Get Dirty

Loss – that’s a tough thing to deal with, I don’t think anyone is going to try and deny that. Loss spans the spectrum and goes beyond losing an individual. For me loss is a bit more abstract and a bit more subtle, but it’s there and it’s very real.

On Sunday Ski said or rather shouted (if you were there you know I’m serious) “Churches want to put out their hand to help people out of the mud, but that’s not what our Savior does. Our Savior climbs in the mud with you and pulls you up and helps you out. That’s what we’re about.” We are about that because we recognize that Christ has pulled us from the mud countless times and he calls us to reflect that love for His glory.

That means sometimes we’re going to be uncomfortable. We’re going to do things we never wanted to or thought we’d do. But there are people who are hurting. People who need Jesus. And the way in which we bring them the good news of the Gospel is by climbing into the mud and getting dirty. We can’t picky about who or when or where, we just have to do it.

When was the last time you jumped in the mud to help someone else out? Who in your life right now is in the mud and needs your help?

Moments

“We do not remember days, we remember moments.” Cesare Pavese

I have been trying every day to find at least one “God moment” to focus on. Now, don’t get me wrong, of course every moment is a God moment in a sense. But, to me, “God moments” are those moments when God really comes alive for me, when fingerprints of his grace and power are all over this world, when I am so deeply convicted of my faith that I want to jump up and down with excitement and tell the whole world. In those moments, I am totally in awe and honestly cannot find the words to express how great our God is. Sometimes it is so easy to get caught up in the craziness of life and focus so much on WHAT I do that I forget WHY I do it and WHO I do it for. Focusing on “God moments” reminds me WHY I live my life the way I do and WHO I live it for.

Well, today was one big long gigantic “God moment.” I couldn’t pick just a moment, I don’t know that I could even pick a favorite. It’s a toss up between watching from afar a struggling 27 year old patiently teach a crazy hyper 7 year old boy how to play the ukulele, hearing of a 19 year old homeless man in our church mumble under his breath “there really are nice people in this world,” seeing an 18 year old very pregnant girl devour 4, 5, 6 hot dogs along with pizza and cookies, and honestly the list could go on. And seriously, God so blessed me today that I got to experience all of those “God moments” and more. Reflecting on it all I am honestly nearly moved to tears of joy for the first time in a long time. Our God is so amazingly good. Contrary to the quote above, today is one day I will definitely remember. But, I will remember it in moments, in “God moments.”

Do you take note of the “God moments” in your life? I pray his amazing power and grace is real to you and consumes your life.

Who is Jesus?

What about you? Who do you say Christ is? This week we debunked the spiritual myth that there are many ways to God. In our street interview video we were faced with the harsh reality that far too many people, even people in our own backyard, on our streets, who do not know the one and only way to heaven. Jesus is the real deal. He is THE way, he is THE truth, and he is THE life. (John 14:6) When I stop and think about how awesome that is and everything my Savior did for me I’m at a loss for words. I loved the quote from Martin Luther that Ski included in his sermon this week: “Learn to know Christ and him crucified. Learn to sing to him, and say, ‘Lord Jesus, you are my righteousness, I am your sin. You have taken upon yourself what is mine and give me what is yours. You have become what you were not so that I might become what I was not.’” (Martin Luther) Wow! Christ took my sin and GAVE me his righteousness. Because he became sinful and shed his blood I can become sinless in the eyes of God.

Jesus is my friend. Jesus is my shelter from the world. But most importantly Jesus is my Savior. Who is Jesus to you?

Hats

“She’s wears many hats.” Ever heard that phrase? I get asked all of the time, “So, what do you do?” And quite honestly, I’m not certain I know how to answer all of the time. The truth is, I am one of those people who wears many hats, sometimes so many I can’t count them all. I am the typical things: a daughter, a friend. But in my job, the hat count multiplies. I wear different hats depending on the day. My hats include email sender, phone call maker, phone call answerer, cleaning service organizer, popcorn maker, ice bucket filler, coffee maker, hot dog maker, pizza maker, computer problem solver, bulletin maker, business card orderer, webmaster, listener, volunteer coordinator, vision brainstormer, service builder, volunteer room supplier, decorator, PR person, the list could go on but my brain hurts. But more than any of those hats: I am a child of God and I am his tool. I pray everyday that God gives me the strength, perseverance, and humility to live out the dreams he has given me, to do the ministry he placed me here to do.

What hats do you wear? How can God use you as you wear those hats?

I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some. 1 Corinthians 9:22


I Wonder as I Wander

Do you ever stop and marvel at the interconnectedness of humanity? Maybe that idea seems far to deep and abstract for some of you, but seriously, just try thinking about it if even for a brief moment. It baffles me really.

Here at The CORE today we have had 8-15 people from one of the homeless shelters in Appleton stop in. They’ve been fed, given something to drink, and of course heard that Jesus still loves them and forgives them in spite of all of the mistakes they have made. And can I tell you something? Each of those individuals has now made an impact on my life. Perhaps it is a very small impact, but nonetheless an impact because we are all connected. At the end of the day, we are the same. We are poor miserable sinners in need of a Savior. And if you think otherwise, sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but you are missing the truth.

I am someone who remembers people, I remember experiences, I remember conversations, I remember faces. And when I stop to think about all of the people I have come into contact with in my life I can’t help but thank God for those experiences and deeply regret the times that I wasn’t aware of the others, that I thought myself too good to interact with certain people. He uses people to do his work here on earth, how humbling is that!

Have you stopped to thank God lately for the people he allows to come into your life – Even if for a very brief moment?

I’ve Been Watching You

“Never underestimate the importance of simply being physically present in the place God wants you. You may not be asked to perform some dramatic ministry, but simply being there is a ministry.” – Warren Wiersbe

We have had tons of different people in and out of The CORE in the last two days. For me, this means lots of people watching – or people observing if your prefer that term. Call it what you want, but I pay attention to people’s actions, to their body languages; perhaps almost more than their words at times. And let me tell you what, God has blessed us with some amazing people around here. People who live the quote above, people who may not perform some dramatic ministry but participate in ministry simply by being in a certain place at a certain time.

Yesterday, I sat and watch a 70+ year old man walk up and make conversation with a stranger who walked into our building. A stranger who may not have a home, who probably hasn’t showered in a couple of days, who may not be in a right state of mind. I took note of that 70 year old man’s actions. His actions tell me there is something different about him.

I sat and watched a middle aged man sit down and make conversation with a young woman visiting our building. She sat in our building for hours and very few people walked up and talked to her. That man may have made her day.

I am someone who always wants to be doing something, always wants results. I want the “dramatic ministry.” I have to stop and remind myself that I am God’s tool. He will use me in the way he sees fit. And sometimes, that may mean talking to a stranger who walks into our building. Because bottom line is, those people are looking for their Savior too. They are watching his people – their actions much more than their words.

What would people think of your actions? What ministry are you doing by simply being present in a place?