Friday, February 25, 2011


Since December, my purpose has seemed to be a big question mark. Oh I know what God has called me to do, but I seem to be in a season of evaluating. Here are a few of the questions God has thrown at me.

Are the activities I'm involved in lining up with the purpose God has for me?

Am I willing to say "no" to a specific area of ministry and trust that God's plan is best?

Will I simply obey in an area knowing that I will not "make the cut"? What will my reaction to rejection say to others? Will I bring glory to God if I am not on the list?

Is my involvement in this for me (my glory) or for God?

I believe that God has called each and every believer to specific things in specific seasons of life. Regardless of what those things are, a true calling from God will always have us sharing Jesus or (pardon the church lingo) building His kingdom. Anything other than that is a waste of time.

Last month, I stepped aside from two specific areas of ministry.

One was my choice. I had been avoiding doing it for quite some time because honestly, I was afraid of man's (or woman's) reaction. Once I did it, I immediately felt free. It was exactly what I should have done and the reaction was not what the enemy had told me it would be. He's such a liar.

The other area of ministry was not my choice. "I" was not the one saying no, another person was. Please hear me. I believe with all my heart that it was God's plan. No question about that. I am even seeing some glimpses of His reasons. But, I would be lying if I said it didn't touch a tender spot in my heart. This is why God kept talking to me about my reaction. He was preparing me.

My heart wants nothing more than to love God well and serve Him to the best of my ability, where He chooses to places me.

God has been preparing me for this time by prompting me to evaluate the activities of my life, so I "know" that all of this is in His plan for me. ALL OF IT.

But the last couple of weeks, it's been war in my heart.

At times I have felt like a failure and that God was done with me. I have begged Him to release me from everything. (So I could just walk into church, sit on the back row and have no responsibility. In other words: pout.)

A couple of weeks ago a blogging friend e-mailed a link to a sermon by David Platt. (Author of Radical) This morning after I dropped the girls off for Friday classes, I came home to watch that sermon.

It was incredible. One of the first things out of his mouth as he was setting up to preach through four chapters of Acts, was this:

As a Christian, God's purpose for my life is to advance the gospel of Jesus Christ to the ends of the earth. Anything we do that is not in line with God's purpose is futility.

I look back at the questions and realize that yes God was preparing me for the changes that would take place in January. At the same time, He was setting me free from the lie that if I am not "on" or serving, I have no worth or purpose.

My purpose as a Christian is to advance the gospel of Jesus Christ to the ends of the earth. Anything I am involved in that does not line up with that purpose is a waste of the time God has given me on earth. I must be a better steward of the purpose He has set in my heart.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Just Thinking about Changing my Focus

Sitting here this morning working through my Bible study ("No Other Gods" Kelly Minter) I didn't expect to have a light bulb moment like the one I had. Oh I opened up my Bible, my study and asked God to speak, even expected Him to! But what happened next was totally off the radar.

As I finished up the days homework, I opened my journal and jotted down a few notes about what God had shown me. He really smacked me across the face with something. Pretty much showed me where I had taken a good thing, and made it and the circumstances around it an idol. As I finished, I wrote my new memory verse for this two week period.

Psalm 16:11 "You will make known to me the path of life. In your presence is fullness of joy; in your right hand are pleasures forever."

You will make known to me the path of life. If I am doing what Matthew 6:33 says to do, (seeking God first) then I will know God's path for my life. Even when it seems unclear He will be faithful to illuminate the very next step. That is enough. Two steps ahead may overwhelm me, so we will just take one step at a time.

In your presence is fullness of joy; Seeking God first changes my living situation. It redirects my focus and places me in the presence of God. A place where there is fullness of joy. I believe that this type of joy is complete. Lacking nothing. A joy that is present regardless of life circumstances. This is the place where I want to live. As a Christian, NOT living in this place is a pretty good indication that I have some false gods that need to be taken down from their high place.

in your right hand are pleasures forever. The end of Matthew 6:33 says that after we are seeking God first, THEN "all these things will be added unto you." These fullness of joy come AFTER we are seeking God's kingdom, His righteousness, not before. His right hand is full of pleasures, blessing designed for each of us. How sad it is that we miss it because we put so many other things, good things, and sometimes even people in His place.

God simply asks us to come after Him first. Anything we are chasing before Him is going to fail us. Nothing can compare to Him. Nothing.

