Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Wednesday's Word-Would you like a drink?

I am officially changing "Wednesday's Word" to "Weekly Word."
I can't commit to a particular day when God is going to give me something to pass on.
I hope you can forgive me.

Does the title make you think of:
A) The woman by the well.
B) Living Water
or C) A drink offering.

I'm going with C today.
You comin'?

Alrighty then!

Philippians Chapter 2: 14-17 says, "Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life-in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing. But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service coming from your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you. So you too should be glad and rejoice with me."

First of all, if you're looking to me for information on how to do EVERYTHING without complaining and/or arguing, exit this blog. Exit quickly. Actually, if you look at all the things that MUST be done in order to keep a ministry running, not all of it is fun! Dallas and I started Young Life in our town. Young Life EQUALS fun! Yes. But, STARTING it up from scratch without any other leaders equals HARD, LONG ROAD AHEAD, CURVES, WATCH FOR FALLING ROCK, kinda "fun." Maybe you can relate. In all THIS, God is telling us not to complain or argue. We're supposed to be DIFFERENT than the "crooked and depraved" generation around us! THEY are the ones who complain and argue about everything! We're supposed to be the breath of fresh air to these people! WE are supposed to "shine like stars in the universe!" So, the quick tutorial on how to "shine like stars" is this: Don't complain or argue.

If you are, right this very minute, saying, "Kelly, easy for Paul to say...he made friends and had help in ministry everywhere he WENT!" Consider this: Paul...was in PRISON...when he wrote this. He wasn't traveling a long day's travel by foot to the next town. He wasn't a freshman in college having a hard time making friends. He was in PRISON, folks! PRISON! And, I'm just gonna take a WILD guess and suppose that prison in THOSE days wasn't exactly like prison in THESE days! Still, Paul was sending letters of encouragement to these churches that he had established. He was shining like a star through communication AND through his circumstance.
Easy Peasy, right?!
Not so much.

Around the 2 and a half year mark of starting Young Life in our town, Dallas and I were spent. I do mean SPENT! I had come up with a topic to teach a Bible Study on EVERY Wednesday for two and a half years. I learned to play guitar since there was no hope for more leaders. I had made homemade chocolate chip cookies every single Wednesday for 2 and a half YEARS! I had been out with SO many girls...met SO many high school kids...gone to SO MANY GAMES I cannot even COUNT! That kind of spent. That was back when I only had two kids. !) That's back when I asked EVERY SINGLE PERSON I KNEW to help us in our ministry...back when I kept getting THIS excuse, "Oh, sorry. I'm too busy." (I KNOW you've heard that excuse!)
Actually, reading this, I think Paul sitting in prison, resting and writing letters sounds like it was probably a reprieve! A time of rest for him! When I think back on the stress, tears, prayers...being in prison would have been a nice break! And then we started CLUB (the crazy, FUN part of Young Life). In one semester, we went from having only our faithful Campaigners-about 15 high school kids-in our house on Wednesday nights, to having another 65 kids in our house on Tuesday nights! Then we got pregnant with Darby. We continued...alone. That fall, we started off our YL semester with 85 kids in our house! I had Darby by C-section, so we took one week off. The first week back, we had 100 kids in our basement that heard "The Cross Talk." We kept on until the Spring, at which point I called our Area Director and told him that I was praying about stepping down after camp.

Every been poured out like THAT?
I KNOW some of you HAVE!!!
I KNOW some of you are being poured out like that right NOW!
Ministry? Mommyhood? Marriage? Life?
What keeps you going?
What kept me going?

Well, I can honestly say that what kept ME going is the same thing that kept PAUL going: He saw the fruit of his labor! He SAW his "babies" shining like stars "as [they held out] the word of life..."! I saw "our Campaigners" growing like CRAZY in their faith! I saw them clinging...CLINGING to Jesus! I saw them burdened for their friends with at LEAST the same amount of burden that I had...probably MORE! And, Paul KNEW that one glorious day-"the day of Christ"-that he would be able to say, "SEE?!!! It wasn't for NOTHING!!! I didn't labor in VAIN!!!" He fully acknowledged that he was being poured out like a drink offering. He fully acknowledged that what came along with helping these people become people of strong faith, was sacrifice and service on his part, and he was glad and rejoiced along with them!

If you are spent, poured out to near empty, sacrificing and serving until you have nothing left, be encouraged by seeing people "shine like stars!" They people young in their faith NEED to drink of your wisdom. They NEED you to pour the word into them so they can drink it up! You MUST be a drink offering so THEY can shine like stars, too!

Be encouraged!!! I can tell you that the week after I called our Area Director to tell him that I was likely stepping down, I got a call from a friend. She asked me what Young Life was and said it was right up their alley. At JUST the right time, God sent us not ONE, but TWO AMAZING leaders! He didn't send us people who were just along for the ride! He sent us people with an equal amount of burden...people who love high school kids as much as we do, and who are willing to pour themselves out, too!

So, next time someone "needs a drink," don't be afraid to pour out just a little bit more! ONE DAY, ONE GLORIOUS DAY, we will be able to say with Paul, "SEE!!! I DID NOT LABOR IN VAIN!!" Amen!

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