The last four crazy weeks during Christmas we have been using my Bible study called Giving Yourself Away. It is a four week total study and the title probably says it all, but it’s focus is on building relationships with Kingdom intentions of encouragement, mentoring or salvation. Hopefully, it gets us thinking about how to love on others as Christ loved. Here’s lesson number one and I will be posting all four of the lessons, so use them if you would like! The first part is an intro as to who I am(You could skip that part)
Born in Jackson, Tennessee, I was raised by two Godly parents who saw that I was involved in church. Many men and women poured into me and my older brother David through Girls in Action, Royal Ambassadors, choir, Sunday Schools, youth trips and many other activities. I graduated South Side High School in 1981 and my classmates were more than classmates; they were my friends. I attended Jackson State Community College and Union University. At Union I received my Bachelors of Science degree and then my Masters in Education. I met my husband Robert and Union and live has never been the same. I married a tire salesman, who became an educator and a coach, but then God called him (and me) into ministry. When our oldest daughter Rachel was two and our youngest daughter Hannah was one, Robert became the youth pastor at Halls First Baptist Church, Halls, Tennessee. I taught youth Sunday School and sang in the choir. He then became Minister to students at Englewood Baptist Church in Jackson, Tennessee. I continued to teach youth Sunday School and sing in the choir. With small children, I longed for a devotional that contained Biblical truth, but did not consume a lot of time which I did not seem to have. My husband Robert said, “So why don’t you write one?” You Ain’t in Kansas Anymore was born. Writing has been a part of my life since. Robert became Minister to Students at Thompson Station Church in Thompson’s Station, Tennessee. During these years of raising two little girls while in ministry, I went back to full time high school teaching. At Thompson Station Church, the Real Life Sunday School Class for women attending church alone was born. These ladies encouraged me to write material they could understand so I wrote my first Bible study: Daniel: An Uncompromising Faith. God next led us to Madison Baptist Church in Jackson, Tennessee where he was pastor. God brought us back to Englewood Baptist Church where Robert currently serves as Local Missions Pastor. I have now taught high school for over twenty years. We are empty nesters with Rachel attending the University of Tennessee at Martin, and Hannah attending Bethel University.
My story is one of physical healing, emotional healing and most importantly spiritual healing. I am a walking miracle, and you are also. My prayer is to glorify God in all I do, and I pray that my writings will bring honor to the King.
If you do not know Jesus, why not start a relationship with Him today? You will never be the same. He is my best friend, and I want Him to be yours also.
Lesson One: A Few Good Men
When I was twelve, I asked Jesus to come into my heart and save me. I didn’t know much else about what I was doing, but I did understand that without Jesus, I would not go to heaven. I also knew that He loved me. A relationship started that day that changed all other relationships for the rest of my life.
As Christians, we are called to be salt (Matthew 5:13) and light (Matthew 5:14). We must be in the world but not of the world. How do we do that and at the same time, build relationships with heavenly intentions?
In this study, we will take a look at how the master of relationships did this with unbelievers. We will also look at the lives of the John the Baptist, the woman at the well, Paul, Daniel and Joseph.
First, let’s look at the master Jesus. He started his ministry by pulling together a small band of men, so He felt building relationships, showing others how to do ministry, and multiplying himself was important. We should also. He could have walked this earth with no one surrounding Him, thinking “I can do this by myself”, and very well, He could have.
Ask yourself this question: Why was it important that He did not go at His ministry alone? Why is it important that you do the same?
As a Christian, you and I are called to be a teacher in some form or another. My mom was a legal secretary all her working years. She is now retired. Dale Jolley would say that she is and has never been called to teach, but, praise God she did teach me and my brother a lot. This is more of a lifestyle teaching. It happens naturally. Isn’t that what God wants us to do also?
Who is God leading you to that might be a person that needs to come along side you in ministry or have you already filled that spot?
Let’s look at exactly how Jesus did this. Read Luke 5:11. Here you see the calling of Simon who was called Peter, Andrew, James and John the sons of Zebedee.
Where were these guys, and what were they doing?
