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Archive for the ‘Mission’ Category

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This last week I was encouraged when I met three young men who spend most of their time and energy developing relationships with students and professors on a very large university campus. They are Christians and their main goal is to disciple others and lead them to faith in Christ. The university is one of the most secular in the nation and Christians are definitely in the minority there. The young men are part of a larger group who support each other and work together. As I spoke with them, I realized they are single-minded in their purpose- to make Christ known. I admired their devotion and commitment. It got me to thinking about confidence, boldness and devotion as a believer in Christ and where I might be falling short. It challenged my commitment to reach out to others around me. Am I too concerned that others will think I’m weird, too pushy or will reject me flat?  I feel challenged in this area and you may, too.   

I also witnessed two other encouraging situations in my travels this week at the airport terminal. I was not eavesdropping, mind you, but the young man in a ball cap and beard was having an interesting phone conversation and I was within earshot. I listened while I tried to not be too obvious, so I guess you could say I was eavesdropping. I gathered he was talking to another young man from things he said. Then I heard him say, “the Word says, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” That made me listen more intently. In effect, he was discipling and giving biblical advice to the other young man about his relationship with his parents. He talked about how they would see the changes in the young man’s life if he persisted in allowing the Lord to work in his life.  A little later I witnessed two other young men talking with a couple who had an adorable toddler. I couldn’t hear all the conversation and moving closer would have been too obvious! But I gathered that the two young men were speaking about the Lord with boldness and confidence that I’ve not witnessed in an airport before. Their conversation covered world concerns and they spoke with confident assurance. They were taking every opportunity to make Christ known and the couple seemed genuinely interested. I can’t help but admire the courage, confidence and manner in which each of these young men represent the Lord well.   Colossians 4:4-6 says, “Pray that I may proclaim it (the gospel) clearly, as I should. Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.”

The Lord is working through His Holy Spirit in each believer when we yield ourselves to Him. Being a disciple is a choice. Sharing our faith and discipling others is a choice. We all need these kinds of relationships to strengthen our faith and our walk.  So, I challenge you and myself, as well, to spend some time with the Lord and talk to Him about being a confident, bold witness. You don’t have to have all the answers- there are lots of references and books for that.  You just have to care enough to tell them about what He’s doing in your life.  1 Peter 3:15 says, “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.”

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Be rich 2018

As a church, we took up a special offering with the plan to give it all away. Part of what we did is give families, who were part of our gathering one Sunday, an envelope with $50 with the instructions to:

  1. Accept the money.
  2. Decide who to give the money to.
  3. Give the money.
  4. Briefly tell us the STORY.

Over the course of the next number of weeks we’ll use this blog to tell some of those stories. Most are brief but each one reflects a heart to give. We did this as part of our annual Be Rich Campaign (Rich in good deeds, that is). Each story is kept anonymous.

As we left church that day we spent the car ride home discussing how to use the money to help someone in need. I opened the discussion with the kids on how our church entrusted us with “the envelope of money” and that we needed to come up with a plan to spend it.  We shared ideas and came up with a plan to incorporate an idea from each of our shared thoughts. The results: Our Crew would deliver blankets, playing cards with hand written notes on the box, water bottles, candy canes and hamburgers to the homeless.

There was so much excitement and anticipation leading up to the actual delivery of the goodies. Even days after our initial conversation on how to spend the money and purchase of the items, the kids continued to share new ideas on how we could serve and help others. Delivery of the items was so much fun and eye opening for our kids. Our first stop was McDonalds where we bought 25 hamburgers, then we drove around and passed each of the items out. Our intentions were to give to the homeless and we did but we also passed out candy canes and burgers to people at bus stops, a security guard, a woman in a parking lot, and even a dog! After everything was passed out I asked the kids what they observed and without hesitation they responded with “we made them smile” “we made them happy”. What I noticed – Not only were the recipients happy and grateful, but so were we. This made my Momma heart happy, thank you for giving us this opportunity and pushing our family to step outside of our comfort zone and give with an open mind and heart.

