Friday, October 10, 2008

Spectator vs. Participant

Last weekend, the Harvest Crusade with Pastor Greg Laurie was in Philadelphia. The Crusade takes place about every 10 years and travels to major cities throughout the U.S. It is quite an event filled with big name Christian musicians (Jeremy Camp, TobyMac, Mercy Me) followed by Pastor Greg speaking God's word and sharing from his heart. But most importantly, the crusade reaches the lost and hurting who don't know that a Savior died for them to take away all of their sins. A Savior who offers Living Water that will quench their thirst forever. A Savior that offers eternal life in His presence; without pain, brokenness, disease or death. A Savior that loves you more than you can even fathom. It is a message of love and redemption.

At the end of his message, Pastor Greg invites those attending to make a choice: A choice to accept Jesus Christ as their personal Savior. A choice to enter into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ or recommit their lives to Christ.

It was amazing to be in the midst of the Jesus's Harvest. We attended on Saturday night last week, with our three oldest boys (who love love love TobyMac-I might add! They were completely starstruck and my oldest, Ben, was even on the big screen jammin to TobyMac!) We watched as over 1,000 people walked down from the stands and onto the floor of the Wachovia Center (where the Phil. 76's play) bow their heads in prayer, giving their lives to Christ. It was a moving experience, watching as these people took the steps that would forever change the course of their lives for all eternity.

This is where God spoke to me. I didn't want to hear these words.

"The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few." Matthew 9:37

Ouch!

See, there was preparation for the Harvest Crusade for months leading up to the event. Churches around our area mobilized together handing out invitations to the community. Signs were posted at every church inviting people to attend. This was an outreach.

There were many training seminars that were held for ushers as well as Decision-Follow Up workers. These people were allowed to go down on the floor and follow up with the people who made a commitment to Christ. I wanted to be involved. This was good, right? I needed to mobilize with everyone else and do my part. I wanted to be a laborer.

I attended the Impact Training class. In the training, the Pastor teaching said something that has stuck with me for weeks. He said, "This is an outreach. You are to be a participant, not a spectator."

When he said this, in my prideful self, I nodded in agreement. I was being a participant. I patted myself on the back and continued the steps to being a follow-up worker. I went home with my packet of information, my slip saying I was "approved" and a handful of Harvest Invitations.

I am ashamed to admit this....but I didn't hand out one invitation. Why....because I got in God's way....I let my insecurities, my fear, and doubt override God's call to sow seeds for His harvest.

So, I made excuses. And as God gently told me who to invite...I ignored Him.

I can't Lord.

More like....I won't Lord.

Can't I just go to the crusade, put on my pretty and official name tag saying "Follow-up Decision Worker", go down on the field when the workers are called forth and hand a new believer a Bible?

No!

Can't I just go with my husband and children and watch the joy on their faces at their first Christian concert featuring none other than their absolute favorite artist....TobyMac? I mean, seriously....as a parent...I was so excited for them.

No!

It is not about me! Doing this, I was just a spectator. I wasn't being obedient to what God was calling me to do.

You know when God is speaking to your heart and you try to suppress it. You push it down, hoping that the urging will just go away....that God will change His mind. But He doesn't. He is constant. He doesn't change His mind because when He speaks...He speaks confidently. He knows what is best and what He desires. He doesn't vacillate.

I knew who I was suppose to invite, and didn't.

Why was my comfort more important than the eternal destination of these people? That is a question I have been wrestling with.

Because stepping out of my comfort zone meant stepping into the unknown. I was so wrapped up in me and not trusting God. Not resting in the fact that my acceptance comes from Him and Him alone. He is the one I need to obey, follow and believe.

This is the difference between head knowledge and heart knowledge. I know this all to be true. But I acted on what I knew in my head. What I could figure out....not walking in faith. I didn't believe and I didn't obey.

So, we went to the Harvest Crusade on Saturday night. I loved it. My boys loved it. Pastor Greg gave a powerful message. Over 1000 people flooded the floor for the invitation....I walked confidently down onto the floor, as instructed...there were people everywhere.....overcome with emotion of and Truth of Jesus Christ....I stood next to a girl as Pastor Greg prayed with the magnitude of people....then I was to turn to her, introduce myself and give her a Bible.

I was ready. The harvest was great.....and guess what happened.....

I turned to this girl and as I made eye contact a lady behind me, who was also a follow up worker, locked eyes with this girl, brushed past me and embraced this girl.

There I stood...alone.

At first, I must be honest, I was a bit frustrated with this lady. Hey, wait a minute....she was mine! (ownership....Lord forgive me...she is Yours!)

I walked through the crowds of people, looking for someone else who was alone. I prayed, Lord show me who you want me talking to. I am ready.

There was silence.

I stood still for a moment and scanned the crowd. Nothing. Everyone was paired up.

I made my way off the floor and walked back to my seat....disappointed. I guess you didn't need me, Lord.

