SUMMER OF SERVICE: Week 3-Dig deeper than yourself

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Serving can sometimes become a way that we "show" other people we are "good" people. It can be a way that we advertise our church, or give accolaids to an company. It can be a way of using what is meant to be a selfless act and point blank shoot a spotlight on us in a darkened theatre. I have been there. I have been the person "helping" someone and then telling them about a church service or someother self serving thing. It never left me feeling anything other than a pat on my own back and self satisfaction for a "job" well done. I have been challenged in my own personal life on this front recently and I have asked God to help me and I have seen Him, and felt Him beging to scrub out of me some ugly traits and He has laid it on my heart that I am not called to live a "comfortable Christian Life" I am to become "comfortable with being uncomfortable" I am to not be seeking out my own comfort in any situation I should be entering it with the attitude of "God, use me to fulfill your purpose in whatever way you see fit..amen". I have been blown away at how quickly He has answered this prayer, I actually was not happy about it. He brought me into a pretty uncomfortable situation that I was just wanting somehow to squirm my way out of..but I allowed God to work in spite of my selfishness and He used that situation to bless someone in a way I never even knew they needed. GOD wants to be able to work through us..but if we are not able to seperate SELF from SERVING then I am convinced it can not be done... at the very least not be done to the capacity that He wants it too.
So HERE is the CHALLENGE.. Let's pray that prayer. Let's make ourselves available for GOD to use us to fulfill HIS purpose in whatever way HE sees fit. Let's shed the cage of self and embrace the uncomfortable and see how GOD can touch lives. I would love to get feedback from all of you on how GOD answered this prayer for you.

Be encouraged by this verse. Let it kindle a fire and passion to see GOD move in your life:
James 1:2-4
The Message (MSG)
2-4Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don't try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.

<3 heather


Sunday, June 12, 2011

tI recently decided to take up gardening...sort of. I mean, I was not out there knee deep in soil and tilling soil in order to grow my own lima beans. Close. Not quite as involved. The kids and I went to the local nursery and picked out some vegetable plants and an orange tree. (Ok, ok.. I guess "gardening" is a stretch) We took all afternoon planting our new "projects". We sweated, dug until our hands were filthy and calloused. Gideon even helped dig the big hole for the orange tree. We then went inside to enjoy a cool drink and wait for our tomatoes and oranges.
We have been in drought conditions here in south Florida over the last couple of months, and despite my efforts to keep up with watering I found this morning that one lonely little tomato plant that had been planted in the corner of the front yard withered and appearing to be dead.
I dug around the poor plant and pulled it out of the bone dry soil. The roots; exposed, made me sad. I made it my goal to save it's life. I gently brought it to the front porch where I had some potting soil and a few extra pots. I went inside, got some water in a cup and began to gently pour some water on the roots. I then went to work getting the pot ready for it's new occupant. I took soil in my hands and placed in the bottom of the pot. I then, again, took the water and poured a little into the bottom soil. I then, carefully placed the poor tattered thing in the pot. I began handing soil to pot again. Methodically I watered, handed soil, and well, as odd as it may seem, began talking to the plant. I know that they say it helps, and I will admit I was emotionally involved at this point so I was talking. Telling "it" that "you are going to make it.. I am going to take care of you". I finished the "extreme tomato plant makeover" session with a good misting of water and left it outside as I went in to clean up. I came back out an hour later and to my surprise the little withered plant was perking up. I smiled ear to ear! I was so happy. I bent down and talked to it again, encouraging it, breathing on it. I misted it again with water and went back inside. An hour later I went out and this little guy was a brand new plant. No more withered leaves. No more pathetic stance. It stood tall and refreshed.
Now, there is a spiritual application here. We are this plant, yes I could go there. I could talk about how God breathes on us and waters us and we grow. How we are dead in sin, but he transplants us, and we can truly grow and thrive. But I am going to come at it from another angle. The angle of serving others. You see, we are surrounded by withered plants. We walk by them every day. Desperate for water. Desperate to have someone talk to them. Desperate for someone to encourage them and plant them into good soil that will feed them. Tears come to my eyes as I type this. WE CAN BE THIS TO THEM! WE CAN BE JESUS TO THEM! Why do we walk by when this simplest of things like just stopping to talk to someone can be the difference (sometimes LITERALLY) between LIFE and DEATH. I am throwing down the gauntlet. I am saying let's stop SAYING we want to change this word and let's DO IT! Jesus, everywhere he went.. never ignored a need. He never said, .."no, just don't have time. I have this whole sermon on the mount thing in a couple hours, so... yeah." OR.. "You know I am not a short order cook and it is not my fault these 5000 people are hungry.. I AM HUNGRY TOO YOU KNOW!.."
He met needs. He spoke truth. He breathed life. I don't know about you, but I want to BE like Jesus, not just be a follower of His. I want my life to reflect His LOVE .. His TRUTH.
My challenge is this... FIND A WAY TO BE HOPE TO SOMEONE THIS WEEK. Some suggestions are as followed:
-Buy a meal for that homeless person you pass everyday
-Call that friend you have not spoken too in forever and just say I love you.
-Volunteer at your church
-Sit with someone who in mourning
-Volunteer to babysit for a single mom on a regular basis

THESE ARE JUST SIMPLE SUGGESTIONS I would love to hear how you implement this! Post and let others know, we can be an encouragement to one another to serve.

Serving together with you in Christ,


Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Summer of Service- What if we actually DID something?

Have you ever stopped to think about the great calling you have on your life? The calling that GOD himself spoke of... to SERVE. There are numerous verses in the Bible that speak to this. One of my favorites is:

Matthew 5:14-16
The Message (MSG)
14-16"Here's another way to put it: You're here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We're going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don't think I'm going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I'm putting you on a light stand. Now that I've put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you'll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.

It let's us know that by us showing the Light of Christ that we will be "prompting" or inspiring others to "open up with" or in the NIV to "GLORIFY" God. We can do this by SERVING. I don't know about you but this excites me and challenges me. I have been working my way through a book called Crazy Love by Fances Chan and one area he challenges believers is the area of SERVING others. I was moved to tears as I read because I became acutely aware of the fact that my life was not being poured out in service to others the way it should be. I prayed about it and feel like God is pressing on my heart to SERVE more and not just to do it myself but to use my influence to INSPIRE others to SERVE as well. So this summer I am going to be challenging you weekly to SERVE in various ways. I want to hear feedback with stories, pictures, video etc of you and or your church group serving. I think as we share our stories we will be like that city on a hill and inspire others.. it will become a contagious movement of SERVING others and shining the LIGHT of CHRIST!

THIS week is WEEK ONE:
My challenge is one that is near and dear to my heart so I am going to lead off with it. I am a mom who has lost a child. The pain of going through that is heartbreaking to say the least. It is an ache that never goes away. Going through that has given me such a burden for children who are in situations that require help in order for them to thrive. My family has taken up the challenge to sponsor a child. We feel like it is a small way we can SERVE a child with a minimal amount of money. I am partnered with Mission of Mercy, an amazing organization that helps children everyday around the world through sponsorship. I am challenging all of you who are reading this to SPONSOR a CHILD! Jesus told us in:
Matthew 25:40
The Message (MSG)
37-40"Then those 'sheep' are going to say, 'Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry and feed you, thirsty and give you a drink? And when did we ever see you sick or in prison and come to you?' Then the King will say, 'I'm telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—
you did it to me.'

Below is a link you can go to in order to get more information about how YOU can SPONSOR a child! I pray that you take up this challenge with me and that we SHINE like a city on a hill!


Serving together with you,