A note from Kelly King: I love the word essentials. It brings focus and clarity to the most important things in my life. In today’s article, Debbie Stuart outlines three essentials for life and ministry. I’m not only reading today’s article, but I plan to put these essentials into action. As a leader, I hope you do too!
This year in 2018 I will start my 26th year in ministry. I’d love to report that my enthusiasm for the next 25 years is off the chart, but to be quite honest I am moving forward somewhat apprehensive knowing that the next 25 years with the Lord will require quick obedience, deeper faith, greater perseverance, stronger courage, and bigger dreams! Now that I think about it…LET’S DO THIS THING!
There is so much that I do not know about the Lord, how He works, why He allows certain things in our lives, etc., but there are three things that I know FOR SURE based on His Word and my experience with Him over the last 25 years.
Here is what I consider to be essential for life and ministry:
1. Organization: Make Room for the Lord to Work.
You cannot “make the Lord work.” Lord knows if that were possible I would have accomplished it…many times! Your job is to make room for Him to work! It’s just like when my grandson was born; I made room for him in my life, in my schedule, in my budget, in my house, and big time in my heart and mind! Some years ago we did not have Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, or Pinterest but OH we made room for those things, and according to recent statistics upwards to 6+ hours a day! I wonder if the Lord might be saying of us, “I want so badly to do a great work in her life…But. There. Is. No. Room.”
2. Communication: 20 Minutes a Day for the Rest of Your Life.
God talks to those who talk to Him. He draws near to us when we draw near to Him (James 4:8), He answers when we call out (Ps. 145:18), He speaks when we listen (1 Sam. 3:10), He opens the door when we knock (Rev. 3:20), and He is near to the broken hearted and saves those cruised in spirit (Ps. 34:18). Start with 20 minutes a day—no excuses, no conditions, and no negotiations. Just show up every day and build a strong relationship with the Lord in His Word.
3. Preparation: Practice the Word of God.
Psalm 119:34 says, “Give me understanding and I will obey your instructions; I will put them into practice with all my heart” (NLT). It’s not enough to read the Bible or even to study it; you must practice the Word of God. I cannot shoot a bow and arrow, but if I practice every day, in time, I will be able to hit my target…in the dark!
Start by asking the Lord for a word for 2018. This has been my practice (turn spiritual discipline) for 15 years, and I am absolutely amazed at what the Lord has built into my life through one word. For the first time, this year my word came with instructions. My word is STILL and all its functions. There are three different and distinct functions of the word still:
- To be quiet, calm, peaceful, and free of distraction, disturbance, and agitation. (Good luck with that one, Debbie!)
Example: Psalm 46:10: “Be still and know that I am God.”
- In spite of the fact, without hindrance or determent. Example: No matter how crazy I get, the Lord still loves me!
- In the future as in the past, to a greater distance or degree; ALWAYS. Example: If He never does another thing for me, I will serve Him still.
Perhaps life and ministry have left you with broken dreams, disappointment and hurting. This I know: your pain is for your progress! Embrace your place, shift your perspective, and change your attitude.
He placed me in a little cage away from gardens fair,
But I must sing the sweetest songs because he placed me there.
Not beat my wings against the cage, if it’s my Maker’s Will.
But raise my voice to Heaven’s gate and sing the louder still!
Let 2018 be the year that you ask and believe God for BIG things that will advance the kingdom and make His Name great. Now go out and do the BEST work you can possibly do for the Lord!
Debbie Stuart serves as Director of Ministry Initiatives at Hope for the Heart and is a certified Life and Ministry Coach through AACC. She has served in Women’s Ministry for more than 25 years and has a wealth of ministry and leadership experience. She has served as Director of Church and Leadership Development for Women of Faith and as Director of Women’s Ministry at Prestonwood Baptist Church for 10 years and Willow Point Baptist Church for 10 years. She has been a LifeWay Women’s Trainer for 17 years. Debbie is the author of 20 Minutes a Day for the Rest of Your Life and the sequel 20 Lessons Learned from 20 Minutes a Day.