Guest Preachers and Great Sermons

Hey Everyone!

Last week was a week of special meetings at church. During the week there are extra church services, during which a few of the visiting ministers and pastors from the branch churches preach the sermon. For those of us who live here, it is a treat. I have nothing against the pastor of my church, it is just nice to hear someone else every now and again. Every minister has their own style, and each style works for different people. 

Sunday morning the minister who gave the sermon delivered a great sermon. Off the top of my head, I can’t recall actually having heard him preach, unless I had 11 years ago when I had attended Midwest camp, but I can’t tell you who preached in those services, so for all intents and purposes, this was the first time I had heard him preach. 

His style kind of reminded me of being in the more interesting college lectures I have been in. How he presented his sermon, made the message, that I have heard my entire life, relevant. As I was sitting there listening to it, the message totally registered, and I knew that I had needed to hear that sermon, things clicked. 

The point of the sermon, was that light always overcomes and trumps the darkness, and those who have surrendered their life to God, and have a personal relationship with Christ have the light in our lives, and he will help us overcome the darkness and light our way. 

Allowing God to be in Control

“O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.”‭‭Psalms‬ ‭34:8‬ ‭KJV

‬‬“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”
‭‭Romans‬ ‭8:28‬ ‭KJV‬‬

These two verses have been on my heart the past day or so. 

Leaning on God’s promises, knowing he has a plan for our lives as well as a purpose and a call for each of our lives is a great comfort and strength for me right now as I am looking for a new job. 

I had been a contractor for a local phone and internet company for nearly 2.5 years, and the project I had been hired for is winding down to the point where they no longer needed the extra help, so I am needing a new job. I am definitely trusting God for help and guidance for the next step, because I know he is in control of things and the big picture. 

Some things about my future and career have become clearer, as I allow God to be in control in my life and I stay in the center of his will for my life. 

The Lord has been showing me his goodness, and while my future in uncertain to me, I have peace about it. 

He’s Always There

“In the dark of the night I’ll be with thee,
With the light of my Word I will guide thee,
I have passed this way before-
just trust me.
In the cleft of the rock,
I’ll hide thee.”

This is a short passage from one of my favorite songs from church. It has reminded me, that even in the valleys we go through, that God is still there. 

When we feel all alone, or we are hurting, or disappointed, or everything is going wrong, God is still right there. We just have to keep trusting him, and that he has a plan, and it is better than anything we could come up with. 

We are all Called, To serve in different ways

Hey Everyone!

As I had been contemplating the idea for my last post, about taking care of ourselves so we can better care for and serve others, and serve God, my thoughts began to wander to how each of us is called to do something different for God. 

Not all of us are called to be ministers or pastors in church, or be part of the music ministry where we are up in front of everyone, or are able to sit in every meeting. Others are called to help in more unseen roles, whether it is helping in the children’s nursery, or Sunday school, or being a Sunday School Van Driver, or janitor, or help prepare the food for or wash dishes after a church function. There are many different ways God calls people that are more than just what you see church service to church service. 

God does challenge us, and gets us out of our comfort zones, but he also uses the talents he gave us, to his glory. 

In high school I had the opportunity to be in the young people’s choir at church, which was fun while I did it. I had also helped in the nursery during my senior year of high school, which I loved. I had to step out of both of those ministries when I went to college and was attending another church. After college and I came back to the city and church I had grown up in, I had changed and so had my calling. While I don’t have the musical talent that other who are in the regular orchestra and choir have, I knew music ministry was not my calling. The nursery was no longer going, and I knew that teaching Sunday school, at this point in time is not my calling. 

While I know the Lord has placed a larger call on my life that I am still being prepared for, in the mean time, God has called me to help a friend of mine who has three little boys who are all under 3 as of writing this post. The effort that it takes to get all 3 to church for Sunday school, and through the morning meeting on her own would be impossible without some help from family and close friends to lend a hand. While I won’t give many details about her story, since it is her story, I just wanted to share that many a Sunday morning when she is there with her boys, I am there to help out and take one of the boys, and help keep them distracted, and get them loaded up after church. 

The past several years I have also helped with cookies and hot chocolate for the annual weekend long Christmas event we do. Honestly, I would just as soon be back in the kitchen than being up in front of a ton of people. 

There are those who are called to be ministers, pastors, missionaries who preach the word of the lord, others who are called to the music ministry (choir, orchestra, worship/praise team/band), and others who are called to do the cooking and cleaning. Someone has to make the food for church events and clean up afterward. Someone has to keep the church clean, it doesn’t clean itself. 

We each are unique, and have unique talents and skills that God uses, and gives us the strength to do what he calls us to do that is out of our comfort zone, that we do with a willing heart. 

“And he said unto me, My grace is
sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.”

‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭12:9-10‬ ‭KJV

This scripture came to mind as I was writing that last little bit. God also uses areas where we are weak for his glory, and that his strength is made perfect in our weakness. 

That doesn’t mean I will be a choir soloist, just because that is a weakness for me, but talking to others about Christ and what he has done for me, or one day being a pastor or minister’s wife, if that is what the lord wants, I would do it. Would I choose to do it, or consider it a strong point, no. 

