Saturday, May 18, 2013

Expectations and the Joy Set Before Me

I have just over two weeks left until I depart for the Boardwalk Chapel in Wildwood, New Jersey. God has answered prayers for ministry opportunities to open up and he seems to have placed his blessing on my serving at this ministry.
I will be doing beach evangelism for 3 months this summer at this chapel ministry which has been serving in this place for 69 years.
I have no idea what God has in store for me there, but I have a few expectations.

I expect God to take me out of my comfort zone.
It was bad enough evangelizing in Uganda 3 years ago where almost everyone was eager to hear what I had to say. In New Jersey I expect it to be a rather different story. I'm not inherently an attraction (as I was in Uganda: a white American in an African village) and I think people are generally less friendly to the gospel up there. I expect to be cussed out at least once, ignored, laughed at, and perhaps listened to.

I expect to learn more about who God is to unbelievers.
It is very different to share your faith with someone unfamiliar with the Bible or any sort of Christian doctrine. I expect to learn more about Jesus by trying to explain him to an unfamiliar world. I expect Jesus to become more precious to me as I seek to explain how much he's done for me and is willing to do for others.

I expect to come away more confident in sharing my faith with others, though I may grow more timid at first.
Growth requires stretching. Something that is hard and uncomfortable at first becomes more comfortable the more you do it. The same is true about evangelism.

I expect to become more aware of my own shortcomings and inadequacies, and as a result feel more dependent on God.
It's hard to feel dependent on God when you're comfortable. When you seem to have everything under control it's hard to feel as though it's actually out of your hands. By pushing ourselves outside of circumstances within our control it's easier to feel the reality that we're utterly dependent on God.

I hope to discover more of the joy of evangelism.
I'm not naturally gifted with meeting people and connecting with them, but I have a deep passion to walk with others and make disciples for my Beloved. Being filled with joy in Christ is a primary requirement for sharing him with others, but it can be hard to find that joy when I'm so focused on the words I'm trying to use to share him with others.
I have a deep passion to see broken sinners healed, blind eyes opened, dead made alive, and more people enjoying the love of God with me, but my own struggles with shyness have proved a great barrier. I'm praying for God to break down this barrier a lot while I'm there. Not so that I can become confident in my own abilities for eloquence, but so that I can be more open and free to God's direction and leading. When God puts a burden on my heart to tell someone about Jesus I don't want any part of me to get in the way of me saying, "Yes." I want to obey him more freely and become a better servant.

However, far outstripping my desire for great change to occur in me during this summer in New Jersey is my desire that souls will be saved. That images of God will be reunited with their creator. That more people will love God than did before. That Jesus will have more tongues willing to confess his kingship and more hearts delighting in his extravagant love. That lives will be changed forever. That God will bring healing to hurting sinners.
My greatest joy will be to see my God work his wonders in the people he brings into my life while in New Jersey. To see the salvation of my God come among the people in New Jersey will bring tears of joy to my eyes and inspire my heart to worship, praise, and adore him more. To him be the glory forever and ever. Amen!

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