“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
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?
“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?
“It’s not you, it’s me”
That phrase came to mind as I listened to Ski’s sermon about making disciples this week. Now, typically, that phrase evokes sadness, anger, bitterness, disappoint, and a whole host of negative emotions. But, when that phrase is spoken by our Heavenly Father, it’s a different story. Ski said in his sermon, “It’s not about you, it’s about what is behind you.” How true is that. We have God on our side and his Word behind our attempts to spread the Gospel. He continually whispers in our ears, “It’s not you, it’s me!” Remember that the next time you want to pass up an opportunity to share the Word out of fear.
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go. – Joshua 1:9b
Do you ever just get tired of it? Do you feel time to time like throwing in the towel, finding a safe hiding place, and sleeping your life away? Or at least hiding out for a couple of days? Can I be honest with you and admit that I do? From time to time I do get tired of it all. I get tired of the critics, of the long-hours, of the “job is my life” lifestyle. Sometimes I don’t want to be nice, I don’t want to be helpful. I want to think about me and only me, I want more “me time.”
I inevitably ask myself, “Why am I feeling this way?” The simple answer: Satan is at work. He wants all of us to have those thoughts. He wants us to give up because God is using us to do great things for his Kingdom. I think it is easy to forget that at the end of the day, while we all have bosses and earthly authorities we must answer to, our ultimate authority, the only one who truly matters, is God. Galatians 1:10 says, “Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not a servant of Christ.” Wow! That last part is like a punch in the face. Trying to please people, working only for people means we are not servants of Christ. You see it’s easy to get discouraged and want to give up the fight if we are focused on winning the approval of people.
Although it is easy to forget, I think when we want to surrender we have to remember our Savior and everything he endured. Hebrews 12:3 reminds us, “Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” Christ knows what criticism feels like. His job was his life. He worked long hours. He knows and in fact promises that following and serving him isn’t going to be easy. It’s going to be difficult. It’s going to be exhausting. There may be times when we want to give up. But it’s at those times we have to remember who we are working for, who we are serving, and who promises to be there as a refuge and support when we are weary. And that person every time is our Friend and Savior Jesus.
So if you ever feel like throwing in the towel, know that you’re not alone. But also check yourself. Ask yourself why you are feeling that way. And remember all your Savior endured for you. Remember that he feels your pain and he promises to be there, to get you through if you will lean on him.
“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”
– Galatians 6:9
“It is, perhaps, one of the hardest struggles of the Christian life to learn this sentence – ‘Not unto us, not unto us, but unto Thy name be glory.’”
To God be the glory – It is one thing to say it, yet another very different to believe it and be convicted of it. But when I make myself take a moment to stop and reflect on the world in which I live I can’t help but think “To God be the glory!”
It has been nothing short of a crazy rollercoaster ride since we embarked on this crazy adventure last fall. I wish words could capture the amazing ways in which God has been glorified through the process and the countless ways in which he has shown his greatness.
I get the question all of the time, “What do you do exactly?” The next question is usually something like, “How do you know how to do all of that?” That answer is easy, I don’t. I learn as I go. God is good and he uses people like me, people like you, to do seemingly impossible things that he might be glorified.
So, as we continue on this journey together let us learn from one another, let us share ideas, let us work for the Kingdom side by side, but most importantly I pray that we remind each other often, “To God be the glory.” It is only by his power and grace that we are able to accomplish anything.