Called to ministry? Called to Jesus.

Reading Mark 1:16-20

“As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. ‘Come, follow me,’ Jesus said, ‘and I will make you fishers of men.’ At once they left their nets and followed Him. When He had gone a little farther, He saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John in a boat, preparing their nets. Without delay He called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed Him.”

I love all that’s packed into this passage wherein Jesus calls the first disciples. He was calling these men into ministry, and yet within that call, perhaps more completely woven to it and compelling altogether, is the call to follow Him. This is a personal engagement. He called these men specifically, personally.

As Jesus brings us into ministry with people, He calls us fully to His own ministry. This, I believe, isn’t merely as though He’s the “head honcho” and we follow Him about to do His bidding. It is a sustained ministry, meaning He calls us to minister to us. And the fullness and abundance of that “following Him” will bring a fruit: a resulting ministry of “catching” men. Jesus called the disciples to come away with Him (see Mark 6:31.) They spent daily life together. Jesus spent time teaching them and experiencing life with them—ministering the truth and giving of Himself. There was relationship. And as these simple men followed, they came into the fullest ministry—full, meaning, out of the abundance of walking with and knowing Jesus came the overflow of catching others up in the same “net.”

Jesus said He would make them fishers of men. This means process. We are all works in process and without receiving from the personal ministry of the Lord we cannot maintain an outreaching ministry to people. They are indivisible. As we take Jesus’ hand, He, Himself, will personally lead us each into daily opportunities of ministry as well as the more defined “callings” for life as a whole. But I am blessed to know that He makes us fishers of men. We don’t make ourselves that “in the name of Jesus” as though a self-determined duty. He personally calls us just as He called out to the men in those boats. He gives Himself to us fully—He did on the cross! And He will continue that life-giving ministry in our lives, and our lives will be life-giving ministries as a natural result.

The call to ministry is a call to Jesus. Let’s not get caught up in the “ideas” of serving, loving, giving, and reaching out so that those things become the goal of our striving. Let’s strive to simply be with Jesus and follow Him. If we’re constantly with Him we’ll find He’s constantly doing ministry. In us and then in others too.

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nap”less”time

My child has boycotted sleep today. I know it’s a common tale. But not common enough to make it a simple thing. What’s common does not equate simplicity. A familiar story doesn’t make it any less than what it truly is: tiring, depleting, sigh….. It’s that kind of day. And though relatable, it’s a present burden that is exactly what “burden” means.

My poor child has found exhaustion and can’t get over it to the beautiful tides of sleep. I, however, could now, at 6:30pm, drift into bliss without a pause. This comfy couch, dim lit room, and then those brief moments of stillness between her fusses welcome and tempt the tired mind. I am tired. Not just my mind. And the still interrupted by the fuss accentuates the fact.

There’s a journal to my right, barely touched; penning prayers is rather difficult in this tired moment. My Bible tops it, even another book lies to my left, neither of which I can gather the kind of concentration to read. So I’m sitting. And every time a pause amidst the crying extends one second, and then another, until it gapes with my hopes that the quiet will stay, I long to sink into the calm. Many times I’m dismayed to find it doesn’t last at all. And my poor little girl goes on with her song of exhaustion. But now… perhaps this time will last.

It didn’t.

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reflective ramblings

Time to reflect.

The back windows of the apartment let in mixtures of neighborhood traffic, dogs barking, children crying, and, presently, I sit with the loaming outside and the sounds of my own baby’s fussing rolling down the stairs. The prayer is that she’ll find herself to sleep on this day when she hasn’t been all too successful in keeping it deeply. It’s a new thing for this little one when she’s slept so well and been so chill. The horizon always changes with a newborn. And it comes with the reminder that now, with an emphasis more than ever, I have no control. If only I could make her sleep and keep her sleeping. It’s out of my hands.

