The very moment you separate body and spirit, you end up with a corpse. Separate faith and works and you get the same thing: a corpse. James 2:26 The Message
Today is an anniversary of sorts for me. It is the start of teen camp on my local district, and it is a marker for me in the way that God began to really rock my world a couple of years ago. You see God and I (mostly me on my part) had come to this very friendly agreement about what I would and wouldn't do for His kingdom. I am aware of my gifts, and have worked to learn to use them wisely in ministry over the last 20 years and I am comfortable with the way I do things. I know the group of people I am meant to invest in. I know the types of things I can and should do. And I very clearly know the areas of need and the groups of people that are NOT my calling. There are a lot of things that I can do on autopilot...it's almost like God doesn't even have to show up. I....I....I.... DANGER DANGER DANGER This was the point where God and I met two summers ago.
And then God and I had a couple of crazy weeks, that turned into a couple of crazy months, that turned into an amazing couple of years.
One blessing in my life is Kids Camp...if you have never done one your really should! Please understand, God showed up and did amazing things. But that particular year was a tough camp from a leadership perspective. Challenges I had never faced in 8 years of camps came up. And it wasn't little stuff like "she took my hairbrush" or "he isn't playing fair" or "I miss my mamma"...it was the "life can be cruel and not always fair" stuff that kids bring with them to camp, and it broke my heart and tested every skill as a leader I had tried to develop. When I pulled into the church parking lot that Friday night, my Sr. Pastor was there to great me and let me know that I had missed 3 important phone calls that afternoon at the church...and then I burst into tears. Not exactly the reaction he expected, but in true shepherd fashion he took me to his office with Matt and we cried together and we prayed together and my load was put at the foot of the cross where it had belonged the whole time.
Then we went home, did laundry and left 48 hours later for teen camp, me and a dozen teens from our church for week of hormonal, emotional, teen drama bliss. Me and 10 Jr. High girls, with all their lotions and potions and hair products - in a room together for 5 full days and 4 long nights. Do you know I have three sons and I am pretty sure I know exactly why God blessed us like that! Can you sense my level of excitement going into that week? Teens were not my thing (even tho I lived with two at the time, and had ministered to all of those kids in children's ministry). I could not be useful here. I would not be useful here. What was God thinking?!?! Then God showed up. Again. Like stuff you read about in the Bible but it doesn't really happen that way these days showed up. It brought me to my knees, literally. It humbled me, greatly. I was reminded again that when I come into the presence of God, one of us changes, and it's not Him. God said stuff to me like "your limits are not my limits, your limits are where my power really gets going", and "if you love me, you'll love all my people, even the hormonal and irrational ones. Even the ones that don't fit in nice little columns on your list. Even the one's who take lots of energy. Even the ones who have hurt you. Even the ones who you don't understand. Even the ones who you have decided someone else can reach".
So how does all of this tie into "The very moment you separate body and spirit, you end up with a corpse. Separate faith and works and you get the same thing: a corpse," good question. Before, my works did not require much faith - I could, and sometimes did, do life and ministry without God and on autopilot. There were times when I think I was a Christian Corpse. Not because what I did wasn't about God, but because I wasn't with God, at least not all of the time. I was doing ministry, but not doing life with my Lord. I believe that God's first desire is for me to just be - for me to be in constant relationship with Him, and not be so wrapped up in the "doing for Him". When we are in communion together, well everything else is just more what it was intended to be in the first place. Now, it's seems like what God inspires is all on faith with my obedient action. Because of my faith and my love for my ABBA I am prompted to act.
So, I will finish my coffee. I will spend some good face time talking with my Abba. Then I will load up my van and head out for an AMAZING week at teen camp. God will show up. He always does. I am ready - and I am smiling :-)