Listen to the Holy Spirit

Chris Branigan

Hi leaders,
Please take time to prayerfully read this email. 

Almost two weeks ago, I was walking out of Walmart when a young pregnant woman walked to my car asking for a few dollars. I told her I didn’t have any cash, which I didn’t. She didn’t ask me for any other help. She only asked for cash. Maybe she did need help, but she didn’t ask for any other help. Since I didn’t have any cash, I couldn’t help her. It was simple as that. 
Then I quickly got in my car and pulled out. I immediately heard the Holy Spirit say, “Go find her and offer to help.” I half-heartedly drove back one parking aisle to find her. After obeying God for all of about 20 seconds, I gave up. I didn’t see her as I looked right and left while driving down that one aisle. Besides, I was in a hurry. We don’t have to obey God if it inconveniences us, right?? 

This Wednesday, Donna Mann called me. She asked if I could meet her over at the Whataburger by Kroger. Donna and her friend Felecia met a young homeless woman who was in need. They then met her boyfriend. Donna and Felicia took this homeless couple to lunch. When I arrived, the two women were both on their smartphones looking up motels and bus faire they could buy for the couple to travel back home to Phoenix. The man wanted to ‘pay it forward’ by giving Donna the bicycle he would not be able to transport on the bus. 
Donna called me to take the bicycle back to the church, where we could store it until we found someone who needed it. 
I met Donna’s new homeless friends. The man looked about my age. His girlfriend looked to less than 25 years old and…was pregnant. 

Have you figured it out yet? The young pregnant woman I didn’t have time to help was the same woman now sitting across from Donna at Whataburger. God found an obedient person willing to adjust their schedule and help this woman. 

Well-meaning pastors have said things like, “you may be the only expression of Jesus a person ever meets,” or “if you don’t obey God and help them, no one will.”
I disagree. God can use any “hands and feet” he chooses to administer his will in this world. In the book of John, Jesus reminds us his father is always at work. And make no mistake, God WILL work in this world. 
Do you remember my last email, in which I asked you to prayerfully consider how God wants you to participate in what the Spirit is doing at Grace Tabernacle?
As you pray that prayer, be like Donna. Don’t be like me. Obey God’s leading, even if it’s inconvenient or feels uncomfortable. 
God WILL reach people in our community with the radical power of a life-transforming Gospel. And his plan won’t be stopped. If you don’t participate, God will simply find others in (or yet-to-be in) our church to serve this community. 
Jesus wanted someone from our church to help that woman. Since I didn’t help, Jesus found another church member willing to obey. 
You and I have the privilege to join God in his plan, like Donna. Or, we can miss a wonderful opportunity to follow the Holy Spirit’s direction, join God’s work, and serve the least of these. 

Thank you, Donna, for reminding us to follow the Holy Spirit’s directions, even if those directions include “Buy them lunch, a motel, and bus faire home.” I’m proud to be your pastor. 

Love you all and praying for you.

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