Call to Lead

By: Elena Abe

Sometimes, I get so engrained with my responsibilities here at OSU, that I forget the good (and different) work God is doing on other college campuses

I spent my spring break at the University of Washington (UW), and had the privilege of observing God’s hand in the Epic Movement and Intervarsity Christian Fellowship there. As I spoke with my friends about their struggles and triumphs in ministry, I felt God softening my heart and changing my view on leadership for His Kingdom.

Leadership is in my blood. I held officer positions all throughout high school and had no problem stepping up to help someone in need. When I entered college, I knew I wanted to be a leader in some capacity. God has blessed me in that, leading me to be a youth group leader at CKC and the worship leader at Epic.

However, during my spring break trip, God also revealed to me that leadership had become an idol; I identified myself as being a leader more than a follower of Christ. I found value in self-worth in being in a higher position and controlling the direction of my ministries. I took a lot of pride in my “spiritual maturity” as evidenced by my work at CKC and my influence at Epic. Furthermore, I felt responsible for making sure my friends were growing spiritually. This “responsibility” soon became a heavy, and impossible, burden to carry.

Through my quiet times in His Word, God revealed my faulty thinking. In 1 Corinthians 3, Paul reminds the church that he and Apollos, respected leaders in the church, and everyone else has been assigned his own task in the body of Christ, “I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow” (vs. 5-8). In the end, if people grew closer to God, I couldn’t take credit for it because I had nothing to do with it! Paul even rebuked the Corinthian church (and me!), saying not to boast in human leadership (vs. 21).

As we near the end of the year and look to Fall 2012, we need a new group of students who have the heart to serve. God doesn’t call all of us to be up-front leaders, but He does call us to step up, take a risk for Him, and be a leader in some capacity. God just wants those who want to be faithful to Him and want to help others experience His love.

So I challenge you to pray and ask God to show you an area in our ministry, or even in your dorm or apartment, at your job, or an organization where you could lead others to Jesus. You don’t need to be spiritually mature or have been walking steadily with the Lord for a certain amount of time to be a leader. God is sovereign enough to work through your failures, inadequacies and mistakes, if you offer up yourself to be used by Him. He can still use the broken pieces of your life in a powerful way.

Remember, you are not responsible for anyone else’s growth, and He can turn your mistakes into something good that glorifies Him—just read about those God called to be leaders in the Bible or talk to anyone of the leaders on campus. God doesn’t call the equipped, but He equips the called.

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Risk

Sitting above my desk at church is a Calendar that my sister gave me for Christmas. Each month has one or two pictures from the youth group. There are two pictures for the month of March. The first is a funny one of some students all looking scared and worried. There picture is taken with a sign that reads, “Ride at your own risk.” Here it is…

It makes me laugh every time I see it. It was taken at a local theme park two summers ago. You can find that same sign throughout the park in front of nearly every ride. I’m sure there is some risk when you get on the different rides. Some of them are pretty old and look like they may just break at any moment. Despite the risk, how much would we miss out on if we looked at that sign and said, “I’m not willing to ‘take a risk’ and go on this ride.”

There are a lot of things in life that are”ride at your own risk.” There are numerous examples that come to my mind.

Sharing Christ with a friend is a risk. You might be rejected.

Standing up for truth is a risk. You might be rejected.

Choosing to live a life that is “set apart” is risky. You might be rejected.

I’ve read stories of countless people who have given up great, well-paying jobs to be a pastor or missionary. Pastor Paul Kim, our pastor, has a PhD in something crazy like nuclear science… but he gave it up to be a pastor…what a risk!

Someone once said, “the greatest risk is not risking anything at all.” I’m not sure who said it, but its true.

The second picture on my calendar for the month of March is of me and Joe. . Here it is.

It was a pretty fun ride. I guess you could say, “the risk paid off.”

The Bible is full of risk takers.

Moses going before Pharaoh.

David standing before Goliath.

Peter stepping out of the boat onto the water.

Paul giving up his life to preach the Gospel.

God didn’t save us to sit behind a sign scared, he saved us to take a risk and live a life for him. I wonder how different our church would be if we were willing to risk everything to reach everyone. I wonder how different our lives would look if we were willing to risk our pride to serve others.

I wonder how many of us are sitting behind the sign sacred. You’re probably risking more sitting there, than if you were out doing something.

Take a risk, do something great!

Purpose

Purpose.

Everything has a purpose.

A pencil is for writing, an umbrella keeps the rain off you, coffee gives energy (and tastes good), school is for learning and guns are for killing.

Some things have noble purposes, others mundane and some even evil.

Different things, different purposes.

What good is something if it isn’t being used for its purpose. There is a pencil sharpener that sits on the corner of my desk. It has been there for the past two and a half years and I have never used it. Actually, I don’t think I even own a pencil. Basically, that electric pencil sharpener serves only one purpose at the moment: a paper weight. It’s a pretty good paper weight. When I put paper under it, the paper never falls off the desk. In fact, I don’t think I have ever had a better paper weight.

As good of paper weight as it may be…its purpose is to sharpen pencils. And I bet it is a good pencil shapener too.

