When Mary Anne and I were dating, we used to enjoy playing tennis with my older girls who were 12 and 15 at the time. I suppose that we might have called it "chase the ball," but we had fun. Let's just say we were bad at it. Even so, my oldest didn't really like the ball coming at her too fast. When I was serving, as soon as she heard the twang of racket strings meeting the rubber ball, she would just lay down on the court as the lime green ball zipped somewhere overhead. We still laugh about it today.
This week your Kingdom Bloggers are going to talk about a time they had the privileged to serving God. In the midst of doing something for the Kingdom, God often increases our compassion, our faith and brings us closer to Him. You can be certain that serving is not about thanks, or getting your name in the bulletin, it is an extension of who God has made you.
In the fall of 2001, Mary Anne and I had just returned from a conference in Connecticut. During the service it was announced that they were taking a short-term mission team to Norway. It sounded nice and we talked to the pastor in the hallway about it. He made a personal invitation to both of us.
Early that year, I had met a woman with a prophetic gift at a conference in Florida. We kept in touch via an occasional email. In 2002 she sent me a message about a dream which she felt was for me. She had seen a map and began to list the names of countries that she felt I was supposed to visit. The dream was intriguing and I had a "witness" to it. The list was not totally unfamiliar, as I had already Davi. I had also spoken to a couple of pastors about going to a number of other locations. The email read:
David, I saw a map of the world, and on it there were certain countries that were highlighted. South Africa, Brazil, Argentina, Australia, a couple of countries in the British Isles and one way up near the Arctic Circle, I think Norway, the one that reaches farthest North.
A word like that will get you thinking - especially if you have another one that says "I see you flying here and there." I decided to look into the Norway trip. I was pretty expensive, and the training classes 170 miles away. It would have to be God.
What I love about the Kingdom is that when we work to hear God's voice, and we listen to Him, things do happen. It is a process that is filled with faith, doubt and some real excitement. Hearing from God requires obedience, and I personally don't find that easy when whatever it is, seems too far out of reach.
As a Christian I find two things a little unnerving: 1) hearing God, and 2) not hearing God. If you are like me, you want to know what God would like for you to do. However; when I get the message, and the confirmations, I still doubt it.
I went through the checklist for the trip. Desire to Go; check, Passport; check, Money, no check, Ability to figure this out on my own; no check. I started t pray. I even talked it over with a pastor and he said that I probably should not go. He sort of made is sound like he thought that is what God was saying.
I had to weigh my desire to go against the counsel of a friend who cared about me. Maybe it wasn't time. I had a pretty tough couple of years with the divorce, losing my mother and things like that. But in my heart, I still felt like I should go. An unexpected check showed up for enough to make the 1/3 deposit on the trip. I prayed over it for about 7 seconds and sent in my deposit. The rest of the money came in from the offerings of friends and family - some not even Christians!
I arrived in Oslo May 22, 2002. Norway was wonderful and the Lord moved powerfully. It would be hard to report every experience because there were so many God-moments. (Some of those will be in my book.) Basically we spent a day on the street inviting people to the conference, Friends of The Bridegroom; which ran four sessions over 2 days. We attended Sunday services in various locations, had a bunch of team meetings, a trip or 2 to Oslo along with a day of prayer walking various sites throughout the region. Then there was the traveling, flights, airports and buses. Oh yes, we even got some sleep.
Eight years later, I still savor the things that God did: chasing a demon out of my room, multiplying paper invitations in my pocket, and the opportunity to work with a team of about 50 Americans and Norwegians. (Joyce Lighari was one of them.) We prayed where the Nazi's had murdered Norwegian Jews, walked where the kings walked, and took communion in the oldest church in Norway.
I think that serving God is fascinating, how about you?