Previous to Jesus’ coming along with the intention of starting some relationships, who had paved the way in this region? See Luke 3:3-6.
In verse one, we see that Jesus was standing by the Lake of Genneraret. This was also known as the Sea of Galilee. So in Luke 3 we see that John the Baptist had been preaching all around Jordan. Jordan goes between the Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea. The Sea of Galilee or Lake Tiberias is now in Israel and the Dead Sea, also called the Salt Sea, is a lake bordering Jordan to the east and Israel and the West Bank to the west. So, why the geography lesson? John the Baptist had gone into this fishing area preparing the way for Jesus. Interesting choice of places to go. According to goisrael.com, it is Israel’s largest fresh water reservoir. My fishing family could tell me that this equals fish! So John went where the people were. Jesus did also. It is by divine appointment that these men went to this area. John could have gone anywhere and preached. I will venture to say that common sense and the voice of God told him to go around the Jordan area. And then, along came Jesus.
This may sound like nothing, but actually, it’s not.
Ever felt lead to go somewhere on mission, maybe just in your hometown, and realized that the way has been prepared by some unknown person? Is it possible that the person who did this followed God’s calling them and left wondering, “All that for nothing. Not one convert.” Then, you came along. John had plenty of converts, but at times, he met lots of opposition. If you remember how he died, “opposition” is not quite the right word for what he met.
When building relationships, you may be the seed planter or the one who gets to experience the harvest. Both are equally important. Paul speaks of this in 1 Corinthians 3:6. In 1 Corinthians 12 we are all familiar with how Paul speaks of the different body parts, but all part of one body. We are the same. When building relationships, know that it is not all about what you accomplish, but what God accomplishes through you and possibly others.
John the Baptist clearly understood his role. Do you think he ever went to Jesus and said, “Hey, help me out here! Aren’t you ready yet? Isn’t it time?” Jesus knew to follow the Father and timing was and is everything.
Look at the key things Christ did here:
- Jesus and John went after these guys where they were.
- Jesus spent a lot of time with them.
- Jesus spent a lot of time doing ordinary things with them.
- They were with him while He did ministry.
- It was His life, not something He had to stop and think about doing.
Catch anything useful? Right after God called Robert to go to Madison Baptist Church in Jackson, Tennessee, I felt that my girls and I should help out in the nursery on occasion. Rachel and Hannah were in the 6th and 4th grade. This led to Rachel volunteering as nursery worker several Sundays a month. She realized this is part of her ministry. She discovered this while we were doing ministry together. It was really that simple. This is not an example of winning a lost person to Christ, but when we build relationships and encourage others to find and follow a calling, we have multiplied ourselves. That is part of our job. Do you think some children will be won to the Lord as a result of Rachel’s ministry? One already has been, and I am sure indirectly many others have and will be. Three special girls have become part of our hearts forever because of Rachel and Hannah’s ministry to children at Madison Baptist. One of them is now a Christian and I believe the others will follow someday.
This experience also gave Rachel the chance to learn from one of the best children’s workers I have ever known. Wanda Vann, along with her sister Kathy King, loved on kids and taught Rachel how to do this each Sunday. It is through their ministry that children’s lives and Rachel’s have been changed forever. Wanda would say that she is just loving on kids, but she is multiplying herself and touching lives and families for eternity. I cannot tell you how many people at our Madison Baptist Church family poured into my daughters and spurred them on to do the same. It was the little things, and time spent with my daughters that brought this about.
Musically, Hannah and I sang at church on all sorts of occasions. Through the years, I stepped back and she moved forward to the point that she know is an excellent worship leader. Through the direction of Mariza Lobo and especially Megan Cornwell, Hannah now ministers to many through her music.
This may sound like a “bragging” list to you, but actually, it is not. If your children are grown and are following God, think of all the people that God has used to make this happen. Take time to thank them. We have tried, and words are not enough.
Take time to read and pray over these 1 Corinthians 12. How are you gifted? How could you use this for God? Who in this church and outside this church is God bringing to mind when you think about building relationships with a Christ like purpose?