Isn’t it tradgic when something doesn’t do what it was made to do.

Isn’t it tradgic when someone doesn’t do what it they were made to do?

The natural question is, what was I made to do. I’ll tell you some of the answer. You were made to be in a divine romance with the King of Kings. You were made to honor and glorify him with your life. You were made to worship. You were made to lead others to the Savior. The list could continue.

The second half of the question is for you to answer.

Someone may be called to be a doctor. Great! Now honor and glorify God in that.

Someone may be called to be a student for the time being. Great! Now let your life be a worship service before God.

Someone may be called to be a janitor. Great! Now serve God as you work.

The tragedy is when someone misses one of the two parts. Either they don’t glorify God in what they do…or they are not doing what God created them to do.

So, may our prayer be that we live the life God has called us to live, nothing more….nothing less.
In doing that we will live with purpose.

Everyone has a purpose. Don’t get caught living out the wrong purpose.

To Obey or Not Obey

She can be really annoying at times. It feels like I continually have to say the same things over and over again, “stop, get down, leave me alone, don’t bite.” I guess she is only a puppy and I should be more understanding. Macie (my puppy) just doesn’t seem to get it sometimes. Sometimes I wonder if she will ever grow up and understand the difference between what I want her to do and what she would rather do.

Every night when me and Charissa head to bed we put Macie into her little kennel. It certainly would be a terrible idea to let Macie have free roam of the house at night. We would most likely wake up to find things chewed, torn and destroyed. We also don’t want to leave her outside in the cold and rainy Oregon weather. Therefore, we put her into her bed for the night. The problem, Macie hates it! It’s not like she is doing much late at night anyways. In fact, most nights as Charissa and I watch TV she sleeps quietly in the room with us, you wouldn’t think it would be a big deal for her to sleep in her bed. When we get up and call her and point to her kennel she rarely comes. Most of the time she plays that game where she stays on one side of the kitchen table and I try to catch her. If I go one way she moves the other. When I try to turn around and go back the other way, she turns around as well. The worst is when she makes it into our bed room and hides under the bed. I’m not really sure how she does it, she’s getting kind of big to fit under there. It is nearly impossible to get her out. I have to reach under the bed and grab her by the feet and drag her out. There are glimpses of hope when she willingly goes to her bed for the night but those are few and far between.

To continue my complaining tirade, she also is in the bad habit of jumping on you. I don’t know how many times I have pushed her off me saying, “Down Macy!” She still jumps right back up. She is getting better about not biting but still has her moments. It drives me crazy sometimes. I just wish she would learn how to be a good dog and not such an annoying one.

The funny thing is (bear with me for a moment) I think I’m a lot like Macie. I wonder if God ever views me like I view Macie. Certainly he doesn’t look at me as annoying and He certainly loves me more than I could ever love a dog. I wonder how many times he has said to me, “stop” and for a moment I quit but eventually I return. I wonder how often I run hiding under the bed thinking that if I can’t see him he must not be able to see me. I see glimpses of hope in my life but I am reminded continually of how rebellious I can be. Does God ever say, “I wish he would just grow up and understand the difference between what he wants to do and what I want him to do.”

Maybe someday I will figure this life out. By the grace of God, I am eternally secure not because of my ability to obey, but Christ’s ability to save. Still, I struggle to do what is right in the eyes of God. Maybe one day, I will learn what it really means to obey. Who knows, maybe even Macie will figure out someday.

The Hospital

I’m curious by nature. Some find it annoying, my wife does at times. When we are out to dinner she always tells me to quit staring at people. I don’t mean to, I just can’t help but wonder about their lives. Every face has a story to tell, every person a life they have lived.

I’m sitting in the hospital right now in Portland, visiting my sister. Don’t worry, she’s okay, she’s just here for observation and a few tests. She calls it a “vacation in Portland.” I don’t know if I would go that far but I guess it is an escape from the busyness of life. She can’t do much but lay in bed, hooked up to a machine that analyzes her brain.

I ventured out of her room not too long ago in search of food. There is a cafeteria on the first floor and I was hungry. I rode the elevator down, loaded up my tray with french fries and a cheese burger (you think they would make you eat healthier in a hospital. You would also think that being a hospital would make me want to eat healthier – both aren’t true).

Anyways, I got in the elevator holding my tray of food along with a young lady. I can’t help but wonder what her story is. She is clearly a patient in the hospital. She is pushing an IV cart, full of mulitple drugs that are being pushed into her system. I wonder what she’s here for? She punched the button for floor six, same place I was going. We rode up the elevator and got off. I followed her down the hallway. Eventually I got to my sister’s room and walked in but this young lady kept walking. I looked up to see a sign pointing in her direction, it said, “Cancer Ward.”

We had gotten off on the same floor but the life she lives is vastly different than mine. Real people with real stories. Every once in a while an announcement goes over the intercom saying, “rapid response team to level 4.” I can’t help but wonder what that means. I wonder if there are other families in this hospital broken over the pain in thier lives. Real people, real stories. I’m thankful I haven’t spent a lot of time here. But, I can’t help but wonder about the lives of everyone else here. Maybe I’m just too curious…