What would you do if 50 new believers showed up in your church today? That question has been coming up in my head day after day and I’m not sure why. I’ve been praying about it and thinking about it. If you’re reading this, please do the same. To be honest, I’m not sure if many churches could steward those 50 new disciples very well. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to talk the church (people) down. I’m attempting to lift it (people) up.
Really think about it. Fifty people who are rough around the edges. They don’t know anything of what the Bible says; how to act, how to honor, how to love… But they’ve had this turning point in their lives. They’ve had an inescapable event where they truly repented of their sins and know that God is real, and that He loves them.
So what do we do? What do you do? The task may seem insurmountable. Now let’s think about this: What if there were five. Five new believers in your church, in your sphere of influence. What would you do? Anything?
Discipleship can’t be left up to the pastors, or the “spiritually mature.” It is a task, a command, for all who call themselves followers of Christ. Go and make disciples of all nations… Jesus said that. It wasn’t just to His followers that heard Him speak it-- it was to all of us.
I believe a great harvest is already underway in the world. I have heard amazing reports of literally millions getting saved all over the world. America will not be left out. There are many, all across America, who have prayed, have fasted, have longed for the Spirit of God to poured out fresh again across this nation.
When this harvest comes, and even when one new believer is added in your church, what will you do? They will need to be discipled… I hope we can all step up to the command of, “Go and make disciples.”
Maturity Not Required
Have you ever been in a courtroom? I worked in federal law enforcement for over 10 years, and let me tell you, I’ve been IN a courtroom. You may have all these notions from movies or tv shows as to what it’s like, but until you are the witness on the stand… Well, you get the idea!
It’s a strange thing to be a witness in front of people you don’t know, people in suits, a judge that sits way higher than everyone, men wearing guns, and of course, the person everyone is testifying about. Having to point at a man, in front of all of those people - a man who smuggled people for a living - while he stares you down, is still one of the more intense experiences of my life.
The Bible says, “The truth shall set you free.” If there is one thing you want to make sure of when you testify, it’s that you tell the truth. Truth won’t get you into trouble, truth is freeing. It’s easy when you’re cross-examined by the defense attorney to feel like you’ve done something wrong. Some of those guys are really good at twisting words. If you stick to the truth, it’s not a problem.
So, back to your life. What does a witness do? He/She testifies, correct? What has God done in your life that is worth testifying about? I could probably think of over 100 things pretty easily. So, here’s the kicker---Tell people about those things. That’s it. Really! It’s that easy.
Jesus didn’t say to wait until you’re a pastor or evangelist or Bible study leader. He didn’t even say make sure you know the Bible! Yes, we want to grow in maturity and know what God’s word says, but maturity is not a requirement to be a witness! Isn’t that amazing?! Anyone can do it. Everyone is commanded to do it.
God never made sharing the gospel hard. Why do we make it that way?
Don’t get me wrong, you can read God’s Word over and over again and He will speak to you in fresh new ways that build new heights in your faith journey. However, Jesus simply said to his followers, “You will be my witnesses”.
God wants everyone to be able to share His message, His LOVE. Maybe you are in a really rough season in life, and you’re thinking how could you possibly share anything good with anyone? People want authentic relationships. They don’t want to hear only the good highlights of life all the time. People need to know that we stumble, that we question things and that there are others dealing with many of the same things as they are.
I would say this. Share the good and the bad. The good news of Jesus is the best gift you can give to anyone. I think the bad times in life are only a setup for God to come through. If a person knows the authenticity of questioning and doubt in your life, the glory of God will shine all the brighter when Jesus comes through on your behalf. Our hope in Him needs to be shared in a depression-rampant culture.
This morning, as I woke up, I heard the words of a song I’ve been listening to over the past few months. “It was the rhythm of your dancing that woke me from my sleep.” I won’t go in depth into all that Steffany Gretzinger is singing about, but if you’re interested, here is some backstory from my point of view.
God wakes us up. He woos us. He wants time with us. He wants to pour into us, so that we can pour His life into others. Listen, I have 4 kids and I live in roughly 300 square feet. It’s not always easy to find time with just you and God. He’s given us all reason to testify, to be a witness. Death to life. Depression to hope. Addiction to freedom. Fear to love. https://youtu.be/EkUpLaqqZQA
We are witnesses of His power in transforming our lives. I am not who I was a month ago, much less, 5 or 10 years ago. He has made me new, and I’m going to testify of all the things He’s done in my life until my time on earth is finished. Would you join me in being a witness? There are people all around you that need His love. They need hope, they need freedom, they need life. And you are the best one to bring it to them.
