God Is Working In My Obedience

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Serving youth has always been a passion of mine. I work in a high school where my aim has been to positively impact the students in my classroom since DAY 1. A year ago we took a step of faith and left the church where we had become comfortable and followed God’s leading to a church in the community where we live and work. The Lord met us in that place in a very real way and we have seen growth in our daughter, marriage, and faith as a result.

The Lord has blessed us richly.

Not only were we welcomed into the new church with grace, but God provided many opportunities for us to dive in and serve almost immediately. Last Christmas we helped pack shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child, our daughter jumped in and fell in love with the Childrens Ministry and AWANA, my husband and I took foundational classes and our most recent venture has been my involvement in the Youth Group.

Every week I work alongside another female leader to coach a small group of girls in the church. We play games, listen to messages, read the Bible, and pray for one another every week. Last week, we finished our first book of the Bible since I started serving: Ephesians.

God has blessed me and grown me so much since I took the step of obedience to serve the youth of the church. First of all, I am able to work with students from the school  in a brand new context. I love being able to step outside of school curriculum and openly minister to these girls on Sunday nights.

Secondly, when I was approached by the Youth Pastor to pray about my involvement with the girls ministry I had so many thoughts run through my head. Lord, am I strong enough for this? I am coming out of one of the hardest seasons of my life. Can I really be the leader that these girls need me to be? But almost immediately my decision was confirmed when a student connected with me and prayed FOR ME. At school, I came back to my classroom to a letter from one of the girls from the youth group that talked about the ways in which she was praying for me.

I cried because here I was thinking that I needed to be strong for these girls, but the Lord is helping me heal by providing me strong girls too.

I’m learning that when we choose to be obedient God uses that to answer our prayers. He calls us out of comfort to perform His will, but He gives us the chance to respond in obedience first.

 

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Way: Five Minute Friday

Every Friday I like to join a band of inspired writers over at Five Minute Friday.com. There is a weekly link-up posted here with a prompt for a blog post. Click on the link to see what other members are writing. The goal is to write on the topic for an uninterrupted five minutes. This week the topic is way.

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Does anyone else feel like they are constantly in the way?

It’s an awkward feeling when you are trying to be helpful all the while your presence is a complicating factor. Maybe it’s the fact that I possess a bit of social anxiety. When I’m nervous I tend to talk. A lot. I will talk just to avoid silence and oftentimes that backfires. In an attempt to evade awkwardness I actually create it. There I am just in the way of things.

It’s a bit like my relationship with God.

So often I try to find my own way or “help God along” with things the way I think they ought to go. With my human efforts I work at solving problems all the while God is sitting back and watching as I step on His toes. So many times I’ve found myself doing the very things that God alone is meant to do. Nothing I could say or do can heal or produce the things of God.

Recently, someone I love dearly has experienced the pain of a broken relationship. They held onto something that wasn’t working and when things finally imploded it left them hurting and raw. I wished so badly that I could take that pain away. The only way I knew to do that was to offer advice. I texted them often and shared my own experiences. But one night as I prayed for that person I felt God nudging me to get out of the way.

I can picture Him watching me and saying, “Lauren, would you please get out of the way so I can heal this person? I applaud your motives, but this cannot be about you.”

I had to let go of my desire to fix everything myself and realize that I wasn’t equipped with the power to heal them. God alone has that level of might. Instead, my role was to pray for and encourage this person in their faith. God wanted me to continue to befriend this person, but instead of filling them with my wisdom He desired for me to get out of the way and just listen.

When people are hurting the best thing we can offer them is a listening ear. Sure, it feels good to be able to give out advice, but in the most vulnerable of moments God needs room to work on them. He desires for us to step back, listen, and pray. If I get out of the way I see God work through that act of obedience. He uses my presence not my words to minister to others.

The Ameri Brit Mom

Today at Covenant…Sola Scriptura

Today I am beginning a new series on the blog entitled Today at Covenant…

My family attends a booming church in Grove City, Ohio. We meet in an AMC theater on Sunday mornings and in home groups called cLife groups all over Columbus throughout the week. This blog series is based on a sermon entitled Sola Scriptura by Pastor Travis Davenport. For more information about Covenant Church check out the link.

