On a regular basis I get asked by folks how I got started in ministry. How did I know when the timing was right to leave my secular work. How did I know what area to serve in. Well in my quiet time today I read a devotion by Joyce Meyer that I felt was a great encourager for folks who are starting to make those steps. See below:Step Out and Find Out
People often ask me how to find their place in ministry. Some spend many years waiting to hear a voice or to receive supernatural direction. I tell them to step out and find out.
Early in my journey with God, I wanted to serve Him. I felt He had placed a call on my life but I didn't know exactly what to do, so I tried different opportunities that were available.
A lot of them didn't work out for me, but I kept trying different ones until I found an area that fit me. I finally came alive inside when I had an opportunity to share the Word with people. I found joy in teaching, and it was obvious I was good at it. I knew then that I had found my place in ministry.
Sometimes the only way to discover God's will is to practice what I call "stepping out and finding out." If you have prayed about a situation and don't seem to know what you should do, take a step of faith. Don't be afraid of making a mistake. Step out and God will guide you.
For me personally, I had been leading in various areas of ministry for years. My heart has always been singles because I was single and knew the need to help churches reach out to us. But I also loved greeting, leadership, women, marketing, etc. But to keep things simple, I started with singles ministry, allowing the Lord to expand my territory later. With my focus being on singles while working my secular job, the Lord kept opening doors. Then there came a day to totally step out in faith, leaving my full-time secular job and doing full-time ministry.
What is cool about my secular work is that I have been able to continue to do it on a part--part-time basis as it is just one more thing I can offer churches — marketing/website/logo design. It's my tent making without affecting the work God has given me to do in ministry.
So what is your next step? Just start as Joyce says....and as one of my most favorite Bible studies often quoted, "see where God is and join Him"..
Ecc 5: 1-7 As you enter the house of God, keep your ears open and your mouth shut. It is evil to make mindless offerings to God. Don’t make rash promises, and don’t be hasty in bringing matters before God. After all, God is in heaven, and you are here on earth. So let your words be few.
Too much activity gives you restless dreams; too many words make you a fool.
When you make a promise to God, don’t delay in following through, for God takes no pleasure in fools. Keep all the promises you make to him. It is better to say nothing than to make a promise and not keep it. Don’t let your mouth make you sin. And don’t defend yourself by telling the Temple messenger that the promise you made was a mistake. That would make God angry, and he might wipe out everything you have achieved.
Talk is cheap, like daydreams and other useless activities. Fear God instead.
I was like, on my..this is my life. I make so many promises to God and then as quickly as I make them, I forget them or try to backtrack. I seem to also stay in a world of busyness giving way to restless dreams. Sometimes I don't sleep well due to all the things I am thinking. I talk a lot to God and sometimes, like in these verses it's just chatter and it means nothing. God wants us to be intentional with our words and actions. Do what you say you are going to do and in the meantime, shut up unless what you are saying has value. It's not that we can't chit chat with God, it's just sometimes all it is is chatter and there are not real actions behind the words.
Thank you Lord for reminding me of these truths.
This past week I got to spend time with my family only to come home and get sick. Some parts of the day I feel great and others, even right now I am coughing my head off. lol. I know our bodies are broken. I know eventually we all get sick in someway and somehow. Getting sick could be a symptom that we need to slow down, clean our houses better, wash our hands more, etc. It could mean that God wants to show us what He can do in the midst of the illness. I know my cold is nothing compared to so many who are dying from cancer, heart disease, car accidents, etc. Dying in prisons, at the hand of someone abusing them, and even before they are allow to be born. So Lord, with this illness, although you have given me permission to even pray for it to be gone, I pray Lord that you allow me to use this cold to remember your great power in the midst of such a hurting world. That all pain is for your glory. That I don't get distracted with my own pain that I forget what you did on the cross for me and this world. Job 36:15 But those who suffer he delivers in their suffering; he speaks to them in their affliction.
I recently was sent this article by Renee Swope from Proverb 31 Ministries on Being Created for Connection. Please read.
I checked my email as soon as I woke up. Then I made breakfast and checked it again. Had my devotional time and checked it again. Ran some errands and checked it on my phone. When I got home, I checked it once more.
Now, I admit I have a thing about keeping white space in my inbox, but this was about more than managing emails. I sensed the Holy Spirit nudging me to pause and ask myself, "Why do you keep checking your email?"