The Silver Lining
Silver has long been valued as a precious metal. It is beautiful in its pure form and has had an enduring role in cultures throughout history. However, silver is rarely found in its pure form in nature. Typically, silver is found in silver-bearing ores and a typical ore might contain only .085% silver. Less than 1/10 of 1%! The rest of the ore is just plain rock with some lead, some copper and some brittle, silvery-white metalloid pieces mixed in...I mean, c’mon, I’m not claiming to be a geologist over here. Therefore --> Ore = big rock chunk.
However, the process for getting silver out of that rock is pretty extensive and I think it deserves a good discussion from this non-scientist gal. The process to remove this precious metal and bring it to its true beauty is intense. First, the ore, or large rocks composed of metals, are mined and gathered together. Then, the big rock chunks are crushed and ground to very fine particles. After the ore is crushed, the smelting process begins. Smelt is a super fun word to say (try saying it 3 times for full effect) and smelting is a process that involves heating the metal beyond its melting point. The material is heated in a crazy-hot furnace and the silver begins to separate itself from the impurities. Often in the smelting process, outside elements are added that actually attach themselves to the impurities, which includes the silver particles.
After this first smelting process, insoluble particles, called slime or dross, gradually accumulate at the bottom of the large refining tank. Among the insoluble materials is the precious metal silver, which was originally present in the ore. However, now we have pieces with much higher concentrations of silver. The ore basically goes from less than 1/10 of 1% silver to more than 20% silver through the crushing and the heating process.
Then, the process is started again. This slime is smelted (such a fun word to say!) - heated to beyond its melting point - and the silver is able to separate from all of the remaining impurities.
Serious business. Intense stuff right here, folks.
And, God often talks about us as being like silver. In fact, this whole discussion on refining silver came about when I was reading through Malachi. In chapter 3 verses 2-3:
But who will be able to endure it when he comes? Who will be able to stand and face him when he appears? For he will be like a blazing fire that refines metal or like a strong soap that whitens clothes. He will sit and judge like a refiner of silver, watching closely as the dross is burned away. He will purify the priests, refining them like gold or silver, so that they may once again offer acceptable sacrifices to the Lord.
I have recently been learning that God is closer to me than I could ever imagine possible and that He is truly a good Father. This is something I have known in my mind for quite some time now, but it has just recently transferred down to my heart. The truth that God, the Creator of Heaven and Earth and everything in between, is actually a good Father who loves me as His daughter, His child, is overwhelming. God is a good Father who longs to take care of me and provide for me. A Father who has unlimited resources at His disposal. This is my Father and the revelation in my heart that He is good has revolutionized the way I interact with Him and the way I read the Scriptures.
Even this scripture in Malachi. Now, I don’t know about you, but for so long I have read about God’s judgements against His people for doing wrong as an, “I told you so!” moment. Like God was up in Heaven just hoping someone would follow Him and not sin, but when they did mess up He was like, “Well, now I’ve got to destroy you. I mean, I didn’t want to, but you just messed up too much this time. I’m going to destroy you and just start over with this small group of people that I chose at random. So, learn from your mistakes and don’t make me judge you again.” Then, He goes back to sitting and watching and hoping that His children will follow Him.
Sounds a little facetious (another fun word), but that is what I have come to realize was my mentality relating to God. I was reading the life-giving scriptures with such judgement in my heart. So, what does this have to do with silver? I’m glad you asked.
Psalm 66:10 states, “You have tested us, O God; You have refined us as silver is refined.” Now, with my old mindset, I would have braced myself for the painful process of refining in order to make me a better Christian. I would have willingly said, “Yes” to God but knowing that He was just getting all the evil out of me.
However, since the revelation that God is my loving Father who wants to take care of me has planted itself firmly in my heart, I realize I have been reading the scriptures through tainted lenses. It says that God is LOVE and there is NO FEAR in Love. So, God does not sit up in Heaven worrying about me disappointing Him yet again. He cannot worry because worry is caused by fear and there is no fear in God.
