TITLE: Doing It His Way 1/31/2016
By Catherine Craig
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“Shut it down!”
In my personal walk with the Lord, it was the first time I remembered him raising his voice to me. I do not recall his having had to do it since.
That moment, however, that I felt his correction, the burning passion in my heart to reach others for Christ was matched only by my eagerness to move forward. Impatient to be about the Lord’s business, I’d studied what typified today’s Evangelists with speaking ministries.
Such an undertaking appealed to my fleshly appetites. Painfully shy, I had a rabid inferiority complex and a huge need for recognition. Without acknowledging those faults to God or myself, I forged ahead.
Building a website that defined me to others seemed to be a concrete first step, so I took it. That was when, without a doubt, I heard the Lord’s words in my inner self, saying, "No. This isn't the path I want you to take.”
I pushed the delete button to shut down the page, and turned the computer off. The site is still floating out there in cyberspace and where it went doesn’t matter. What is important is that I was in tune enough with the Lord that he stopped me from pursuing a path that wasn’t in his heart.
That was part of my early training not to “lose connection with the Head” as Colossians 2:19 warns. Hanging on to Jesus daily, not getting sidetracked with my plans, my goals, and my dreams were and are paramount. Going forward in my devices – in pride – would have robbed me of the effectiveness, learning, the adventure that God had planned for others – and me.
Besides, being newly arrived in that remote Alaskan fishing village, not on the road system and accessible only by plane or boat, made it doubly important to do it God’s way. In that cloistered of a community, people distrusted outsiders.
I’d already gone to my new pastoral leader and told him about the zeal within me to bring others to Christ. His answer had been, “If this is your calling, then the Body will confirm it.”
My next step was dictated – again – by listening to that inner Voice that aligned itself with instructions from God’s Word. “Go”, Jesus said, “into all the world and make disciples of all men.”
Staying in tune also with 1 Peter Chapter 3’s injunctions for wives, I submitted to my husband and ran things by him. Then after six weeks of prayer with an elder in the church, I approached first my pastor, and then the other five who met for weekly meetings. Without exception, they accepted the idea.
In April 2008, we formed teams of two from five different denominations to begin a quiet ecumenical Outreach to the town. It wasn’t an in-your-face evangelistic effort, but rather we compiled door hanger packages with a trifold invitation to come to church.
To me, what further confirmed this effort was that I wrote the pamphlet and not one pastoral leader objected to it – aside from one small grammatical error. Eighteen months later, after we’d covered the town of less than 2,000, I received another “God assignment”, this time as a writer.
After following the same process to test what I perceived God was saying, I began writing a monthly trifold ecumenical newsletter which circulated among the churches and in three fishing canneries. It included announcements, brief pastoral sermonettes, and Christians’ short testimonies.
God impressed upon me the words, “It’s not about you; it’s about them.” So, I asked the pastors not to divulge who wrote these publications. Though some knew, many didn’t. My Father was destroying “self” and building his Son in me.
In April 2012, God told me to stop the newsletter’s circulation. After a few months’ praying to ensure it was the Lord’s Voice, I informed the pastors.
Within just weeks, the local newspaper allowed me to place Christians’ testimonials in its publication – with no limit to their length! Shortly after that, an interim pastor placed me in formal leadership as a Minster of Evangelism. The Body had indeed confirmed my calling.
Today, I live in a different Alaskan fishing village, and the Lord has validated his Call on my life. Doors for both written and radio evangelism are opening; I’m excited about what’s ahead.
I’m so grateful for God’s patient understanding as I serve him. Most of all, I’m glad that I stopped to hear and obey, to do it his way.
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