Monday, March 28, 2016

Making an Impact

Core Bible Study Group
For a while now I have felt insecure about whether or not I am really making a difference in this world. As time passes the thoughts only grew until it plagued my mind.  I considered how I have been a Christian for twenty years and I have yet to lead someone in the sinner’s prayer. I remember when I was younger thinking if I can just at least lead one person to Christ then I will come out even in the last days. (I realize this is wrong thinking. Keep in mind, I said I was young.) And do not get me wrong, I have been there as others lead a person in the sinner’s prayer, but I have never been the instigator. I even had a little girl in my Sunday class ask me directly but my co-teacher swooped in and led her in the prayer. This fact used to really get me down and burden my heart; I felt useless as a Christian. I felt I was failing to do the one thing God called me to do: to go into the world and make disciples, that is. 
A teacher from my first year

Then I realized the verse does not say or mean that I need to go into the world and lead others in the sinner’s prayer. Instead I am to go into the world and share the gospel. The gospel is simply this… that there is a God, He cares about and loves each person deeply, and wants them to pursue a personal relationship with Him. Because in Him and Him only can we feel fulfilled. Often times this does not mean that I get to see them come to Christ. My job is to go into the fields planting seeds of encouragement and love watching and praying as they grow and blossom into something beautiful. This is not because of me and my working or persuasion but because I serve a God who changes hearts. Quite often because of our own stubborn pride it is a little at a time. I have no power to persuade others to repentance, only Christ at work in the hearts of men and women can persuade them. I am, however, to obey God’s call on my heart. I am to stir up the ones around me through encouragement. Encouraging them to love and show love through good works. As said in Hebrews 10:23-25: 

 “Let us hold fast the confessions of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”

It is not always non-believers that need some stirring. Often times it is people that have accepted Christ but due to lack of encouragement and support they begin to fall away. Let’s face it: we all need a little encouragement sometimes. That is why coming back this year to Taiwan has been such a rewarding experience. I have been able to see the work that Christ has been doing in the hearts of my friends, teachers and students in the two years I have been absent. It overwhelms and fills my heart to see my teachers exclaim how happy and encouraged they are by this, and that even though they have yet to see that what is making them happy is the love and grace of God working in their lives. 

When preparing to write this blog I have been thinking and meditating on what I should say or what Christ would have me share and it’s this… God does not need qualified Christians to win others to Christ. He needs obedient Christians whose hearts are humbled before Him. I know I am useless to persuade others but I do have the choice to obey. And I have been amazed at the opportunities that God has laid at my door and my job is always simple because Christ has done the real work. Often times I just need to state the truth or share the joy, love, and grace that comes from God dwelling in my heart. 
5th Grade students
To give you an example, when we first arrived here in Yuli I reconnected with my local church and we established an English Bible study where we are going through a series based on the book “This Was Your Life” by Jamie Lash. The first semester we had some people come but only a few. So after last week our core English Bible study members met together and I just felt God urging me to take the time to pray for our Bible study this semester and to think of people we could invite and just to pray for them. Then just today I was sitting in the office and a young man that works at my school walked up to me and asked hey do you have any kind of English program at your church or something in the evenings my friends and I could attend? All I had to do is say when and where. 
Yuli church youth group
Another lady I know from two years ago messaged me on Facebook and just wanted me to confirm that we had this English Bible study. She already knew when and where it was and what we were studying! I mean I can in no way claim I had anything to do with any of these people wanting to come. All I can say is PRAISE THE LORD because He hears our prayers and knows our hearts. God cannot use a Christian heart that is proud. Instead we must purpose to keep our hearts humble before Him and watch and pray and you will be flabbergasted as to how God can use you.  Allow me to encourage and stir you on. Hold fast to the faith God has given you! Come before God with a humble heart and allow Him to change you. In the mean time watch and pray, encourage and love on the ones around you. You may be the only Christ likeness they see, make sure you are representing Him well.

~Elise Glenn

Elise is a teacher serving with VOICE Missions in five different public elementary schools in Yuli, Taiwan. This is her second non-consecutive year teaching in the beautiful city of Yuli.

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