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Ministry Moments Blog
A devotion by Steve Hanna, Executive Director
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds. – Romans 12:2
This verse is a constant reminder that if we are not diligent in our commitment to follow Christ daily, we can easily fall into the pattern of the world. Paul is telling us if we live the values of this world that it will have a direct reflection in our choices we make. Transformed is something that is done to us, we can’t transform our own lives. We can make improvements here and there, we can rearrange our lives. Yet when it comes to authentic, transforming change, that takes God. God’s transforming will have a direct impact on our ideas, thoughts, values and systems of belief. If we want to change and to be a person of impact for the cause of Christ it will take a humbling surrender on our part to His plan for transformation. God has a plan for each of us to fulfill.
Ariana* contacted the New Life Pregnancy Center through the website. Her contact form simply stated: “Life after abortion – I need help.” With a feeling of urgency, a staff member called Ariana but only reached her voicemail. She left a message inviting Ariana to return her call whenever she was available.
A few days later Ariana called and told the staff member she had an abortion one week prior and was regretting her decision. Ariana explained how her mom was being supportive and was helping her find resources like New Life Pregnancy Center. Her mom had suggested that Ariana call and talk to someone.
For the next 45 minutes, while on her lunch break at work, Ariana talked with the staff member. She said after her abortion she realized what she had done was wrong but now she didn’t know what to do. She hadn’t expected to feel such deep sadness and was not sure how to handle it. Her friends who had abortions did not feel sad afterward, and her doctor did not prepare her for any emotional effects that could take place after her abortion.
The staff member listened and prayed continually for wisdom to know what to say and how to say words of encouragement to Ariana. She was able to share verses from the Bible describing God’s peace, forgiveness and hope. She told Ariana that God still has a plan for her life regardless of the choices she’s made. God was not finished with her life. Additionally she was able to explain to Ariana how the sadness she felt was something many women experienced after an abortion and she wasn’t alone in her situation. She encouraged Ariana to visit the local NLPC and nearby church to receive extra support and meet women who would surround her with love and encouragement.
Ariana repeatedly thanked the staff member for listening, relieved to hear that other women experience the same emotions she was feeling. She allowed the staff member to pray with her and was grateful. Women need to hear there is hope and forgiveness found in Jesus. Praise the Lord that Ariana reached out for help. Pray other women who find themselves hurting would do the same so they may discover the healing found in Jesus alone.
*Client name has been changed to respect privacy
A devotion by Don Vickers, Leader Care Facilitator
James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ. - James 1:1
How do you normally introduce yourself? I imagine it might change depending on who you are talking to. For example I might say, “I’m Don, Meghan’s Dad," or “I’m Michelle’s Husband” or “I’m Don and I work for Leader Care with Arizona Baptist Children’s Services.” Depending on the context and what it is you are trying to accomplish you may even pull out a bit more ammo. You could add, “I have worked with pastors for many years," or “I have a theological degree” etc. I’m sure you can relate!
I have been reading the book of James. James – the half-brother of Jesus. James – the son of Mary. James – the leader of the church in Jerusalem. James could have pulled out all of the stops to let us know why he had the authority to write the letter, but when he introduces himself he states, “James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ.” James fully understood who he was. He knew what it meant to be the half-brother of Jesus. He knew what it meant to be known as Mary’s son. He knew what it was like to lead the church in Jerusalem, but when it came to introducing himself he chose to acknowledge Whose he was.
We sometimes forget that our job descriptions, our accomplishments, and even our earthly relationships are not the basis for why we do the things that we do. We act because we are His. We serve, we care, we speak out because it is pleasing to our Father. God is honored through the faithful living of His sons and daughters. We ought to live our lives with the realization that we serve the King of Kings, and knowing that changes how we see every relationship around us. He gives us permission to speak for Him today, to reconcile relationships, to heal hurts, to share truth! When we remember Whose we are, we remember we have the right to speak up.
So, how might you introduce yourself to someone new today?
A devotion by Rik Danielsen, Leader Care Facilitator
But Martha was distracted with all her preparations; and she came up to Him and said, "Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then tell her to help me.” - Luke 10:40
At the beginning of the year I was preaching on the subject of spending time with Jesus and using the story of Jesus visiting in the home of Mary and Martha as my text. We all know the story: Jesus came into their home and sat down to teach. Mary, the sister of Lazarus and Martha, sat at his feet and listened to his teaching. Martha, on the other hand, chose to busy herself with being the best hostess she could possibly be. Suddenly she realized her sister was not helping at all. She turned to Jesus and asked if he didn’t realize how lazy Mary was being. Then she did something that should be unthinkable to us. She told Jesus, “…tell her to help me.” We all know that Jesus didn’t tell Mary to help her sister. In fact he rebuked Martha for not joining Mary in listening to his teaching.
In the middle of that sermon it occurred to me that too many of us are like Martha, but not in the way this passage is usually taught. Too often we tell God what to do when we pray. “Lord, you need to heal my dear friend.” “Lord, you need to make sure my candidate gets elected, because the world will end if he doesn’t get elected.” “Lord, I need that new job. Please, help me get it.” (We use the word “please” just to sound polite.)
I’m confident God can handle it when we try to tell him what to do, but it’s really not the best way to talk to the King of Kings, is it? How should we pray? We should follow Jesus example of praying for the Father’s will:
“And He went a little beyond them, and fell on His face and prayed, saying, ‘My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will.’” (Matthew 26:39, NAS)
We must always submit our prayers to the will of the Father. He can see beyond the moment we find ourselves in and knows what will be best for everyone involved and more than that, he knows what will bring him the most glory throughout the ages.
Jesus’ followers should not tell him which direction to go. We should submit ourselves to his will and submit our prayers to his will, too.
A devotion by Michelle Clements, ABCS Vice President of Development & Communications
And while he was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he was reclining at table, a woman came with an alabaster flask of ointment of pure nard, very costly, and she broke the flask and poured it over his head. – Mark 14:3
I love this verse about the unnamed woman’s devotion to Jesus. She teaches us how to respond to Jesus with love and faith by sacrificing what was probably her most valuable and treasured possession to anoint Jesus. The alabaster container of nard, or ointment, was worth more than one year’s wages. This woman is criticized by those in the room for her extravagance, but Jesus commends her saying, And truly, I say to you, wherever the gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in memory of her (Mark 14:9). She exemplifies total surrender. I once heard a preacher ask, “What’s in your alabaster jar?” Meaning, what idols are we keeping close to our hearts that are preventing us from totally surrendering our lives to Christ. It’s easy to value idols of comfort, safety, pleasure, security, self, etc. above Jesus. May we pour out our treasured possessions, talents and all we have been gifted with as a testimony of our love and faith in Jesus.