Sunday, January 31, 2010

A Vision for Ministry

For the last couple of months I have been doing something different at church. Not something that people notice, or anything extreme, but different from what I would normally do.
I tend to be a pretty shy person. I have a hard time walking up to people and starting up a conversation unless I know them extremely well or have something to say. I get nervous and tongue tied, and usually never get around to saying much of anything that makes alot of sense. I even get that way with people I know well and talk to on a regular basis. I do not know why that is, its just how I am.

There are so many new faces at our new church. We have doubled in size from our old building, if not more, and I think I see more new faces than ones that I recognize. I try really hard while singing on the platform with the praise and worship team to look over the crowd and concentrate on actually seeing the faces. Most people are creatures of habit like myself, and they try hard to sit in the same spot or close to it every week.

Back to my opening statement. I am doing something different. I have been praying that God would give me a ministry. Yes, I put in 1 week a month with the children's department, and I am on praise team, and those are both really great ministries, and dear to my heart, but they are not sacrifices for me. Well, maybe working with the kids, but definitely not the music ministry. I find great joy in being part of the worship team, and it is definitely my favorite. There is just nothing like worshipping my God and King. What I'm talking about is a ministry that goes deeper for me. Something that requires me to make sacrifices, to come out of my comfort zone, something that helps to further Gods kingdom.

I am not getting alot of answers right now.

Years ago, the Lord gave me a vision. I went to my very first women's retreat, Women of Faith, and knew that what I saw and heard that day was just the beginning for me. It changed my life, like nothing else ever had. These women were real, they were just like me, and they had stories like mine. They were sharing those stories, the good and the bad, the better and worse, the deep dark and ugly, and people were getting saved!! God has put upon my heart that someday I would do that. But when???

It has been alot of years since that retreat. I still see that same vision, though some of the aspects have changed. I continue to pray about how God wants me to use what he has put in my heart, the passion He has given me towards this ministry, and also who. Is it women? Is it older women? Younger? Married? Where am I supposed to be?

Right now, I am supposed to be EXACTLY where I'm at. All He is asking from me right now is obedience, an open heart to His leading, and a teachable humble spirit. Sounds easy, right? Wrong!!! It is hard. I want to go ahead of Him. I want to do what He has for me NOW!! Even though I really don't have a clue, I am not very patient!!

A couple of months ago I asked Him what He wanted me to do. New church building, new people, unfamiliar faces. I said "Here am I Lord, send me." I am very confused about where He sent me. Of all places, He sent me to the front foyer of the church. Not to be a greeter, not to serve coffee and donuts, just to be there, in that room, with all of these unfamiliar, new faces. And do what?? Well, He hasn't said yet!!! I am just supposed to be there!! Talk about being out of my comfort zone!! As I said earlier, I am a shy person!! I do alot of observing from my post, smiling at people, and really doing nothing. But that is where I'm supposed to be!!

Awhile back I asked Him "When God? When is this vision going to be more than a vision?" I was told that my main task and ministry right now is my family. My husband and my children. The children will grow up and move away, leaving just me and my husband, and until then, I am in training. When the time is right, Jeff AND I will fulfill that vision. That has been his plan all along. He is not only training me, He is training my husband. It is not His plan for me to do it alone. When He put Jeff and I together all those years ago, it was for a time such as this. I do not know what or how, or even who, but I trust God, and that's what He is asking from me. Obedience. He is refining both of us.

Now that doesn't mean that I am to do nothing!! I still have a job to do!! It is my job to witness to those around me by the way I live, the way I raise my kids, the way I treat my husband, and by being a good steward with everything He provides for us.

That in itself is a full time ministry!!!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Seeking Truth

This may be a tough one. It's been on my heart and mind for a long time. I have researched, asked lots of questions, kept an open mind, prayed, and searched my Bible several times over in search of answers. I definately dont feel like an expert, but I am finally at peace with what I believe to be true.

I am blogging about "prayer language" or " "speaking in tongues".

A few years ago I attended a women's retreat hosted by Joyce Meyers. There was something like 5000 women in attendance. The worship was absolutely amazing, the message she brought was phenomenal, and the fellowship with the women from my church will be forever etched in my memory and my heart.