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Sola Scriptura:

The focus scripture for today’s sermon is 2 Timothy 3:12-17

12 In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, 13 while evildoers and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. 14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, 15 and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God[a] may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

Sola Scriptura is the Latin term for the idea that scripture alone is truth. Before the Reformation it was widely believed that scripture + something else was necessary to finding truth. It was during this time that a movement began which would allow the human part of the equation to be removed. Scripture alone is inerrant, infallible, and authoritative.

God breathes these scriptures to life and because of his nature he is unable to breathe anything that is not true. The mere fact that something came from the mouth of God makes it indisputably true.

So at his very essence, who is God? According to 1 John 4:8 God is first of all LOVE. Everything God has done is out of his love for us. Sometimes we hang the blame for bad things in our lives on God, but if we believe scripture to be true we must understand that God is not some anger-slinging being in space who wants to see us suffer and fail. God is love. And anything that causes us pain is a product of sin/evil and not God. Even Jesus-his mission was one of love not pain, but because of sin pain became a part of what he had to endure to see his mission through.

God is also TRUTH. John 14:6 Jesus says that he is the way, the TRUTH, and the life. If we believe scripture to be true we must understand that Jesus is also God as part of the Trinity and so anything that is true of the Son is true also of the Father.

God is LOVE and TRUTH.

3 Main Points about scripture:

  1. Scripture is inspired of God-It is God’s spoken Word and is indisputable.
  2. Scripture is authoritative-It should change the way we live and think about the world around us because everything in our lives is subject to scripture. We don’t have the ability to pick and choose parts of scripture that appeal to us and believe only those parts. The entirety of scripture was inspired by God to have authority over our lives.
  3. Scripture is sufficient- In Hebrews 12: 4 it says that scripture is sharper than a double edged sword. It is living, active, moving, breathing, and eternal. There is no other truth needed than scripture alone. (Sola Scriptura)

 

The Covenant Fast

Also as I mentioned last week in my post Church in the Living Room, our pastor has given our church a challenge to fast for 21 days and pray for our church specifically during that time. One thing I’ve felt convicted of lately is my spending habits. I know that as the holiday season came and went I wasn’t the wisest with my money management. A lot of impulse spending happened as I became more and more of a consumer than I’d like to admit. I spent this morning in prayer about how God would have me fast during this time. I suffer from hypoglycemia so fasting food is never really an option (3 hours without food isn’t really an option), so as I’ve done before during other fasts I decided to sacrifice something that I’ve been investing myself in that has become a distraction from my relationship with God.

Starting tomorrow and until January 24th I will be fasting spending my money on anything other than groceries, gas, and bills. In this time as I struggled with what to fast, I kept thinking of the parable of the talents found in Matthew 25:14-30.

In this portion of scripture a man is going away and entrusts his servants with his property (talents) based on their abilities. Two of the servants invest their talents and are able to repay the master more than their original amounts upon his return while one of them buries the money and does nothing with what he was given. His response to the first two servants was the same, “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness.” (verses 21 and 23)

To the second servant the man responds with, “You wicked and lazy servant!” (verse 26)

As I look at this passage I can see myself relating to the position of the third servant. I may not have dug a hole and buried my money, but I sure did a lot of blowing what money I did have on unnecessary, worldly distractions. There was no return investment coming for my habits.

So as I take this step for the next 21 days I have a two-fold purpose. First and foremost, I will be in prayer for my church and how God plans to use me this year within the mission. Secondly, these next three weeks will be an exercise in self-discipline and replenishing of my bank account. At the end of my life I don’t want to be a servant who squanders all of their money on things that have no eternal value. To hear the words, “Well, done good and faithful servant” will make any sacrifice worth the payment.

Please pray for me and my family during this time as we are each sacrificing something of value to us. Also, consider joining this challenge even if you aren’t a member of our church. Fasting is something that you do so that you can rid yourself of  distractions. It is a practice in renewing your focus which is something we all need periodically. If you are up to it please prayerfully consider a fast this new year and let me know if you are in!

Happy Sabbath!

The Ameri Brit Mom