Men’s weekend is over and I hear that many special things happened there. How exciting it would be if, like a small mouse, we could be observing and delighting on what goes on in those weekends.
And now, women are packing and about ready to go. Continue to pray through this time for the Spirit of God to touch lives; give wisdom and love to all who serve; open hearts and listening ears for the candidates. God has pulled together a mighty staff for what He wants done this week in these weekends.
This is not a time for individual work but individuals working as a team to accomplish what is written in Hebrews 10:23-25, the work He wants to accomplish.
“ Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”
Lyn and I each went the first year of Idaho TD weekends and have been there each year since, with opportunity to serve in many areas. Since that time, six other family members, plus friends, have attended. Words cannot describe how the weekends have positively affected our lives. Actually, we would call them miracles.
Because I had felt led that I was not to participate in an active way this year—not knowing the reason why—Chrystle had agreed that I would sit in back of Rollo room and be in prayer. Well, I am going to be in prayer, but a long way from McCall. It will be from our home in Payette as I am here to provide care for Lyn who had total hip replacement a week ago.
God’s plans are sometimes different from what we expect, but He will always give us all that we need to do what He asks. Recently I was asking Him for strength. He stopped that prayer and reminded me to not just ask for strength but to ask Him what He wanted me to do. And then, as I did that task, He would provide all the strength, and whatever else I needed, to do that task.
A wonderful week to all—if you are still basking in what happened last week or anticipating what is going to happen this week. God is GOOD and has such blessings for us as we look to Him. Keep in prayer. Encourage others.
Blessings, Jeanie Hershey, Spiritual Director
Frequently flyers in the mail give special offers for us to go have our ears tested—to see if we are hearing well. Do we need assistive devices?
Spiritually, maybe we also need reminders. Perhaps, The Holy Spirit should send us notices with the question, “Are You Listening?” How would you answer that question?
Many things get in the way of my listening—busyness; ; my own list of what I think needs to be done, ; difficulty clearing out the old and nasty messages so I can hear something new. Or, maybe I haven’t ever listened enough that I recognize the voice of the One speaking.
When we know someone, we recognize the voice of the one calling. Why, because we have heard that voice so often. Also, maybe it is the kind of messages we are used to receiving that we would recognize the caller.
Recently, someone stopped me with a question: “Jeanie, I often hear you say that God said such and such to you. Do you really hear that? Is it a voice out loud or what?”
Yes, I do say that frequently—often times with some hesitance because I don’t want to sound as if I think I have the answers--but rather I share in a spirit of wanting to be authentic rather than take credit for the idea. Most often, I call that process a “knowing”. It could not just be my own idea but as I have prayed asking for help, I have received an answer: One that I would never have thought of on my own.
Come to think of it—that absolutely makes so much sense. Jesus promised that the Holy Spirit would add to our lives in many ways. One of the most crucial, I believe, is His promise to guide us. Many times the path ahead is not visible or the next step to take; but as I take time to listen, He gives me the guidance that I need. I would not want to even try to live without this reality in my life.
Sometimes the guidance is to just wait and trust. We have two enormous events in our lives right now: Lyn having total hip replacement April 18th and a move on May 5th to Ritzville, Washington to serve as co-pastors. Sometimes as I have asked Spirit for guidance, He gently reminds me to not struggle, but to wait for His timing and His gifts. It has been amazing—His answers are far above what I would even have asked or tried to do on my own.
Many years ago, even before Lyn and I were married, I asked a pastor how I could know God’s voice/ answer. He taught me to ask and then leave it with Him. The answer was when I felt peace about a specific response. Lyn and I have used that process all through our married life. Oh, yes, we have made some serious missteps, but our basic approach is to pray and then wait until each of has a deep peace about an idea.
As I mentioned earlier, we are moving to Menno Church in Ritzville, Washington in less than a month to serve as co-pastors in a rural church. How did we know to do that? The first connection came through an email asking if we might consider moving there. However, we had begun to feel that maybe our home in Payette was where we were to be. We did pray and left it with the Spirit.
In several weeks time, each of us shared with the other that we were beginning to feel peace about at least talking with the Search Committee there. As we spent a long weekend there, we began to sense more confirmation that this was the place for us. One morning while there, I opened up my new Bible, a gift from a special friend. This Bible has some illustrated verses on pages that one can color. As my Bible fell open, there on the right hand column was the message, “I am sending you to a land of milk and honey”, verifying the call we were feeling.
Sometimes, it is a sentence in a book I am reading; sometimes it comes through my journaling; sometimes I am taking time to sit quietly and reflectively and then I hear His guidance; sometimes it is when I really need help, such as my computer refusing to print and I don’t know what to do.
The Spirit loves to speak words of love and guidance to us. Our part is to make the time to listen—and do it often enough that we recognize His voice.
Maybe you think this is all hokey-pokey. It will be that for you until you decide to give it a try and really listen. It has some similarity to what happened to a friend of mine who asked the doctor what heart medications he could stop taking. She told him he didn’t have to take any of them. However, he would have a very short time to live. You don’t have to take time to listen to the Holy Spirit. But, you might miss some very important guidance that could rev up your life.
PS: Taking time to listen may be the most important task you can do—even more than a list.
