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What are you afraid of?

This is kind of a follow up to my last post so if you didn’t read that one yet, you might want to start there.

I shared before how it’s hard for me to find time to get a deep enough conversation going so that I can witness to my co-workers. BUT I do have one thing going for me. At my old job, we had these “Random questions of the Day” that we would ask each other in the office. It was super fun and they ranged from really shallow, (If you could only wear one set of clothes for the rest of your life, what outfit would you pick?) to fairly deep, (What is one passage of Scripture that you don’t understand or confuses you?) 

I found that it’s a really good way to get to know another person and to start conversations so on the very first day of my new job, I started asking “Random Questions of the Day.” It’s to the point now where some of my co-workers will very determinedly find me and ask ME what the question is if I don’t ask them first. It’s also pretty handy because it’s an intentional way to get to know another person without them really realizing it.

So, one day last week my question that I thought of just happened to be, “What is something you are afraid of?” I had gotten several answers such as spiders, the dark, etc. I was close to being done for the day and excited to leave because I had several places to be that evening and needed to leave right after work. I was hurriedly cleaning up some dishes in the meat department when one of my co-workers (who is probably the most persistent about the Question) came in to tell me his answer after thinking about it for a while.

“I have my answer.”

I looked up absent-mindedly. “Oh ok. What is something you are afraid of?”

“Dying.”

I can’t quite explain the feeling that came over me. It felt like someone had smacked me upside the head with a board but at the same time a door was flung open right in front of me. Considering all the other answers I had received (and that my answer was snakes), this was totally unexpected. I believe I whispered, “Oh, Jesus” in my head. Outwardly I was cool as a cucumber.

Feeling the weight of my words and knowing exactly where they would lead me, I asked, “Why are you afraid of dying?” He explained that he had done a lot of dumb stuff and could have died.

Me: “Do you know where you would go when you die? What do you think happens when you die?” I have already had conversations with this young man (he’s actually only 15) and knew that he was unsaved and didn’t know anything about the Lord.

Him: Well, with me it could go either way, I guess.

Me: …slowly… “What do you think is the determining factor as to where you go? What determines if you go to heaven or not?”

He did not have an answer. I inhaled slowly and shared the only way to get to heaven. Standing in the meat room, washing dishes, I told this young man about salvation and hope. I told him there was only one way to be rid of a fear of death.

And then he was called to the front and it was time for me to clock out. But I have been praying for him and for the other girl who was walking in and out of our conversation, listening the whole time. Praying for God to change their hearts.

Hmmm…how very simple it was and yet how very hard at the same time. I felt like my face was on fire and my brain was going to explode. In that moment, I truly did not see a person standing before me but an eternal and LOST soul! And I think the weight of that was a little overwhelming. But praise God for putting some words in my mouth for once! What an answer to prayer!

[Side note: As I was rushing quickly out of the store because I was then running late, one of the other girls asked me what the Question was. I quickly told her and she instantly replied that she was afraid of not being able to achieve greatness in life. I hesitated for a moment and I’m pretty sure my thought was, “Lord, I LITERALLY do not have time, strength, or energy to do this again today!” Fortunately these questions are also easy to come back to and I plan to follow up on that one too. What a difference one small, intentional, question can make!]

 
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Posted by on March 22, 2018 in witness

 

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Done “Being an Example”

Have you ever felt paralyzed? Hmm…maybe that’s not quite the right word. Crippled? Maybe inadequate is the best word for it. Where you look into your toolbox and realize that you simply don’t have what is needed to get the job done? Like you need a flat head screwdriver but, doggone it, all you have is a Phillips. (Because we all know you can make do the other way around.)

That’s kind of how I’ve been feeling about evangelism recently. Yeah, I know, you’re waiting to find out how my brain got here. As you may know, I started this new job which is totally different from my previous job. It is fast-paced, you get moved around a lot within the store, and there isn’t a lot of time to talk with your co-workers or the customers. I went in, prayerfully, with one goal: to share Christ with others. Very simple in my mind.

But I have found myself floundering. I slowly realized, with dismay and distress, that I don’t recognize opportunities to share the gospel! At first I refused to believe it. I mean, seriously, I just worked at a Christian facility for over 4 years. And I shared the gospel daily with my campers when I was a counselor. But that is such a controlled environment where bringing up Christ came naturally and easily every day.

I’ve been thinking about how evangelism was taught to my generation. All growing up, I was pretty much taught that if you live like Christ, people will see your example and will want to follow him. It’s very simple. Example Evangelism is what I’m calling it. But the more I look at Scripture, the less I see of that! You have to use words! You can’t just give someone the gospel by your actions (although you need them for sure); words MUST be included! (Romans 10 talks about hearing the gospel.) I feel like I was never taught how to naturally bring Jesus into everyday conversations in order to witness to others. And I’m TIRED of living by example only. I get frustrated at work because I know I miss opportunities to share Christ simply because I don’t recognize them until later.

