THE JOYFUL SERVANT

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When I was younger, in about seventh grade, I had the opportunity to go on my first mission trip with my youth group. We were only going to Michigan for a week, but it was an opportunity for me to experience what serving was all about. I was very excited because my best friend in the entire world was going on the trip with me. However, in order to pay for the trip, we had to raise funds. To do this, the youth leader arranged several ways for us to serve and raise the necessary funds.

One of the places we had an opportunity to serve was the pancake breakfast at the church on the square in Chardon during the Maple Festival. We would go at 7 am each day, write goofy name tags, tie each other’s aprons and get to work! Our job was to clean the sticky syrup off tables and trays and make the space ready for the next group of hungry guests. Sure, it sounds like it was boring work, but I had so much fun serving, especially alongside my best friend! We managed to raise enough funds and had an amazing week in Michigan serving with non-profit organizations!

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As the next year came around, me and my best friend signed up to serve at the pancake breakfast again. This time, we weren’t raising funds for anything, we just enjoyed serving so much together that we decided to do it again! And again, the year after that! We continued to do this throughout our high school career until we graduated and moved away to college. I will never forget the joy that I felt after serving. It was such a joyful opportunity to serve families that wanted to have a good breakfast before enjoying the Maple Festival.

As followers of Jesus Christ, serving is a very important job we each have. Yes, I said each. When we allow ourselves to operate in the power of the Holy Spirit, we quickly realize that we are given certain spiritual gifts that contribute to the body of Christ. Everyone’s gifting will be different. Some are called to stand in the pulpit and teach the Word. Others are called to play or sing on a worship team, serve as an usher, or work in children’s ministry.

If we are given gifts but try to live our lives using them for something other than the glory of God, we will often find ourselves unhappy and unfulfilled. Here’s a personal example. . . as many of you may know, I just spent the last four months in India. Because I flew there on January 1st, I had started my New Year’s Resolutions there. One of my resolutions was to write on my personal blog site at least twice a month, especially about my time in India.

As I started doing this, I noticed how many viewers I got. I noticed the number of followers increased. I had more viewers in one month than I did the previous year. This spurred the idea of writing more and doing more to gain more viewers, so I could influence more people and gain more followers. I mean, it’s not a bad goal to want to be a sensational internet blogger that many people know about, that is, unless it’s out of pride and to glorify one’s self.

Now, if any of you have known me for any length of time, you know that I love to write and have been since 2012. But, I have recognized it is a gift. One of my favorite subjects to blog about are the blogs I write for PAG as well as the devotionals I write for my own blog; no matter how many viewers those blogs get. Why? Because they are to glorify God, edify the Church, and not myself. They are to allow the Holy Spirit to use my God-given gift to glorify Jesus, not me. When I write for the Lord, it’s not me writing, it’s the Holy Spirit through me.

At the end of my trip, I stopped blogging. I stopped sharing what was happening and what God had been teaching me. The thought of trying to find time to sit down and reflect on what was happening in my life exhausted me. Therefore, I stopped using the gift. In fact, this is the first blog I have written in months (yes, that means I am failing at my New Year’s Resolution!). However, as I write this blog, my heart is overflowing with joy because I am using the gift that God has given me to glorify HIM and build up His Church! This is one of my outlets for serving.

Let me ask you: where are you serving? Where are you actively using the gifts given by the Holy Spirit to glorify God and build up your brothers and sisters in Christ? I know you may be saying, “well, I just don’t have the time”. But, Jesus didn’t say that when He died on the cross for you, did He? I want to encourage you to listen to Pastor Aaron’s sermon: “You are Called to Serve” in the sermon series “Live Your Calling”. Be open and allow the Holy Spirit to show you where you can plug in at PAG or the community around you and begin being an active servant in the Body of Christ.

