Thursday, March 11, 2010

Stories From The Trenches 3

Have you ever had your dreams and visions squashed by someone to whom you looked for support and encouragement? Have you been told to leave the work of ministry to those who were the 'professionals'? Or inferred that you needed to reach some ambiguous and obscure place of wholeness before you attempted anything of significance?

What would be the impact if someone you looked to for guidance and support, said to you after you poured out your idea for ministering to broken people; " you can't do ministry and have a house church! You have too many issues in your own life and family!"

That's what Becky heard a few years ago.

Most people would wallow in discouragement, pain, bitterness and anger. Maybe even quit.
But not Becky. She isn't a quitter, and neither is her husband Scott. And fortunately for them, God is not easily deterred from His plan to honor their destinies in Him either!

Scott and Becky bought a large, beautiful, historic home that is referred to as a "fixer upper". Most of us are afraid of fixer uppers, because they cost time, energy, and money. They require more than most of us want to invest. It takes a certain type of person to envision the end result over the demanding and exhausting process to get there.

Scott and Becky saw the potential of the house. They saw what it could become.
They accepted the work it required as part of the investment for the end result. A home that would hold a lot of people. A home for community. A home that would welcome people into a family. Even if those people were a "work in progress", a fixer upper, that God Himself was renovating.

Here's some examples of what I'm talking about.

Their son, struggling through some of his own issues, played in a hard metal, "screamo" band that in no way could be considered a Christian version of that genre. Scott and Becky wanted to find bridges into their sons life and with his friends, and so they invited the band into their home for their practices. Yup, into their home. Smack dab in the living room.
So, here was the metal band, screaming loudly, guitars, drums and amplifiers pounding away in their living room a few days each week. Most of us would of said; "not in my house! No demonic, angry music allowed here!" But Scott and Becky saw it as an opportunity. An opportunity not without sacrifices on their part, but sacrifices they were willing to make for the end result.

Scott and Becky began to build relationships with the band members, feeding, talking and getting to know them and their lives. Soon, one of the band members joined Scott in a bible study and allowed Scott to begin to pray over issues in his life. This young man, eventually received Christ, and although he is still struggling, he continues to stay in contact with Scott and Becky. He knows he has a place in their home and in their hearts.

Marsha is such a person who also knows that she has a place in this family. Beloved and valued even when she struggled with drug addiction, Scott and Becky always kept the door open in their heart and home for her. They loved, encouraged, supported and spoke truth with Marsha. They continued to invest in her and share the realities of God's love with her in consistent and real ways. They were committed to Marsha through the good and the difficult seasons of finding salvation, relationship, healing and freedom in Christ.
Now, Marsha, growing in her faith and commitment to Christ, is in turn, investing in her friends who are still entangled in drugs. She is imparting to them the same love and commitment and the door of hope that Scott and Becky shared with her. With Scott and Becky beside her in it, encouraging and supporting her like healthy families do.

Scott is not a trained musician. No one would hire him for a worship leader, and yet, he is exactly that. When I met him, he only knew a handful of cords on a guitar. But it was enough for him to pack up the guitar and drive over to the neighboring nursing home to play for the residents there once a week or so. Why? Because he says that he felt "God wanted him to". When he does these sing-a-longs with the elderly, he feels the presence of God and he feels Gods pleasure. And he loves doing it!

Scott and Becky pray to be vessels in the hand of God, and ask for opportunities. They ask; "Who can we reach out to today Lord? How can we touch someone with your love?" Then, they respond. Organic (lead by God), simple (natural, relational, and easily implemented into normal life) and missional (outward). They are walking in the ministry that God placed within their hearts, fits who they are, and is doable given their unique life and availability.

Because Scott and Becky have started a couple simple churches, they get asked a lot" how do you start a church?" and Becky replies; "you just love people and let God start it with those He is touching. It's really not that hard."

God has a plan for each one of us. A destiny that is unique, fruitful and tailored specifically to who and what we are. He looks for willing vessels to work through, and partner with, because He chooses to and takes great pleasure in it.
Do you believe that? Do you live knowing that God desires to take your life and your uniqueness and make it into something supernatural, powerful and lasting? Your visions, desires and longings are there for a reason and for fulfillment in Christ. If you've been shut down in the past, or have been discouraged or disillusioned, it's never to late. Tomorrow is another day, with new opportunities and adventures.
Go for it, and see what God will do with your life!

"This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel saying, ' Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,' says the LORD of hosts.
Zechariah 4:5-7

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