Now, that all being said, I’d like to make two disclaimers:

  1. I realize that you need actions AND words. Both are necessary parts of evangelism. I’ve been looking at Jesus and Paul and how they did ministry. I am aware that their whole lives were testimonies. Not only did they proclaim salvation with their lips but they also healed people, lived among them, gave of themselves. My point is that sometimes I think believers almost become humanitarians because we do wonderful and nice things but if we don’t openly share Christ right along with it, then the entire meaning is lost!
  2. I am NOT blaming my parents or the church for my inadequacies in this area. I know that each person should always be ready to give an answer for the hope that is in him. I take full and complete responsibility and I have people at church not only holding me accountable but also helping me learn and grow.

However, I don’t know when or where this whole “Example Evangelism” thing got started but can we lay it down now? You don’t convert people (Okay, we don’t convert people at all, but ya know what I mean) by being a good example. You know what’s going to happen? They are going to look at you and go, “Well, there goes a really nice person! They don’t make ’em like that anymore!” And they will go on with their lives.

Let’s learn and teach the new generation how to boldly and naturally share Christ in everyday conversations. Teach them to share the gospel by example AND with their words. You need both. Without one, you will frustrate yourself; without the other, you will become a hypocrite to all people.

 
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Posted by on March 17, 2018 in witness

 

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Using Opportunities

I was home sick from work with a 101.4 fever and nasty cough. Curled up on the couch, I was trying to get Netflix to work when my house-mate got home. “Have you heard the news?” Nope, I pretty much slept all afternoon. Apparently, there had been a terrible accident less than a mile from where we both work. She plopped down on the couch beside me and pulled up the news to show me pictures. A pickup truck driver had gone off the road a little ways, over corrected, and then his vehicle rolled several times until it stopped in a field. The truck no longer looked like one; it looked like a small car in the photos.

“Is the driver okay?” I asked.

“Uh, looks like they took him to the hospital. That’s all it says.” And right then, as we looked at the article, an update popped up to inform us that the driver had died. Oh, it was so sad! And as this young man’s story unfolded in the next couple days, a heavy burden was placed on our hearts for this family.

He was in the military and had gotten home from basic training just that morning. He was 19 years old, engaged to be married, and his fiance was pregnant with their child. His family lives right on that road where the accident was, about 2 houses farther down. We consider his family neighbors to the Farm where I work and he actually helped out at the farm a couple times. He made a mess in one of our barns with a few friends one time, but he went back later that day to clean it up. His name was David and he died on April 16, 2015.

As we all thought of ways we could bless the family, God dropped an opportunity right into our laps. The field where he crashed just happens to belong to the owner (We’ll call him Matt) of the Farm where I work. The day following the accident, a young man appeared in our office and asked to speak to the owner. I directed him to the correct place and didn’t think anything of it. The next day, he came back and asked me to let Matt know that he was borrowing the digging tools he had asked for but would return them later. I called Matt to let him know and he told me the back story.

The young man was a good friend of David’s. He was driving the car that was in front of David’s and he saw everything in his rear view mirror. He was the first on the scene and saw his friends body as it hung half out of the car. The image was burned in his mind. He and three other friends wanted to put up a memorial cross in the field and had come to ask Matt’s permission. He got it of course and as they talked, Matt asked the friend how he was going to make the cross. The young man didn’t have any ideas yet and it just so happens that Matt also does some wood working. He offered to help the four friends and they walked to the shop area on the farm. As they worked, Matt had the opportunity to ask them if they knew where they were going when they died and to share the Gospel with them. They made a beautiful, wooden cross and Matt even helped them burn David’s name, birth date, and the date of the accident on the front. He also helped them burn their own initials on the back of the cross. They borrowed the digging tools the next day and placed the cross at the accident site. By the time they had finished everything, they were so grateful to Matt and told him to call them if he ever needed anything.

I drive past this cross every day on my way to work. And I say a prayer for the family every time I see it.

Matt was given such a cool opportunity. I’m overjoyed that God used him to represent Christ to the family and friends of this young man, David. I think, when something like this happens, we tend to close up because it’s an uncomfortable topic. But God wants us to share each other’s burdens and point others to Christ. This is something I need to work on.

Please be in prayer for David’s friends and family.

 
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Posted by on April 20, 2015 in witness

 

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Detesting Sin

It’s not often I write a post like this. I usually shy away from writing posts on political, celebrity, or social topics. The reason being that those things are just not as important as spiritual things. However, I found out something last night that really struck a chord with me.

I found out that Vision Forum is now closed.

