I was blank. How do you follow in such big footsteps?
When Lisa-Jo needed to hand off the visionary baton for (in)RL to someone else, and I was that person, I looked at God in disbelief and begged him for vision.
But I was empty.
Yes, we had team meetings and all brainstormed on what the theme should be for this year, and we even nailed “We Need Your Story” together as what we wanted to do for (in)RL 2014.
But, I didn’t have it. The heart part, you know? The deep down burning and realization of where God was taking us to be able to embark on all that has to happen to kick off a project like this…
Until He met me. Right there in my disbelief, in all my doubts, and in my fears. In levels of stress that were rising to teary-eyed conversations with close friends. It was like any other Sunday one could say, and honestly (sorry Pastor Clint) I don’t remember what the message was about or what even sparked this thought. But then it came…
“Sally, it’s about spreading My name.”
And immediately something in my heart lit up. God knew – that essential connecting thread (a realization many have probably already had) that had to surface for me to fully embrace this.
I have honestly not been very good at community in the past. God has had to convince me that I need it over the past three years, and oh, has He. And can I tell you? I so need it. I need it down to my core. But God is still teaching me (and will be for many years to come) how to be a faithful friend, even through the drama and the extra effort at times, on both ends. God is calling me to let go of those needs to control my “ok” state, to instead see how He’s going to work.
So, this revelation was huge for me, that community was not just getting together with your friends to have a warm, fuzzy time—which it is, and please have no doubt that I LOVE hosting and getting together with my friends. I’ll be the first to be giddy and jump up and down with the fast-hand-clap and high-pitched squeal over some good ol’ girl time—but that this whole idea of being part of the body of Christ and needing each other isn’t just so we can all feel better. But that, at the end of the day, the bigger picture is for His kingdom. For spreading the name of Jesus.
What I’m really getting at here is that we need to be intentional about building each other up in Christ, that we may be ambassadors for Him, in whatever venue that may be. Whether that’s in your moms group on Tuesday mornings, at Starbucks when you’re killin’ a few minutes, at the office among challenging coworkers, the daily grind and joys of raising little ones, or wherever God has us in this season.
“May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Romans 15:5-6 NIV
So, how does this relate to “We Need Your Story”? Well, it’s just that. As we learn each other’s stories—where we come from, what burns in our hearts, our hurts, our successes, our dreams—we are then able to connect better, understand each other, build each other up, and together glorify our Father in Heaven.
As a friend here in Kansas put it this week, we are ministers of the Gospel. Love that. Isn’t that what community is for? Yes, to be edified in each other, but at the end of the day, this edification is to draw us back to our Savior to then send us back into the world. We are called to go into all the nations preaching the Gospel. What a beautifully orchestrated plan God has laid out that we get to embark on that together, in all its different forms!
So, will you join us?
We’re so excited to giveaway 30 of these lovely ((together)) necklaces by Lisa Leonard to anyone registered for (in)RL by midnight tomorrow! Head over to this page to register, and then be sure to find (or start!) a Meetup to get together April 26th with friends in real life. If you want to learn more about the vision for this year’s (in)RL, you can watch the trailer here!
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