lately the Lord has reminded me that it's no accident i'm here in Branson during this season of life. i have a lot to learn from this community. i'm here both for my own growth and for the growth of those around me. Branson is a strange town. it really is. it's hard to do real life here. the K-world is almost self-sufficient, so it takes intentional effort to get outside that bubble and engage in the community.
that being said, i was listening to a semi-recent sermon today by Matt Chandler (www.thevillagechurch.net) and he was talking about missions being the reign and rule of God (Path Series: Part 11). towards the end of his sermon, Matt went to Acts 17 and unpacked the passage where Paul talks about how God determines the exact times and places for where we live. think about it. and the fact that God did that so that we would seek Him and find Him. again, think about it. He knew i needed a quirky little town called Branson, MO. He knew i needed the people here.
"He determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek Him and perhaps reach out for Him and find Him." (acts 17:26-27a)
from the beginning, my life on Hill Billy Lane with Tracy has been one enormous blessing. there's not a doubt in my mind that the Lord knew we needed each other this year. i jokingly attribute much of my sanity to her role in my life, but there's a large element of truth hidden there. i value her wisdom, her honesty, her humor, her understanding, her faithfulness, her leadership, her trust, her love. the Lord knew i needed that friendship this year. He knew i needed Tracy to be a big part of my world right now. and my prayer has been that not only would i be challenged and grow from that relationship, but that the same would be true for her. that we could echo Paul's words to the the church in Rome when he said, "I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong--that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other's faith" (romans 1:11-12). that's my prayer for this season--that my eyes would be opened to truly see the people around me so i can learn from them. the Lord will use them. oftentimes, i just don't slow down long enough to listen.
as weird as it is, i need Branson. i need the people here. i learn from them. they encourage me. they challenge me. they support me. God uses them to reveal more of Himself to me. but it shouldn't be a one-way street. my mindset needs to be one of "God is crossing my paths with _______ and i want to show them the gospel and point them toward Christ." everything i do in life should point to the rule and reign of God. that means every tank of gas, every haircut, every trip to Country Mart, every volleyball practice, every package i mail at the post office, every line at the Redbox, every spin class and yoga class is a divinely orchestrated encounter.
the Lord never ceases to amaze me in the ways He shows His love. there's not a reason in the world that i should be in Branson living with such a phenomenal woman of God, that i should be working for a ministry that truly gets discipleship and the Great Commission, that i should be investing so many jr. high and high school girls who are hungry for the Truth...the list goes on. it's humbling. i'm not a big deal and i don't have it all together, but He chooses to use me. He chooses to let me paint a few strokes on His master canvas. He chooses to put me in the match for a few plays. i'm in awe. in awe of His love. in awe of His grace. in awe of His patience. in awe of His plans. in awe of Him.
"so, i'll stand with arms high and heart abandoned, in awe of the One who gave it all. and i'll stand, my soul Lord to You surrendered, all i am is Yours." (hillsong: the stand)
i dread the day He calls me to leave this town. not that i won't be excited for the next adventure, but this community is special. it's the body of Christ at work. i pray that my time here continues to be fruitful and mutually encouraging. may my time here be eternally significant.
live unashamedly. laugh uncontrollably. love unconditionally.