Remember, “You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.”– Galatians 5.13

Jenny Bushnell

Check out the podcast, “Called To Serve” here!
http://www.painesvilleag.com/painesville-ag-messages/?enmse=1&enmse_sid=27

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Called To Become

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What is the goal of your life? Have you ever given that much thought? Pause for a moment and contemplate…

The goal of this life for the believer should not be getting to Heaven. Heaven is our destination! Our goal should be to become more like Jesus! In the sermon series, Live Your Calling, we are exploring how we have been called by God according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28)

God is calling us to become like Christ.

I have asked God consistently to help me become more like Jesus. I desire the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that I may know Him better. (Ephesians 1:17) He is faithful to answer this prayer!

Even though the Bible is complete, the God of the universe is still writing our stories. In 2 Corinthians 3, we read that we are “a letter from Christ, known and read by everyone; written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.” Yes, your life is a letter… a story, and Jesus is the Author. (Hebrews 12:2) He is intimately involved in writing the details; orchestrating our circumstances every day to draw us closer to Himself and into the purposes that He created for us before time began!

Let’s look at the five principles to becoming like Christ that we heard about in Sunday’s message.

* Simplify my Life

Hebrews 12:1 says, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.”

In 2013, the movie, Frozen, hit the big screen. My daughter, Faith, had just turned 3, and she loved it! She received a beautiful Elsa dress for Christmas that year. It had a button built into the fabric, and every time she pushed that little button, “Let it go, let it go! Can’t hold it back anymore. Let it go, let it go! Turn away and slam the door…” would resound from that dress, resound from my daughter, and resound from God. He speaks in many ways! J “Let it go” became my prophetic theme song in 2013 for a lot of things. It was time to deal with the weights that were slowing me down and the sin that was tripping me up.

What things are hindering you from living your calling?

*Don’t get Impatient or in a Hurry

This has definitely been a challenge! I must remind myself that becoming like Jesus is a lifelong process. It’s a marathon, not a sprint! Most of us hate to wait! We hate waiting in the check-out line, waiting for the light to turn green, waiting for the coffee to brew, waiting for that important phone call or text, and especially waiting on God to move on our behalf! “Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him” (Psalm 37:7) requires much humility! If there is one thing that I have heard consistently from God over the last few years, it’s, “Trust My Process”! I am in the process of learning to stop regularly to surrender to God in trust and accept His rhythm for my life. Ask Him to show you how you can do this, too.

*Spend Time Focusing on Jesus Every Day

The 19th-Century English poet, William Blake, wrote, “You become what you behold.” What is your primary focus each day? What or who do you think about most? What do you look at, read, listen to, talk about most of the time?  Neurological research shows that the more often we think about something (a specific thought), the more often that thought travels along the same neurological pathway. Eventually, that pathway gets deeply ingrained in the brain. The result is that the more often we think something, the more it will affect our thinking, how we feel, and how we behave.

In 2 Corinthians 3:18 it says, “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.” We can be mirrors that reflect the Lord’s glory! To fix our gaze on Him, and behold Him, and think about Him, and put Him before us again and again is the key to becoming like Him. Let us ask Him for unveiled, face-to-face encounters!

*Gather a Team to Run with Me

We were not created to run this marathon of faith by ourselves. We need others in our lives to spur us on toward love and good deeds. Consider the fellow saints of the early church. They “devoted themselves” to teaching, fellowship, communion, and prayer. (Acts 2:42-47) They were committed to sharpening each other and doing life together. “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” (Proverbs 27:17) When two iron blades are rubbed together; the edges become sharper, which makes the knives more effective in their purpose. When we spend time with other brothers and sisters in Christ, exhorting, encouraging, praying, and hiding God’s word in our hearts, we become sharper, more effective in the calling the Lord has assigned to our lives.

Who are your teammates during this season of life? If you don’t have anyone to run alongside you, ask God to send just the right person into your life.

