Posts Tagged ‘service’

GiftFor who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?  1 Corinthians 4:7

 

I had a wonderful opportunity yesterday to share in the ordination service of a wonderful friend and ministry partner.  The day started rather inauspiciously with a flat tire repair.  However the beautiful location of the Annual Western Ohio Conference of the United Methodist Church gathering more than made of for the trials experienced in the morning.  I could say that the idyllic setting of Lakeside, or the wonderful hospitality of our friend, indeed of the entire Western Ohio Conference, or event the wonderful ice cream and coffee offered by the local shops was the highlight of the day. However Bishop Gregory Palmer came to the podium and served up a message that should be listened to by every minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ everywhere.  “It’s a gift”!  I believe that I was in the majority of people who were gathered to celebrate the “accomplishment” of ordination for our friends or family members.  Bishop Palmer reminded us that it is at times like these that we tend to “smell our selves”, in my family we might have said “get too big for our britches”.  We grab onto this wonderful accomplishment that we have achieved and forget that everything we have, everything we are and everything that we do is a gift from God.  We forget that it all starts and emanates from the cross and the great gift of salvation by faith, not by any works that we could possibly conceive to “accomplish”.  Whether it is ordination, the growth of a church or the establishment of a ministry these are all gifts.  It is when we start to “smell ourselves” and rest on the great things that we have done that the trouble starts.  We stake out territories.  We begin to do things to extend our accomplishments that hurt the heart of God and create strife within the body of Christ.  We demean others as less important than ourselves, justifying our manipulation or even persecution of them, all because we lose sight of the fact that “It’s all a gift”.

What a wonderful opportunity all of us who have been entrusted with such a gift have.  Whether we are ordained, licensed or simply called the children of God we have this opportunity, this day, this moment to share all this that we have received from the hand of our gracious Lord and Savior.  “It’s all a gift!”

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This is from Allana’s Blog.  The link is on this page but I thought I would copy it here because this content is awesome even outside of the framework of what she is doing with True Beauty.

I did want to spin it a little bit for those of you who are ministry leaders.  I think sometimes Church and Ministry leadership push people into weariness because there are spots to fill and initiatives to undertake.  Brothers and sisters in Christ who fall into one of these categories get pushed or even just “encouraged” into taking on ministry that they shouldn’t.  Are spots being filled in ministry done with a “sigh of relief” or with real prayerful consideration.  There is NO position worth filling at the cost of a person’s Spiritual Health and relationship with God!

Blessings,

Sam

Saying that you are weary in ministry almost sound taboo! But, let’s face it; I haven’t met a single person who hasn’t become weary in ministry at one time or another. If you are in ministry and this has never happened to you, I would love to know your secret, as I have also faced this weariness.


Looking back over my life, I see a few different reasons why I became weary. I also see my flaw of giving up and what I should have done differently. Perhaps you can learn from my mistakes, or perhaps you have faced the same types of things happening in your own life and it may help you know what to do from here.


1. Drained from insecurity


October 2003, we got connected with a young couple who was planting a church in Pontiac, Michigan. After a couple weeks, Bobby approached me and asked if I would lead worship for the church. I accepted; however, we didn’t have a band, and I didn’t know how to play an instrument, so I sang with a CD. At first it was really no big deal. There were less than 10 of us in the church, so for me it was like singing at my mom’s bible studies. As the church grew, however; so did my insecurity. I had an okay voice, I could usually sing on key, but I wasn’t professionally trained. I seriously started doubting myself. A lot of it came when I sang for a little while with a woman who was a serious power house singer. She wanted and felt that she should be the worship leader, because she had been musically trained. Bobby felt that I needed to stay as the worship leader, because I had a heart for worship. I will never forgot what he said, “Having a heart for worship outshines talent any day.” I tried to take courage in his words, but when the woman left the church because of it, my heart sank. As we added more and more people to the worship team, I felt smaller and smaller. I literally cried all the way to church begging God to help me to just focus on Him through worship. But, then I would cry all the way home, because of all the flaws in myself that I could see. It was pure torture! I was a mess. I was so insecure and overly sensitive that I let everything rock my boat, and if someone else didn’t do it I would stand in my own canoe and rock it myself. I left hurt and completely empty.


