Just in case you wished you were a fly on the wall listening to the "message" that I was given the oportunity to share with 30-40 ladies this last weekend, here it is. Please make sure you imagine the expression, goofy added stories, passion, and nervousness I presented it with (oh, and me almost tipping the podeum over numerous times). I was honored to speak (no matter how big or small it was) to anyone that would listen and the Lord would have me potentially impact. So, maybe it impacts you (I pray). It is hard to read through (because it was written for me to speak, but I hope you get the point).
Common Threads and Golden Nuggets
Please be open, humble, and come before the Lord
I feel unqualified, insignificant, nervous, afraid, excited, passionate, overwhelmed, joyful, and thankful that I get to stand up here and tell my heart to you ladies.
Matthew 13:57; Prophet with honor in his hometown.
While some of you may have known me as a child, teen, young adult, now, through others, coaching, sports I played, Young Life, etc. Please put aside all that you have or haven’t heard about me. The impression that you think of me…maybe good or bad. I desire to stand/sit her and pour my heart out to you ladies on what the Lord has taught me and desires to speak through me. Look at the Word the Lord is speaking through me, not what I am speaking to you. I may not have a Doctorate or been “educated” in Theology, and I may only be 30 years old, but I feel like the Lord has lead me to this place and this time for a specific purpose and would love it if you would be open in what every way you need to be in order to accomplish that purpose.
Nothing is effective unless you’re prepared to examine your heart and open up your life to the truth of God’s Word. (Who is God? Followers Guide, pg. 7-8)
Lamentations 3:40, “Let us test and examine our ways, and return to the Lord!”
Background: Lamentations was a book of exactly what it sounds like…lament. The prophet, Jeremiah wrote the book after the desolation of Judah and Jerusalem came to pass. Even though the people of Judah were not very kind to him and he could have easily rejoiced and “proved” to the people that he was a true prophet and they had drifted from the Lord. However, Jeremiah chose to lament.
Jeremiah was describing their duty in the afflicted state they were in.
A serious consideration of ourselves and a reflection upon our past lives. Search what they have been and then try whether they have been right and good or not.
Return to the Lord who is the Creator of our lives. Designer of our time here on earth.
Prepare our hearts for what the Lord has for us at this time, in this place. Just as you would before you went out into the “mission field”.
Take a minute and open your heart before the Lord.
Similarities between Christian teens and women in the “church”:Videos: “How old ARE you?”
Dancing Clip #1: I have a clip here of a gal dancing in the car. I want you to take a guess at how old you think she is going to be?
Show video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4LHrG1OcQJc
Now take a guess of how old you think she is.
Dancing Clip #2: Now I have a clip here of another gal dancing in the car. Please venture to take another guess at how old you think she might be.
First I just want to note that the gal in video #2 was much safer…dancing while stopped.
So, by these videos, I hope to put you in the mindset of the group that I was ministering to. And also, point out that there are MANY things you all have in common…aside from the occasional singing and dancing in the car.
Examples from my ministry on age:
When I came back to Silverton and went to camp, there were numerous times that Dan and I were told “this is a meeting for leaders only”. At that point we had to tell them that we were the “head leaders in Silverton”.
Now when I chat with my girls I frequently hear statements like “wait, how old are you?” or “wow, your getting old”.
Do you remember when you first got out of college (or high school) and were searching for a job? You may have known what you wanted to do or where you wanted to go, but you were still searching. What do I DESIRE to do with my time? Who do I DESIRE to build relationships with? And I can bet there were more questions asked with the intention or thought of “what do I DESIRE”.
Think about now, or a recent change in your life situation. I guarantee that through that situation you thought about the same core: DESIRE.
Now that I have little kids, what do I DESIRE to fill my time with (besides sleep)? Now that my kids are in school, what do I DESIRE to do with my time? Now that my kids are out of school, what do I DESIRE to focus on? Now that I have my degree, what field do I DESIRE to work in? Now that I have been working here for a few years, how do I DESIRE to move up?
We are always seeking, searching, trying to “figure out” the next move in our lives.
Trying to find what we DESIRE our little lives to look like. To drive home this point, I looked up a few statistics on the number of jobs we hold in a lifetime. The average number is 10 (almost 11) jobs…you guys that is almost a new job, a new DESIRE for life, something different people are searching after every 2.5 years from the age 18-42 (24 years).
