Is God Calling You to Full Time Christian Service?

Honestly, I never felt called or led by God to be a pastor’s wife.  Both of my sisters married pastors, and before I went to college my parents sweetly told me never to feel pressured to follow their path – the most important thing was to follow God’s leading for my life.

Most of the time when I was growing up I believed God was leading me to be a missionary overseas.  I would pepper visiting missionaries with questions.  I even got to the point where I practically told God, “I AM going to be a missionary, no matter what You think” (yikes).  Finally, He got me to a point where I said, “YOUR will be done” (whew).

Zooming ahead … my husband and I both graduated from Bible college.  Yet, we are not in full-time Christian service.

  • Did we waste money and time on our Bible college education?
  • Was it all for nothing?
  • Are we disobeying God?
  • Do we please God less because we are “electrical engineer” and “stay-at-home-homeschooling-mom” instead of “Rev.” and “Mrs. Pastor”?

It couldn’t be further from the truth!  God in His wisdom led us to Bible college, and then He led us to be Full-Time Christians.  In our church and in our community God opens up opportunities all the time to share His good gifts with others.  We are far from perfect about following up on all of His opportunities, but with His strength He is using us and we are constantly in awe of His provision!

God doesn’t call each of His children into the same field.  Where would we be if all believers were pastors and pastors wives?  Where would the body of Christ – the foot, the eyes, the knees be, to fulfill the callings of the local church in our communities (I Corinthians 12)?  He wisely places us in the position He knows will benefit from the talents He’s given us most effectively.

 

“And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” Ephesians 4:11-13 NKJV

 

When Tim was attending Bible college, seeking God’s will for his life, his pastor took him aside privately and told him that he was confident that God wasn’t leading him to be a pastor.  Was Tim willing and open to be one?  Yes!  But, God used his pastor, who knew his personality and heart well, to give him loving, specific counsel.  Following Bible college, Tim pursued his (God given) interests in math, radio systems and computers, attending community college and then a state university.  The education he learned there, especially learning how to work through the tests of faith and how to face the bombardment against God’s Word, has been priceless.  I can’t tell you how many times God has opened doors for Tim (who pushed on the door of missions by taking a college Missionary Apprentice Program to France) in his engineering field to answer difficult questions about life, death, God, creation, family, etc.  Tim’s Greek and doctrinal training from Bible college days helps in his teaching/music ministry at church, as well as on a daily basis enriching his personal Bible study and walk with God.  God didn’t call him to be a pastor, but God is using him every day!

Before we were married, I taught for three years in a Christian school.  Many of my students were from Ukraine, as well and Pakistan and India.  One of my Indian students and her brother came to know Christ in our Christian school.  A few years later their mom trusted Christ and has shared the gospel with family and friends around the world – many who are coming to know Christ personally!  Praise the Lord!

A couple years ago we hosted a Muslim exchange student from the Philippines, and a Christian young lady from Ghana.  Talk about a mission field!  We are part of a church that is blessed with many students from all over the world attending a state university.  God has brought the world to us.  We are missionaries in our mid-western city – God’s place for us.

Our backgrounds come together to greatly help us in our most important mission field of all: our sons.
Most every day the boys and I pray for Daddy as he goes to his mission field at work, and for God to help us be a light for Jesus in our mission field: our neighborhood, and people we come into contact with at doctors offices, grocery stores, restaurants, parks, etc.  Just today my oldest son wanted to give a gospel tract to some friends of ours who were visiting.  Our mission field is very real!

Pastors and their wives, missionaries, missionary wives … these dear men and women have a sacred calling from God that is different from all else.  As shepherds leading us, as they follow the Good Shepherd, they have unique responsibilities, challenges, sacrifices, and rewards.  We must be committed to loving them (in word and deed!), praying for them, and supporting them.  But, if God didn’t call us to those ministries, we would be sinning against Him by disobeying His lead in our lives.  God’s will is the best place to be.

