Friday, February 18, 2011


It seems ministry isn't meant to be easy. What do you do with a program that has hit its stride, produced much fruit, and is now struggling to recover its vision? What is the key to teaching the gospel that makes it come from the heart when your literal heart is pounding at 200mph and choking the life out of you? What do you do when you want to stop sharing the love of God because your audience isn't listening? How do you reach out to a small group of people you care deeply about but don't understand their heart language? How do you go about admitting your past sins humbly when people you know don't care about you ask in order to tear you down? How do you prepare yourself for heartache?
I'm not asking these questions to be a Debbie-downer. I am asking out of a heart that loves its Savior and knows its utter dependence on Him, but is still struggling to keep from breaking. I love being here, my times with God, waking up thinking how I'm going to serve him today...but then going to bed saying "What am I doing here? Lord, you must've sent the wrong person because I'm not able to wave your banner under these kind of attacks." 
Again-I'm not depressed! I'm wrestling with God. Any and all of your prayers for wisdom and peace would be an encouragement to me.
On the side of blessings from God: Becca, my roommate, is an absolute angel of mercy. She's been kind, supportive, generous, and a real joy to my heart. Also: Samuel and Sarah. These three keep me sane. So do my long walks around is so beautiful. I'm getting more things to plan and places to be so I'm staying busy and engaged in the ministry here. God is doing a work here...I've just come in at a transition time that's inevitably leaving some holes. 
Much love and grace to you all,

"For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken. On God rests my salvation and my glory; my mighty rock, my refuge is God. Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us." Psalm 62: 5-8

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

A Closer Look Reveals

Things have been tottling along. Going to meetings, attending services, trips to ASDA...that's the grocery store, and then more meetings with the occasional super fun and awesome game night. It's this super fun and awesome game night that was much much more than that for me. The 45 minute trip to Donpatrick was great craic and I really connected with my driver, a 32 year old woman from Kitty's Road. I'm not sure whether or not to put her name in, so I'll call her...Kitty. The folks on Kitty's Road are an interesting bunch. Their accent is very strong, and they are very reliable when it comes to speaking their mind. It's this part that made a difference on the way back. 
   Bottom line: Kitty asked me if I thought she was going to Hell. She knows she's done bad things (Catholic background) and yet she doesn't want to call herself a bad person. I was completely stunned that she'd asked me right out, but I also knew that God had given me this opportunity and I wasn't about to shrink back like one who has no confidence in what they're talking about. So I asked her a question: are you trusting in Jesus Christ alone for the forgiveness of your sins? She replied: do I believe in Jesus? I countered: no, do you believe that Jesus can save you from your sins? Now I wish I could tell you that she answered me straight which would have pushed for the acceptance/denial of salvation, but she didn't and the conversation swerved back to whether or not she's a good person. 
   I'm glad she asked the question straight...I'm sorry she thinks I'm the one to judge her. She seems to think I'm a good person. Well I shot that balloon right out of the air, but struggled to keep from flaunting my sin. Note: humbly talking about your own sin is hard! What pushed me to keep going was in recalling my former life-I could only remember it vaguely-I could see so clearly that Jesus had done a radical thing in my life that changed everything. The thought of seeing the face of God was so keen in that car...I had to proclaim him in as many ways as I could. So many promises and truths of Jesus were swirling around in my head and I wanted to grab them all and make them fit in one single sentence that would show her a fraction of what life in Christ is and how it redefines your very existence...but then I remembered there are 66 books in the Bible with many much sentences and besides: God is bigger than all those words. Our language can't hold him and neither can our heads!
   "Oh the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments    
   and how inscrutable are his ways! 'For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his
   counselor? And who has ever given a gift to him that he might be repaid?' For from him and through
   him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever. Amen." Romans 11: 32-36
Upon closer examination I found that I need to be rehearsing the gospel to myself more often. I didn't see that conversation coming, though I certainly had been praying for it, and when it did come I couldn't order my thoughts as well as I would've liked. Later that evening I found myself saying "That's what I should've said! Rats!" But that's not to suggest that I'm ashamed of what I said. It was all true, to the best of my knowledge, and I said it from my heart. Now I'm resting in God's promise that his word does not go out void. I don't know if what I said that was what Kitty needed to hear, but our conversation ended with her saying: "I'm going to start saying my prayers again Alli...because of you." I find that very unsettling as I don't think that means she's expecting to encounter God in those prayers but still encouraging as at least she's going to try. Please be praying for Kitty as she struggles to understand her life in the context of the gospel. And for me as I continue to love on her and pray with/for her.
   More thoughts and experiences are sure to come: please keep praying and be encouraged that God is at work in these hearts, both young and old-er!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

A thought from my devotions this morning: Exodus 2...and then 3

23 During those many days the king of Egypt died, and the people of Israel groaned because of their slavery and cried out for help. Their cry for rescue from slavery came up to God. 24And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. 25God saw the people of Israel—and God knew...
7Then the LORD said, "I have surely seen the affliction of my people who are in Egypt and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters. I know their sufferings, 8and I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land to a good and broad land, a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. 9And now, behold, the cry of the people of Israel has come to me, and I have also seen the oppression with which the Egyptians oppress them. 10 Come, I will send you (Moses) to Pharaoh that you may bring my people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt."

I highlighted and underlined the verbs to make the point that we have a relational God. And that we have an active God. Once it's understood he sees, hears, and knows the sufferings of his people, he sends Moses to be his instrument of deliverance. I he calling me to be such as Moses-a means by which people are drawn out of suffering into the kingdom of God? And another thought followed quite quickly: if you're asking if God wants to use you...the answer is always yes. See what needs to be done and do it. 
Now-this is very easily said, not easily done. We know this-especially when seeing what needs to be done requires understanding the will of God. Because it's never our belongs to God Almighty and he alone can grasp it. So what then? Do we wait around serving ourselves while we wait for divine lightning bolts to strike? I've found that if you don't know how to do something, imitate someone who does it better than you. Therefore let's be imitators of Christ and watch his will unfold in serving him through serving others!
Seeking the will of God in serving with you,