The Calling of Everyday Ministry

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You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. Matthew 5:14-16

There’s something I want to share with you that only a small handful of people have heard until now. God has called me into full-time ministry. This calling has happened over the last year and during a time of recent fasting and prayer, I finally knew that it was real and truly from God.

So, after that realization, I thought it might be time to share my concerns with my almighty Father, who just happens to know the future, everything about me, all the pieces that will fit together, and has the ultimate plan. <insert eye roll at my lack of faith>

  • How can this happen?
  • We can’t afford it.
  • When will this happen?
  • I’m not equipped. I’m not ready.

In not so many words, my faith was shaken.

You see, when I think of “ministry,” I think of quitting my job, reading my Bible and studying a lot more than I have time for right now, meeting with people to share Jesus with them, maybe working for my church and through the ministries they have, writing full-time, and even possibly speaking (Yikes! Scary…). All these things could be a “full-time” ministry but let me share with you what Jesus has shown me in the last few weeks.

As a child of God, I am always in full-time ministry.


In the job I hold now, I am in ministry. There are people there that need the love of Jesus shown to them and I have the unique opportunity to be the light of the world to someone who may not see it anywhere else in their life.

At the grocery store when I see a lady in the parking lot crying because of a hard time she’s going through, I am in ministry.

At home, when my family is gathered around the table for dinner, I am in ministry.

At a school event for my children, when there are hurting people all around me, I am in ministry.

At a restaurant, when the individual serving us might be struggling to make ends meet and wondering where God is, I am in ministry.


As Christians, we are to be a LIGHT in this dark world and give our Father glory for what He has done in our lives. We can do this wherever we are.

It’s so tempting for me to think that I can’t be in full-time ministry when I still have a secular job and too many responsibilities to have the time. But this is so far from the truth! I can be a light right where I am, in this very season of life.

And you can also be a light right where you are, in this very season of life.

Allow Jesus to be integrated into every area of your life. See Him not as an addition or in a separate box, but as your Father, your friend, that you take with you wherever you are. Be a full time minister of the good news of Jesus and what He’s done in your life. It’s our calling.

When you see the next hurting person in your everyday world, remind yourself that THIS is your everyday ministry. When all of us light up the world within our reach, together we will light up the world.

 

If you would like to connect with me, please feel free to do so! I’d love to hear from you. ~Angie

Let Compassion Be Your First Response

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As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?’ “Neither this man, nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him…” John 9:1

A story comes out in the news about a teenager killed in a car wreck at 2 a.m. The first questions I hear and/or read are “Was he drunk?” “Surely he was out partying. Why else would he be out in the middle of the night?” “How fast was he going?”

A woman is just diagnosed with lung cancer and the first question I hear is “Did she smoke?”

A man is on the side of the road with a sign. There are many people who will immediately ask, “What did he do to get to where he is?” before they will even consider helping him. I have to admit I’ve asked the same question.

So many times, we as a society feel the need to determine if a bad situation in someone else’s life is justified before we allow ourselves to feel compassion. We want to know, “Is there a sin that caused this?” and if so, we excuse ourselves from feeling compassion or being there to help them.

This is what the disciples did when Jesus came across a man who was blind and had been blind since he was born. Their first question was not asked from a stance of compassion but from a critical spirit. They seemed to be saying, “It doesn’t matter that he is blind, not if he deserves it.” Jesus quickly put them in their place when He tells them there is no sin that caused it. What He did say puts every tragedy and hard thing I’ve ever experienced into place. “This happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.”

Notice the word “works.” It is plural, meaning this one miracle was not the only display of God’s hand in his life that others would see. It means that this miracle was only the beginning of how God was going to work in and through this man’s life. 

So why is it that we have to decide if someone experiencing a hard time deserves it or not before we show them compassion? Does it somehow let us off the hook if we can reason that they deserve to be in this situation? 

I would love to see the church welcome ALL people in ANY situation, whether we believe they deserve it or not, and at the very minimum give them our time and prayers as they search for God, meaning, and a way out of the depth of sorrow they are in. We should respond first with compassion and then later, if needed and in the spirit of love, ask the questions needed to help someone not end up in the same situation again.

 We have an opportunity to minister as Jesus did, not turning away anyone who earnestly was seeking Him and even pursuing those who did not yet know who He was. Personally, I would rather err on the side of compassion with the chance of them taking advantage of the situation then to miss an opportunity to introduce someone who is authentically hurting to Jesus through my kindness and compassion.  

Sometimes, there is no reason for the storm other than Jesus be glorified through it, but even if there is a reason, let compassion be your first response. 

