Tag Archives: Religion

Don’t Despise a Tiny Start

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Is there a problem in this world that needs your help?  Is it bigger than you can conquer?

I remember when I heard about the great devastation that Hurricane Katrina brought to the Gulf Coast.  It made me want to do something.  What I wanted to do was pick up and go down for a long time to help people rebuild and recover, but I was only one thirty-year-old woman who didn’t really know anything about disaster relief…at all.  So what could I do?  Where could I start?  I really did not know, so I did nothing.

I sat and did do nothing…until Pastor Ian from my church asked the congregation for volunteers to help out with answering phones to help the Red Cross raise funds for disaster relief for the victims of the hurricane.  That was something I could do.  It was better than doing nothing, so I signed up for answering calls early in the morning along with Ian and another friend, Shannon, from our fellowship group.  We went to the radio station and jotted down payment information for the phone call donations that came in.  After our time was over, Pastor Ian, Shannon and I went to McDonalds for a coffee and breakfast, and a talk that would maybe change the course of all of our lives a bit.

We sat and discussed how satisfying it was to help.  But I still couldn’t shake the idea that I didn’t do much that day, I wanted to do more.  But how?  I expressed this nagging thought to my friends, and they thought about that, too.

A month or two passed.  Surely it was beyond the time I could be helpful there.  Then one day, Pastor Ian announced that they made a connection with churches working down in Mississippi.  These churches had been bringing the needed food in to hurricane survivors and were going to be moving on the colossal task of gutting houses and rebuilding.  Our church was going to send a team down.  I made a deal with God.  I would go down if He would work out my schedule to go.  In another month or two, I gave my notice at work for a different purpose—to move to another state out West.  Before I left, however, I would take a week to fulfill my vow to God to go to Mississippi.  A group from our church would soon be going again to help for a week, and I signed up to go.  My friend Shannon from our church group had already quit his job to go down indefinitely.

When I went down, we all worked very hard.  The devastation was great even several months after the disaster, and the need of people tugged on my heart.  I had planned on moving to South Dakota in another couple of weeks for ministry there, but I ended up taking a longer detour to help with the immediate needs on the Gulf Coast.  The parable of the Good Samaritan came to my mind…how could I pass by the desperate need here to go on to another “call of God”?

I spent half a year serving with awesome people, hundreds coming in every week from all over the United States to help, some there for a little longer than others, and all bringing a lot of hope to a largely devastated group of hurricane survivors.  We gutted, repaired, painted, dry walled and roofed houses and reminded people of the goodness of God.

Is there a need in this world that is knocking on the door of your heart?  Don’t be afraid of its size.  Dream big and don’t despise small starts.  Just do something toward meeting that need.  Answering phones was not how I had envisioned helping, but it planted a seed.  That was the beginning toward doing what was on my heart to do, though the problem of how to get there seemed insurmountable.

A little step can lead to another, and another, until you are actually making an impact on the world around you in the way that you had dreamed.  And others will follow.  The breakthrough you bring will bring others around you who can go beyond that door you’ve pushed through.  Pastor Ian’s connection to the disaster relief in Mississippi brought Shannon through that door– he stayed there helping in disaster relief efforts for a long time.  Eventually Ian’s efforts brought me through as well, not to mention many, many other members of the church who were able to tangibly help bring healing to a hurting place.

In the book of Zechariah, chapter 4 (of the Bible), the prophet Zechariah has a God-given vision of what was happening in the spiritual realms in Jerusalem.  In reality their city was in devastation– they had returned from captivity to rebuild what had been great once and now stood in ruins.  Their leader, Zerubbabel, had laid the foundation of the temple in Jerusalem, but people were feeling overwhelmed with the task ahead.  Could it even be done?  Would what they could do even make a difference in Jerusalem and to the temple?  Then an angel asked Zechariah “Who despises the day of small things?”  Were they despising the little bit they had begun? Possibly—it is easy to do!  God encouraged them; the temple would be rebuilt–even in Zerubabbel’s life time.

How would that happen?  “Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord Almighty.”  And that is for us, too.  How will we ever accomplish bringing change for good to this world when so much is against us?  Not by might, nor by power.  Just by the Mighty Spirit of our Great God.  That’s all.  Don’t despise the day of small things.

 

–Maureen Silveyra

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Hurt in the Church

I love my church family.  Always.  But I have had more than my share of hurtful experiences from the church as well.  Some of the most hurtful people that I have met and known have been leaders in churches (though I have also had my share of wonderful leaders as well!) and I wonder how can that be when we are meant to love each other.  But people are not our God.  God is our God.  So I have kept my eyes on Him at hard times.  My kids fight a lot.  They do not always reflect my values.  But they are still part of my family…I am not kicking anyone out of the family!  That is how it works.  We don’t usually blame mom and dad because our sister hit us.  Blaming God for hurts from Christians isn’t the best way, either.  They are growing and learning just like we are.

What has been your experience in the church?

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Brother-In-Law’s Bold Bike Trip

My brother-in-law, (my sister’s husband–whom I will just call “brother” in the rest of this story) cycled to work the other day and passed another bicyclist who had stopped by the roadside. After he passed him, my brother felt that God gave him a word of knowledge or insight about this man, and that he should talk to the guy. My brother continued to wrestle with God because he did not want to look crazy or anything, but after a bit, he turned his bike around to see if he could find the man again and he did.  Sooner or later you will look crazy for the Lord if you follow Him.  He stopped the man and said that he believed God wanted him to say that “Jesus really loves you,” and he asked the man if he had grown up without parents–which was the insight God had shown him. The man said “yes.” They conversed a bit more and they prayed together and that was the end of the encounter from my brother’s perspective. Who knows what God is up to in that man’s life.

Isn’t it very difficult to make those steps of boldness in faith?

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Finding Rest

I went to spend a week up in the woods by a quiet lake.  I was just beginning to get settled in to the idea of warming up water for use a couple hours later over the wood burning stove when I felt the Lord God tell me to go home.  “Are You sure?”  I thought.  Was that the Lord or my own thoughts?  I heard that two more times before I decided to pack up to head home.  God used the drive home to remind me of a dream he gave me a few days earlier and gave me my assignment. 

We are living in a time when rest will not be frequent.  I satisfy myself with the idea that I will have time to rest in the beauty of the heaven and will get to focus my time on my artwork there because the time I have here on earth is of a more immediate and desparate nature calling for the sacrifice on the part of believers of Yeshua (Jesus).  Jesus himself said “pick up your cross and follow me.”  Of all people who could have had leisure and might have spent his time doing what he was gifted at…(who knows what all that is!)…he instead spent his life doing the will of the Father in Heaven and serving mankind.

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