pbandj1011

it won’t kill you.

In Uncategorized on August 26, 2010 at 4:58 pm

Something good to remember: when people speak things into your life, they might just come true.

A little over a year ago I was in Cambodia with a team from my church. On our last night we spent time over dinner, encouraging the YWAM staff we had been working with. At the end of our time together one of the YWAM staffers came up to me and told me that he felt I should pursue preaching at some point, that it was something I should do. At the time I thought well that is cool. It is always great to have a male encourage someone of the female gender pursue any position of leadership within the church, since we often get the opposite.

I have already shared on here about how a few months ago while our church was having a day of prayer and fasting a stranger came up to me and prayed over me focusing on how it was time to walk into my calling and that God would make the path clear. I have readily accepted that word and can thankfully report that God was completely faithful to do so. I finished school and found a job immediately, and along the way Phil and I got a new car and new place to live. The thing is I believe there was one more part to what that guy prayed over me. You see the next Monday of prayer and fasting I showed up to pray and was approached by my pastor about being part of the summer sermon series.After going back and forth, praying, crying, trying to find ways to say no, praying that I would hear thats okay, I finally said yes.

A few days before the sermon, while I was feeling manic with nerves and fears of speaking my own message versus Gods, I spent some time sitting in my church sanctuary. What an appropriate name. It was a wonderful sanctuary of holiness and peace for me during those moments. God in all his wisdom and all-knowingness gently spoke to me…”Joy it won’t kill you, and it won’t be THAT bad”.

So this past Sunday I preached my first sermon. Twice…Since my church has two Sunday services. It did not kill me. And it was not THAT bad once I got started. Our church has been doing a series on Benedictions from the Bible all summer long. I spoke on a benediction from 1 Thessalonians chapter 3 verses 12-14 that focuses on the Christian’s call to grow in love towards others, and how holiness results out of our obedience to do so. To sum it up, I focused on how the entire church (not just the pastors and leaders) is called to grow in love towards the world that is great need of a benediction.

As I have gotten some distance from Sunday, and all the craziness that was the week leading up to it, I have been left with a big sense of thankfulness and grace. I’m amazed at how God’s grace made this happen. I had never before experienced seeking God for a word for an entire group of people…and I had never before experienced receiving an answer. I think back amazed at all the times I typed out ideas that I myself had not, before that moment, realized about Jesus’ message. I am amazed at the grace God showed me in helping me feel better on Sunday when just the previous day I had been diagnosed with bronchitis.

I am also incredibly thankful. I am thankful that I had a chance to grow in love by going through this process. I am thankful for the ways God challenged me. I am thankful for my husband who supported/encouraged/admonished me over the past few months and cooked many of the family meals last week. I am thankful for my pastors who all not just encouraged me, but also prayed with me, and spent time letting me run my sermon by them. They gave great feedback, and I am even more thankful and appreciative of the work they do each week to deliver God’s word to my church. I am so thankful for all the friends and family who provided prayers and encouragement. For the friends who showed up to hear my preach that do not even attend my church. For the friends who answered my crazed texts on Saturday night as I searched for an NIV bible that did not weigh five pounds.

Most of all I am thankful to Jesus/God, who made this possible. The life Jesus lived is what has taught us how to love people. And ohhh did he paint a beautiful picture for us to follow. Like any good leader he did it first, and best. He went to the cross first so that we could be encouraged as we approach it too.

God’s grace has always been sufficient hasn’t it?

Sometimes I get these grandiose ideas about where Phil and I may end up in our lives. Perhaps a foreign country doing development work. Perhaps DC fighting the good policy fight. Perhaps a rural farm raising lots of babies with our friends. For now though I am here and I am remembering that we must grow where we are planted.

I am so thankful to God for challenging me grow where I am planted. I know that in some form I am called to ministry. I don’t know what this looks like, and I’m certainly not about to quit my day job. If anything though God just reminded me that the things he/she has made me passionate about (seeing the church unified around loving as Jesus did, seeing the whole church released to make a difference in the world, seeing women released into public ministry) are happening where I am currently planted.

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