Sunday, June 8, 2008


Case File: Your Name Here
Forensic Report: Fingerprint Analysis

The popularity of crime dramas on TV has intensified incredibly in the last decade. So much so, that CSI: Crime Scene Investigation has 2 spin-offs; the first being CSI: Miami and in 2004 CSI: NY premiered. We can't get enough forensic science for our insatiable diet and CBS has been happy to feed us an ample supply. Even if you don't routinely watch a crime drama on TV, it is safe to say you are familiar with forensic science. At the very least, fingerprints in particular. Locating and recovering fingerprints is an interesting task. Can you imagine how many fingerprints we leave on things in a day? It would be amazing if we could see how many we leave and where we leave them, but you need special electronic, chemical and physical processes to find them. So, although they seem invisible, we know they are there.

Today I'd like to share a valuable life lesson I learned about serving God that has come up in recent conversations with several of my friends. They feel ineffective in ministry because they don't feel what they do is significant. They want better results. - Yep. Hand to brow and I'm shakin' my head!

Admittedly, I giggled at their concern because I know these ladies and I assure you, they ARE effective for Christ! They have a love for people so evident it draws you to them like a moth to a porch light. They welcome you in and you feel loved almost instantly. Can you calculate the impact their fingerprint of love has on people? How do you chart making someone feel special to you? Our society conditions us to believe we need tangible results or there are none. It just isn't so.

It's reasonable to think we need tangible results given how our society functions. We live in a culture that thrives on numbers, projections and charts! (Oh My!) Often ministry requires a business structure. It is vital in monitoring the efficacy of one course or another and can be very helpful. But again, how do you chart love? As individuals, we are commissioned with the sole purpose of bringing people into relationship with Jesus Christ by loving them. Isn't that ministry too?

One common fallacy I often hear about ministry is an 'off-the-clock' mentality. I giggle, often it seems, because as Christians our work isn't limited to a special group gathering for a targeted audience and we certainly don't clock out at 5:00! I believe it is time to stop limiting our perspective. Ministry begins in our capacity to love ourselves and EVERY person we come into contact with. Ministry opportunities occur within our families, with our neighbors, the cashier at the store and with co-workers . . . ANY ONE you have contact with is changed by what you say or do. Sit and absorb that for a sec. When we take inventory of our works for the Lord should we only factor in what is accomplished during 'organized ministry hours'?

Dear friends, you are impacting the Kingdom. No matter how ineffective or limited you think you are in ministry, you have a full time ministry opportunity all day, every day. Your actions are changing people and they in turn change others. The significance rests in how you treat them. Do you love them? Will they in turn be loving to others? Don't be discouraged because you don't see results. I went through years of efforts wondering if it was worth it. God would often give me a glimpse to encourage me. In faith I stood firmly on God's word.

1 Cor 15:58 NLT So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and steady, always enthusiastic about the Lord's work, for you know nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.

Loving people is the Lord's work. It is a priority and the mandate of the Lord for a reason! Loving people with the same sacrificial love Jesus had for us will not go unnoticed. Love changes lives. This directive is a full time job and we are always on duty. Your love can impact the Kingdom in ways you will never discover until that day we stand before Him. Just think about how many people you come into contact with every day and in turn, how many they do. The magnitude of our influence on others is enormous when you imagine the love you give shapes love shared.

It's worth repeating. . . the love you give, shapes love shared. It's a bit like fingerprints. How often do you think you'll stand out from the crowd if you share love in the capacity that Jesus did? Do you think people will want to know why you are different? Keep in mind loving others is a ministry commissioned by Jesus Christ himself. Is it worthwhile? He answered that with the cross. I liken our Christian influence to fingerprint impressions. Sometimes you can't see it but you know it's there. What kind you leave behind is up to you.

Just ask Jesus. His fingerprint is on you. - Will your fingerprint be on them?
Blessings and chin up! - LaVella

Friday, June 6, 2008

Why Ask?

Matthew 1:7-8
7 Ask and it will be given unto you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.

Gasp. . . What if it is that easy?
As a small child I heard my mother say frequently, “Why didn’t you just ask?” This question usually followed, yet was not limited to, a mishap where something was spilled or fell on my head from a cabinet shelf too high to reach. Granted, there was a slight tone of frustration in her voice but the message was clear. Mom was ready to assist in most every situation with that little bitty word, “help”, (actually it was “please help”, she insisted on politeness too!)

So why, oh why, didn’t I ‘Just Ask’ more frequently?

Because sometimes the answer was “No.”!

Is it fair to say, created with a strong desire to be autonomous, we begin to exert our will at an early age? Well, perhaps not you, but it certainly was for me! Depending on personality we could hear similar requests from our parents for most of our childhood. As strong-willed as I was, I learned fairly quickly it was an easier road to a smile on Mom’s face to include her and that beautiful smile rendered good rewards a-plenty. She had a great system. The threat of my dad’s displeasure was enough to keep me in check in most situations. On occasion I would push the boundary when I discerned my ability a ‘sure thing’. I was confident I could do it or, much later, perhaps confident I wouldn’t get caught. (Oh, you know you did it too!) Successes and failures were lessons in themselves, but the greatest lesson learned was discovering the abundant love my parents had for me. It is a lesson I have shared with my children.

If you need anything, please just ask.

God offers us this same useful service, with or without His hand on his hip, just as my Mom did. Without question His message is the same. He loves us and wants the best for us, He wants us to come to Him for our needs, wants and desires even when it's out of our reach. By prayer (asking!) we draw into a closer relationship with Him and can, with His help, navigate through our lives. Perhaps with fewer things falling on our heads, huh? Without question, He will be ready to assist. Even if the answer is sometimes slow to follow or the occasional, "No."

God bless you, today. And if you need anything, well, you get the idea!