Perhaps, some time in the future, Tim and I might become missionaries.  We’ve talked about the possibility that after his retirement from his engineering mission field, God may call us to serve in areas of Bible translation (he’s continued using his Greek and enjoys learning Hebrew in his spare time), teaching, technical help, music, etc. on foreign and domestic mission fields.  Until then, we will walk with God daily on the mission field of His calling.  He knows best, and we are confident He will lead us every step of the way!

 

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6 NKJV



Summary:  We each need to seek God’s individual leading, through His Word and the guidance of godly counselors.  He will, in time, impress us through His Spirit in the way we must go.  No fear of missing the boat!  Walk with Him today, every day, and He will faithfully guide to the next step.  Churches need godly pastors and their wives, as well as godly laymen and laywomen.

What about you?  Are you a Full Time Christian, where God has called you to be?  God will provide all the strength and resources we need to fulfill His calling.  Best of all, He promises to be with us every step of the way!

 

“I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.” Ephesians 4:1-5 NKJV

 

Children’s Ministry Resource Bible

This treasure recently came to my attention …

 
 
Developed with Child Evangelism Fellowship, this study Bible abounds with the riches of God’s Word and additional helpful tools to help us communicate God’s truth to our precious young people.  It would be helpful for parents, school teachers, homeschooling families, Sunday school teachers, Bible club helpers, and church children ministry leaders. 
 
This Bible has many helpful components:
  • Thousands of Footnotes that clarify important Bible terms, phrases, and ideas.  They provide you with cultural and historical background and insights on Bible people and events.
  • Teacher Training Sections that help you learn how to communicate important Bible lessons in a kid-friendly manner.
  • Lesson Outlines that take selected Bible stories and break them down into an Introduction, Progression of Events, Climax, and Ending.  Each is prefaced with a Teacher’s Objective and Child-Related Truth.
  • Full-Page Articles that address foundational skills for evangelizing and discipling children.
  • The Wordless Book, that presents the gospel message in a way children can understand.
  • Full Bible Text in the New King James translation.
 
Since I purchased this for our home school, I have been impressed with the many helpful charts, subject index, the concordance, and the pronunciation guide.  It includes maps and the usual “Harmony of the Gospels,” as well as time lines, etc.!  This helpful tool makes things clearer to me so that I can more effectively communicate God’s Word to our boys.
 
To find out more, look here.

Kingdom Chronicles VBS

 
 
“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.” Ephesians 6:10

We just finished our summer Vacation Bible School last night.  Several children and their families turned out for the closing program.  I am so grateful that our pastor chose Kingdom Chronicles, put out by Answer In Genesis.  It was a great week!

The castle theme was fun, of course, but more importantly the teaching from God’s Word about how to prepare for daily living was solid and practical.  Based on the armor of God passage in Ephesians 6, children age 4 – entering 7th grade learned how to be strong in God, the King of Kings.

I love the music in this program!  Most of the songs were written by Ron Hamilton, Jonathan Hamilton, and Buddy Davis.  We didn’t purchase the soundtracks.  I enjoyed serving as pianist, and I think it’s safe to say that all the children and adults were blessed by every song.

We also didn’t purchase their craft supplies.  Instead our pastor’s wife directed the craft making of a “stained glass window” with card boxes, transparencies, “jewels,” and markers.  They turned out to be quite lovely.

Last week several children chose to follow God’s kingdom instead of Satan’s kingdom.  Please pray for us as we follow up with the families who participated. 

I’m so thankful we were able to be part of it, and I can’t wait until next year!  What did your church do for VBS this year?  Would love to hear about it below!

To learn more about Kingdom Chronicles, click here.

“But Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.'” Matthew 19:14

Bragging On God

“Some trust in and boast of chariots and some of horses,
but we will trust in and boast of the name of the Lord our God.”
Psalm 20:7 (AMP)

We don’t usually go around boasting about ourselves.  With a trusted friend we might share the sense of accomplishment we have in learning how to whip up a new recipe.  Or we may confide with a sister-in-Christ the excitement of (after disciplined eating and exercise) now being able to zip our size ___ jeans again (without feeling like we are trying to fit a tuba through a button hole).

