When You Raise Your Hand and Say Yes

At one time or another we have all heard the phrase-

“We are living in a lost and dying world.”

We then rise to the conclusion that our answer to solve this problem is to “go out into all the world and preach the gospel”. So we strap our boots on and get our passports ready to touch foreign soil to show Christ, through us, all over the world.

 

Missions

Guatemala with FH Bloggers

Don’t get me wrong, I love the ministry of missions and have been to several different countries serving the poor and orphans since I was 10 years old.

What I would love to begin is a conversation about a world we may have forgotten about, the one that says –

“We are living in a hurting world.”

Dare I say, a world right in front us.

Matthew 9:37 says – Then He said to His disciples, the harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.

We tend to relate this verse to the mission field. Where there is work to be done, but not enough of us raising our hands, saying – me, I will go and be that worker.

But, really, in all of Chapter 9, Jesus was in his own town, in his own city, working to show a people compassion.

Look at all that He did on his home soil just in Matthew 9:

  • Healed a paralyzed man
  • Added Matthew as one of His disciples
  • Made a call for sinners
  • Healed a bleeding woman
  • Healed a leader’s dying daughter
  • Heals two blind men
  • Cast out a demon from a man
  • Healed every kind of disease and illness
  • He preached the Good News

All in His own backyard.

Friends, we must not ignore the ones in front of us. We must make room for them in our homes and at our tables. We must be aware of those hurting or struggling at the ball fields and the football games. We must be the hands and feet of love and compassion in the grocery stores and the restaurants.

We must be aware of the ones around us.

answer the call
These last few days, I talked to so many women that are on the verge of divorce, mom’s that are trying to raise teenagers to love Christ, and are failing to love themselves. I’ve talked to women that have children living away from them because of mistakes they made in the past. I’ve heard the words gay, porn, and abuse of women that are hurting and don’t know what to do.

Why?

Because friends, there is a world, a world right in front of us that needs to know the love of Jesus. That needs to know that Christ is there in the midst of their circumstance. That Jesus has compassion for their hearts. That God has never left them. That even though they walk through this shadow of death, that they will not fear, because He is with them.

We are the ones to show His love. We are the ones to show them compassion, mercy, grace, and comfort in the midst of their trials. We are the ones to point them to a faith in Christ that will see them through. Pray with them in the parking lots. Introduce them to a Savior that makes them white as snow.

How do we do this?

We say Yes!

For many are called, but few are chosen – Matthew 22:14

We hear this verse and, we think, Lord, I don’t want to be called, I want to be chosen. Choose me, Lord. Or we go back and forth and analyze – Lord, is it better to be called or chosen? Because God, I want a calling on my life, but I also want you to choose me, but I want to be called too. And around and around we go.

But, really, when you read that story in full context (stay with me here) a king sends a wedding invitation out and everyone was invited, but the invitation went out in three waves. The respectable people were invited first, but they said no we are too busy or ignored the invitation. Then a second goes out again to the same people and they do the same thing. The king then tells his slaves to send out the invitation a third time to the people who were not originally on the invitation list, and these people actually did show up. In the end, everyone had been invited, but only a few were chosen.

The issue is not the call.

The reason why many are called and few are chosen is because there are only a handful that raise their hand. {Tweet This}

God comes and says, you are to disciple women. He says to another you’re called to lead a revival. And to another, you’re called to give yourself fully for the glory of God to the whole earth. This is the call on your life.

What separates you is not the call, it is whether or not you raise your hand.

What if Jesus came into your church, into your bible study, or into your home and asked – who will be the ones that disciple this city, this town? And all of us have excuses – I don’t know, I don’t have time, that doesn’t fit me, I don’t want to do that, and then there is someone who raises their hand and says I’ll do that Jesus.

Then Jesus says – I choose you.

The way you get chosen is you raise your hand.

The question is will you say yes?

Your yes separates you.

Because I said, Lord, here I am. Use me however you see fit. Put me in places you want me to go. Take me wherever you need me. I’ll follow, you lead, Lord.

A hurting world has been shown to me. A hurting place right where I am.

Friends, we need to be present in our places.

I love what Jennie Allen said as she explained in Nehemiah:

In Judah, the strength of those who bear the burdens is failing. There is too much rubble. By ourselves, we will not be able to rebuild the wall.”” (4:10)

So Nehemiah divides them with their people (their clan) in their places on the wall. And he says,

“Do not be afraid. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your homes.” (4:14)

Ok, this piece of the wall, I got it. I’m going to fight for my people. I’m going to work to rebuild the brokenness in my place. – Jennie Allen

Will you be that worker that is available for the One to use for the one that is hurting?

