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Posts Tagged ‘Aslan’

God is calling us ever upward.  Every moment of every day is an opportunity to grow closer in intimacy with the Lover of our souls.  God is Omni-present and He will condescend to meet us wherever we are when we cry out to Him, but His intention is not to leave us in the muck and mire that life can become.  Rather His desire is to restore us into right relationship with Himself and within His creation.  He wants to bring us closer to His heart and our eventual home.  That is His desire for each one of us.

As we grow in Him, we have the amazing privilege of being His partner in bringing about this growth in others.  That same love which he lavished upon us to bring us to repentance and faith, becomes resident in us as we grow closer to our Father in faith and obedience.  That love is the motivating force behind our faith response toward others.  God wants us to be His hands, His feet, and His mouthpiece to a lost, hurting, and dying world.  As caregivers of God’s love, there are a few “next steps” which align us with His working and will enable us to be His hands, His feet, and be faithful in speaking His Word.

Intimacy with the Father only comes as we dedicate time to be alone with Him.  I went to church regularly all my life prior to a conversion at age 23.  While this established a basic worldview that included God in it, it did not establish the intimate relationship with Him that came later when I made it my #1 purpose to know Him and to follow Him.  I encourage you to set aside specific time every day to seek God in prayer.  And when you pray, with a bible open, listen to what He says to you, where He takes you in His Word, and what He whispers into your soul.

A solid knowledge of the Word of God is paramount to accurately discerning God’s voice and His instructions.  The Holy Spirit will never guide us contrary to His Word.  It would be nice if once we came to faith we always sought out God’s will and did it immediately.  However, while our debt is paid in full and we are justified through God’s amazing grace, the sanctification process of our lives becomes a life-long endeavor.  We are still in a battle against the world, the flesh, and the devil.  Sanctification is our co-labor with God to bring every aspect of our being into consistent obedience to Him.  As we grow and we read the Word of God it becomes a living reservoir of truth within us.  That truth, when acted upon in faith, becomes a rock-solid wall of defense against the enemy and a stairway in taking our next steps closer to God.

The final next step is a broad one.  It is putting into practice all that God shows us in our intimacy with Him and through reading the Word.  Obviously plugging into a vibrant church is essential.  We are a part of Christ’s body, the Church.  God gave His Son to die for the Church.  The Church is the bride of Christ and as such it is most precious to God.  Giving of our time, talents, and resources to the Church is an act of faith and good stewardship.

In the book, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, the Lion, Aslan, is representative of Christ.  He is good, kind, wise, and in the climactic moment He purchases the redemption of all through His willing self-sacrifice.  However before this happens there is a conversation that is telling between Mr. and Mrs. Beaver and Lucy.  The children are new to Narnia, drawn into this magical land of perpetual winter and talking animals through a mysterious wardrobe.  The children have heard of this great Lion-King Aslan, but they have not yet met him.

Mrs. Beaver said, “if there’s anyone who can appear before Aslan without their knees knocking, they’re either braver than most or else just silly.”

“Then he isn’t safe?” said Lucy.

“Safe?” said Mr. Beaver, “don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you?  Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe.  But he’s good.  He’s the King, I tell you.”

As we grow in Him, the Lord will call us out of our comfort zone, out of where we feel safe, and into deeper faith.  He is alive and His desire is for His life to be made manifest more fully in His people.

The following are some practical steps to being effective care-givers.

  1. Pray in the days leading up to the care-giving opportunity.
  2. During the service, pray for the response.  For me the worship at the beginning of the service is a wonderful time and place to offer up prayers for the message, the messenger, and those the Lord desires to reach with the message.
  3. If you are in the atrium as the service ends and no one directly approaches you, ask the Lord to show you if there is someone who needs care and prayer, but is hesitant to ask for it.
  4. Approach anyone you feel the Holy Spirit nudging you toward and simply ask if you can help.  There are several different ways to phrase it,  “Hi, my name is ____.  Can I help you?”  “Would you like to speak with someone?”  “Would you like to talk to someone about today’s message?” “That message really spoke to me.  What did you get out of the message?”
  5. Listen in anticipation of God providing specific direction as you move into a care-giving situation.
  6. When you are with a person who is sharing their need listen to them intently, while also being open to the Holy Spirit to give you insight.
  7. If you are the second in a conversation, be in prayer for both the guest and the primary.  Be specific in your prayer asking the Lord to give clarity of the need and wisdom in the care response to the need.
  8. The care and how it is given will vary dependent upon every situation.  It should always be delivered in love and usually with abundant gentleness.
  9. One of the requests we make in prayer is for clarity on recommended next steps.  While confession, repentance, and encouragement are all important activities that take place in the Care Room, pointing the person(s) toward their next step is crucial.
  10. Weigh what you believe you are to share with someone against the Word of God.
  11. Share what you have been given to share.  Be concise.  Do not belabor the recommendations, but speak as clearly as possible.
  12. Request help if you are in a conversation that gets too deep for you.  Stay in the conversation, but if it is a subject that you do not feel equipped to address then give another caregiver the lead and you become the second, praying as described above.
  13. Pray with the guest as the Lord leads.
  14. Fill out the card and re-emphasize the next step captured on the card.
  15. Follow up.  This includes contacting them and praying for them.  For many you will only have a week or two of follow-up contact, but be open to the Lord leading you into a bit longer of a season of care.  I had two extended seasons of Care last year and they were absolutely amazing.
  16. If you are in the Care room and you do not get a conversation, understand that your role this day may be to give prayer support to those who are in conversations.  Look around the room and listen / look for the Holy Spirit to prompt you to pray for a particular person or a particular care conversation.

As we step out in faith, whether it is to stand during an invitation time, or to reach out to someone we sense is hurting, God is present with us to accomplish His work.  While it isn’t always safe and we may misinterpret God’s leading in a few instances, being willing to be obedient is how we take our next steps.  And God knows and honors that obedience with spiritual growth.

May God bless you richly today and as you seek to grow in His love and grace.

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