The Nameless Evangelist

Originally published August 15, 1993.

I just finished speaking at a great camp.  There are many reasons as to why it was a great camp and among them is that youths’ lives were effectively changed.

An odd thing happened at this camp though.  It was a rare occasion when I was introduced by my proper name.  I’m not talking about a mispronunciation of my last name.  That I am so used to after all these years with it–Seatbelt, Seinfeld, Seeflea.  I’ve heard them all many times.  I’m talking about my first name.  I was Barbara, Linda, Deborah and sometimes Brenda at this camp.  I was the featured speaker, the camp evangelist, the deliverer of God’s word to this camp and the leadership couldn’t get my first name right.

The Magical Ministry Tour

Originally published October 2006.

I had a great summer of speaking at summer camps, one of my all-time favorite ministry things to do.  Throughout the summer, my mind was continually brought back to something I read a long long time ago that has shaped my ministry–I hope.  I originally read it nearly a thousand years ago first from John Fischer’s book, Real Christians Don’t Dance.  To quote:

“No word is more misused and misinterpreted in popular Christianity than ministry.  It is the reason for everything: the justification for a top ten hit and the toleration of a substandard performance.  It legitimizes one person’s right to accumulate and hoard money while it supports another’s right to beg for it.  It serves simultaneously as an excuse to work or not to work.  The word ministry covers so much ground that it no longer carries any significant impact.  Instead, it leaves nebulous impressions and feelings.

Do the Right Thing, And All Will Go Well

Originally published January 15, 2006.

Growing up in a “performance society,” this way of thinking sounds common place.  If I do the right thing, then all will go well.  If I do what God has directed me to do, then that direction will go well.

However, not everything I’ve done in my life and the plans I believe God has for me has gone well.  And I’ve been doing the right thing–I think.

The trap then begins.  If things didn’t go well, then I didn’t do the right thing.  Was it my pride  (a continual struggle)?  Another sin?  Should I have spent more time doing what was needed?  Should I have spent more time in prayer?  Is there something in my life that held back the blessings for that day?

Self-doubt and condemnation are plentiful.  “If this…” and “What if…” invade my thoughts–and my prayer life.  I can spiritually beat myself silly because, of course, it is me who has fallen short.  I have a history of falling short.