I’m that grandparent, or Noni as the case may be.
But I’m also that Christian. I could just as well liken the little league attitude to that of the church. Where many don’t understand the people any more than a little league, major league wanna-be coach. As I travel I’m afforded the opportunity to meet many wonderful church workers. At almost every location I see heartache and frustration from the top down. I see preachers who want with all their heart to serve God without the encumbrance of church politics but cannot. I see Sunday School teachers who want their students to understand how exciting it is to know God, but are worn out bfrom having to collect and provide their own materials because the church doesn’t see their program as being worthy of a few extra dollars. I see parishioners struggling with broken lives and no one knows. Not because the evidence of these issues weren’t there, but because nobody slowed down long enough to see it or because they were missing two essential characteristics of a successful leader. Spiritual eyes and ears.
Leadership is more than a title. It’s a role. And it’s more than acting. It’s real.
So what will God say to the leaders when we stand before Him? Will He say or ask:
Why didn’t you save more money for the church treasury and spend less on your departments? You didn’t know that Jesus wouldn’t wait another 20 years to come back.
Why didn’t you tell that Sunday School teacher to suck it up use the same materials as last quarter?
Why didn’t you remind that preacher who it is that pays his salary before the topic of your sin came up?
Why didn’t you remind that widow about the woman with two mites before she complains that she doesn’t have grocery money for her visiting children?
Why didn’t you tell that leader that’s hitting the altar every week to watch the clock a little closer or better still, just don’t go because it makes others feel guilty?
Even better, why didn’t you stop having altar calls so everyone can get home in time for lunch?
Why didn’t you tell the people in your church to stop stressing you out with their problems?
Better yet, why didn’t you insist that everyone wear smiles, and no one can be sad?
Why did you get the congregation so excited, someone could have had a heart attack?!
All of those are as ridiculous as expecting little league players to be major league stars. And yet they’re real life stories.
In the book of Acts, where the acts of the church of that day are written, I see that they didn’t understand Paul either. So I guess the aforementioned attitudes shouldn’t surprise me.
Acts:14:9-11 ~ The same heard Paul speak: who stedfastly beholding him, and perceiving that he had faith to be healed, Said with a loud voice, Stand upright on thy feet. And he leaped and walked. And when the people saw what Paul had done, they lifted up their voices, saying in the speech of Lycaonia, the gods are come down to us in the likeness of men.
A few things that caught my attention in those few verses:
Paul was loud
Someone was moved
They were giving the credit of the power of God, to the gods that the people worshiped during that day.
So what should have happened? Do you think when Paul made it to Heaven, after having his head cut off for Jesus, that God said to him, “Paul, why were you so loud? You upset people.”
I know… that’s taking it out of context a little. The people weren’t as much upset as they were confused. But I don’t think God is going to call me on the carpet for reminding the church that we need to be careful about making our services about us. Paul was obedient and observant of the needs of one man, and not long about straightening the people out on who was responsible.
We serve a risen Savior, who died so that we might serve men and show them the love of Christ. Sometimes, we’re not even on the same field when it comes to understanding our teammates.
Serve boldly (yet humbly)
Show mercy always (look and listen)
Send missionaries with money (provide what’s needed for every mission)
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Being on the inside of a situation doesn’t always give us the best vantage point for viewing a situation. I realized this again this past Sunday as I studied through Esther, Chapter 4 for my teen Sunday School class. When it came to the attack on the Jewish people devised by Haman, the King’s right hand man; Mordecai, who was on the outside, knew more than Esther, who was on the inside as the King’s wife. Esther was no doubt busy doing what Queen’s do. Mordecai was out with the people. My thought was this, “In order to understand the heart of God’s people, you have to spend time with them, and really listen…” In ministering to God’s people, or in the day to day of life, it’s very easy to look on the situation and speak from a personal perspective rather than from the person’s perspective to whom we’re speaking too.
How is it that we can best serve those in our church and in our lives?
The Town Crier and the Town Critics
Ester 4:1 ~ When Mordecai perceived all that was done, Mordecai rent his clothes, and put on sackcloth with ashes, and went out into the midst of the city, and cried with a loud and a bitter cry;
Mordecai went very public with his outcry. There is a time to be silent, but there is definitely a time to cry aloud. And as church leaders we should be looking for the lead town crier. That’s usually not the one crying the loudest. Most churches have the person or persons that finds it their personal responsibility to point out every flaw in every service, those would be the “Town Critics.” But there will always be a few who, if they cry, it is a cry worthy one. For those on the inside of ministry it’s very easy to make it personal. We put so much time and effort into an event and then to have someone tear it apart because it wasn’t to their liking is heartbreaking. I have worn that tee shirt many times. I’ve also deserved it a few. Because I wasn’t listening.
Mordecai mourned because he was anticipating the death of his people if action wasn’t taken. His was in the very literal sense of the world. Haman wanted to annihilate the Jewish people. He hated them. But for those of us who serve the Lord, we love our people! Even those who don’t necessarily like us. So we must position ourselves to hear their cry.
The Town Calmer
Esther 4:4 ~ So Esther’s maids and her chamberlains came and told it her. Then was the queen exceedingly grieved; and she sent raiment to clothe Mordecai, and to take away his sackcloth from him: but he received it not.