Bureau of A BLS news release published in June 2008 examined the number of jobs that people born in the years 1957 to 1964 held from age 18 to age 42. The title of the report is "Number of Jobs Held, Labor Market Activity, and Earnings Growth among the Youngest Baby Boomers: Results from a Longitudinal Survey." (http://www.clearmgmt.com/careers.htm)
These younger baby boomers held an average of 10.8 jobs from ages 18 to 42. (In this report, a job is defined as an uninterrupted period of work with a particular employer.) Both men and women held more jobs on average in their late teens and early twenties than they held in their mid thirties.
Ok, so that is just in the area of one’s professional life, you might say. Well, how about we enter the “personal arena”. How many times does a family move in their lifetime.
According to the US Census Bureau, and the “Geographic Mobility Study”, about 1 in 6 Americans move EACH YEAR!!
The average person moves 11.7 times in their lifetime. So, if you live to be close to 90, you would have moved less than every 10 years.
Other sources (like chacha) states that people will move an average of 16 times in their lifetime or about every 5 years.
WOW, not many people stay put. Always looking for the next thing…DESIRING MORE.
How can the women in the “church” relate to each other even though culture, clothing, food, etc. may be different?Practical Application:
Desire: The similarities between you women and teens is that we are all searching for MORE. We all have a DESIRE for MORE.
We seek other things to try and fill that… jobs… degrees… friends… husbands, etc.
While all those things are great and fill different roles that God has for our lives (sometimes even promote the DESIRE for MORE). We realize that everyone…at 14, 18, 22, 30, 45, or 65 are seeking the same thing…just filling it differently.
Teens are trying to fill their DESIRE for MORE with
Love: boyfriends, girlfriends, best friends, mentors.
Acceptance: play the right sport, find the right group, act the right way, make the right grades.
Prove them: do silly things, sometimes to hurt themselves, their families, friends, their futures.
Someone to care
Think of the last time you thought “why am I still doing this?” or “what exactly am I doing this for?”. Was it trying to get a friend to like you more? Get your husband/boyfriend to pay more attention to you? Fit in with the “right” people in town? Act the way your pastor/mentor/friend expects you to act?
Might I suggest that we can relate to each other in a very deep way. We are just at different points in our lives.
We might have more wisdom, but remember looking at a child and seeing their excitement for life and willingness to love? There are so many things we have to offer others…even at different times in our lives. I love perspective. I love that I can learn a fresh thought from a teen, or a wise nugget from older women.
Biblical Application: God calls us to MORE
Read Ephesians 4:11-16
He equipped us, our lives, our personalities, to DESIRE to serve HIM, to DESIRE more in our lives.
Read 2 Timothy 4:1-5
He DESIRES us to preach the word, be ready…with complete patience and teaching. Endure suffering, FULFILL YOUR MINISTRY.
What are little nuggets I picked up on and hung onto to keep my Christian walk strong while in ministry?
Some of those nuggets that I have gained have been from the people that I was ministering to and some were from Christ inspiring my life ministry through following His will.
Desire for MORE: Ministry Application
Longing/Surrender: I will never forget the overwhelming joy and completely innocent desire for more of God’s Word and knowledge that I would see on the faces of those who just realized what Christ had done in their lives.
I will never forget one in particular, not necessarily a student of mine, but my husband. When he first accepted Christ, on the ride home from camp was the only one on the bus who had their light on the entire 15 hour bus ride reading their Bible, desiring to know who God was.
Thinking to myself at that point, why didn’t I have that same desire, even though I had been raised with the opportunity to make that happen. Then realizing I could make that happen…daily. That God DESIRED that would happen daily!!!
After seeing that, the Lord allowed me to continue to witness this in a few occasional instances. Another gal I had been praying for, reaching out to, going to dance competitions (of which I had NEVER been to any before in my life), seeking out in school hallways, at games, etc. She came to know Christ in such a sold out way. Not questioning ANYTHING. Not hesitating to do ANYTHING she would read in the Bible. Realizing that DESIRE God gives us to live out a life after Him, should be lived out daily!!
