Category Archives: Weakness

Don’t Sell Yourself Short: You Were Made For Greatness

The following post was written by Shana Howard, Small Group Pastor of Church 212 in Palm Desert, Ca.

Don’t Sell Yourself Short: You Were Made For Greatness

One day, I was reading a book at my community pool. Close by in the Jacuzzi, were two guys talking. These men were strangers and had struck up a conversation. They were talking so loud I could hear every word. But trying to read, I attempted to tune them out.

However, due to their volume and subject matter, I was unable. Their discussion was about how they could use women for their own sexual gratification.

The older man (in his 60’s) was sharing with the younger guy (in his 40’s) how he was getting a bride from another country, set up in an apartment, so he could use her sexually however he wanted. He was telling his new friend how he should do the same—that he doesn’t even need to marry her, just string her along and hide her away somewhere.

The younger engaged the conversation. It got more graphic as more women were discussed with more ways to get away with “using them.”

My next move

As you can imagine being a woman, I was aghast. I was so uncomfortable sitting there and wasn’t sure what to do. Honestly, I was disgusted at their conversation and wanted to chew them out on behalf of all women but decided to mind my own business.

As I’m not one to confront strangers, I packed up to leave. Until, of course, the Holy Spirit compelled me to address the situation.

Tweet: “Nothing changes if Christians don’t say anything. You are the light to darkness.” – Shana Howard

Gulp. I didn’t want to actually confront these guys. I was nervous.

But then God flooded me with love and compassion for these men. He gave me exactly what to talk to them about and I loved what God had to say. He wanted me to tell them they were made for greatness. God didn’t want me to chew them out, he wanted me to call them out and into where their lives would be fulfilled and meaningful. He didn’t want me to say what they couldn’t do, but rather share with them what they could do.

So I nervously approached and interrupted their conversation. With conviction and compassion, I said something like, “I couldn’t help but overhear you talking. You were made for more than using these women…”

The older guy interrupts me and tells me to mind my own business. But I continue with passion and tenderness, “You were made for greatness. You were made to honor women and protect them. You were made for so much more than you are giving yourself.”

The older man scoffed while the younger man apologized for offending me. I continued sharing with them God had great plans to do through them. Great things.

Protecting the weak and defenseless

These choices were preventing them from experiencing true greatness by God’s hand. I reminded them as men, they were designed to protect the weak and defenseless. They were to be men like they saw in the movie’s Braveheart and Gladiator; men of purpose, heroic and great. The older man continued to scoff but the younger man waved him off and said, “I need to hear this.”

So I reiterated what I was saying making sure to use the phrase God had given me to say to them, “You were made for greatness.” The younger guy thanked me and the older man apologized for his inappropriate use of language in front of me.

I was witnessing this scripture come to life in that moment, “The kindness of God leads man to repentance” (Romans 2:4). I don’t remember my parting words, but I left those two men praying in my mind, “God press those words deep in their heart, “You were made for greatness.”

Bring them to remembrance when they go to do things in darkness. Give them hope there is another way to live. Reveal your Son Jesus to them. Help them to become men you desire.

Men that honor, protect and glorify you.”

Your takeaway

I share this story with you guys to remind you, “YOU WERE MADE FOR GREATNESS.” God wants to do great things in you and through you.

I have no idea what might be hindering you from having all that God has planned for you but I pray as you read this, He speaks to you–that the Holy Spirit calls you out and into a better life of purpose.

Whether you feel complacent or unworthy because of past choices or deeds of darkness, KNOW THIS: there is a God of Hope. He wants to strengthen you to live for His glory. Call upon the name of the Lord and He will help.

Brothers, I am cheering you on. Rise up! Take hold of the great position God has given you. Be a man! Battle for good! Go for it! Enjoy your New Year!

Your sister in Christ,

Shana Howard
Small Group Pastor, Church 212

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My Facebook-Perfect Life!