I love Vision Forum. I love their values, their passion for history and theology, and most of all, I love their products. Whenever we would get the yearly catalog at my house, it would be passed from person to person for everyone to flip through and see what was new. I used to pore over that catalog ALL the time because I really like this book or that radio drama.

So when I was reading a blog I frequent last night and it mentioned something about my favorite company being closed, I was shocked. How, why, when?!  So I did what every good, homeschooled girl does in that situation: I Googled it. And I found out why.

Vision Forum closed because of sin. Sin in their leader and founder. As I read the article, hatred started to well up inside me. Not hatred of the sinner (grief for him), but of sin. I was so filled with sadness and the effects of one man’s sin. I deeply despised sin. It was a curious feeling: I was almost in tears of anger last night (and as I’m writing this) over someone else’s sin. It wasn’t because I was upset at loosing all the wonderful products I loved. I was upset that this company’s ministry was lost. I was crying over sin.

This company had such a good witness and had the capacity to be a wonderful aid to families. It was all ruined. Sin destroys. And it has far-reaching effects. I’m sure Mr. Phillips wasn’t thinking about me while he was sinning. His one sin affected so many people who loved his company. Who were encouraged by its products and ministry.

This served as a reminder to me that my sin always affects others (even when I may not realize it). Not all of us are the leaders of a huge company and the result of our sin may not reach around the world but it IS hurting someone. Sin is full of self. Actually, sin is the epitome of selfishness. It’s all about me and my wants and fleshly desires. Sin is NEVER thinking of someone else.

I can’t wait for the day when there is no more sin.

 

 
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Posted by on February 21, 2014 in witness

 

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Devotion Lessons at 1AM

This post is going to take some backstory explaining.  Please bear with me.

I live in an apartment at the farm.  It is right above the office (very convenient) and it is behind a big room that is used for barn dances and is rented out to groups as a meeting room (not so convenient).  Usually it’s not a problem…sometimes there are noisy groups in there but they usually leave before I am ready to sleep.

Two days ago, in my morning devotions I read this verse that hit me hard. (Yes, this connects…wait for it.)

“Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work,  to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people.”

Titus 3:1-2

Hmmm….really convicting verse, huh?  I pondered it for a while.  Submissive, okay….be obedient, got it…..ready for every good work….hmmm.   I thought about that one for a while.  But the part that hit me is the very last section:  ‘to show perfect courtesy toward all people.’  WHAT does that mean?  What is perfect courtesy anyway?  I’ve heard a lot about ‘common’ courtesy but what does perfect courtesy look like?

I then proceeded to show that verse to the other office ladies and we thought about it together.  We put it up around the office.  But I was still undecided….what is perfect courtesy?  So I did what I do every time I need to clarify the meaning of something. I looked courtesy up in Webster’s 1828 Dictionary.

COURTESY, n.

1. Elegance or politeness of manners; especially, politeness connected with kindness; civility; complaisance; as, the gentleman shows great courtesy to strangers; he treats his friends with great courtesy.

 

2. An act of civility or respect; an act of kindness or favor performed with politeness.

 

Wow.  I have to do THAT perfectly?  I would say that common courtesy does not have to have kindness associated with it.  I mean, you can be courteous without being kind sometimes.

Now, you may be wondering what all this has to do with my apartment being by the meeting room.  I’ll tell you.

 

Yesterday, a church group came in that has that room rented.  They are all from Kenya and have never been here before. My first premonitions came when I used the restroom in the middle of the day and I could hear them very clearly from there.  My second concern came when I found out they have that room rented for three days.

After work yesterday, I went up to my room and I have to pass through that meeting room to get there.  They were up there whooping and hollering, moaning and walking around in big circles in the room.  And they all stared at me as I passed through….kind of awkward moment.  I then proceeded to go back downstairs and ask one of my bosses if I could borrow his back stairway key for a couple days. After I explained, he quickly handed it over.

That group was in that room last night until 1AM.  Singing, moaning, hollering.  I lay in my bed thinking all sorts of awful thoughts about them.  And then, (of course it had to happen) I remembered the verse that I’ve been thinking about for a couple days now.  And it wasn’t the perfect courtesy part that hit me this time…it was the ‘toward all people’ part. I am called, I am commanded by my Lord and Savior to show love and courtesy toward every one I meet. Including the hard people on the phone, the stiff workers at Walmart, and the incompetent phone service technicians.  Including that church from Kenya.

Now, you may ask why I am writing this post at 7AM in the morning after such a rough night.  Well, I decided not to go to the YMCA this morning to work out because I wanted to get some more sleep. Your next question may be, AGAIN why are you writing this?

That church group is back in…7AM this morning and all I hear is music and singing that I don’t understand.

Lord, please help me today to show your love and perfect courtesy toward these people.

 
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Posted by on December 20, 2013 in witness

 

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An old paper

I was looking through my old files on the laptop and found this paper I wrote for school my senior year.  It isn’t really a formal essay but I thought I’d share it with you anyway.