Unexpected Lessons and Blessings

In a little diner an hour and a half from home, I started writing. I wrote about a paragraph and felt like it wasn’t what God wanted me to write. So I stopped and started praying. I paused and looked around the diner. I looked at the table in front of mine and saw a little old lady sitting alone. We made eye contact and I smiled. That’s all it took for her to start talking to me. She shared with me that she had cancer and was having surgery in a few weeks to remove it. Her battle with cancer started in 2003 and she was fighting it again after they found another spot.

Our conversation continued and I found out many things about her including her marriage of 41 years to her High School sweetheart that ended when he died of brain cancer many years ago. The doctors told her near the end of his life that she should put him in a nursing home because he would become violent and she needed to protect herself. She told them “absolutely not!” as she explained that just because he may not recognize her enough to fully love her, she still loved him and that’s all the love they needed. She followed that up with a sheepish grin “And he didn’t become violent. Maybe a little childish but never violent.” Then she told me of her second marriage of 21 years, her daughter and granddaughter, her new “smart phone” that she couldn’t figure out so she just turned it off, and that she drove the truck to the diner instead of the car. It was normal conversation with a sweet lady that was craving communication and it blessed me.

I started thinking… How many times do we miss out on these conversations with people because our heads are down and stuck in our virtual world on our phones? How many times is there a sweet old lady who needs to be shown God’s love sitting in the booth next to us at the diner or the seat next to us at the doctor’s office? How many times has there been someone sitting next to us that is in the darkest time in their life and a simple smile of acknowledgement would help her feel like she’s noticed and seen?

How many opportunities have I missed to show God’s love to someone else?

So as I sit here at the diner, thinking about the lady next to me, I realize that she taught me a few things. She taught me that love stands up for someone and that you don’t have to receive love to give it. She taught me that faith gives us hope. She taught me that sometimes it’s better to not understand our smart phones and turn them off, or just turn them off anyway. She taught me that there are still times in life in which we should have conversations with strangers. She took me back to a place where people looked each other in the eye and held face-to-face conversations.

And she taught me that loving others is shown in the simple things, like taking the time out of your day to acknowledge someone else, smile, and simply listen to them.

As you go through your day, think about your surroundings. Find an opportunity to reach out to someone and show that person love. You never know when there may be a little old lady that would love a little company. And when you’re praying, say a prayer for my new friend Audrey who is fighting cancer. She would certainly appreciate it.

Why Pay at the Pump Costs Society

Do nothing from rivalry or conceit,but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Philippians 2:3-4

I was traveling to a small town in Arkansas on an assignment for my job when I noticed I needed gas in my car. I felt like I was in the middle of nowhere so when I turned a corner and saw a gas station in the distance, I was relieved.  As I approached the pumps, I noticed that they were not pay at the pump and became slightly agitated. I was in a hurry to reach my destination and this was a setback I had not planned. I would have to go inside to pay and it would cost me a few extra minutes of my time.

I finished up pumping my gas and went inside to pay. There was a woman at the counter with a smile on her face. I smiled back and though I wasn’t there long, we had a pleasant conversation.  I left that place feeling uplifted and I believe she was too just from seeing a friendly face and hearing a genuine “how are you?” I walked away from that little gas station with no “pay at the pump” pumps with a smile on my face and a warmth in my heart.

I resumed my drive and began to think. How often do we miss chances of personal connection because we are too busy to stop? How often do we miss out on opportunities to show Jesus’ love because we are lost in our own little world?

Our society is changing. Drastically. And fast. More and more inventions are being created that cater to our busy lifestyles and cut out the interpersonal communication with others. We are being launched into a selfish cycle of individualism and sometimes we don’t even realize it.

I’ve never thought about pay at the pump being one of these things that contributes to the lack of personal connection until that day. It costs society, if only a little, the vitality of human connection and the chance of reaching someone with the love of Christ.

There are a few things I thought of that we can do to counteract the conveniences that lend to us being self centered.

1. Rather than use pay at the pump, go inside to pay. Make an intentional effort to look around for someone you may be able to encourage. It could just be a friendly smile at the attendant. It might just be the smile that reaches their heart.

2. Instead of sending a text to a friend, call to talk and really listen. Don’t just talk about yourself. Or take them a small token of your thoughtfulness. Make an extra batch of cookies when cooking with your family. Buy something on clearance that made you think of them (or full price if you feel you can! 😉 ). Pick out a card to give them and hand deliver, or make one.

