These are four lessons, gems of wisdom, which I learned over the last twenty-plus years of serving and loving Jesus under Pastors Steve and Kathy Gray.
1. People are our treasures.
Of the things on this earth, people are the only things that we will see in heaven.
Our family, our friends, our children — we cannot leave them behind in pursuit of a spiritual experience with God. While the experience may be good, it is even better if you can share that experience with those you love.
Getting into the presence of God with your friends, spouse, or children means so much. To share a moment in the presence of God can change a life or relationship forever, making it tighter, closer.
We can pray together, read the Word together, worship together, and teach the little ones to honor God.
This is a body movement; we are in a body movement. The depth and height we can go with God depends on how deep and high we can go as a body, and that includes all of us from the oldest to the youngest.
2. A soft heart is a requirement to survive and remain in revival.
It keeps us vulnerable to the movement of the Holy Spirit.
It helps us stay in tune to what the Lord says.
It allows for change and transformation, because a hardened, stiff heart is difficult to form, not impossible, but definitely difficult.
HOWEVER, it also allows us to feel more deeply and more intensely, including joy and pain.
It would be easier to not feel quite as deeply especially when we are disappointed or hurt or when people leave, but if we cannot feel then we cannot respond to God. We must be able to respond to God.
(A soft heart is attained by prayer and allowing God to peel away or chip away the layers that we allow to form over our once pliable hearts. Persistence and desperation will result in a soft, vulnerable heart.)
It is not easy to keep yourself vulnerable, but it is vital to staying in the race.
3. Offense is poison to the soul of a believer.
Offense pulls our eyes off Jesus and onto ourselves.
It can plant a seed of bitterness in our hearts if we allow it to grow and lead our thoughts and actions.
We must remember that we are imperfect people serving and loving a perfect God. There will be times in which people will say things that don't settle with us or do something that we don't understand. Sometimes the offense in caused by other people, but sometimes we find fault or reasons to criticize to make ourselves feel better.
It is up to each of us to recognize the ugly monster of offense and stop it in its tracks.
Sometimes it is easy to let things go and forgive. At other times we think it's hard, but it is all a decision, a choice to let love between us and others cover misunderstandings, imperfections, twisted words, awkward actions.
And then it is also up to us to place those people back to their rightful places in our hearts with nothing held against them.
4. I have learned to follow the example of humility in my pastors.
Even when I knew nothing coming into the doors of Smithton Community Church, Pastor Steve never made me feel less. Instead he spoke to me much better than I deserved.
He saw something in me that caused him to place Scott and I with the greatest treasures of our church — the children.
In humility, we serve better.
In humility, we feel compassion more deeply.
In humility, we love more purely.
In humility, we become more like Jesus.
Lisa Renfrow lives in the Kansas City area with her husband, Scott, and their 3 boys. She and her husband have taught in the children's ministry at their church for 21 years, working with children aged newborn to five years. She has written a children's ministry manual, Big Bible Lessons for Little Children, and is currently working on a series of young adult fiction.
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