Will you fight to rebuild what is broken?

Will you raise your hand in your churches, your workplaces, at your kid’s games or even at your local coffee shop?

Jesus did a lot in Matthew 9. He did a lot in His own city.

I ask you – What can you do with yours?

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When The Masses Become The One: A Challenge To Women

Womens Conference
A friend in her twenties sent a text message telling me this Christian “thing” is too hard. How she struggles with control and faith in a God she is trying to understand. She asks questions like – “Why does God have us walk on a path we don’t even know where we are going?” or “It seems like God enjoys hurting us”. I call her; we talk, and walk through scripture while I silently pray for His Holy Spirit to utter every word out of my mouth.

Another is pregnant with twins. Due to some complications, she is now in the hospital on bed rest hoping to keep her babies inside her for three more weeks as she celebrates carrying them for 31 so far. Visiting her at the hospital, I toted a bag of goodies to keep her busy and to encourage her as a mom as we’ve all been there. Her mom was there and between the three of us we will have mothered 10 children!

In that hospital room we celebrated. We celebrated every heartbeat and every ache and pain that goes along with it. In that room we’re different generations gleaning from each other. Her mother encouraging me as I tell her my story of raising teenage girls in this world and how tough it is. We look at each other realizing how much harder it would be if we didn’t have God with us.

We were women and we were mothers, each of us celebrating life. One generation that has stood the test and now encouraging the other with her own teenagers. One mother of twins encouraging the other soon-to-be mother of twins as we celebrate another day in the womb. Celebrating these babies as they stay where they are suppose to – growing, and preparing for the journey that lies ahead. Lying down in a hospital bed we realize that God is still etching out every detail, every crease, and every hand print before she holds her precious twins.

Meeting a friend for coffee – both of us close in age. We talked about the incredible work these young Christian women are doing out in the world. Creating places where thousands of women can come together and hear a message from their peers of becoming brave in their journey or becoming a part of a cause greater than themselves. We discussed things like social media and women all over the world seeing lights and platforms that have huge followings.

And then we wonder about the one woman out there – the one out there daring enough to comment – What about me?

Titus 2
We challenged each other. We asked questions like – What does God have for us now? Have we made our mark? Have we finished our own race?

Asking ourselves one poignant question:

What if God just meant for us to mentor the one?

As my friend and I continued talking, we had the sweetest, young twenty-something come to our table and say, “I don’t want to be rude, but I’ve been listening to your conversation. Can I just say YES! Yes, I’m someone that is looking for the one to mentor me. Actually, there are so many of us that need an older woman in our life that I don’t think anyone realizes the need. Pouring into us, helping us, and guiding us. We want to learn from people like you. I don’t have a good relationship with my mom and even if I did, there are so many of us that struggle telling our mom’s what we are thinking or going through.”

As the conversation finished, we said thank you, exchanged phone numbers, and my friend and I looked at each other smiling upwards saying – Ok, God.

Ann Voskamp wrote a post last week on the very same day my friend and I met for coffee that torn us up and I looked up again and said – Ok, God.

Ann said things like:

  • And every day, with every word, we get to decide: Do we mar the world, or mark the world?
  • The extraordinary things happen nowhere else but in the everyday and today can always be the beginning
  • The most exquisite marks anyone makes with their life — are the marks done in secret.

You can read her post here.

It is more noble to give yourself completely to one individual than to labor diligently for … the masses.” Christ left the ninety-nine for the one. – Ann Voskamp

Yes!

Jesus did more with the one. He did more ministry with the Samaritan woman than any lights or stage would have done for her.

Shame on us for creating an environment for the masses and stamp it with Jesus Approved.

We have taken the Great Commission and created the Great Business Plan.

The one question I’ve been asking myself these last few days…

What happen to the Titus 2 Woman?

I love the New Living version of the Bible in these scriptures:

Similarly, teach the older women to live in a way that honors God. They must not slander others or be heavy drinkers. Instead, they should teach others what is good. These older women must train the younger women to love their husbands and their children, to live wisely and be pure, to work in their homes, to do good, and to be submissive to their husbands. Then they will not bring shame on the word of God. – Titus 2:3-5

Somehow we have forgotten this command.

I’m just as guilty.

We have a responsibility to not lose this generation. We, older women, must mentor the generation after us.

We must seek out the one.

Our nation is beginning to see half of all marriages end in divorce. We see more women leaving their brand new babies at fire station doorsteps because the responsibility of another is too hard. More women struggling to really know what submitting to our husbands looks like and what it means to be patient and to do good.

