Tag Archives: service

Post from the Past: Still waiting on God?

I have heard people say that God spoke to them audibly. I have never known exactly what to think of that, even though I am sure that God is quite capable of doing anything He feels like doing. A few years ago, however, I had an experience that made me wonder.

I was attending chapel at my college. It was probably the first or second time I had ever been to chapel there. Even though the university had a chapel-attendance policy, I was exempt; I was a commuting student and was rarely on campus during chapel sessions. I don’t remember what the message was about that day, but I remember sitting there in my own little world talking to God. I was asking Him what He wanted for my life. Normally, we see or hear words, but this was a completely different experience. While I didn’t hear an audible voice, I felt the very distinct impression of two specific words: Serve Me.

“Impression” is the only word I can think of that even comes close what I felt. Now as to whether these words came straight from heaven, or whether they were just the culmination of everything that I already knew, I have no idea. But as I was thinking about this experience later, more and more I got the impression that I should have already known the answer. It doesn’t really matter whether God spoke directly to me, or whether I just happened to figure it out in that instant. Either way, I’m absolutely sure what God wants me to do with the rest of my life: serve Him.

Serve Him. Am I being too simplistic? I don’t think so. I guess you could just brush it off as a phrase that you have heard one too many times. Maybe it has lost its meaning to you. But if you will take a moment to consider the implications, I think you will see that those two little words offer a life-changing experience. Taken literally, they have the power to change the life of everyone who comes into contact with you. Those words, acted upon, will function as a stone tossed into the middle of a sea of souls. Whether a large stone or a small one is entirely up to you.

How do I serve Him? One obvious way we can serve Him is by serving others. “…Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” Matthew 25:40b.

Why do I think I should have already known the answer?

Because God has already told us to serve. It is not a suggestion, but a standing order. “…but by love serve one another. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” Galatians 5:13c-14.

Because Jesus is our example. “For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.” Mark 10:45.

Christ’s first miracle as a man occurred because there was a need to be met. John 2:1-11.

The question then, is how can we serve? Find a person with a need and fill it. Find an organization that helps people with needs and volunteer. No act of kindness is too small. The more spontaneous, unexpected, and undeserved it is, the greater impact it will have. If you have an abundance of time or money, start by offering these. If you don’t have either, find ways to consume less of what you do have so that you will have some left over to share with others. What do you think is more effective: knocking on doors and inviting complete strangers to church, or serving someone in the community, stranger or not, and following up with a conversation about Christ? They may even ask you why in the world you are offering your time, money, sweat, etc. This will open the door to explain how your actions are nothing compared to the love of God and the free, undeserved gift of salvation.

When can we serve? Start by cutting out as much television as you possibly can. Remember that everything in this world will be burned up, and that we could be taken off this earth at literally any moment. Get up a little earlier or go to bed a little later. Take a week or a month, and inventory how you spend your time. Try not to worry too much about loss of personal time. Time means nothing to those who have an eternity to look forward to. Any time lost to serving others and spreading the gospel will most certainly be redeemed after you are resurrected. You will be laying up treasure in heaven. Of course, you must still make time for your family: they are your responsibility, and serving them is just as important as serving others.

Do you ever feel like you can’t do anything else without direction from God? Do you feel you have been waiting for years, and you are just tired of waiting? Sometimes I fear that we Christians use “waiting on God” as an excuse. He has already given us direction for our lives. Why do we think we need to wait for a personal word from God, in addition to what He has given us in His Word? Are we waiting for Him to drop an opportunity into our laps? Are we waiting to be the leader of a ministry? Our own ministry? That’s our first mistake. Ministry is about everyone except us. Sometimes, we don’t recognize God’s will because it doesn’t line up with our own will. He wants us working, not sitting around waiting for Him to knock us over the head with an answer that we approve of. I’m not suggesting that we stop waiting on the Lord. He commands us to do that as well. I’m merely suggesting that we do both – obey His commandments, and wait, expecting Him to lead us to the next step.

Challenge: Still waiting on God? All well and good. But in the meantime, obey the call to service.

…from the Mouth of Babes

I recently read Kimberly Williams’ new book …from the Mouth of Babes.

When I was a girl, I always figured I’d marry a preacher. It just seemed like the natural course of events for my life. God had other plans for me, but it was extremely interesting to crawl into the mind of a pastor’s wife for a little while. While Mrs. Williams is full of the wisdom one would imagine a pastor’s wife to have, she maintains a humble attitude. Readers will understand quite quickly that the author’s family is her life. Many of her posts involve either her husband or her children, and they are filled to the brim with encouragement for the Christian woman.

