Reflections from Chicago

Today's post is an excerpt from a series on Chicago team member Tracy Stella's blog.

Because change is hard, we’re still on our trek to investigate what motivates us to move into action and maintain our commitment. Remember, we’re seeking to be Champions of Change as we step into every good place God directs us to.

He picks the place. Rest assured, it will be spacious if we’re walking with Him (Psalm 18:19).  God desires to broaden the borders of those who faithfully follow Him. He knows they can handle it with humility.

He sets the pace. Sometimes, He’ll ask us to slow down. Sometimes, we’ll need to accelerate. At all times we should seek Him on the timing and tempo of change. There is purpose in His pace (Ecclesiastes 3:11).

He quickens our pulse. God helps us get excited and stay that way when He plants dreams and desires in our heart (Psalm 33:11). Achieving dreams can be hard work. He’ll release the adrenaline in our hearts and minds (figuratively speaking) and give us the “want to” to do His will. 

He gives us godly perspective. He wants us to remain motivated by what matters most. We looked at that in more detail last post.  (Insert Link)  Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Psalm 111:10).  Wisdom shows us His way.

He shows us godly motivation is not found in performance. Godly motivation is rooted in obedience.    There is blessing on the other side of our obedience. Blessing for us. Blessing for others. Performance is about us and what we want. Obedience is about God and what He wants. 

Obedience is not a one-time occasion. Over and over, God wants us to say “yes”. It’s how He helps us continue to step toward our destiny.

But [Jesus] said, “On the contrary, blessed (happy, favored by God) are those who hear the word of God and continually observe it.”—Luke 11:28 AMP

Would being blessed, happy, and favored by God motivate you? 

Most of us want that. Are we willing to be obedient to obtain it?

God loves us all. God extends mercy to us all.

But blessing is poured out for those who hear the word of God and continually observe it. Obedience equals blessing.

Would blessing motivate you to be a Champion of Change?

What sits on the other side of your obedience? Does it motivate you enough to want to know? 

Curiosity has the ability to call us forward as we wonder what God has for us in this Champion of Change business. I’m convinced God sometimes withholds information, so we’ll have the courage to step forward. 

By faith Abraham, when he was called (by God), obeyed by going to a place which he was to receive as an inheritance; and he went, not knowing where he was going.—Hebrews 11:8 AMP

Would you go somewhere, even if you didn’t know where you were going? Abraham did. It was counted to him as faith. It takes courage to step out in faith.  For his obedience, Abraham was blessed.

I met a modern-day Abraham not too long ago. I couldn’t shake the significance of what he shared. His words were important. They were part of his story. They were part of others’ story. And they were becoming a part of my story as well.

He was talking about the importance of obedience. I would have agreed with him even before I heard his story. Sometimes, though, words carry more weight when said in certain context. Obedience made concrete in my mind as I listened to the gentleman’s story sitting in a home for survivors of human trafficking.  As he shared his story, he was full of humility—a sure sign of a man walking in obedience to what God wants….no matter what.

His journey of obedience was similar to Abraham’s. He didn’t know where God was leading; he only knew each next step. He didn’t know how many lives his obedience would impact. He didn’t know who would be saved or how many. My guess is he didn’t know how hard it would be. I’m also pretty certain he’d say any difficulty he experienced along the way had all been well worth it.

He had a hope. He had a dream. It was God-given. It was good. It required courage to fulfill and only obedience could show him the steps needed to bring fruit out of difficult soil. He planted seeds and he toiled, a labor of love. Because God asked him to.

Ked Frank founded a home for women rescued from human trafficking and sexual exploitation. Refuge for Women was birthed from one man’s obedience. He didn’t know what God had for him in all of this, but he stepped forth courageously and said “yes”. What started as one home in Kentucky has expanded. God broadened the borders. The founder has demonstrated his willingness to be obedient and faithful to what God asks. And for that, God pours out His blessing.

THAT inspires me.

But that’s not all, or even the most impactful in my opinion.

God has healed and restored many women in the safe setting of Refuge for Women. They’ve experienced healing from severe trauma and unimaginable circumstances. Things that are difficult to survive, yet God uses Refuge for Women to help God’s daughters find hope and freedom. Modern day slaves set free to pursue God’s purposes for their lives.

One man’s obedience led to many women set free in the name of Christ. Wow!  

What if he hadn’t founded Refuge for Women? Would these women have been helped? Not by him. He got to participate in God’s plan because he said “yes”. And I already know he would say he’s so glad he did.

Has it always been easy? No way! You want to know why that doesn’t matter? Ked desires to obey God. He knows the importance of doing what matters for the One who matters most.

His obedience has led to mine. There’s a domino effect when we do something good with God for God. I now get to be obedient to God’s call and help with the home for human trafficking survivors. I get to … only because Ked said “yes” first. 

I don’t know what the future holds. I do know I want to be obedient to what God asks of me. Maybe one day there will be someone who says, “I get to…only because Tracy said “yes” first.” 

Who will “get to” fulfill God’s plan for their life because you said “yes”? 

Change is hard work. But it’s worth it. What’s waiting for you on the other side of obedience? Aren’t you curious?  Be a Champion of Change and find out. Step out in faith like Ked & Abraham did. Who knows what’s at stake if you don’t?