Did you know that you have a ministry?
Does that word "ministry" scare you?
Don't let it. You can "minister" to anyone anywhere. You do not have to be a pastor at a pulpit in front of a church. You do not have to go to seminary or have whole books of the Bible memorized.
Those are all wonderful things, but they are not a requirement to minister to others.
All you need to minister to others is:
Ask God for wisdom and be willing. He will do the rest!
Prayer and reading the Bible regularly are very important as well.
Would you like some help to get started?
Ask yourself these questions:
If God has led you to someone, He will equip you to handle the situation. Pray and ask for wisdom and courage. He will deliver!
2 Corinthains 1:3-5
"All praise to the God and Father of our Master, Jesus the Messiah! Father of all mercy! God of all healing counsel! He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us. We have plenty of hard times that come from following the Messiah, but no more so than the good times of his healing comfort—we get a full measure of that, too."
Father, thank You for Your redeeming grace! May we all realize that our story is really the story of Jesus and His sacrifice for us. Please bring us alongside others who need to hear our stories so that we can lead them to You. Thank You for allowing us the immense privilege of ministering to others, the way that You minister to us. It's in Jesus' name, Amen.
Check out the companion video on YouTube.
As we approach Easter, I [Mandy] am reminded of the story of Jacob and Esau in Genesis (Chapter 25, verse 19). To quickly recap: Jacob and Esau were twin brothers. Esau was born first with Jacob clutching Esau's heel. Because of this, Jacob's name means "Deceiver". And boy does Jacob ever live up to his name! The first-born boy in the Jewish culture received the father's blessing. Jacob wanted the blessing so badly, he begged and connived to get it all his life. One day, Jacob and his mother devised a plan to trick Jacob's father into given Esau's blessing to Jacob.
Once Esau heard that Jacob had stolen his blessing, he vowed to kill Jacob as soon as their father died (Chapter 27). Jacob's mother sends Jacob away to save his life. Fast forward 20 long years...Jacob heads home again. But, as Jacob discovers, time has done othing to alleviate Esau's vengeful spirit.
Jacob prays to God, hoping to remind God of His promise to protect and prosper Jacob (Genesis 32:9-12).
That's a good thing!
But then...then Jacob is left with too much time to think...and that thinking only led to more trouble. Jacob, with all this quiet time on his hands, decided to come up with a "Plan B". He divided up all his belongings including man and maidservants, animals, etc. He sends everyone up ahead in the hopes that he can bribe his brother Esau into not harming Jacob (Genesis 32:13-21).
That's not a good thing!
After sending everyone up ahead of himself, he stays behind at the camp. That night he is attacked by an angel (Genesis 32:22). They wrestle all night. And the word used in the original text for "wrestle" illicits a vision of tusseling in such a way that you cannot tell whose legs or arms are whose. And there were probably tears of frustration.
As they wrestle all night, with Jacob holding his own, the angel demands that Jacob lets him go. Then the angel touches Jacob and dislocates his hip.
In that moment, I think Jacob realizes that this angel isn't an ordinary guy. It becomes painfully apparent (literally) that whoever he has spent the night wrestling is a heavenly being.
Jacob demands a blessing from the angel (there he goes again after a blessing), but the angel askes Jacob what his name is.
Really? This being who can dislocate a hip in one touch...who is most assuredly of God...has to ask Jacob what his name is?
I think it's so beautiful and such a great example of how God is with all of us:
It isn't until Jacob admits who he is: Jacob; Deceiver, that God tells him, "Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with men and have overcome."
I have felt God ask me that same thing before: "What's your name?"
And once I admit to Him who I really am: a Deceiver, a cheat, a liar, a failure, a sinner who has fallen short of the glory of God, He tells me I am no longer those things, but instead, I am forgiven.
The blood of Jesus has washed me clean of my sin.
Because of Christ's sacrifice on the cross, I am now called a Child of God.
Have you acknowledged who you are before God and allowed Him to give you a new identity in Christ?