Graduation

 A soon-to-be graduate gets asked many of questions.  The most common one is, “What are you going to do? What college will you attend?”  People want to know your plans for the future, for your life.  I, as a coming graduate, have been asked these same questions over and over again.  Many people will disagree with my decisions but I pray that I will always have the courage to stand on my convictions, for God’s glory and not my own.

I have decided that until such future time that I marry, Lord willing, I will stay under my parents roof.  I believe that the home is the main sphere where women were created to serve.  In Titus 2:3-5, the Word of God says, “Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.”  These verses tell us that women are to be keepers of the home and that this is a way to bring glory to God and his marvelous design.  I also believe that a women is to be under the authority of a man because she was created to be a helper to man (Gen. 2:18, 1Tim. 2:13).  She should be under her father’s authority if she is unmarried and when she marries the authority is transferred to her husband.  This was not a result of the Fall of mankind into sin but it was a part of God’s plan from the beginning.  The best place to prepare to be a helpmeet to my future husband is my parent’s home, where I can serve my family and learn from the union of my godly parents.

It is more important for me to stay home, under the discipleship of my mom and dad, than it is for me to leave that opportunity behind.  My parents know me best and are the most capable people to train me in righteousness.  They are just about the only people in the world who will confront me about my sin and keep me accountable.  This is too precious a privilege to leave.

Therefore, I have also decided to follow a very non-traditional route to college, although more students are taking it these days.  College education is extremely expensive and most people would agree that the depth of education isn’t worth the money you pay for it.  College professors often promote socialism, feminism, and communism.  However, most students still go this path because it is highly acceptable.  In fact, when others want to know your plans, they ask what college you will attend, not if you will go to college. I have encountered strong disagreement with my college choice.  I’m not saying a person sins if he or she goes to college, especially if they do so out of respect for their parents’ wishes, I would simply like to point out that there may be other, more profitable options.  I’m working right now on earning a B.A. in History, mostly through CLEP tests that I study for independently and then take.  Most tests, if passed, give the student 3 or 6 college credits for about $90, the cost of the test and administrative fee.  I can earn most of my credits through these tests and then I plan to finish up with online courses.  The advantages of this system are many.  I can set my own pace and still be involved with my family and church because my schedule can be as flexible as I choose.  Also, I have the privilege to have my parents there to help me discern and encourage me on.

This coming year, I’ll be able to aid my family in new ways.  I’ll be helping watch my littlest sibling more and I’ll even be helping with some of the schooling of my siblings.  My mom and dad have asked me to take over the kitchen this year.  This will include budget planning, menu planning, shopping, and cleaning.  I will not prepare every meal but I will be much more involved than before.  This will be the first time I have done anything like this and it will give me invaluable skills for when, and if, I get married.  I hope I am up to the challenge!

I will also be able to be more involved in my church and homeschool co-op.  This summer, I will be teaching a VBS class for preschoolers at my church.  Perhaps in the future, I will be able to visit sick or elderly persons, help in the nursery, or maybe teach a Sunday School class.  I do not know what the Lord will place before me.  This coming school year, I will also be teaching a sign language class at my homeschool group.  ASL was my foreign language for high school and I am so glad to be able to share it with others.  I might also be teaching other classes on first aid and game skills.

On June 4th, 2011, I will graduate from high school.  Ever since my first day of kindergarten, I’ve looked forward to that day.  For a long time, it was not a distinct day, but a distant time.  Now, however, I have hardly a month before that long-awaited day and I am so excited!  After graduation, I will have countless opportunities to minister in ways I couldn’t before.  I pray I will use my time in the way that will bring the most honor to my Lord.  I pray that He will give me the grace to glorify Him in all I do and to worship and enjoy Him forever.

 
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Posted by on October 4, 2012 in witness

 

Book Recommendation

On my trip, I read Glory, Duty, and the Gold Dome.  I read it in about two days.  I woke up before everyone else so it was a great time to read and do my morning devotions.  It was an incredible book!  The plot follows the thoughts and actions of a fourteen year-old boy and his father alternately.  The boy, Thomas, is an aide to his father who is a state representative. They work together to try to save the life of a woman, who is in a coma, and her unborn baby.  The book not only provides a great example of a father-son relationship, but it also shows a lot  about the legal system. In fact, I’m sure I could have counted it for civics in high school!

It is rare to find such a book in our day and age.  A book where men boldly stand up and do their duty no matter what.  The father in this book risks his congressional race to help this woman.  He counted her more important than himself.  He put her and her baby first despite great pressure to do otherwise.  That’s what makes it such a great book.

 

(As an aside, the publisher recommends this book for those fourteen or older due to mature medical ethics-related issues.)

 
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Posted by on September 16, 2012 in books, witness

 

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