“Hearts will never be practical until they are made unbreakable”
- The Wizard of Oz (Fleming, 1939)
- The Wizard of Oz (Fleming, 1939)
The Great and Powerful Oz understood the hazards of having a heart – a heart can be broken. But God uses even broken hearts to His glory! Casting Crowns has a new song called Jesus Friend of Sinners and one of the lines says, "Jesus, break our hearts for what breaks yours.” While I was listening to the song, I thought about how Jesus wants the things that break His heart, to draw us in to service. So I ask you, What breaks your heart?
Lately several of my friends have been feeling like God is calling them to serve in different ways than they have been serving, or in addition to how they are now serving within their churches and communities. I think sometimes when we get comfortable, in the areas we are serving, God begins to “nudge” us. He wants to challenge us, stretch us, to get us out of our comfort zone and force us to rely on Him. I’ve experienced this “pruning” myself and there are three suggestions I would offer to anyone currently going through this “season.”
First, spend some quiet time with God. It’s never a good idea to set off on a new mission without taking it to God first. He will direct your path and give you peace in your decision-making process.
Second, do some “soul searching.” If you don’t know where to being, there are many resources available that will aid in this process. Here are two websites that offer free spiritual gifts inventories:
Spiritual gifts are called "spiritual" because they come from the Holy Spirit. In 1 Corinthians 12:1-31, Romans 12:3-8 and Ephesians 4:11, Paul gives us three lists of spiritual gifts which include prophesy, serving, teaching, exhortation, giving, leadership, compassion, healing, miracles, wisdom, knowledge, faith, missionary, administration, helps, discernment, evangelism, pasturing, tongues, and interpretation.
Your personality, experience, and passions, combined with identifying your spiritual gifts, will help you understand new ways that you can best serve the Lord.
I am a list person so one thing I always do when I am going through the soul searching process is ask myself some questions and write down the answers. Here are some questions that might be helpful in getting you started:
1. What breaks your heart? When you look at the suffering in the world today, where do you see yourself trying to help? Is it hunger, abuse, homelessness, elderly, missions,
2. I heard another thought provoking question on the radio one morning. The DJ asked the question, “What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?
3. Think about all the things that you do in your life. What brings you the most joy? What excites you?
4. What resources do you have to offer? (time, money, supplies)
In answering these questions, if you are drawn to specific people such as youth, volunteers, or the elderly, then you might want to consider working with that group of people. If you are concerned about certain issues, such as the environment, health issues, or other causes, then why not get involved in ways to make a difference in those areas. If you get excited about a particular program or activity at church, then maybe you should work in that area. (ie. If you love singing - why not join the music worship team?) There is another site that offers great resources for “issues, people, and ministries” – check it out: http://mintools.com/heart.htm
And the third and final step is, pray about it. More quiet time… lay the results of your soul searching out before the Lord. Ask for His guidance about the actions you should take next. Involve others…. ask them to pray with you and for you, as you make decisions and take steps on your new journey.
Now it's time... God just asks us to be willing and to be available. Here is a personal example of stepping out in faith. I have a passion for the elderly and hospice patients. Because I work full time, I’ve tried to find small ways to make a difference in the lives of these two groups of people. I’ve worked with a group of kids, making cards and delivering them to people in the local nursing home. What a blessing for the kids and the seniors. I have also served as a Hospice volunteer, which was so rewarding. God began to show me how He was using my passion to make a difference in the lives of others. I believe that while I was spending time volunteering, God was preparing me and helping me realize the next step He wanted me to take in my servant-hood. I felt Him calling me to go back to school and it is my hope that someday I can become a Chaplain, working in nursing homes and/or with a Hospice organization. God may have other plans down the road, but for this season of my life, I am serving and learning, and following God’s “gentle nudges.”
It’s Friday, Let’s Sparkle… action required… Many times we get busy trying to find our “calling” and forget that everyday there are small ways we can serve others and help those in need.
“Back to School Sales” have already started and the first day of school is right around the corner. This can be a very expensive and stressful time of year for single parents, families with lots children, and others who are already struggling financially. Many churches and community organizations are gearing up for “backpack projects” to help with supplies for those in the community that can’t afford even the basic back to school needs. Also, many stores like Walmart post the “needs lists” for local schools. While you are buying supplies for your child, why not let your child help pick out 2 of everything on the list and make a donation to a “backpack project,” your child’s school, or give the extra supplies to a neighbor family that has several children.
Please remember that we are each, only one person. You don’t have to do it all, but we are all called to do something. I pray the words of Psalm 20:4 for each of you as you seek ways to serve in God’s Kingdom here on earth... “May He give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed.”
Serve the least, the lost, and the lonely...
God’s Peace, Donna Weaver
“Be who you are meant to be and you will set the world on fire”
- Saint Catherine