Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Bar Ministry?

A few weeks ago, my husband and I attended his high school reunion. Due to lack of planning and organization, it was held at a local downtown bar. Neither of us are at a place in our lives where we frequent drinking establishments. We seem to have left that part of us behind with the college, pre-parent versions of us.

I am certainly not legalistic with the matter, and yes we occasionally enjoy a beer or margarita with dinner, but watching people around me become obliterated and turn into obnoxious, close-talking, stumbling versions of themselves is not my ‘cup of tea’.

After catching up with several of the wives, I was sitting on a bar stool, just observing. The husband of one of my friends (an old classmate of my husbands) sat next to me and started chatting. Immediately he asked me about the work we do with the Youth Group at our church, and proceeded to dive into an in-depth conversation about faith, God, marriage, tithing, etc. I could tell his whole purpose in seeking me out was to be able to have a discussion about God. He and his wife have been having troubles, and both of them have drifted away from their faith. He confided in me that his wife feels like she has had too troubled of a past to ever be forgiven.

For the first time, I felt like I was able to answer the questions someone was asking me, and I felt like I could speak knowledgeably about the Lord and scripture. Not that the credit is mine, more than anything, I could feel the Lord speaking through me. I felt like all of the discussing, reading and praying I had been doing had prepared me for that very moment. God had led me to prepare so that He could use me at that very moment, to help someone better understand his faith.

Recently, another friend, who I haven’t spoken to since high school but is a friend on Facebook, sent me a private prayer request. I felt so delighted, not because this person is going through a rough time, but because God is using me to help others. It is so exciting to feel Him working around me. It is so important for us to keep our eyes and ears open for moments to share. Who would have thought that Facebook and a bar would be places of ministry? God is sovereign!

“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”- 2 Timothy 3:16-17

My heavenly Father, I ask that you can continue to prepare me to be a sanctuary. Open my heart, ears, mind, and soul to allow Your words to flow through me to help to bring others to You. Help me to minister to others through my actions and my words, so that I might be an example of Jesus Christ in all that I say, think and do. It is in Your holiest name I pray, Amen.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Light In The Dark

In the middle of the night, a few weeks ago, I went in to tend to my crying infant son. As I was rocking him, I noticed how the tiny green LED light on his monitor was incredibly bright in his pitch dark room.
I began thinking and pondering on this tiny light and it struck me as being very similar to the light of Christ. When our worlds are dark and silent, even the tiniest light is noticeably bright (and maybe blinding to a sleepy mother’s unadjusted eyes). But how often do we muddle up our lives with other “brighter” lights that become so much more important. We become so preoccupied with bills, dishes, dirty diapers, bath time, soap operas, Facebook, etc. (yes, that was a confession), that we fail to notice the tiniest, most important light of all… Christ.
He will not intrude on our lives, and force himself in as a blinding light… remember that he will knock on the door of our heart, but will enter only when invited.

Lord, help me to focus on the light of Your love. Make the yearning in my heart for you stronger than it has ever been before. Guide me through this day and every day. It is in Your holiest name I pray. Amen.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Use This Time To Spend With Me

Tuesday I woke up thinking it was going to be a really long day. You see, a squirrel chewed through the phone cable Monday afternoon, temporarily knocking out my home phone, internet and wi-fi connections. The repair man couldn’t come until Wednesday. I was so irritated that it would take him a whole DAY AND A HALF to get here! I mean, what was I supposed to do without my friends’ to-the-minute status updates and repeated phone calls to my sister? You have to know, too, that my cell phone has been working quite weirdly since I dropped it at the church and it spent the night in the parking lot. It was rescued by Amanda, but now I can hear the person on the other line, but they cannot always hear me. How frustrating. I thought to myself “What am I supposed to do without my connections to others? I simply cannot live without internet and phone! I feel trapped, thank goodness for texting!”

So that’s how my morning started. As I got out my IPod Touch, hoping at least my wi-fi connection had been restored; something in the back of my mind said “Use this time to spend with Me”. I read devotion about spiritual gifts and then shook off the words that were resonating in my head, and played a quick game. Then there they were again, “Use this time to spend with Me”. I quickly turned off the device and sat in silence.

Contemplating my slight addiction to technology, and how it breaks into my time spent with Him, my cell phone rang. Rushing to answer it, my friend was on the phone, and she could actually hear me! We spent a few minutes gabbing about things unimportant and the times we could watch each other’s son. I closed my phone over the waistband of my shorts and walked outside to water our new landscaping, forbidding I miss a phone call or text. I was lost in the beauty of the plants and flowers, providing them with an essential to live, water. Sunshine is also needed, but that one is a little out of my control.

As I returned inside I decided to check my phone to see if I had missed anything important. Where did I put my phone? I searched and searched, walking around in circles all over the house and couldn’t find it. I seemed to remember something about my waistband, but it wasn’t there either. “Use this time to spend with Me.” Stopping in my tracks, I remembered that I had heard this earlier as well. But I needed to find my phone. I looked outside, front and back and still couldn’t find it. It wasn’t inside or out. Now what? “Use this time to spend with Me.”

I knew I needed to listen, but stubbornly I also knew I needed to find my phone. As my only means of communication I knew I needed it in case of emergency. So I said to God, “Please help me find my phone and I will turn it off as soon as I find it. I just need to know where it is in case I need to call 911.” A little dramatic, maybe, but in case of an emergency I figured communication would be good. I walked outside and retraced the steps I had already walked while searching before, and but this time, I found my cell phone, a little drenched from the watering, but otherwise fine. As promised, I turned it off and felt a call to start writing. I obeyed and began to look into my heart a little deeper.

I know that my phone and internet being wiped out was no accident. I know that leaving my cell phone in the parking lot was also not an accident. I know that the nagging insistence to turn the television off and get engrossed in what is real is not an accident. I also know that sometimes my head is too hard to feel the whack from the proverbial 2X4. I have been feeling a tugging at my heart more lately than usual. I know that I am so obsessed with Facebook and email and celebrity gossip that I haven’t been giving time to what is really important, Him.
I mean, how dare I say that I cannot live without internet and phone? It is certainly not those who gave me life. It is most definitely not through those that I will have life everlasting. Does it really matter that Angie’s cat did the funniest thing today, or that Sophia went hiking? Is it imperative that all of my cyber-friends know what exciting new things Little K is doing (although I am quite excited that he is rolling over and giggling now)? It’s insulting to God to spend my days with my Facebook friends and texting and gossiping instead of worshiping Him.

I know it is through Him that I have life and breath. I know it is through Him that I am blessed with an amazing husband, son, family, and church community. So why am I not using my time to spend with him? My heart is overflowing with truth and life, especially knowing that God spoke to my heart, saying “Use this time to spend with Me”. We are all important, he wants ALL of us to spend our time with Him.

I know he wasn’t saying “Use this time to spend with Me, until your phone and internet are fixed, then you can go back to your old ways”. No, he was saying “Spend your time with Me”. “Spend your time with Me”.

My hope is that once all of my technological devices are back up and running properly, I will be able to use them as a worship tool. Not to become absorbed in things of much less importance. I hope to be able to make worship a much bigger and more essential part of my day.

Let this pierce your heart. If we listen we can hear Jesus saying to all of us “Spend your time with Me”.