Tuesday, October 21, 2014

What A Gift!

As we enter into a new season of the life of Apostles after the planting of Redeemer Anglican Church, there will be ample opportunity for many new folks to step into roles of leadership at Apostles.  This is often a daunting task, but consider and be encouraged by this story of how the Lord equips us for the tasks He calls us to.

by Katie Koon

I remember the challenge in a Bible Study 8 years ago: if you want to live a life with Christ every step of the way, take your list of things to do and give it to God.  Let Him write your list.  I remember praying that prayer, “God, I want to work for you.  I want my faith to be real.  Give me a new list.”  I was a Bible Study newbie, but that is the good thing about being new, sometimes you pay closer attention and do exactly what they say. Proverbs 3:6 “He will make your path straight.”

Later that year, I got a phone call from the same teacher.  “Katie, would you prayerfully consider being a small group leader next year?”  To which I laughed and said, “That is so funny.  This is Katie K-o-o-n.  You called the wrong number!  I know you meant to call Katie X-Y-Z.  But she will be awesome leader!”  It turns out she did mean to call me.  We would be studying Revelation, of which I had never read ONE WORD.  I had no training, nothing that made me “qualified” for this.  Fearfully, doubtfully I said ‘yes’ and hoped beyond hope that no super-smart-spiritual-people would be in my group.   Matthew 28:20 “I am with you always…”

In leader’s meeting the following year, I remember sitting and listening to the prayers of these women whom I saw as giants in faith.  Hearing them talk to God, they taught me how to pray.  Listening to them review passages, they showed me what it looked like to truly mine the scriptures as if gold lay hidden.  Proverbs 2:4 “If you seek for her as silver, and search for her as hidden treasures...”

A few years later, this same teacher called and said the Lord had impressed upon her the importance to teach women HOW TO TEACH.  She said that my name had been laid on her heart, and would I consider letting her teach me.  I laughed.  “That is really funny,” I said.  “Because I have a fear of public speaking, so I will never teach.  But I would love to sit with you and learn how you study.”  She said, “What you do with this is between you and the Lord.”  Proverbs 1:23 “I will pour out my spirit on you; I will make my words known to you.”

That summer I was asked to speak to a group of adults in Atlantic Beach.  With great trepidation, I said yes.  Marion Troxler found me in the ladies’ room minutes beforehand, nauseous and almost paralyzed by fear.  Psalm 28:7 “The Lord is my strength and my shield.”

A heart tug made me desire to study God’s words with the women of Apostles, so I left the women’s study that had so taught me, shepherded me and mentored me.   A dear friend who had walked this journey with me whispered, I think the women’s Bible study at Apostles may need/want teachers.   Time passes, and I end up becoming one of the teachers at GIG, a study very much like the one I had left, looking out to faces just like mine eight years before.  If I didn’t know God, I would look back and say, “what a coincidence!”  But, instead, I say, “what a God!”

This is a simple story.  Frankly, it is so insignificant that I wonder why I am even telling it.  But I offer it as an encouragement to anyone who may need it.  God is so dear and pure and loving in His desire to live with us, to talk to us, to walk life with us.  I am always going to be tempted to wander from this God I love.   And I have come to believe, that for me, at least, He has used these ‘callings’ as invitations to walk more closely, as protections to keep me stumbling, and as a means to give me something far greater than anything I could have desired on my own.  I cannot imagine the tangled mess I would be if He hadn’t called me in.  At every step, I have been the one blessed.  

Here is what I have learned:
  • What looked like a challenge or a burden was an enormous gift.  At each step I had fear so great and doubt so large, it was numbing.  But when I look back at all the steps along the way, I see that those places were where I have felt God’s embrace most fully.
  • God didn’t call me in to lead because He needed me; He called me into to leadership because I needed Him.  He knew me enough to know that if I didn’t get to the place far beyond my comfort zone, that I would never really stop all else and cling to Him. 
  • My pride would (and still will) try to take credit for ‘stepping out’, as if I made some great sacrifice, but it was God’s design to save me from myself.  By calling me into work where I was so unequipped, I had to say “no” to so much of my daily desires. His calling me to step out was the greatest act of kindness.  It gave guard rails to my time, my thoughts, and my desires.  He knew what I needed was time with Him, and this is how He gave it to me.
  • God has shown me that serving in our gifts is not about us giving, it is actually us receiving.  Jesus has proven to be the Author and Perfector of my faith, and He has used this calling of me to write the words of my faith on the tablet of my heart.  He has done it all, and I have been the one blessed.

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