Sunday, November 30, 2008

Spiritual CPR

I am reading a great book by Todd Phillips titled "Spiritual CPR". I just have to share some highlights from the first few chapters. Indulge me if you will.

I was searching for content to use for an in-service I plan to do for oncology nurses who chronically deal with death and dying. God lead me to this book not for that presentation but for my own internal searching of significance in Him. There has been a longing in my heart to do more spiritually. Serving within my church has not produce the fruit I had imagined. It has caused me to reflect and examine this involvement. Its rewarding to grow spiritually and become more intimate with our God of grace yet there seems to be an empty space within this joy I long to share with others and I think I am finding what needs to be there.

"As Christians we will not experience all that God wants us to experience on this earth until we begin to share what we have freely received from God in the gift of salvation." (pp.57)

Growing up in a strict independent Baptist faith, I remember as a youth going out and "soul winning". It was very uncomfortable experience for me. I am not a "people person" and experience a little anxiety when I need to approach strangers. I have easily overcome this as a nurse at the bedside but as a teenager I remember extreme stress approaching someone and asking "Do you know where you will go today if you were to die?". Evangelism. My heart was right in it-I wanted to do this but it was tough for me.

Since that time I have shied away from evangelizing. Reflecting on this new desire for more and the comments I keep hearing such as "God is preparing you for something big" I am confirmed even more of the TRUTH I am living in. I have grown in spirit for a ministry I am not sure I have yet to step into. All these lumps and bumps in this journey of life is no doubt growing me for His divine purpose. This longing to serve has me questioning if serving will require me to step out of the church building and into the community. I am so uplifted when I read about a church who has stepped outside their building and is offering service from an empty building conveniently located to the unchurched population. Reaching the lost. Not necessarily building or growing the saved. Hummmm..?

"When we remain attached to the Source of all blessings, we are able to pour on others with no limits. " (pp.50)

Evangelism is a big word. Many feel it is something you have to be called to but the reality of it is that God has called all of us to evangelize His love, mercy, forgiveness and grace.

"...the act of sharing your faith is an opportunity, maybe the greatest opportunity God gives us on this earth." (pp. 53)

It is because of where we have come in our relationship to Him that we have been equipped to do this. Does it mean I need to go door-to-door like I did as a teenager? No, maybe not. But it does ask me to look at each and every encounter I have as a potential opportunity to evangelize. I cannot do this of myself. No, it will surly take God working through me. Todd addressed the fact that the world teaches us to take-take what we deserve, take all that we can get but God instructs us to give, to "give all that we can". I am guilty of falling short on this I'm afraid. I am motivated to change.

"Complete joy comes from sharing the truth of Jesus. An absolutely essential ingredient in our Christian walk is the ingredient of evangelism." (pp.59)

There's that TRUTH word again. What is the truth of what we have been called to do as His servants? Evangelize? In the church? In the community? I am convinced we are to evangelize and I know we are called to do this in various ways. Our challenge is to start looking for the opportunities and to step outside of our comfort zone. How selfish it is of me to keep Him to myself.
Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."
~Matthew 28:18-20

Seeking complete joy~Pamela


Amy said...

This quote really gets me: "...the act of sharing your faith is an opportunity, maybe the greatest opportunity God gives us on this earth."

I think that is so very true. My husband and I are both struggling right now about what to do about "church." Long story (and not worth repeating again), but we aren't sure where God wants us at this time in our life, but sometimes I think too much emphasis is put on "church." Don't misunderstand me, I think church is VERY important, but sometimes I think it is TOO important to some, and then the opportunities to reach people outside of the church building are completely overlooked.

One day, while waiting in line at Walmart, I had the opportunity to share Jesus with a newly married young woman. She just opened up to me (a complete stranger) about her new husband's depression, and how she didn't know what to do, she was scared, she was hurting. I listened to her for some time, and then when it was my turn to talk, I shared with her my own early marriage trials, and then shared how the Lord helped us through them.

All that to say, I know that God placed her in that long, slow line beside me at Walmart for a reason, and what a shame it would have been if I didn't have time for her because she was not part of my church or any church (at that time) for that matter.

Like you, going door to door evangelizing would have found me like a deer caught in the headlights, but that Walmart incident really impacted me, and made me realize that God uses us exactly where we are at. We don't have to have or be a part of a "ministry" for God to use us. We just have to be open and listen for Him right where we are. Even at Walmart.

God bless you, Pamela. And I agree with what others have told you.....God has BIG things in store for you!

Big hugs,

Mari said...

Isn't it so easy to get caught up in our little Christian bubble? What is wonderful is when God calls us out of it and we respond with a "Yes"! Keep searching and pressing into Him during this period of "unrest". He will show you the new path. I am so excited to see what He has in store for you, I have goosebumps!

Lelia Chealey said...

Please know that you are always sharing Him with others here on your blog.
I think the way you live your life is such a testimony and if I were not a believer already would have much curiosity about God. You live Him well my dear friend. Very well.
love you much,