As we explore the mission of God in the book of Jonah, we have asked some lay leaders from the Ridder Leadership Initiative to share their reflections. They were each given two questions to consider: Where do you see God present and at work around you? And how are you joining in on God's mission?
Below are reflections from Patrick Cisler who teaches Sunday School, together with his wife Elyse, reads almost as much as Pastor Brian and pursues service and mission with great passion:
This question is difficult for me because these days I am seeing God at work everywhere I go and so pinpointing a single event to share will be tough. I was so impressed by the stories of the children at Vacation Bible School this year and the “God Sightings” that I have taken to trying to write down a few each week so that they will not be forgotten. One way that God has worked with me over the past year and has allowed me to see a lot of “God Sightings” is by focusing on the moment at hand. That means focusing on the present in whatever situation that may find me. I am a planner by nature and love to make “to-do” lists therefore it has been liberating the way God has made me focus on the present. Our lives move at a fast pace and because there is always something to be done we rarely stop to acknowledge where God wants us to be. This takes many different forms: sometimes this means not finishing our work in the evening so that we may spend time with family, or stopping to talk with a neighbor even when we have someplace to be, or putting on a smile and a good attitude even when we are in situations where we aren’t comfortable or wouldn’t normally find enjoyment. I find it is in these moments that God does some of his finest work. When we are too caught up in the past or the future we forget to live in the present and I believe that is where we can best do God’s work. If we trust that he has a plan for us we must be open to what he has laid before us in each moment. A lot of times we are right where God wants us to be and in those moments we need to just pause and say “Thank you.”
I am seeking to join in on God’s Mission daily and those that know me best know that, because of my eagerness to try new things, I often have a tough time saying “no” to new opportunities. I feel that the best ways to get involved is to step outside our box a little and take a chance on something we aren’t immediately comfortable with. However, 7 months ago God was urging me to step outside my comfort zone and volunteer at the Holland Rescue Mission and my initial response to that urge was a resounding “no”. Doubts of my abilities, doubts of the availability of my time, fear of taking on another commitment and general fear of not being comfortable in a different environment quickly crept in. I found myself waging the pros and cons with God about this decision but came to the realization that I needed to practice what I preach and stop being a hypocrite. If I was urging others to step outside their comfort zone then I must as well. I signed up for volunteer orientation before looking into anything further. In my mind this was the first step and everything else I would leave in God’s hands. Since that time I have been at the mission volunteering weekly in various roles and have gained more from the relationships and experiences there than I ever could have imagined. This opportunity has given me a newfound passion and desire to help the mission grow and evolve in its ability to better the lives of the men there.