I recently saw a post for a ministry position. This is not the one I mentioned in a recent post. I felt like this was potentially just another resume submitted, and I would hear nothing back. Two days ago, I had the opportunity to meet the pastor for lunch. Neither of us knows which way this will go, but there is such a stirring in my spirit. We will visit the worship service tomorrow and see what God is doing.
You, my readers, have been with me on a roller coaster ride. I began this blog right after my wife and I married. I was in ministry transition for over a year. I planted a church and stayed for nearly 2 years. I am in transition once again, yet I know God is up to something. If God is leading me to this ministry, it will lead me beyond my comfort zone while leading me to something I have envisioned for quite some time.
I ask that you join us in prayer. I’m not asking for God to give me the position. I’m simply asking “Thy will be done”. God’s way is best. I submit to whatever He is doing in this season (as difficult as that is). For the first time in a long time, I am hopeful.
Have you ever tried to wear something, but you discovered that your frame is bigger than the clothing (or the clothing is smaller than your physique depending on perspective)? Or maybe you had to try to squeeze into a space that is smaller than you are?
When I pastored my first church, I had a man in the church who told a lady that she would not go to Heaven because she was fat. His biblical premise is that the way to Heaven is the narrow gate. While he was correct about the way to Heaven being narrow, it doesn’t prohibit overweight believers from entering.
The way to Heaven is a tight fit. You can give tons to charities, warm a pew every times the church doors are open, and pray beautiful prayers. You may even be able to quote tons of Scripture. You can do all that and still go to hell. Why? Because Jesus is the only Way (John 14:6). We must place our faith and trust in Him to wash away our sin. The road to hell is broad, but the way to Heaven is such a tight fit that nothing but Jesus will get you there. No amount of greasing up your skin can get you through.
I got up out of bed this morning, expecting to face a typical day – see a few patients, spend time in the office, etc. It turned out a little differently, and I’m glad.
A friend called me this morning, and he told me that he prayed for me this morning. I am encouraged when someone calls me name out to God. He, then, tells me about an opportunity he had to preach a few weeks ago. He had planned to share one thing, and God redirected him. The result was 10 people giving their life to Christ. (This is a great place to shout.) They have asked him to preach a revival in the Spring, and he wants me to go with him.
The day got a little better. I love to play the piano. One of my patients I see on Tuesday has a piano, so I sat and played. The Spirit of God set me afire once again. Then, the 97 year old lady was a blessing. The day ended with our connection group at our pastor’s home. God kept renewing the fire over and over.
Many of us find ourselves quenched by life. God will renew the fire in unexpected ways. Be open to it. I should not be surprised, but I would not change the day for anything. Just remember, God wants to keep the fire in you burning. Let’s be living sacrifices for His glory.
I know most of you, at least my older readers, have heard the phrase “trying to fit a square peg in a round hole”. I have spent a lot of my life trying to do that. You would think I would have learned my lesson, but I attempted it again recently.
A nearby church was looking for a staff member, so I thought I would inquire. I emailed them with hopes that they would tell me not to apply due to my divorce and remarriage. They encouraged me to pursue it, so I did. Tonight, I received the traditional “we feel led in a different direction” email. A part of me was relieved as I knew this was something I could do, but it most likely was not something God wanted me to do. God confirmed that, and I am grateful.
I am still at the stage of wondering what is next. I continue to realize how different I am, and I continue to feel like I am a square peg trying to fit into a round hole. I know that I will not have peace if I attempt to do something I am not called to do.
My advice to the reader: Don’t be afraid to stand out! If you are a born again believer, you were made to stand out. God did not call you to blend in. The world will not understand you, and it is not supposed to understand you. As our pastor has been preaching, God called us to be pioneers not settlers. Many of us choose to settle because it’s easy. Shake off the comfort and go against the grain. You’ll be surprised how God will use you.
My job allows me to have some wonderful encounters with people. Today was no disappointment. My supervisor called and asked me to see a new patient, so I got the info and headed that way.
According to statistics, most people will not give their life to Christ after a certain young age. Such was not the case with the person I met today. This individual went forward at the age of 69 on an Easter Sunday to surrender to Christ. This person is now 97 and still longs to be close to God. I walked into a home today and found someone whose spiritual hunger is still strong. The sad thing is I encounter people much younger whose hunger is gone.
