About Impact

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Will You Move Chairs?

Taking down chairs before the funeral
 A few weeks ago, I traveled home to attend a funeral at the church where I was raised. Most days, the church's parking lots are full of cars belonging to employees and students of the local high school. When there is a funeral during the school day, there is a need to block off the parking lots so the space is available for those attending the funeral. The night before this funeral, there was a home basketball game so the parking lots weren't able to be blocked off until later in the evening. Since I've always loved helping my dad, when he called and asked me to come help him, I didn't hesitate.

The church uses old metal folding chairs and bright yellow plastic ribbon to rope off the two small lots and, since Vestaburg isn't a booming metropolis, I didn't figure this process would take too long. I was mistaken. It was already almost 10 PM when my dad called and the temperature had dropped significantly since the sun had set. Not thinking about that, I had forgotten to grab my gloves as I left my house. After moving about five freezing metal chairs, my hands were numb. I laughed at myself for being so silly. I continued to set up chairs and prayed for the family and friends who would be traveling into town the next day for the service.

I had made it about half way through the first lot when I remembered the words of one of my mentors in ministry, "Will you move chairs?" David Joe used to ask me this question at the beginning of every week of camp we worked together. Really he was asking, "Will you do whatever it takes to get the job done, to show God's love to others?" I think far too often we have defined ministry as leading a church or preaching a sermon, but the reality is ministry is loving those around you and sharing Christ with them in very tangible ways, even if they don't know your doing it. Ministry is having coffee and listening to someone's story without throwing in your two cents all the time. Ministry is scrubbing toilets just for the sake of helping someone out. Ministry is not some vocation or formal position but being love.

When I returned from the my home from the funeral, I discovered David Joe has actually posted a video about this question. You can check it out below. What are the chairs God may be asking you to move?

Friday, February 03, 2012

Remembering Papa George

Papa George would only let me take his picture with the wig.
This week I traveled home for the funeral of one of my favorite people, George Hatinger, or Papa George as many called him. Just a few weeks ago my younger sisters and I sat at his house with him and Grandma Joyce sharing about our lives and retelling old stories. I've made a habit of stopping by their house for a visit every time I'm home. Papa George always shared stories of his camping trips and visits to see his family. I could sit and listen to his stories for hours, because most of those stories contained great wisdom.

Papa George and Grandma Joyce are great heroes of faith on my journey. I don't remember many gatherings or events while growing up at our church that didn't involve the two of them. Hayrides, Sunday School parties, after-school programs, Vacation Bible School, you name it they were there. I can't even begin to count the hours that were put in to make sure that all of the children in the church knew who Jesus Christ was and how much God loved us. They taught me about prayer and the importance of memorizing Scripture.

I remember reciting verses to Papa George, even when he wasn't my Sunday School teacher, and getting so nervous I would forget it. He would always smile and say "You can do it." or "You'll figure it out."  I may not have had a clue what the verse was but Papa George believed I could do it and that was enough for me to try.

Even a few months ago on one of my visits home, I was sharing with Papa George and Grandma Joyce about some of the challenges I was facing at the time. Papa George looked across the room at me, as if I was a little girl again and said. "You'll figure it out." Suddenly those challenges didn't seem so huge.

I am so incredibly grateful that the Lord allowed Papa George to be a part of my life for so many years. This simple post hardly begins to scratch the surface of the influence he had and will continue to have on my life. He leaves a legacy that I believe will still have an impact on those who hear his story.

Thank you Papa George for countless hours of prayer and endless words of encouragement. Thank you God for Papa George's remarkable example of faith and servant leadership.

Rex and Papa George volunteering at VBS 2008.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

You're Never Clutter

One day a couple weeks ago, I had sent numerous e-mails to our Development team all in one day. In one of the e-mails, I had apologized to one of the guys for cluttering his inbox. In response I received a brief e-mail with the information I had requested but the e-mail started with this sentence. 

You're never clutter.
After reading those words, I froze and was unable to continue reading. I read them over and over again. They are just three words and they aren’t even big ones, but that day those words meant more than any other words in that e-mail. Maybe that day I needed to be reminded of my worth and value and that is why they seemed to strike me at the very core of being. But even more than that, I found myself amazed at the significant power these three simple words had.

I was reminded of this again earlier this week. I received a message from a friend that contained two words that hold a lot of weight in my world, trust and promise. You won’t hear me use these words often because to me they are very powerful words. Man, if someone says they trust me, that is huge. It stirs something deep inside me. I don’t use the word promise unless I’m sure I can follow through. Those two words just have great value to me.

The last few weeks I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about how I communicate with others. Are the words I’m sharing encouraging others or are they bringing others down? Are my words pointing others in the right direction or leading them astray? 

My recent read through Proverbs has been very insightful, as I’ve worked to honestly answer these questions. Over and over again, the book talks about our words and speech, but the following verse has probably been the most influential this month.

The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences. Proverbs 18:21

I love to talk! I mean, seriously, I think out loud. As I speak, are my words bringing death or life? Words have power. Choose them wisely.