*Realize What I Don’t Finish, God Will

I recently attended the funeral of dear friend. The reverend who preached her eulogy related life to a race, but he used the analogy of a relay race. A relay racer carries a baton, which he or she passes onto the next runner. There is a short period of time, right before the hand off of the baton, that the runners are running side-by-side. For believers the baton is the Gospel, and we are running for the glory of God. As others run alongside us, may we be faithful to pass the baton onto the next generation. We can be “confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6) We can be confident that whatever God starts, He will finish.

Remember that becoming like Jesus is a lifelong process. He is always working and orchestrating the circumstances of our lives to transform us into His likeness with ever increasing glory. Keep running with endurance, my friend! He is waiting for us on the other side of the finish line!

~Jenny Gallion

You can check out Sunday’s podcast here! http://www.painesvilleag.com/painesville-ag-messages/?enmse=1&enmse_sid=27

LEARNING HONOR

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When you hear the word “honor”, what images come to mind? I tend to get images of a king dressed in gold garments, surrounded by a host of servants. Maybe your mind thinks of the fifth commandment that says: “honor your father and mother”. What does honor look like to you? This is something I have seen acted out and shown in many ways as I have been studying abroad in India for the past 3 months.

One of the biggest efforts of honor shown among this culture is how students, even children, respond to their elders, professors, and parents. It is instilled in them from an early age to call their elders “Ma’am” and “Sir”. It is with utmost respect that they show honor to these very important people in their lives. Also, there are extreme standards that are applied to the family unit and in the classroom. For example, students must come dressed in proper attire, they can’t eat in class, and sometimes they can’t even cross their legs. This is to show that they are honoring and giving full attention and respect to the professor, parent, or elder.

I have also personally experienced receiving honor here in India. I have two internships. For the first, I teach life skills to students at a community college. Each morning they have a devotion time where my supervisor shares a scripture along with a message. During this time, I sit in a plastic chair in the back of the room. When this time is over, I always attempt to pick up my chair and stack it on top of the other plastic chairs, but it never fails where one of the students will immediately come and take the chair out of my hands, telling me ‘no’. They do this because they see it as their job to make sure I, the teacher, do not have to do too much work.

In my second placement, I spend long hours in the villages of an indigenous tribal group. The people of the villages are not used to getting visits from foreigners. Usually, when they have visitors, the visitors will sit on a mat or even just the ground. Many times, I have tried to do this, but after a minute of sitting on the ground, someone from the village brings a chair for me to sit on. Feeling obligated, because they went to the extreme measures to find a chair for me, I always sit in the chair while the rest of my fieldwork team sits on the ground.

At first, I struggled with these great efforts to show honor. However, after about a month, I realized there was nothing I could do about it. There were times where it would go so far as someone carrying my umbrella to keep me shaded, or even paying for my meals when I already had my cash out, ready to pay. I have come to grips realizing that this is a huge part of the Indian culture and I would just need to embrace their way of life.

As I reflect on this culture’s importance of honor, it reminds me that we too, are supposed to show honor. We are called, as followers of Christ, to show honor to one another, His delegated authority, and more importantly, God Himself. The act of showing honor can seem like such a big event or difficult task to achieve, but we can do so by being obedient to God, putting Him before anything else, and respecting the laws and principles He’s established. Why? Because as you’ll hear in this week’s podcast, honor and faith (or belief) are tied together and directly relate to whether Jesus can do miracles in our midst. You won’t want to miss this life-changing teaching: http://www.painesvilleag.com/painesville-ag-messages/?enmse=1&enmse_sid=25

If we want to be a people who are exponentially growing individually, and as a church, we must embrace a culture of honor. As a church, we need to do so in unity. Be prepared to learn how you can integrate these two practices into your life and the Church!

