Sunday, April 15, 2012

A day I will always remember...

April 15, 2012.

This is the day I officially became the FIRST female youth pastor at Battlefield Assembly of God. The next 2 years of my life I will be a pastor to the young people who attend the church I grew up in as a teen. This is such an exciting step in my life and in my ministry! I NEVER thought that I would be a youth pastor, especially before I graduate from bible college. I'm honored to serve in this role. I can't wait to see what God is going to do in the lives of young people in this area! Sometimes I feel like it hasn't fully sank in yet..... I am a pastor. (I'm working on my credentials, but it is a lengthy process. I kinda feel like I should be credentialed to officially be called a pastor.) I have a friend who calls me pastor and when she does, it just makes my heart so happy. :)

But, why me? I can't help but wonder this sometimes? Why did God pick me? Why now? I feel like someone else would be better qualified as youth pastor. Why not have a cbc student that is in some sort of leadership role? a class president? an RA? Why now? Why not wait until after I graduate? I don't feel like I am ready. Maybe this opportunity could come again in a year? Maybe I would feel better prepared then. But I guess God is just looking for an open vessel that He can do His work through. Today at church, the pastor introduced a couple who is going to be leading the young adult ministry (which we have desperately needed for awhile and I'm so glad we finally have it!) Then he went on to introduce me as the new youth pastor. he had me come forward and told the congregation that I am working on credentials, and that he knows I am called to preach, and have drama talent hidden up my sleeve, and some other things. He had the youth staff and kids come lay hands on me and pray for me. This was my commissioning. He then unexpectedly (even though I should have expected it,) handed me the microphone and wanted me to respond, and say something. I didn't know what to say so I just told the church that I was excited and that I want to see the kids discipled and build a firm foundation to stand on, and that I want to see the group grow by the kids reaching out to other kids. At the conclusion of the service he had all of the people 25 and younger to come forward. He then told me to step forward, turn to face the kids lined up, and to start down the line and pray for all of the kids.

The sermon that pastor preached today, I felt like it was directed towards me. I know it was directed to the church as a whole, and that several people were encouraged by it, I felt like it fit my situation to a perfect T. I have just been feeling so inadequate, and scared of making mistakes and failing. What if I can't live up to what is expected from me? I don't know anything about youth ministry or building up a youth group. When I got the call after waiting anxiously for 3 hours for the board meeting to end and found out I was approved as  youth pastor, I was in shock. I was terrified! scared. fearful. But, in pastor's sermon today he talked about Joshua taking the leadership role of Moses. He said that Joshua was always in the presence of God. If you wanted to find Joshua, find the presence of God, and there he would be. He spent most of his time in God's presence. in that secret place. In Deut 31:7-8 it says "Then Moses summoned Joshua and said to him in the presence of all of Israel, "be strong and courageous, for you must go with these people into the land that the Lord swore to their forefathers to give them, and you must divide it among them as their inheritance. The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged." In this passage Moses  is telling Joshua to not be afraid, discouraged, and to be strong as he steps up to be the new leader. My pastor was saying how the way Joshua leads may look a little different than the way Moses lead. He related it to mean that a younger person may lead differently than a "moses" or an older person. Moses and Joshua were from 2 different generations. Then in Joshua chapter 1 verse 6-9 God is telling Joshua the same thing that Moses told him, "Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them. 7Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. 8 Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. 9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go." 
I want to be like Joshua. Where ever the presence of God is, there I want to be. I want to spend most of my time in the presence of God. Everyone keeps saying that I will do such a good job as youth pastor, but I have trouble convincing myself that I will. I know I will make mistakes. I know I can't do it on my own. I feel like God is calling me to rise up. Pastor said in his sermon that Joshua was just kinda hiding away until it was time to rise as leader. I feel like God is calling me to rise up and be a leader. I feel Him calling me deeper into His presence. Did I also mention that we had a message in tongues today about fear? I don't remember all that was said but it tied into what pastor spoke about. I feel God calling me to be a prayer warrior and to look at prayer more seriously. I need to develop my prayer life more. I want to spend an hour a day in prayer. prayer for this youth ministry. the youth kids. friends. family. the lost. unsaved. and things in my life. praying that my life would glorify God and would be pleasing to him. I want to pray without ceasing! Oh, how things would be different if I actually took prayer more seriously! I have been feeling this for awhile. even before being the youth pastor crossed my mind. I want to interceed for Africa. For Morocco. My friends there. Muslims around the world. The lost and hurting of this world. God is calling me to make a change in my life. a transformation. a change for life. not just something I change for a week or a month. but life! People make changes in their diet because of diabetes or other issues. This is a dietary change that is permanent.  I need to change what I am eating, spiritually. I need to change my habits. I need to get in the habit of spending time in the word, and in the presence of God. This is the only way that I can remain strong and courageous. Being with God is how the fear will cease. Like it says in Joshua, I need to meditate on the word day and night, not letting it depart from me. God is with me. He goes before me. He prepares the way. He will never leave me. He will never forsake me...even  in my weaknesses!!! I'm ready to spiritually "roll up my sleeves" if you will... and get to work. its gonna be hard work. sometimes dirty, sweaty painful, but rewarding work. I'm ready to get out of my comfort zone. I'm an empty vessel that knows i can't do this without the Holy Spirit leading me and doing His work through me. He is the work at work, I'm just the messenger that is will to go and obey. I'm ready to claim young people for the kingdom of God. This is war. Yes, I'm ready for battle. I want God to use me to snatch those in the enemy's hands. I'm not going to sit at home and knit while I hear about the war going on. I'm going to be on the front lines. When you are fighting a war, everywhere you walk on the battlefield you are watchful, and have your sword in hand, ready to strike if need be. In the same way, everywhere I go I want to be watchful of opportunities, ready with the word of God, which is sharper than any double-edged sword. If God is for me, then who can be against me? 
I know this won't be easy. I'm scared.. but the more time I spend with God, the less scared I get and the more determined I get. Holy Spirit lead me, I will follow you. You know the hearts and minds of these kids. Draw them to you. Speak to them. Reveal yourself to them in a powerful way! 