 

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In trying to understand this scripture in Psalm 91:1-2, I have imagined myself hiding behind the Lord as a frightened child clings and hides behind their mom or dad’s legs.  I wrote this from that perspective and, perhaps, you can relate…

In the Folds of His Robe

I fearfully peek out from behind the heavy fabric. I am hiding. I have hidden myself securely and I’m too afraid to come out! I tremble in fear. The fabric isn’t musty like old fabric but smells of a sweet fragrance – other worldly. I know the One that stands in front of me is shielding me from the storm that has driven me to my hiding place. I want to wrap myself in the fabric that drapes around Him like a child hides behind a parent. I know what I’m seeing in front of me, it is frightening, but it can’t touch me. And suddenly, the calm settles on me. I am safe, I am safe in the folds of His robe. He stands between me and the storm, the uncertainty of this day, the looming fears of an uncertain future. I am holding as tightly, grasping, clinging. Now, feeling safe I wipe tears of relieve on His robe. This One who stands for me is none other than my Savior. The very name Savior, one who saves only describes a part of who He is!  He stands for me and you and prays for us. He speaks peace to the storm and it obeys. The storm must obey His voice. If I must walk through the storm, He walks with me, in front of me, surrounding me with His love. 

I often can’t sense the calm in the storm or the peace until I hide myself in the folds of His robe. The enemy can’t reach me or touch me there, the enemy has no access when I’m in the folds of His robe. It is the secret place. The pure light that radiates from my Savior blinds the enemy. I am hidden, I am safe and I am strengthened until He bids me come out, it is safe. If I had a choice I’d stay in the folds of His robe. He takes off a robe, one He’s made just for me and says, “Put this on, it is mine. Now you can go on.” I timidly take it, I know I don’t deserve His robe but as I touch it and place it around me, I am free of the gripping fear.  I’m renewed to walk today through whatever comes my way.  And then He says, “Now let’s walk on. Do you know how much I love you? Let me tell you…,”and as He speaks He begins to lead the way. I am reassured and know I can run to the folds of His robe again, and again and again. He is the Savior, He is my Savior and my secret place, my hiding place, He is Jesus! 

Psalm 91:1-2 He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust.”

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Golden yellow and orange leaves silently drifted down to carpet the forest floor. I was surrounded by forest, separated only by clear glass walls and steel spires that reached up to the treetops. A cold, fine mist blanketed the forest but I was warm and comfortable inside the Thorncrown Chapel. It was like a welcome, warm embrace.  Low, sweet instrumental music played in the background and I just wanted to soak in it. This peaceful, quiet chapel was the dream of Jim Reed. He wanted others to “encounter not just a beautiful building, but the God who longs to fill your life with the beauty of His presence.” I didn’t want to leave this peaceful, quiet place but we were all too soon on our way. Where do you go to find peace?

My life hasn’t been all that peaceful, lately. You, too, may be experiencing a season where peace is absent. The absence of peace and living stressed, anxious lives isn’t a good place to dwell. We carry around all kinds of worries and concerns – yesterday’s regrets or our future concerns about career, sickness, money, relationships, retirement, and aging weigh us down. Yes, the world can weigh heavy on our shoulders but we were never meant to carry so much of it. I have to admit, I often pick it up and carry it like I can truly heave it to my shoulders, like the mythical Atlas who held the world on his shoulders. So, what’s the cure for our worries and concerns, our stressed out, burned out lives? Well, it’s helpful for me to remember that God says a lot about giving our worries and concerns to Him. I can almost imagine Him saying, “Why are you carrying that and not trusting me? Why don’t you just leave those with me?”

Right now, you may be going through grief, depression, fear or suffering. Please understand, you were never meant to carry all of that. Only the Lord has shoulders that are strong enough. Listen to what Jesus said in John 14: “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let not your hearts be troubled, and do not be afraid.” His peace is available for believers and for those who will come to Him.  Jesus is the burden bearer, He says, “Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

Just like His never-ending love, His never-ending mercy, His never-ending forgiveness, He has an unlimited, never-ending supply of peace. He gave me His peace, but first, I had to surrender what I was carrying to Him. We are talking real peace, the kind that is beyond understanding (Philippians 4:7). He has this for you, but, you must first be willing to surrender what you are carrying to Him. So, what are you carrying? Are you willing to exchange your anxious, troubled burden and thoughts for peace?

 

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