james wrote this letter for our church bulletin a few weeks ago. it was to add to the "letters of love" series..i love this man! enjoy.. (ps view mine here)
1 Timothy 1:12 (NKJV) “And I thank Jesus our Lord who has enabled me, because He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry...”
The paper was tightly wrapped, crinkled, barely concealing the size of the box in which I was about to rip into. As I tore the paper and shredded the box, I thought to myself, Christmas! …My favorite time of year! I opened the box and fixed my eyes on a miniature gorilla ornament. He was muscular and his large arms where extending down, firmly gripping free weights. I smiled at this present (mainly because I love to work out :) not just for its appearance only but for what the giver proceeded to share with me when he watched me open it.
STRENGTH, he explained.
The Lord has given me the spiritual muscles to carry what was in front of me. As I started to cry (yes, I am a crier) he explained how he had to buy the gift twice, for the first one broke. He handed me the first broken ornament and it was only the hands of the gorilla holding the weights and the body disconnected. At this moment The Lord spoke to my heart...”James, this is what your life (ministry) will look like when you do it on your own.”
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Several months ago began a season of blessing and turmoil. I had old wounds opened up in my immediate family that led to doubts creeping in about what I believe. Fear, Pride and Anger (the usual suspects) were all too familiar in tempting me to be my own strength. But not so long ago I opened the middle drawer of my filing cabinet, the drawer was stuck. As I pulled, wrestled and yanked the drawer open I caught myself looking at the broken ornament from two years ago. In a flash I felt The Lord tell me that “He alone has enabled me, and He is the provider of our (Casey and I) life.” I quickly looked up in my Bible the phrase I heard in my heart from the Lord.
I found 1st Timothy 1:12 “And I thank Jesus our Lord who has enabled me, because He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry...” It stuck out to me like a sunny day in June in Aptos :) I immediately held on to the promise, that it is the Lord who enables me to do anything and not my own effort, that God has considered me faithful, so I get to have confidence in my speech and leadership. And last but CERTAINLY not least God has brought me into His ministry.
I don’t have to doubt where I am or what I am doing but know it is “The Lord working in me and through me for His good work and pleasure” (Philippians 2:13) and that’s to love the people in front of me, one day at a time! Alongside the tough circumstances also came blessings! I have enjoyed my first year of marriage (now on year two), Casey and I were invited to be apprentice pastors on the Pastoral team. The Nation is developing and the youth are discovering who God is and who He has made them to be (not to mention being back on campus!).
One thing has truly been solidified this year: God is good and will always have good things for us!
Bring on 2013! with love, james