I wasn't sure if it was God or me answering, but my thoughts intertwined with His Spirit whispered: You keep coming back because your heart longs for connection with a friend.
Yet no matter how many times I checked email, it was never enough to satisfy my craving.
Somewhere in the busyness of life I had let many of my friendships reduce to quick connections via email. My schedule had gotten full with kids, school projects, investing time in my marriage, and work.
I knew something had to give, so I asked God to help me find balance.
God had recently led me to cut back on the amount of time I spent talking on the phone, socializing with neighbors and hanging out with friends. Although I hadn't completely cut out my friendships, our face-to-face connection time had been reduced to a minimum as I obeyed God's request.
I realized I had not found a good balance, and let the pendulum swing too far. So I checked email repeatedly, trying to fill a God-created need for relationships with a white screen and black alphabet keys.
My heart was craving more.
That day as I sat in front of my screen for the fifth time, Jesus revealed the source of my incessant email checking and reminded me I am created for real-life connections. I need to fill that lonely place in my heart with friends I can share life with ó in person.
That day I called one of my best friends. She happened to be available so I turned off my computer and spontaneously met her at a coffee shop.
It was just what I needed: in-person, heart-to-heart, eye-to-eye connection and conversation.
I know friendships are not easy to build. They take time and most of us don't have enough of it. But in this age of technology, it's important to evaluate and balance connections that are screen-to-screen rather than face-to-face.
We need to pull away from our computers, phones and televisions to intentionally carve out time for friends. Times where we can meet in person to share what's going on in our lives. Hebrews 10:25 instructs us not to give up meeting together to worship and encourage one another. As we see here and throughout the Bible, "meeting together" is important to God.
Jesus needed face-to-face connections, too. He surrounded Himself with intimate friends ó first His Father, then close friends like John, Peter and James, and then the other disciples.
He also had friends like Mary, Martha and Lazarus. People He spent time with sharing meals and having conversations about spiritual truths that applied to their lives. Through His example we see how important it is to satisfy our craving for connections by spending face-to-face time with friends.
Although social media is great in moderation, computer ìconnectionsî can't substitute real-life relationships. So, who will you connect with face-to-face this week?
Dear Lord, You created me with a need for friends. Yet, I find myself rushing through my days with little time for heart-to-heart connections. Help me to seek You first as my ultimate Friend, and then reach out to others so I can have and be a close friend. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
oin Renee Swope and Melissa Taylor of Proverbs 31 Ministries on the in October! Be sure to register with our ìProverbs31î group to receive discounts and have access to our ìby-invitation-only eventsî we're hosting on the cruise for our P31 girlfriends!
Learn how to overcome doubts that keep you from pursuing deeper friendships and discover all you have to offer as a friend in by Renee Swope.
For more daily encouragement, join .
Reflect and Respond:
rite down the amount of time you are on email, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and text messaging versus the amount of face-to-face time you have with friends. How do the two balance?
Call one or two friends you enjoy being with to encourage them and set up a time to get together.
If you're not sure who to call, ask God to show you someone you can begin a friendship with. Invite them to join you for lunch or to go for a walk together this week.
Ecclesiastes 4:9-10, "Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!" (NIV)
John 15:15b, "I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you." (NIV)
In singles ministry as well as all ministry, its so easy to get disconnected from each other. Without a spouse, without family living with you/roommates, etc. the enemy can quickly isolate you. Your relationships become surface, 1 inch thick. When relationships are this thin, there is no value. When relationships are this thin, you don't really to get to know a person, who they are in Christ, their struggles. And you never get to hold them accountable.
So follow Renee's leading and start taking some things off your plate that distract you from building those authentic true relationships. Set up boundaries of how much time on facebook and email so that you are building in Christ. I mean, this is why we are here....to first have a relationship with Christ that glorifies Him and out of that, a relationship with others to bring them to Christ. This can only happen as we get closer and "Connect" to them.
I was at a friends home recently when she shared God was "positioning her for purpose." Not long after my visit with her I kept hearing the same word over and over. Well, this is one way God communicates with me. So, I started to do a word study on the concept of "positioning" by God.
