Whoo! We survived our first (of many, I hope) weekend of hosting a small group of students from our church for a focused time of following after God. (I could not have done it without my awesome husband who took off a half a day on Friday to prepare for the weekend and bravely endured being greatly outnumbered!) We had eighteen six grade girls and three college girls invade our home Friday night (only half the girls spent the night, thanks to our co-hosts that live around the corner) with various activities in our home, our church, and throughout our community.
Our speaker, Ryan Blackwell from FBC San Francisco*, brought us truth from the book of Jonah all weekend. We left challenged. Challenged to run towards God, and not away. The most challenging question for me this weekend, "If God answered all your prayers as "yes" over the last month, how many more people would be in His kingdom?" There are so many stories I could share, not only from this weekend, but from the whole last week.
I could share some great opportunities God gave me this week, but I want to share a story of "what not to do." After hearing a message from Lauren Chandler** at the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma State Evangelism conference last Tues., I was feeling pretty good about myself. She spoke about two different "trees" from Isaiah 58. I won't share her whole message (you should hear it sometime, though), but I left thinking I was a "humble tree" as she described, not the "proud tree." It's amazing how quickly my heart can change from a humble heart to a prideful heart just by thinking, "look how humble I am"...pride (a huge struggle of mine) Ugh!
It gets worse. The next day I took my girls to Target to get some new socks. I had a battle with my nine-year-old about which socks to purchase (a whole other blog). When she finished her "two-year-old" fit, we stood in a ridiculously long line. By then, I had no intentions of spilling hope to anyone around me. In fact, I was spilling a nasty, impatient attitude.
It gets worse. Two young ladies in their early twenties stood behind us in line. They had bleached blond hair, dressed inappropriately for public (in my modest, judging opinion. Oh no, I'm now judging). Then they begin a conversation I couldn't help but overhear about the last party they attended. I tried to ignore them until one of them used a word we don't use in our house. I turned and glared. I used "the look" my mom taught me. The one she used when I got out of control sitting in the audience in the church on a Sunday morning. She would give the "the look" from the choir, and I would straighten up immediately (well, sometimes it took a few glares). One of the girls responded immediately "Oh. Sorry." I felt justified in protecting my young ones' ears.
Sadly, it wasn't until the next day when I let the Lord speak to my heart. He pointed out that I was acting like the "proud tree" when I rebuked the young ladies. He said, "They don't need a new wardrobe, or even a new vocabulary. They need a new heart. Yes, they showed what was in their heart, but so did you. Your proud, judgemental attitude will never change a person's heart. I want you to have a heart like Jesus, a heart of compassion towards those who don't know me. You can't change a heart, but I can." Then I asked God to forgive me and give me a change of heart.
Oh, and by the way. God reminded me that I used the same word the girl used that elicited my "glare" just last month IN CHURCH. For Christmas, we same an old version of a song that didn't use the word "donkey." I did maintain my composure when the word flashed on the screen. Maybe I didn't need to glare at "that word".
What I want:
1) Eyes that see others like God sees.
2) A Heart that loves others like God loves.
3) A Voice that speaks Hope (Help Others Prepare for Eternity) into the lives of others.
What about you? Do you have the Hope God offers? Do you need HOPE? If you are a follower of Jesus, do you have a heart of compassion or judgement? Are you spilling Hope to others around you?
*Ryan Blackwell, Senior Pastor at FBC San Francisco, CA
Linked to: Cornerstone Confessions, A Holy Experience