Over time, I’ve grown to understand and appreciate the message within the Harvest life group logo. But isn’t it often the CONNECT part of the equation that trips us up in the very beginning? It was for me! At that point in time, we had just begun attending Harvest and my emotions were raw. In truth, I was a mess! It was the spring semester of my first year as an instructional coach. My dad was dying of a fast-growing brain tumor, and after being away from home and taking three weeks off from work to be by his bedside, I was feeling overwhelmed to say the least. The proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back was that our son and daughter-in-law were soon to give birth to a special needs child who might not survive, and it was taking every ounce of faith and sanity I could muster just to go through the daily motions. I was spent! I had nothing left to give.
Who could possibly want to connect with me?
(ENTER THE HOLY SPIRIT!!) The very weekend of my Dad’s diagnosis just happened to be the Harvest Men’s Retreat. David attended for the first time, and evidence of the difference it made to his faith was popping out everywhere, including his determination to attend life group. I literally slunck (is that even a word?) into Kim and Johnny Street’s home that first night of life group, with a determined, yet fake smile plastered to my face, knowing full well that if anyone asked me a single question I would dissolve into a puddle on the floor!
I recognize now that it was a “small beginning” as prophesied in the Old Testament book of Zechariah :
“Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin.” Zechariah 4:10 NLT
David and I not only stayed in life group that semester, but our faith began to GROW exponentially! Women prayed over me, spoke words of wisdom into me, and taught me how to declare God’s word over my circumstances to change the atmosphere around me! My dad was taken home to be with His Lord, our precious baby was born with a hole in his heart on Good Friday, and was miraculously healed and able to go home on Easter Sunday!
Several semesters later, David and I were given the honor to SERVE as life group leaders.
Since that fateful first night, the miraculous “small beginnings” we’ve experienced in life group read like the cover of a biblical National Inquirer magazine:
- Boy recovering from massive brain surgery, befriended by his surgeon, chooses a medical career
- Couple leaves divorce court, reunite after miraculous touch from Heaven
- Couple’s son healed from years of addiction, now leads others to Christ
- Answered prayers cross the country uniting Manhattan beauty and West Texas coach
(each example used by permission)
See, I had this unrealistic expectation of myself that I had to bring something TO the table in order to dine AT the table. But it’s the very act of accepting the Lord’s invitation to come to His table when we’ve nothing to bring that changes US. (EXIT PRIDE!)
I visualize the applause of heaven when we take that tremulous first step of faith to ring that stranger’s doorbell and CONNECT to the body of Christ through life group. The Holy Spirit is free to GROW us, and as we grow we are then able to be used to SERVE others. We learn how to exercise our giftings to pray down His will on earth as it is in heaven. (ENTER MIRACLES!)
We would like to thank Susan Hurt for writing this blog post!