Sunday, October 3, 2010

A heart that has found more

My heart has been searching for more. My heart has been calling for more. Maybe it has just been the Lord calling my heart to more. I have been praying for God to stir my heart. I have been praying for God to change my heart. To fill me like never before. To give me a passion that I never knew possible. I have been praying for revival. Not just in my own church, but first in my heart. I want to find myself in God's word daily. I want to call out to Him in a new way. I want to be changed into that girl God is calling me to be.   
Today at church our youth pastor, Brad Banderman shared clips with us from his trip to Bolivia. He shared more than clips, but more so of his heart. He could have stood in front of us with no pictures at all, and just looking into his eyes and hearing his words would have given a clear enough portrait. Through Brad's words you could see the love He has for God and for God's people.

First, let me tell you about Brad. He is much more than an associate pastor. His passion goes deeper than being a youth director. He has a heart after God and you can see this in his life. Is he perfect? Far from it. He is one of those crazy guys you love and at the same time you get  aggravated at  his antics. Brad is just that guy who wants to share Christ. He is that guy willing to go the extra mile. He is that guy I have watched grow from a young man on fire for God to a man with a mission, with a purpose, who is driven to succeed in all God's ways.

So, Brad takes this mission trip and returns changed. I had heard bits and pieces of his mission trip, but until today I had not heard the whole story. He shared about the people he met, and the impact they made on his life. He is there to make an impact on them, and an impact I am sure he left. But as he went out to serve he came back with much much more.

As I sat listening to him my heart was stirred. A passion was building and my prayers were being answered. Am I going to Bolivia anytime soon? I don't think so, but you never know with God. Where I am going though? I want to be wherever God is. I want to be wherever He is calling me to be. I am tired of sitting and waiting for things to happen. Just what am I expecting? Am I waiting for God to just bring others to my door? Maybe I am just waiting for God to do all the work. I want to make a difference. Here I am thinking, "Bolivia, wow, I would never survive." I haven't even had the courage to go to my neighbor's house and share the Lord with them. If my fears are holding me back here, God sure enough isn't going to call me somewhere else. My faith needs to be bigger. My fears need to be smaller. I keep waiting for God to change me. It isn't Him I am waiting on, it's been me the whole time.

We never know just where God is going to call us, but shouldn't we be ready for the call? I must first be willing for God to reach my heart. I don't have to travel around the world for a mission. I have one right here in my home town. I have one with everyone I meet! Picture the impact just one person could make with everyone they come in contact with if they are just willing to show their faith! Wow!

Shame came across my face today. I have come into contact with so many lately and I know I did not try to make the impact that I should. I had almost twenty young women sitting in front of me a few days ago and I could have simply said, "Should we pray?" I didn't. I came home astonished at these young women, when I in fact had a chance to make an impact on their lives, but didn't. A few days ago I too was sitting in a restaurant having lunch. There was a couple behind me. Two women, and they were discussing an affair one was having. We were the only ones in the restaurant. I wasn't trying to listen. They were talking so loudly you couldn't keep from hearing. I didn't want to listen. I almost asked for another table. As I sat listening again I was astonished. I really didn't think this stuff happened. I am thinking of television and soap operas. But it does. It happens daily. I walked out of that restaurant thinking, "I just can't believe that." Where was my prayer? Where was my witness? I am not talking about fixing everything in front of me. I am simply talking about praying for everyone I come in contact with. Simply showing others a faith I have and want to share. But until I step out of my box is that going to happen?

I sit in front of junior high kids each Wednesday night. Talking to them is just easy. Sharing with them is so awesome. There are those moments I question if I am the right person to be sitting before them, and I think God has answered that for me. I pray before I meet these kids. I pray for our class and the others. See, for me, being in church is so easy. It's when I walk out that door that I begin to tremble in my faith.

Am I afraid someone will reject Christ or me? Am I afraid I will offend someone or someone will offend me? In this walk with Christ it cannot be about me. I looked upon these pictures that Brad was showing. These people have nothing. The water they drink we would not feed our cattle. The houses they live in? I have seen dogs have better living conditions. Food? Are you kidding me? They are not sitting in a Mexican restaurant each Sunday after church. They aren't worried about shopping at Old Navy's sale. What did they have? Smiles upon smiles. They had laughter. It wasn't the material things in this world making them happy. They were a community, depending upon each other, reaching out to each other. We don't even seem to do much of that anymore. We stay in our own little circles and our happy, contented box.

I want to throw away my circle of comfort and get out of that box holding me in. Here I am complaining all the time about what we don't have. As my husband has been laid off we have gone without a lot, really we have, but nothing compared to others. I always say things can always be worse, but do we really know what that means? When we are hungry we are able to get food somewhere. We can take a shower and get cleaned up. We have luxuries others have never even heard of, much less desire.
What are we doing America? We don't look into the eyes of others anymore. We seem to pass by, thinking only of our own troubles. I can sit before you today and tell you, God has never left me or my family in the midst of a trial. We have struggled, but we have never really known want. God always meets our needs.

I want my legacy to be made of Christ. My epitaph? I want it to say, "Jesus looked good on her." I want Jesus to shine before my life. I want to speak and have others hear Jesus. I want to walk and have others see Him moving through me. The more I keep waiting, the more time that keeps passing. I don't want to look back and wonder, "Could I have done more?" I want to look back on my life and see Christ. I want to serve Him. I want to give. I want more than compassion to reach my lips, but in my actions.

As I have been praying for God to change my heart, today was that day. Today was one of those powerful days that the Holy Spirit just grabed my heart and I knew without a doubt God has some big things in store for me and He has just been waiting for me to get out of that box and really seek Him with a heart desiring more than just giving contently, but giving until it hurts. We were not meant to be content.

Proverbs 3:5-6 "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.

Psalm 42:1-2 "As a deer pants for the water brooks, so pants my soul for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, the living God."

Psalm 25:4-5 "Show me Your ways, O Lord; Teach me Your paths. Lead me in Your truth and teach me, for You are the God of my salvation; On You I wait all the day."

Psalm 19:14 "Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer."

Deuteronomy 10:12-13 "And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways and to love Him, to serve the Lord your God will all your heart and will all your soul, and to keep the commandments of the Lord and His statutes which I command you today for your good?"

Mark 16:15-16 "And He said to them, 'Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned."

See, today was one of those life changing days for me. Look what happened to me in just spending an hour or so in church today with an open heart. Just what if I spent more time seeking God. More time reaching out. Life is more than me saying I am a Christian, but living out my faith in this world. It's getting involved. It's participating in those things that take time and energy. We can't just sit back and wait for others to do God's work. He has called us for a higher purpose!  Starting right here in my own heart, then reaching my family, friends, my neighbors and far across the land. Our co-workers. The kids we sit next to in school. There is no one without hope and there is no one who is not reachable. We just must be willing to be those open vessels just as Brad is. We must make ourselves vulnerable and be willing to reach out even if no one reaches back. Our job is to plant those seeds. It is God's to bring in the harvest when ready. Are you ready? Are you willing? Today can be the day we make changes that will begin a whole new walk.

Thank you Brad. Thank you for sharing your heart. God looks good on you Brad Banderman!
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