If not, you can right now:
Father, we thank you for the opportunity to come before You. We ask that You will reveal to us where we need to admit who we really are...and who we aren't. Please impress upon us that we have the opportunity to come before Your throne. You sacrificed Your Son so that we can be made new. Like Jacob, You have given us a new name under Christ. Please be with every woman reading this and speak to her heart: let her know that she is worthy because You loved her enough to send Your Son to die for our sins. Thank You so much, Father. Words will never be enough to thank You. In Jesus's name, Amen.
We pray you have a blessed Easter and spend some meaningful time reflecting on Christ's sacrifice for all of us.
Check out the companion video on YouTube.
So I have been pondering the best way to conclude this series for several weeks now. I have come to the conclusion that the best way to do this is by taking a hard look at the fundamental beliefs of the first Church. What did Christ’s Church believe before it got torn apart by denominational separations? Who were they without the conflict that has most definitely been placed within the Church by Satan? After all, wasn’t satan the very first separation from God, Christ, and the Holy Spirit?
You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone was your covering, sardius, topaz, and diamond, beryl, onyx, and jasper, sapphire, emerald, and carbuncle; and crafted in gold were your settings and your engravings. On the day that you were created they were prepared. You were an anointed guardian cherub. I placed you; you were on the holy mountain of God; in the midst of the stones of fire you walked. You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created, till unrighteousness was found in you. In the abundance of your trade you were filled with violence in your midst, and you sinned; so I cast you as a profane thing from the mountain of God, and I destroyed you, O guardian cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire. Your heart was proud because of your beauty; you corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor. I cast you to the ground; I exposed you before kings, to feast their eyes on you. Ezekiel 28:13-9
Didn’t he choose to move outside of unity with God in order to seek his own prideful purpose? Now he continues this pattern of disaccord by breaking the Church into pieces fractured by petty arguments of men.
So on we move to Christ’s original Church. They were a people who came from a religion of rules, but who had finally found freedom in the veil that Christ tore when he gave up His spirit (Matthew 27:51). They found grace in the days that followed Christ’s resurrection. They found hope. They found unconditional love, but the one thing they did not find was legalism. Even as legalism surfaced due to rumor, those rumors were quickly shut down and the Church was redirected only and always to the Savior. They were given the example of Christ and directed to believe and mirror Christ in such a way that others would come to believe. This is what the first Church was based on, and this is what the Church should always be based on.
When you enter a church, depending on the church you enter, you are offered up information regarding beliefs, principles, mission statements. Each church is different. Each church statement or covenant will differ from the next. However, when I think about the mission statement of the first church, I can’t help but think that it sounded a bit like the Newsboys song We Believe.
We believe in God the Father!
We believe in Jesus Christ!
We believe in the Holy Spirit!
And He’s given us new life!
We believe in the crucifixtion!
We believe that He conquered death!
We believe in the resurrection!
And He’s comin’ back again, we believe!
Let the lost be found and the dead be raised!
In the here and now, let love invade!
Let the church live love our God will see We believe, We believe!
And the gates of hell will not prevail!
For the power of God, has torn the vail!
Now we know your love will never fail!
We believe, We believe!
Let this become our anthem. Let this become our measure of faith. Let us look at one another in unity based solely on the only common belief that truly holds any merit. Let us declare as one Church who mirrors the peace of Christ in this chaotic world that “We believe in God the Father! We believe in Jesus Christ! We believe in the Holy Spirit! And he’s given us new life! We believe in the crucifixion! We believe that He conquered death! We believe in the resurrection! And he’s comin’ back again. We believe!” This is the only truth that people absolutely, positively, cannot live without. It is in Christ alone that we are set free and it is in Christ alone that we as a community of believers will find the unity that He intended for His church. I challenge you to make this your personal anthem. I challenge you to take this into your church and make it their anthem. I challenge you to then take it to your community and make it the anthem of every church within a 50 mile radius. Finally, I challenge you to bring together every member of Christ’s church that we might be the most effective tool for bring His love to the ends of the earth.
Check out the companion video on YouTube.
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