From the very first page, I was encouraged by the wisdom that Mrs. Williams had to offer. Because I am a remarried Christian, I was encouraged by her exhortation to “teach … [my] children the consequences of [divorce] and the standards that God has set (pg. 2).” Too many times, we try so hard to hide our mistakes, that our first-hand experiences can’t be of any use to anyone. We must never brag about our sins – past or present. But we can use them to identify with others and to point others in the right direction out of experience.

Mrs. Williams also touched on service, (pg. 7) which is an aspect of the Christian walk that is close to my heart. Years ago, I was searching for God’s will in my life. For some reason, I thought that God needed to tell me in no uncertain terms what to do next. As I was praying, it occurred to me that if I would only seek out a life of service, God’s will would naturally open itself up to me. It’s so nice to make yourself available to minister to the needs of others, instead of constantly searching for a preconceived position that we think is ours to fill. We wrongly wait for God to open up the specific door we are looking for. In the meantime, nothing else gets done, and the needs of others go unmet. The author writes that “God reminded me in His Word that my service to others is service to Him (pg. 7).” She goes on to explain that even the most mundane tasks can be offered as a service to God, such as doing laundry for our families. (As an added benefit, she also gives us a simple recipe for inexpensive laundry detergent.)

I also really appreciated Mrs. Williams’ take on obedient wives. So many of my acquaintances believe that they don’t have to obey their husbands because their husbands are so very wrong. The author makes the valid point that “you will be accountable to the Lord for your obedience, not your husband’s (pg. 9).” If we could only get this idea across to all of the Christian women, I believe that the world would change as a result. Maybe even the non-Christian women would realize the benefit of deferring to their husbands if only they could see it in action once in a while. Since we already know that it is God’s will that we obey our husbands, “without submitting myself to my husband I could never be in the will of God (pg. 10).”

I will tell you that it is refreshing to me to find a Christian who believes in obedience to our government (pg. 17). When it comes to filling out taxes and obeying speed limits, sometimes I feel like I’m all alone.

I have so many good things to say about this book, that I fear my review will run for pages and pages. To keep from scaring people away, I’m going to cut the review a little short. Allow me to just mention a few more of my favorite passages:

On page 19, Mrs. Williams relates a story that caused me to look at prayer in a new light. She says, “It thrills my heart as a parent to be able to bless my children, especially when it is something they have been diligently asking for.”

I like the way that she takes responsibility for training up her children: “My children’s behavior is a direct reflection of my training…When I allow my children to disobey me I am training them to grow up to disobey God (pg. 28).”

I love her comparison of life to a corn maze (pg. 69). Only God can see the whole picture, and when we do finally see it, it will make perfect sense.

I enjoyed her reminder of the original meaning of the word “Christian (pg. 80).”

She addresses television on page 90, 128, & 139. She touches on modern problems such as evolution (pg. 106-107) and feminism (pg. 108-109). She even gives us practical ideas for how to spend your time or give gifts when you are running low on cash (pg. 51 & 151-153)!

One of the ways this book has most helped me is in the area of contentment. It seems like I constantly think that I need to go buy something. I don’t usually just wander around aimlessly looking for something to buy, but when I’m at home, I think of something that I could really use, and then it seems like I have to run out and buy it. It is especially easy for me to rationalize when it comes to something that would make the educational process easier for me or my students. She addresses this problem on page 49, 53, and even though she isn’t specifically talking about covetousness on page 139, her exhortation about not loving things that God hates spoke directly to the covetousness in me.

And then there are the essays that are so close to my heart, it would take me pages and pages to explain how much they mean to me. For instance, the one titled “I’m Dying,” on pages 156 & 157, and the one titled “Giving Thanks” on the following page. Pondering these essays was like having an epiphany. I walked away thinking, “so that’s what God really wants from me.” I still feel like I need to spend an hour or two just considering the implications in my life. In fact, after reading the entire book, I still have several pages dog-eared for re-reading and re-thinking.

Note: I received this book at no charge in exchange for an honest review.

Still waiting on God?

I have heard people say that God spoke to them audibly. I have never known exactly what to think of that, even though I am sure that God is quite capable of doing anything He feels like doing. A few years ago, however, I had an experience that made me wonder.

