First things first: A friend of mine is having surgery today. She has breast cancer. Apparently they found it fast, so it should be OK. Never the less, all prayers would be appreciated for sure.
Well, I got "Schooled" by a friend at work last night. Not in a bad way. But she opened my eyes to something I hadn't thought about.
She had commented on my post bemoaning my state of existence from the other day. She told me that I do have a purpose right where I am at. I asked her at work if she really thought that was true, or if all I was doing is smiling and being nice to people, and making their day better for 5 minutes? She said that I was making a difference and pointed out a specific example in how I had impacted her.
So, a bit later as I was wandering about in the parking lot, trying to avoid being run over by customers talking and texting on their phones while attempting truly awful parking jobs, I thought about a chapter in one of our Focus of a Warrior books that I am reading. It talked about being faithful with what ever & where ever God has placed you.
In Matthew 25, Jesus told a parable of a master leaving on a journey. Before he heads off, the master gives differing amounts of money/talents to his servants and tells them to make use of them. When the master returns he rewards the servants based on how well they had used the talents he had given them. The point of the story was NOT the amount they had been given. The point of the story was wether or not the servants had bothered to even try using them at all.
So, it dawned on me that where I am at the moment is largely irrelevant in the grand scheme of things. (I'll be dead in a few decades anyway. Then I have all of eternity to chill with Jesus.) What I need to think about is how faithful I am being with the few talents that God has placed before me. If I am being faithful & responsible with them, then God will give me more responsibility because I have demonstrated a basic level of maturity and trust. (Maturity...not my best quality...cause I don't wanna grow up. I'm a Toys-R-Us kid.)
Yeah, so...I didn't even realize that I AM having a positive impact on some folks. My friend was right. God so often speaks through other people. Duh! It was right there in front of my face. You would think that coming out of an educational background I would learn these lessons a little quicker. So I got "Schooled." Thanks Yvonne...and thank you Jesus!
And now for some theme music.
There is a person at my job who is a bit of a pill. She can be very difficult to be around. I have been thinking about her a lot, so I have decided to make her my project. But before I explain further, let me set some context.
So, first a word about Living Waters, the place I go for corporate worship. http://www.livingwaterslakeville.com/about.htm
If you are a Stuffed Shirt, we would welcome you...but I don't think you would enjoy yourself very much. If you are very "Religious" and think that the Pharisees were really on to something back in the day, we would still welcome you...but I think you might get very itchy after a bit. But then again, maybe that would be just the thing for you.
I have been to many "Churches", but Living Waters is the very first place where I felt I could be open about my own brokeness. The people there are very Real, very down to earth...just regular people. There may be some folks who think they are All that and a Bag of Chips, but I haven't met them yet. (Perhaps Andy & Zach)
I have been reading a book by Mark Atteberry titled "The 10 Dumbest Things Christians Do."
http://www.markatteberry.net/ In the second chapter he talks about how people will brag about their churches in unhealthy ways...as if their particular church was the source of salvation, and how much better it is than other churches. So I don't want to give the impression that where I attend is the right fit for everyone, or that it is "Our way or the Highway." (That would just be dumb & arrogant.) If you find a body of Believers that truly help you on your journey to walk with Jesus, then stick with them. That is the way it is supposed to be.
That having been said, I do want to brag a little bit...hopefully in a healthy manner, about what I love about Living Waters.
#1. I have never been to a worship service where people laugh so much. Seriously, people crack up all the time during the singing, the preaching...even the ushering. The people there are funny...and not just in the looks department.
#2. I have never been to a worship service where people cry so much. Sounds like a contradiction, I know. To be fair, it is normally tears of joy, thanksgiving & gratitude for what Jesus has done and is doing.
#3. Pastor Scott. I won't say more then that, cause he may get annoyed if I do. (But I will mention that he is an outstanding dancer with amazing skills at choreography. HA!)
#4. The service is very participatory. We are trying our best to have worship be as similar to the first century model as you can in this modern age. Believe it or not, you can actually stand up and ask questions, or make comments, in the middle of the sermon. (As long as they are relevant, obviously.) More often then not, Scott will simply ask us questions and for examples.
I should say that once Pastor Scott got a beach ball going around the place for the last 5 minutes of a service to illustrate a point. (And you wonder why we laugh so much.)
#5. The people I have met have never pretended to be anything other then who they are. If life has crapped all over that week, they will listen to you and pray with you. I have noticed a great deal of love, grace and mercy growing on many of the trees who attend this body.
OK, I will shut up about that for now. The reason that I brought it up is because of my project...so to speak. A while back, I wrote about She-who-shall-not-be-named.
http://trippingstumblingwhilefollowingjesus.blogspot.com/2010/01/apparently-god-is-arsonist.html Well, she told me that she has been reading the copy of "The Ragamuffin Gospel" that I loaned her. (She may be yanking my chain, but you never know)
So last night at work I asked her if she would be interested in listening to some of the podcasts from the Mars Hill series on the "Beatitudes." She said to me, "Joe, I can't listen to that. I would fall asleep. That's why I don't go to church. I would fall asleep."
My jaw just about hit the floor!!!
Considering how she tells everyone that she works for God, and not the store...wether people want to know that or not...and how judgmental & legalistic she can often be, I thought for sure she went to a church somewhere. Most likely a very fundamentalist church where crew cuts & polyester suits are still all the rage.
So I have decided to make She-who-shall-not-be-named my project.
Now I don't want anyone to think I am making light of this. I admit that I do find the circumstances funny. But I am taking this seriously. I think she is one of the loneliest & most un-happy people I have ever met, and I feel sad for her.
I can't judge another person's heart...it's not my place even if I could. She says that she loves Jesus. However, based on a complete absence of any type of Fruit of the Spirit, and the less-than-rosy disposition that she has, I have my doubts. Anyone can talk about "God," but that hardly means that they have a proper relationship with Him.
So, I will be praying about her in ways that I have yet to do. I will pray that I see her through the eyes of Jesus. I will pray that she will open herself up to Him. I will pray that my mind and heart will lean towards her to see what I need to see to help her. I will pray that God will work His perfect will in her life. I will also pray that she will NOT be run over by a bus. (Inside joke for a friend :P)
I will give her copies of that podcast series anyway. I will not make snide comments at her expense behind her back. (I can easily find others at work to fill that void.) Plus, even though she is already making excuses for why she can't come, I will continue to invite her to Living Waters. Maybe she will eventually come. I don't know. But I think it would be wonderful for her to see what happens to a group of people who actually understand that Jesus really does love them.
I can't very well sit around complaining about her, and not try to make the situation better. That would not be very Christlike, and I have enough of a problem with that already.
You know, it would be an amazing transformation if she ever does hand all of her crap over to Jesus. He would resurrect her right in the here & now. It would truly be like night & day to everyone who knows her. What a powerful witness for the kingdom that would be.
I certainly would appreciate your prayers about this situation. It's OK if you are not a very Religious person...I don't much like religious people anyway. (They give me hives.) It's not like God is deaf. He hears everyone's prayers...even Atheists! (And they think & pray about God probably more than anyone I know.)
You know, I have been inviting a lot of people to come to Living Waters. Most of the time it is for the right reasons...maybe someone is looking for a church to connect to, things like that. But I also invite people for selfish reasons. I like my friends at work. It would be fun to hang out outside of work. Plus, after church we could all go out and eat like pigs. You can come to if you want.
OK, one more song by Robbie Seay.