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Friday, September 26, 2014

Remaining Hopeful.

Remaining Hopeful. 

Monday. I was ready to leave for work; however, I couldn't find my keys or my phone. So I looked in alllll the usual spots. On the counter, in my closet, in my purse, in my work bag, in my purse, on the counter, my pockets. After 10 minutes, I was reassured by one thought: My car was in the garage. Keys would have been a necessity. I walked back to my closet, picked up the previous day's shoes. And found both my keys and my phone. Interesting placement. Drove to work. Parked. Leaned over to grab my lunch only to find no lunch to be grabbed. I forgot my packed lunch. (sigh) Went home at lunchtime to retrieve said lunch. Came back to work. Finished the day. Decided to drive to a new-to-me hair salon and make an appointment.

I couldn't find it. #awesome

Tuesday. I was eating my lunch and heard a knock at the door. Went to see who was visiting. Lo and behold, it was my across-the-hall buddy, Pastor Wayne. "Were you looking for these?" he said, holding my office keys. "No, " I said, being all honest. I hadn't missed them at all. "This never happens, huh?" Wayne has a great memory of previous conversations, especially when he's able to drive home a point.

I told him all about looking for that salon and how I had looked at the map on their website and how Monday was really an off day. Well. Come to find out, Wayne was the person I needed to talk to. I, apparently, went the exact opposite way down Republic Road in which I should have. And he knows the owner! #SoMuchForInternetMaps

My mom has a saying for me. "Oh, Julie." I think maybe God uses it too. "Oh, Julie." And I think maybe God says things like, "Julie, you are a bundle of entertainment, but you have to quit your doubting Me." Or. "Julie, you have a way about you, but you have to remember I am Lord of your life."

And He sends me messages throughout the day to remind me. "Persevere." "I want to use you greatly, but we need to go through some things first." "Be strong and courageous." "I am with you. I know what's going on. I know your heart." "Do not quit. Do not lose heart." "I am doing things you know nothing about." "I.know.your.heart." "Trust me."

Hear me. I want to be that woman who charges on fully aware of Jesus in my life. But then I lose five battles in a row. And the majority of those battles are named "Goliath," and I know God has sent them my way. And I know He knows my heart. And that gives Him lots of ammunition.

And I say, "This is dumb, God. This pain in my heart." And He catches my breath. And calls it a sin. I stumble and sputter and become one of those people who spat in His face. Because I'm mad and hurting and, in that teeny tiny moment, just want it to stop.

I'm still in the Old Testament. On Wednesday, I read 1 Samuel 29. David is trying his darndest to find a safe place in the world, away from Saul, who is set on killing him. The Lord calls David to do some crazy, funny things. For example, Saul is going wee wee in a cave, right? And David goes in and cuts part of his robe. On another night, Saul is sleeping with protectors all around, a spear and a jar of water at his head. David and a buddy go and take the spear and jar o' water. Each time, David says to Saul, "Saul-man, I could have killed you. You were within arm's reach. Take notice I didn't only because you are God's appointed." In Wednesday's reading, David was feeling pretty good about his current residence, but the Philistines weren't having it. They banished him. David, this man who defeated Goliath by God's power. David, this man who was CALLED BY GOD to do amazing things and to become KING. David is running for his life, and he cannot catch a break.

I am not comparing myself to David.

All I'm saying is it's reassuring to know David -- DAVID from the Bible -- must have had some of the same conversations I do with the Lord. "Um, God? I know you've said this and that, I know how you've done this and that. But you know he's playing with real weapons, right?" Or. "God, I really believe in my heart you said this months ago. But, God, the story isn't looking so good. If You really want it to happen, You are going to have to do something."

In Deuteronomy 29:2-4, Moses says to Israel, “You have seen all that the Lord did before your eyes in the land of Egypt, to Pharaoh and to all his servants and to all his land, the great trials that your eyes saw, the signs, and those great wonders. But to this day the Lord has not given you a heart to understand or eyes to see or ears to hear."

I don't know why. What I do know is for the past year, my prayer has been, "I want to know You have done it, Lord." So, I work to "remain hopeful and expectant as [I] wait with perseverance," @Jesus_Calling.

by: Julie Johnson

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Serving Opportunities (Sept. 3, 2014)

Baptism Ministry
: Assist brothers and sisters in Christ before and after their baptisms. 

