Monday, February 25, 2013

Go West!

This evening I was able to worship and fellowship with the Wesley Foundation at West Georgia.  Being a huge fan/"member"/alumni of Wesley, it was wonderful to see another thriving ministry with students so grounded and connected.  I always wondered if Duke Wesley was unique in its familial style or if that was a trait of all Wesley Fellowships/Foundations.  I can now say it is not unique to one, and I hope that it is a shared trait among all the Wesley campus ministries.

While I was blessed by the hospitality and invitation to share my story, I had an epiphany during my speaking time.  I was asked to share not only about my work and ministry, but about my calling specifically.  I laugh when I recall that being a missionary was one of three things I applied for, and the only one I got accepted to.  Now, either God was trying to tell me something, or coincidentally, this is the only thing I was apt to do.  Whichever way it's looked at, I am not here because a voice from heaven spoke and called me into ministry; I'm here because I chose to draw near to God.

I was sharing with the students the only real calling I can identify - working with kids.  After Canon asked the group in New Mexico where do you feel closest to God?, I got my answer, my calling.  I explained to the students and was reminded that God calls us into God's presence.  Where you feel God and see God is where you should long to be.

Draw near to God, and God will draw near to you.   -James 4:8

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

From Dust to Dust

I thought the title Ashes to Ashes would be a little cliché‬ on Ash Wednesday, so I'm spicing it up.  I was thinking about the meaning of the ashes and the idea of being from dust and returning to dust.  Tomorrow, I'll get to share with the kids at Chapel, and although it's Valentine's Day and I could talk about love and how our love starts with knowing God's love, I can't help but feel a pull toward sharing about lent, Ash Wednesday, and the importance of this season.  I've been wrestling for the past 24 hours about where I should start, how to explain it all, and it's not easy for me.

Growing up, my church didn't remind us that it was almost time for lent; you need to give up something.  It wasn't until college that I started exploring the idea of fasting, giving up something for God, and understanding the meaning behind it all.  Last night, someone asked me what I was giving up.  I hadn't figured that out yet, but I told them it wouldn't be sweets, or meat, or something like that, because then it becomes a diet.  Alright, my body is a temple and I should be healthy for Jesus.  The motivation for me is wrong, though.  I started asking what part of my life needed some work.

Plain and simple, I've never really had a prayer life.  I pray in church, before meals if I'm with people (I tend to forget when I'm by myself, because I'm usually in a hurry), and when someone has a request that I need to share with God.  Sunday school teachers always used to say that if Jesus is your best friend, wouldn't you want to talk to Him all the time, and share your life with Him?  Now, in my defense, I feel like I lead a prayerful life and nearly every moment, I'm seeking to do ministry the way Jesus would have done it.  The only difference is that Jesus was constantly separating Himself to pray to God, and that's something I just don't do.

So I'm starting.  I thought 5 minutes a day would be a good commitment.  The funny thing is that I started praying and God and I had a lot to catch up on.  I didn't make it in 5 minutes, and I was okay with that.  I enjoyed my time alone with God.  When prayer is given to us like a duty, it's not fun, and we dread it.  People always used to tell me that you need to read your bible and pray everyday.  I took that as a chore, but it's not a chore if you don't make it one.  Prayer is my time with God.  It's a time to talk to God about my worries and know God's listening.  Conveniently, God doesn't multi-task me like I usually do to God.

I noticed the dust on one of my cabinets this morning and didn't want to clean it off, because it represents what Ash Wednesday is about.  We are dust to dust, ashes to ashes.   Everything that makes this dust unique and wonderful and holy comes from God.  Without God, I am merely dust; but today, I am beautiful dust, not swept away in the wind, but made perfect by God.