Thursday, October 6, 2011

Rules for Life? Someday I feel like I'll update this...

            “To seek and save that which is lost.”  It was the mission statement of Christ.  That is why he came, Luke 19:10- “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”  I have adopted this statement.  It goes hand in hand with the great commission, and my desire is to see the lost come to know Jesus.  We are called to hold our hands against the wounds of the broken world, to stop the bleeding. –Donald Miller” My heart is broken for those in the world, and I can think of nothing more important than bringing lost broken people to a savior who heals, and gives eternal life. 
            Learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause.”  (Isa. 1:17)  I’ve always felt that the best approach to ministry was getting your hands dirty.  I want to go out into the world, and be the hands and feet of Jesus; it seems to be the most effective method.  He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, to love kindness and to walk humbly with your God.”  (Micah 6:8)  My sincere hope is to do exactly that throughout my time in ministry. 
            Daily prayer is an essential part of my relationship with God.  I challenge myself to pray daily for at least fifteen minutes, and I also feel that morning is an ideal time to do this.  O Lord, in the morning you hear my voice; in the morning I prepare a sacrifice for you and watch.” (Ps. 5:3)  My mentor Jackie encouraged me in this tirelessly.  Jackie was constantly telling me to pray, and praying for me, and for this I am enormously grateful.  She also advocated praying for the will of God and trusting him with that which I held dearest.  This quote goes hand in hand with that idea. “To leave the dearest objects of our hearts in the sublime keeping of the general and unspecific belief that God is answering our prayers in His own time and way, and in the best manner, involves a process of inward crucifixion which is obviously unfavorable to the growth and even the existence of the life of self  - T. C. Upham 
            Serving God and others is a necessary priority for Christians.  Serving with humility, and kindness is even more necessary.  I strive to serve God, and others with humility, and kindness.  I was raised in a home that advocated this immensely.  My father is one of enormous character and humility; he takes great joy in service.  Dad was always one to lead by example, and growing up he expected me and my sister to pitch in wherever and whenever we were capable, and most of all he expected no complaints.  Sometimes this was an immense struggle, I must admit it still can be, but I’m thankful nonetheless for the model he’s given me to follow.  Blessed are those servants whom the master finds awake when he comes. Truly, I say to you, he will dress himself for service and have them recline at table, and he will come and serve them.” (Luke 12:37)
            Seeking God in the context of worship is probably my favorite thing about being a Christian.  I very much enjoy connecting with Christ intimately during that portion of service.  I love the way He meets with his people, and ministers to hearts fully engaged in worship.  Watching others make this connection also brings me great joy, and that is why I enjoy leading worship.  My philosophy on leading worship is pretty much summarized in this quote by Michael Gungor: “If leading worship is just about bringing a group of people into a room so we can get goose bumps and sing songs together, there’s not much value in that. But if leading worship is a means to an end, that we leave this place as a different kind of people, as part of a new humanity that God wants to create – the people that are caring for the widows and orphans, that aren’t bound by the systems of this world but becoming free, becoming fully engaged in our world – then that matters.”  I will ultimately strive to worship, and lead worship like this; in spirit and in truth with the intent of eliminating pride and selfish ambition.  God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” (Jn. 4:24)
            Another one of my goals is to demonstrate the fruit of the spirit in every circumstance.  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” (Gal. 5:22-23)  I am working towards handing out a healthy dose of joyful optimism to every person I come in contact with.  Joy, and peace are good companions.  I feel like with joy comes peace; and with peace, joy isn’t far behind.  So my prayer is much like that of St. Francis: “Lord, make me an instrument of your peace;” 
            God is love.  God wants us to love those around us.  Therefore, I will choose to love my enemies, as well as my friends.  You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD.” (Lev. 19:18)  Love is clearly a command; it’s mentioned approximately 544 times in the KJV.  I would say that at the very least love is important.
            “Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.” (Phil. 4:11)  Contentedness in all circumstances is of paramount importance.  If you are sleeping on a threadbare mat, on the dirt floor of a hut, you are called to be content.  If you are living, working or breathing in circumstances that are less than ideal, you are called to be content.  God places us in the positions we are in for a reason.  Sometimes we are in situations to minister to others, and those situations are not always comfortable ones, but they are worth it.  I find that with this mindset, I can accomplish far more than I would ever be capable of accomplishing, if my mind was on my own comfort.  This will help me serve more effectively.  So it is my goal to be content in every circumstance. 
            This is the foundation for which I plan to build my life in Christ.  My hopes, dreams, and goals all hinge on the aforementioned ideas, and principles stated in this paper.  I plan to take the gifts and personality traits given to me and use them to capacity.  When I get to heaven I want to have nothing left to offer, I want to pour out all I have in the name of Jesus.  One of my mentors told me once, that when she approaches the throne of grace she wants to have given 110% and have none of the resources given to her left.  That stuck with me.  I want to work tirelessly with reckless abandon for the cause of Christ.  Keeping in mind the entire time that God is working, and giving me strength.  In the words of Mother Teresa: “We can do no great things, only small things with great love." This is my mission.