"Serving God With a Whole Heart"
Amaziah was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned twenty-nine years in Jerusalem...
He did right in the sight of the Lord, yet not with a whole heart.
(1 Chronicles 25:1-2, NASB)
Did you catch that? Not with a whole heart... Let me paraphrase that in 2015 language..."He did right in the sight of the Lord, yet he was kinda wishy-washy, he was lacking conviction; he was kinda into himself."
I had been at the Church on Brady for about 11 years. I went to church every Sunday. I was doing everything right, but not with a whole heart. It was still pretty much about me. It was about competition - making sure leadership saw me doing good works. I would listen to the missionaries from Brady tell about their dreams of serving overseas, and say to myself, "well, have fun, cause I'll never go. You won't catch me out there!"
Then I heard a sermon from Brother Tom called, "What on Earth are you doing for Heaven's Sake?" I couldn't stop thinking about it, because the honest truth was that I really wasn't doing anything for heaven's sake. I knew I needed to change and I finally came to a place where I said, "Lord, I give up. I've been trying to live life my way, and I'm tired; I feel like I'm stuck in a rut spiritually. Do with me what you will."
About six months later I started to read the church bulletin and saw a note that said, "construction workers needed in Northern Iraq." I learned more about it, and one month later I found myself in the mountains of Northern Iraq - it happened so fast!
I was a carpenter, I knew how to pound nails - not run a multi-million dollar project. I didn't figure it out until I got to Erbil and told my boss, "Here I am, ready to work, " and he said, "Oh no, the job is not here; it's up in the mountains three hours away." I said to myself, "You've got to be kidding! What did I get myself into?"
I ended up living and working in the mountains for a year. It was Camping 101: no running water, not toilet facilities; it was hot, then it was cold, there were mosquitoes, spiders and snakes. After I came home I couldn't go camping for several years! That's when I realized why they kept the details out of this multi-million dollar building project: they couldn't find someone willing to run it!
But you know what happened? I came to love it up there. I fell in love with the Kurdish people, their customs, their simple life; they were the most hospitable people I had ever met! They were grateful for everything, and when they asked me why I, as an American, came to serve them, I told them that God was gracious to me and I wanted to serve God by serving them. They understood that.
And so I challenge you all to love God with a whole heart...
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