Jenny Bushnell

Oh Lord, Hear My Prayer

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This week I have experienced a greater understanding of my walk with the Lord.  I’ve been driven to my knees in prayer.  I’ve had periods of great tears and my life has become more real regarding my love for Jesus.  It’s hard for me to describe this kind of change in me except to say that I’m learning what true submission is.  I say “learning” because submission has many steps.  I fought with this over and over again because God created in me a desire to lead.  He made me that way for His purpose, but many times I try to take over.  I want to “help” God.  This past week, I reached a place of submission that has taken me to the foot of The Cross.

I’m not trying to be super-spiritual.  That’s what happened.  Why this week?  I think it’s because recently, during the Sunday services at our church, the presence of the Holy Spirit has been overwhelming due to the deliberate attention that’s been given to the command to submit.  Our Pastors have brought messages from God that deal with submission and repentance that we, as the Body of Christ, need to hear.  Many times I think when we’re called to the altar of repentance, we’re reluctant.  Bearing our hearts to the Lord is hard.  It makes us vulnerable.  We display we need help.  For me, that is hard.  But I am so thankful for the time in repentant prayer.

The Bible makes reference to repentance 78 times.  It seems to be pretty important.  The Father’s desire from the beginning of time has been to spend eternity with us.  For us to always be with Him.  That has not changed… we have changed.  Sin separates us from Him.  We become sick when sin fills our hearts.  Jesus said this, “Jesus answered them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.” I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” Luke 5:31-32 (NKJV) I remember what people said to me when I caught the flu a few months ago.  It was contagious and when people asked how I was, I had to tell them that I was sick.  Their response many times was, “Stay away from me.  Don’t come near to me.  I don’t want to catch it.”  Isn’t this what happens when we have unrepentant sin in our heart?  God is saying, “I love you.  I desire for you to be with Me.  But I can’t come near you.”

So, going back to the last few days, my life has been changed.  It’s been challenged certainly, but also changed.  Submission is work.  But it’s a necessary work if we want to be able to go to new levels of love in Jesus.  My desire since the day I accepted Jesus was to walk with Him and honor Him with my life.  Submission in necessary.  When we fight submission, the world’s view takes over.  The enemy will use our reluctance to submit against us.  The enemy did that with me.  I must submit to the will of God and His purposes each day.  Each day I pray “…a little less of me and a lot more of You”.

Jesus said,” For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” Luke 19:10 (NKJV) You see, Jesus came and ministered on this earth, was beaten and crucified, died and buried, arose from the grave, so that we could be with Him.  He came for the lost.  All of us.

And Praise the Lord for this promise: “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” John 14:1-3 (NKJV)

Where does it start?  Submission and repentance for the sin in our hearts.  Submission starts with a life of prayer, and yes, even times of fasting.  Fasting places me in another place of submission.  It says for me that “I place all things under submission so that my relationship with You, Jesus, is of utmost of importance”.  I need to set aside time each day… seeking the Lord, submitting my heart, praying and fasting.  It’s an ingredient for a growing relationship with Jesus.  And I think that what I have been witnessing in my church is, it’s an ingredient for a growing Church.

Friend, prayer and submission to the Lord leads to repentance.  Repentance leads to a greater relationship with the Lord.  A greater relationship with the Lord will lead to a place where God can fulfill His purpose in you.  This is what the Apostle Paul said, “Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.” Philippians 2:12-13 (NKJV)

Click on the podcast link to hear a powerful message on the “5 Ingredients for a Growing Church, Part 1” – http://www.painesvilleag.com/painesville-ag-messages/?enmse=1&enmse_sid=25

May the Lord richly bless you! I pray that you will desire a greater relationship with God.  I believe that there are powerful steps we can take to begin to prepare the way for what the Lord desires to do in your life and in His Church!

George

REND YOUR HEARTS

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Rend your heart
and not your garments.
Return to the Lord your God,
for he is gracious and compassionate,
slow to anger and abounding in love,
and he relents from sending calamity.