The tail end of our communal iced latte is slowly growing more diluted at the bottom of the cup. And I find myself taking Indian-style on the couch wanting to mull over the larger scope of life. So much change. Danny, the hubs, just mentioned earlier how it will be five years this August since that fateful day we met at the end of a sidewalk and our hearts began intertwining. They’ve woven themselves down a crazy road to here: almost 14 months married, moved from home, made a baby. And now “home” is in Medford. For eight months now it’s slowly morphed into that status. When “home” has been elsewhere, particularly one place your whole life, it takes time for the word to truly relocate to the physical reality. But I think it’s finally made it, more or less. Though the reality is still a transition. Life has been one ongoing transition for the past two years! From high school and college graduation, to engaged, to married, to dot, dot dot. Packing in the new experiences to this blurb called life. At least the part of it that’s here, at least. It’s more just a blurb amidst the span of eternity that our reality is subject to

I ramble into deeper things. Guess that’s easy to do. And it’s meandered me into a different setting: Danny’s finished putting the bike away, which he had earlier been working on in the back alley, and now sits beside me, book in hand. I had to remind him of our communal latte still melting away on the coffee table. It’ll get drunk.

We the parents ending the day side-by-side on the couch. It’s a good tradition to be kept. Good conversation, needed reflection, discussion, fellowship and friendship, and the goodness of love growing all can so easily come out on the couch. Even our own private occupations done alongside each other still equates to quality time: he with his book, me with the laptop clickin away. I’ve seen how well we thrive in the grace abounding from evening couch time. God, thank You for our craigslist couch.

The babe’s been quiet for a while now. Bliss for us, and I pray for her. It’s amazing to see her grow. I don’t even feel like I now this baby girl, my daughter, nearly at all. I’m still coming to grips with the reality that she came from me; part Danny, part me, miracle of God. I love her little sweetness. And as I must study and get to know her cues for feeding, sleeping, gas, pooping, etc, it will all transition into finding out her personality, her marvels, her designed beauty. Crazy. This is a lot of life and a lot of new.

Guess bedtime should come sooner tonight. Who knows what this “new” fussy baby will be doing come wee hour feeding. Grace for that.

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daily

daily

It’s a date

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06/25/2012 · 5:04 PM

love covereth

Take these frustrations
The relentless wounds
Take these issues
And the slurs that brew

Wash away my sin of not forgetting
Of lashing over past crimes
Renewing sorrows and freshening sap
Basking in the bitter bites that could fade:
The things that stifle and cease the abundance:
Everything that lives when love simply covereth.

Blow away to no remembrance
What sickens and makes an unsightly soul.
What grievances should be readdressed
When blood has since cried,
The flow already dressed them?

No more sorrow should be had for the sins that have grieved
I need not play out the suffering that was complete
It was enough. Once. And done.

Take them to burial
These losses be lost
It was dealt with in death
I need not deal it out for, then, my keeping
Let it be. Let it rest.
Let Your love simply covereth.

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I am an introvert.

I am an introvert.

There’s a lot of pressure when you run with this crowd. In fact, we’re a crowd that doesn’t really run together because we’re all a lot more content being by ourselves or in small numbers. I’m one on a more moderate scale, I suppose. And, problem is, I feel often mistaken for an extrovert. I don’t always walk around in a shell, that is. Actually, I can be very quickly and readily down to earth, which is why, I feel, people expect me to thrive amidst social settings. But, in reality, people can drain me. And I have to be willing to receive this as ok rather than feel pressured by the rest of society that it’s some kind of disorder. Because I do feel pressured and I feel it so much more keenly now, as one still working out their sea legs into adulthood. I have a habit of taking on a certain guilt for being the way I am. And it takes the people nearest and dearest to me to help me even begin to feel comfortable with myself. God made me an introvert. And, as such, I need time away from people, I don’t always say hi to every person I know that I see walking by me at the store, I can’t just do anything social on a whim.

This doesn’t mean I’m not outgoing. I actually can be and sometimes surprise myself at how readily. But, at the end of the day, I need space. And, particularly when thrown into new things, I can only have with me a certain few that I feel completely comfortable with. It’s not something I want others to take personally. It’s just how I am. And it’s really hard to be this way. Because if I’m not willing to exert this reality at all, I constantly live under a looming cloud of stress, feeling as though I must please everyone else; I have to be something that they are comfortable with and completely forfeit my very personality in the process. It’s not awesome.