I am once again singing on our worship team. My first week back I was extremely insecure, but God is showing me something: a heart of worship truly is what He wants. If God is calling you to something that challenges your insecurity, just rest at His feet. He will give you what you need. I no longer dread singing; in fact, I enjoy it and can’t wait until the next month when I get to sing again. God is good!


2. Drained because you are in ministry for the wrong reasons
There have been many times that I have gotten busy in ministry that uplifts me. I feel the rush of acceptance when people compliment what I have done or am doing. I pour my time and energy in places that I feel encouragement. I will be transparent with you, there are times that I will pour into friends and others who need me because I don’t feel needed, wanted, accepted, or appreciated at home. Why did I love to greet? Because you get to smile at someone and usually have them smile back at you. It’s rewarding. Doing laundry, doing dishes, and cleaning the bathroom are not really rewarding. They are repeat-it jobs. The result is as soon as you clean it, someone will need those jobs to be done again within moments. These house chores can make you feel weary. “Ugh, Nisa, I just put all those blocks away a second ago.” “Robert, I just mopped the floor, don’t walk in here with your muddy shoes.” Oh yeah, I’m a mom. We cannot push our family to the side because we don’t feel rewarded there. We cannot strive to do more for an away from the home type of ministry than we do at home because we get rewarded by feeling accepted and appreciated. Our ministry starts in the home. And we need to stop seeing doing the dishes, laundry, or the vacuuming as a drag, but as something God has called us to do. Last week I talked a little bit of Martha and how sometimes the dishes can wait while we need to snuggle our child instead. However, there needs to be a balance there. Those of us who are moms and wives are called to be homemakers. Snuggling with your baby is important, but you can’t just do that all day. I learned a very valuable lesson. It was about four years into our marriage and we went to a church where they were talking about marriage. I will never forget what the pastor said, “You need to hear how your partner says, ‘I love you,’ and you need to learn how to say, ‘I love you,’ in a way that your partner can hear it. One is as important as the other.” I left that message completely changed as a wife. I learned that Sam working so hard is his way of saying, “I love you,” when I use to read it as, “I can’t stand being home with you. I would rather be at work.” And I realized that Sam hears, “I love you,” when I take the time to cook a good meal and make sure the house is tidied up when he walks in the door. Do I ever get drained from pouring myself at home? Of course! I human and am, therefore, selfish! I would rather hang out on FB than make sure Nisa’s toys are picked up for the hundredth time that day. But, I am finding it easier to experience joy in what God has called me to do, and being okay with receiving HIS acceptance instead of needing it from someone else. This is huge!


3. Drained from pouring out in too many places


All of these go hand in hand for me. When I feel insecure, I jump into any ministry that I am certain that I can get a pat on the back. I also typically throw myself into way too many places of ministry. Sometimes when I am running away from my chaos, I find that I become too busy. Seems like an oxymoron, but it’s true for me. In 2010, I was dealing with my anger with God over everything I had lost, but I was also dealing with resurfacing memories of pain and abuse that I hadn’t yet healed from. I felt overloaded inside. So, I got involved in everything. By the time that 2011 came around we were busy every single day. On Monday Nights, Sam and I were youth leaders, so we drove Emily, Robert, two other friends, and ourselves 30 minutes to church for youth group. We stayed late and helped set the church back up, causing us to not get back home until almost 10:00 p.m. On Tuesday nights, we drove almost an hour to The Lewis House to go to their prayer nights around the community. On Wednesday nights, we drove the 30 minutes for shine practice and church that night. On Thursday nights, we drove the hour to The Lewis House for their community dinner outreach. On Friday nights, we drove back to The Lewis House for their church service, where we watched the kids of those who came to the service. On Saturday nights, we drove the 30 minutes to church for their Saturday night service. At this point, I was leading children’s worship almost every Saturday night. For many Sunday mornings during 2011, I led children’s worship for two services. We were also leading the youth group Outreach program and filling in when needed. Once a month, we were greeters and I was on the adult worship team. Having my fingers in too many areas of ministry, I was beyond weary. It was a lot. By the end of 2011, we had moved into The Lewis House, and had dropped a lot of the extra ministries at church. I also gave myself time to heal during this time from what I had been through emotionally over the previous two years.