As will what happened at the very end.

She brought a gentleman out on the stage and he began talking to us about prayer language. Now you have to understand that at this point in my walk I'm pretty naive about some things, and I didnt grasp what he was talking about until part way into it. My mind finally began to grasp what he was saying, and I was interested. Very interested. This is a subject I knew about and had read about but never really tried to understand. I was doing good to pray in normal everyday language, let alone an unknown tongue. I was having a really hard time wrapping my brain around what he was teaching, but he had my attention. Imagine!! A language satan does not understand!!

I was doing ok until he asked all of us to join him in talking in tongues.
All 5000 or so of us.
At one time.
Talk about confusion. Not every woman in the stadium participated. There were several from my group who did not, but also some who did. I did not.

I listened for a moment. To the chaos. To the confusion. Then I did the only thing I knew to do. No, I did not join in. How could I? This went against every thing I had ever read in my Bible about speaking in tongues. Instead, I sat down in my seat and cried. I begged for understanding, I prayed for enlightenment. All to no avail. It was all I could do to stay in the stadium at all. It didnt feel good, and my spirit just grieved. The only words that I could think at the time was that this was evil. I was so angry and hurt.

It has never left me. What it has done is send me on a search for truth. Again, this was not Biblically sound in my mind. I will not compromise when it comes to truth. I never EVER want anyone to feel the way I did that day, nor do I want to be the cause of it. So I have been on a quest.

I fully believe in this gift. I know that it is Biblical, and I know that it happened the first time at Pentecost. I fully believe that I also have this gift. I have felt the rumble in my spirit. I also believe that we were shown how to use this gift and how NOT to use it.

I have read some pamphlets on how to recieve the Spirit. I have talked to several people of different denominations that I respect in the fullest sense of the word. I have told them my story. Its amazing how many different answers you get.

I couldnt wrap my brain around one of the books, even though it is supposed to be a guide to understanding. I asked another person who is married to a preacher about my experience and the response I got made me laugh. I was told that this person could sit at the kitchen table with me and have me speaking in tongues in 5 minutes or less!! Like a mere man could "give" me a spiritual gift! I believe in laying on of hands and receiving the gift, but not someone teaching me "how" to. This same person told me I had already made up my mind to be afraid of this gift before going to this retreat, even though as I stated earlier, I was naive, except to what I had read about it.

I read up on Pentecost. I am to understand that when the Spirit came upon the believers, the unbelievers understood them in their own language.
ACTS 6 -When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken. 7 Utterly amazed, they asked: "Aren't all these who are speaking Galileans? 8 Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language?

When asking about this I could not get an answer that could be backed up BIBLICALLY. I dont care what man "thinks". I want proof, I want solid, no holes in the bucket, answers.

1 Corinthians 14-22 Tongues, then, are a sign, not for believers but for unbelievers;
27If anyone speaks in a tongue, two—or at the most three—should speak, one at a time, and someone must interpret. 28If there is no interpreter, the speaker should keep quiet in the church and speak to himself and God.
33For God is not a God of disorder but of peace.
39Therefore, my brothers, be eager to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues. 40But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way.

The verses I have posted above speak loud and clear to me about my grieving spirit at that conference. I have really been in prayer and in my Bible over this. I want to understand. To reiterate, I believe in this gift.
I am just tired of being told that if I do not speak it I am not truly saved. I wont bend and I wont break, I wont water down my faith. I must be a light for future generations. (great song!) I seek the truth, and the only thing that makes sense is what I have learned in the Book. I think people try to make Christianity complicated, and it is not.

There is so much more I could say on this, and probably more that I should say, but for lack of time and fear of overwhelming the reader, I should stop. I do want to say however, that I am not closeminded. I will continue to seek answers and maybe I will find some. I am definately open to discussion and welcome it.

In the mean time, God has given me the best answer. The reason WHY I am finally at peace with what I believe about this subject. Where did I get it? In HIS WORD of course.

1 Corinthians 16-13 Be on your guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be brave. Be strong. 14 Be loving in everything you do.