I would like to share my testimony of how God is helping me with opportunities to be missional. I am sure there are many who are finding themselves in the same situation and I hope and pray this will bless you as much as it has me.
A number of months ago now, my wife and I were invited to a group study of the book The Forgotten Ways by Alan Hirsch. Not really knowing what it was all about, we agreed and I must confess, little did I realize the incredible impact this experience would have on my life.
I have always been one to work behind the scenes when it comes to "ministering". I am quite comfortable organizing or creating programs to support a ministry or outreach program.
I can carry on a 1-on-1 conversation covering a multitude of subjects; World Events, Politics, Economics, Space Exploration, Family, etc… My favorite programs are 60 minutes, Frontline, Nova, CBS Evening News and an array of Documentaries. However, when it comes to discussing the good news with someone, I seem to be at a loss for words. Outside of a few close family members, I haven’t even made an attempt to speak into someone else’s life.
Through Alan’s book I am discovering that the Biblical-Mode it is not as much about bringing people to church, as it is to take Jesus (and the church) to the people.
I decided to take this concept and act on it. One Monday morning, during my prayer time, I asked God to place someone in my path that I could minister to. Little did I figure, God would answer within the hour!
That morning, as I was unloading my equipment in front of a customer’s home, from a distance a young, teenage Hispanic boy hollered, "Hey Carpet-Man! How the f*ck are you??”
PAUSE - Please allow me to explain something.
As a young man, when my mother caught me using profanity, her form of punishment was to put pepper on my tongue. This form of discipline very quickly broke me of my habit. Now, whenever I hear someone using the "F" word, I literally feel a burning sensation on my tongue.
Historically, I have felt that profanity is an insult to one’s intelligence and I have great difficulty having any form of conversation with someone who uses that form of expression.
Needless to say, the conversation continued, along with the on-going expletives.
Finally, after I had all I could take, I cut the encounter short and said, "It was good to see you, but I have to get back to work now.”
As the 16 year old rode off on his bicycle a voice inside me said, "Hey! HE IS THE ONE!” I replied, "Lord is that you?” "Yep! That's the one I have assigned for you to minister to.” As I turned and watched him ride off, I was tempted to holler, "Hey, Jose! Come back, COME BACK! You’re the one!”
I stood by the steps with my gear in hand and prayed, "Lord forgive me for failing you." In all his grace, in all his mercy, in the kind of wisdom that can only come from God himself, he said, "Bob, When you prayed that prayer, and asked me to place someone in your path to minister to, I had already given you a grade of 100%. Thank you for obediently responding to my call of discipleship. I can sure use a guy like you."
I felt God's love in such a way, it is absolutely indescribable. He reminded me of what I typically tell people when they are struggling with failure - Babe Ruth hit 714 Home runs, but he also holds the record for strike outs. But he is only remembered for his home runs. I felt like God was telling me, “It's OK, keep asking and I'll keep sending. There's many more where that came from. We'll work on this together.”
God continues to send opportunities my way, and yes, I am slowly, but surely, getting better at my posture. As I embrace this concept of being missional, I look forward with anticipation of what he has in store for me next.
I will continue to ask. And I will live on the ready.
by Bob Miller, Forge Joplin Resident2013