My last in-person-speaking event was on March 14 of this crazy year.
Right in the middle of what was to be a week-long series of meetings, the COVID-scare cancelled everything, and rumors of uncertainty soon had us on the road loaded up with extra gas (just in case) and food in the cooler (also, just in case), heading home.
The roads (true, they were mostly country roads we traveled) seemed eerily quiet.
A few gas stations were open, as were the drive-thru's of fast food restaurants (but the lines of cars stifled any want-to-stop).
It felt just plain weird.
As we neared Wolf Creek Pass, we stopped at the last Walmart along the way for a few groceries.
Shelves were pretty much empty, but we picked up a few things, and one of the girls I mentor here in town, had already shopped in Pagosa for me, and left the food in our kitchen.
She was concerned the shelves would be bare by the time I got to go to the local market. #grateful
(It would be May before I found TP on the grocery shelf...a picture-worthy moment)
You've lived all this right along with us for the last 7 months.
The entire trip home carried all the "feelings" not felt since 9/11.
Things in America might not ever be the same.
But, we'd wait for a "new normal" to come....make adjustments....and get after it.
Like us, you're still waiting for a new normal.
(This has been our "theme song" since January, really...not with a sigh of sadness...but with an air of anticipation for whatever it is the Lord has next)
Life seems to shift a little daily.
It didn't take long for us to realize we needed to take a new approach to ministry.
Obviously, churches, conferences, camps (our normal venues) weren't opening any time soon.
But, that didn't change our "calling."
Bay still has the passion for evangelism and gospel-sharing.
I still feel compelled to teach and disciple women.
So, old dogs began to learn some new tricks.
Bay shifted to producing radio messages that are being sent on the air waves all over Northern Kenya and Southern Ethiopia (these reach thousands weekly, and we're hearing some fun stories that remind us the Lord uses EVERYTHING!).
He also began producing Vlogs on YouTube, combining those with a FaceBook presence.
He's video-taping messages being sent to different venues all over the country.
He's studying, researching, and writing some new messages.
He's mentoring several young men in the community.
And, together we are co-teaching a small group that, usually, meets in our home.
I continue to write blogs, and I began podcasting and teach often via the use of Zoom at different women's events for several different organizations. I've video-taped a couple of different retreat series, counsel (most often via Zoom and Face Time) women serving/working overseas, and co-teach our small group with Bay.
(Peg's Zoom Station)
BUT, both of us miss those face-to-face ministry events, the personal connections made, and the meaningful conversations...
SO...all this to say...
One of Paul's last exhortations to Timothy, in the last letter he would ever write, contain three impactful words:
FULFILL YOUR MINISTRY
Other than wanting to impress upon Timothy the importance, value, and urgency of the gospel message, Paul wanted his son-in-the-faith to be steadfast and immovable in his service to the Lord.
The word ministry is filled with meaning.
It declares a specific "calling," or purpose.
It reminded Tim that he has been "commanded by the Lord" to do a specific job.
By virtue of the combined two root-Greek-words used, Timothy knows he is God's errand-runner...but not just any errand (!)...this errand is distinctive: To proclaim and promote the LORD GOD!
Earlier in his letter (almost immediately following his greeting), Paul tells Timothy, to fan the flames, get the fire-in-his-belly burning strong, stir up his passion and make use of his spiritual gift.
Timothy's gift(s): pastoring and teaching.
His gift may not be our gifting.
There are numerous gifts of the Spirit.
We all have one.
It's given to us at salvation when we embrace the gospel and Jesus as our Savior and Lord.
Each gift is appropriated to us in different measures.
Their purpose? Simple! To build up the body of Christ...assisting one-another on to "maturity of faith"!
Here are just a few (taken from Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12, Ephesians 4):
Words of Wisdom
Words of Knowledge
"In last days," says the Apostle Paul, "be zealous and generous in the use of your gift!"
"In these days...we need mature Jesus-followers, who will be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord (for you know that your labor is NEVER in VAIN!)"
As I read Paul's admonition to bring to completion our ministry, my initial response was the question, "how?"
Every time I put an event on the calendar, within weeks it is cancelled.
The next event to come is DECEMBER!
Then I remember, the Lord has given me a "now what!"
It may look a little bit like a "jack-of-all-trades" ministerially speaking, but it is still ministry.
We're still reaching people.
And, I recognize, how I use my gifts may look a little different in these very different times, but it still qualifies as "ministry."
Recently, I highlighted these words in a book I'm reading:
"If you're not dead; you're not done! The Lord still has something important for you to do."
Y'all - we're not dead.
The Lord has something for us to do.
If we are in "last days," lets leave this planet having completed our service of promoting and proclaiming Jesus...