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When in a Funk

A couple weeks ago, I was talking to a couple from my church and the husband told me that a mentor of his used to say to him, “Man, you are just in a funk today! You need to go out and talk to someone about Jesus.” And he would literally kick him out of the office (which is ironic because they worked in a ministry) and he would go find someone to share Christ with.

The whole story kind of stuck with me. He talked about how it didn’t really matter how he was feeling that day, somehow telling another person what Christ had done would change his mood and outlook on the day. So I’m here to tell you two personal stories about sharing Jesus “when in a funk” and how they turned out.

Last Saturday, one of my co-workers asked me if I would make her some monkey bread. For some people, this probably sounds like a bizarre request, but (not to brag) my monkey bread is actually pretty well-known and I get requests for it all the time. To be fair, it’s a family recipe and it’s pretty amazing. I was more than happy to make it for her and asked her when she wanted it. She asked if Sunday would work. Honestly, I sighed a little inside. If you know me or have read this post, you probably know that Sundays aren’t my best days. I usually come home after church and crash. But I knew that I really did have the time to make it that day so I told her that would be fine.

When she came to pick it up, she ended up staying and talking for a while. She’s young and goes to church without her family and wants to be baptized, so in the course of our conversation, she asked about my baptism. I’m pretty sure my whole face lit up. That was a really special day for me (maybe I’ll post about it sometime) and I loved getting to tell her about it. After she left, I realized how invigorated I felt, just from talking about Christ’s love for me.

And the words came back to me: When in a funk, talk about Jesus.

Fast forward to a few days later. I woke up on the wrong side of the bed. I had a lot of things weighing on my mind but was trying and trying to trust the Lord with them. But in reality, I was kind of grumpy. Having remembered the success from Sunday, I decided to find someone to talk to. I live just down the road from a nursing home, so I grabbed my Bible and went there. Come to find out they have a lot of entrances and I wasn’t really sure which one to go in which just further added to my frustrated feeling. Finally I just picked one and marched in like a soldier. I smiled sweetly at the secretary and asked if I was allowed to talk to some of the residents. She told me to feel free. Great.

I found an older lady sitting by herself in the dining hall and asked her if I could sit with her and pulled up a chair. We introduced ourselves and that’s when I discovered that she couldn’t hear very well. I CAN talk loud when I need to (people are usually really surprised ūüôā ) but it’s hard for me to keep it up for a whole conversation so there was a lot of repeating. She told me about herself and her life and I read some verses to her. She was feeling kind of discouraged and frustrated though and wasn’t sure what purpose she could have in the nursing home. And I’m not really sure she heard me say anything. After about an hour, I prayed with her and went home to get ready for work.

And my thought was, “Well, that didn’t make me feel better at all!” Instantly, I was stung with conviction about my motivations. Ouch. I realized the difference in the two situations. The first time, I was focused on my friend and on the Lord- talking about him and what he had done in my life. The second time, I was only worried about myself- what would make ME feel better and help ME.¬† My heart was totally in the wrong place.

So I do believe the statement still stands: When in a funk, talk about Jesus. Just make sure you are focusing on him and his glory.

 
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Posted by on August 28, 2018 in witness

 

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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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