Think You Don’t Have What It Takes to Change the World? Think Again…

dirty hands

Warning: Get 2 beverages first.

Last week our country suffered a number of “setbacks.” Honestly? We were besieged! Fortunately for me, I spent the weekend with some long-time friends for the first time in too long a time. A lot of laughter and fun times ensued that ministered to my beleaguered soul. But, this is no ordinary group of friends. Let me explain:

When the PH and I were newlyweds, we moved to Charlottesville, VA. Hungry for a church home where we could grow spiritually and serve joyfully, we “landed” at Trinity Presbyterian Church. Trinity is enormous–at that time there were 3 services on Sunday morning and two of them were Standing Room Only after the initial 1000 seats were occupied by the “early birds.” Thus, Trinity had a very good “plan” for how to help new members feel welcome and connected in their midst. Through their “plan” we met two other newlywed couples who invited us to be a part of a weekly Bible Study group.

This was no ordinary Bible study group–we made it a priority in our schedules and promised that what was shared in this group would remain in this group…forever. We studied Christian books, books of the Bible, gifts of the Spirit…you name it…we probably studied it. We openly prayed for each other’s specific prayer concerns at the end of each meeting. There was 1 other ingredient–we ate–a lot. 

Soon others asked to join us. We were honored to do so. We started putting together impromptu “potlucks” at each other’s homes after church (probably because we were all too broke to go out to dinner then). Then, we started renting VCR‘s and watching movies together periodically. Eventually, we even trekked to nearby ski lodges and Christian festivals to further our walk with the Lord and each other.

This all led to wanting our group to be a “force for good.” But, how do broke people do that, really? We did our best with what we had. We were young and energetic and so we volunteered to be “the muscle” for various people…when they moved…when they worked on projects at church, etc. We prayed that God would use us.

Soon, some of us were forced to move away from the Virginia area because of job changes. This was quite difficult for us since we knew God was at work in our group in a very real, Twilight-Zone kind of way. We thought of each other as family by this time. But, we made the transition faithfully.

As I sat around the dinner table with these friends this past weekend, all of us grayer, heavier, and wrinklier, I realized that God answered that decades-old prayer of ours–we have been a force for good and God has used us…each of us in his or her own unique way. I don’t know everything we’ve done over the years, but here’s a “smattering” of what has transpired since the early 1980s because of our little group:

1. Preaching in Africa

2. Sending medical supplies to places where governments don’t want that to happen

3. Training native preachers in other countries

4. Welcoming international students into our country

5. Helping those with small wedding budgets realize the wedding of their dreams

6. Helping disabled people get services in areas that are under-served

7. Designing new seminary buildings

8. Feeding local children who don’t have enough to eat

9. Spreading the word about hunger needs to other community groups

10. Teaching confirmation candidates and Sunday school

11. Singing/playing in praise bands and furnishing worship for youth retreats

12. Raising funds for medical research

13. Conducting medical research

14. Caring for our aging parents (sometimes the spouses, too!) and eulogizing them respectfully

15. Raising 17 energetic, spirited children and even grand-parenting them, in some cases

16. Counseling those who are struggling

And because we all have offspring now that are rapidly growing up and making their own path, they have:

1. Shared the Good News with those who haven’t ever heard it around the globe

2. Sung/Played/Run sound for praise and worship bands

3. Designed and led youth retreats based on popular movies and how they might tie to the Gospel

4. Helped those with communication problems communicate better

5. Ministered to disabled children while they attend camp

6. Become Christian camp counselors

7. Taught VBS creatively

All of this resulted from 12 people with a passion to help. Notice that it didn’t really happen until we had to “disband” and spread out across the country. We did it as individuals, couples and families.  And we used our individual talents to God’s advantage. We didn’t try to be something we’re not–we were ourselves as we did it. And it wasn’t all that difficult…we just responded to what God asked us to do as often as we could.

And we are not slowing down…in fact I think we’re only getting started.

So, when politics, poverty, violence and tragedy seem to permeate every part of your life, I want you to remember the prayer of 12 young adults back in 1984.  Permeate “darkness” with the light God has placed inside you. Be a force for good. What is God asking you to do today?


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This entry was posted on Wednesday, April 24th, 2013 at 6:50 am and is filed under God stuff. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

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