Monday, August 18, 2008

"You're Not Finished Here Yet."

Remember: You were warned.

Do you ever get hurt so badly that you want to leave? You want to go anywhere else, but stay where you are at? That was me/us at the beginning of the summer. And yet, Brother G and I kept hearing, "You're not finished here yet. You're not released to leave this town." We were even told by another church in another place - "You're not finished there yet." Confirmation yet again... This is definitely where having a praying life and not a prayer time is crucial.

As God so often does.... He is using the hurt and the pain and is continuing the work here in G-town in ways that there is no denying it's Him. How do I know? It is totally beyond me/us...

One of the things that Brother G and I have the privilege of doing is teaching the late teens and twenty-somethings Bible study group on Sunday mornings. At first we said yes to doing it because there was an immediate need for teachers/leaders. We thought maybe we'd be "the substitutes" for a couple of weeks and then be gone. Little did we really know.....

I was walking up the stairs after having been moved greatly by the Holy Spirit... and I saw him.. and he saw me. And he walked into the room I was going to.... Then came the..."Camey? You're just going to have to trust me on this. You're going to be uncomfortable as hell, but I know what I'm doing even if you don't." Brother G was not going to be with us for today's group either.

We sit in a circle.. We were discussing "Spiritual Maps"... I had asked the question, "So? Where are you on your Spiritual Map this moment?" We were going around the room. When it came time for Tommy.... he said, "Well, this is my first time in a church in about a year. I live in Ft. Worth now. I came today because I knew I was supposed to. I used to live here and worked at ______ before changing jobs and moving." Then, Tommy and I looked at each other in the eyes. That's where we knew each other from. And he remembered... and so did I.

Brother G and I were on a double date with Smithee and his wife when we first met Tommy. He was our server that night. He already knew Ry and so the conversation flowed more as individuals who knew each other and not as that of complete strangers. As Brother G and I do... I asked Tommy how we could pray for him... he responded... and then Brother G prayed... He was treated with kindness our whole time there. God's kindness.... and received a generous tip. We had Tommy as our server several more times... whether Brother G and I together on a date or my being with others that I was meeting to minister to in a neutral place. Each time offering to pray, treating with God's kindness, and leaving a generous tip. At that time in his life - Tommy really didn't want any thing really to do with a place known as a church. Remember - Brother G and I (nor our sons) consider the church to be a building.... that is how we live life as lifestyle missionaries. That is where life in the moments come from... it's not just about those couple of hours on Sunday morning or whenever one might "do" church...

Had we treated Tommy like dirt - he would not have been as open to listening to the Holy Spirit talking to him about coming or through me and the others in the group. He also said he was in a cave right now and the light peeking in was really bright. Then he brought up "Hell" and we discussed it. It included me throwing my Bible down in the middle of the room. Talk about uncomfortable.... Talk about totally relying on the Holy Spirit...... I'll leave the rest of what was said between those there for now... except this part..

As they were walking out of the room - one by one - we hugged and "I love you" was said, meant and known. I almost did not hug Tommy. "I" had to get out of the way again... He hugged me hard and told me he was glad we were still here and that he came. He really hadn't wanted to but knew he wasn't finished here yet. That even though he didn't think there had been any way to reach him.... God was.

I'm quoted now as saying, "Included moving to a town I said I would never live in." That's because I knew I would truly have to die by living here...

There were other things going on this particular weekend that I will not write about here... except to say this... I would rather look like a fool and follow the Holy Spirit even when it does not make sense than to leave in an effort to become comfortable again and lick my wounds.

Where are you not finished yet?

Are you willing to die to self and let Him use you as HE wants?

It's not just about Sunday.


Kevin Bussey said...

I never say it's time to leave until God says it's time. I said it was time for us to stay but that may be wrong too. I'm/we are open to anything now. Stay is 1st choice but that may not be what God wants.

M. Steve Heartsill said...

Camey, I've often been tempted to send God a post card, reminding me where He has placed me! In truth, what I've been tempted to do is send God a change of address and tell Him where I've moved on to!

Either way, He's gotten my attention and reminded me Who is really in charge.

Praying for you my blogger friend!

Bill (cycleguy) said...

Camey: it was worth the wait. I have been where you and Brother G have been. Wanting to get out of Dodge only to have door after door close. Resumes sent but not acknowledged. (a pet peeve of mine). Or resumes received and rejected: Too old. Don't have any "big church" experience. Not connected. You name it. Frustration mounted. I remember one time I was hell-bent on finding a place. I surfed, I called, I sent resumes. Then one day while getting ready to surf again I heard God say, "Bill, Stop!" "What?" I said. "Stop looking. Let it go." That hurt me to do so but I did. I just prayed and really threw myself back into the church I pastored. Things didn't change but I did. I began to notice some lives being changed. Then my bride found out about a church in Spencer, IN with the words, "I found a church that you need to look into. It sounds just like you." After some wrestling (about 2 weeks) I finally did. I am at that church today. I kicked against the goads for 5 years at the previous church feeling as if I accomplished nothing. Recently the new pastor thanked me for standing strong. He said, "You paved the way for my ministry and the changes that have come." Hmmmmm. How much better it was to wait for God to move me than to try to move God to may way of thinking.

Thanks Camey for bearing your heart. And thanks for listening to the Father's voice. T is also glad.

M. Steve Heartsill said...

Going or staying is always one of the toughest decisions for me! I really, really struggle with that.

At a couple of churches I served, I was asked by well-meaning members, "Well, pastor, how long will you stay as our pastor." My answer, not trying to be flippant or anything, has always been, "I'll be your pastor as long as God calls me to be here. Not one day longer. Not one day shorter."

That has worked well for me.

Camey said...

Kevin, Steve, Bill, and Steve again:

Thanks for your thoughts on this! Appreciate the encouragement and prayers.