Living a life focused on God alone is going to change my desires. My concept of "pleasures" will be forever altered and will line up with His idea of pleasures. What used to thrill me, make me smile or make me happy just will not have the same affect.

Psalm 37:4 will make total sense and God's desires will be my desire.

Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Lessons Learned Out Front #1

My verse for this year is Isaiah 45:3. I will give you treasures in the darkness and hoards in the secret places that you will know that it is I, the Lord, the God of Israel who calls you by name. (Typing from memory forgive me if that is not word perfect!)

Keeping with that theme of treasuring the things God has given and taught me, I'm going to attempt to document some of the lessons He has taught me over the last year or so. Lessons learned in a place I never thought I would be.

In 2010 I was honored to serve on our church's praise team. I survived the audition process and was immediately overcome with the realization that:

I had to stand in front of a bunch of people and sing. Can we say overactive active sweat glands. :)

For some, that place out front is an easy place to be. Not so much for me. If you know me, you know my heart and my passion for worship is most comfortable behind the piano or in our worship choir. That is where I love to lead from, it's where I feel most free to worship God. But last year that was not God's plan. He was kicking me away from all the things that I felt comfortable in and putting me in a place where I was totally uncomfortable.

So there I was. Standing in that place only God could make me go. Terrified. Scared to death of everything from tripping down the stairs to forgetting words but most of all, failing God. That one is an old fear the enemy attempts to use when he really wants to mess with me.

You see, for so long I associated my worth on where I was serving. If I wasn't serving at the piano then I felt like I was useless to God. Why even show up on Sunday. This is stinkin' thinkin' and God knocked me off of my throne (piano bench). Then He moved us to Georgia.

During the first few months here God changed my heart and I found true satisfaction out of serving in our choir. I love our worship choir so much. While my heart still beats a little faster at the piano, I have found that I am content to worship Jesus from my spot in our choir. If He sees fit to allow me to fill in at the piano on occasion, my heart knows that is His way of keeping that spark alive. It's a little reminder, "I'm not done with you yet."

You see, God had to remove me from the thing I loved the most (worshipping at the piano) to show me that I CAN worship in another area of service. After I learned that it was possible for me to feel that same closeness to Him standing in the choir loft, He had me audition for praise team. And you know what? I made it. That is when I better understood the context of Philippians 4:13.

Here is the passage before the verse we use so often.

Philippians 4:11b-13
"I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me."

The year I served was not easy. There were a few Sunday mornings everything in me prayed for a plant to be placed in front of me so I could hide! But God would gently remind me "You trusted me with your eternity. Trust me for today. It's me and you." I was free to worship without fear of failing Him.

Lesson #1. When I am content with where Jesus has me today, He will equip me with what I need to accomplish the thing that seems impossible. Nothing is impossible for Him. Nothing. Depend on Him alone.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

I'll Keep Holding On..

Do you know that song? I think it was mid 80's or so? I loved it. All I can remember is a few words of the verse and a little of the chorus, but I can hum the entire melody. Love it.

Anyway. Today is the day I change the words to that chorus. I've been holding on to something for far too long. Something that God has been pressing into me for quite awhile. I have prayed, cried, prayed, sought counsel and been silent.

And I have heard God. I know exactly what I am to do.

Sounds like it should be easy right? Wrong. It's going to be the hardest thing I have ever done. EVER. But partial obedience is disobedience, so there really is no other option than to just do what He has told me to do. (Sidenote, If I had done what He said a year ago, I would not be in this situation.)

So tonight, I stop holding on. I will share what God has put on my heart, totally unsure of what is going to happen. I may be completely walking away from something I dearly love, and you know what....

I'm at complete peace with that.

Because my attempt to keep holding on is disobedience.

In wrestling this thing out He keeps reminding me that sometimes one person's honesty will help bring freedom to another brother or sister in Christ.

I pray that happens.

Goodness knows, my holding on has not brought freedom. And it was for freedom Christ set us free. We aren't to be slaves to anything.(see Gal. 5:1) ANYTHING. Even good things.

I am clinging to Proverbs 1:33 "whoever listens to me will dwell secure and will be at ease, without dread of disaster."

Tonight, I can be secure knowing I have heard God's direction for me. I am choosing to believe (although I'm praying help my unbelief!) that He will keep me from "disaster", in this case the fear of the unknown.

I'm so thankful He doesn't give up on us. That He gives another chance. His mercy is new each morning. Thank you Jesus.

(the song is "Holding Back the Years" Simply Red just looked it up cause it was buggin' me!)