I was attending chapel at my college. It was probably the first or second time I had ever been to chapel there. Even though the university had a chapel-attendance policy, I was exempt; I was a commuting student and was rarely on campus during chapel sessions. I don’t remember what the message was about that day, but I remember sitting there in my own little world talking to God. I was asking Him what He wanted for my life. Normally, we see or hear words, but this was a completely different experience. While I didn’t hear an audible voice, I felt the very distinct impression of two specific words: Serve Me.

“Impression” is the only word I can think of that even comes close what I felt. Now as to whether these words came straight from heaven, or whether they were just the culmination of everything that I already knew, I have no idea. But as I was thinking about this experience later, more and more I got the impression that I should have already known the answer. It doesn’t really matter whether God spoke directly to me, or whether I just happened to figure it out in that instant. Either way, I’m absolutely sure what God wants me to do with the rest of my life: serve Him.

Serve Him. Am I being too simplistic? I don’t think so. I guess you could just brush it off as a phrase that you have heard one too many times. Maybe it has lost its meaning to you. But if you will take a moment to consider the implications, I think you will see that those two little words offer a life-changing experience. Taken literally, they have the power to change the life of everyone who comes into contact with you. Those words, acted upon, will function as a stone tossed into the middle of a sea of souls. Whether a large stone or a small one is entirely up to you.

How do I serve Him? One obvious way we can serve Him is by serving others. “…Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” Matthew 25:40b.

Why do I think I should have already known the answer?

Because God has already told us to serve. It is not a suggestion, but a standing order. “…but by love serve one another. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” Galatians 5:13c-14.

Because Jesus is our example. “For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.” Mark 10:45.

Christ’s first miracle as a man occurred because there was a need to be met. John 2:1-11.

The question then, is how can we serve? Find a person with a need and fill it. Find an organization that helps people with needs and volunteer. No act of kindness is too small. The more spontaneous, unexpected, and undeserved it is, the greater impact it will have. If you have an abundance of time or money, start by offering these. If you don’t have either, find ways to consume less of what you do have so that you will have some left over to share with others. What do you think is more effective: knocking on doors and inviting complete strangers to church, or serving someone in the community, stranger or not, and following up with a conversation about Christ? They may even ask you why in the world you are offering your time, money, sweat, etc. This will open the door to explain how your actions are nothing compared to the love of God and the free, undeserved gift of salvation.

When can we serve? Start by cutting out as much television as you possibly can. Remember that everything in this world will be burned up, and that we could be taken off this earth at literally any moment. Get up a little earlier or go to bed a little later. Take a week or a month, and inventory how you spend your time. Try not to worry too much about loss of personal time. Time means nothing to those who have an eternity to look forward to. Any time lost to serving others and spreading the gospel will most certainly be redeemed after you are resurrected. You will be laying up treasure in heaven. Of course, you must still make time for your family: they are your responsibility, and serving them is just as important as serving others.

Do you ever feel like you can’t do anything else without direction from God? Do you feel you have been waiting for years, and you are just tired of waiting? Sometimes I fear that we Christians use “waiting on God” as an excuse. He has already given us direction for our lives. Why do we think we need to wait for a personal word from God, in addition to what He has given us in His Word? Are we waiting for Him to drop an opportunity into our laps? Are we waiting to be the leader of a ministry? Our own ministry? That’s our first mistake. Ministry is about everyone except us. Sometimes, we don’t recognize God’s will because it doesn’t line up with our own will. He wants us working, not sitting around waiting for Him to knock us over the head with an answer that we approve of. I’m not suggesting that we stop waiting on the Lord. He commands us to do that as well. I’m merely suggesting that we do both – obey His commandments, and wait, expecting Him to lead us to the next step.

Challenge: Still waiting on God? All well and good. But in the meantime, obey the call to service.

Catalyst

I love to see people offering their services free of charge – such as the offer to help with computers. This is rarely seen, even in the Christian community, yet most of us have some sort of skill that we could offer. If we all would be willing to set aside an hour or two per week to see to the needs of others (such as doing dishes for an elderly couple), we could literally change the world.

Challenge: Go to a condominium that houses senior citizens. Knock on doors and ask if they need anything that day. You will make friends, but more importantly, you may impact the lives of some who are drawing very close to the ends of their lives (thus the beginnings of their eternities). Your acts of kindness may be the catalyst in the lives of those who have been avoiding God.