Saturday, August 16, 2008

I Am The Worst - but still His!

I have never thought of myself as an "evangelist". To share with people who do not know Christ has always been a little uncomfortable for me. My comfort level is much higher when sharing how God has worked in my life, or helping people see how he is working in their lives, AFTER they have already made the commitment to follow Him.

It is something that, in the past, I experienced a small amount of guilt over, especially knowing that is something He has put me on earth to do. When I have taken various Spiritual Gift Inventories or Evaluations, there is always a sigh of relief when my highest gifts fall in categories like Knowledge, Wisdom, Teaching, Discernment, even Prophet is less scary than Evangelism.

But it's funny, in the last year I have had the wonderful blessing of sharing my story, (which has included the ugliness seen on this blog at times) and leading two different ladies into the decision to become followers of Christ. It might be the first two times that God has ever used me in this way, so intimately involved in His mighty work, that I was present when the decision was made.

That is Evangelism.

Last night (after the movie) I was able to spend some time with one of these ladies as she has become a very, very good friend. It was cool because her best friend (who lives out of state) had come for a visit, and I was invited to join them. They wanted to encourage me at the recent loss of my "best" friendship and it was fun and helpful to be with them. And again, in a situation that was suppose to be about loving me, encouraging me, ended up being used by God to draw the best friend of my new friend and sister in Christ closer to Him. As the evening unfolded and got much later, somewhere around 12:30 a.m., the Holy Spirit lead me into another opportunity for Evangelism.

So, when I got home at nearly 2:00 a.m., I realized how God really does use people in the areas where they are afraid to be used. I think about Moses who questioned God for chapters in
Exodus 3 & 4. Moses finally said,
"Oh, Lord, please send someone else to do it."
God became angry. Moses went.

And Isaiah's words were, "Woe to me! I am ruined! I am a man of unclean lips and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty."

But my all time favorite is Paul. In 1 Timothy he says
"I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me faithful, appointing me to his service. Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy......"
"Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners - of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life. Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen"

I ran across these verses years ago. God has used them in my life to remind me that if He can use Paul, then He could use other leaders who, in my sinful thought life, I thought were unworthy of their calling. Funny that yesterday, He brought me back to this very verse. My understanding is much deeper today than it was on the date that I underlined those passages in my Bible. I see all people through different eyes today, including those that I questioned, and even myself.

Last night, I shared my painful story with a woman who, for years, has held onto hurt over a past situation with her former church. She heard my pain, she saw me weep, she understood and identified with my anger, but when I shared how Jesus Christ was my everything, that I trusted Him, that I know He loves me, that He gave me the deep, sincere desire to write that apology, her understanding changed and she saw something different. Praise God that He uses sinners, of whom I am the worst, for that very reason I was shown mercy, so that in me, His unlimited patience would be displayed as an example for those who might believe.

Now THAT is Friday night fun!

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