Thinking to myself at that point, why didn’t I live without hesitation? Why did I complain about doing things that He asks of me in the Bible? Why don’t I just ACT on that desire of MORE!!!!!
DESIRE for MORE: Biblical Application
Background: Apostles were meeting together, living in unity. They were performing many signs and wonders. More people were being added to their numbers. People brought the sick into the streets and gathered from the towns around Jerusalem. They DESIRED that more people would know Christ.
Read Acts 5:14 “Nevertheless, more and more men and women believed in the Lord and were added to their number…”
Read: Acts 5:17-18
The success of the apostles healing and ministry made the Sadducean high priest and his associates very jealous. So, they arrested the apostles and put them in jail.
Read Acts 5:19-20
An angel then opened the gates and let them out. Now, I don’t know about you. I am a rule follower, and after being put in jail, I would probably just begin to obey. BUT, these apostles, these men of God…DESIRED MORE. They listened to the angel that told them to “tell the people all about this new life”.
Read Acts 5:21a
WHAT? Who told them? God, did. He asked them for MORE. They DESIRED to do what He asked…and DID it!!! WOW!
Read Acts 5:21b-28
“DETERMINED” not to make them guilty. They didn’t get it. They were DETERMINED for a different reason.
Read Acts 5:29-32
“we must obey God, rather than human beings.” They had a strong DESIRE to serve God, over anything else. No matter what He was asking them to do.
Read Acts 5:33-40
They were ordered not to speak of God. What do you think they did? Went back to their homes and ignored the calling of God on their lives, because it might cause a little pain, discomfort, might make them give up some of their time, money, resources?
Read Acts 5:41-42
This hits me so hard. They rejoiced. Day after day they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news.
They had a DESIRE for MORE in their lives.
Nugget: If you are following along at this point and are taking notes. God DESIRES MORE for your life. Start by applying these “nuggets” to your life.
Desire to KNOW MORE of who God is.
Desire to ACT on what he teaches us…whether big or small.
God not only used the people I ministered to in order to teach me about life, Himself, and my life with Him. He used the ministry itself.
Prayer: Ministry Application
There was a point in our ministry that we felt things weren’t going as strong. Numbers were down and in turn we felt like lives were not being changed if we did not get them in the door, build a relationship, and tell them about Jesus. We discussed, strategized, and tried to build programs or activities. One day we just stopped it all and realized we needed to take it to the Lord. Now, it was a desperate seeking, not just “word service”. We continued on ministry, but anything that was outside of what we were already doing turned to prayer. We thought outside the box. Desired to seek Him in unconventional ways. Ways that would stretch us, take us outside our comfort zone, ways that would make us realize it wasn’t just talking that we were doing…that we were serious about Christ coming in and transforming our leaders, lives, kids, school, etc.
We asked kids to meet outside the school (not once a year), but once a week to pray for their classmates. That shocked me to see their faithfulness. It made me realize it sometimes isn’t comfortable, but Christ wants us to go to Him.
We met individually with certain students that desired and prayed in the YL Office. It was something that I had to schedule, plan, and organize with other individuals. It was something that I had to take time to go and do. It just plain took time. I realized that prayer is time consuming. It shouldn’t be something I go to in my spare time. It shouldn’t be something I just go to when I am down. It should be intentional, unpractical, and stretching.
My husband and I would go on walks together. We would go to the high school and walk around the building, praying for the students, the facilities, the sports teams, the faculty, the classrooms, and the leadership. We had fun together doing this. I realized that prayer should be fun. Prayer should be enjoyable and done together. Without a feeling of it being a responsibility. Prayer is something that we DESIRE to do, choose to do, something that brings us pleasure.
Prayer: Biblical Application
I am struck in the life and ministry of Paul, how much he asks the people he is ministers with to pray for him, with him, and how much he prayed for these people.
Read Romans 1:8-10
1 Corinthians 1:4-9
2 Corinthians 1:11
Nugget: Another point where you get to write down something to apply to your life along with a nugget of truth that I learned. Christ DESIRES us to go to Him in prayer. Sometimes it’s uncomfortable and stretching. It should be intentional, unpractical and fun.
Throughout the ministry I was stretched, opened up, broken down, and asked to fully give up myself and my desires. I look back and think, why would I have wanted to go through all of that to not do it to the best of the ability that Christ gave me.