3. Go to the bank instead of banking online. Go inside instead of the drive through.

4. Shop in stores instead of online. There have been so many times I’ve run into someone that needed encouragement when I’ve been shopping!

All of these conveniences that cut out interpersonal connection makes life easier for us. And with the busyness of life, it is much appreciated! But what if we looked at it differently? What if we took the extra 5-10 minutes we spent on facebook or twitter to leave our house early so that we weren’t in such a rush? What if because of that, we opened our eyes to others and had time to make someone’s day by our smile and encouragement?

I believe in a world of modern conveniences that we must make an extra effort to communicate with others and get outside our little busy world. Pay at the pump costs us. It costs us face to face interaction, as so many other things today do. Let’s counteract it.  Let’s take some time to “look not only to your own interest, but also to the interests of others.”

What are some other ways we can do this?

God Still Speaks

You are the God who performs miracles; you display your power among the peoples. Psalm 77:14

I need a miracle in my life. A full out, no doubt about it, God given, miracle. I’ve been praying about it for a while  now and just keep holding on to hope that it’s going to happen. Above all, I want God’s will to be accomplished and sometimes it’s hard to swallow when His will is not OUR will. But this… THIS… has to be something God would want as well.

At times I lose faith. The pain that I incur from the situation that needs God’s hand is almost unbearable at times and I just wonder if it will always be. But this morning in church service, He spoke to me. It was as clear to me as anything I’ve ever heard.

The words of the song we were singing was  “The ground began to shake, The stone was rolled away, His perfect love could not be overcome, Now death where is your sting, Our resurrected King has rendered you defeated”. I love worship and with my heart completed immersed in worshiping God, I sang these words. I wasn’t even consciously listening for His word in my life at that moment. I was just loving Him with my words, my heart, and my actions. But at that moment, He decided to encourage me and into my heart He spoke,

“Look at what I did, for YOU, for all of mankind. If I can do this, surely I can provide you this miracle you need in your life. And I will”

Normally, this word would have caused me to shake with emotion and break down in a fit of tears, but today, I was totally at peace. Oh, there were tears, but He held me together. At this moment, I believe He wanted to show His emotional strength in me. He showed up in my life and gave me  the encouragement I needed to keep going, keep praying, keep trusting Him.

Through it all, God will prevail and His plan will be carried out. He has the power to do ALL that He has said He’s going to do and will overcome the world. He will overcome evil.

He is going to provide this miracle in my life and I am going to keep trusting Him for that. When? I don’t know. How? I don’t know. It may be in a completely different way than I can even imagine, but He will.  My life is in His hands and He will provide.

Is there something in your life in which you need a miracle? Though sometimes His plan is not our plan or desire and things don’t always happen as we would like, there are times when a miracle is needed and granted. Trust in Him, no matter the outcome, for He has all of his children in His hands. He’s working this out for us and for His glory.

And when a miracle is granted, give Him the glory. Let’s show the world the power our Father has and the love He gives us that is like no other.

A Spiritual Battle and a Forgiven Past

Surely it was for my benefit that I suffered such anguish.

In your love you kept me from the pit of destruction;

you have put all my sins behind your back. Isaiah 38:17

I have failed as a Christian. Big time. I have been deceived by the master of deceit and have been through the pit of a sinful past.

This is not who I am today, thanks to the grace,  forgiveness and restoration of my Savior. Jesus has transformed me from the person I used to be the beautiful creation He intended me to be from the beginning.

I can’t get enough of Jesus and His Word and I pray this desire to know His heart more fully never goes away.

I began writing. Sharing my heart with you. Not because I’m a writer and love to write, but because I want to share hope with you. I want my past experiences and my story of God’s restoration and love for me to give you the hope that He can do the same for you.

With this change in my life comes persecution. Satan loves to remind me of my past. To whisper how worthless I am and that I will never amount to anything good. He tries to lie to me about many things.

The past two days have been a struggle for me. I have been in a spiritual battle in my mind. My past came up once again, quite unexpectedly. I was accused of being the person today that I have been in the past.

It just isn’t true. However, this accusation led me into a whirlwind of thoughts about who I am as a person. Satan used these words to start in on me, lying to me about who I am. I’ve been experiencing an overwhelming sense of sorrow about my actions, even though they are now years old. There are days that I just cannot seem to escape my poor decisions.

This morning in my room, I could almost hear the evil laughter saying “ha, I got ya this time!” It spurred me to fight by letting Jesus take control of the fight and trusting Him to win it for me.

I strongly believe that this attack stems from my deep desire to serve God in every aspect of my life. Satan HATES losing and will fight to get us off course again, to make us think we aren’t worth saving, to make us think we are horrible people and might as well give up trying.