4. Drained from doing things you aren’t really called to do


I am finding it is very important to make sure you are being called to a ministry before just stepping into it. I am currently in this position. I have become very weary of where I have been placed, because I neglected to ask God if this particular ministry opportunity is for me. I wanted to be back in ministry, reaching out, to be back doing what I was doing before, or at least getting started there. I jumped back into being a “yes” person, and I really need to stop saying yes before taking time to pray about it. You know, sometimes I find that my prayer is, “Lord, if I am supposed to do this, please open the door.” Sigh, I am finding that sometimes that door opens, but I still am not supposed to walk through it. So here I am learning this lesson again. This goes with everything in life, not just ministry. I believe our society is becoming increasingly busy with life; school, work, church, kid, and family obligations. When does it end? Take a look at your calendar. Does it overwhelm you? What can you cut out? As we have been decluttering our houses, I think it is also time to start decluttering our lives. I am thankful for George and Sarah Williams, the directors of The Lewis House, (when it was still going). They made us commit to having one day off from ministry to spend with our family, and to having one date night every other week. They went so far as to giving us date night cards so that we could do that. Let’s not just be constant “yes” people. What time are we stealing from our families? Are we not protecting them by allowing them to fill up their calendars too? Do some soul searching with God.


5. Drained from fighting God’s plans


This is my recent lesson.
When The Lewis House closed April 2014, my heart was broken. I was just starting to feel better and I was ready to get back to it. I missed interacting with our neighborhood, ministering with kids at the after school program we ran, dancing with the girls that would come two days a week, and randomly inviting our neighbors to dinner. I was ready, or, at least I felt I was ready. When Sam and I prayed for months for direction and God having had lain on our hearts that we were supposed to move again, I was heartbroken. I didn’t want to close this chapter of my heartbeat. It still brings me to tears when thinking about it.


I felt guilty for being so sad. God moved us to a beautiful home that was small, but much easier to take care of, and yet my heart felt weary. I was longing for the past and becoming angry about my present. But, I realized God needs me exactly where I am right now. I’m not out of ministry, it just looks different. I thought I was becoming weary because I wasn’t doing what I wanted to, but really I was becoming weary because I was not accepting what God had called me to do.


Oh, it is a learning curve for me! I struggle with saying no to the things that I want to do. But, I am finding that as I let go of my insecurity and find my security at His feet, I am no longer weary. My weariness vanishes when: I don’t jump into anything because I need man’s approval, but thrive on what God is saying to my heart; when I keep my calendar as empty as possible and focus on what is truly important; and when I really pray about what I am supposed to be involved in, instead of just jumping into things because they sound good. I don’t grow tired. I am able to serve my family, which is my very first place of ministry. And, most importantly, when you pour yourself into God’s word, dwell in His presence, and focus on His truths you are continuously being renewed!

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What an amazing day this was!

Learning To Fly

Welcome to our life party 🙂

Thank you to everyone who came out and celebrated with us – make sure to watch the videos, who knows.. you may see yourself

To others who want the full experience, hopefully this will help you get a feel for what our celebration was all about. I want to encourage you to watch every video in the order they are posted… they build on each other to show our life and our journey through the great, through the trails… Thank you for taking the time to share in our day even from your personal computer ❤

Those who don’t have the time to walk through this day with us, you can just view the pictures as you scroll down.

Life Party Getting Ready Set up, worship practice and getting ready for The Life Party to begin

Everyone Watching The Amazed Video (which is below) – Sam and I…

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Lion's Den

 As for every matter of wisdom and understanding about which the king consulted them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and conjurers who were in all his realm. And Daniel continued until the first year of Cyrus the king.  Daniel 1:20-21

Daniel is one of the most amazing characters in the Bible for a number of reasons.  Our canon of Scripture places Daniel among the prophets but the Jewish Scriptures do not.  The Jewish Canon places it in a group called The Writings.  While one cannot deny Daniel’s prophetic gift, he did not hold the office of prophet.  Certainly God calls on him repeatedly to speak  to the various leaders of Babylon, but that leads us to another unique thing about Daniel.  Other than the fact that Daniel was a Jew and was taken at a young age from his home in Judah the contents do not speak of or to the Jews.

