Guest Post

Divine Appointments

Random act of kindness. I have grown to dislike this phrase. Many times when a church steps out into the community to show God's love in tangible and practical ways, it is seen as the church randomly showing kindness. This phrase, which I have used often, does not take into account the fact that God is not random. We do not serve a random God! Nowhere in the biblical account of God's character, do we ever see randomness. What we do see, however, is purpose. We see a God that is purposeful in everything He does and in everything He calls us to do. This purposefulness extends in the way God is using us to reconcile a lost and dying world. I love the verse John 6:44 where Jesus says:

"No one can come to Me except those who God draws"

This verse gives us insight that we serve a God that is not random, but that is meticulous in the way that He draws people to Jesus. When we understand this, we understand that when we show God's love in practical ways in the community, it is anything but random.

When we step out and show love and kindness in practical ways, God goes before us and creates what we like to call Divine Appointments. One of my favorite Divine Appointment stories comes from my friend Hannah and her neighbor:

One day after pulling into her driveway, Hannah was getting out of her car. She was blindsided by a huge hug from a lady who lived in her neighborhood. Hannah, not knowing this woman, looked startled and asked the woman if she needed help. The lady laughed and said no, but went on to tell Hannah why she was so happy to see her. The lady said that several months ago Hannah's church came by and gave her a package of dum dum's with a card that simply said, "Just for you, Just because. We hope this small gift brightens your day... there are no strings attached, we just want you to know that God loves you." Hannah's neighbor told her that from the kindness she was shown, she was compelled to come to the church gathering on Easter Sunday and surrendered her life to Christ.

 
 

Wow! This woman will be the first to tell you that this stuff is not random, but the story did not stop there.

She went on telling Hannah that her daughter was home from University a few months after Easter. This woman began sharing her new love for Jesus to her daughter and invited her to also give her life to Christ. The daughter became very upset and started raising her voice saying, "Why would I believe in a God that has never been present in my life! Why would I believe in a God that has never shown up!" Hannah's neighbor said that as soon as her daughter finished that sentence, there was a knock on the door. As Hannah's neighbor and her daughter answered the door they were shocked to find a team from Hannah's church that was showing God's kindness in practical ways by giving out free pop and popcorn for a free movie night to people in that neighborhood. The team gave out all the supplies for the free movie night and then prayed for Hannah's neighbor and daughter and left.

 
 

The daughter's jaw must have dropped! She went from shouting that God was nowhere to be found in her life, to having a group of believers at her doorstep showing her free kindness and praying for her. I can't tell you that the daughter got on her knees and surrendered her life to Jesus right then and there, but if she does ever make that decision, she will look back at this moment as a time that God was whispering "Come to me"

God is not random. I believe that God has a purpose and that He sets up divine appointments each and every time we set out to show His kindness in practical ways. We pray that the Stirring community will be sensitive to the ways God has gone before the church to create many purposeful connections, and many divine appointments.

- Austin

 

 
 

Austin and Ashley Cooper are passionate believers from Weatherford, Texas USA. They have recently arrived in Canada to plant a Church in Port Coquitlam as a part of the Church on the Rock Global Family. They believe whole hardheartedly in extending Gods' Kingdom, and have run missional outreaches for a number of years. Their fun and unique expression of Christianity has become a powerful influence in the lives of people, and we think God really enjoys it! They are a family of four, having two beautiful children named Judah and Ezra.

WEBSITE - Kindness Outreach

Abiding & Trusting

There are a couple things in life that really get me excited - Coffee, blogging and Jesus. So when Dani approached me with the opportunity to write for you guys about this season of my life, needless to say I was rather excited to sit down with an iced latte, in a cute little coffee shop and pour my heart out. I love being able to share what the Lord is doing in my life in hopes that someone out there is this big world is moved, impacted or even changed. Lets start of by introducing myself, Hi, my name is Melissa, I'm 22 years old and this season of my life has been anything but boring. It has been a season characterized by learning what it really means to trust and abide in the Lord.

Over the course of the last 3 years I have been studying at Summit Pacific Bible college with the hopes of graduating and becoming a Pastor. That was my plan. I knew I had variety of pastoral giftings and most of the people around me had labeled me as a pastor. With the best intentions they called out all of these awesome giftings in me and encouraged me in my direction. With a year and a half left, it finally hit me, this whole time I had neglected to even consider if this was my plan or the Lord's plan for my life. This realization sent my life into a little bit of a whirlwind. The life I had grown so comfortable with was gone. I dropped out of bible college, and got a job working at Starbucks. I went from living on campus with all my friends, to moving back home with my parents and brother. It was like my life did a complete 180 and I was back at square one. No idea what I was doing or where I was going. In some ways I guess you could say I felt a bit like a failure. I felt like I had lost control on my life and I didn’t know how to get it back. I knew that now, more than ever before in my life, I needed to really learn how to Trust the Lord. The whole time I could hear His still, small voice whispering, “Melissa, do you trust me?” During this time, Proverbs 3:5-6 really came to life for me.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.”

This was a verse I had known for the majority of my life, but until this moment it never really stuck. Thus the theme of this last few months burst into existence. Completely immersing myself in trusting the Lord that has yet to give me any reason to not trust him. Learning to trust that HE has a plan for me and that He’s not leaving me out to dry. Trusting that even though it's the unknown and even though it might not be the most typically exciting season, that He's got countless blessings for me on the other side. Trusting that He has a purpose for this season and every other season. Trusting that He sees the big picture — the whole picture and all I can see is what is in front of me. By no means do I have all the answers and yes, most days I really suck at trusting Him, but the point is I'm getting there. I'm acknowledging that His plan is far greater than any plan I could come up with. Do I know where i’m going to be in the next couple years? Nope. Do I know what my career is going to be? Nope. Does that completely freak me out? 100%, but I’m OK with that. He’s got me — right in the palm of His hand and He’s never going to let go of me. I am His beloved.

Trusting Him, can be painful at times. It’s a completely selfless act. It truly requires you to pick up your cross, but I promise you it is SO worth it. The feeling is so rewarding in the long run and like they say nothing worth having ever came easy. Not only did my life drastically improve when I started to trust Him and abide in His words and promises but my relationship with the Lord has been flourishing. So go ahead, try trusting Him a little more, see how your life changes. In fact I dare you to begin to really trust Him. The outcome is so beautiful.

- Melissa

 

 
 

Melissa is a barista at Starbucks and from Langley.  She is passionate about seeing young women fall in love with their creator and at the same time seeing ho valued and precious they are!  Melissa has her own blog; My Beloved is redefining what it means to be a women in today's world. Creating a culture of women that are confident, bold, and full of joy. Most of all, creating a culture of women that are completely captivated by their Father, and live lives that are a reflection of Him.

WEBSITE - My Beloved