Joel 2:13

As I spent time weeping at the altar, after hearing such powerful truth proclaimed on Sunday (you can check it out here: http://www.painesvilleag.com/painesville-ag-messages/?enmse=1&enmse_sid=23), the Holy Spirit brought this verse to my mind. I have spent much of today chewing on it.

The test of true repentance is what you tear.

In the Old Testament we can read about how people tore their clothes as a sign of repentance and then put on rags called sackcloth. But the One who looks at our hearts isn’t satisfied with external rituals. Joel told God’s people to tear their hearts and not their clothing because tearing our clothes doesn’t hurt or bring lasting transformation.

In order for true revival to come, our hearts must be broken over our sin.

Nearly a decade ago, I read an amazing little book entitled, Calvary Road, by Roy Hession, a post-WWII evangelist in England, who knew he had lost the power of the Spirit in his life, and, in 1947, met leaders of the East African Church which was experiencing revival. It was then that he recognized his deep personal need.

He says it like this, “Revival is just the life of the Lord Jesus poured into human hearts.”

But before this can happen, our proud, unyielding self must be broken. “So often self tries to live the Christian life, and as long as self is in control, God can do very little with us.”

Self is most certainly a hindrance for revival.

Before I left the sanctuary on Sunday, I sat with my journal for a moment as I sensed the Holy Spirit wanting me to write some things down. This is from my personal journal, so I know it was for me. You can decide if it’s for you, as well.

You’re asking for a “fresh outpouring”, but you’re still full of yourself. Remember what you heard today… “You must have your own Calvary before you can have your Pentecost.”

Rend your heart and not your garments. Let Me “tear the fabric” of your heart and come to you… cleanse you and heal you. I desire to leave “nothing left unshaken”.

If you hunger for more of Me, I will come to you and make My home in you. Do you have room for Me?

You often pray… “Break my heart for what breaks Yours”, but do you really desire what you’re asking for?

What breaks My heart is your sin. It’s time to repent. Come away with Me, My Beloved, and let Me fill you with Myself.

“The only life that pleases God and that can be victorious is His life – never our life, no matter how hard we try. But inasmuch as our self-centered life is the exact opposite of His, we can never be filled with His life unless we are prepared for God to bring our life constantly to death. And in that we must co-operate by our moral choice.” ~ Hession

Consider your heart as an empty cup. Jesus, the Living Water, looks into your cup, and if it is clean, He will fill it to overflowing with Himself. This is revival. This is what our world needs.

Hession says, “Only one thing prevents Jesus from filling our cups as He passes by, and this is sin in one of its thousand forms. The Lord Jesus does not fill dirty cups. Anything that springs from self, however small it may be, is sin…But all of them were put into that other cup, which the Lord Jesus… drank to the dregs at Calvary – the cup of our sins. And if we will allow Him to show us what is in our cups and then give it to Him, He will cleanse them in the precious blood that still flows for sin.”

There is a fountain filled with blood,
Drawn from Immanuel’s veins,
And sinners plunged beneath that flood
Lose all their guilty stains.

~William Cowper, 1771

Come to the fountain and let Jesus cleanse you from all that keeps you from abiding with Him. He wants to be your ALL!

Jesus longs to fill us with His Spirit through our brokenness, repentance, and confession. Even sin we cannot see is made visible when we come before the One who loves us most. He’s waiting for us to rend our hearts in two, expose and confess our sin, and “return to the Lord your God” emptied of self and ready to BE FILLED.

Let Him pour out, fresh and anew, more of Himself into your hungry heart. May we, like David, be able to proclaim, “My cup runneth over!” (Psalm 23:5)

We need a fresh outpouring, Lord!

Yes… Let revival come, and let it begin with me!

~Jenny Gallion

Pivotal Circumstances in India?