So what do we know about this enigmatic figure and author of one of the 39 books of our old testament (one of the 24 in the Jewish Canon)? Daniel lived in the sixth century BC.  His family was either of the royal family or the nobility.  Pretty much everything that we know directly of Daniel comes from the book bearing his name.  The authorship of the book is much debated but I do not doubt that Daniel wrote it near the end of his life, probably after he had retired from public service.  I find most other textual criticism to be contrived either for academic reasons (you have to write your dissertation on something) or with the express need to explain away the miraculous.  He grew up during hard times in Judah.  His dedication to God from the very beginning would indicate to me that his parents were godly people living in ungodly times.  They are not mentioned here or elsewhere in Scripture.  If they did survive the siege and capture of Jerusalem Daniel was taken from them at around the age of 13.  This was the typical age at which the Babylonians of this era began training for public servants.  We are able to historically place the siege and capture of Jerusalem right around the year 605 BC.  This enables us to date many aspects of Daniel’s life, particularly when his service to Babylon began and ended.  This is what caught my attention and brought me to look a little deeper at the life of this man of God, this man of  hupomone (perseverance).  Daniel as we said was not a prophet, he was not a priest nor a missionary.  He was a public administrator and in many ways a politician by trade.  Daniel served God in the Babylonian courts and government until the year or year after Cyrus captured Babylon seizing control of that empire.  That event is historically established as occurring in 540 BC.  So Daniel served God in his capacity as an administrator for several versions of the Neo-Babylonian Empire from 605 BC until 540 BC, or including training around 65 years!  That is some serious Hupomone!  Throughout that time he maintained his dedication to and love for God, even facing death!  He probably spent the last few years of his life (from 540,41 to 543,44) penning the book under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit which would become of part of the canon of Scripture we hold as the Word of God today!  He was very much an Old Testament Missionary, called to a pagan people to speak the heart of God.  Consider his words to Nebuchadnezzar: ‘Therefore, O king, may my advice be pleasing to you: break away now from your sins by doing righteousness and from your iniquities by showing mercy to the poor, in case there may be a prolonging of your prosperity.’  Daniel 4:27 It seems that most often studies of Daniel focus in on either the eschatological aspects of his prophecies or just a few specific events within the book.  The next few weeks will be dedicated to looking at Daniel and the Long Haul.

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This is our first Newsletter since the closing of The Lewis House.  Below is a link to the PDF version with live links for donations and contacts.

GuidryOH4-14

 

GuidryOH4-14AGuidryOH4-14B

 

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Biblical Perseverance:  All of my February Morning Munch Spots in one place!

Morning Munch Monday February 10th

Morning Munch Tuesday February 11th

Morning Munch Wednesday February 12th

Morning Munch Thursday February 13th

Morning Munch Friday February 14th

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Faith Gun

We recently played a family game called “Snake Oil”.  The premise is pretty simple.  You have a hand of 6 cards and you need to combine 2 of them to create a product which you the “sell” to the player who is “it” and has a particular profile based on the buyer’s card.  My now second youngest daughter (yes I typed youngest first) needed to sell a product to a soldier and this is what she came up with, The Faith Gun.  She pitched it as a weapon which always hit the target you were aiming at as long as you believed.  Well as comments from my children often do, it got me to thinking about this product and its application to our lives as Christians.

“For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses.”  (2 Corinthians 10:4)

Paul consistently describes the Christian life in military terms.  We are in a battle and the enemy is powerful.  “Be if sober spirit, be on the alert.   Your adversary the Devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”  (1 Peter 5:8 ) However God does not leave us un-equipped and unprepared for this battle.  The key is that we need to avail ourselves of the training and weapons at our disposal.  So let me introduce you to the Faith Gun.

1.  The Faith Gun becomes instantly available to every born again Christian when they place their belief, trust and obedience in Jesus.

Our spiritual arsenal becomes instantly available when we receive the indwelling of the Holy Spirit as a result of our decision to become a follower of Jesus Christ.

