Partnerships In Ministry

Teamwork concept in word tag cloudI was recently on a road trip to visit family friends and had the opportunity to attend church with them.  I continue to find it amazing how God aligns these events in my life where I hear a spoken word, or a new song, or some other event that speaks directly to something I am dealing with in my life.  I cannot explain it, but I believe that it is God’s way of communicating with me in this season of life.  In sharing these personal experiences I hope others will listen for how God is speaking to them.

The pastor of this church gave a message title “Famous Partnerships”.  He started by referencing partnerships that we all recognize in culture… Ben & ________, Hewlett- ___________, Tom & _________, Fred & _____________, Smith & _____________, and the list goes on.  Nearly everyone reading this will automatically fill in the blank with the associated “partner” with the greatest of ease. But what about Biblical partnerships?  We then shifted gears to discuss Paul and Barnabas and their partnership for ministry.

Acts 9:26-28 New International Version (NIV)

26 When he came to Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples, but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he really was a disciple. 27 But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles. He told them how Saul on his journey had seen the Lord and that the Lord had spoken to him, and how in Damascus he had preached fearlessly in the name of Jesus. 28 So Saul stayed with them and moved about freely in Jerusalem, speaking boldly in the name of the Lord.

Barnabas and Paul’s were partners in their ministry in Jerusalem as discussed in Acts as well as other passages, but this is not where this sermon hit home the hardest.  The closing “point to ponder” was where God spoke through this sermon to me directly.  I had been in prayer for sometime about my role in our church.  What ministry was I being called to?  Was the ministry I was considering what God had for me or what I desired?  Here were the closing questions he left us with, which rattled around in my heart and mind for the next week.

1) What partnership in your past have successfully advanced ministry?

2) What partnerships are you considering to further ministry?

3) What partnership do you dream of to further ministry?

These questions were so heavy on my heart that I sat down and wrote detailed answers to these questions.  In doing so I found an overwhelming peace about ministry opportunities I was considering.  I have a desire to work closely with the youth in our church and community.  Mostly with teenage boys as they go through their high school years and many of whom desperately need Christian men in their lives.  As I thought through more details and actually wrote down what this may look like, God directed my pen and what ended up on paper was the ministry I plan to pursue.  I am looking to enter this ministry with confidence that it is from Him and not of myself.

The third question was eye opening and had some intense soul searching associated with it.  What partnership do I dream of….?  I continually came back to this answer: I dream of a spouse who has a desire to see Christ exalted and glorified in our life together and fulfill ministry as a couple.  Having come from a recent divorce, I was shocked how pointed God was with this and how through prayer, I continually came back to this portrait of my future.  I dream of a future with a spouse who will read the Bible Attractive couple enjoy story book on sofa at home in living roomwith me, pray with me, and affect the world for the Kingdom of God.  We may have identical ministry direction or completely different, but the partnership of a marriage with Christ at the center, focused on serving others in his name is something I look forward to.  I see this is so many around me and I see how powerful and ministry changing it can be.  I have vivid childhood memories of my grandparents being those people.  I will always remember staying with them overnight and awaking in the morning to the smell of extremely strong coffee, wondering into their kitchen, to find them holding hands and praying or reading their Bibles.  My heart yearns to repeat that image in my golden years.

 

Thank you Lord for the message you delivered to me in a whole another church I had never set foot in before.  Your timing is impeccable and never ceases to amaze me!  The peace I found of my unknown future was greatly advanced through this encounter and I cannot thank and praise God enough for it.

How is God speaking to you?  Through a sermon?  A Song? A profound word from a stranger?  I truly believe God speaks to us much more than we recognize.  Slow down, pay attention, be still, and listen.

Finally… what ministry partnership do you dream of?  I would love to hear!  Be blessed!

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Divine Appointments….. how often do we miss them?

Long post, but the encouraging story is worth the read…

IMG_2507[1]As I continue to pay more attention to the hand of God in my life I begin to become more and more aware of opportunities to share His love with others.  BUT how many times to we miss these “Divine Appointments” God ever so conveniently puts on our calendar?  Are we so caught up in our daily routines and selfish ways that we dismiss these opportunities without ever even recognizing they were there?  Or even worse, do we recognize the opportunity and choose not to take it?

My answer to all of the above would have to be YES!  I can point to so many times that I missed an opportunity, so many times I saw the opportunity and walked away willfully, so many times I can imagine God above shaking His head while performing the ever popular “face palm” as he looks down on me, his child, failing him.  I want to share two personal stories on this subject and the amazing way God used one to reveal the other to me.

Continue reading Divine Appointments….. how often do we miss them?

WHO AM I? part 2

who am iFrom prior post… “The titles of the world are temporary and ultimately do not define who we are.”

This realization came at a critical time in my life.  I was in the midst of a divorce, something I had never contemplated as even being possible, something I had no desire for, and yet something I could not stop.  My wife chose to end our marriage for the sake of another man.

The majority of my life my identity was strongly based on my role as a husband.  Now that this identity was gone, I was struggling to understand who I was.  Redefining identity after a loss is a process, one I am continuing through to this day.  About a month ago these words, spoken by a gentlemen I had never met before, had a profound impact on me.  It’s a simple concept, but one we all too often forgotten until we are faced with a crisis.

“Who am I”?  We ought not to look to this world for the answer.  Better yet, restate the question…. “Who am I, in Christ?”

Continue reading WHO AM I? part 2

WHO AM I? part 1

Who am II recently was in a church setting with a large group of people, many of whom I did not know.  There were the typical pleasantries and introductions, but one stood out more than any other.  An experience I reflected on for days and weeks after.  As we have all experienced, the typical introduction to a stranger goes something like this…..

“Hi, I am__________.  And you are…?”  you politely give your name and wait for the next question you already know is coming… “What do you do?”  The socially prescribed answer relates to your chosen career or current employment situation, and typically stops there.  Conversation over.

In this instance, however, I was caught off guard by the uncommon follow up question after providing my name… “who are you.”  As opposed to the career related answer, i referenced my family connections.  He stared at me somberly and said… “No, who are you?  What are you about?”  What was he asking?  Who Am I simply cut to the core and was a question that I realized did not have a solid answer for.

Continue reading WHO AM I? part 1