So here's what I believe He's purposed for me thus far...
I. Focus on the Family
When Anthony and I moved to Arkansas to join the ministry of Mosaic Church, the Lord impressed upon my heart the importance of placing our family before any other ministry we do. So many pastors, evangelists and bible teachers have given their entire lives for the sake of the gospel. They spend countless hours sharing Christ and God's Word with others, "making disciples of all nations." (Matthew 28:19, 20).
While applaudable, unfortunately many of us in ministry sacrifice our own families to reach the lost. I call my family our "First Church". My allegiance must be to them first and foremost. Supporting my husband as a man and as a pastor should take precedence over ministering to others. And training my "little disciples" -- Kalin, Christian, Joelle and Jada -- must take priority over teaching others.
For the Hendricks clan that means spending time throughout the week reading the bible together. We are currently reading through the book of John at least twice a week. I love these times with the children. I love how much they retain; and they ask the most profound questions. And just like any other discipleship relationship, I find that I grow spiritually alongside my children. Before I pursue any of God's purposes, I must pursue my family and their walks with God. After all, what good would it be for us to save the world, yet lose our own children?
II. Build Relationships
When you study the life of Jesus, you discover He did a lot of teaching in the synagogue, in various towns and even on the countryside. However, much of His time was spent simply building relationships with others. And much of those relationships were with people who lived, thought and believed differently than He did.
After Anthony had served on the staff of Strong Tower Bible Church in Franklin, Tennessee for a few years, I realized I didn't have any relationships outside of our church. Of course much of our life was spent doing ministry, and it was difficult finding time to make friends outside of church. Quite honestly, at some point I stopped making the effort.
Well, thank God for new beginnings. We've lived in Conway, Arkansas for less than six months, and I've already made three friends outside of Mosaic. They are a wonderfully diverse group of ladies: one is likely Hindu, another is also new to the area and in need of a church home, and the other one is probably agnostic at best. And just today I received the phone number of a lady who, according to her mother-in-law, is not a christian. I am so excited to get to know these ladies who -- like many of Jesus' associates -- live, think and believe differently than I.
III. Defend the Fatherless and the Oppressed
This last purpose has yet to form completely in my head and heart. I honestly do not know exactly what God wants from me in this area. But I know He's calling me to something. A couple of weeks ago, I had a very vivid dream about doing orphan ministry at Mosaic. I was helping others in the area of adoption, foster care and orphan care, similar to my ministry at Strong Tower. When I awoke, I read the "Psalm of the Day", which was Psalm 10. The scripture nearly jumped off the page for me. Check this out:
Psalm 10: 17-18a "You hear, O LORD, the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry, defending the fatherless and the oppressed..." (italics mine)
When I rose from my bed that morning, I knew in my heart that God was calling me to defend the fatherless and the oppressed in some way. So now I am constantly searching for ways to do so, the antenna of my heart keen towards the needs of those less fortunate than myself. And with this mindset, two opportunities have already arisen: mentoring a young girl with an incarcerated parent and donating clothing for a family devastated by a house fire.
As I close, I leave you with a quote from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, whose life we celebrate today.