Yes, I can be crazy, rambunctious, loud, chatty, and pretty open. But I can’t be it all the time. It is part of who I am, but not all. I need privacy. I need space. Though I share a lot pretty openly it doesn’t mean I want to share everything. And I don’t feel people should expect I do. Please honor the introvert and know they aren’t like an extrovert. And for good reason! We’ve all been made uniquely by a Creator of perfect design. He didn’t make us all to walk confidently and comfortably amidst every crowd and conversation. He didn’t intend everybody to thrive within a large circle of friends or social context. And it’s difficult to find this ok when so many find it strange, thinking there must be something wrong that needs fixing when, truly, whether there’s something wrong or not, we’d sometimes just rather not talk about it, or talk at all! Not to just anyone. I have seasons of functioning like quite the recluse. This can become unhealthy, but there is a need for it in its time. I want to be ok with this. I want to feel free to hide away a bit, ignore phone calls, protect and maintain some quiet and privacy. For me to function, I need this.

Please understand the introvert is not the extrovert. Please understand that not everyone is like you. I struggle with that very thing. We can’t go on expecting others to see, process, and respond to things as we would. We are purposed people of diversity. And God finds the introvert as well as the extrovert just as beautiful and will use them uniquely within their specific gifts and calls. I need to start believing this. Otherwise I think discontentment will define my life above all the sweet freedom God has redeemed me for.

Seek to know His heart. He’s given a certain amount of grace to each and called each to function within a different degree of faith. The foundational truth remains that we are given every grace in Him, and faith in His word is perfect and right. Then, as the individual—as how and who He’s created us to be—there must be freedom. He’s called us each to our own. We must remain in that which He’s called us. I think life can be so much more abundant and full if this is received.

Please let me be me. I’m trying to let myself be ok with just that.

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The Things That Excite

The sky opened as she watched a new issue of Better Homes and Gardens punch through the mail slot in the door. A bit of light tinged her day. This little event meant relief from the grey gloom of the quiet apartment for about an hour. It would kill some of the tired time until picking her husband up from work. She proceeded to retrieve this small treasure and return to the familiar green sofa that kept her seat for the long afternoons. But, no. She decided to add a little something to this exciting engagement. Setting the fresh issue on the cluttered coffee table, she crossed the dining room to grab a small mug of cold coffee from the lazy pot. To the kitchen to rewarm and add some life with vanilla creamer, she thought something snacky would fit quite nicely to the event. Hoping for a crisp biscotti to appear in the cupboards, it seemed rather unsatisfying to settle for some graham crackers swiped with peanut butter and a small glass of milk. But they soon joined the clutter at the round little coffee table in the living room.

 

She situated herself into the leisurely moment. The magazine shone with so much color. It seemed to illuminate the dim room whose daylight lacked extra due to the clouds outside. Beginning through the pages, her pace remained slow; dipping her little snack in the milk and taking each bite to her mouth.  And there were plenty of the unnecessary ads to breeze through as well. But, I suppose, if it weren’t for those, her hour escape would too quickly pass. Coming upon useful coupons amidst them all was always another little perk. So the ads had their ups.

 

Her pleasure heightened in realizing this month’s issue was thicker, which, of course, meant more to look at and a potentially longer amusement. By the time she polished off her snack, the rewarmed coffee had already cooled. After some minutes spent breezing through pages, and lingering at others to read quaint little blurbs suggesting the new monthly amusements, she took a sip of the cold, vanilla flavored coffee. And for the following moments, she found a simple pleasure in fantasizing about the lush green gardens coupled with the gorgeously accessorized cottages and the decadent desserts towards the back that she hoped someone would go to the trouble of making so she could enjoy them in reality. These moments amidst the attractively laid pages mingled with a far off dream. She thought of these as some kind of oasis or personal paradise. In reality, it was the best sort of distraction for the lethargic day.

 

Coming to the end she’d accomplished two sips of cold coffee and another hour gone. And after sitting for some moments, she returned the coffee to the microwave for a second warm-up, and again found her spot on the couch where her thoughts waited to pass some more time staring out the big, picture window. Together, perhaps, they’d discover some other sort of excitement to carry on until the next perk: going out to get the hubby. Or maybe they’d succumb to a needed nap. She’d take it either way.

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