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  • Writer's pictureSue Bowles

Who God is Gonna Use

Sometimes things just feel ‘right.’ You feel like you’re walking on air and just cruising along and everything is falling into place…so much so that it seems almost odd to you…that it can’t be ‘that’ easy…and that YOU get the privilege to play a part?!

I had such an experience last night. My friend and I were hosting a screening of the movie Ragamuffin (http://ragamuffinthemovie.com). But it wasn’t just a screening. It included a Q & A time with two lifelong friends of Rich Mullins. We had a great crowd – about 150-200 folks from a variety of places, many of whom we have no idea how they heard. We’re trusting it was the PR we did.

For me it was something bigger than just sharing the movie. It was about obedience. And it was about God showing me something. You see…at the retreat just 4-1/2 months earlier I had told one of the speakers that I felt like I was wasting my life. Now I feel like something is just getting started!

I confess while I was one of the instigators of this event I was slow in coming around to it. The idea came to me last fall after the retreat but it wasn’t until mid December that the first step was taken. Now thankfully God can take our slow obedience and still work it together for His good. And He did that last night.

From the start God’s hand was all over this thing. It’s an amazing thing to watch God put something together and just bless the socks off it. No real hiccups with anything at all along the way….the venue was fine, advertising was great, and the 2nd speaker was able to rearrange her work schedule 4 days before the event!

What I love most about coordinating events is getting to use the gifts God has given me – present an opportunity – and then sit back and watch the show. And hearing some stories of the experiences folks had is just confirmation I heard correctly from God.

** One Mom brought her two younger kids who were probably on the cusp of an okay age to view the movie. Yet on the way home they had INCREDIBLE discussion. They weren’t sure if they liked the movie but the reasons for their statements were profound. One said ‘Dads shouldn’t treat kids that way.’ How profound for a not even in middle school student! Yet think about that…such an impression left upon his soft heart not only increases his appreciation and love for his father but also stays in the mind and when a friend shares a story of how s/he might be treated, little Johnny will remember the movie and be a voice of support and reason to his friend and tell him ‘Dads shouldn’t treat their kids that way.’

The same Mom’s older daughter was recently adopted and her biological father struggles with alcoholism and drug addiction. She had basically written him off as being hopeless. Watching the things Rich struggled with and how God worked it for good in his life gave her hope that maybe her biological dad can be rescued and redeemed. A soon to be teenager has hope. How powerful is that?! Can you see the long lasting implications of that, especially as she embarks on the tween years?! Beyond speechless! And oh…it needs to be stated that the kids were only there because their grandmother who was going to care for them got sick. Coincidence? Nope. God with a message of hope to penetrate young hearts.

** About 10 minutes before the movie started a group of 8-10 guys suddenly walked eagerly and determinedly through the door. One stopped at the merchandise table and in a hopeful voice asked ‘is there a fee to watch the movie?’ ‘Nope! It’s free! Glad you’re here!’ He simply said ‘Oh Great!’ and his buddies went right inside and sat down. I have no idea how they found out about the movie or where they were from. Could be from a nearby college student group (wouldn’t THAT be cool?!). Could be a bunch of buddies out for the night. All I know is they found their way there for a reason. And that’s so incredibly cool!

** An old friend of mine from my youth ministry days was there with her husband and niece and nephew. She asked about who to approach about license fees to get the movie to be shown in a Columbus area college’s music conservatory!

** Out of all the merchandise we had available for sale the biggest seller was the movie DVD itself. We almost sold out. Think of how many households and friends and small groups may now be exposed to the message of Ragamuffin….and how many lives it could touch!

** Mitch McVicker, who was in the accident with Rich, is coming to the area in May. We got to announce his concert. Who knows who God will bring to it and what He might do in someone’s life through hearing Mitch’s music. http://www.mitchmcvicker.com/

** One couple from church gave a total stranger a ride. A friend of mine from town had told me a few weeks ago if I knew anyone from town who was going she’d love to get a ride. She’s a librarian in town but is older and doesn’t drive far at night. A couple from my church had been thinking about going, saw the request for help, and agreed to give her a ride. They told me this morning that they knew God wanted them to go and seeing the need for a ride was something they could do and committed them and they couldn’t back out. They had an incredible conversation with the woman finding out she used to teach in a jail among other things! The library had had a poster up for the last 6 weeks advertising the movie.

