Thursday, February 17, 2011

Chain Reaction

I'm taking this from a homework assignment for my Christian Leadership class:

In 1858, a Sunday school teacher, a Mr. Campbell, led a Boston shoe clerk to give his life to Christ.

The clerk, Dwight L. Moody, became an evangelist and in England in 1879 awakened evangelistic zeal in the heart of Frederick B. Meyer, a pastor of a small church.

F.B. Meyer, preaching on an American campus, brought a student to Christ named J. Wilbur Chapman.

Chapman engaged in YMCA work and employed a former baseball player, Billy Sunday, to do evangelistic work.

Sunday held a revival in Charlotte, NC.

A group of local men were so enthusiastic afterwards that they planned another evangelistic campaign, bringing Mordecai Hamm to town to preach.

In the revival, a young man named Billy Graham heard the gospel and yielded his life to Christ...

and the story goes on.

We never know who we are influencing by what we say, the way we act, and the things we fill our time with. Be INTENTIONAL about the way you live your life and the way you interact with people. You just never know!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

We Will Never Be The Same!

At the start, He was there
He was there.
In the end, He'll be there
He'll be there.
After all our hands have wrought, He forgives!

Oh, the glory of it all is He came here for the rescue of us all
that we may live for the glory of it all.

All is lost...find Him there!
Find Him there.
After night, dawn is here!
Dawn is here.
After all falls apart, He repairs.

He is here for redemption from the fall
that we may live for the glory of it all!

After night comes the light. Dawn is here.
Dawn is here!
It's a new day.
Things will NEVER be the same...WE will NEVER be the same!

The glory of it all is YOU CAME HERE
for the RESCUE of US ALL for the glory of it all.
You are here for redemption for us all,
that we may LIVE for the glory of it all!

I have listened to this beautiful David Crowder song probably five times in the last two days. It is so powerful! We used to sing it in youth group all the time, but each time I listen to it, a new light is shed on these words.

He has been here from the start, and He'll be here til the end.
He forgives us and burns away the dross.
He came to RESCUE us from such a deadly peril!
When all is lost, when all is dark, HE IS THERE. No matter how dark it gets.
When everything falls apart, He repairs. He repairs.
And we will NEVER be the same.

Whatever is on your plate, whatever has been on your plate, whatever is going to be on your plate... the Lord is faithful. He will not tempt you beyond what you can bear, and even when it feels like you can't go on anymore, He promises to be our strength and our song, our Ultimate Comforter, and our hope. He commands us to come to Him if we are tired and weary, and He WILL give us REST. He commands us to cast ALL our anxiety on Him because He cares for us AND He will never let the righteous fall.

Look over what you've been through in your life. Has God ever NOT been faithful? You're here, aren't you? He has such a big purpose for you! You were NEVER made to just take up space. You were NOT created to simply try to survive instead of living. He came that we may have life and have it ABUNDANTLY. He is a big God, and He has big plans for his beloved sons and precious daughters. You do NOT serve a mediocre God.

Whether it is a physical ailment, terminal disease, two steps away from an emotional breakdown, a broken heart, a bitter spirit, overwhelming loneliness, or anything else...

And He is faithful.

The Lord your God is with you. He is mighty to save.
He will take great delight in you.
He will quiet you with His love and rejoice over you with singing.
Zephaniah 3:17 :)

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Sweetheart, I'll Wait For You

Today I went to my third funeral. It was different today in that I didn't know the person whose life was being celebrated. I went to support two sweet, precious kids from the youth group I serve in. They lost their grandmother, their aunt, uncle, and dad lost their sweet mama, and a man lost his best friend and the love of his life. Life is precious, and life is beautiful.

I woke up this morning with a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach, knowing that today was the day I would be attending this funeral. I went to be there for my kids. I went to show them that I love them and I'm here for them always, through the fun times when we're playing games and watching the Superbowl and acting stupid on Sunday nights AND ALSO through the darkest days of their teenage years, when they have nothing to offer but their tears and their brokenness. When they don't understand...when they feel like God is only giving them enough light for the step that they're on in that very moment. When life is so wonderful that you just have to stop and close your eyes and thank Jesus that life is truly beautiful and so worthwhile. When they are ashamed, burdened, weeping, broken, hurt, and lost. The Lord led me to Edge Park for "such a time as this..." in every season that they encounter.

Though I would have done anything to be there for them today and I'm so glad I got to go and just be there with them and show my support and love for them, it was extremely draining. The last time I woke up and got ready for a funeral was August 7th, 2009-the day we celebrated and grieved the short lives of my aunt and uncle. Everything about today brought me back to that day, almost a year and a half ago.

It's hard to be a good friend to friends who are grieving if you've never experienced grief. It's hard to be a good friend to friends who are grieving if you HAVE experienced grief. I've never lost a grandparent. I don't know what they are feeling or what they're going through. I just know that it's got to be painful, that grieving is really hard, and that healing is a process.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in ANY trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4

I attended a few sessions of a grief and loss group at my church a few months after my aunt and uncle died, and I found these verses from 2 Corinthians as a result. I love that the God who created me is abounding in love. I love that the Maker of the Stars hears my breaking heart. I love that the God who knows how many hairs on my head is the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort! He KNEW that grieving would be terrible, and it would hurt, and it would weigh our hearts down. But He gave grieving to us as a beautiful gift, because (like my sweet mama says) if we had to deal with all the emotions that death brings all at once, we would not survive. He gave us the grieving process so that we could let out our hurt, anger, sadness, and bitterness a little at a time. Though it hurts, and sometimes it feels like a huge weight is on our hearts because we miss them so very extremely much, the Lord uses that. He redeems it for His glory!

I am thankful that the Lord uses the hurt in my past to help others. He gave me a heart to love on other people with everything that I have, and to be there for them. Even though it's not fair that my aunt and uncle didn't get to see their 5oth birthdays, even though it makes no sense that they were taken so stinkin' early, though I would do anything to hear one of his stories or get one of her hugs or help him clean house on another Saturday morning or hear her laugh...He uses my pain so that when other people are drowning in their own sorrow, I can say to them: I don't know how you feel, but I know that it hurts. And I'm here for you, and I can show compassion to you because the Lord held me at my weakest point, when I was so angry at Him because my aunt and uncle, the people who half-raised me, the people who my mom told me years before would take me in if anything ever happened to her, the people who wiped away my tears and doctored my cuts and scrapes, the people who took me in as their fourth daughter, didn't get to see me turn eighteen, graduate from high school, or even get accepted to the college of my dreams. Because HE is the God of all comfort, I can be there for other people. I can serve because of what He's done in my life. He gives us strength when we have absolutely nothing to give.

Life is hard. But it is beautiful.
God is good. And He is so worth trusting.