Esther tried to soothe Mordecai’s fears by covering him with new raiment but he refused. Covering up his body wouldn’t remove the vexation from his spirit. He needed Esther to act, not cover. Words are wonderful! I love the spoken and the written word, but it they’re not attached to an action by the deliverer and receiver, they’re of very little purpose. We must act on what we hear and what we hear should bring a call to action.
The Total Conviction
Mordecai finally got through to Esther on the seriousness of the threat against God’s people. Esther genuinely listened, but not until Mordecai had given her a copy of the decree of death for the Jews, and not without words of his own that convicted her too.
Esther 4:13-17 ~ Then Mordecai commanded to answer Esther, Think not with thyself that thou shalt escape in the king’s house, more than all the Jews. For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place; but thou and thy father’s house shall be destroyed: and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this? Then Esther bade them return Mordecai this answer, Go, gather together all the Jews that are present in Shushan, and fast ye for me, and neither eat nor drink three days, night or day: I also and my maidens will fast likewise; and so will I go in unto the king, which is not according to the law: and if I perish, I perish.So Mordecai went his way, and did according to all that Esther had commanded him.
Esther knew what she had to do. She had to speak to the King on behalf of her people, even if it meant she die. Well, that’s a little more dramatic than most of the situations in our life. But I gleaned a valuable lesson as a leader and as one who’s being lead. We must take care of those we’ve been called to minister too and for. Our messages should be messages that are for “such a time as this.” They should convict and call every listener to action. Mordecai wasn’t complaining to call attention to himself, he was calling people to action for his cause. He didn’t want his people to perish… nor do I.
My words… anyone’s words who share the gospel should be what the people need. And when they’re delivered there should be a conviction and a call to action.
If Esther hadn’t accepted her call to action, God’s people would have perished. I fear that’s what’s happening in the churches. We need messages that convict. Our cause is cry worthy!
I’ll not complain when the power and blessings of the Holy Spirit bring unexplainable and unspeakable joys in my life for my service through the studying of His Word and the sharing of the Gospel. That is a gift of unmeasurable worth! But through the coercing of others in the ministry, who see my work as worthy, and the coercing of the Holy Spirit Who says “Through His blood I am worthy,” I have added a ministry donation button to this site. If you do not have, or do not feel inclined to give, then please don’t feel obligated. But if I have encouraged you and the Spirit speaks, your gift of any amount would be appreciated and honored by God.
I do what I do because I’m gifted and afforded the opportunity by grace and feel that I am accountable for the ministry that God has given. God has been enlarging my territory. For that I am grateful. But for that, there are expenses. Thank you for reading my blog. It encourages my soul, I pray I’ve encouraged yours!
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When I began ministering through music early on in my ministry, I felt so guilty when a church would offer me money. I wasn’t a professional, I was doing it for that purpose, I was just excited to serve the Lord. One night my Pastor came to me when I was about to reject an offering and said, “You’ll do this enough times for free, when money is offered, accept it and consider it a gift from God.” Well, he was right. I’ve done it for free many times, and for the record, I’ve never regretted it once. If you’re truly in the ministry, you know going in that it may or may not be a paying career, but it’s always a rewarding career. That being said… money is a necessity for survival in this world.
But when the subject is broached it’s almost taboo. So when the Lord laid this topic on my heart this morning I hesitated. Contemplated rejecting the notion. I’ve never been comfortable with regards to money and the ministry because I would never want anyone to feel that’s the reason I serve. But the word of God is clear on those in the service of God.
1 Timothy 5:17-18 Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine. For the scripture saith, thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward.
Preachers need paid. And the Word said if they serve worthy they’re worth a double portion! Why is it that folks don’t think twice about paying abundantly for services of skilled professionals but think a Pastor should work on fried beans and rice? Our spiritual needs fuel our fire and provide the strength to get done what we need to get done in life. Its value is immeasurable and without it all hope would go down the drain quickly. Preachers and Pastors are taken for granted until we stand in need and then they’re expected to be on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They earn their keep and then some.
But I’m not a preacher or a pastor. I’m the Jesus Chick. So where does that put me on the pay scale? It puts me in an awkward position when I’m ask what I do for a living. It puts me on my face before God when I’m trying meet my monthly expenses. It’s put some amazing people and opportunities in my life that fill in gaps and encourage my soul. And this morning it put me in 1 Timothy 5, verse 18.
Just like the un-muzzled ox that feasts on corn of the field it’s plowing; the rewards I reap from ministering the gospel fills my soul! I’ll not complain when the power and blessings of the Holy Spirit bring unexplainable and unspeakable joys in my life for my service. But through the coercing of others in the ministry, who see my work as worthy, and the coercing of the Holy Spirit Who says “Through His blood I am worthy,” I have added a ministry donation button to this site. If you do not have, or do not feel inclined to give, then please don’t feel obligated. But if I have encouraged you and the Spirit speaks, your gift of any amount would be appreciated and honored by God.
I do what I do because I’m gifted and afforded the opportunity by grace and feel that I am accountable for the ministry that God has given. This week God has been enlarging my territory. For that I am grateful. But for that, there is expenses. Thank you for reading my blog. It encourages my soul, I pray I’ve encouraged yours!
There’s some great things happening. Stay tuned for some awesome works of God!
Writer, Speaker, Singer… but most of all, Servant of Jesus Christ