With this new and enlightened understanding, I read these scriptures through the soft, gentle and loving voice of my good Father. He sees me as silver. He knows that while I may look like a big, ugly chunk of rock, I am really only the silver being covered up my a whole lot of impurities. So, He brings me through the refining process. He says, “My daughter. I love you so much. I will take you through a refining process to judge all of the impurities that have attached themselves to you. Because, that is not who you are. You are silver. I will be with you in this refining process and I will watch closely. Then, you will finally see yourself as I already see you: as silver.”
And, it’s so, so good.
I’m so grateful to have such a loving Father that can see me as I truly am: silver.
A Father that can see through the ugliness of all the crap the world has put on me.
He can see me as silver even though I may appear to be more than 99.9% rock chunks of far lesser value. I might even feel like I actually am the lesser valued ore. I mean, I know that I have silver inside of me because I am a follower of Christ. But at times, I can view myself as a rock chunk with a little silver deep inside that people sometimes see when the light hits it at just the right angle. But, most of the time I feel like a normal rock.
And, I think you might feel similar. It’s hard to see ourselves as silver when we have been weighed down and covered up by gunk. Sometimes it is even preached in Christian circles that we are dirty sinners with nothing good inside. But, no. God creates masterpieces. He only creates good. And, He is the only creator of LIFE, which includes you.
That is precisely why He brings us through the refining process. He so wants to remove all of the dross and the slime that is bogging us down. He wants to refine every single part of our lives so that all that is left is silver. All of the impurities are gone. All of the lesser valued metals are melted away. There is only silver that remains and that silver is stunning.
In fact, silver has such unique qualities. One of the neatest qualities I learned in my research is that pure silver reflects all visible light. It exhibits the highest reflectivity of any metal. So, while the refining process to remove silver from chunky old rock is intense and full of crushing and heating and smelting, the byproduct is incredibly beautiful.
After that intense process of refining, we become pure silver.
We, as pure silver, reflect 100% of the Light of Heaven.
And, it is unbelievably stunning.
with Love, always,
The Struggle of My TV Addiction
Okay, I need to be honest right now and talk about one of the greatest struggles of our RV lives. No TV!! Haha… While, this isn’t really a serious and detrimental struggle, it has definitely revealed how much of an addiction to TV I have had in my life.
I crave it.
I think about it at random times.
I want to use it to numb my feelings.
These all sound like symptoms of someone with an addiction. Even though watching TV doesn’t produce serious physical consequences, the fact that these feelings have risen up with the absence of this mind-numbing entertainment concerns me.
I grew up on a dairy farm in the middle of Minnesota. We had acres and acres of land with trees and sunshine and the sound of animals everywhere; we didn’t have TV. Summers were warm and comforting. I remember lying in our massive yard on the soft, green grass and looking up at the sky through the green leaves of the trees. I would lie there for what seemed like hours, just me and my thoughts and the sound of nature and Jesus.
Then, I grew up. I entered into adulthood and learned that adulting can be hard. That’s when I found TV. I learned that TV shut off real life and welcomed me into a place where I didn’t have to think.
As adults, we often take on the tasks and responsibilities we were never meant to hold. It can be exhausting. So, we coddle our tired minds and hearts with the anesthetic of TV. We find ourselves so tired as we move through the day that we can only think about sitting and vegging out on the couch at the end of it all… at least that was me.
I’ve known that my emotions were never uplifted after a good long veg sesh. I actually would come away feeling cranky and guilty for wasting my precious life. I would resolve that it was the last time, and I would be more productive and more intentional the next day. However, I rarely followed through on yesterday’s promises.
Now, we have been called away from the life we were living and we have been brought back into the quietness and peace of God. It’s as if we have come away from the busyness of life and been sequestered through our limited access to the land of free WiFi. Therefore, the band-aid of mindless entertainment has been ripped off in one aggressive motion and has left me raw and red and exposed.
I think that I am needing to relearn the art of quiet. I need to relearn the art of resting in the stillness of the day with only my thoughts and my God in my mind. While I have four children and I am not actually able to lie down in the grass undisturbed for very long, my mind and my heart are learning to be at rest. I have been inviting God once again into every area of my life, including the daydreaming and delightful thoughts of my day.
Hi! We're the Hoeckles.
We're a family of six living full-time in a skoolie (aka a school bus converted into an RV). We are inviting you to join us as we live life to its fullest and empower others to do the same. Welcome to the family!