Connection is happening in a whole host of new ways in 2020. Where we would typically pour ourselves out into a Sunday, we now get to pour ourselves out into families in a more personal way with the words of the Lord. I’m no Bible scholar by any stretch of the imagination, but I am a satisfied customer of the scriptures.
I earned my degree from Louisiana State University (Geaux Tigers!) in Political Science with a minor in Greek and Roman History because of the power of words to move people to action: spoken and written. Words spoken into and over my life as a child, by the people in my family and world over time, have been re-written by the scriptures. They have brought me courage as a girl, strength as a single woman and student, encouragement as a wife, guidance as a mom, endurance as a leader cut by stained glass, and armor as I grew from a girl of the church into a woman of faith called by God to teach. I even have a ring of index cards filled with the scriptures which have molded and carved me into who I am today. The best part? I added a new card just this week because the scriptures continue to whittle.
This ring of scriptures written by my own hand have walked with me for more than thirty years. My handwriting has changed a bit. My journey has been nothing what I imagined, but this is evidence of my walk with Him and His walk with me through all the seasons so far. When our daughter spent 4.5 months in Senegal, Africa between college and nursing school in the mission field, she carried this ring of scriptures with her. When I have endured spiritual warfare in various heavenly places, I now know what it looks like, smells like, sounds like, and acts like to armor-up for the long-haul. There is great power in these scriptures. There is power in His word.
Pointing the families I serve to the Jesus of the scriptures has been my goal especially over the last several months. I reach out on Sunday mornings with scriptures to everyone in my phone whom I love by text. I reached out on the first day of school by text with scriptures and prayers. I reply on social media with these scriptures. I run to them when I’m lost. I hold them close when I need to be reminded that I’m beloved and called for such a time as this.
Pastor Matt Crane taught in a sermon recently about five growth stages of the Christian life:
• Babies – aka the born again Christian who needs milk (1 Peter 2:2; Hebrews 5:12) What is the milk babies need? Belief in Jesus (faith) & Love.
• Little Children – Growing in a lifestyle of daily discipleship of Bible reading, prayer, generosity, and other holy habits over time. (John 13:33)
• Young Men/Women – Zealous newbies in ministry who are strong warriors, energetic, engaging in a life of spiritual adventure. They may not get it right and there are some things that, according to Pastor Crane, might burn down. But what they lack in wisdom they more than make up for in zeal, spontaneity, risk-taking and a fresh fire to share the gospel. (1 John 2:13) They ask with eager anticipation, “What does God want me to do?” and are willing to just do it.
• Fathers/Mothers – Established in the ministry progressing in their study of the Word beyond youthful impulsivity with their priorities changing from “What does God want me to do?” to “Lord, do with me what You will.” (1 John 2:13) Disciples making disciples living out Titus 2. Reminds me of Paul with Timothy, Anna & Elizabeth with Mary, Naomi with Ruth.
• Old Men/Women (the aged) – Have reached the end of their life having lived a pattern of faithful discipleship for the good of the Body of Christ, beyond knowledge, with great intentionality to tell the stories of God’s faithfulness. (Titus 2:2-5; Deuteronomy 4:9)
These are just a few of the questions I’m asking myself as we begin to move into this next and new season of ministry: As I serve our families, am I investing in their lives with scripture and a legacy in mind? If you are a young man/woman in the faith, how can I help fan your fire in the Word? If you are a father/mother, who am I investing in to point to the Word? If I am in the season of the aged, how am I telling the stories of God’s faithfulness? Can I lead an online Bible study to invest in a small group? What are the scriptures which have changed the trajectory of your spiritual life? How do I pivot from providing programming to children to walking alongside my families on a more personal level…a discipleship level to the remnant…in exile?
“Truly, my soul waiteth upon God: from Him cometh my salvation. He only is my rock and my salvation; He is my defense; I shall not be greatly moved.” Psalm 62:1-2