When I grow up (I have a long way from 38 to 97), I still want that fire in my bones. I still want tears to roll down my face as I reflect on what Christ did for me just like it was yesterday. I still want to soak in biblical truth and tell as many as possible that Jesus saves. The bottom line is I want to finish stronger than I started.
This thoughts stems from a conversation I had recently with a friend. Someone had come to him seeking advice. This friend told him, “Feed your mind.” I began to dwell on that.
What you allow to enter your mind is what will come out in your actions and lifestyle. The eyes are a pathway to your mind. What do you see from day to day? The ears are another pathway. What kind of music and other content do you allow to enter your mind via your ears? It has always been said, “Garbage in, garbage out.”
I found that when I was a pastor, it was so much easier to put the right things in by necessity. The job required me to be in constant study so I could prepare sermons with substance. I miss those days when I could close myself in an office for hours alone with God.
This friend challenged me to find my mind once again with knowledge. The big question is, “What time will I set aside to do so?” I want to be the best I can be. If I don’t take this step, I will continue to remain stagnant.
Are you stagnant? May I ask you, “How are you feeding your mind?”
I know many are reading the title “Divorced Female Evangelist”, and all kinds of thoughts are going through the reader’s minds. Condemnation of divorce. Rebuke of the thought of a woman declaring the gospel. On and on we could go. If these are your thoughts, please dismiss them and focus on the bigger picture.
Jesus is on a journey. He stops for rest and water. Meanwhile, He encounters a lady. First mistake – He was not to speak to this lady alone. Second mistake – He was a Jewish man speaking to a Samaritan woman (a half-breed of the day who was part Jew and part Gentile). Third mistake – This woman had a bad reputation. She had been married 5 times and was living with a man at that time who was not her husband. A pastor friend of mine helped me see this through a different lens. She had been divorced 5 times. In a day when divorce was more taboo than now, she had 5 failed marriages. She couldn’t get it right. Many today would still write off this woman because of her past.
What did Jesus do here? He didn’t call her a tramp and tell her to marry the man she was with and stay with him. He met the deeper need – He told her that only He, the Living Water, could satisfy her deepest longings. Once she experienced His forgiveness, she went back and evangelized. She was a divorced female evangelist who told about Jesus all over town. Did it fall on deaf ears because she was a woman! NO! Revival spread, and many believed.
You may look at someone and think he or she is beyond hope. Jesus sees the potential one can have when He saves that person. Don’t lose sight of the big picture!
Image from media4lifeministries.com
I had a surprise divine appointment Monday. I sensed the Spirit of God leading me to eat at a particular eating establishment. When I parked, I noticed what I thought to be the vehicle of a long-time pastor friend. I was not certain. My plan was to make a pit stop, order my food, and sit down during my lunch break. Well, God’s plan was better than mine.
We sat at the table for nearly 45 minutes before I ever followed through with eating. He was studying and sharing what God was teaching him. This is a man who has pastored for over 30 years and is reaching the age when he could draw social security, but his energy level and thinking is young. He is still a student.
The big takeaway from the conversation is not from what he is reading although it’s great stuff. He made a statement about how pastors could make a greater impact in their community if they would serve with the community such as with the volunteer fire department or a local organization. He spoke of how he is the chaplain for the local volunteer fire department and goes out on calls. He is able to minister to people when they need it most. So, allow me to sum this up in a few sentences:
- You are not likely to be remembered most for a great stage performance. Yes, you might be an awesome singer or preacher and possess the ability to woo a crowd. When the lights are off, most people will probably never remember a song you a sang or a message you preached. They WILL remember when you were there for them when they lost a child, a home, or got news that their sickness was a death sentence.
- Personally investing in people is not just something small church pastors do. J. D. Greear, pastor of The Summit Church in Durham, NC is now the President of the Southern Baptist Convention. I heard him in a seminar in 2012 speak of how he personally invests in people at The Summit and equips them to minister. This is the pastor of a multi-site megachurch. When I was facing divorce, this same pastor wasn’t hiding backstage after he “brought the heat”. He was in front of the stage and took time to pray with this guy who was hurting. That meant volumes to me.
So, you have several hundred people attending your church. You have a large staff. You’re building a resume and making a name for yourself. To what avail? If you aren’t loving people and investing in them, you’re missing it. Repent and start pouring your life into others. Remember, Jesus was not known for His great sermons so much as He was remembered for His personal ministry. Meditate on that!