Pushing a Rope vs. Ministry

When you come up against difficult immoveable people, and they do not want to comply with your request, it is as frustrating and impossible to accomplish your goal as it is to push a rope or herd cats. People who do not wish to change will never ever do so no matter what you say or even do. They are more likely to change some with actions as opposed to words most of the time, but neither will change a hardened mind or heart unless that person wants or decides to do it. So what is the point of ministry? Ah, the very great secret is that ministry actually has nothing to do with us. We can accomplish work but absolutely can not accomplish the point of ministry at all. We are quite helpless in the matter. Futile as pushing a rope or herding cats. The goal of ministry (opposite of much public opinion these days) truly is and forever should be to win souls to the Lord for their eternal salvation and God’s eternal glory. He loves all His created children superbly and perfectly and does not want any of them to perish, so obedient people of His minister to those lost to win them to the Lord and accomplish this. However, we can not do it. We can say the right words and do the right things, which fulfills our contrite obedience to God, but we can not close the deal. We can not push a rope. It is impossible. Like spinning your wheels and not moving. HOWEVER, and here is the part I like, God does that work! He looks into the heart of the man or woman you ministered to and determines if pride in their heart is so pounded into them that they can be moved to repentance or not. He determines if there can be found the necessary dosage of humbleness for salvation to stick. Those who can and will be moved, He does the work of drawing them to Himself. You are still helping set the stage for the Master’s grand performance in the play of salvation but without the Master, there would be no show. This is for 2 reasons I can think of. One reason is that God knows everything about everyone He made and knows if they are willing to be saved and teachable. Secondly, if we could accomplish that task, we would be very tempted to lose our own salvation in our grandiose image of our power it would create and we would have these churches named after people and focused on a particular person rather than God. And we have all seen that and should shudder. So, our goal of ministry is not actually to save the world because only Jesus Christ can do that. Our goal in mind is try is to do the work needed in ourselves (being humble, praying, reading the Bible, obeying our promptings, living the fruits of the Spirit, etc.) to allow the Holy Spirit to work through us. So ministry becomes a self sacrifice, much like taking up our crosses and following Him daily. So ministry is not a calling of a person called a “minister” but every Christ follower ever. That means me and that means you. We are responsible for us and our decisions and everything else is God’s work. Stop pushing ropes and start ministering.

Super Dads

Whether out playing catch with your kids or frowning at bad report cards, I salute you amazing Dads who work tirelessly (or seemingly so) to provide for your wife and children! I salute my Daddy, ex-Marine, farmer and machine repairman! You took such great care of us, working so very hard all the time! Your integrity always showed in your honesty and work ethic and I love you. My own husband and Dad to my kids, I love you dearly and respect how hard you work to take good care of us. You center and balance me brilliantly and I love the beautiful journey we are on together. To the other Dads in my life and in my world that give rather than take, that build rather than tear down and that love rather than hurt, I salute you and thank you for your service to God, family, country and world. When you are the man of God He intends you to be, everyone in your path is blessed and uplifted. We know full well there are plenty of Dads out there that are falling quite short of their high calling, and it might be easy to join them and live that selfish life. Because you are accepting God’s high calling on your lives, we salute you on this Father’s Day and give you love! We cherish and respect you for your willingness to obey the Lord and as such show us His love and provision. Please keep it up and we will gladly continue respecting and loving you back! Keep the faith, Super Dad!

Seasons of Life

Sometimes our hearts are ready for a thing but out minds or bodies aren’t ready for it. Perhaps we want to run a marathon but get out of breath running into the store from the parking lot when it’s raining. Probably not the season to do a marathon right away. Maybe so, after some training though. Then the body would be ready for what the heart is wanting to do. Then, you have the right season of life to accomplish y!our goal/dream. “For every season” from Ecclesiastes 3 used to bother me. I have a strong will and when I feel impassioned about a goal or dream, I would fight to accomplish that which I wanted to do and fight and scrape until it was accomplished, even if there was a great cost. To wait until the right time used to be a slap in the face to me. What do you mean wait? I would rather hear a no than a wait. However, praise God He has allowed me to live to a more mature Spirit, who now says that wait for the right season is an option. For example, I have learned that a man of God often speaks God’s will to his wife. This is certainly a Biblical chain of command. For this to happen, both the husband needs to be in prayer to hear God’s voice and humble enough to obey when it may conflict with his will, and a wife must be in prayer to hear God’s voice through her husband and be humble enough to accept the answer even if it is in opposition with her hopes. Obedience, however, is always rewarded, and our Spirits grow more healthy and more mature every time we submit to God’s plan and obey Him- directly or indirectly. Even the single person is blessed by obedience. Children certainly are. Sometimes, the answer is not yes or no, but may be wait for the right season. And that’s okay too because God knows more than we do and His plan is certainly going to be more successful than ours is.

A Conscience Clear is a Conscience Dear

To have a conscience that is clear before the Lord, to act in obedience with what you believe the Holy Spirit is guiding you to do is the absolute best feeling in the world. I just want to celebrate for a moment because I did what no one else in a church did. I stood up for truth. I called sin sin and called a lie a lie and demanded that it be addressed. Other people’s advice was to “pray and trust God to take care of it”. Which is fine and good unless you actually want something to change. Yes, God can do anything He wants to and can work supernaturally to effect change and does so all the time. Most often, though, truth be told, he works through people who obey Him. If your Spirit is telling you to act, you must act. We are responsible for our own consciences. If you are burdened to pray only and not act, then by all means pray and do so diligently. But if you believe with all your heart that God is calling you to pray and act, then by all means, you had better do it. Until I did, I was conflicted. After I stood for truth, I feel at peace and content. Now, we all have sin. We are not supposed to judge others lest we be judged. I get that and agree with that. However, our watered down, impure version of God’s holy church has become so by good people allowing these behaviors to happen. If you don’t call them out in the body of believers, like we are called to do, we are sinning. Sometimes we have to act, pure and simple.
Interacting with the world and spreading the Good News of Christ should have a very strong emphasis on the Good News and not opinions about manner or behaviors. We should tell people what we are for because it matters little what we personally are against. Those interested can read the Bible for themselves and the Holy Spirit will help that person studying to know right and wrong and discern for themselves. However, within the body, we need to keep each other in check sometimes, especially when some are in leadership positions. Screw ups left unaddressed become stumbling blocks for any sharing of the Gospel and hurt the church and it’s body members. And each of us should be wise enough to know that we are humans and humble enough to be approachable if someone sees us doing something that may be harmful to the body of Christ, His church. There is sometimes a laziness, sometimes a fear to act or speak up as to not offend or keep the peace or maintain the status quo. This bothers me. Sometimes we are called to act because it will help in the present and/or the future of the church body. There are times of peace and times of war. We are being waged war against, whether you choose to acknowledge it or not, and we will be judged according to how we responded to the call to just pray or to pray and act. There must be accountability. When that goes, so goes the moral standards and so goes any credibility we had left. It is imperative that we obey. It’s not as if anything is owned by anyone anyway. Everything is God’s and it is only through His great goodness and patience that He sustains any of us, especially those who say He isn’t even there. We will all see Him soon, and I for one would love to do so with as clear a conscience as is possible.