Thursday, October 31, 2013

Staying Connected

A couple years ago, our church announced the beginning of a major transition for our congregation. We would be losing our music minister, children's minister, associate minister and senior minister to retirement. One of the greatest blessings of our church is the commitment and longevity of our staff. It also has made for a time of radical transition. Our staff and leadership put in a lot of time planning a "transition schedule" if you will, so we wouldn't be losing everyone at once. Two weeks ago Sunday, we closed the final phase of the transition. We said goodbye to our senior minister who had been serving at our church for 24+ years. Leon Weece had faithfully and wonderfully shepherd our congregation, and the loss of his presence is one that is tangible.

Last Sunday, our youth minister preached during church. This was something he felt strongly led to do so that we as a congregation would know that he felt the loss as well. Jerad preached an amazing, strong, God breathed sermon that spoke to the soul of the church.

He challenged us with the thought of staying connected. Staying connected to God and to each other as a body of believers. This thought has really got me thinking this week. One of the biggest evangelical movements of today is reaching the "unchurched." We live in a country that is void of many "non Christians," and is full of people that have left, never been, or been turned off from the church for a myriad of reasons, many of which are extremely valid. We are challenged to make friends and "do life," with these people so they know they belong with us.

This is an idea that I have loved from the moment I heard it preached. I have always been one of those people that has had the need to "belong." I don't do alone well. I  hate not feeling like I "fit in" or belong. And I never want anyone else to feel that way. So many people present this idea of Christianity as one that is almost like a private club. You have to look, act, think, work and play like we do, or you don't get in. This has burned so many bridges that we're being built in an effort to lead someone to Christ.

However, there is something to be said for surrounding yourself with fellow believers. Not necessarily ones with the exact same doctrinal beliefs as you, but people who when it's all said and done at the end of the day, have chosen to live a Christ filled life. You need a strong foundation of relationships to help you when you go through a hard time. Like our church will rely on one another to stay connected as a body of believers rather than letting Satan tear down the walls of our congregation from the inside out, we need those deep personal connections with fellow believers when we're in the middle of very real, very personal, very traumatic events happening in our lives.

During dark times in my life, I've been close to both active Christ followers, and once that haven't quite reached that intimate level of relationship yet (though my deepest prayer and desire is that they will). Reactions to troubling circumstances can differ greatly, when the advice or direction from one friend is driven by the Spirit. One's main focus is me and the other, is Jesus. One gives me advice that they feel will make me the most happy. One gives me advice that may not be exactly what I want to hear, think, act, or do, but is what the Bible calls me to do. I need the challenge, I need the accountability. I love surrounding myself with all kinds of people and loving them with a Christ filled love, but the one's I let in the closest, the one's that I let see down to the darkest, deepest depths of my soul, need to be on the same page with me about Who I'm living for and Who's I am .

So today, I encourage you to reach out and love on those that don't yet know Christ. Because I do. Please don't hear me wrong on this. Love people. Let them in. Show them the tangible love of our wonderful Lord and savior. But I also encourage you to be careful about who you turn to during troubling, wonderful, tragic, and rejoicing times. We all need people. We just need to make sure the people we're needing will always point us back to Him.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Living a Spirit Led Life

A few weeks ago I went with about several women from my church to a Women Of Faith Conference in Kansas City. I haven't been to an event like this since I was in High School and we attend CIY conferences. I was so excited about this event. I was especially looking forward to the event because of the theme, "Believe God Can Do Anything." I have seen God move in mighty ways in my life recently and was ready to celebrate that fact! What I didn't anticipate was the stirring the Spirit was going to begin in me while I was there.

I've always been unsure about God's plan for my life. Did he want me to be a nurse, a teacher, a business women, a writer, a stay at home mom? There are a few things I have always been sure about though. I knew God wanted to use me in a mighty way. I knew God placed a passion in my heart for people. I knew God gave me the gift of gab. But how am I supposed to use these things?

Currently I am an RN in an intensive care unity in a nearby hospital. I love my job. I love helping people, I love being able to be a light to them in some seriously dark times. I love that I am able to get full time hours done in three days and be at home with my sweet boy the other four days a week. But is this where God is calling me to? I know God is calling me here now, for this season, but I can't help but feel this stirring in my heart for something else. I want to preach, teach, lead, and live life side by side with women in some practical way. I want to be a light in this dark world. I want to live a Spirit led life.

I've always said I have three jobs here on this earth, 1) Love God, 2) Love People, and 3) make sure people know God loves them too. I am a firm believer that God can use you wherever you are doing whatever it is you're doing. As long as you live your life doing these three jobs, whatever you do as a career, whoever it is you're surrounded by, that is your ministry.

I have no idea what God is going to do with these promptings I feel on my heart. I have no idea what doors are going to be opened. But I do know I'm here. I'm waiting. I believe God can take this simple girl from Oklahoma and use her in mighty ways, whether it be staying right put where I am in the ICU, or whether He's going to blow open doors I never thought possible. But I do know I'm ready, patiently waiting and living a Spirit led life.