Titus 2 Woman
Titus Two
In the beginning of the internet world, if you read anything to do with Titus 2 and the Titus 2 woman it seemed as though your search found you with god-awful fonts and women clothed in dresses all the way up from their necks to their ankles. It was pink and purple and foo-foo and ugly. It told the world Titus 2 woman are good and sinless and conservative and puppets for their husbands and children.

So we became turned off, told ourselves we were unqualified.

For some, we have allowed Titus 2 women through a computer screen. We find our answers online or in print rather over a cup of coffee or on the playground with a human face before us. The internet has given us a luxury to not become truly involved in real-life community.

coffee with friends
So I challenge you to not allow another generation to be affected like this. We ARE Titus 2 women. We must get out there and get our hands dirty for the one – not just the masses.

We must not think about the next big thing or magazine or conference. We have enough of those.

God needs more of us to think about the one.

We need more women that are ready to go to the well and pour Living Water into the woman she sees there.

No lights, no speaker list, nothing. Just a well and a woman.

So what does this look like?

I don’t know.

Think about what you need or needed?

When you were overwhelmed with a messy house, kids everywhere and were sleep deprived, what did you need? You needed someone to bring you a meal, or help you clean your house, or take the kids for an afternoon.

When you were newly married and you wondered if this will last forever? You felt like you couldn’t tell anyone, especially your mom. You saw yourself as a failure and instead hid your deepest pains inside.

When you became a Christian in your twenties and wanted to continue going to parties with your friends and how hard it was to say no because you were trying do what is right? You longed for someone to come into your life and mentor you. Help you understand the Bible and what it meant to be a Christ-follower.

I love what Ann Voskamp said in her writing:

And the only way to ever leave beauty marks on the world is with bits of yourself.

We must be ready to be vulnerable.

This is what I believe God is longing for. Something that doesn’t bring us glory with the lights and masses of followers, but gives Him the glory because of the story He gave us to tell.

So, again I ask, what does this look like?

I don’t know.

Is it a movement?

I don’t know.

Is it a ministry?

I don’t know.

But I do know this; there is a world out there with people who are hurting.

People who are asking, what about me?

Where is my place in this world?

People who are hungry for someone to just listen to them. People who are longing for someone to look into their eyes and tell them they are valuable, are loved, and worth all the stars in the sky.

People who just want to hear that everything is going to be ok.

You just may be that one.

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Wednesday Wisdom – The Heart

Faithfulness
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Wisdom Notes

  • Find a mentor
  • Hebrews 4:12
  • What is in your heart?
  • What is your heart filled with today?
  • God’s faithfulness is true
  • Don’t be reactive with worry and doubt
  • Conquer your thoughts with the Word
  • Sharpen your sword when it gets dull

 

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Three Things to Ask Your Heart

matters of the heart

The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you–they are full of the Spirit and life. – John 6:63

We talked about not looking at the Word of God as a butter knife but as a sword yesterday.

Today, I want to ask you – What is inside your heart?

The Word of God brings life yet we live in a day where life seems to be running at a faster pace than most of us experienced growing up. With the onset of the internet, we have been given Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, all of which leave us with instant information about our friends and family. With four teenagers in the house, it would do nothing but satisfy them if they could be on their phone all day.

teenagers phone
My husband and I always joke with them about having to talk on the phone in front of our parents because the only phones we had was in our TV rooms and kitchens. How the cord was attached to the phone that was either on the wall or sitting on an end table, but that cord was stretched for miles because it meant you were able to get as far away as possible for a private conversation. There wasn’t voicemail or texting when we needed to leave a message we passed notes in class instead.

Today, we are a busy society, a busy generation. We want instant responses and instant directions when it comes to things in our life.

But God, He wants the heart.

Your heart.

We read our Bible in the morning (or whenever during the day) and a verse may resonate with us that is kept in the forefront of our mind throughout the day. Before long we have forgotten that verse, we have forgotten what we heard because of the constant traffic of “instant” flooding our mind. The enemy loves this because as long as he can tempt us with lies, pride, or lust he knows he can remove the Word because our hearts are hard by continual traffic.

