The end of last month, our Washington State, Church of God of Prophecy, on a state level held what they called E.L.I.T.E. Weekend, which stood for emerging leaders in training (not sure the e though). And it was for young people 16 to 20's who feel called into the ministry on some level. Either it be pastor, children's ministries, music ministries, ect. We had lots of classes, from basics such as, salvation, sanctification, and the Holy Spirit, to help us better understand, and equip us to be able to share these with others, to a class about the difference between gifts and callings, and how our gifts enable us to fulfill God's calling in our life.
Friday night after our classes we were given our 'final' so to speak, in that we were to prepare either a mini sermon, or share our testimony, in about 3-5 minutes. We were required to have scripture, and it had to be something God had laid on our heart this weekend, not something previously prepared. This would be shared with the local congregation of the church who was hosting us for the weekend (one of our larger churches in Washington state). We were then given time for worship, prayer, and seeking God. The main objective was to give us an opportunity to better connect with God, and learn or refine our listening skills in relation to our walk with God. We were expected to leave the weekend knowing, we know (yeah, that sounds a bit redundant) what God's voice sounds like, and to be obedient to God's voice.
I would go on to explain what more went through my head, but I'm going to post what I spoke, because I started to explain it some in the beginning. I was the first person to present. It was suppose to be random ordered, but as she was picking the order (and I didn't realize she was) I had mentioned to my friend, who asked to be towards the front, that she probably was, because I saw my name right there and she was grouped with me. So Shelly grabbed my name, which was one of the last, and put it on top. Which turned out fine, but I wouldn't have picked to go first. Here goes:
When we were asked to share something this morning, we were challenged to step out of our comfort zone. At the chance of sounding odd, for me that would be to share my testimony. While I am so thankful for all God has done and is doing in my life, sharing my testimony has never seemed to come easy.
But then God reminded me of Revelation 12:11 The Amplified version says "And they have overcome or conquered him by the blood of the lamb, and by the utterance of their testimony, for they did not love and cling to life, even when faced with death. The King James version says "by the word of their testimony." I love the word utterance though, it truly depicts the power of our spoken word.
Most of you may not know I grew up in California. The summer after my 8th grade year I was invited back to church, a new church. And while I was in and out of church as a kid I immediately felt at home. The following year I was so excited for the opportunity for church camp, especially since my new church was affiliated with camps in Washington, so a big road trip was included also. Little did I know God was ready to grab hold of me.
I remember sitting in church that evening, and the evangelist was talking about our need to be born again spiritually. The light bulb was turned on, everything made sense and I gave my life to God that night, excited for what more was to come.
I walked away that year changed and desiring so much more. As I went home to me alcoholic parents, held by the grips of depression, I had hope. I had HOPE. One of my favorite verses is Jeremiah 29:11. While high school was not easy, I had God on my side guiding me and keeping me.
After I graduated I was so excited God was calling me to Washington, and I was even more excited for what He had in store for me in Moses Lake. And marking almost 7 years, I know my journey has only begun. Last year in pursing me calling I got my lay minister's license. This was a huge step for me and yet I have share with very few people about this. So please, count yourselves privileged. :)
And while I know this is just eh beginning of the great things God is doing in me. I know I am not the only one called. Jeremiah 29:11-13 says:
"For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me."
If you are unsure you have a purpose, a plan or a calling, I challenge you to pray...and God promises He WILL listen.
Are you ready?