Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Cost of Discipleship

"For it seems to me that God has put us apostles on display at the end of the procession, like those condemned to die in the arena. We have been made a spectacle to the whole universe, to angels as well as to human beings. We are fools for Christ, but you are so wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! You are honored, we are dishonored! To this very hour we go hungry and thirsty, we are in rags, we are brutally treated, we are homeless. We work hard with our own hands. When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it; when we are slandered, we answer kindly. We have become the scum of the earth, the garbage of the world—right up to this moment."
- Apostle Paul
1 Corinthians 4: 9 - 13

The Apostles gave everything up for the Lord. They laid the foundation of the church which we stand on today. I am forever grateful for those who suffered and bled for Christ and for me. Without them and their choice to obey God, I may not have heard the beautiful message of salvation which so compels my life today. I read this scripture this afternoon and was once again challenged to stand up and do something with my life. We are not called to settle for comfort and Jesus never promised ease. We are called to lay it all down and follow Him no matter what the cost. I asked myself today, "what is my faith costing me?" Ask yourself the same.

"If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily and follow me"
- Jesus

Sunday, January 29, 2012

I Have Everything

I met a homeless man on the street yesterday who opened my eyes to the world before me. Curtis saw that I was out of place as I walked through West Greenville yesterday and prayed for God's presence to infiltrate that dark place. He approached me and pointed me in the direction of the homeless shelter office. I told him I was interested in serving but that I was simply praying for the neighborhood at the moment. We proceeded to talk for another 40 minutes or so and I was blown away by how the Lord spoke to me there on the street. This man truly is a saint of the Lord. He spoke truths over me and shared pieces of his testimony. My eyes were opened to the Witchcraft that saturates that neighborhood and I was warned to walk lightly as I immerse myself in that environment. I was instructed to wait on the Lords direction, to follow the path he leads me on and to fear no evil when God goes before me. Curtis stood there in the street with me for almost an hour ministering to me and welcoming me to the front lines of battle against the darkness that saturates the streets of West Greenville. Curtis is the janitor of a local church and a passionate follower of Christ. He lives in a tent in the woods with nothing but a sleeping bag and a gas stove top for cooking. As I began to tell him I would pray for God to give him what he needs, Curtis interrupted me. He said, "Brother, as long as I have Jesus, I have everything." Curtis is poor by our standards but rich in the kingdom, he is on the front lines fighting for the kingdom as a light in the darkness. I want to stand beside him.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Humble Yourself

I have been here before and was hoping that I would not return. Its a difficult but powerful thing to be humbled by the Lord and your surroundings. The last time I was in this position, the Lord taught me to depend on Him and to serve no matter the circumstances. Serving bagels for minimum wage with a college degree and in a very negative environment taught me to depend on Him. God met me in my vulnerability and disappointment at work. His power was made perfect in my weakness. Again I am working in a restaurant making less money than I need and surrounded by negativity. When I listen to people's stories at work, I find very little hope. I hear of hardship after hardship along with contentment amidst the chaos. Whether its a $1 tip on a $30 check or a daycare bill that can't be paid, many of the employees that work around me are run down and they wear their burdens on their sleaves. I don't mind the work because I get to meet new people and stay busy but I am reminded daily of the brokenness of this world and the shortcomings of man. I am humbled again in this place but its where the Lord has me which is something I have only recently accepted. I believe He will keep me there until my education is complete. So far I am learning that actions speak loudly and we are called to LIVE out faith through obedience and love. Rather than focusing on my progress and how I am to succeed, the Lord has brought my attention back to the people in front of me. Three co-workers approached me yesterday to discuss Christ in my life. God is opening doors and again I am reminded of His call to simply obey.