But, how often do we boast about God?  This is one of the BEST ways to share Christ with people without seeming pushy!  For example …

  1. She brings up the weather … “Yes! Didn’t God give us a beautiful day?!”
  2. She asks how you are doing … “Things have been challenging lately. but through the yucky dark tunnel, God has been shining His light.” (If there is time, “God has a way of bringing good out of bad. Do you mind if I share a couple of the amazing things God has been teaching me?”)
  3. She brings up a personal struggle … After listening: “I am so sorry.  I can kindof understand what you’re going through.  When I was in a difficult place, God brought some true encouragement my way.  I think it will help you, too. Do you have time for me to share a couple things with you?”
  4. In the check-out line“How are you doing?  Thank you for taking good care of us today!” Smile … you have a Bible verse on your check or on a pre-made card that you can hand to people who serve you in the the community – it can say, “Thank you!  We appreciate all you do!  … then a favorite Bible verse.”
  5. You meet someone with a Bible name“Oh, I like your name!  It reminds me of Esther in the Bible.” Then you may have a chance (based on their response) to continue talking about God and His Word.
  6. At Thanksgiving you take your neighbors some goodies“We thank God that you are our neighbors!”

Approach each person and situation with prayer for God’s guidance.  He will give you the discernment you need, to know today whether you should just smile or if this is an open door to brag on God. 

You might call this “teaching through the back door.”  Some people, at certain times, are much more apt to listen to your personal experience than a sermon.  And the glow of joy as you share will speak volumes.  They just might be drawn to God in you like a magnet.

Use your imagination!  You can practice this as a family, in a ladies Bible study, or with a close friend.  Bring up a scenario and brainstorm. See  how many ways you can bring Him into the conversation – not in a pious sounding way (bringing attention to yourself), but bragging about Him and what He is doing in your life!

How do you brag about God?  Please leave a comment below – we’d love to hear how God is using you.  You might give us an idea we may be able to use while shopping or walking through our neighborhood today. 

I Can’t Believe It’s Over!

We have one day left with our daughter Ama.  She leaves us on Tuesday . . . I can’t believe the year is over!

Ama isn’t a blood relative, but she has has lived with us for over ten months.  She’s seen us at our best and our worst!  Awhile back, when Josh asked if she was ever a baby in my tummy, I replied, “No, she is the daughter of my heart.”  Both she and Amira, who lived with us last school year, are so dear to me.  I am blessed to be their American mom! 

[Ama, my fellow woman on God’s mission just came into the kitchen looking for her camera. “The writing juices are flowing,” she observed, as she breezed past me.  After she explained her mission and we both said a prayer, she left to continue searching in her room.  I’m really going to miss praying with her.]

There were moments this past year when Ama and I felt like giving up.  But, God didn’t let us.  He faithfully gave us the strength we needed to grow through the challenges, produce fruit for His glory, and to end the year well.  He has given us the victory!

Ama will adjust quickly to her culture, but she will always be part of our family.  And I know that if I ever have the opportunity to visit Ghana (and I’m fully planning to go, if God and Tim will allow me!), I will find that I have a home and family there as well.

As we finish this two year journey of hosting exchange students, I am filled to overflowing with …

  • memories, LOTS of memories
  • humble thankfulness for the lessons I’ve learned
  • gratitude to God for His faithfulness 
  • joy when I remember the consistent encouragement, love, and prayers of friends and family
  • the fruit and growth God has cultivated in my life through amazing experiences
  • the gift of love I’ve received from two beautiful young women who are now permanently part of my heart and life

After the dust settles, I will tell you more about hosting exchange students; I feel like I could write a book!  For now, please reflect with me with thanksgiving to God for all that He has done!  Ama and I pray that God will continue to work in and through us as we part ways.  Ama, my precious sister in Christ, has already enthusiastically agreed to be the Representative and Coordinator for the African Branch of Women On God’s Mission! 🙂 

“Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”  Ephesians 3:20-21

I Like Salt


Do you have a sweet tooth or a salty one?  I am blessed with both.  But, if I had to choose between a restaurant appetizer or dessert … I’d probably pick cheesy fries over cheesecake. 

