Living the Word. Being disciples and followers. Transformed to the image of Christ. Are you ready for a look at what those words really mean? Are you ready to consider what transformation really looks like? Will you consider how you can BE the ‘Living Word?’
I’d like you to meet some of my friends, the Strong Family! The best way for you to meet them is to hear their own words. Let’s start with their words about ‘life before they met.’
Chad says, “I remember praying…for Jesus Christ to come into my life, but my behavior and heart never changed…I enjoyed the freedom of college life..partying…sexually active…believing I was a good person…going to heaven.”
Rachel says, “Growing up I was exposed to these faiths (of her family–Mormon and Catholic). I attended a bus ministry … at the Baptist Church. When I was …12…I was invited to a birthday party…This would be the catalyst of my involvement with sex and alcohol. I was respected and very active in sports and music…I was having sex and got pregnant…I went alone to have the abortion…I continued the cycle of developing poor relationships.”
Join me now, a few years later as these Missionaries in Training meet.
“Chad and I met in a bar…Chad moved in with me shortly after (we met), and we were married two years later. We were totally against organized religion believing after 9/11 that it was root cause of everything violent in the world. We did what was right in our own eyes.”
Are you ready to see the Lord at work? He showed up at Rachel’s work in the guise of FedEx man. A man who stated his desire to live like Jesus–but never quoted Bible verses. He held back on sharing where he went to church when she asked, always responding, “It’s not about church. It’s about relationship.” The Fed Ex man annoyed Rachel. Finally, he annoyed her enough to pick up the Bible and read it.
Within months, Rachel and Chad–reading and discussing the Bible stories of adultery, murder, war, love, creation and miracles–began to make changes in their lives. Transformation doesn’t look like the status quo. The Strongs began to take in foster children. They looked for a church–and made sure the pastor knew they never intended to be Bible Thumpers. Their Pastor answered their questions but never with opinion–always referring back to Scripture. He, like the FedEx man, would not give a list of do’s and don’ts. He made them build a relationship with God for themselves.
Then God showed up in a troubled teen, living the life they once lived. Hear Rachel’s words on this time:
“As we changed, growing daily with the Lord, we watched as Shawna, too, gave her life to Christ. This journey, taking one from the “pit” …was not something we signed up for. This, the pit, was tough! God was faithful.”
There is so much more to their story, and I hope you will give yourself the blessing of visiting their webpage that shares the adventure of preparing to move to Nicaragua as a missionary family. I failed to mention–they adopted eight of those foster children. Three are grown (two serving the Lord and one needing prayer–’cause this is real life’); the remaining five will be on mission with them.
The point of all this? God is busy in lives all the time. He needs workers in FedEx uniforms–and even troubled kids. He needs us all. While God used the Strong’s in the training time, they have a different focus now. They have a focus we need to try to gain in each of our lives. But BEWARE. Transformation means change. You won’t keep the status quo when you really follow Jesus!
“Christ and sharing His work with others. Our WAY of thinking has changed. We’ve gone from thinking about our life as having arrival points, like kids graduating, weddings, grandkids, retirement, to studying God’s Word, serving others and sharing the Good News until our dying breath! We really can’t imagine an ending, a “retirement”. We will work, serve and go to Glory! Haha! The focus has come away from us and been put on Eternity!”
How is God nudging you to change…to live the Word even more?!