Musings by a Christian Educator

Have any of you noticed how certain Christian teachers seem to sort of “join one in the journey” for a while, based on where the road is presently leading? When I was a very new Christian, it was Dr. Charles Stanley. Every time I heard him preaching, it felt like he was talking directly to me. God would use object lessons and often times the same specific Scriptures repeated in multiple contexts over the course of a week or two to reinforce the lessons I was learning. I wrote his ministry a letter one time about that and got a very kind response saying that they hear that often from listeners and readers. I subscribed to and used his In Touch Magazine as a devotional tool for years. Some of the articles from that devotional guide have had a profound impact on my spiritual formation. 
Later Tony Evans’ and Adrian Rogers’ radio messages would nurture me as I drove many miles a year. Later I grew to appreciate C.S. Lewis and Oswald Chambers. Then I began to read diverse books by Dietrich Bonhoffer, Henri Nouwen, Thomas Moore, Evelyn Underhill, Annie Dillard, Watchman Nee, David Jeremiah, Chuck Swindoll, the Desert Fathers….an eclectic bunch. All the while I was being nurtured in the Wesleyan theology of John’s sermons and Charles’ hymns and being fed through Methodist preaching and worship. I discovered apologists like Tim Keller, Lee Strobel, Chuck Colson, and Ravi Zacharias and his team of devotional writers like Jill Carattini and Margaret Manning. My theology is being defined and refined through my Bible study and benchmarking my beliefs against these and others. Sometimes it is a joy and sometimes it is a trial. But because I was created, in part, to learn and teach…I will continue to do that. Those who are not similarly created and called may think I over think all of this….but as Socrates said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” He is said to have believed that the purpose of human life was personal and spiritual growth. I do, too.

Funny how God works.

This morning I took a copy of Oswald Chambers’ “My Utmost for His Highest” with me to church, which I never do. As I left for church I simply felt the urge to tuck it into the side pocket of my purse. Later, as I walked through the hallway, someone approached me and we talked a few minutes about his continued growth of his personal relationship with Christ…something that he and I have talked about several times in the past over meals with our spouses. I shared something with him from MUFHH’s devotional this week and asked if he was familiar with this devotional/author. He was not. “There. That’s the reason….”, I felt the Spirit say. I took the copy out of my bag and handed it to him, inviting him to journey with Oswald, as many of us do. It was a natural, easy thing to do as I had recommended another book to him months ago when he asked for some resources. He said he had found it helpful. What a sweet moment of connection in a 5 minute conversation in the hallway…..a blessing to me to share something and someone whose journey with Christ has been helpful in my journey. In this moment I had the opportunity to hand off that blessing to another pilgrim.

Then I went to Sunday School and as we talked I commented that I had just handed off a copy of MUFHH to someone in the hall when a member of the class chimed in, “I brought you another one today.” It was in a box of books that she brought for our ministry at Titus 2. My own ministry, I realized, is not just to ladies at Titus 2, or to the Sunday School class I teach. It’s to people in the hallway, through brief side conversations and in telephone calls, in God moments where I share something God has given me to offer when someone asks……

“I will bring them to you.” That is what God told me in 1997 as I began to realize that He was inviting me into ministry to be used by Him- with my personal testimony, with what He would show me by the power of the Holy Spirit as I study Scripture, and with my experiences in life to teach others. He is doing that all the time. All I have to do is go out each day, engage in life and carry this awareness with me…that He is present and leading them to me and me to them. Divine appointments….there are no coincidences. But not only for me or others in ministry….for all of us.