After several hours of intentional study and prayer this evening and talks with my husband, with God’s help I am on the other side of this particular battle.

He has once again wrapped His arms around me and shown me a love that cannot ever be duplicated. 

He has reminded me of His forgiveness and power to make all things clean again, including my life.

This afternoon, I was trying to decide who of my good friends to contact for reassurance and encouragement. I very clearly heard Him tell me… “Let me do this. Let me be the One to tell you that you are not who you used to be. I am proud of you, my beautiful child. I only see beauty when I look at you. Come here and let me hold you.”

I broke down in tears. I have been in tears for several days now but these were different. Instead of sorrowful tears over a past I wish I could change, they were tears of joy and gratitude.

Two years ago, Jesus wiped away my past. WIPED AWAY FOREVER!  I gave my life back to Him and He gave me a clean heart and purified me. Sometimes it’s hard for me to believe, but He is powerful enough to do that!

Have I always been perfect since then? Absolutely not. I still fail Him on a daily basis. But the difference now is that my heart is where it should be. I am no longer being deceived and ignoring the Holy Spirit. I do not take any credit at all for this transition for it comes completely from Jesus. I had only to be willing to let Him transform me.

It was for my benefit that I suffered much anguish. In His love, He kept me from the pit of destruction and has put all my sins behind His back.

He has done the same for you if you’ve truly repented. He forgets it. You never will and that’s okay. It will be a reminder of where you’ve been so that you never return there. But leave it at that.

Daily give your mind to Christ and let Him fight your battles for you. He’s really good at it! In fact, He wins EVERY SINGLE TIME. 

Keeping it real,

Angie

Overwhelmed with God’s Grace

There have been some terrible things happen to me in my life; however, I also have made many many mistakes of which the responsibility rests completely on me. I have a past of which I am not proud. Poor choices have caused me much heartache and the consequences of those decisions will follow me around. However, I am forgiven of my past! The grace that God has shown me overwhelms me and I cannot find the words to explain how I feel. In church one Sunday, the following scripture was read. I felt like I was hearing my story. I was once again reminded of God’s forgiveness and could not stop the tears that flowed. As a woman with much to forgive, I believe I realize more fully the magnitude of the grace of God and what it means for me.

If you have a past that you aren’t proud of and struggle with forgiving yourself, read each of these words carefully, as if it was about you. Let Jesus’ words sink in and wash over you like a fresh breath of air. 

A Sinful Woman Forgiven: Luke 7: 36-48

36 One of the Pharisees asked him to eat with him, and he went into the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. 37 And behold, a woman of the city, who was a sinner, when she learned that he was reclining at table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of ointment, 38 and standing behind him at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head and kissed his feet and anointed them with the ointment. 39 Now when the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, for she is a sinner.” 40 And Jesus answering said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” And he answered, “Say it, Teacher.”

41 “A certain moneylender had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 42 When they could not pay, he cancelled the debt of both. Now which of them will love him more?” 43 Simon answered, “The one, I suppose, for whom he cancelled the larger debt.” And he said to him, “You have judged rightly.” 44 Then turning toward the woman he said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45 You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not ceased to kiss my feet. 46 You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. 47 Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.” 48 And he said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”

Thank you Jesus for your deliverance! I give you the glory for the place I am today in my life. I give you the glory for the deliverance of my oppression as well as my own sins. I pray that I will never again return to the depths of sin that I resided in for so long. Because of Your love for me, I will serve You all the rest of my days. Please protect me and keep me from being deceived.

I know that where I have been allows me to be in a place now that I can help others and I pray that you use my painful past to guide others to You. I am chosen by You to be Your daughter. Thank you for making something beautiful out of something so very ugly.

You are the One true God who has the power to save us from a life of repetitive mistakes and sinful nature. When I fall, help me up. When I succeed, help me to give You the glory. In everything I do, may I always seek You and point others to You. Despite my pain, THANK YOU. I do not know how I would handle life without You. You give me reason to live and purpose and I love You from the depths of my heart.

Cleanse me and make me whole. Help me see others through Your eyes and be patient and graceful. I praise You for being the God of second and third and fourth chances. I praise You for never leaving me nor forsaking me.

Remind me of my worth in You. Remind me of my beautiful soul and help me to in turn encourage others in their walk with You. You are my reason to live and I pray Your love radiates through me like a beacon of light in a dark world. I pray Your grace flows through me like a free flowing river of hope. I want to serve you in all I do and I need You to show me the way. Your child forever,

Angie