Posts in Team Journal
Jesus is Lord of Every Miracle {Team Journal}

 Today's team journal was written by our Team Lead, Natalie Herr.

IMG_0155.JPG

For the last month or so, I’ve been looking for Jesus in the gospels. I’ve been asking myself two questions: “Who is Jesus?” and “What does it look like to follow Him?” I’ve taken note of many answers to these two questions, and one thing the gospel accounts make clear is that Jesus is Lord, and that following Him requires us to come under his lordship.

At the very end of the book of John, after Jesus has resurrected and appeared to the disciples a few times, John tells us the story of one more appearance on the shore of the Sea of Tiberias (John 21). John is the only gospel author to include this story, and it seems to me it’s because it had special significance to him.

John sets the scene: it was early in the morning, and Jesus (unrecognizable to them) was standing on the shore while several disciples were fishing in the sea. They had been at it all night and hadn’t caught a thing. Jesus called out to them, “Children, do you have any fish?” Spoiler alert: they didn’t. So, Jesus told them to throw a net out on the right side of the boat - they’d find some there.

Can you imagine being one of them? You’re out on the sea, fishing all night, pulling up empty net after empty net - and some stranger (who’s probably not even a fisherman!) is calling you a child and telling you what to do. This whole scene could have been a recipe for disaster. But for some reason, the disciples obey, and are suddenly unable to haul in the insane amount of fish that appeared out of nowhere. Things just went from 0 to 100. Empty to abundant.

He is at work; always at work.
The morning will come and He
will show up on the shore.

Now here’s my favorite part: The Disciple Whom Jesus Loved (most likely John himself) saw this and immediately said, “It is the Lord.” It is the Lord! What a declaration to make! He could have said, “Look at all those fish!” or “Wow, we are eating good tonight!” or something else. But, no. John knew instinctively that only Jesus could produce such a miracle. Only Jesus could make something out of nothing. John recognized the wild and wonderful work of Jesus and immediately gave Him credit. He knew then that the man on the shore was the Lord, and because of his proclamation, so did the others.

So the question in my heart is this: do I respond to the work of Jesus like John did? Do I recognize that he is responsible for the wild and wonderful things happening in my life? Do I immediately point that out to others and help them to see the Lord?

Now, I’m no fisherman. (The last time I caught a fish was probably 20 years ago in the backwoods of Pennsylvania.) It’s not likely I’ll see any miracles on the deck of a fishing boat anytime soon. But when I think about witnessing miracles in my own life, I think about my youngest daughter, who struggles with delayed development. Months and months of physical therapy with little progress has felt a lot like a long night of fishing with empty nets. But whenever she has a breakthrough, even a small one, I have the opportunity to proclaim like John, “It is the Lord.”

It is the Lord!

He is the miracle maker. He is the change agent. It’s not my daughter, it’s not me, it’s not her therapists. It’s not time, or coincidence, or the accumulation of a lot of hard work. It’s the Lord.

The Psalms tell us more than once to ascribe glory to God. To pay Him what he is due. To recognize Him and praise Him for His work and to tell others about it.

 

“Ascribe to the Lord, O heavenly beings,
 ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.
 Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name;
 worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness. (Psalm 29:1-2)

 

My friends, when you see Jesus do a miracle in your life, tell someone as soon as you can. Tell your neighbor. Text a friend. Put it on Instagram Stories. Yell it out loud! Throw up some confetti! Tell the world that it is the Lord.

And if you aren’t seeing any miracles and life feels like an empty net, look a little closer. He is at work; always at work. The morning will come and He will show up on the shore. There are miracles happening every day and we get the opportunity to use them to proclaim his goodness.

“Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” Ephesians 3:20-21


Natalie Herr is the founder and team leader of Dayton Women in the Word. She is a servant of God, a wife, a mom of four and a God-sized dreamer. She loves teaching and equipping women with God's Word. 

Open Hands, Willing Heart {Team Journal}

 Today’s team journal is written by our Bible Study Director, Lauren Steckling.

IMG_0153.JPG

While I want to offer baskets full of gifts and talents, many times all God asks of me is a willing and open heart.

I’ve probably mentioned before that I am a “behind the scenes” person. I prefer to be out of the spotlight, away from the center of attention. I see myself as a “follower” - the kind of character who plays the supporting role as the people around her are doing big things. I like being able to carry out the details while someone else comes up with the visionary dream. Any time the word “leader” or “leadership” is mentioned I am quick to announce: “that’s not who God created me to be.”

here are my empty hands. Fill them with qualities that only You can. If they need me, I’m willing to learn.

The problem with all of that is that it is who I say that I am. It’s my comfort zone, my safe place. I don’t like being in charge so I shy away from good opportunities for growth. Why? Because growth is uncomfortable and it takes me away from my safe place. Throughout the last ten years or so though, God has gradually, and intermittently placed me in positions of leadership that continue to stretch me. And every single time it has been good for me. From management at work during college to teaching classrooms of little ones to, most recently, my position on the Dayton Women in the Word’s Director Team.

This last position, as Bible Study Director, has definitely been a season of stretching for me. It was just over a year ago that I joined the team, and it had been evident by the events leading up to my commitment that this was where God wanted me to be. I almost didn’t apply, because little ol’ Lauren is quiet, reserved, and doesn’t take initiative - and those just aren’t the qualities of a leader. Except... God thought otherwise.

Just before I was interviewed for the position I told the Lord:

“God, I am not qualified for this job. I have empty hands and a laundry list of excuses why they’d be better off with someone else. BUT, here are my empty hands. Fill them with qualities that only You can. If they need me, I’m willing to learn.”

I constantly have to remind myself of this and I continue to pray that God would equip me. He has answered my prayer up to this point and I know He will be faithful to continue to give what I need. In my DWITW 365 reading from today (Matthew 25), I recalled the lesson of the parable of the man who gives his servants bags of gold, or talents. Two of the three servants invested their money and earned more gold for the master. One, however, hid his bag of gold and earned nothing more. To the two wise servants, he said:

 

“Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; now I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!”
(Matt. 25:23)

 

God has been giving me small areas of leadership to be faithful in for a while now. He is proving to me that I have the ability to do good things for His glory, and as long as I am faithful in those small areas and trust Him to equip me with what I need, I can continue to trust Him to provide when He brings larger areas of leadership.

His call for me, and for you, is faithfulness and stewardship - not perfection. He has already shown us that He is the one in charge anyway. He is the true planner, provider and leader of Dayton Women in the Word and the Summer Bible Study. And oh, what a beautiful relief that is to me! He has already shown me once again that He is going before us and providing for Summer Study 2019 before we even have the chance to feel a need! I still feel unqualified and insecure at times, but the Lord is being glorified all the more because it cannot be said that any “success” is credited to me or my abilities - it is, and will always be, Him!


 Lauren Steckling wants to live in a world where donuts have no calories, weekends last longer, and everyone would feel the grace and peace that comes knowing their Savior Jesus. When she's not taking care of her toddler, you can find her sewing, baking, or with her nose in a good book.

Her favorite Scripture is Isaiah 41:10, ESV: "So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."