 In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation – having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who isgiven as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.   (Ephesians 1:13-14)

2.  Proper use of the Faith Gun requires submission and training.

There is only one training manual for the Faith Gun, The Bible.  However there are many resources that God places in our lives as we develop maturity and skill as Soldiers of Christ.

” It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers,to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up  until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature,attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ.  From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.”  (Ephesians 4:11-16)

“Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you–guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us” (1 Timothy 1:14)

It is up to us to take advantage of all of the training resources that God provides, measuring each one by the Manual.  This of course requires that we know the Manual, read, study it, make it a part of our lives. As we do this in submission to the Holy Spirit and living in the presence of God the Faith Gun becomes an extension of our lives.  Snipers will tell you that becoming “One with the Gun” is a vital part of hitting difficult targets.  It is even more true in our Relationship with God.

Faith Gun2

3.  To be effective the Faith Gun not only hits the target, it chooses the target.

Unlike weapons of human manufacture, the Faith Gun not only allows the Soldier of Christ to hit the target, it chooses the target to hit.  This is perhaps one of the most difficult concepts for us to swallow.  It violates our need for control.  It violates our need for direction.  Yes the world teaches that we need to be “one with the gun” so that we can accurately control and direct it.  God teaches that we need to be “one with the gun” so that it can control and direct us.  It is when we do this that God reveals the wisdom of the world to be foolishness. “For it is written: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.” (1 Corinthians 1:19)  As we become more mature in our handling of the Faith Gun this is of even greater importance.  One of Satan’s favorite tricks is to provide a target rich environment.  One might think that the more targets their are the easier they are to hit but for the undisciplined this far from true.  I am reminded of a hunting expedition that I was on in the hills of Pennsylvania.  I came upon a single doe standing broadside to me at about 30 yards.  I carefully aimed and brought her down with one shot.  At that moment I realized that I had walked into a whole group lying in the brush as they stood and froze for a moment.  After easily taking the first doe I tried to take another unloading the rifle in a target rich environment of 12-15 deer, and didn’t hit anything.  In our target rich environment allowing the Holy Spirit complete control is crucial in order to accurately strike the targets that God has directed us to.

4.  The Faith Gun selects its own ammunition, perfect in every way to impact the target.

The Faith Gun only come in one caliber, LOVE.  It is within in that caliber that God provides many types of ammunition.  Choosing the correct type of ammunition for the intended target is far beyond our ability.  How sad it is when we actually allow the Faith Gun to choose the target but then go off half cocked loading our own choice of ammunition.  We have many “reasons” for doing this, “I am good at this”, “I know what is needed”, “All the books say…”.  Volumes have been written, preached, rewritten and re-preached on this subject so I am not going to try to tackle all the different types of ammunition available.  I will give some general guidelines.

*Under no circumstances will God call you to use ammunition that is incompatible with the caliber of our Faith Gun.  “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.”  (1 Corinthians 13:1-3)  I could appropriately quote this chapter in its entirety as a guide to the ammunition appropriate for our Faith Gun, but you know what go ahead and read it for yourself.  The results of using incompatible ammo can be devastating.  When we try to slip ammunition containing hate, greed, jealousy, disdain, selfishness or fear into our Faith Gun the resulting explosion can scar us and those around us in horrible ways.

*It would be wonderful if God would always give us clear miraculous guidance in the appropriate ammunition for every situation.  I know that pastors in particular wish that this was true.  It is in these cases that unity with Scripture becomes all important.  In order to achieve this you have to KNOW the Word of God.  This involves reading it. (Hmmm…is sarcasm an appropriate ammunition…Paul used it so….).  In these cases I would suggest that utilizing the ammunition that best expresses the intent of the caliber is the best choice.  The Bible is a remarkable document.  When you measure situations against the whole of Scripture the Holy Spirit will often make clear what the best ammunition is to achieve God’s intent.

5.  Ultimately the Faith Gun operates to and for the Glory of God.

This point dove tails with the idea that the Faith Gun chooses its target.  We often desire and I have even heard it preached that the Faith Gun is here for our protection and comfort.  Scripture is clear that as Soldiers of Christ we operate for the will and Glory of the Father.  We operate in suffering, in poverty, in wealth, in comfort, in every possible human condition for the Glory of God

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