I received a number of responses to my SEO and GOD post, thank you so much! Though we may not always respond to each reply, we read everything and are so grateful for those of you who reach out. A number of you made comments in your correspondence that made me want to magnify my point a bit more.
ALL parameters are limitations.
It’s funny how we delineate our lives. The demarcations are defined very clearly in our minds. And when it comes to proper boundaries with people, it may be a must. But what I’ve noticed is that any stop I set in place with God only functions as a limitation of His grace and Life.
When I came to Shulamite Ministries it was a group of believers seeking God’s face. It wasn’t an organization, it was an organism. It was an organic home church with regular meetings, but no institutional structure. I came, leaving my entire world in Orlando, to embrace a wide-open unknown. I’d given God an all-encompassing yes and had to ride Him like a wave.
What that looked like was a carefully orchestrated, continual fall forward. I felt like I was in a perpetual lunge into the unknown. And the reason I felt like this is because that was precisely what was happening. God was birthing the organizational workings of a ministry from the ground up, and He called me to facilitate it. Though active body Life was present at Shulamite, a platform to broadcast the Life and the message was nonexistent.
Absolutely Nothing of Me
In steps John Enslow, with a “YES” and nothing more. I had educational training in nothing, I had experienced nothing, and I had expertise in nothing. I was simply a man with a yes to God, not knowing where or how He would apply that commitment.
Let me quickly share with you what God required of that yes and what He produced with my “nothing.” With no formal training or even the smallest understanding, I became a computer tech and IT guy, setting up and fixing the many computers of the ministry. I became a web developer and had to maintain our many sites. I became an audio technician, recording and editing all the audio content presented in our Shulamite Podcast and every audio series sold at Living Christian Books. I became a graphic artist and designer, a production and project manager. I became the publicist for Martha Kilpatrick. I became a great travel agent, who can stretch a dollar and travel points across the globe and back. I became an awesome farmer and shepherd, succeeding at the art of animal husbandry and veterinary work. I became a builder and general contractor…this list goes on and on. And though I may not be doing some of these now, when I was, it was crucial. No, the administration of the ministry is not a one-man show, but His Life has run me through the paces of every step. And as the authority, ALL of it is my responsibility. The buck stops “right here in river city” with me.
What did I think when I found myself elbow deep in the back end of a sheep, assisting in the birth of a breached lamb? What thought crosses my mind when I have to make arrangements to get us to Vienna by the end of the week and it’s Monday? What passes through my head when the server crashes in the middle of a transfer, and no tech guy knows why or can even tell me how to fix it? Not much! I don’t have the knowledge base to draw from, so it’s either His Life or it’s nothing.
Nothing of Me Means Everything
I say all of this not to show how wonderful or capable I am, because I am NOT. I am trying to show you what Christ can do with a willing yes for the unknown. I didn’t place parameters on where I would serve or what I would do, I just said yes. And with that yes came His Life. All the wisdom and understanding needed to perform these tasks was present with His Life to accomplish them.
I had not locked myself into a role of performance, because a role only limits His Life and the grace to achieve His will. If I had said, “I am only…” I would have shut God out to being anything other than that in me. And actually, if I say, “I am only…” it is usually only my life, my doings and me. YUCK! So does this mean I will be required to do things outside of my borders of comfort-ability? Yep, the horizon is nothing but open – but all to HIM.
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me means anything Christ wants to do or be in me. See, Jesus didn’t call a man of many talents; He called a man with NOTHING. Why? Why would God call an ill-equipped man to start a ministry? It’s why He calls any of us who have nothing. He can be everything and this maintains our dependence.
So if you find yourself at a complete loss, behind a mountain of need, rejoice! You’re about to see the Life of the King exercise His right to be glorious. He’s able when we’re not. All He needs is a yes to His will, and then He opens the your world to omni-possibilities. Roles and limits only stop Him from being all. When I present my life as a clean slate, He takes me beyond my life, knowledge and capabilities.
I am ready for anything through the strength of the one who lives within me.
Philippians 4:13 [Phillips]
You are a beautiful example of ‘yes’! Thank you for your obedience John. You have blessed each one of us with your surrender and obedience.
Thank you John for reminding me that always our ” YES” must proceed the emptying of self so that we can be filled with Christ and His plans and purpose for our sojourn here. Your contribution to Shulamite Ministries along with the team has impacted my life journey.
Yes and Amen, John, and God has, is and will continue to bless you with His heart. “I had not locked myself into a role of performance, because a role only limits His Life and the grace to achieve His will.” Only God could know that this has come at the perfect time! Had been pondering and questioning how I could serve at our local church: special music with Stephen? Missions? Mime? Harp? Other? Father said: “None of these.” I didn’t understand. But later He gave me the impression (more like a loving command) that the saints would be more… Read more »
John! Every time I look this way, I see “something”…
I see you (Shulamites) up ahead, as if calling out to come and join you where it’s higher! Where there is more…!
The things I read here speak life to my spirit and scream death to my soul and I love it! I keep coming back for more…
Thank you (Shulamites) for giving and giving…
Thank you (Shulamites) for your yes’s…
And I thank God so much for leading me here to Living water… (And it was not through Google! :P)
I love you and God bless!
An amazing post from the Life of our Amazing God living in and through you John. Again I am reminded of the two trees in the garden. It is one or the other; The Tree of Life or the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. I choose Life today Lord, and I repent of living out of the other tree.
So much encouragement in this post today, John! All He is looking for is our YES, and He becomes ALL that we need to accomplish the assignment He has given us! What a transformational truth! I join Martha in blessing you, John…had it not been for your YES, I would never have come to know the riches that have been mined through Shulamite Ministries.
“So does this mean I will be required to do things outside of my borders of comfort-ability? Yep, the horizon is nothing but open – but all to HIM…I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me…anything Christ wants to do or be in me…with [my] “YES” and nothing more.”
And once again my spirit soars!
God Bless you John!
I didn’t place parameters on where I would serve or what I would do, I just said yes. And with that yes came His Life. All the wisdom and understanding needed to perform these tasks was present with His Life to accomplish them. Thank you John, for sharing the power of His Life in you, for giving testimony of that so throughly. He (the Father) is beyond awesomeness in those that follow His Son (the Male-Lamb of the Sheep). You are such an example of this “awesomeness”, and I know He has catched you (so many times) in His awesomeness… Read more »
“He has catched you… in His awesomeness just to awe you.”
I LOVE this Sam! May I share?
Yes, don’t ask! 🙂
John, I witnessed all of this and am the one most blessed by such work. I know your secret! You love Jesus and that is your motivation. The size of your YES is the size of your love for Him. I marvel at the genius of Who He is in you and the sheer work of Christ’s STRENGTH which is your endurance, energy . . . and – longsuffering! I’m glad you are sharing this. Few could comprehend what has to happen behind the scenes for all that is poured out to the world on the Shulamite website! Folks out… Read more »
Amen–God bless John!:D