Some of the positions we are in are due to our own choices. We have chosen this mate/date, where to work, what to eat, what to buy, where to go to church and so forth. But once we become a Christian and start to walk close to God, we realize our entire lives and places (positioning) we are in are for God's purpose. We should be asking God about everything so that our every move is to position us to draw closer to Him and to others.
Today I went to my bank and started a conversation with my teller Libby. We happen to go to the same church. My pastor spoke on serving at your work, being positioned at your work for the Kingdom. She had been sick and didn't hear the message. I got the chance to share what Pastor Mike talked about. How, our work is our mission field. Of how God has placed us there to do His work, to reach others for Christ. That Christ isn't interested in how much money we are making, our title, our steps up the corporate ladder but more so about our attitude, of how our light shines, of knowing we are there for the purpose of teaching lost people, encouraging saved people and so forth. Libby was like, yea, you are right Kris. Wow, I need to think about this before I come into work each day. I need to be praying for my co-workers, for the customers who come in, for how I handle conflict, etc. She now realizes she has been positioned by God for His purpose, to bring Him honor, glory, and value. But what is so great about this positioning..we are blessed too. We are honored, we are valued, we are provided for, we are encouraged, etc.
On the flip side, we sometimes know what God is doing but we are afraid. We are afraid of what God has asked us to do and we run. We aren't sure we can handle where he has positioned us.
In 1 Kings 19:11 The Lord said to Elijah, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.” Elijah had run from where God had placed him. He ran from dealing with Jezebel. He ran into the dessert where God would provide and strengthened him. He would then tell Elijah to go to the mountain for he was going to pass by and tell him what to do, where to go..where he was going to "re-position" him.
Even when we run from what God has told us to do, for what God show us as our path, he can still reposition us for his purpose.
So if you now realize where you are is for God's purpose, then great. But if you have also realized you have been running from God's position, then allow the Lord to re-position you. There is no greater place to be then where God wants us.
A friend of my family was up staying over the weekend. She shared with me about how she had refinanced her house only to find out they had rezoned it as a flood zone. Her house payments would be going up from $1000 to $1600 a month leaving her very little to live on for the rest of the month. The thought of having to sell her home after living in it for 45 years was crazy. Where would she even start to figure out what to do. She decided she was going too fight FEMA and get the zoning changed. She knew her house was not at any risk of a flood. She had to try. She couldn't leave the only real home she had ever had.
So she continue to pray and write letters to FEMA. In the meantime, she had to make a couple of very large house payments, dipping into her savings account which was quickly being depleted. She was starting to think it was all over and she was going to have to move. So one morning, as she started to prepare her mind for the steps towards putting her home up for sell, she decided to spend some time with the Lord. As she opened up her daily devotion the very first words that were written were "Do not be afraid to go into the deep water." She read it again and again and again. She couldn't believe what God had told her. She went on to read the lesson. Jesus told Peter to not be afraid, to keep his eyes on Him. This is what my friend had been doing but like Peter, she too was starting to look around at the water and start to sink. But just like Jesus with Peter, He was there for my friend too. He comforted her, encouraged her and gave her the peace that can only come from God. Do not be afraid to go into the deep water..wow she said. God is going to take care of me. It doesn't matter where live, it only matters that I trust God..even in the deep waters of places and things and situations I am afraid of.
Not long after she did her devotion she got a letter from FEMA. They agreed with her and rezoned her land as well as returned all the extra money. She shared that she just cried with joy. She had trust God and he took care of her. She said that particular day was her weekly Bible study with other ladies in town. She was so excited to share with them of God's great provision and how to not be be afraid to go into the deep water.
Matthew 14: 22-32
22 Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. 23 After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, 24 but the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.
25 During the fourth watch of the night Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.
27 But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”
29 “Come,” he said.
Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”
31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”
32 And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. 33 Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”
Recently a friend, a guy in lay ministry sent me an email in which they asked the question about whether he should focus on finding a mate versus ministry. He quoted these 2 versus to me.
1 Cor 7:17, 35? 17 But as God has distributed to each one, as the Lord has called each one, so let him walk... 35 And this I say for your own profit, not that I may put a leash on you, but for what is proper, and that you may serve the Lord without distraction.
His struggle is he is feeling called to stay single and focus on the Lord only. Although at times his flesh is weak...here was my response...
"You are now in the same place as myself....I was about the same age (35) when I felt the strong calling of the Lord to focus on ministry...as much as I desired a mate, someone to be romantically involved with, etc...ministry became more and more my passion.
