This might be a pretty long blog for the ones that are used to reading it, so just forewarning you.
This past Sunday was a memorable service in itself. One that has changed my life forever. I was singing and praising through the first song and then came the second, I got about ½ way through it and then just stopped singing and began praying. Praying for needs for people I did not know anything about. Praying for people that I normally do not pray for, but being led to pray for very specific things. Then I began praying for a couple that I dearly love and when I opened my eyes I saw the husband of the couple at the alter kneeling, I wanted to go pray with him and so I took a step out and God told me to stay where I was. I hesitated, but listened and stepped back to my seat and continued praying for him. The next time I opened my eyes there was one person there kneeling with him, now I knew I had to go pray with him. I again started to step out and God told me to stay put, not to go to him. By now I was getting frustrated, because I wanted to console my friend and pray with him. But I listened again and stayed at my seat, still praying. When I looked up the last time, I saw his wife walking out the back door. Now God tells me, Go! So, I followed her out, and I explained to her what happened and that I do not know all of what is going on and I do not need to know. God just wants her to know that I am praying for her and her marriage and her entire family.
That might have been enough right there to push me over the edge, I have never had God speak so clearly to me! Ever. But, just when I thought it was over, He had more ideas.
I am not sure if you know the story of how Isaac got invited to church, but here is the short version. A teenager came to our apartment complex years ago and gave Isaac a flier inviting him to VBS, and since then he has been going to church. It is because of him that I went to church and now we are both Saved and know the direction of our life. Late last night God came to me and told me to do the same thing. To go invite, not just to VBS, but to church. But, He wanted me to do it in a very interesting way. A way I had heard mentioned in a sermon months and months ago.
So, I made a VBS flier to pass out and I called the church first thing this morning to get some handouts from service last week with the contact information on them. I headed out to the Firewheel mall that is literally right down the street from our church. I had a plan to ask 40 people. Because I had 30 handouts and 10 fliers. I wanted to get them all passed out. But, most importantly I wanted to know if people actually knew where our church was? It went something like this…Hi, could I ask you a quick question? Sure…Great, do you know where First @ Firewheel is? Most answers were…What? No, what is that? Where? What is the name again? What is it? NOONE KNEW WHERE THE CHURCH WAS! Or that it was even a church at all! I was appalled, surprised and completely disappointed. I remember after I had talked to 15 people, I sat on a bench right by the train and the water fountain and I began to pray to God, I do not understand why He sent me out there to get negative results. I wanted answers and I wanted them now!
1Thes:2-3 came to mind immediately and I do not even remember reading this before. 2 We always thank God for all of you and continually mention you in our prayers. 3 We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. My first response was, What?! That does not answer why You have me out here in the heat of the day trying to talk to people about church and VBS. It is hard to invite someone to VBS when they do not even know there is a church right up the street.
Then Deut 8:20 came to my mind – Like the nations the LORD destroyed before you, so you will be destroyed for not obeying the LORD your God. And that was when I stopped and realized, it does not matter Why, it does not matter why God asked me to do it…the fact that He wants me to do it, I will.
I got off the bench and decided I would talk to the last 25 people and then go home. Rest and maybe even take a nap. It was hot, and there was not even that many people at the mall. I had my excuses ready. But, then there were more people, there was a nice breeze blowing. And I began asking more people, inviting children and talking to mothers and fathers.
I wish I could say that some of those people gave their lives to Jesus right there in the mall and the Earth shook and all that Greatness, but that is far from the truth. But I can say this, I learned a very valuable lesson; as a Christian, as a mother, and as a member of F@F. I learned to obey God, no matter how far fetched you may think the idea is…if it comes from God and you are 100% certain the direction came from God; do it. I learned that when the weather is nice and you decide to go to the mall together as a family, put the cellphones away, listen to the kids and talk as a family. There were parents actually holding the hand of their little ones practically dragging them and on a conversation on the cellphone with the other hand! And as a member of F@F I learned we are not doing our jobs. Quite frankly and sorry to be so blunt, we are not. Out of 40 people I spoke to NOT ONE PERSON knew where our church was. As a church congregation, what does that say about us?
I am not putting anyone down, or saying I am superior to anyone; trust me I am not. But ask yourself this at least..
Do your neighbors know you go to church, or where you go?
Have you invited a co-worker or the girl who makes your coffee in the morning to church?
What about your mechanic, your dry cleaner, your postal carrier?
Just one more…when was the last time you invited ANYONE to ANY church event?
Hebrews 9:28 comes to mind right now; so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.
I love you guys…every last one of you. God Bless