Monday, June 10, 2013

Make me Bold.

Yesterday was one of those Sundays where the small group lesson and the sermon seemed to go together in a weird way. It may not have impacted everyone in the same way it did me, but I love when I realize God is speaking directly to me through my time at church.

In small group, we have been doing a series about witnessing or "fishing for men." Yesterday, we discussed the boldness of the early Christians in Acts 3 and 4. Our video reiterated that boldness isn't volume, loudness, holding up a sign while shouting. Boldness is sharing Jesus with people even when we have something to lose. Although that guy on the corner shouting and waving his sign may seem loud - that's not true boldness. What does he have to lose other than a few weird looks? Real boldness could be a whisper, an invitation or a conversation. Real boldness requires personal interaction. And real boldness is what we are called to have.

What if I lived my life with true boldness? I would then not be afraid. I would seek out opportunities to talk to my neighbors. I would look for people to share Jesus with when I am at the grocery store. I would speak truth. I would be more willing to open my home up to people.

Being bold may also cause me to go through less than pleasant circumstances. Those early Christians were beginning to realize that it WAS God's plan all along for Christ to be crucified. They were starting to see that sometimes, their persecution and imprisonment brought people to hear about Jesus.

I was challenged to think about this concept when I pray - Instead of praying that God would "take away the problem," what if I prayed, "God' how can this hardship be used for your glory?" Jeremiah reminded me of something my dad had said before concerning this - When we go on trips, instead of just praying for safety, what if we prayed, "God, help this trip to go according to your plan. What would bring you the most glory?" Scary! Because what if that means a flat tire, a broken down car, a wreck, sickness, missed reservations... If I truly believe God is sovereign, I have been challenged to begin praying that way. Needless to say, I left small group feeling convicted for the selfish way I had been living and praying.

THEN....I went to the morning service. Our pastor is preaching through the book of Mark this summer, focusing on the miracles of Jesus.

They start each sermon off with a clip from Mac Powell's song "I need a miracle."

Having just come through some miracles of our own, I am so thankful each time I hear this song. This week's sermon felt especially personal. "Lord Over Storms" - Mark 4:35-41 - Jesus calms the storm. (You can listen to the message online. They should upload the video's a good one.)

  1. The Reality of Storms
    1. Storms can hit suddenly (v. 37)
    2. Storms can hit severely 
    3. Causes of Storms
      1. A Fallen World
      2. An attack by Satan
      3. Our Sinful Choices
      4. A Test From God
  2. The Anxiety From Storms
    1. We realize we are out of control (v. 37)
    2. We believe that God does not care (v. 38)
  3. The Tranquility through Storms
    1. Believe in the promises of the Savior (v. 35, 40; James 1:2-5) - He said they were going to the other side.
    2. Trust in the presence of the Savior (v. 36) - He was sleeping in the boat in the midst of the storm.
    3. Focus on the Power of the Savior (v. 41)
I had a few thoughts that I wrote around my outline during the message. Some may have been things Pastor Tony said. In fact, he may have said all of these things...I can't remember. Regardless, this is what I was taking away from the outline. These are the things that God was saying to me. 
  • Jesus had been teaching about faith - and He now wanted to know if His disciples would respond to this storm in faith or in fear. 
  • Sometimes, God may want to reveal more about His character to us. I wouldn't KNOW God as "Healer" if my pregnancy had gone as planned. 
  • God DOES want what is best for me. Sometimes, I cant' see what is best at the moment. 
  • Jesus was in the boat with the disciples. As a believer, I have the promise of having Jesus with me. 
  • If God has promised something, I've got to believe Him. If I don't, I'm putting God's reputation on the line. 
  • Fear occurs when I'm out of control. Trust the ONE who's in control. Do I really believe God is sovereign?
  • When I know Christ is with me, I'm going to make it through the storm. That should give me peace. The circumstances may not be what I had planned, but He'll bring me through it all in His own way. 
  • "We fear way too much because we trust God too little." 
When I was praying for Hudson before He was born, I remember asking God to use Hudson in a mighty way. Little did I know, God planned to use his birth. I was thinking maybe once he grows up that God would use him to impact people. But God knew what would bring the most glory to Himself.  

As scary as it is, I want to be bold and I want to really believe that God is sovereign. I want to believe that God is in control and trust Him through any storm. 

God, what storms do you need to bring into my life in order for YOU to have more glory? What do you need to do in my life so that I will understand more about Your character? 
Give me boldness to talk to the people that You bring my way.
 How are you trying to use me? Please, make me sensitive to Your prompting. Give me boldness when you lay someone on my heart. I know You are with me "in the boat."  
Please, use our lives to bring you more glory. 

Deep down, I'm terrified to pray those words above. But I also know that it is the right thing to do. Deep down, I also know that I can trust the Lord.

This song kept running through my head through the sermon...

Verse 1 
You were reaching through the storm 
And walking on the water 
Even when I could not see 
In the middle of it all 
When I thought You were a thousand miles away 
Not for a moment did You forsake me 
Not for a moment did You forsake me 

And after all You are constant 
After all You are only good 
After all You are sovereign 
Not for a moment will You forsake me 

Verse 2 
You were singing in the dark 
And whispering Your promise 
Even when I could not hear 
I was held in Your arms 
Carried for a thousand miles to show 
Not for a moment did You forsake me 

And after all You are constant 
After all You are only good 
After all You are sovereign 
Not for a moment will You forsake me 
Not for a moment will You forsake me 

And every step every breath you are there 
Every tear every cry every prayer 
In my hurt at my worst 
When my world falls down 
Not for a moment will You forsake me 
even in the dark 
even when its hard 
you will never leave 
after all 

And after all You are constant 
After all You are only good 
After all You are sovereign 
Not for a moment will You forsake me 
Not for a moment will You forsake me 
Not for a moment will You forsake me 

You will never leave me Lord 

At the beginning of the service, Jeremiah nudged me and said, "Isn't that the nurse at Hudson's pediatrician?" I couldn't tell...I guess I was used to seeing her in scrubs. I mean, I had just seen her on Wednesday - but I was wrestling Hudson at the time, as well. I asked Ashlee what she thought (her kids go to the same doctor). We both agreed that if we could hear her speak we would know for sure. After the service, Jeremiah said, "I think we should wait and talk to her." Immediately I began to think, "What if it's not her? I don't want to look stupid." Then, it was like God hit me on the top of the head. Didn't I just commit to being more bold? So what if this isn't the nurse. What if this lady just needs someone to reach out to her and this is God's way of prompting my heart. So, we positioned ourselves to interact with her. And it was the nurse. She shared how this sermon had been special to her because she was stepping out in faith in an area of her life. She said that she did recognize us from the office and that she had just recently moved into the area. With tears in her eyes she said, "I love Jesus - it's good to know you guys do too."  I'm so glad that Jeremiah was more bold than I wanted to be. I'm glad that we spoke to her. I'm glad that God used us to all encourage each other.

Be bold. God is sovereign....Those may seem like two totally unrelated statements, but if I believe that God is REALLY in control of every area of my life, I think I should have more boldness...and I should be more excited and more willing to share with others. 

God, Make me BOLD.

1 comment:

  1. Aren't you glad for husbands who are a challenge to us?!