Friday, November 2, 2012

Leaving the Comfort Zone


Hey ya’ll! So, it’s been a whirlwind of a week. Decisions being made, lives being changed (hopefully), and a little bit of pain. A few weeks ago I was fasting and praying about the direction of my life. I didn’t know if I was supposed to continue living in Billings or head back east to be near my family. I wasn’t sure what God was calling me to do for Him. All I knew was that I needed to live for him, publicly. Opportunities arise when Christians allow themselves to be pulled out of their comfort zone and used. Enter Fresh Life MOB crew.  My church has an outreach program called the MOB. We get training on how to talk to strangers about our church and Jesus, and then do so. It’s pretty cool, really. One of the activities the MOB will be doing this winter is going door to door and just simply serving people. We aren’t going to be knocking on people’s doors and shoving our beliefs down their throats, that’s not a effectual way of witnessing by any means. We will knock on their door, invite them to church, then ask if we can rake leaves or shovel for them. Showing God’s love, through serving. The MOB also goes to highly populated areas and simply hands out invites to Fresh Life. No pressure, just an invite. If someone starts to ask us questions, OF COURSE we will answer them and hopefully lead someone to Christ.

So we’ve got this awesome concert/service coming up in Bozeman next weekend called Skull Church. Hawk Nelson will be there Friday night, Leeland on Saturday, then Leeland will lead worship at church on Sunday in Billings. SO stinkin’ excited! You have no idea. Anyways. With this upcoming event, and the opportune timing of Halloween, we decided to do some MOBBING on Wednesday night. It was incredible. Seriously. We walked a couple of blocks with a few hundred trick-or-treaters, and invited as many as we could with our With the Wild Beasts cards. There was a group of teenagers that were curious and asking questions, as well as one other man and woman. Mostly, people were in a hurry to get in, get candy, and get out. It was a great experience over all. Things started dying down (haha, Halloween, get it?) around 9:30p.m. and we decided to head downtown. Best idea ever. We were actually pretty nervous about it, thinking drunk people were probably not the best people to invite to church. Boy, were we wrong. We had some of the best, most intense conversations with people smoking outside of the bars.

It’s amazing how many truly lost souls came from a “churchy” background. James, the guy Tiffany and I talked to the most, mentioned how he had gone to church for a while in Florida. He said he felt as if he wasn’t welcome there. Why, you might ask? Because he has tattoos and piercings. Well waddaya know? A good ¾ of our church has tattoos and piercings. James and his friend were incredibly interested in the idea of a church that asks you to come as you are. We don’t want you to stop drinking, stop smoking, stop doing this, stop doing that, and THEN come to church. Come now! Be screwed up, be a mess! We ALL are! If something in your life needs to change, Jesus will help you change it. But don’t let that stop you from having a relationship with Him now! You can’t receive help from someone unless you let them IN to your life. Jesus loves you, He loves me. No matter what you’ve done, what you’re doing, what you’re going to do. Absolutely NOTHING you can do will change the fact that He loves YOU. Nothing. That’s amazing. As humans, our love is so fickle. It’s entirely dependent on what someone can do for us, how that person treats us, even how we’re feeling any given moment. Jesus loves each and every human being on this earth irreversibly and completely. The problem is, so many people won’t let Him in. So many people believe in God, but aren’t willing to give themselves to God. I’ve been there.

In college, I believed that God created me, but I didn’t want to open up my life of sin and invite Him into it. I was partially ashamed. I didn’t want Him to know what I was doing. Foolish, of course, seeing as He knows everything. I was also afraid of giving it all up. I thought I was too bad, had done too much for Him to forgive. I was afraid that I would give up my sin, but wouldn’t be accepted back into God’s love. Then I wouldn’t have anything. Crazy, the things we allow Satan to trick us into believing. Turns out, the longer I said “No” to God, the easier it was, and the more it hurt Jesus. All He wants is for us to know that He loves us and to let Him in. That’s it. Have you ever had your heart broken? Loved someone, and had them not love you back? It’s tough. Really tough. Now think about how much more it hurts for Jesus. He is rejected each and every day by those he loves, those he DIED for. Ouch. The sin in our lives, the things we’re ashamed of, He loves us in spite of. It hurts Him to see sin in our lives, but no amount of sin can keep him from loving us.

A lot of people believe in God. I did, but I didn’t have a relationship with him. I didn’t want him to be a part of my life. I even knew, that if I died, I would be going to Hell. That terrified me, but not enough. I figured there would always be tomorrow, then I could get things right with God. I got lucky, I lived until that tomorrow. The joy of a changed life is indescribable, unreal. I have peace. I was like Eeyore, darkness following me every step I took. Now the clouds have cleared and grace has taken their place. Having a relationship with God, that’s the ticket. Simply believing that there is a God? Not enough. Even Satan believes in God. Will he be spending any quality time in Heaven? Survey says? No.

These are the things people need to hear, these are the things we shared with anyone seeking answers on Halloween. The conversations were deep and meaningful. I really hope to see James and his friend on Sunday. That would be AMAZING. On my way home, I realized, this is what I’m called to do. God wants me outside of bars, in parks, or knocking on doors—blessing people’s lives. He wants me here, in Billings, Montana, at least for now. This is where I’m the most challenged, where I’m forced outside of my comfort zone. It was an amazing high, followed by an instant low. I parked in front of my house, grabbed my phone and saw the face of my beautiful nephew, Greyson. And I cried. Hard. I miss my family so much. So very much. They’re the most incredible people in the world, and I love them. Sometimes what God wants from us is hard, but the blessings that come from following His will are unbelievable. If even one person is saved because of the sacrifices we make, the glorious celebration in Heaven will be well worth any momentary heartache we experience in this temporary home.

Always,
Jaci

4 comments:

  1. I'm so glad you have your answers...and your peace. I would NEVER argue with the Lord (OK, so maybe I have , but it never turns out well). I believe you are beginning to understand how we ended up back in Mi. One really big part of me wanted you to be back here but a BIGGER part of me wants you to be doing exactly what God is telling you to do. I miss you.....AND I'm very proud of you...AND I LOVE YOU

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  2. So I'm not sure what I was expecting to read, but I wanted to be supportive because that's who I am..all I can say is that you brought tears to my eyes! I think it's awesome that you are choosing to step out of the comfort zone and live your life according to God's plan. I know firsthand how much courage that takes and just know that even though your brother and I would love to see you back in Michigan, we are both very proud of you and support you 100%

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  3. I love you too, mom! Thanks for being my biggest fan! ;)

    I'm glad you liked, sis-in-law! And I appreciate supportive family. That's what family is for, right? :) Now.... come visit! I miss you!

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    1. We will come visit someday..maybe next spring I can convince your brother into taking a road trip!! :)

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