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It was 5:35am when the wheels of the Boeing 787-9 British Airways aircraft met the grounds of Chennai, India. I had been awaiting this adventure since October of 2016 and here I was over a year later finally achieving the dream of studying abroad in India. The first few days went by rather fast. It was total immersion into the Indian culture: the food, the heat, the clothing, etc. However, by the third day, everything caught up to me and I got sick in the middle of the night. I could not participate in the next day’s event and was left alone to get well in our hostel. After about 24 hours, I was better.

It was such a honeymoon phase to finally be in India. Everything amazed me and I wanted to try everything. However, the honeymoon phase “phased” out when we went on our first long excursion. We took a train for 7 hours, then a bus for 3 hours, and then walked for another hour to reach an NGO (Non-Government Organization) that worked with scheduled tribes in India. We would be visiting a few of them for a few days. When they showed us where we would be staying, I was okay with it at first, but eventually, as the days went on, my patience was running thin. We slept on paper thin mats on cold concrete floor. The bathroom was nearly always flooded from the bucket showers, and there was a giant spider in it. When we returned from the trip, however, I felt so much stronger having made it through that experience.

We continued to learn more about the culture and eventually started our field placements. Slowly, but surely, I began to find the things that conflicted me the most about the culture. People here eat with their hands (or just their right hand to be exact). There is never any toilet paper, so you must remember to carry your own. I won’t even talk about the traffic (just YouTube “Traffic in India”). And then, of course, the food itself. I just wanted to enjoy it, but it was always too hot and spicy for me. Fortunately, another student from my home university came with me and we were able to vent and eventually embrace these cultural differences.

About a month in, I got sick again. This time, I was fighting a fever for four days and could barely even walk to the bathroom because my head was spinning so bad. By this time, the other student had already started her field placement, so I was again left alone where I was  bored and sick in our hostel. In the moments of lying there sick, I had two thoughts on my mind: Do I have some form of malaria that my pills aren’t effective in fighting off  and therefore I’m  going to die here? And: God, why did you bring me here? Yes, I thought I was going to die (but don’t worry, it honestly wasn’t that bad, I was just a wimp).

I began to question what my purpose was in this foreign land if all I was going to do was just lay in bed half the time. Why did God bring me to a culture so much more diverse than my own? Living in India has become the hardest thing I have ever done in my  entire life. At one point, I even looked up plane tickets to come home.

That was when the conviction came. God said to me, you are not going home, you need to stay the course. It was like a lightbulb went off in my head because, it was then, that I finally understood. God wanted me to be here to go through all this “suffering” and chaos for His glory. I then proceeded to pick up my faith again, believing that God would either heal me miraculously from this sickness, or walk through it with me. I decided to no longer allow this experience to negatively impact my experience in India.

I am happy to say that I am still in India, a week after being sick for the second time, and still recovering. 🙂

Friends, have you ever felt like things were just so wrong and out of control that surely, they can’t be from God? That is how this experience has felt at times. But it’s in the moments where I realize that, even in my minute suffering, God is with me and desiring that I lean on Him more. This is how God uses pivotal circumstances in our lives to grow our faith. Check out Pastor Aaron’s message this week to hear more examples, Biblical context, and a message of encouragement about going through life’s difficult circumstances: http://www.painesvilleag.com/painesville-ag-messages/?enmse=1&enmse_sid=21

Don’t give up when the going gets tough, friends, stay the course! I know that God is going to use the pivotal circumstances I have in India to grow my faith and force me to rely on His strength instead of my own.

Make it a great week!
Jenny Bushnell

Who’s Plan Has Your Allegiance?

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Do you want to hear something really exciting?

“You are God’s masterpiece. He has created you anew in Christ Jesus, so you can do the good things he planned for you long ago.”  (Ephesians 2:10 NLT)

If you have trusted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior from sin, then Almighty God, Creator of heaven and earth, calls YOU and equips YOU to partner with Him in the advancement of His Kingdom on earth! YOU are the hands and feet of Jesus as YOU walk in step with His Spirit, who lives within YOU!

How amazing is that!? God has spoken destiny into each of our lives! He has created us with an amazing plan and purpose!