What if we plastered all of our garbage on Facebook? What if instead of just posting all the perfect moments of our lives, we displayed the dirty dark secrets that most everyone doesn’t see? Well, I have a lot of those moments. Where I have been increasingly hating my weaknesses, I’ve actually started to learn to like them.

Due to my insecurities, weaknesses, and sinful failures, I have spent the last few days sulking; even though I am confident in God’s grace for my life I feel like I’ve been running. It’s the usual valley that lies just passed the previous mountaintop. But despite my bleak hatred for these recurrences, I have been seeing the good in them. And I’d like to hit the like button on that. Here’s what I’m learning.

Weakness should be welcomed with gladness. Like Paul says, “If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness.” (2 Corinthians 11:30) Now, boasting in the things that expose our weakness is contrary to culture and just sounds ridiculous. Instead, we are trying to look good in front of everyone–at work, to friends, on social media! Go look at my Facebook page everyone– or go to Heather’s–we look so perfect. Ha!

God forbid we ever display our shortcomings in front of others. It’s called Self-preservation; this is something I deal with. Growing up in the shadows of my amazing parents, people have automatically viewed me in the light they do my parents (or so I think). If it’s not that, it’s the image portrayed week after week for years as people see me lead worship and preach sermons. Without transparency and humanizing mechanisms, picture-perfect images of me are created. Operating in my shinny gifts can creep in a subtle fear that people are going to discover the real me, whereby the image anyone had is SUDDENLY smashed.

Recently, I have dealt with certain weaknesses that I DON’T want to have. I hate them and I wish they would vanish. But surprisingly, amid the dark grief, I find a welcomed contentment.

Why I love my weaknesses.
Honestly, if I had everything together all the time, I wouldn’t need to rely on God for ANYTHING. My self-happiness and self-sufficiency would be plenty enough to satisfy me. Why would I need God for anything when I have myself? I find it very interesting that Paul, the writer of most the New Testament, makes sufferings seem like gifts from God.

“For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself (anyone relate?) Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But (pay attention) that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead.” 2 Corinthians 1:9

God doesn’t cause our sufferings but he does use them to teach us lessons. He does use them to discipline us. He uses them to make us stronger. And he most certainly uses them to keep our reliance on him. So in a way, they are a blessing to us.

Tweet: In a way our sufferings are a blessing to us; they cause us to rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. @DanielsWorship.

I often get discouraged when I don’t measure up to the HIGH EXPECTATIONS I place on my self. But the Lord has been teaching me lately that it’s OK to be weak. Exposed weakness does not comprise manliness, it doesn’t ruin leadership, nor does it disappoint people. It actually helps others dealing with the same issues to find hope.

In reality, I hope I remain weak. Because I know that God uses the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; he uses the weak to shame the strong. He uses the low and despised things of the world to bring to nothing those who think they are something! (1 Corinthians 1:27)

To be honest with you, I have felt just like Paul who pleaded with God. He said, “Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this (thorn in my flesh), that it should leave me. But Jesus said to me, “my grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly (as he did) of my weaknesses, so that the “power of Christ may rest upon me.”

Tweet: The more weakness I have, the more of Christ’s power I have. But the more I sustain myself by my own power, the less I need his. @DanielsWorship

So, what am I learning? I am learning to stop running when my weaknesses thrash me. Instead, I’m learning to be glad. This is a wonderful opportunity for me to grow in my reliance on God. In fact, I think God is using these things to test, teach, and graduate me to new levels of perseverance, character, and hope. (Romans 5:4)

I heard a gentleman say recently after being honest about one of his weaknesses, “I hate this, it makes me feel weak.” Hearing this was perfect timing for me because I have been experiencing the same thing. But I refuse to be a prisoner of Self-preservation and I hope the Lord continues to help me out of it.

I opened up the bible today and knelt to read. It felt good to turn to the Lord. Even though I have been confident in God’s grace toward me, it still felt good to stop running.

And that’s the best kind of recurrence.

Daniel Harrison
Church 212

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