Ever since I started hanging out with teens again at my church I’ve had to join a support group called B.B.N.A., which stands for “Broken Banner-Stands Not-So Anonymous.” Our youth group meets on Sunday evenings and part of the role as a leader is to make sure everything is set up. Twice I have tried to help get our vertical banners set up for our high school ministry and both times a banner stand has split in two while I tried to move the banner from one side of the room to the other. The banners are much taller than I am and if the weight on the top isn’t balanced properly with the weight on the bottom then the banner falls forward and the banner stand breaks. Obviously, this is not a part of my spiritual giftings as a youth leader.
I can laugh about this now. I really don’t like breaking other people’s/church’s expensive equipment, I promise! For a while I found myself asking the youth pastor each week, “Did you get a new banner stand, yet?” I wanted it to be fixed right away.
Until it’s fixed other leaders ask, “What happened to that banner stand?” Geesh! I found myself in that uncomfortable spot of “broken banner standness.” (Yes that is something I made up.)
I thought about this scenario again when I heard Max Lucado talk at my church last Sunday. The topic was fear. Fear causes us to say to God, “Fix it . . . or else!!” Lucado discussed Matthew 8:23-27 when the disciples woke Jesus up in the middle of a earth-shattering storm. The reason I use earth-shattering is that Lucado mentioned that the Greek word used for storm in this instance is more related to an earthquake than a simple drizzle.
The disciples wanted Jesus to fix it . . . quick! I resonate with the disciples. I don’t like being in the middle of that uncomfortable spot of “What in the world are you doing?! Why don’t you just fix this, now?!”
When I’m in that uncomfortable spot of circumstantial chaos I begin to believe lies about my God. I forget how faithful He is and how good He is and how powerful He is. I also believe lies about myself that I’m not really worth much waiting in Indiana or that I won’t be acceptable to others if I don’t make this missions thing happen.
Wait a sec, God never said He wanted me to make anything happen. He never asked me if I have the qualifications for taking on His responsibilities. He never said that by jumping in faith that I’d parachute right into Vienna in a matter of minutes. He never said this would come quickly or that because it’s taking longer than anticipated that I must be completely off-track. He simply says over and over and over again, “Trust me and don’t be afraid.”
Too often I believe that when everything is fixed and in its place that my faith in Jesus will shine. And yet, that’s not faith at all. I’m not proud of what these circumstances bring out of me in terms of my thoughts, responses to God and sometimes even actions, but I’m thankful for His grace and refining power. Because it’s when the banner stands are broken, the storm is earth-shattering and my heart is aching that I need Jesus the most. It’s then that I must trust Him, even when I’m in the middle of who-knows-where and can’t see land. I must trust.
trusting God for . . .
I want to update you on some past and upcoming opportunities.
• I asked you to pray about a church I presented to in May for monthly support. They should be able to join the team with a special gift, but are unable to join the monthly team at this time.
• I spoke to two Sunday school classes in June and both presentations went well. I enjoyed meeting new people and gathering a few more for my mailing list and prayer support. I had a few people take pledge cards. Please pray that God will move on these hearts to join the team.
• The youth leaders dessert was pretty much a flop, but a sweet flop because we had some yummy, leftover treats. I hope to individually connect with these leaders in the next few weeks as youth group meets during the month of July. Pray that God will give me the courage I need to speak when I need to speak about missions and the discernment to know the when.
• Initial contact has been made with two southern Indiana churches, pray that I’ll get connected with the right individuals.
•In the next few weeks my pastor, his wife and I will meet so I can share more about what God’s doing in Austria and how I can better connect with the church congregation at the Indiana campus.
• A newsletter is in the works to be mailed at the end of this month, pray that God will use me through writing and creativity to communicate to you about the future and about Austria.
• Thank you for all of you who have faithfully been a part of this prayer and financial support team! I thank God for you!
not your typical fourth of July
Here are some photos from the Kraft family Fourth of July. We were celebrating my cousin Tristan’s wedding! My nephew, Kaleb, was the ring-bearer.
Have a great week!