September 11, 2017 | You have some unique experience that will serve you will in the ministry God has for you.
 
 

There are certain days on the calendar that you never forget. Days that when mentioned, your mind immediately recalls in vivid details what you were doing. September 11 is one of those days. Even though the events of 9/11 are sixteen years in our history, you likely remember where you were when you first heard that a plane had flown into the World Trade Center towers.

I was sitting in class; it was my senior year. That day every class paused instruction as we watched the events unfold live on the news. In awe of the evil that led to this tragedy, we wondered how the future of our country might unfold. We prayed together. It’s a day that we will never forget.

In the wake of the collapse, our nation rallied with pride because of the first responders who set out to rescue those buried in the collapse. Police officers, firefighters, EMS, and other brave men and women risked their lives (and many gave their lives) in an effort to save lives. These men and women truly are heroes in their own right; and yet, really they are just like us.

No one is prepared for a tragedy such as 9/11. Certainly these brave men and women in uniform are trained for emergency, but not of this magnitude. With all due respect, no one was “qualified” to rescue thousands of lives from the debris from two 101-story buildings. Make no mistake, the best men and women available were on the scene, but it’s not possible to train for an event this tragic. And yet these brave souls sprang to action, as prepared as they possibly could be with the training they had been provided, and they became heroes.

There is a parallel truth found the way God calls people into ministry. Something we learn from David’s story is that God does not consider what man considers when putting us into ministry. We find this truth in 1 Samuel 16:7, “The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” As the youngest son of eight who spent his time tending sheep, David was unqualified to become the king of Israel. But that doesn’t stop God from using him.

His first opportunity is with a giant. Even though David had no leadership experience that would qualify him to be the king, he had a heart fixed on God. So David volunteered to battle with the giant, and in response, King Saul said to David in 1 Samuel 17:33, “You are not able to go out against this Philistine and fight him; you are only a young man, and he has been a warrior from his youth.”

While this is true that David had no experience on the battlefield, he has some training that will be applicable to fighting Goliath. Listen to David’s resume¢ in 1 Samuel 17:34-37 “But David said to Saul, “Your servant has been keeping his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it. Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God. The LORD who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine.” Saul said to David, “Go, and the LORD be with you.”

While it’s true that David was unprepared for a battle of this magnitude, he has some applicable experience that would serve him well in this fight. There’s no way to train for a fight with a 9-foot tall giant. But slaying a bear and a lion counts as training. David relied upon his previous experience to do something beyond his qualifications.

Here’s the point I want to make for you: Much like the heroic first responders of 9/11, and that of David versus Goliath, the ministry that God has called us to is bigger than we can handle. We can come up with a list of legitimate excuses that would keep us in our comfort zones. But you have some unique experience that will serve you will in the ministry God has for you to do for Him.

Think about your talents…consider what training you’ve been given…God can use this to make an eternal impact. I’ve known mechanics who have been able to offer their experience to the single mother’s ministry by offering a day of free oil changes. My carpenter friends are wonderful caring for the building and grounds of the Church. Some of you with large gardens are helping supply the food pantry with fresh vegetables. Or perhaps your sales background makes you more comfortable with personal evangelism.

Everyone in the Church is a minister in their own way. We are all called to love people into a relationship with Jesus. And your life experience offers you a unique opportunity to minister to others. Keep your heart fixed on God and He will lead you to make an eternal difference in our world.

I love serving God with ya’ll!

Ashton

 

September 4, 2017 | You Are Never Too Unqualified For a Second Chance.

We all have limitations — things that we have no business doing. I know that I am not a mechanic. I trust a paid professional with whatever is going on beneath the hood of my car. I know my limitations. I avoid the frustration of trying to work in ways that I’m limited.
 
Likewise, I know my strengths. I am confident to work in the areas where I am strong. I’ve learned that we will find the most value in our lives when we trust others where we are limited and we work where we’re strong.
 
This principle applies to the ministry that God has called each of us to. While it’s true that “Everyone is a Minister”, not everyone ministers the same way. For example, I am confident that God has not called me to minister to babies because He did not give me the skills and competence to minister with them for longer than 60 seconds. Don’t get me wrong, babies are cute. But after I acknowledge their cuteness, my ministry effectiveness is done. Likewise, I also know the ways God has gifted me for ministry. It’s essential for our own spiritual maturity that we are familiar with both.
 

I’ve met far too many Christians who are all too familiar with the limits they have for serving in ministry; and yet, they are clueless about the ways God has gifted them for ministry. I’ve had to talk brothers and sisters in Christ into believing that they have purpose and value in God’s kingdom. And I’ve listened to every excuse imaginable why people feel inadequate and unqualified to do ministry for God. No matter how you feel…God has a ministry for you. Do you need more proof? Read Ephesians 2:10 — “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

There are three points from this verse I want to emphasize:

  1. You and I are God’s handiwork. The New Living Translation says, “For we are God’s masterpiece…” You are a work of art. I can imagine God making you and stepping back in amazement at His workmanship and declaring, “Wow!” Our Creator God doesn’t create junk and you are no exception.
  2. We are created to do good works. There is no one like you. You are one of a kind. And God created you, uniquely you, with purpose and a plan. God put in you everything you would need to do what He created you for. God doesn’t make accidents. He is intentional about everything He makes. As His plan for humanity unfolds, He intends to use people to point others towards the love of Jesus. He created you for this purpose. How you fulfill this purpose is unique to you in how He created you.
  3. God prepared in advance to deal with our sin. It’s our sin that keeps us from fulfilling God’s plan for our lives. Maybe you think something you’ve done has somehow disqualified you from doing good works. Because of our sin, Romans 3:23 says, “we all fall short of the glory of God.” God knew about this problem. And Jesus’ death and resurrection is the prescription for this problem. Romans 5:8 declares, “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” God prepared a solution for our sin because He knew it would be problematic for us accomplishing good works for Him.
 

Every one of us have good works to carry out for God — this is our ministry. You will not accomplish good works for God like I am created to, and that’s the way God created us. You are never too unqualified for God to give a second chance. And if you’re still wondering what ministry God has created you for, look no further than what interests you most…what makes you perk up and smile…what comes most natural for you. How can you do that as a way to minister to someone? There may not currently be a ministry in the church that specializes with what you specialize in, and that’s okay! Let’s look for ways to turn your talents and gifts into ministry for God. It’s a whole lot more fun to do what you’re good than it is trying to do what you’re not. And when you do, you will discover purpose as you bring eternal value to others.

I love doing ministry with you!

Ashton

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One Response to “Beyond Sunday”

  1. Nancy perry says:

    Thank you. It’s a pleasure to go to church now.You not only preach from the Bible but also from your heart. If I didn’t know any difference I would think you were Dr Stanley son. I watch him 3 times each week. Keep up the great work and I will be their every Sunday if Lords willing
    God Bless you and your family.

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