Archives for posts with tag: Serving in Ministry

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I recently had a conversation with a friend who said “I saw so-and-so (a mutual friend of ours) last week and boy are they broken.  Really in bad shape . . . I know this person makes a lot of effort to help others . . . but how can they even think of helping others when they have so many issues themselves?!”

I was so taken aback that all I could say was “I don’t agree!”.

I have not been able to get that statement out of my mind since my friend said it: “. . . how can they even think of helping others when they have so many issues themselves?!”  Consequently I have thought and thought about it and decided to share some thoughts with you.

First of all, unfortunately . . . this is a pervasive perspective that many of us tend to gravitate toward.  When we turn it back on ourselves it says: I won’t attempt to do this or that until I have ______ (you fill in the blank) resolved or worked out in my life.  Not far from the attitude of I’m not good enough (at least until I get my stuff together) to ___________(again . . . fill in the blank).

What a limiting perspective!

I grew up in a large denominational church . . . one with a lot of pomp and ritual . . . lots of responsive readings and ups and downs in the pews.  The minister would parade on to the pulpit with his beautiful robe and collars and a couple of other folks who were clearly his underlings.
The whole setting smacked of the idea that the minister was a holy man . . . a man who had it all together . . . perhaps even less sinless than the rest of us. After all, he would lead us through reciting our Confession of Sins: “Lord, I know that I am lower than a snakes belly in the mud after 10 inches of rain . . .” I can remember leaving that place with the idea that I would never be good enough to _____________ or have it together enough to ________________,

So, this limiting idea has been around in our cultures for eons.

Fast forward a zillion years when Kris and I moved to Southern California and attended great churches like The Crystal Cathedral and Saddleback Community Church for over 20 years. Among a million messages we heard, the over-arching main theme we learned was that Jesus was the only perfect human to ever walk the earth . . . none others before or after Him.   And . . . that God created us to be in relationship with him . . . just as we are . . . warts and all. Translation: Where you are right now in your life . . . God has equipped you perfectly to do whatever He has put in your mind for you to do.

When we decide to wait until we have this or that handled or resolved before we follow through with an idea from God . . . we miss it . . . the amazing blessing that God intends for us to be in other people’s lives!

That’s it . . . end of story!

Here are the “and so’s” to the whole thing:

 

And So . . . “God never wastes a hurt” (Rick Warren). The junk you are going through or have been through makes you perfectly qualified to help others going through similar stuff.

And So . . . When I was in Nicotine Anonymous . . . even though I was still smoking . . . I didn’t have it all together . . . others in the group were still gaining tools from me from watching my struggle!  This is the case in all 12-step programs.

And So . . . We don’t need to be disillusioned with an attitude that we have it all together.  But rather, humble . . . I don’t begin to think that I have it all figured out . . . but here is what I have learned so far . . .

And So . . . Rest in the confidence that you are a work in progress . . . you will never be perfect in all things. The one thing you are perfect for is being the you in God’s plan for your life right now!

 

 

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I read a lot of things relating to my spiritual growth and living the way God wants me to . . . doesn’t mean that I am always successful.  But one I have to tell you that I have received a lot of good, solid teaching from Rick Warren at Saddleback Community Church in Lake Forest, California.  Today’s posting was inspired by a daily devotional e-mail I received from Rick “Purpose Driven Connection”, several weeks ago.  That coupled with my own walk and experiences helped to create today’s post.  Thank you Pastor Rick!

Many of you know that Kris and I have spent time serving as missionaries in Kenya.  During our first trip there, Kris and I separated.  No . . . No . . . nothing like that!  I mean, on this particular day, Kris when with one group to work at an orphanage and I went with another to high school in the slums.

As a little background to this about 30 of us were on this trip and we though we were allowed to bring two suitcases at no extra charge (that dates me doesn’t it!) we each only brought one suitcase and a plastic storage container.  These containers were filled with everything from medical supplies, medicines, school supplies, clothing and shoes for the folks we would be working with.

Back to our story; my group was at the school to deliver some of the school supplies we brought with us.  We all met in the schoolmaster’s office with Pastor Steve who was our leader as well as some of the teachers and unpacked our gifts for them.

Afterwards, our little group broke up and we went out into the schoolyard to connect with some of the kids.  While I was standing there, I saw the schoolmaster walking across the makeshift soccer field toward me.  When he finally reached me he greeted me again with his sing-songy Kenyan accent.  And then he said, “Ah yew a meenistah?”  I was taken aback because he knew who our pastor was.  He had just had him in his office 5 minutes ago!  I answered, “No, I’m not a minister, I am just one of the people here on mission.  Steve, the tall guy over there is our pastor.”  He retorted, “Yew ah weeth thees group yes?” I agreed.  He continued, “ahnd yew ah heeya serving Christ yes?” Again, I answered yes.  With his voice elevated for effect he concluded, “Theen yew ah a meenistah!  We ah ahll meenistahs!”  I got it!

In chapter 40 of his book; “The Purpose Driven Life” Pastor Rick Warren asks the question: “What will be the contribution of your life?”  My translation of this what will be the legacy you will leave behind after you are gone?  Will it be money, fame, property or lots of toys?  Or will it be changed enriched lives . . . Lives that are different because those people came in contact with you during their life?

That is ministry.  It’s not a big scary thing it is just simply anytime you use your gifts and talents to help others . . . you are ministering.

The bible talks a lot about ministry and the fact that every Christian on this earth for ministry:

We were Created for ministry (Ephisians, 2:10)
We were Saved for ministry (2 Timothy 1:9)
We are Called Into ministry (1 Peteer 2:9-10)
We are Gifted for ministry (1 Peter 4:10)
We are Authorized for ministry (Mathew 28:18-20)
We are Commanded to minister (Mathew 20:26-28)
We are Prepared for ministry (Ephisians 4:11-12)
WE are Needed for ministry (1 Corithians 12:27)
We are Accountable For and Rewarded according to his or her ministry (Colossians 3:23-24)

Look at 2 Timothy 1:9 LB

                          “He saved us and chose us for His holy work, not because we deserved it but because that was His plan long before the world began.” 

Why did God save us?  So we could serve Him.  A non-serving Christian is a contradiction

So, If we were saved to serve God, how do we do that?  We do through ministry by using the gifts and talents God gave us!

But how do we serve in ministry?  Well, I can tell you this, It is much, much easier than may think.  As the schoolmaster in Kenya helped me to understand: When we help others in the name of God . . . “We ah ahll meenistahs!”

In upcoming posts, I will discuss some of the super easy but effective ways of being in ministry, helping others.

As always, thank you for reading and following.

Blessings,

Pat