** At one pivotal point in the movie which is very moving a gentleman got up from his seat on the side and just went up front to the kneeler benches and bowed his head for a couple minutes. It was more than going up to grab a kleenex. He then went to the back of the auditorium to watch the remainder of the movie. I saw him go forward and just thanked God for whatever was happening and prayed for him. I have attended the church with my mom a number of times (it’s her church) so I see this gentleman often. I don’t know what was going on but it was so cool!

** One woman walked through the door and just started telling my co-laborer that she didn’t know why she was there. She was supposed to go to a missions meeting for her church and was torn between the meeting and the movie so she asked her friends to pray about where she was supposed to be. She ended up at the movie. I have no idea what God wanted to do in her or through her but she was obviously there for a reason!

** The pastor of the church had wanted to bring Ragamuffin to his church last year when it was on the national screening tour but it just wouldn’t work out with the schedule, so when the opportunity became available for this screening he enthusiastically jumped right on board. The same filmmakers are now working on a film about the life of Brennan Manning. The pastor said at the end of the night he would like to host the movie next year when it is on tour. http://www.brennanmanningmovie.com/

** A gentleman was there who was a growing spoken word ministry in the Columbus area. He’s incredibly gifted. By the end of the night he had had opportunity to talk for quite a few minutes with the speakers and they exchanged contact information. I know of others who also exchanged contact info with him that night and new FB friendships have formed. He desires to take his ministry to the next level. Who knows where these friendships might take him….all because someone made a movie 4 years ago that resulted in our paths intersecting for a few hours.

To go from feeling like I was wasting my life 4-1/2 months ago to watching all this unfold before my eyes in 3 hours time last night is quite a distance to travel in a short period of time! I used to feel this way – like I was ‘in my groove’ when I was involved in youth ministry on a national level. My life has taken many twists and turns since but in the last month I have started to feel the pull to do more in ministry again. I have a vision for a county-wide ministry to host these types of events….movies, concerts, speakers, etc. – all simply to present folks with an opportunity to be exposed to the love of God. Having a vision and desire is one thing…but to see it start to happen is a totally different venture! In my mind last night was just the first event.

I have been feeling over the last couple weeks like God is starting to set me up for something bigger. I have no idea what that might look like but I know I just feel ‘free’ and like I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing when I’m coordinating large events and sitting back and watching God at work….like last night. I find SUCH joy and peace in being able to use the gifts He has given me to coordinate things and watch folks enjoy themselves, knowing I had a part to play. Last night just opened my eyes wider to the truth that God might actually want to use me in this regard. There is something very powerful about getting a glimpse of how God can use your 5 loaves and a fish offering to create a meal to feed hundreds. It’s uncanny to me how easy this stuff is for me. It just comes very naturally for me.

But I need you to hear this….it’s not about me! I don’t want it to be about me. I want it to be about seeing God work when we obey the smallest thing He asks us to do. I was slow in obeying on this one but He was still at work, in spite of my delay. Did you notice one common denominator in the story briefs I shared? Each ended with this basic sentiment: “I have no idea what God was doing in this particular situation….and I don’t have to. I just know God was at work.”

And isn’t that the essence of ministry? To make ourselves available to God to be used in whatever way HE sees fit. It’s not ours to know what He’s doing, or even how He’s going to do it. We are to simply obey. So I am being much more attentive to that small voice in my head and focusing on quick obedience to whatever is going on at the moment. Earlier today that meant cleaning the kitchen and refrigerator when my body wanted to stop. I got on a roll and the idea of the refrigerator popped in my head and realized it was just a way I could serve the household without being asked. I could love in that way. So I did. And it was cool. And God has still given me plenty of time to pound out these thoughts and have a lot of time left in the day as well. Baby step of obedience.

I have no idea what God wants to do. I know this has become part of my story and my job is to share that story (see my last few posts). Kinda cool how He weaves it all together into a beautiful masterpiece, isn’t it? And it’s humbling to know God has equipped and chosen each of us to play a specific role in His kingdom work.

Get outside your comfort zone, listen to that small voice, and obey. He’s already there.

And a princess pulled a baby out of the water He was hidden in the rushes Sleeping in a basket made of reeds And you never know who God is gonna use A princess or a baby Or maybe even you or me (from Who God is Gonna Use by Rich Mullins)

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