In it for the Long Haul (Part 2)


If you missed part 1, please read it first.

As we fill up on Christ and walk in hope, we will influence those we lead to walk in faith.

We see this same principle in Romans 15:13,

Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you believe [in Him] so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

What we see here is that we fill up on this God of hope (prayer, Bible study, fellowship with believers, worship) so that we can overflow on those we serve. How?…By the power of the Holy Spirit. If we work in our own power we will NOT be able to endure to the end of the race.

And this is not a prideful hope as you can see in verse 18 of this same chapter, For I would not dare say anything except what Christ has accomplished through me to make the Gentiles obedient by word and deed.”  Paul only boasts about Christ’s work in him, not his own strength. That is our model for serving and boasting as well. If we begin thinking our success in ministry is our own doing, we might be about to plunge over a big stumbling block in the road since “Pride comes before destruction, and an arrogant spirit before a fall.” (Proverbs 16:18) Ministry we get to be a part of is HIS ministry and based on His personality not ours!

“The greatest gifts are given to the weakest so we lay humbly before God trusting him, not ourselves.” -Rick Warren

As we endure and experience the hope that is found in Christ, how are you holding that hope out to others? Are you transparent with your own failures as well as your victories? How do others know you’ve endured at all if they never know the difficulties you have or are facing?  Romans 15:13 above reminds us that when we fill up, we HAVE to overflow with what we have filled up on!

The day I was listening to Dr. Geiger in our chapel service (see part 1), he had just gotten to point two about it being God’s grace that sustains us. I got a text (I admit I read and responded to it in chapel!) from a friend sharing her cancer diagnosis with our small group. I immediately texted her this: “I am praying that the grace of God that saved you will be the same grace that sustains you through this journey.”  If I’d not just been filled up with that truth I might not have had that to overflow back on to her.

I’ve experienced the “But God” moments of life (again, refer to part 1 of this blog series) in my 60+ years of life and over 35 years in ministry of some sort, almost 20 of those here at LifeWay. He has never failed me.  Whether it was facing infertility (But God), loved ones with addictions (But God), broken relationship with a daughter for years (But God), suicide of a family member (But God)… I knew that God could do anything in each situation, even if He chose not to then or ever.

What about you, Leader? He won’t fail you either. Wherever you find yourself… My job was just deleted (But God), I just found out my daughter has incurable cancer (But God), my husband just left me (But God), this women’s ministry is HARD! (But God), I can’t take one more ministry transition/change/challenge (But God).

But God.

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