This past week, salt took on an entirely new dimension for me.  My sister Sharon highly recommends sea salt and vinegar potato chips dipped in Trader Joe’s salmon pate’.  Intense!  It was a pretty good mix, once I got used to the strong punch.  When I told Sharon about my startled reaction to her delicacy she laughed, using her waving arms to demonstrate, she said “I can feel the spray of the salty sea air blowing on my face when I eat those chips!” 

The Power of Salt
Our assorted palettes are fascinating. The blandest foods I’ve ever eaten were in Sweden and England.  When I visited Sweden, I was surprised to find that at most hamburger stands mashed potatoes are a popular option!  Swedish people typically like more bland foods: I am not a typical Svenska flicka (Swedish girl – my Mom is 100% Swedish).  If my taste buds are any indication, I must be a classic combination of Greek, Chinese, Japanese, Italian, Indian, and Mexican.

But, some flavors are too much for me.  For three years I lived in an apartment above a nice Vietnamese family.  For months the fragrance of their spices around dinner time gave me a headache and made me feel sick to my stomach; I could only imagine how their food tasted.  An Indonesian friend told me that his people tend to love spicy foods and that most Indonesian women like their food even hotter than what the men can handle, smiling as sweat pours off their face at the table.  My apologies if you are the exception: I’m sure there are varied taste buds in every culture.

What Flavor Am I?
Jesus said to His followers, 

“You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.” Matthew 5:13

          In God’s eyes, am I salty? 

                   And if I am salty, am I 100% salty? 

                          And if I am not 100% salty, am I still salty? 

Clearly, salt can lose its flavor. If it is contaminated with dirt or dust, it is no longer of value.   The contamination of sin in my life diminishes the saltiness God calls for in me.  My saltiness (Christlikeness) should cause those around me to feel as though they’ve eaten a tasty, savory snack when they are with me, causing them to thirst for Living Water.  Jesus is the only One Who can fill our deepest cravings and quench our thirsty souls.

Everything we eat (with the possible exception of plain rice cakes) has a flavor.  And most every food leaves an aftertaste. Compare how you would feel after tasting cod liver oil versus your favorite dessert: strawberry shortcake.  Quite different, right?!  And which one do you prefer?  That’s a silly question!

What kind of taste do you leave in people’s mouths after they spend time with you? 

Worth Your Weight In Salt
For a moment, imagine spending a day with Lot’s wife.  I can’t say that she’s on my “Top One Hundred Women I’d Like To Meet” list.  She looked for satisfaction in earthly things, and was no doubt left wanting.  She loved her earthly possessions more than God – walking by sight instead of faith.  As a result of Mrs. Lot’s poor choices, she became too salty, or salt of the wrong kind: frozen in time as a pillar of salt, alone and of use to nobody, including herself, herself and God.

We can become pure delightful saltiness by allowing God to refine us into 100% pure godly salt!  And our saltiness shouldn’t attract people to us … rather to Christ IN us. The savory flavor of Christ should be tasted in our:

1.   Words
“[Let] your speech always [be] with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.” Colossians 4:6

2.   Attitude
Have salt in yourselves, and have peace with one another.” Mark 9:50b

3.  Influence
“Then he went out to the source of the water, and cast in the salt there, and said, ‘Thus says the LORD: ‘I have healed this water; from it there shall be no more death or barrenness.’ ” 2 Kings 2:21

The next time we munch a lip-smacking snack, let’s remember to thank God for the opportunity we have to be salt for Him!
Pretzel image courtesy of Microsoft Office Free Images Online.