__ (female) during 9 a.m. service.   
__ (male) during TEN31 Modern Worship.   
__ (female) during TEN31 Modern Worship.

Celebrate Recovery
: Serve in a Celebrate Recovery group for elementary, junior high or senior high students on Thursday evenings. Training provided.

: Teach our kiddos about Jesus on Sunday mornings. Training provided.

__ We need eight people to teach preschoolers at 9 a.m. 
__ We need three people to teach elementary kids at 9 a.m.

__ We need eight people to teach preschoolers at 10:30 a.m.
__ We need three people to teach elementary kids at 10:30 a.m.

For more information about these serving opportunities or others available, contact Julie Ellis at 417.885.5217 or jellis@ridgecrestbaptist.org. 

Monday, August 18, 2014

The Global Leadership Summit 2015

At the Global Leadership Summit 2014, Susan Cain talked about the power of quiet and the awesomeness introverts bring to the table. Not a direct quote. I know folks listened and took to heart some of what she said because my friends are now all like, "Look at me! I'm part introvert too! No, really I am!" Oh my friends. 

So here's the deal. Next year's Summit is Aug. 6-7. You can register online NOW through Oct. 27 for $79. The rate for Ridgecrest members and attendees will be $89 beginning Oct. 28 until July 7, when it increases to $119.

Send me (jjohnson@ridgecrestbaptist.org) or P.K. Hinkle, (phinkle@ridgecrestbaptist.org) an email to receive the promo code. Then visit ridgecrestbaptist.org (click on the 2014 GLS ad) to register. The public may register for $139 through Oct. 27.


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

God's Leaders From Unlikely Places

God's Leaders From Unlikely Places

God has always found His leaders in the most unlikely places. Moses escaped attempted infanticide to lead Israel. Jacob was second born but received his father's blessing and became the foundation of a new nation. David went from a small shepherd boy to king and a "man after God's own heart." Nehemiah started as a cup bearer for a foreign king and ultimately became the restorer of Jerusalem. Many of the Twelve were fishermen, and one was a tax collector.

But a leader out of a shoe store?

In the mid-1800's, a young man, the seventh of nine kids of a young widow, went to work for his uncle in a shoe store in Massachusetts. He barely had a 5th grade education. He was unable to read well, and the only exposure to the Bible he had growing up was a few scriptures and hymns that his mother had taught the family around the dinner table. He was forced to go to church to fulfill the promise he had made to his uncle to secure employment, and, even in Sunday School, he was ridiculed by the other boys due to his lack of education and basic knowledge of the Bible. He frequently fell asleep during sermons, only to be awakened by the deacons who were specifically assigned to his side.

Matt Kincade with his wife, Angela, and their three kids.
One day, his Sunday School teacher visited him at work. The older man put his firm hand on the young man's shoulder, his foot on a shoe box and proceeded to tell him about Christ and His love for this young man, who seemed unaware of the existence of such a love. The disciple-maker would later admit that his words were "very weak," but the young man responded with a real and intense reaction. Later, he would recount, "This is a very strange thing. Here is a man who never saw me till lately, and he is weeping over my sins, and I never shed a tear about them. But I understand it now, and know what it is to have a passion for men's souls and weep over their sins. I don't remember what he said, but I can feel the power of that man's hand on my shoulder to-night. it was not long after that I was brought into the Kingdom of God."

This young man, named Dwight Lyman (D.L.) Moody, would become one of the greatest evangelists that America and Europe would ever know. He would go on to, among other things, found Moody Bible College, start two schools in his hometown, become a major benefactor to the YMCA and (by some estimates) evangelize to 100 million people via spoken and written word.

British revivalist Henry Varley remarked to Moody, "The world has yet to see what God can do with a man fully consecrated to him." Moody set out to be that man, and God's glory was made manifest through his leadership and drive.

This unremarkable man, born into an unremarkable family, heard about Jesus, and it changed the world forever. He had no formal or theological education, but his leadership transformed the world for Christ. A Sunday School teacher's obedience helped light a fire under one of the greatest Christian leaders in history.

God does not expect us to be the best in order to use us; we simply have to make ourselves available to Him. God looks not for talent, but for obedience. Philippians 2:13 says "For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him," (NLT). If God is calling you to lead, don't worry about the "how," but offer God your "yes."