Saturday, July 6, 2013

Essentials for ministry

8:53 p.m. Today's project was to enjoy sweet fellowship. Midday, I picked up a friend's daughter from the Amtrak train station in Riverside. Emily wanted to surprise her mom by arriving all the way from Germany, where she and her husband are stationed, to help her recuperate from surgery. You should have seen  Emily's parents' faces when they opened the door! Priceless! It's not often that I have the privilege of blessing Debi, who's been there for me so devotedly throughout Steve's illness and since I became a widow this year. As Proverbs 17:17 says,

A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.

After a few hours at home with my kids, and taking care of a few chores in the yard, I headed off to Perris with a head of iceberg lettuce and my Bible to join Karen Morales and several good friends at her home for her bi-monthly "Ladies Only Fellowship," featuring taco salad and multiple desserts. Upon entering, Karen has us each write the address of a Bible verse on a square of paper, fold it, no name, and drop it into a  jar. Later in the evening, we pick a different one than we brought, look it up, read it to the group, and spontaneously explain what it means to you. It's always fascinating to see which scripture the Holy Spirit has for each of us, because He knows the need of each woman there! One need was met early on: laughter! Proverbs 15:15b (NIV) says,

...the cheerful heart has a continual feast.

I couldn't stay for the entire evening because Kathy Potts, who leads one of the monthly widows' groups I attend, had invited me to the Christian bikers' clubs' monthly outreach event at the Farmer Boys restaurant not far from my house. The clubs host the event, and open it to bikers from everywhere as an evangelistic outreach.

Kathy's adopted teenage son Daniel, once in a band, was the featured drum soloist for the evening, playing even the most complicated rock beats to popular Christian tunes.Nothing unusual about a talented young man entertaining a crowd--my son Kriss plays his drums still, after a stellar career in high school marching band, and drumming for his own bands. But you'll see Daniel's uniqueness below.

Daniel was born without arms! His adopted parents and older siblings taught him to do life without arms, much as Nick Vujicic, who has neither arms nor legs, was taught to make his way in life. He became head of an international evangelical ministry, "Life without Limits," with a 5 minute devotional heard on radio stations throughout the world. I have seen Nick at the Harvest Crusade, using his testimony to give a stirring challenge to thousands to drop their sin and excuses, come forward and be born again. 

Daniel played for two hours, with only small breaks to drink water. His mom Kathy told me, "His abs are like steel from leaning back and holding his legs up that long!" And Daniel plays well. He's been contacted by bands  looking for drummers to play the clubs in LA. But that's not his kind of scene, his mom remarked.In fact, the tip jar he had in front of his drum set had a believer's purpose--to help raise money to attend a youth retreat later this month.

So, what are the essentials for evangelism? Nice clothes? You should have seen the bikers in their gaudy black vests, graying braided hair and tattoos! Hear Jesus' comment about the expectations the Jews of His day had for the forerunner of the Messiah, Matthew 11:8-9:

But what did you go out to see? A man clothed in soft garments? Indeed, those who wear soft clothing are in kings' palaces. But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I say to you, and more than a prophet.

Mark 1:6 tells us that John the Baptist wore camel's hair shirts, a leather belt, and ate locusts and wild honey! Yet his ministry became so famous, so truthful and so convicting that all of Judea, including Pharisees and Roman soldiers, came to the Jordan River to be baptized by him. Ultimately, John was beheaded by King Herod for telling too much truth!

Does a Christian need to spare no expense or time to minister grace and encouragement to a fellow believer? I don't think I spent more that an hour from leaving to returning home, taking Emily to see her parents, and traveled perhaps 10 miles round trip. My "works" were hardly noticeable compared with God's plan to bless Debi so abundantly today! Karen blessed a roomful of women today, in a simple but tidy house, with mutually shared, everyday food. That's true koinonia!

Let's look at Romans 10:14-15 for the requirements to be used by God to save souls:

  How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed?and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?
  And how shall they preach, unless they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them who preach the gospel and bring glad tidings of good things!

I don't see anything mandatory there about arms, legs, hands, lovely clothing, mansions, or long distance travel, do you?

Let us do what is at hand and do it faithfully. This is not only the best way to reach others, but our simple daily efforts, performed prayerfully, are well pleasing to God.



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