Growing up for God

By Becky Spell Vann - Contributing columnist

Do you have visions of a dying world being cast before your eyes? This message comes from Acts 16:9, “Come over to Macedonia and help us,” and from daily events we are witnessing that signal truth and timing of God’s Word being fulfilled.

An old hymnal shares a song seldom sung in church services. “Macedonia” tells the story of missions and evangelism that need resurrection for such a time as this! Allow these words to speak to your heart of today’s troubles and turbulent times in all corners of our world.

“The vision of a dying world is vast before our eyes; We feel the heartbeat of its need, we hear its feeble cries: Lord Jesus Christ, revive Thy church in this, her crucial hour! Lord Jesus Christ awake Thy church with Spirit given power.

“Today, as understanding’s bounds are stretched on every hand, O clothe Thy Word in bright new sounds, And speed it o’er the land; Lord Jesus Christ, empower us to preach by every means! Lord Jesus Christ, embolden us in near and distant scenes.

“The warning bell of judgment tolls, above us looms the cross: Around are ever-dying souls-how great the loss! O Lord, constrain and move Thy Church the glad news to impart! And Lord, as Thou dost stir Thy church, begin within my heart.”

This seldom sung song signals an urgency to stand up for Jesus as soldiers of the cross. Time is ticking as we watch and wait…wondering how much longer our Lord will linger. The time is at hand for us to grow up and give God first place.

Growing up for God reaches deep within my heart with memories of summer 2014 when James, my husband, came to help me at The Learning Station every afternoon when his work was done at the Piggly Wiggly. One day, he shared words of truth with a tough tenderness that taught some students and teachers a powerful lesson. He told them they needed to grow up! And of course, feelings were hurt as his words stung like a bee.

James and I went to bed that night with a prayer that God would use the painful situation to glorify Him. And He did! James stopped the very next day and apologized to each offended person for words that hurt them but stood firm that his words were truthfully shared in love. God stirred my heart with a message that James’ words were right on time and needed to be heard around the world. The time is now for children of all ages to grow up for God, to stop murmuring and complaining and start living out loud in love and faith while embracing the example of His Son. Next, a nudging came to name our end of summer program…grow up for God and expect a movement of His Holy Spirit.

James and I witnessed the power of the words he spoke about growing up and of God being glorified as family and friends of our Sonshine Kids filled the chapel at First Baptist Church. After songs of praise and testimonies of coming closer to Christ throughout the summer, Rev. Carter, grandfather of our student, Logan, shared a short sermon on the four W’s needed to help us Grow Up for God., worship, witness, and whooping. He told how we should give our best as we work in all areas, worship and witness for Jesus, and learn lessons to keep us on the right track through whoopings. He told how his daddy took him and his brothers behind the woodshed for a whack or two when needed. Then, he challenged us to grow up in our work, worship, witness, and growth when correction is needed to keep us close to Christ. This is where most messages end, not Rev. Carter’s! A little extra time of worship with words of warning and invitation for families to go the altar brought families together with tearful rededications and joyful embraces that showed the power of His sweet Spirit. That outpouring of love filled the chapel with a joyful noise that glorified God and answered our prayers. James and I held one another close that night as we prayed in bed with tired bodies, satisfied minds, and happy hearts. God had been glorified through children being taught to love Jesus and grow up for God.

James’ lesson of tough – tender words is engraved in my mind. He was a man of his word. He worked hard, lived right, and looked after things with a Christian witness that humbly told of his big heart and deep love for his heavenly Father, family, and friends. Oh, how I miss him here. Yet, the joy of knowing he is Home in Heaven gives me a peace that keeps me lifted in love and a desire to help people cherish the Lord and their loved ones…before it is too late!

Visions of a dying world really is cast before our eyes. May we listen to the lessons of tough truths in the song, Macedonia, and words from Acts 16:9. May we hear God’s cries and Thy church be revived in this crucial hour…Thy church with Spirit given power! We are the church with glad news to impart…as the Lord stirs us (His church) to let it begin in our hearts.

The time is now for Christians to come to the aid of a dying world. Stand up for Jesus and grow up for God…before it really is too late!

Becky Spell Vann is a long-time columnist for The Sampson Independent’s Faith & Family section and owner of the outreach ministry Tim’s Gift.

By Becky Spell Vann

Contributing columnist

Becky Spell Vann is a long-time columnist for The Sampson Independent’s Faith & Family section and owner of the outreach ministry Tim’s Gift.

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