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Choices made in the face of spiritual starvation...


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#1 Jay Turner

Jay Turner

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 11:05 AM

Seven or eight years ago, I was part of a C&MA church plant. All-in-all, things were going well, until one day I began to realize that I really wasnít being fed where I was. I took some time and began to pray about it, trying to figure out what was going on and what direction that God was trying to lead me in that time. The conclusion that I came to was that though I was part of a church where I wasnít being fed, I had a choice as to how I could move on from there. I could continue on the way I was, continuing to go to church, while not getting anything out of it. I could move on, while starting the search for another church. Or I could see it as an opportunity where God could draw me into a deeper relationship with Him.

The first thing I learned was that God didnít want me to be looking to pastors or bible teachers for my spiritual nourishment. Christ is our great shepherd and He wants us to rely on Him to lead us and to feed us. He may use pastors and other spiritual leaders as part of the process, but when we place our value and trust in people, they will ultimately lead us astray.

The other thing that I learned was that as part of the body of Christ, we will each have our own unique form and function. Depending upon our needs, the circumstances of our lives and the calling that God has given us. Our relationship and understanding of Him can vary from person to person. That doesnít mean that He loves or values one person more than another. He values each of us equally and as individuals.

It was at that point that I began to realize how God had a definite plan for my life. Ministry and being part of the body stopped being part of the set-up team, on nursery duty or ushering during one of the services. I began to see that God could actually use me to impact peoples lives around me, through the relationships I build and the things I do.

Over the following couple of years, God started to lead me out of the organized church and into His church out in the world, but the principles that I learned there have always stuck with me. Life in Christ isnít about the things that we can receive, but instead it should be a reciprocation of what Christ has given.
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#2 Jay Turner

Jay Turner

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Posted 03 February 2013 - 08:24 PM

Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from Godís law but am under Christís law), so as to win those not having the law. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings. - 1 Corinthians 9-19-23

For me, being a witness isnít so much a thing about sharing the gospel message as it is about helping people move forward in their spiritual journey. I try not to judge or look at people as to whether they are christians or not. Judging people is one of the quickest and easiest ways to break their trust and drive them away. Instead I remember that it is the Holy Spiritís job to draw them into relationship and point them to Christ.

My main goal is to simply focus on my relationship with God and live it out where others can watch from a distance and from a place of safety. I believe that as I focus on my relationship with God, the Holy Spirit is working in the background and helping people to notice how God is working in and through my life. This gives them the chance to compare and contrast Godís works in my life, with how they live their lives. As they do, the Holy Spirit can guide them through this process, drawing them closer, one step at a time.

I also try to be continually open and attentive to where the Spirit is leading me. As I interact with people, there are times where the Holy Spirit will guide me in a certain direction. Most of the time it is simply to build people up, help them in some way or love on them. For example, the other week I was talking with a teacher about how unruly many of the students are becoming. Then God laid it upon my heart to remind her how for many of these students, they donít get love or affection at home. The closest thing they have to loving parents comes in the form of caring teachers. I really have no way of knowing how she received it, but by me sharing this with her, I become a vessel through which God could remind her of the depths of the role that she can play in her students lives.

By letting the Holy Spirit guide our actions and our words, the Spirit can speak to people's hearts, through us, without us needing to know or to judge where they are on their spiritual journey. Since God sees the contents of peoples hearts and what they need in order to take the next steps, doesnít it make sense that we let Him be the one who guides the process along?

The thing that I like about this type of approach is that we can focus on our relationship with God and be a light shining into the darkness, but it doesnít require us to judge people or to second guess where they are in their relationship with Him. As the Spirit leads, we follow...