As many of you know, I stepped away from full-time secular employment in September of 2016 so that I could devote all my time to our home-based ministry. This was not a decision we made lightly. Much prayer and not a few sleepless nights preceded this step. In fact, my wife Betsy and I nearly took this leap in 2014. At that time, after carefully going over our home budget, we decided to wait, using the time to downsize and pay down debt. We were, we thought, figuring it out.
In the Spring of 2016, still waiting for God to show when it was time to make this life-altering decision, we had a prophetic word spoken over us. The prophet, a man new to the area and whom we had never met, began to pray over us. He started by calling Betsy by name! Looking back, I’m sure God did this to make sure He had my attention (He did!). The prophecy stated that we were to step out in faith into what God was calling us to by reminding us how He had cared for us in every way through the years. Armed with this affirmation, we decided to act in faith. We had it figured out.
I handed in my notice in March of 2016. This was a job I thoroughly enjoyed at a place where I felt appreciated and was more than adequately compensated for my efforts. On the very day I told my employer of the decision to leave, our ministry received an anonymous donation of $1500! You can imagine the joy and humility that was in my heart as I opened that piece of mail. It was with great assurance that we had figured it out at last.
Our home ministry, Lakeside Christian Ministries, was actually birthed from a prayer group/bible study that had met regularly for seven years at our residence. Again, after much prayer, four of us who served as core members through all those years, believed it was time to start having Sunday services here. With much anticipation, because we had it figured out, we envisioned our home becoming too small to suit our needs. This home church was going to reach those who had fallen away from consistent worship attendance. Though the ensuing two years had times of blessing from the Lord with a few folks giving it a try, the meetings eventually petered out until it was just Betsy and I gathering in our living room to worship.
The two of us went back to our ever-faithful God in search of direction. We sought only the what and how to of whatever He had planned for us. At long last, we figured out that we were never going to figure it all out! Yes, we wanted His direction, but what we prayed for fervently was the obedience to simply comply with the opportunities he presented.
And has He presented some! Betsy and I now serve the kingdom in several ways. Through our friendship and connections with other ministries here in our small city, we let it be known that we were available to help their churches with both worship music (one of Betsy’s many giftings), preaching (something I get charged up about) and leading Bible studies should there be illness or vacations, etc. A number of these fellowships have taken us up on this offer. This facet of our ministry continues to be a blessing to all involved.
We have also been asked to bring Bible study to people’s homes that are not currently affiliated with any given church. This has proved a wonderful opportunity to present the gospel on ‘neutral turf,’ if you will. These folks seem much more at ease and ready to talk and ask questions in their own living rooms. We have a new group planning to start in September of this year that will examine the Book of Daniel.
Without a doubt, God has showed us that the easiest, most clear way to have things figured out is to simply follow the example of Jesus. For the most part, Jesus met people where they were, when they were there. The wonderful account of Jesus and the Woman at the Well in John Chapter 4 has served as our blueprint. We now meet on a regular basis, often more than once a week, in some of the apartments in what is considered the darkest part of our town. Our task and approach is simple: to present the truth of God in both word and deed. We have discovered that by investing time in the lives of these folks on an everyday type basis, they have developed a deep trust in us. With this trust, we are able to present and explain what the Bible has to say on many different topics.
Having been meeting in that area for over a year now, we have seen God grow much fruit. People that were at first solely focused on themselves and their wants/needs, are now finding life enriched as they reach out to others to lend a hand. More importantly, we have the privilege of watching their faith grow before our very eyes. Our times of prayer are rich with the Spirit of God as He leads us all into deeper knowledge of Himself. The Almighty has answered the prayers of two of these saints by healing their cancers. The first has the doctors astounded, as this was a terminal diagnosis. Yet this week’s blood work for this person revealed no trace of cancer! The other miracle occurred when a person’s liver cancer was simply gone, leaving no trace of scar tissue on the organ. God is moving, for His glory. There is no other explanation for it.
So, what we have figured out is that God already has everything figured out!
When we walk this truth out in humble obedience, He continues to shine His light on the path He has for us. This is wonderful but at the same time occasionally difficult for us as both Betsy and I are hands on, do it now type of people. Figuring out how to do things and solving problems is how we are wired and yet God is using us in these ways, go figure!
Blessings and thanks for reading,