Staying On Mission When Discouragement Calls

Today we’ve arrived at the final question of the Stepping Into God’s Game Plan series, wrapping everything up with this thought:

What keeps you in God’s Game Plan…on mission, loving Him, loving others?

The simplest answer, for me, is God’s grace, but its forms are varied.

A Community On Mission

A big one for me is the gift of like-hearted friends who push me to stay focused where I should, reminding me that His grace covers all of my weaknesses, insecurities, inexperience, uncertainties, and resistance. (Side note: For this to work, I have to let them in – close enough for my weaknesses to be known. I won’t tell you it isn’t risky business.) But how incredible is to see vulnerability pay off Continue reading

How to Serve When You’re Afraid or Just Don’t Know What You’re Doing

Continuing this theme of grace in serving, today I’m writing to address the following question from the Stepping In panel:

“When has God called you to step out of your comfort zone to serve, and what was the result?”

God hasn’t asked me to do anything inside my comfort zone in quite a while, but I’ll share my experience with a favorite ministry – Gospel Village, the thing that introduced me to these two:

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It’s been over three years since I met them. A girl and a boy whose kind, joyful brightness captured our hearts. They are sister and brother, the oldest of eight children, and they’ve given their lives to following Jesus but also live with the effects and challenges of generational poverty.

We are blessed to know them, thanks to Gospel Village, a local collaboration of churches to minister to children of low-income environments. In its beginning stages, their mission statement described the mentoring process as investments into these kids’ lives for the purpose of earning a hearing for the gospel, and I love that!

My husband and I have been mentoring these kids for nearly three years and we’ve seen The Lord do incredible things in the life of this sweet family, but what I’ve mostly learned during this time is that I know nothing.

Truly, every part of it seems to be about humbling us, revealing our inadequacy. I’m beginning to think that could be the main point of Christians serving the poor, proving to us serving that we don’t have the answers, they’re never simple ones anyways, and we cannot fix things for people – only God’s grace can. Every part of it screams that I don’t have what it takes for this mission and with nothing inside of me to rely on, it thrusts me into God’s adequacy rather than my flimsy attempts to help. It brings me into his presence like nothing else because it’s in serving these sweet ones that I find I have nothing to give.

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I remember when this relationship began. Continue reading

Serving Out of Our Broken Places

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It’s been a while, but before the holidays and the official Winter In Which A Family Member Of Mine Gets Sick Every Week began (still happening, unfortunately), we were talking here about serving and grace and going through a list of questions on the topic. Today I’m resuming that conversation with the fourth question from my church’s “Stepping into God’s Game Plan” panel, which is this:

How do you deal with feelings of inadequacy when it comes to serving The Lord or even joining a community of believers?

I’ll tell you what I don’t want to do with those feelings – Continue reading

Resolutions and Grace

Twelve days into January, I realize, is a little late to be talking about New Years resolutions. It’s a topic on my mind, however, so regardless of how delayed, typical, or even annoying blogging about it is, I’m doing it anyway!

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Things are different this year. Grace is pretty much wrecking my New Years resolutions list-making. I’ve always enjoyed putting pen to paper, highlighting areas of my life that need more intentionality, but it hasn’t been as easy to do at the start of 2014. Continue reading

Seasons of Serving

Moving right along in this series (you can catch up here, here, and here), let’s address the next question:

Seasons of Life – how do they affect your needs and your abilities to minister? Is there ever a “perfect” season?

I know what I would tell you:

The perfect season for you to serve is the one you are in. Period.

Of course it will look different for everyone, and that’s the point. There are a lot of different needs in the world, and it takes more than just variety in gifts and talents to reach them – it takes variety in life’s seasons too.

This season you’re in today – whatever it looks like – is exactly where he wants you to be. He EQUIPS you with his power. He has QUALIFIED you by his blood. He PROTECTS you by his promises. He REDEEMS where you are – even in your brokenness – and GLORIFIES himself through it. He STRENGTHENS you in the weak places. He VALUES your sacrifice in the mundane as much as the radical. He ORCHESTRATES the events and time of your life and is not limited by your location or other life circumstances. He has PURPOSED work for you, and you are not where you are by accident. Continue reading

Knowing our Passions

The next post in this series takes a shot at answering this question:

Passion – how important is it to find yours?

If you missed the previous posts in this series, you can catch up here and here.

Passion is a fascinating concept to me. I love thinking about the various ways God has uniquely built our personalities, interests, histories, abilities, talents, and bestowed spiritual gifts  – all for his glory. It’s a fun subject to me. During college and in my early twenties, I took more than a few assessments (related to both temperament and spiritual gifts) and participated in trainings and classes all designed to help me discern where I’m most fitted for ministry. In some ways, I found them helpful, but mostly I’ve since developed a caution in my approach to these discussions. Through experience, I learned that it is easy to place too much emphasis on the discovery process and find myself tripped up and missing Christ.

Continue reading

So Many Choices – What’s For Me?

In my last post about learning to serve others out of pure love instead of a legalistic drive or need to impress, I mentioned some questions from a panel discussion called “Stepping into God’s Game Plan” and today I’ll address the first one –

Choice Overload – with so many great opportunities to be involved, how does a woman choose where to invest herself?

My desire is to grow in celebrating what Christ has done for me. I hope that over time, I will find my heart increasingly captivated by the gospel – learning more of God’s amazing love for unworthy me – and that I would so long to show others that same grace. I want to be driven by nothing more than genuine love for others stemming from his gracious love to me, yet I admit, I struggle to set my mind on grace. I know it will be a lifelong journey. Before I think about any “steps” that may be involved in deciding where to invest, I need to remember the big picture and ask myself: Am I growing in gospel-celebration? If not, what’s the point of my ministry investments?? Continue reading