“Whatever I tell you in the dark, speak in the light; and what you hear in the ear, preach on the housetops.” Mt 10:27
Have you ever been going in one direction and then seemingly ‘all of a sudden’, ‘in a moment’, God shows up and says or does something that changes your heart and completely turns you in a different direction? At the time you might think ‘no way, this can’t be God’. Everything gets turned upside down and you find yourself in unfamiliar territory. Perhaps you are thinking of some examples in your life. I know I have had many of those times and I want to share one of them with you today.
When I became a follower of Jesus and started to attend a local Church, God put the lost on my heart and I spent most of my time on the streets sharing the gospel. I was led to alleyways and dark places to be and share Jesus to hurting and broken people. The time I spent inside the Church was mostly used to encourage people who attended to go out into the world! Honestly, I didn’t have much of a heart for people inside the Church.
Some years ago I went with a group of believers to another country. The purpose of the trip was to pray for both believers and non-believers who lived in the country. God put on my heart a brokenness for the lost and a desire for there to be increased openness and responsiveness to the gospel. I was excited about the prospect of many coming to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. Little did I know that God had a bigger plan then mine!
We spent time travelling throughout the country learning about the people and culture from the workers there. Their hearts cry was to pray for more workers. Over and over we would meet one worker or a couple who ministered in a city of thousands and there were no or very few known believers in that city!
On one particular night, we met with a couple who ministered in a city where they were the only workers. There were no believers for them to spend time with. As they shared, my heart was broken for them hearing their battle against loneliness and discouragement. The next day I found myself up on the rooftop of the hotel we were staying at, crying out to the Lord for them! I also spent that day praying for each team member by name and for the many other believers I had met on the trip. What I didn’t know at the time was God was preparing me for what He was about to say that would change my heart, turn my life upside down, take me out of my comfort zone and launch me further into the purposes He had for my life.
At one point we had been in one place for 3 days getting to know the team of workers ministering in a city with only four known believers. I remember that day very clearly. We were sitting together in the house which served as the meeting place for the workers. I was sitting on the couch talking to God, journaling and reading the Word.
While reading Ephesians 4:11-13, I heard very clearly, “I want you to equip the saints”, and a thought came, “perhaps God wants me to use my gifts not just outside the Church but in the Church.” What??? I was comfortable on the streets, in the alleyways, in the dark places in the City. But me, equip the saints? What does that mean? What would that look like?
I’m sure that those of you who know me are laughing right now. I know. Hard to believe right? In that moment, that turning point, God changed my heart. Over the years He has brought me to a place where my heart’s desire is to see the Church of Jesus Christ free, healed, knowing the truth of who we are in Christ, equipped and released to serve Jesus in freedom and joy!
I hope this story encouraged you. The next time God says or does something that turns everything upside down in your life or takes you out of your comfort zone and causes you to go in a different direction than you were going in, maybe He is directing you into where He wants you to be and what He wants you to be doing for Him.
I pray that you will have ears to hear what the Spirit is saying to you and that you will have the courage to respond in obedience. It’s not easy but it is possible with God!
And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; Eph 4:11-13 NKJV
“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches...” Rev 2:7