I’m beginning to realize that training to be a camp counselor at a Christian summer camp is much harder and much more difficult than I thought.
I spent the morning working out, running, doing Zumba. Actually, I spent most of the morning pacing, because last night (I believe it was around 10:30-11:00) Sam texted me, saying that Maria’s water broke and she was headed to the hospital! So I naturally yelled with excitement and extreme surprise. This morning, after praying for Maria, Sam, and the baby, I woke up and began pacing, waiting with anxious feet to hear about the state of things. Maria’s baby was born some time in the early afternoon…a baby boy, healthy, and beautiful. 🙂
Oh my goodness a baby has been born!!!!! I’m so excited!!! 😀 😀 😀
After working out and eating (finally), I sat down with my Bible and my counselor packet to read through everything.
I started reading the book of Acts again, and I read something amazing 😀
In Acts chapter 11, Peter has just returned from Caesarea after witnessing to a household of Gentiles, who were uncircumcised. When he’s reprimanded for talking to and eating with these men by the “circumcision party,” he explains what happened, and ends with this:
“And I remembered the word of the Lord, how He said, ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ If then God gave the same gift to them as He gave to us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could stand in God’s way?”
They fell silent after this, saying “Then to the Gentiles also God has granted repentance that leads to life.”
Now, I know this seems like a “no duh” to some people, but this is another one of those things that people have talked about in Christian circles as part of Christian jargon and “Christianese,” which is fine, but I had never read it in God’s word before. 🙂 Peter was explaining that what right, what capability did he have to stand in God’s way? It was God’s will that Gentiles would be given the Holy Spirit just as the Jews were, and Peter was like “that’s God’s will. I’m gonna do it.”
And their answer shows the unity that existed in the church back then, when it was all just beginning. Today, if something like this happened, I have to wonder if the other side would be able to accept it.
As I read further, Paul began speaking encouraging words to the body of Christ and to the Gentiles listening in. He referenced Isaiah 49:6 as he spoke.
“It is too light a thing that you should be My servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to bring back the preserved of Israel; I will make you as a light for the nations, that My salvation may reach to the end of the earth.”
In other words: it’s too little of a task for you to only save ethnic Israel. You are to serve Israel and beyond, the entire world, from sea to shining sea, all of it. I love how God, as He looks on the ministry of His children, sees the redemption of an entire nation to be a small task. But of course, the salvation of others depends on Him and Him alone, because He’s the only One with the power to redeem anyone’s soul. We’re just the instruments.
Which leads me to my big thing of the day.
So, as I was reading through the counselor packet and going over the different things that would be required of me, I realized that I was expected to lead campers to the Lord, to pave the way for them to experience God and understand how He sees them and to show them how to be saved, to show them why He’s worth it.
I’ve never led someone to the Lord….ever.
I’ve only ever planted seeds, put rocks in shoes, made people think. These are all good things, and, so far, even when I’ve taken the opportunities to witness to people because of the leading of the Holy Spirit, it’s all I’ve been doing. I’ve never been a “harvester.” I had to wonder if God uses some people only to plant seeds and He uses others only to harvest after the seed has been toiled and grown, after the soil has been broken up and tilled.
But after talking to Jacob and Hannah, after thinking about it, after being challenged, I realized this is not the case.
“So shall My word be that goes out from My mouth; it shall not return to Me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:11, ESV).
“Everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?” (1 John 5:4, 5, ESV).
God uses whoever is willing. He uses His children, He uses events, He uses non-believers. He uses everyone to spread His message across the nations, to make sure His word doesn’t return to Him empty. And I know it hasn’t returned to Him empty, because I’m saved, because Mom is saved, because there are Christians all across the globe. The power of the Gospel, the power of the death of Jesus Christ on the cross for people who were spitting in His face, cursing His name, and denying His deity, for the sins of the world, and His resurrection is not derived from me, but is powerful all on its own. God’s word is powerful, and He doesn’t need me to make it so…it’s a privilege for me to be used by Him in any way.
God is the One who saves. I’m just the instrument 🙂
Leading people to the Lord is not a skill. It’s not five steps or an academic feat. It’s not a game or a contest. It has nothing to do with my eloquence or my intelligence or my whatever. It’s just God being God, exhibiting and proclaiming His irresistible grace through us and for us. His word and His spirit are enough. Nothing has to be added to it or taken away from it. It just is.
God is cool that way 🙂 (in every way, but especially in this way). He’s complete in Himself and doesn’t need anything added to Him to make Him any more awesome or capable or redemptive than He is. He is solid through and through. That’s why knowing Him and growing in a relationship with Him is His goal for our lives. God’s love is what shook the world and what will win the war of life, and embracing that love and allowing it to change and transform every area of my life, allowing it to be the model for how I love others, allowing loving other people in any way I can to be the most important thing is what really matters.
“”You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruits should abide…. These things I command you, so that you will love one another.”
—John 15:16, 17, ESV