I honestly didn’t have many friends my own age while doing ministry. My husband and I didn’t have much of a “personal spending budget”. We didn’t go out on Friday or Saturday nights. Our time and resources were used for ministry. We felt the Lord calling us to something and DESIRED to put our all into what we were doing. We recounted the life of Jesus Christ and noticed all his time and efforts were focused, driven, and passionately lived out. Through Young Life we desired to do the same. In everything we did, behind it there was a passion we wanted to show: that of Jesus Christ.
Nugget: When you make a choice to live for Jesus Christ, DESIRE to do whatever He asks of you passionately. Why not be sold out? Why go through something thinking afterwards “I wish I would have given it my all”? Are you in charge of something? DESIRE to GO ALL OUT!!!!
What did I learn there that would enhance women’s spiritual walks?Video: “Who is God?” –Follow Jesus, by Francis Chan (start @ 3:15-6:10)
DESIRE to live out more for Christ. Don’t just memorize how we can DESIRE more for Christ. Don’t just talk about what it means to DESIRE more for Christ. Or have studies about what it looks like to DESIRE more for Christ. Just DESIRE to be more for Christ.
God doesn’t call us to live comfortable, steady, financially prosperous, mildly healthy lives. He is calling us to reach, teach, and grow…always looking for MORE.
How do we get more? How do we get there?
Video: “Who is God?” –Follow Jesus, by Francis Chan (start @ 12:29-14:51)
Lead me beyond anything I could have every come up with myself!!!! WOW!
Through the past 2-3 months, I have been praying, searching, seeking Christ and asking Him what He desires to teach you. I know in my heart that through the ministry of Young Life, I have learned that there is sooooo much MORE to life. I DESIRE to daily figure out what that is. I DESIRE to figure out what that looks like in this stage of my life. I DESIRE to figure out what that will be like for my future. I DESIRE to figure out where God is leading me, challenging me to look for MORE in all that I do (the large and small things).
Challenge #1: I pray that you would also challenge yourselves. Put yourself in one of the below categories, and answer the questions associated with it.
If you don’t have a relationship with Jesus…that’s ok, but don’t be satisfied where you are at. DESIRE to figure out MORE of who God is. Of who He can be in your future. Seek MORE. DESIRE MORE. Surrender. Ask.
How are you going to do this? What steps are you going to take to seek MORE?
If you are out of high school or college, figure out where the Lord wants you to be. Where He wants to use you? Who he DESIRES you to influence. How you can do MORE? Surrender. Ask.
How are you going to seek MORE for your life? Do you think you have an idea of the DESIRE He has put on your life?
If you are married, have young kids at home,
If you are married/single, have school age kids. Think about where God has you right now. Think about all the activities you and your kids are involved in. Think about all the people you run into. He put you there. Surrender. Ask.
How can you get MORE out of your life with Christ? DESIRE to seek out who God is calling you to “minister” to. Who can you go deeper with? Can you do MORE with your everyday activities?
If you are an empty nester or retired. Come on…what do you really do with your spare time? You have all the time in the world, right? Surrender. Ask.
How are you going to get MORE out of your life? Do you have a DESIRE to pray for your grown children? Influence your grandchildren for Christ? What ministry have you always been drawn to?
Challenge #2: In your group, read through Acts 5:17-41.
Discuss if you have the initial DESIRE to do MORE for Christ. That initial desire that the apostles had. Where are you at right now? Do you have that DESIRE?
After coming upon trials with that DESIRE Jesus gave you, would you act as the apostles did and listen to the angel who told you to go back out and act on your DESIRE. I know some of you might answer…well if an angel told me…yep. Guys, Jesus is speaking to you, He has been your whole life, and He has told you through His Holy Spirit.
Challenge #3: Write it down. Make a goal to accomplish MORE. Have a practical way to fulfill your DESIRE. Share with your group that goal.
I really hope someone was able to make it through all of this message. It was supposed to only be 35-40 minutes. I think I talked for an hour and had to cut down almost 2 pages. I just get so excited and think of things (God puts them in my head) that would be perfect to fit into the words He has already given me. This oportunity has changed the way I view my life (and the studying I did for this) and I hope it did yours even a little.