Friday, January 28, 2005

How do you prepare?

How do you prepare for ministry? It doesn't have to be full time ministry, or on the mission field. It could be just a short project of some sort. How would you go about preparing for it? Do you put in a lot of preparation for it, or do you just fly by the seat of your pants? Well, I'm studying Nehemiah right now and I am enjoying it so much! The study guide that I am using is one of Donna Partow's called Extracting the Precious From Nehemiah. Anyway, she lists seven principles that can be pulled from Nehemiah 2.
  • "Ministry begins in God's heart. Authentic transformation, of an individual, a church or a society always flows down from above." Do you ever find yourself thinking that whatever you are desiring to do, you are wanting to do it for God, not realizing that it really is something that God is wanting to do through you?
  • "See the importance of a quiet season of preparation. Nehemiah spent time in prayer and fasting, seeking God's perspective and wisdom before doing anything else." Donna points out how for Moses it was 40 years and David waited 15 years before taking the throne.
  • "Preparation begins with prayer, but it doesn't stop there. When you begin preparations in prayer, God will bring thngs to your attention that you might have missed otherwise. You'll be more efficient."
  • "You can be bold when you've spent time with God and are confident you've heard from Him."
  • "Nehemiah knew that only fools rush in." He evaluated the situation for three full days, then he recruited, and he gave people credit.
  • "Nehemiah also discovered that even with God as the architect, it doesn't mean you won't face opposition."
  • Finally, Nehemiah publicly acknowledged God's gracious hand and that it was He alone who accomplished the task.

I have had such wonderful examples of Nehemiah's 'way' in my sister and brother-in-law who are in full time Christian ministry. They have "Pray and Plan" meetings, they are in prayer, they seek others to pray along with them, they wait on the Lord and, most of all, they give the Lord all the credit. But, I found myself looking at this from a totally different light. What about when I feel led to do something...maybe it's to do a project at church, or maybe it's to minister to another person in some way...that isn't something that I'm just 'conjuring up', rather, that is something that God is placing in my heart, from His heart. So even these "little" things should be afforded prayer and preparation. Some things may 'appear' to be 'spur of the moment', like inviting someone to share dinner with you, but if you have been meeting daily with your Savior and fellowshipping in prayer with Him, then I think you are prepared to be obedient when the Spirit leads. For example, being prepared to invite someone to dinner just means that I need to make preparation when I'm preparing my shopping keep a few staples on hand that can quickly be added to stretch things. And then, when the Lord lays it upon my heart to do something 'spontaneous' I'll be prepared.

No comments: