Setting the Stage

Team work. That’s what it takes to successfully pull off a theatrical performance. Each person, from stage crew, to lights, to costumes, needs to have a good understanding of their individual role. Each person has a different gift that will ultimately help the production team meet the desired effect by the end of each performance. It is the job of the director to clearly map out each detail of the performance for everyone involved. The director has to see the vision before even starting auditions. With each step forward, that vision has to be communicated clearly. And with the result of a successful performance, the name remembered most by others will probably be the most outstanding actor or vocalist of the night. Not the director.

For about six years I had the privilege of teaching music and drama at our church’s elementary school. When I had been away from that for a couple of years, someone asked me what I missed. It didn’t take long for me to answer. I missed helping the children discover gifts and talents that they may not have realized they had. I missed helping them become more confident in who they were. I missed loving on them and helping to set the stage of confidence that would build on a foundation for their future lives.

That’s what mentoring is about. It’s not a ‘help me build my kingdom’ mentality. Instead, it is a lifestyle of helping others grow personally and find their own voice. It’s being mindful of God’s kingdom and not our own. We search for the gifts and talents of each individual and help them follow their ‘part’ in this performance called life.

Parenting was such a joy to me. And now, so is being a grandparent. I adore my grandchildren with all my heart. But they are not mine to hold on to. They are not mine to control. They belong to their parents and God. Not me. Talking on the phone to a friend, I listened as she shared the possibility of her daughter and son-in-law moving across country. And that would mean her grandson would move as well. Her words were, “How can they take that little boy from me?”

As much as the statement shows her strong love for the child and her disappointment over the possibility of missing him, it made me think more about being kingdom minded. For years I have known the possibility of having my family eventually scattered, not just across the nation, but across the world. I don’t always like the thought. After all, shouldn’t they stay and help build our ministry with us? Isn’t that the norm? Kids growing up and taking over the family business/ministry is normal life, right? But to even allow my thoughts to drift in that direction, then that still small voice decides to whisper, “They are doing what you taught them to do. Following Me.”

Such true words. They have been taught not to follow my calling, but to find out who they are in Christ and follow His calling for them. Paul taught about the fact that each of us has a different calling. Some pastors. Some teachers. Some plant. Some water. Each is to seek direction from the Master Director and fulfill their role in order to have His vision successfully come to pass.

Years ago, there was a song by Joni Erickson Tada that became one of my own focuses. It spoke to me because of my passion for theater as well as my heart to follow His path for my life. One part of the song stood out to me the most:

‘You’ve given me the lines You showed the right reflection. You gave me a reflection of what I need to say. So many want to lead. And so many times I follow. Lord, let me not be hollow like men in those other plays. O Lord, dear Lord, great author of the play, may I in wisdom learn the only part I need to play is the part that You wrote for me. The part that You wrote for me.

As a mentor, it is not my place to decide the path those under me should follow. Just because I spend time pouring into them doesn’t mean they will stay by my side the rest of their lives. As I wanted to find MY part, I should want that for others as well. If I can grasp the concept of being kingdom minded, I can start to think on a larger scale. One from God’s view point. How did He put it?

Mark 16:15 “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.”

And He sent them out. That’s how we can reach a larger group. Send them out. And rejoice with them when they find the place He has called THEM to. When we are mentoring, we are teaching them tools for them to use in their place of ministry. We are setting the stage for their success story wherever God takes them.

Listen to that voice today and set the stage for someone else. Your harvest may actually come as you are backstage during lights on. But trust the Heavenly director who holds the details. And be prepared for the ultimate life performance to be completed right on schedule!

Not On My Watch!

“Dad says we should call 911.”

Nope!  Not this time.  Although the words were coming from a young medical student who had his family practitioner dad on the phone, I had my mind made up.  I replied, “No.  We will pray this through!”  I had seen this demon before.  Just hours earlier my husband had been discharged from and overnight hospital stay.  It had been two weeks of close calls with his life.  All symptoms pointed to a stroke.  And all tests showed nothing was wrong with him.  Despite the fact that the ER monitor registered his rates as 179/93, the doctors could see nothing triggering these episodes of symptoms.  And we were back home watching the symptoms start again.  I refused to call 911.  Not this time, Satan!  Not taking him today!  Not on my watch!!  Within minutes of prayer, he was up again and walking around.

It’s the slogan that often makes a good story line for a would-be hero.  The Marine, policeman, city leader, or whoever the good guy is in any particular story.  But what about the church?  Dare we speak those words into a situation?

A few years ago I had the privilege of attending a ladies retreat where my daughter was the speaker.  In one of the sessions, the same statement was emphasized.  And it has stayed with me. Yet what would it look like to really live out, “Not on my watch!”?

Let’s break this down.  A watchman both sounds the alarm and is prepared to defend.  He often will practice drill in order to keep his senses sharp.  We see this in Nehemiah 4.

“Every one of the builders had his sword girded at his side as he built.  And the one who sounded the trumpet was beside me.” 

Did you catch that?  Each of the workers were going along tending to their daily duties and yet remained on the alert to defend their family and community.  Their duties were rebuilding the city’s broken wall.  They realized that part of seeing to the needs of their families also meant making sure their city was protected from intruders who perhaps had evil intent.  And they were doing this as a team of workers.  Together.

Isn’t that how we should approach our relationships in Christ?  Working together.  Taking care of our families by also defending those connected to our families through the body.  Nehemiah gave a charge to the workers in verse 20, “Whenever you hear the sound of the trumpet, rally to us there.  Our God will fight for us.  Another “AHA!” moment!  When they heard the shofar, they were to come to attention, stop the work of building, and run to the aid of their friends.  The enemy was approaching and their community was at risk.

Standing in the gap for each other.  Protecting our families even while going about our daily lives.  It’s that state of mind where we remain alert in the spirit, listening for a possible spiritual shofar blast.  Times when you get an uneasy feeling and know you just need to pray.  Or when you recognize the pattern of attack, such as constant symptoms with no explanation, and you know it’s time to make sure the enemy realizes you have had enough!

One time I heard an audible voice call out to me in middle of the night.  Just one word. It was the name of a young man whose life was drowning in drugs.  I was immediately awake and praying for this precious soul.  Often God had placed this young man on my heart for prayer.  But this night I felt the urgency.   Later I learned that while I was praying, he was angrily speeding down the highway.  He did not come to Christ until a year or two later, but no doubt a tragedy was averted that night.

Once, after my husband had gone to lay down and rest, I was drawn to go in and pray for him.  I literally started crying and asking God not to take him.  I prayed until I felt a peace, then left the room.  When he was up a little later, he explained that a dark figure had crawled in the room and within minutes something was choking him.  He was being choked by the demon when I entered to pray.  Not on my watch!  The Spirit had sounded the shofar.  I used the sword.  We won the battle!

And there was the time I woke up to my eight-year-old daughter screaming from her room.  She had been battling with nightmares and that very night we had decided to anoint our doorposts and pray.   She awoke from a dream and saw red eyes watching her.  That made me angry!  How dare he defy my authority over him!!  Not on my watch!!  The commands starting flowing out of my very being.  He must go!!  That was the last night she battled the night terrors.

“When the enemy comes in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard against him.”  Isaiah 59:19

A standard.  A standard is an object, such as a banner or flag, used for different occasions.  It often marks a rallying point in battle.  Flags raised as a standard usually are meant to represent the head of a state or a royal family and carries their emblem.  It’s presence speaks of power and authority for the one it is raised above.

 
 
Let’s put that together.  When God raises a standard, He has just initiated a shofar blast in the spirit in order to rally the watchmen to action.  And He has informed the enemy that He is giving the warriors His authority to break the back of the demonic forces.  It is then up to the warrior to choose to use that authority during his watch.
 

So what is happening to those around me during my watch?  Am I at alert while going about my every day life?  A soldier staying alert usually takes training.  Am I taking time to train in my spiritual weapons?  Am I dressing for battle?

I don’t know where you are today or what the enemy has thrown your way.  For me, he’s trying once again to take out several believers around me.  But he should know by now what my response is —-  NOT TODAY SATAN!   NOT ON MY WATCH!!!