He made me feel empowered when he brought me into his office. I sat down across from him, a nervous twenty-something year old, with the thought in my mind of, ‘What did I do?’
My boss ran the whole floor at Bank of America. As I sat down, he looked me straight in the eye and asked, “What can we do to improve things around here?” He held a pen and a pad of paper.
For the first time in my life, someone took me seriously. For the first time, someone believed in me. Someone thought I had value to contribute to a larger than life organization. That’s powerful. For the first time, I wasn’t Nikki who barely got by in High School and laughed at college. That was just the beginning of many firsts in my life that God would show me as He led me to Him. I was reminded of this recently after an extended video conference call. It caused me to think about the path I took since then, and the many mistakes I made getting here.
My old friend, Fear, likes to poke his head out from the shadows and say, “You are stupid. You are foolish.” He represents a very old enemy that, at one time, held power over me. Fear made me spend money I didn’t have, choose friends who weren’t healthy, and date people I knew would leave me anyway. Why should I be courageous when no one would help me if I fail? I was alone.
Yet, God would bring people in my life to prove He had never left my side. From the time Gwen Beatty saw me enter FBC Prescott (now Solid Rock Christian Fellowship) to when God brought a man who would become my husband that would start an unstoppable awakening in my soul. It is because of the people God brought in my life that I changed. Fear is everyone’s enemy.
What stops you from reaching out to people who make you uncomfortable? When I think of the American church, I share with others grave concerns about its ability to be like the courage of the persecuted church. Those concerns made me take a hard look at myself.
- Am I friends with people who disagree with me?
- Can I put a name to a different religion? Or in other words, have I ever had dinner with someone from a different religion, even country?
- Is my Facebook “preaching to the choir,” or am I allowing God to use me on social media to do the hard work in building relationships with people who are different than me?
A verse caught my eye the other day from Ephesians 3:14-21:
This is why I kneel before the Father. Every ethnic group in heaven or on earth is recognized by him. I ask that he will strengthen you in your inner selves from the riches of his glory through the Spirit. I ask that Christ will live in your hearts through faith. As a result of having strong roots in love, I ask that you’ll have the power to grasp love’s width and length, height and depth, together with all believers. I ask that you’ll know the love of Christ that is beyond knowledge so that you will be filled entirely with the fullness of God.
Glory to God, who is able to do far beyond all that we could ask or imagine by his power at work within us; glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus for all generations, forever and always. Amen.
Firsts in life are important and life changing. You play a part in other people’s “firsts” whether you serve the homeless, internationals, or just go to church. Mentoring is important.
The above verse is my prayer for you and your church.
Can I pray further with you about something?