Three Things to Ask Your Heart

Here are three things we should be asking to do a heart-check as we sharpen our swords and soften our hearts:

  1. Are you inundating your heart with things but can’t remember any of them? Here’s what I mean, you have all the latest books, you’ve been going to church for a long time or grew up in church and have been saturated with biblical teachings, yet it seems as though you can’t fully mature in God. Think of it this way, when an infant is hungry and ready to begin eating solid foods, we mothers spoon-feed our child. We spoon-feed them because they can’t hold onto the spoon correctly or can’t hit their mouth exactly right. When they get a little older, they begin to want to feed themselves and then as time goes on they of course know how to eat the whole pantry. Some of us are still at that place where we want someone to spoon-feed us.
  2. Are you forgetting what you read in the Word that day? Now I am guilty of this and trying not to convince myself it has nothing to do with age. But, really, the Word of God is our daily bread. It feeds our Spirit and our heart. Sometimes though forgetfulness can be due to those high traffic areas; having a high traffic heart. Is it time to fast from all things Social Media related? Is it time to remove any distractions that hinder me from hearing the Holy Spirit?
  3. Do you have a hard time holding onto matters of the heart? Your joy, your peace, your freedom? Jesus wants you to experience these things but He can’t give them to us if our heart is hardened to receiving them.

Today may be that day where you fast from the phone, social media, not opening your computer, or watching TV, so that you can begin to receive the deeper things of God. I dare you this week before you read your Bible ask God to maintain your focus and to open your heart to receive His Word.

That’s what He wants – He wants your heart.

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Two Things We Need To Be Proactive

armor of God
As some of you know, I’ve been leading a Life Group using Jennie Allen’s Restless material. Briefly, it is a study on finding your gifts and talents and weaving them together for God’s purpose.

I find myself asking this question to these fifteen women – What are you going to do next with your assignment, your gifting as we get closer to digging into the meat of this study?

Will you do what others have done throughout their life and wait for things to happen?

Will you be proactive instead of inactive?

I don’t know, only they do.

Only we know ourselves.

I believe today’s complacency is tomorrows captivity.

Sitting on the sidelines waiting for things to happen cannot happen any longer. We cannot be a people that are looking for the pat on the back from our peers, but are looking to fight for something bigger than ourselves.

Even with today’s ISIS situation and another beheading, we can no longer have a “kumbaya” Christianity. We must be Christ-followers that are ready to fight an enemy. There is a war out there that is fighting against Truth, God’s Word, Holiness and Righteousness.

Jeremy Courtney is someone who is one of the most knowledgeable on this issue of ISIS, Iraq, Islam and Christianity. I urge you to take some time and read some of his posts. He knows there is a spiritual battle going on and how important it is for us as Christian to be proactive. We can pray, we can give, we can fast; there are things we can be doing to help.

But, that’s not the question. The question was what are you going to do next with your assignment?

You have three choices:

Be Proactive
Be Reactive
Be Inactive

The devil likes the last two!

Two Things We Need To Be Proactive

Walk around with people who will arm you for battle, not pat you on the back. I can say in my entire Christian walk I have learned more from sitting across the table with someone who I look up to or am mentored by. You may say I don’t have anyone that I can talk to or that can encourage me. Begin to pray. Ask God to bring people into your life who can be mentoring voices. Chances are God has already brought someone into your life that’s ready to be a voice of wisdom and encouragement. Pray for eyes to see.

Stop treating the Word of God as a butter knife. The Word is not to butter you up, but to produce a faith in you that is unstoppable. Most of us have heard the verse from Psalm 119:105 – Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. God’s Word illuminates. It reveals to us the good and the bad, the wise and the unwise. It is the greatest tool in learning how to live the best possible life, free from the restraints of stumbling in darkness. God’s Word is truth, plain and simple. We can have perfect confidence in the fact that His words are accurate and true. When followed, they guide us without fail in the paths that we need to walk. Sometimes though in our comfortable Christianity, in our feel-good churches, we forget what we hold in are hands.

For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. –  Hebrews 4:12

A sword.

Growing up in church a lot of us heard the song – Armor of God. Unlike all other pieces of the armor of God, which are solely defensive, the sword is uniquely suited for both defensive and offensive roles. A solid defense is invaluable, but the sword is the only way we can complete the work we have been given to do. We become proactive.

sword of the spirit

Swords are used for close combat, not long-range warfare.

The Romans relied in part on invading their enemy from a distance with javelins and darts, but God does not give us that option as Christian soldiers. If we were able to fight our battles from a distance, we would never experience an actual trial.

Paul only lists one weapon because we only need one weapon: There is no enemy the Word of God, coupled with His Spirit, cannot defeat. And so, armed only with our sword, we step out to fight our enemies head-on. The struggle is real. It is immediate, and it is in front of us.

Our future in God’s Kingdom is on the line, and we take up the battle so that we may hold fast to the future He has promised us as we become proactive in our assignments.

So take up your sword because butter is bad for your heart anyway!

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