I'm ready. I'm moving forward. This is war. 

Saturday, April 7, 2012

The Drive Through Window Experience.

Yesterday I was at my Grandma's waiting for her to get ready to come shopping with me, and I picked up the little paper that always comes in the Pentecostal Evangel to read until she was done. I started reading about this lady who always went to the drive through window to pick up food because her daily schedule was so busy she didn't even have time to go inside. I thought this article was going to be about how unhealthy fast food was, and I thought I was going to read about different eating tips and other advice to eating better, that combined with exercise, would lead to a more healthier lifestyle. I was wasn't about that at all. The author of this article went on to say that the Lord spoke to her and showed her that her spiritual life was a lot like her drive through eating habits. How easy and tempting it is to get quick nibbles and snacks from the pastors sermon, a good song about Jesus on the radio, a devo that someone else shares with us, etc. These are great, don't get me wrong, but they are from from the other person's time with God. For us to not be spiritually malnourished, we need to enter in and sit at the banquet table with the Lord. Just you and the Lord. God invites us to come and sit with Him at His banquet table where we can get spiritual food that truly nourishes us.  When I read this article I was challenged to look at my own life to see if I am just going to the drive through window or if I am actually entering into the banquet of the Lord. I don't want my conversations with God to be limited to a drive through. I  don't want God to be the waiter at a restaurant, I want Him to be the person I am sitting and fellowshiping with. I want to  become more like Jesus. I know that when I hang around one person so much, I begin to pick up some of their mannerisms. Not on purpose. and sometimes I don't even notice until someone else points it out. I want to take time out of my day to go to the banquet table where God provides everything that I need. I want to spend SOOO much time with Him, that I start becoming like Him. I need to decrease so that there is room for the Lord to increase.

It makes me think of this song by Leeland called "carried to the table"

I love the words of this song, they are so true!

The song says:

Wounded and forsaken
I was shattered by the fall 
Broken and forgotten
Feeling lost and all alone
Summoned by the King
Into the Master’s courts
Lifted by the Savior
And cradled in His arms

I was carried to the table
Seated where I don’t belong
Carried to the table
Swept away by His love
And I don’t see my brokenness anymore
When I’m seated at the table of the Lord
I’m carried to the table
The table of the Lord

Fighting thoughts of fear
And wondering why He called my name
Am I good enough to share this cup
This world has left me lame
Even in my weakness
The Savior called my name
In His Holy presence
I’m healed and unashamed

You carried me, my God
You carried me

So I ask, are you entering into the banquet that God calls us into, or are you settling for a drive through experience?