Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Aquarium Keepers

Sunday was a pivotal day in my life. I will be forever changed.

When describing my Pastor to those who do not know him, I always use words like "Bold" and "Passionate". One Sunday I introduced Pastor Scott to a friend of mine that I had invited to church. He shook her hand, said he was glad she came and then (without letting go of her hand) looked her square in the eye and asked her if she knew Jesus. It made me uncomfortable. I thought, "Well, of course she knows Jesus. She's at church after all." I was not offended, neither was she, but it did make me feel uncomfortable. He did nothing wrong. What he did was right but what I FELT was wrong. Oh, and yes, she did know Jesus. Later that day the thought crossed my mind, "What if she had said "NO"?" And I had been with her day in and day out and never led her to the Lord.

Well, as I mentioned earlier, Sunday was a pivotal day in my life. Our Pastor stood before the congregation and challenged us to canvas the neighborhood where our church is. I thought he was going to have a special "visitation" night. But that is not what he had in mind. He had packets prepared for us to go out immediately. Right at that moment -- church clothes and all. He gave us instructions, told us to get in groups of 3, women do not go alone, one can be the "talker" and one can be the "packet carrier", etc.

Now, I grew up in a church that I believe was dependent upon the sale of peanut brittle to pay the bills. I think I was one of the top sales people in our church. I knocked on doors many Saturday mornings in our neighborhood (nice neighborhood where I knew everyone and so did my parents). I had my speech down. I told them where I went to church, sold the peanut brittle, but never once asked any of them if they knew Jesus. I went out many Saturday mornings on visitation with our church bus. We canvassed neighborhoods close to our church. We had puppet shows and we gave out candy. After all, we were trying to break our attendance record. But none of that prepared me for what happened Sunday morning.

Well, we broke one rule. There were 4 of us instead of 3 as Pastor Scott had instructed. Myself, my husband, James, my daughter Amanda (Mandi) and my son inlaw, Jeremy. As we crossed the busy street I said, "I'm the "packet carrier", James, you are the "talker". James asked, "Why me?" I said, "Because you are the Priest of our home, the head of our family." I believe he rolled his eyes at that moment. The first house we visited James stepped up first and was the "talker" and on the next house Jeremy said, "I'll get this one." The next house Mandi said, "This one is mine." One house, in particular, we ALL were the "talker". The gentleman's name was Pedio. He said his wife went to church and he would tell her about our church. Mandi said that we would like for HIM to visit and to come with his family. I told him his little girl (standing behind him) was pretty -- boy, was I anointed or what?James asked him if there was anything he needed help with or was there anything we could pray with him about. He told us he had lost his job. We all stood on his doorstep and James prayed for this man and his family. As we walked away, Mandi sternly said to us, "We should have asked him if he knew Jesus. Pastor Scott would have." I realized that my boldness is only when I'm in my comfort zone -- IN the church.

Everyday this week Pedio has been on my heart and I have prayed for him. I have prayed for everyone on the streets that we visited. They need God. They need US to show them God. They need a church family that will love them into the Kingdom -- not condemn them. Who cares if their English is not good? My Spanish is non-existent. God understands all languages. Tonight before choir practice I will drive down the streets we visited and I will pray for these people. I will pray that God will speak to their hearts. I will pray for boldness to go BACK and visit again. Sunday morning, I'll drive the streets again and I will pray for these people. I will pray that I will have boldness to go BACK and visit again.

Pastor said a couple of things Sunday morning that I have not been able to get out of my mind. He said that in the shadow of our steeple there are lost people who will die and go to hell. He also said that we are to be "fishers of men" and most of us are "AQUARIUM KEEPERS".

Matthew 4:19 says in RED letters "...Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men."

Father, in the name of Jesus, I ask You to help me be bold for You. Take my ministry outside the 4 walls of the church. Let me bring others to You not just take care of the ones who have already come to You. I don't want to be an aquarium keeper. I want to add daily to Your Kingdom. Give me compassion for those who need You. Let the steeple on our church become a beacon of light that the lost are drawn to. Let our church be a place of refuge where the lost are saved and their lives are forever changed. Give the leadership of our church wisdom to minister to those who will come. And, they WILL come. Your Word teaches us to go out and compel them to come in that Your house may be filled. Give us provision that we may provide. Give us instruction that we may instruct. Forgive us that we may forgive. Love us that we may love. Oh, Father, you are enlarging our territory. Help us to call out to You as Jabez did. "Oh that You would bless us indeed, enlarge our territory. Keep Your hand on us and keep evil from us." This is out of my comfort zone, Lord. You are taking me to a place I've never been. I go willingly. Send me. Amen


Blogger Amanda said...

Amanda Hayes said...
woo! Thanks Mom! That was powerful and it just goes to show that we are all following a powerful God. I am so glad our Pastor is radical, it makes me think about my everyday life so differently now. I have been taught to practice relational evangelism. Plant seeds with your life. So being bold and asking, "Do you know Jesus?" is a whole new thing. Even when I was in Evangelism Explosion we never came out and just asked, we worked our way into it. But, what's so wrong with just asking? I love that about our church! I love that I am being equipped to be bold!

10:12 AM  
Blogger V. said...


That adds a whole new perspective doesn't it? We all hide behind our little masks and facades, thinking we are 'living' the right life, 'doing' the right things.

"Do you know Jesus?" Wow again.

I've been challenged and I don't know if I have the stuff....


2:27 PM  
Anonymous Kathy A said...

I have told you before that I am tired of going to church to be entertained. I want to be fed. If I want it, how many other people want it and maybe that is why they stay home on sunday. One thing I heard from someone who I admire is "you grow when you are around people who help and allow you to grow"-that is whay I am thankful for your family being my friends...because of you and Mandi, I have had a new desire put in me and I have been blessed. I just know your church went to one of my patients on sunday. Let me just say that you made a difference in Arlington on sunday. You spread out the seeds on very fertile grown and you will reap and bless your neighbors. All we have to do is tell them about Jesus-that opens the door for Him to come in and show the people who HE is. If rock stars and Grammy people can tell about God on national television and we just sit in the pews and tell ourselves that we want prosperity, healing etc and have pity parties....well, what does that say. I would be no where if someone didn't tell me about Jesus. I love you. It is an honor to know you.

7:16 AM  
Anonymous Candi said...

Wow! Karen you hit the nail onb the head. I'm convicted that I too and not
BOLD enough and I want to purpose to be just that.
Thank you for sharing.
Love ya,

8:31 AM  

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