But, so often, we get caught up in our day-to-day lives, become near-sighted, and forget the bigger picture. We live for the here and now rather than for eternity. We forget about that amazing plan God has for us, and we pledge allegiance to our own plan and agenda. Ouch!

It’s important to remember that God has given each of us natural gifts and talents, spiritual gifts, personal experiences, material resources, different educations and jobs… etc. He’s given us each a story, and Jesus is the Author of our stories and the Perfecter of our faith! Yes…

He wants to use you!

He’s not looking for perfect people, but those who are available, teachable and authentic. He’s not looking at our pasts, our failures, or our weaknesses like we do.

Want to hear some more exciting news?

Our pasts do not disqualify us from being used by God! And for that matter, neither does our age, our personality type, gender, education, ethnicity, health condition, socioeconomic status… you get the point.

The pages of history they tell me it’s true
That it’s never the perfect; it’s always the ones with the scars that You use
It’s the rebels and the prodigals; it’s the humble and the weak
The misfit heroes You chose
Tell me there’s hope for sinners like me.

~ Matthew West “Broken Things”

Consider Moses, whom God chose to return to Egypt, confront Pharaoh, and lead the Israelites out. God clearly got Moses’ attention when He called him from his wilderness wandering. (I suppose hearing a voice coming from a burning bush would stop me in my tracks, too!) After God announced that He had chosen Moses to carry out His rescue mission, Moses responded with excuse after excuse as to why He was not qualified to do what God was asking of him.

How about you? Do you yearn to hear God’s voice? Have you asked Him what His plan is for your life? Perhaps you’ve already heard Him speaking to you, but you are too afraid to step out in faith. We can waste so much time making up excuses, ignoring His voice, which is disobedience, and miss out on the opportunities He’s giving us. Oh Lord, let it not be so!

“Obey God in the thing He shows you, and instantly the next thing is opened up… God will never reveal more truth about himself until you have obeyed what you already know” ~ Oswald Chambers

God has used me in various ministries throughout the different seasons of my life. Each new ministry opportunity has not only strengthened my faith in God, but has helped me to learn a little bit more about myself and the passions God has placed within me.

God spoke so clearly to my heart last May, and He used the passage in Exodus 4 to do so. Like Moses, I was in a season of wandering, overwhelmed by what I perceived as failures, and unsure how God could use me at that point.

But God, as He so often does, met me in the middle of that wilderness, and opened the door for me to do what I’m doing right now… blogging for Painesville Assembly. I have to admit, I wasn’t quite sure what blogging was, and like Moses, I started rambling off my excuses as to why I would not be able to say “yes” to this ministry.

Like Moses, I felt inadequate and a bit fearful.

But God said, “I will be with you.” (Exodus 3:12)

Like Moses, I knew I didn’t have all the answers and people may not believe me or listen to me.

But God said, “I AM…” the answer. (Exodus 3:14)

Like Moses, I did not feel gifted to do what He was asking me to do.

But God
said, “Who gave man his mouth? Is it not I, the Lord? Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.” (Exodus 4:11a, 12)

And that was the scripture God gave me last May to confirm that He would continue to equip me for His service!

Yes, like Moses, we can have plenty of objections to God’s call to personal ministry, but who knew Moses better than Moses? And who knows you better than you? The Great I AM does! He desires to grow your faith. Personal ministry can be scary and exciting at the same time; stretching and rewarding. Remember, God created you for Kingdom purpose! God’s power accompanies what we already have in our hands if we use it according to His direction, and God gives us the same promise he gave Moses,

“I will be with you.”

Jenny Gallion

Consider listening to the powerful message from The Miracle of Mercy series (5/21/17). It’s entitled “God Can Use Anybody”. (http://www.painesvilleag.com/painesville-ag-messages/?enmse=1&enmse_sid=6&enmse_mid=9&enmse_av=1)