It wasn't until the next day when God spoke to my heart.

He needed me all right.... he needed me to obey. God desired for me to be a participant. He asked me to sow seed before the event. He had asked me invite my neighbors and I didn't.

I wanted the glory. I wanted to 'be seen' as a laborer. I wanted to serve my way, not God's way. I set the parameters and didn't quite care for what God was asking of me.

God doesn't bless our actions when they are outside of Him and wrapped around ourselves and what we want.

"Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one's slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness." Romans 6:16

"What fruit did you have then in the things of which you are now ashamed?" Romans 6:21

"Bondservants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh, not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but in sincerity of heart, fearing God." Colossians 3:22

I know God has given each of us His gifts. He doesn't call us all to be street evangelists, not all of us are teachers, not all of have the gift of healing, administration, prophecy....but we all have a responsibility to spread God's love and Truth to those around us. We are called to be a light.

"You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven." Matthew 5:14-16

Here I was hiding His light under a bushel....you know the song we sing to our children...this little light, I'm gonna let it shine....well I hid God's light and tried to replace it with my own. I wanted my light to shine....isn't that what pride does.....puts ourselves above others....above God.

A couple years ago, my husband and I were having a conversation about pride. He was saying how he deals with it as a manager at work, as his group develops high profile products....I said to him at the time that pride wasn't really a big area for me.....ha-laugh is on me!

It was an issue....but there were even bigger issues God had to straighten out in me first. Well, as He has been so patient with me and chipped away at the many other boulders....He is now working in me with pride. Yeh...I do deal with pride. Don't we all, after all isn't that what sent Satan outside of the heavenly realm. He wanted to elevate himself to God. Pride really is elevating ourselves to a place that only is reserved for God-alone.

May He be high and lifted up to His rightful place!

In Christ's love-Stacy

7 comments:

He And Me + 3 said...

Wow Stacy, you really had an experience. Thank God that He allows us to learn and grow through every situation. I am also glad that He wants us to be in His will & shows us exactly what that is. Thanks for such a heartfelt post. I hear you on the pride thing.

also known as Alicia said...

Thanks for being honest, Stacy. Sometimes that is the hardest thing. May we all be challenged to humble ourselves before the Lord and be willing to do His will. Take care, Alicia

Kelly said...

Okay Stacy,
We already have a lot in common with our precious angel babies and all of the emotions that come along with the things we have been through..but now we have another big thing in common. I too am struggling with not 'fitting in' around here. Especially now that I am talking about homeschooling our children..I would love to talk to you about all of this more if you are up to it. My email is momleavingalegacy@yahoo.com Please email me when you get a moment, I would love to get some of your insight on this whole subject! :)
And..wow! What a POWERFUL message! I think we all fall into our own hangups vs. what God is calling us to do. Praising God that He used your experience to remind us to FOLLOW HIS DIRECTION, NOT OUR OWN!!
Hope you are having a wonderful night with your beautiful family..
P.S. I survived visiting Liberty's monument for the first time. I posted pics of it on my blog. :)

Tonya said...

Hey Stacy!

I was going to leave a comment on your "TSMSS" but I couldn't find the comment section. (I'm a bit of a goof, maybe I just missed it?)

Anyway... I loved the song too! It's the first time I've heard it. Very pretty.

Now the crusade sounds AMAZING!
We LOVE all those artists you mentioned. I bet it was AWESOME!

Also, what a blessing to have GOD speak to your heart. There is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING like being in HIS presence and hearing from HIM.

LOVE YOU!

Tonya said...

Hey Stacy!

I was going to leave a comment on your "TSMSS" but I couldn't find the comment section. (I'm a bit of a goof, maybe I just missed it?)

Anyway... I loved the song too! It's the first time I've heard it. Very pretty.

Now the crusade sounds AMAZING!
We LOVE all those artists you mentioned. I bet it was AWESOME!

Also, what a blessing to have GOD speak to your heart. There is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING like being in HIS presence and hearing from HIM.

LOVE YOU!

Amy~Saved by Grace said...

oh dearest Stacy,
God loves you so much and he doesn't love you any less because you didn't obey the calling of passing out the invitations. It is a lesson in Christ. You will be a stronger and better person because of learning this lesson. Some people wouldn't have felt the convictions and would have ignored Him in that area too.
I too, have recently submitted to God on something that has been 2 years in the making. Listening to the lies of Satan. I will share it soon on my blog.

Tricia said...

I can so relate to you! I can't tell you how many times I have not been obedient because of what others might think or how I might look, but praise God He is working on me and with His help I am getting better little by little with obedience thing.

And you know what I have discovered, the joy and fulfillment that comes with being obedient to God far surpasses any joy or fulfillment this world could bring!

This battle against the flesh is a hard one, and sometimes I think that the closer I get to the Lord the harder it gets... it is definitely a daily battle.

Thanks so much for being transparent and sharing!

Blessings!