Thursday, September 27, 2007

I AM -- When Life Doesn't Work Out Like You Planned



Discussion Questions:

1. It was stated in the Lesson that God has made you "once, twice, three times a lady." Where are you in this progression? Obviously we have all been physically born, but are you 'twice a lady'? Have you been born again spiritually? If you have already received this gift, write a brief prayer of thanksgiving or testimony.

I'm sorry, but for a few minutes there, all I could see in my mind's eye was Eddie Murphy as Buckwheat on SNL, singing, "Fee Tines a Mady"! But seriously, I am a lady three times over, although I never thought of it that way before. I know that He placed me where I am for reason, and now that I am reflecting on it, I thank Him for placing a missionary in my path when I was a child so that I would come to know Christ. I had made a profession of faith in 2nd grade, because all of my classmates were doing it, and it looked like great fun to be dunked in the baptistry. I had a head knowledge of Christ, so I was able to answer all of the pastor's questions and fooled everyone (including myself) that I was saved.

I went to GA camp a few summers later, and there was a missionary who led all of our worship times. I don't remember his name or where he had gone on his mission trips, but I vividly remember a demonstration that he set up one evening. He had placed a pad of art paper on an easel, and using a bullwhip he proceeded to shred it to bits. It was a visual tool to make the suffering of Christ more impactful, and boy did it work! I had seen him earlier that week showing his prowess with it by knocking tin cans off of a shelf with one flick of his wrist, and letting all of us try to use it. (It's much harder than it looks!) Seeing him use it in such a destructive way really brought Christ's sacrifice into full focus for me.
He explained that Christ chose to be beaten and crucified for me, so that I wouldn't have to endure that kind of suffering for my sins. I remember breaking down, and blindly making the trip down the aisle to the music of "I Have Decided to Follow Jesus", and I had. At that moment, I accepted Christ into my life to be in control. I became "twice" a lady.

2. Are you three times a lady? Has God given you a stirring deep within your Spirit to be a 'deliverer'? Do you have a desire or are you already meeting a need in the life of the church, a particular ministry (such as jail ministry, food ministry, etc.) or perhaps individuals who share common issues?

In the past year, I have become three times a lady. (I can't seem to stop snickering when I think or type that phrase) I never thought that I would ever be a Sunday School teacher, but here I am teaching a ladies group every week. I never thought that I would be bold enough to lead a Bible study at work, but yet I am doing it. The strange thing about teaching is that I often say things during the lesson that I never intended to say, but I feel such an urging by the Holy Spirit that I just have to. The unplanned, unbidden words that fall from my lips during those times seem to be the most impactful to the women to whom I am speaking. It's the most addicting feeling in the world, to know that God is using me and I just want to experience it over and over again!

3. Do you ever get tired of waiting for that opportunity to do something
worthwhile for God? Do you ever feel God is using someone else instead of you?

I don't think that we have to wait....God presents opportunities to do His work all of the time. What I feel is disappointment in myself when I realize that I have let an opportunity pass me by because of my own disobedience or rebellion. I know that God accomplishes His will because He is sovereign, but I feel a great deal of shame when I look back and see how much I could have done if I had only been receptive and open to the Holy Spirit.

4. What do you consider 'worthwhile ministry'? Are you like me and sometimes find yourself mistakenly thinking it has to be Big to be Important?

I used to have the "why bother?" attitude regarding ministries that were seemingly small or not important. But then I came to the realization that anything and everything God calls us to do is important. I love the words to this song:

In the harvest field now ripened,
There's a work for all to do.
Hark, the voice of God is calling,
To the harvest calling you.

Does the place you're called to labor
Seem so small and little known?
It is great if God is in it,
And He'll not forget His own.

Little is much when God is in it.
Labor not for wealth or fame.
There's a crown and you can win it,
If you go in Jesus' name.

5. Have you ever taken a spiritual gifts test? If yes, what are yours? If no, here's a good one from Ephesians 4 Ministry. Will you take it and come back with a response? Knowing some of you like I already do, I can almost pick out what your gift is before you say it. I can't wait to see if I'm right!

I had never taken one before, so I clicked the link above and discovered that I have the spiritual gifts of teaching and service. The explanation of the gifts and how we can use them and not stumble into pitfalls was really interesting.

If you want to read more about the study, click here.


6 comments:

Alana said...

Great answers. I'm going to check out the spiritual gifts quiz and see what I find out. I think I know what they are, but we'll see if I'm right ;-)

The Preacher's Wife said...

Those song lyrics in #4 are PERFECTION. What song is it?

thank you so much for all your thoughtful answers...I have no doubt everyone is going to be SO encouraged reading them!

much love,

Lisa

Heather C said...

I loved your answers, Xandra... You think Eddie Murphy, I think Kenny Rogers... rofl. :)

Seriously, isn't it awesome when God speaks through us? Those times when we had no idea what we were going to say, and the words come out of nowhere, and they're the PERFECT ones? Man, I love that! I wish I could sit under your teaching, girl. :)

faraja said...

Loved ALL your answers Xandra. I too would love to sit in on one of your classes and have you teach me...

And now I have an image of Eddie Murphy in my head too - thanks :)

Joyce said...

Hello, I have just began and will post answers today or tomorrow. I am a new blogger and I am learning. You can find me at
http://joyce-creationinprogress.blogspot.com

Melissa May said...

I'm joining the study just this month. What a story you have (I just read all you wrote after the first study). I look forward to reading more of your thoughts as I "catch up" with everyone. Funny... I have the same background on my blog. :) I admire the courage you have to teach. I know it's in my future, but it's a scary thing to think about, too. Something God's working on in me!