Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Human Hearts

I get home sick. Though I grew up in El Paso, Texas until I was thirteen, I actually get homesick for Seattle. I wake up sometimes and feel like going to get a coffee near Juanita Beach, or driving across the 520 bridge and back – yes, even in traffic – just for the incredible view. Though the internet helps me feel connected to friends and family and life there in Washington, I still get that far away feeling once in a while.

Home sickness is not a condition that is easily treated. I found nothing for it on Web MD or Mayo Clinic’s website. I have prayed about it, only to be reminded of what Jesus says in the book of Luke:

“If you want to be my disciple, you must hate everyone else by comparison – your father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters – yes, even your own life. Otherwise, you cannot be my disciple. And if you do not carry your own cross and follow me, you cannot be my disciple.”

I suppose, since Jesus gave up his own life, I can give up some time with my friends and family… I suppose…

I think part of the weariness comes from not really feeling “called” or “qualified” to do this kind of work. I mean, who on earth ever would have thought I would be involved in launching a new church in the Mid-West? Certainly not me. I never even finished college, let alone one minute of seminary training. But, again, God is faithful to answer me using Scripture. I’ve been reading in 2 Corinthians and mulling over one section in particular. The apostle Paul is writing to the church in Corinth talking about this very idea of being qualified. He says:

“Are we like others, who need to bring you letters of recommendation, or who ask you to write such letters on their behalf? Surely not! The only letter of recommendation we need is you yourselves. Your lives are a letter written in our hearts; everyone can read it and recognize our good work among you. Clearly, you are a letter from Christ showing the result of our ministry among you. This ‘letter’ is written not with pen and ink, but with the Spirit of the living God. It is carved not on tablets of stone, but on human hearts.”

So, rather than share my version of what God is doing here in Kenosha, I’ll let another young lady speak for herself. This is Brittany’s story…

About a year ago, I made the first time decision to accept Jesus Christ as my Savior. Growing up, I never had much exposure to religion, going to church, I didn't know the first thing about the Bible, or the difference between God and Jesus Christ (Truthfully, I didn't even know there was a difference). My cousins started talking to me about Great Lakes Church, for those who hate church. Intrigued, I decided to give it a try one Sunday last summer and it will remain one of the best decisions I've made in my life. Weeks went on and while I started to attend regularly, made the first time decision, I knew something was missing in my life, the pieces of the puzzle hadn't quite added up. That Fall, I went through a difficult time. The only way to truly describe the second half of 2009 is feelings of complete loneliness. Although I was surrounded by people, I've honestly never felt so separated from the rest of the world. This was all going on around the same time that I started attending church. I started learning more and became completely captivated by the idea that there's someone, with more power than any of the people I was letting control my emotions, that would love me unconditionally regardless of my story, what I've been through, or the decisions I've made. In October, I decided after several months of learning the Word that I would get baptized.

It was time for me to really begin this journey I was on and expand my faith and not be afraid to let this wall, that I've put up with everyone, down and simply, grow. Since I started attending Great Lakes Church, I've served on multiple teams and I'm currently apart of my second Growth Group. During my first Growth Group, the leaders and members of the group made a permanent mark in my heart and helped me learn and expand so much. Being that it was a class especially designed for first-time Christians, I learned about the first right steps and I couldn't be more grateful that that class was my first one.

Next week, myself and several other individuals will be traveling to Virginia to help a previous GLC member launch a new church and I could not be more excited about this. I know that there are several other individuals who are in the stage I was in just one year ago, lost and completely caught up with the wrong perspective on the ways things are vs. the way they should be. When the doors open for that church, I pray that at least one person out there will take a chance like I did because it's the best one I could have taken.

I still struggle with sin and know that I'm nowhere near the point in my faith that I have the potential to be, but I have found a community of people who understand and accept me for where I am and this is something I always thought I had to strive for in the past and now it comes effortlessly. I believe the reason it took 20 years for me to become a Christian is just the way that God works with everything and everyone. Nothing happens over night, I wouldn't have understood or appreciated church or God for that matter at any other point in my life because I was too stubborn and thought I was the only person in control. I realize now, we weren't put on this earth to walk through life alone and as long as I believe in God, I'll never be alone again.

The trip to help launch a new church in Virginia that Brittany is talking about is being led by a guy named Jason. Jason has a story of his own… Watch this video for a glimpse…

Want a peek at the church they are traveling to help launch? Scott Obenchain and his family were members at Great Lakes Church just a few short months ago. Check out his Pastor’s Welcome Video that Tony helped create…

I think about Great Lakes Church and am refreshed. I don’t want to imagine how empty my life might feel if I didn’t have the opportunity to be a part of what God is doing here in Kenosha. I am thankful for these tablets of human hearts and the difference they are making in the lives of those around them. It helps me remember that my true home is not a place. My true home is found in my relationship with God.

P.S. Yes, both of those videos, and many many others, were shot in our living room. Who needs a studio?

1 comment:

Scott said...

Awesome Michelle! You were made and created by God to be a part of helping churches like Great Lakes and all of the others in our network to grow and reach people for Christ. You were gifted and called by God and you are a blessing to all of us1