Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. (James 4:8)

Posts tagged ‘serve’

Here Am I, Send Me! (part 2)

Candle in the Dark

By Lisa Nordell-Detres

The third fallacy I want to address applies more to the small churches whose few volunteers are burned out because they alone feel the need to keep everything going. Members in small churches hesitate to volunteer for anything besides Vacation Bible School one week a year for fear that they will be trapped in the nursery forever. There are two principles that need to be remembered by those dedicated saints who are hanging on by a thread.

First of all, pray that God will give you a clear set of priorities for your church’s ministries and then let the others drop for a season. Either God will bring helpers in to pick up those peripheral duties or they will cease to exist until others pick it up. The important thing is to stay focused on the Great Commission of Matthew 28:18-20 and make sure that if nothing else, Biblical teaching is provided for all ages in the church.

The second principle is one that I found to be extremely liberating, as spoken by Charles Swindoll several years ago, “The need does not constitute the call.” This only applies to those who are already actively engaged in ministry. If you are a “pew potato,” that quote does not excuse you from volunteering. This principle applies to those who understand the facet of love that sees a need and rush in to fill that need without counting the cost. This doesn’t mean that we turn a blind eye to those in need around us, but rather we start looking for others whom God has equipped to fill those needs and recruit them to step into that service. This may even mean directing them to the ministry of another church or organization whose core strength may be providing the service that is needed.

This thought leads to the fourth fallacy of Christian thinking: our local church has to do it all. Take a good look at your congregation and make an objective evaluation of the core strengths of the people. Remember, God has equipped us all for specific tasks, and if the church down the street is running a soup kitchen for homeless people and your heart is with the homeless, go there to volunteer rather than trying to start another soup kitchen in your church. Hopefully, you will keep membership at your church, but either way, working together to make one community ministry the best it can be is much more productive and efficient than starting ministries that are improperly staffed. Pray for God’s guidance and resist the temptation to start any new ministries at the expense of those already in place.

The most important thing to know is that we all have a job to do for God and we need to be willing to serve Him by using our gifts and talents to serve others. Now, go serve!

Lisa Nordell-Detres is a mother of four, grandma to two boys with a third on the way (!), a pastor’s wife and has worked in the garment and customer service industries in southern California. Besides writing, Lisa enjoys cooking, sewing, organic gardening, hiking, skiing and doing most anything outside.

Lisa was born and raised in Denver, Colorado, studied Christian Apologetics at Simon Greenleaf University, holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Fashion Design from Woodbury University and an MBA from California State University at Northridge. Lisa, her husband and their youngest child now live in central Oregon.

Here Am I, Send Me!

Isaiah_Michelangelo

Isaiah-Michelangelo image from Wikimedia Commons.

By Lisa Nordell-Detres

The book of Isaiah is so rich and full of emotion, prophecy and imagery. The vision of Isaiah’s purification and dedication in Isaiah 6 gives a glimpse of Heaven and Isaiah’s realization of his inadequacy in the moment. I think we all come to that point at some point of our lives, especially if we have been called into some sort of Christian ministry.

There are some fallacies in the thinking of many church people which keeps them on the sideline. The first involves the concept of “feeling called” to serve. If you have committed your life to Jesus Christ, then you signed up to serve Him. The real question is, “What are you doing for Christ?” Are you simply occupying a seat in your local church for an hour a week? That isn’t service; that is being what I call a “pew potato.”

Clearly there is a crisis of service in the Church when even mega-churches have trouble keeping basic ministries such as caring for and teaching the children adequately staffed with volunteers. The “80/20” rule should be turned on upside down in the church, but sadly it seems like less than 10% of the members do more than 90% of the work on a weekly basis. If you belong to a church, or even attend regularly, then you need to volunteer your skills at that church.

Another fallacy is the idea that missionaries are special people who devote their lives to telling others about Jesus and usually travel to foreign countries to do so. If you take a look at The Great Commission of Jesus in Matthew 28:18-20, He said to “go and make disciples of all nations…” Jesus didn’t say to pay someone else to go, He told us all to go.

What we sometimes fail to understand is that if your next door neighbors or co-workers have not heard about the Gospel of Jesus, you are not doing your job! I am not advocating being obnoxious about our faith, but rather living in such a way and being a person from whom the Holy Spirit just bubbles out and splashes all over everybody you meet! That means daily praying what Isaiah said, “Here am I, send me!” knowing that God will equip you and then schedule divine appointments for you as you go about your day.

Spend time every day with God; ask Him what He would have you do for Him today. If your life lacks adventure, I can think of no better way to break out of the rut in which you live than to start asking God to send you out to do His will! Oh, and don’t worry about feeling inadequate, the Holy Spirit in you will cover whatever you might be missing!

Lisa Nordell-Detres is a mother of four, grandma to two boys with a third on the way (!), a pastor’s wife and has worked in the garment and customer service industries in southern California. Besides writing, Lisa enjoys cooking, sewing, organic gardening, hiking, skiing and doing most anything outside.

Lisa was born and raised in Denver, Colorado, studied Christian Apologetics at Simon Greenleaf University, holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Fashion Design from Woodbury University and an MBA from California State University at Northridge. Lisa, her husband and their youngest child now live in central Oregon.

Turn, turn, turn

Seasons

Photo by TheLizardQueen on Flickr.

By Lisa Nordell-Detres

I cannot read Ecclesiastes 3 without that Byrd’s song from the 60’s starting up in my head. “To everything, turn, turn, turn, there is a season, turn, turn, turn, and a time for every purpose, under Heaven….”  There is so much truth to this passage that if we were to step back from whatever life season in which we currently live, we just might find that everything is temporary. If you love your place in the world right now, enjoy it to the fullest because it won’t last. Likewise, if you are going through some of the hardest times in your life, hang in there, because that too, will come to an end.

By the time King Solomon wrote this book, he was nearing the end of his life and looked back on all his accomplishments, which were many, as vain, meaningless, worthless. After living through multiple seasons of life, the last thing any of us want to feel is that everything we did in life was useless. Whatever season in life we are currently experiencing, we want to know that what we are doing is significant, but how do we do that? What really is important in this life?

The main misunderstanding of our purpose in life often comes from inflated egos that say that in order for an accomplishment to be of value, it has to be measured in terms of success like wealth, power or fame. What gives life meaning is to love and be loved, to use our gifts and talents to enrich the lives of those around us. To give of ourselves to the service of God and others produces rewards and brings such meaning and fulfillment that cannot be explained, only experienced.

If you want to find meaning in whatever season of life in which you are currently living, look for the good and find the lessons to be learned in everything. Remember that your greatest personal growth will more than likely come in the hard times, while the fondest memories will come from our interactions with those we love.

Lisa Nordell-Detres is a mother of four, grandma to two boys with a third on the way (!), a pastor’s wife and has worked in the garment and customer service industries in southern California. Besides writing, Lisa enjoys cooking, sewing, organic gardening, hiking, skiing and doing most anything outside.

Lisa was born and raised in Denver, Colorado, studied Christian Apologetics at Simon Greenleaf University, holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Fashion Design from Woodbury University and an MBA from California State University at Northridge. Lisa, her husband and their youngest child now live in central Oregon.

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