I have watched a war movie or two in my life. I haven’t gone out of my way to watch a war movie, but I have been married twice and sometimes it just happens.
Many times it goes like this. The ranking commander addresses the troops and says “Gentlemen, I have an important mission to accomplish. I need a handful of people who will volunteer for this assignment. This assignment will require some extra training and sacrifice, but I feel it is an important mission. If you want to be a part of this special assignment that I believe will weigh heavily on our ability to win this war against the enemy, STEP FORWARD.” I have never once heard the commanding officer say “just stay where you are and raise your hand.” No, he asks them to STEP OUT.
When I worship on Sunday mornings and at bible study on Wednesday nights, I step out into the front area between the first pew where my husband and I usually sit and the beginning of the stage area where the worship team is assembled. Many people ask me why I step forward instead of just worshipping where my seat is as it is in the front row. The answer is that this is my symbolic stepping forward to once more confirm to my Heavenly Father that I am ready, willing and able to step out into the world to do His work. To confirm that if He has a special assignment for me, I am ready to perform it to the very best of my ability -to give it one hundred per cent of my energy.
Church members will say “well that is okay for you, but I would feel funny.” Which is the same thing as saying “what will the other people in church think.” Actually, I don’t care what the other people in church will think, They don’t know where I have been, what I have experienced, the gratefulness I have in my heart for my Heavenly Father who has brought me through times of sorrow and difficulty. I simply tell them “if you can’t step out in church where everyone believes what you believe, then how are you going to pray for a person who tells you they are Hindu at a business meeting at a crowded Starbucks. If you can’t step out at church, stepping out with boldness in the world won’t be possible either.
I remember asking a man who had just signed up to do an ad if I could pray with him, which for me is a daily occurrence. He was surprised – they usually are. After I prayed for the matters that concerned him, he thanked me so very much for praying with him in his restaurant – such a public place and yet we had church. Quite honestly, once I bow my head and close my eyes and start praying the concerns of my brother or sister on this early journey, I am at the throne of God and not at all aware of where I really am. He asked me if praying for people in this matter has had an effect on my business. The translation to that statement was does being so politically incorrect and praying for people regardless of their beliefs cause you to lose business because you have offended people.
I explained to him that just the opposite was true. Because I put God in the center of our business, our business is blessed. In the course of all these years – asking literally thousands of people if I could pray for them, maybe four have said “no thank you.” In that case, once I leave their presence I ask God to open that person’s eyes and heart to see Him for who He is – a good, loving and faithful Heavenly Father. I pray that whatever has wounded them will be healed. More times than not, it is a family member who was not healed, and they are angry at God that he died when they should, in fact, be thankful that through God’s goodness and grace they had that person in their lives at all.
Well back to the military analogy. God has his own Navy Seals. But these are not volunteers. These are the people He taps on the shoulder, calls to LOUDLY and incessantly until they hear and follow. These are the men and women who pastor churches, go to foreign lands and preach the good news, who have dangerous assignments to places where speaking Jesus name will get you thrown in jail.
God has his army, His regular troops- the body of believers willing to go to church on Sunday and even do things such as teach Sunday school, be an usher or greeter,cleanup after coffee hour. What He is looking for now are the volunteers willing to STEP FORWARD to follow His heart and vision – to join His Special Forces. People willing to fulfill His mission to comfort those who mourn, feed the widow, shine His light in the darkness.
This was recently confirmed to me while I was decluttering some files in my office last week. I had gotten home an hour or so before my normal arrival time on purpose, because this de-cluttering task desperately needed to be done. While changing channels on the small TV in my home office,I heard a Christian speaker talk about this very subject. He put it this way. God is looking for some crazy people. Some people who will just believe Him for the unbelievable. Who will step out in faith and be available. Who want to make a difference. The only skill that is required is the ability trust God. That is it. Just be able to trust God and that is where being a bit crazy is important. Well that’s me Mr. Speaker. Long before they referred to me as “crazy for Jesus,” they just said “she’s crazy.” It is much better having those extra words added at the end. How about you? Are you a bit crazy? What do you think Noah’s friends said to him while he was building the ark? In the end, who was Noah glad he listened to – his neighbors or His God?
When the soldiers stepped out in the war movies, I never saw any of them step out and then have a million questions. “Well what is this mission going to entail? Tell me all about it before I step out? Is it going to be dangerous? How much time is it going to take? What will be involved? What is your plan and strategy?” I think they knew that if they needed to know the answers to all these questions, they would have been asked to step back into the line. What they needed was a trust in the commanding officer and a shared vision. They knew this commander. They knew who he was and had trusted him in the past and were willing to trust him in the future.
So where do you stand? Are you ready to step out and be a part of God’s Special Forces to take the healing, transforming power of Jesus to a world that so desperately needs to hear of Him? Are you ready to step forward and say “Use me. I am available. I trust you. I want your light to shine in me so brightly that I don’t even have to say a word – people will come to me and say that they want whatever it is that I have that makes me glow with a sense of peace and purpose. I trust that You will guide and properly equip me for any assignment that You give me. I trust that You will go in front of me and open the doors that need to be opened. I want to be more and more like Jesus each day.”
I have signed up. How about you? If you are ready, hold up your hand. The bible says God’s eyes search the world for those He can count on. He can count on me. Can he count on you? Nothing in your past precludes your future when it comes to things of God. If He wanted you to look at the past, He would have put a pair of eyes in the back of your head as well. But He didn’t. He is calling to you today to forget the things of your past the way He forgets them the moment they are confessed and move the only way any of us can move – forward one foot in front of the other!
Simon Says move your right foot, and EVERYONE moves their right foot!