October 18, 2010
My Begging Bowl
Here’s a quick run-down of how the schedule looked. Friday night we had worship with Andy Richardson and his team. Then Keith Mitchell (who I’ll now call KM to avoid confusion with so many Keiths :) gave his amazing testimony and my Keith preached. Then Saturday, there was worship and Byron Earls preached. Lunch. Fellowship. Teen Challenge testimonies. More worship. Then Keith preached again. The presence of the Lord was there and the word went forth clearly with boldness, power and authority. None of the guys held anything back.
There’s so much I want to tell about this weekend and so many layers to it that there’s no way I can do it all justice in this one blog post. There’s so much I want to share about the precious people who worked so hard to put this thing together. I want to share about special friends who came just to hear KM’s testimony, to hear my Keith preach or just to see us. Oh my if I got started on sharing how those precious Teen Challenge guys touched everyone's hearts, that’d be a couple of blog posts alone. Then there’s how the Lord encouraged my husband and really confirmed (as if he needed confirmation) his obvious anointing to preach and to prophesy. Ruston can have no doubt that this weekend a prophet was in their midst. So this will not be the only blog about Warrior’s Call. But before I lose the freshness of it, I want to share a particular personal part of this weekend that is being highlighted in my heart just now.
I once heard a testimony of this lady who was a minister in England. Before a particular preaching event the Lord gave her a vision. In it, she saw herself speaking to a group of beggars who held begging bowls in their hands. As she preached, she saw Jesus walk up to each beggar and place something in each bowl. It was something unique to each one. The lady who had the vision was very encouraged by this vision and began to look forward with expectancy to her upcoming preaching event. The day of the event arrived and as this lady approached the platform to minister she looked out, expecting to see the needy people of her vision. Instead she saw beautifully dressed, affluent people. She thought to herself, “These people aren’t beggars.” She gave her talk. She felt that it was unremarkable and that she did it quite badly. But as she spoke she looked out to see tears running down the faces of the people listening. She saw the proud people’s hearts softening as she spoke. And she realized, it wasn’t her words that were touching them. It was Jesus. He was there. Her vision had been accurate. These beautiful people truly were the beggars of her vision. Despite their affluence they were very needy. And Jesus was tenderly giving each one something different but unique to them and exactly what they needed.
I told Keith this story before Warrior’s Call. He said he’d actually thought about it too. Not that I thought he’d preach badly like the lady of the story did, but I believed that Jesus would be there and He’d make the difference in peoples lives no matter how the speakers did. And of course each speaker did incredibly and Jesus was definitely there touching lives. But this weekend, I was one of those beggars with a bowl whose lives were ministered to. Jesus placed something specific to only me in my little bowl. The Lord touched many more than just me, but I’d like to attempt to share my own unique perspective and personal experience- the contents of my own personal ‘begging bowl’.
Keith and I are no strangers to ministry but when I heard that Warrior’s Call would be held in our old hometown of Ruston, I was a bit concerned. First there’s that scripture about a prophet not being welcome in his hometown and Ruston is a proud, affluent, religious old town to boot. Plus it is where the vast majority of our extended family resides- parents, brothers, aunts, uncles, cousins and our oldest friends. Not to mention that Ruston also is the geographical location of where my family fell apart and where I drifted the farthest from my Lord. Despite all that the Lord has done in and through my life these last 27 years, I still had some Ruston baggage. So I didn’t know what to expect from Ruston, or from myself. But Warrior’s Call was obviously something God was putting together, for many different reasons, some I don’t yet know and some I still don’t understand. However, I do know one reason God had it in Ruston was for me. He wanted to get rid of that Ruston baggage once and for all.
Now maybe this will make sense to no one but me, but I’ll try to explain. I left Ruston right out of high school and except for one year in the past 27 I have lived far away. We go home a couple of times a year and we rarely see anyone but family. But despite the years I’ve been gone, in my mind Ruston is frozen in time. Everyone is as I left them 27 years ago. Of course in reality I know this isn’t so. I have facebook. I’ve seen the wrinkles and receding hairlines. I realize that former goofballs are now parents and responsible citizens. But I guess since everyone was frozen in time in my own mind, I assumed I was frozen in my unregenerate state in theirs as well. Despite all of the restoration to my soul over the years, a little piece of that former shame still remained and was awakened every time we’d cross over into those city limits. But God knew and He knew what I needed.
God works in mysterious ways and He knew that I needed to hear the testimony of an old friend. I heard the testimony of someone who knew me back when. He knew the kind of person I was, but like me, he has changed. He had a much harder road than I ever had. He’s been to hell and back and the Lord saved him, delivered him of his addictions, healed him of his brokenness, restored to him love, acceptance, family, respect. The Lord gave him beauty for ashes and the oil of joy for his mourning. I am reminded of that song Restoration. “You’ve taken my shame. You’ve called me by a new name. You’ve taken my pain and in it’s place You gave me joy. You bring restoration to my soul”. That’s what the Lord’s done in me and that’s what the Lord has done in our friend KM.
Now I don’t totally understand it, but KM’s testimony exposed a lie planted in my heart by the enemy of my soul. It revealed the devil to be the liar that he is.
Rev. 12:10-11 “Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, "Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.
Satan is a liar and he is the father of lies. He cannot touch our inheritance. But what he can do is lie and accuse and convince us that the years we spent in sin have forever defined us and are set in stone in ours, others and God’s mind. If he can get us to believe this and his other lies, he can render us silent or too intimidated to step out into the fullness God has intended for our lives. I let him lie to me about this for far too long. Nobody’s sitting around remembering me how I was. Heck, nobody’s probably remembering me at all. It's been big only in my own mind, inflated by the father of lies . What freedom to finally see that!! The Lord confirmed this to me in many different ways this weekend.
So I want to say a big old thank you to our friend Keith Mitchell for being bold and for sharing his testimony of what the Lord has done in his life in our hometown. When we speak out and declare what the Lord has done, God’s light shines before men and before the heavenlies. Angels and demons heard that testimony too! I know the devil is hopping mad to have lost this one. I have a mental image of Jesus when he descended to snatch the keys of death from Satan, saying ‘HA! You thought you had me didn’t you? Well you didn’t! I am alive!!!” That’s what we do when we testify! Jesus shines forth. Satan cannot come into God’s light. His lies are exposed there. It’s in those dark shadows where we have not come into the light that he torments us. And when KM shared his testimony, that light of Christ shone on an area of darkness in my own heart and healed it.
So that’s what Jesus put in my begging bowl this weekend.
More to come on Warrior’s Call. So stay tuned….
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