Sticks and Stones: Part Three- Answered Prayers
I definitely never intended to write a part three of this “series” of Sticks and Stones, but God really moved in a mighty way this past weekend. I spent this past weekend in Big Bear with my leadership team for one of my ministries.
I’ve heard it said, where a pastor asks if you would be willing to change the world one person at a time, most in an audience nod their head in agreement, but then the pastor says what if the change had to start with you? You are that one person who starts the change! Would you then be willing to make the difference if the change started with you, not someone else?
It’s like Mahatma Gandhi said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”
The change has to start with us and that is what the leadership weekend in Big Bear was all about, it would be a time to come together with the ministries’ leadership and realign ourselves with the mission and vision. If we wanted to see change and movement and growth in our ministry it had to start with us. We had to be poured into and begin change within ourselves in order for it to trickle and eventually pour and reign (His love, mercy, and grace) into our ministry.
Honestly, I was extremely reluctant about going because of my last two blogs have affected me greatly and I thought this would be make or break it time for ministry. This weekend would be the determining factor on friendships as well as ministry and leadership in the church.
I was blown away by the way that God provided. Amidst the fun and games, it was reiterated throughout the entire weekend to spend time with people you didn’t know. We spent time writing each other encouraging notes through the weekend and learning about each other. We had the privilege of one of our pastor’s speaking and I could not believe what he spoke about because it was so God-divine and appointed.
I had wondered how my voice could make a difference, my opinion, ideas, and questions about leadership and the things I was witnessing within the church. But God spoke, in huge volumes. Our pastor on the first night spoke about how we must love each other and be inclusive. We are called to be the hands and feet of Jesus, to truly love other people those within leadership and those not. We are called to love the people within the church walls and well as those outside of those walls, that every there are hurting and broken people.
We read through Matthew 9: 9-12 and discussed how Jesus was willing to break bread and had an outward focus. He discussed how our ministry has the potential to be the city on the hill if we stay outward focused. We need to be the light in the darkness. We have the ability to be the arms to embrace those who are broken, to be the mouth to speak God’s love.
The biggest question he posed was, do we live within the walls we build up? Do we miss His’ still small voice? We are called to be the literal body of Christ.
The second day, one of our interns spoke of repentance. He talked about how few will fit through the narrow gate (Matthew 7:13). We must have genuine heart change when we accept Christ. We must make people (everyone) our neighbor and love them; we cannot live life by being a stay-at-home Christian. We need to refocus, FOCUS on GOD, and we need to step out of our comfort zone and step out of the walls that we tend to build around ourselves and our cliques and truly and sincerely step out in love and love our neighbors… love each other.
The second night, our pastor spoke of our words, about the damage they can cause. We can be filled, but it can take one sarcastic comment, one joke, one thing we say that can bring someone down and tear them apart. We need to lift each other up always because we don’t know who is listening or who is watching.
He was my voice; God whispered my heart to him. God spoke so clearly of what was on my heart and what I had been struggling with, I was in awe. So moved by the power of prayer, by the power of how God used one of our pastors to speak to our leadership. I pray that they were listening. I know for me God revealed some big and mighty things that I will share later. I pray that our cups can be overflowing and pour down upon the people of our ministry.
As a recent tweet read, “The greatest resemblance of a Christian, is one that doesn’t need to say anything. Action speak louder. Be the change.”