TVTD Spiritual Director
Catalyst. This is not a usual word in my vocabulary. So, I was surprised one morning in my quiet time when that word came to mind. After asking Heavenly Father, Redeemer, and Spirit what they wanted from me that day, I sensed that I was to be a catalyst that day. Now what does that mean??
Google describes a catalyst as a substance that increases the rate of a chemical reaction without itself undergoing any permanent chemical change. It precipitates an event. Also, a person or event that quickly causes change or action.
What did this all mean for my life that day? After reflection, I saw it as a reminder that I was to make a difference in other’s lives that day. An interesting part is that this was not about my trying to be whatever I thought someone wanted, but to be true to who I am as a child of God.
As we near Tres Dias weekends, I think of the many opportunities that we will have to be catalysts in the lives of others. Being a catalyst can also be negative, which is not what we want. Each of us should be aware of the tremendous calling and opportunity that we have to make a positive difference in the lives of others as we interact so closely.
This is really about choice of what we choose to think and do. Recently we traveled to Indiana for some meetings and time with friends. Our flights on the way were delightful and smooth. Our flights on the way home were chaotic and seemingly disastrous—starting with our first flight at 5:30am. My sister and brother-in-law, as well as ourselves, had gotten up at 3am in order to make this flight.
A stewardess was sick and we couldn’t leave until another one was flown in and the flight would not leave until 10:15am. There goes our great plans of being back in Boise by 1:35pm.
Many travelers had their day’s plans totally disrupted that day—appointments not being met, not being able to connect with family, and many other “seemingly disasters”.
There was a wide array of responses among those whose life had just been royally disrupted. It became clear that no matter how sweetly one talked or the size of temper tantrum, the situation was not going to change.
What kind of catalyst would I decide to be? I didn’t have a magic wand to make things work “right”. But I could choose to be as calming effect as possible. I thanked the person at the desk for doing such a difficult job as to rebook the many passengers. I even suggested to her that she deserved double pay that day—easy for me to say as it wouldn’t come out of my pocket! She didn’t think it would happen!
Let’s relate this word to our Tres Dias weekends coming up and all the preparation that is going on. God is calling each of us to be catalysts for good as we interact together. How we relate as staff members will determine to a large degree what our candidates will observe about God’s love and gain from the weekend. Yes, someone may seem grouchy or sharp in their response. Or, maybe it seems to me that they don’t get their job done well and it impacts me. Or, maybe I feel hurt by what was said or how done.
I encourage each of us to be catalysts for good, directed by the Holy Spirit and filled with God’s love. What you do, how you interact, how you pray for and bless others, will help determine how the weekend goes!
Have a blessed week.
Jeanie Hershey, TVTD Spiritual Director
Quite often my greatest spiritual lessons are learned from every day happenings. And, come to think of it, Jesus, the Master Teacher, taught in that way as He lived here on earth to show us the way to God.
Recently, Lyn and I visited the Mennonite Church in Ritzville, Washington in response to their invitation to us to serve as interim pastors there. While there, we experienced the congregation as caring and supportive. As we shared together, it confirmed the mutual Spirit direction we experienced that this was a ministry we were being called to. We returned back home with the commitment to return to the congregation in six weeks.
Now, here comes the real learning part! Communication after we reached home, said that they had appointed a congregational member to work with us in furnishing the parsonage. We were to tell her whatever we wanted in the parsonage, in addition to what was already there, and she would make sure that we had it.
“Is that for real?” I incredulously thought. Many and various such thoughts processed through my mind. “Oh, we can just get by.” “I don’t want to ask for too much.” “I don’t want to be viewed as being selfish.” On and on. But with each of the “logical and practical” such thoughts, I was reminded that they really did want to know and then to provide. It was not only available to us, but we were encouraged to accept the offer.
How was I going to respond? Finally realizing that this was a serious request and it really was about equipping the parsonage for ministry, my attitude and actions were revised. In my email to the responsible person, I processed room by room in that home and visualized what could equip the home, not only for us to enjoy, but to enhance ministry. I made and shared my list and now that parsonage is being fully equipped, even down to new pancake turners, which I hadn’t even asked for!
The spiritual learning, which you have probably already figured out, relates to the teachings of Jesus, “Ask and you shall receive” taught in various passages. Just as we had been told to ask for desire in earthly furnishings, we have been invited to ask our Heavenly Father for the desires of our hearts. But, instead of accepting that offer, so often, there are a multitude of reasons that hold us back from following through with this. We act as if don’t really believe Him.
But my friends, of this I am sure, that our loving Father is much more inviting even than our hosts at Mennonite Church. As well, He has much more abundance that He loves to shower on us to enhance our lives. It is not selfish to ask. He loves to provide for us and for us to trust His promises and requests.
One of the most delightful, and crucial, gifts to ask for is the guidance of the Holy Spirit in our lives—providing answers and direction for us as we go through life. And actually, we may be limiting His work in and through us, because we are afraid to ask.
So, how much do you, do I, dare to ask? And more than that, will we follow through? If you are afraid you might not ask for the right thing or in the right way, remember that the Holy Spirit loves to guide and direct us and that is His work. Just ASK!
Blessings to you,
Jeanie Hershey, TVTD Spiritual Director