Now please know, God did make us flesh and there are times its hard. From TV to movies to friends who keep that temptation in front of me, I have to weigh things and ask myself if this is God saying I should be married or man? I still at times desire to be with someone but as time goes on, the joy of what God has in front of me wins out. I figure if getting married is that important, it would be on my mind everyday, every hour...that it would be something I would be working towards. But instead, I think of it ever so often.
I am so bless that I have guy friends that can fill some of that need of a "man" in my life. I can hang, have dinner, talk on the phone, etc...without the romantic part and all the drama. If and when God changes things, then I pray one of my close guy friends it the "one" but if not, I have some amazing guy friends. These guy friends have really been there for me.
So do I understand what you are going through? Yes! I think Paul by his comments would also agree. I think you need to serve the Lord completely and then allow the Lord to tell you the next step. As we draw closer to Christ, we will know what He wants of us...to be married or stay single. I am not sure God has called you to a life of singleness but He has called you to a life of being focused on Him. Most people focus on themselves and others and then squeeze in God.
Bottom line, you are feeling the draw of the Holy Spirit to be closer to God then ever. Because you have matured, you are not only feeling this draw but experiencing it. You know what God wants from all of us. You are actually being obedient.
So keep going, draw closer to God and He will give you your next step
The other day I was talking to some dudes about church, being a Christian and such. One of the young guys said that he went to the "Drive by Church." I was like, the "Drive By Church?" Yea, its the one you drive by and never go in. He said he was pretty good at it.
I asked him why he never went in? Well, he said, sometimes you get chicken. You don't know if you will fit. You aren't sure if you are on time. You aren't sure if your clothes would be ok. You are not sure if there is a parking spot. Then sometimes you are running late and you don't want folks to be looking at you as you walk in. Then sometimes you are just lazy.
I asked him how many years had he attend the "Drive By Church." He said, for most of his life. Even as a kid his parents did the same thing. They talked about going to this church or that church as they drove by during the week. But for whatever reason they never went. He said he did get to see a few inside when his grandmother took him.
So what now? Why are you still going to the "Drive By Church." He said, he wasn't. He actually had started to go to a different church. Somebody who has also gone to the same church invited him to his new church, "Inside and find Jesus, a place to belong and be loved Church." So what was the difference besides salvation, a family, a place to belong I asked. He said, it was one person asking him to go. One person who took the time to ask him to come. Then he asked me, was I that person that needs to ask someone to come to Church. I then said, we all are, we all are.
You know, in all the years I have been born there is one thing for sure that I know...people do what they want to do. You can give them the advice they seem to seek, the encouragement, the direction and still, people are going to make choices that seem stupid. They are going to commit and then not follow through. They are going to schedule a dinner, an lunch, coffee and then cancel cause something better came up (but of course, they won't say that). They are going to ask your help to quit this or that but still end up doing whatever it was that they wanted to change.
Bottom line, you can't control another living soul. I mean, I guess some of you can if you are abusive, control the money, the car, the resources, etc. But if you don't, you can plead with people, hold scripture up to their faces, give them example after example of the truth, involve others and people will still do what they want to do.
So what do we do then? You help those who seem to really want help because they have made some changes already. You pray for the others. Extend grace to everyone else. And then realize, you do the same thing too to everyone else.
What is so hard about including singles when you say the word family? Why are singles considered not to be a family because there is only one?
For years I have noticed on church websites that they have a tendency to put a button for family ministry and then singles separate. Or worse, adults and then singles separate.
I know, I know most people when they think of the word family are thinking of more than one person but seriously, you can start to get a complex.
So what constitutes a family? God tells me in His word that I am complete and whole as I am. If i am complete, am I not a complete family too? Would it be that if I got married or had roommates or other extended family move in with me that there was just be "more" family?
For me, when I ask people how their "family" is doing I am not necessarily only thinking of who lives in their home. I am asking the question about all their family including parents, kids, nieces and nephews. Basically anyone that they value. Anyone that they may have asked me to pray for.
So next time you hear a pastor or church list families as being the traditional kind of the parents and kids, gently correct them and say, hey, I am a family too. There is only one of me at my home but I have parents, kids, etc.
Please know God considers you to be his family.