In keeping with the Lord's conviction to have an undivided heart, He has reminded me to stay focused on the ministry He has called me to...for now that is my family, young people, seekers and new believers. He's also given me a ministry of encouragement that falls into every relationship I have, but I find it easy to keep that one in tact, unlike the other sometimes.
"Get the Word out. Teach all these things. And don't let anyone put you down because you're young. Teach believers with your life: by word, by demeanor, by love, by faith, by integrity. Stay at your post reading Scripture, giving counsel, teaching. And that special gift of ministry you were given when the leaders of the church laid hands on you and prayed--keep that dusted off and in use." 1 Timothy 4:11-14, The Message
I've noticed with all the time I spend around the younger and the trendy, that I've been forced to conform a bit. I text. Got me a Facebook. Even got a bunch of "friends" on it. I enjoy ordering my Starbucks with the right name in the right order as fast as I can spit it out. Oftentimes, I shop in the junior section, cuz I like the style for the most part. (when I'm not in my lounge pants at home anyway). Contemporary Christian music rings well in my soul, even a few of the (shudder) rappy sounding ones (gasp). Love the sound of the phrase, "That's all I'm sayin," and "I'm on to you." Unfortunately, "Like" has like, you know, become a regular word in my vocabulary. Being in kids and youth ministry for years, this is all a natural part of who I am, the way I'm wired, the unique person that God made me to be.
As with anything, though, a line must be drawn. ONLY the Holy Spirit moving in and through us can convict us as to where that line should be. Here's mine:
I can be relevant without losing my reverence. Yup, that's the bottom line.
* I shalt not have eye candy coming out of the top or bottom of my blouse, (unless it's after hours for my husband's eyes only...winka). The thought of someone else's husband glaring at my chest or midriff or my own teenage son struggling not to stare at someone else's young wife or daughter is enough conviction for me. I can show my fun personality without spending a fortune OR trying to draw attention to myself with what I wear. And as a mommy, I vow not to buy my girls clothing with text across the front that says "FLIRT" or "I hate my Brother" or certainly not "HOT" or "DELICIOUS" (or any words at all frankly) glaring from their bottomside. There's a line, and I won't cross it.
1 Timothy 2:9a (NIV): "I also want women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety..."
* A huge thumbs down for the words "Oh my God," unless it's used respectfully in prayer or praise. I can't even stand the sight of "OMG" in texting and twittering. I realize the "G" can stand for "goodness" or "gah," but it's not the first thing that comes to one's mind...HIS holy name is ours to keep precious, to hold dear, not to use like the rest of the world does. Some think this is legalistic. I dare say... "NOT!" My Bible tells me which lines are not gray, and this is one of them.
Exodus 20:7 (The Message) "No using the name of God, your God, in curses or silly banter; GOD won't put up with the irreverent use of His name."
* I will not stop treasuring the old hymns, while still enjoying worship music of all kinds. No matter the beat or the rhythm, I will especially hold dear the songs that are rich in meaning and hold to correct theology. However, I won't cause division in the Body or turn up my nose to those who prefer a different sound than me, as long as it stays in line with God's Truth.
Psalm 149:1 (The Message): "Hallelujah! Sing to GOD a brand-new song, praise Him in the company of all who love Him."Ephesians 5:19-20 (NIV): "Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ."
*I shall not be on Facebook or email or text or blog more than I am with my God or my friends and family and community, real and in person. I'll remember that a "live" hug does way more for my children than a virtual one will do for anyone. The Lord is watching how I spend His time, and though I can make a difference through the world wide web and the potential it has to offer, there is no doubt in my mind that the largest difference comes from knowing Jesus more...which means spending time with Him. Though I'll text my kids as needed and sometimes just for fun, I won't forget to show them what it means to look them in the eye and say "I love you."
Mark 12:30-32 (NIV): "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no commandment greater than these."
*I dare not forget to look in the eye and give a smile to the person serving my iced venti vanilla nonfat latte at the drive-thru. As much as I'm there, I shall make the effort to learn their names and as much about them as possible without making the car behind me honk at my lack of courtesy. And while I'm at it, I may as well remember that my money is the Lord's money, and as He allows me to spend it in pleasure, I will do so making a difference in attitude and action with the people in my path, maybe even paying forward a purchase or two.
Colossians 4:5 (The Message): "Use your heads as you live and work among outsiders. Don't miss a trick. Make the most of every opportunity. Be gracious in your speech. The goal is to bring out the best in others in a conversation, not to put them down, not cut them out."
*And like, as much as I need to be able to communicate with, you know, my kids and their friends, and many of the youth at church who keep in touch, I won't forget that most of my words are to be used for praise, and I would be well to remember to like, well...listen more than speak. And I'll not get so totally flippant and loose with my words that I show disrespect to God or another person, which is so easy to do, ya know?
James 1:19b: "Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry..."1 Peter 4:11a: "If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God."
Here in this city that I live, Lord, I know that You have called me toward seekers, young people and new believers, and relevance is important in order to reach these people around me. But dare I never forget reverence to you in the process. May I be holy and devoted to you without becoming self-righteous or indignant toward others. May I listen more, and speak less. May I "be" just what You want me to be to someone else, without even having to try...help me to completely do away with the need to be understood, and ask for help in understanding others instead. Lead me to offer Your help or Truth to someone without allowing them to trample me or lean on me too hard in the process. Remind me to remind them to lean on You, that You are the Only ONE who can meet their deepest needs. And may I do it all in the awesome glory of Your name, Amen.
In the Key of HE,