God calls us to do different things, some of them really do play off our strengths and talents, other things some may feel are beneath them, or too hard for us, but we can do all things through God, and nothing that He calls us to do is beneath us. With his things we can do what we thought was impossible. In doing as we are called to do, that is where the blessing is. 

Taking Care of Yourself so you can Can Take Care of Others

Hey Everyone! 

I don’t know about you all, but where I come from, we, as Christians, especially us ladies are taught, even subconsciously that we have to take care of and serve others to the point neglecting our own needs. 

I am not arguing the point that we as Christians are called to care for and serve others. That is loud and clear and what we are supposed to do. My point is, that we also need to take care of ourselves.

Why is taking care of ourselves also important? Because we are humans too. We have physical, mental, emotional and spiritual needs as well. If we burn ourselves out and run ourselves ragged then we can no longer effectively be useful to help others and God. From the beginning God created a day of rest, because he knew we would need it. More than just that one day, we do need to take time for ourselves, and take care of our own needs. 

While we are called to help, care for, and serve others, we also have a personal responsibility to make sure our own needs are met, so we don’t end up burning out. 

If what you are doing for God is part of what is causing your burn out, let me ask you this, are you doing it because it is expected of you by another human being, or is it because God actually called you to do it? I will be talking a bit more about God’s call, and for each of us in another post. I just want you to know, that what you are doing for God is what he wants you to be doing for him. 

I have a friend, who has 3 little boys, who at this point of time are 29 months (the twins) and 13 months (the little dude), and I have heard her talk about when the twins were a lot smaller, that the only time she truly had to herself was when she was in the shower. It was during that time when she came across a brand of products that she fell in love with and allowed her to pamper herself in those few short minutes she had to herself. She is an amazing mom, and wife. I have learned a lot from her, and I highly respect her. And from her, I have been learning to take joy in the little things, and with what you have, take some time to take care of your own needs. 

This is me, getting to be auntie to my friends little guys. 

Taking time each day to take care of ourselves, and spend time with God, is not at all selfish or being “unchristian”. Taking care of ourselves allows us to better take care of others and serve them as God would have us to do. 

The Next Steps

“Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.”‭‭Psalms‬ ‭16:11‬ ‭KJV‬

This is the verse that was today’s verse of the day in my Bible app. It stood out to me, in part because of some trials of faith that I have been going through lately, where God has been showing me areas of my life I need to give him and trust him with that I haven’t fully consecrated to him. In doing so, I know I will be getting his Blessing. 

While the specifics of these trials I have been going through aren’t important in terms of this post, what is important is that through these trials, I have had to draw closer to God for his direction in my life and my future. It’s not about what I want for my life, it’s about me surrendering to God and following his plan and his call for me. What God wants for my life is not what I had wanted for my life, but in doing his will, there will the blessing, joy and fulfillment be. 

Staying where I am at, doing what I am doing is no longer working, as I know the Lord is calling me to more and getting out of my comfort zone. I was where I am for a season, and now it is time for me to follow God to the next place he would have me go. Where God is leading, I wouldn’t have chosen for myself, but if that is where he wants me to be, will be the place where he helps me to grow in him and thrive, and do his will. Leaving all I know behind will be hard, but it will help me grow and trust God way more than I do now. 

Big Church, Small Church, wherever God Leads

Hey Everyone! 

I am not going to lie, most of my growing up years, and into my 20’s, I had my own issues with attending church. Growing up I had to go since my parents made me, but I never felt like I belonged or fit in. 

During my college years, I struggled with it, because I was figuring out who I was really for the first time in my life. 

It wasn’t until at least my mid 20’s, that I realized where my issues lie. I grew up attending a large church, where I quite often still feel lost. I had gone off to college, where I integrated myself into a small church, where I could finally be myself, and be a part of a small church family. After I graduated, I had to move back to where I had to attend the big church, which to date (6.5 years later) I have never tried to reintegrate myself into. A lot of that is nothing more than being a warm body taking up pew space. 

Having found that the large church doesn’t work for this introvert, is why I have spent many a Sunday evenings visiting a couple of the smaller branch church, one of which is the one I attended in college. 

A lot of Rend Collective’s story, and message behind their music (especially their campfire albums), has resonated with what I had felt was missing for years. The Gospel is not complicated, and is more than just feeling warming a pew. Another couple things I love about their albums and music videos, is at least 2 of their albums were made while outdoors around a campfire. Many of their videos are outdoors. That resonates with me because I am more at home outside than I am inside, and that God is bigger than just a physical church buildings. Many of my most memorable encounters with God have happened outside of church, and my most memorable happened a couple years ago, while I was just sitting on the beach thinking about God and what he wanted me to do with my life. It was at that point when I had no doubt was real. I had felt his presence there, and that my favorite place to be, he created, if for nothing else, for me to enjoy. Something as simple as sitting on the beach, staring at the ocean on a beautiful summer day. 

I am not down on church by any means, church is important. My point is that God is bigger that just a church, and for some of us, God is more present in other places, like sitting around a campfire at the beach or in the woods, taking in God’s creation at it’s simplest and finest.