About Us

Metro Christian Fellowship is an evangelical charismatic church on the south side of Kansas City, Missouri. Our worship services embrace heartfelt worship, expression of spiritual gifts, prayer for the sick and teaching from the Bible. Visit us at our website.

The Path Ahead of Us

By Sharon Ma
Shanghai, PR China September 10, 2009

A few months ago in our apartment complex, workers spent days creating a new pebble pathway by the kids' playground area.

Nail it to the Cross

-by Sara Wagner

The other week, I was asked to teach Senior High Sunday school a few days before I was actually to do it. No problem, I can usually pull any number of things out of my overcrowded brain to discuss from the Bible. Had a few ideas, but none of them really seemed quite right.

Lancing the Boil

By Arla Speer

“My favorite thing about God...No matter what wounds you have, no matter what pain you've endured, God will heal you!!” A young child wrote this and drew the picture of a badly torn heart with a puddle of blood beneath it.

I was well aware of my brokenness but not so much of how it had grieved Him over the years. Ephesians 2:6 tells us that we are seated with Christ in the heavenlies. From there, we get a much different perspective.

God brought something to my attention from many years before. He decided it was time to deal with it for real. Over the course of several months, I wrestled with God, saw things from His perspective, struggled with what He was asking of me, and discovered that I really did not trust Him.

I began to see His love and His pain because of His love for me. It was comforting, yet agonizing at the same time.
The only thing I knew from the beginning, was that this particular journey would be the hardest thing I had ever walked out. I was serious and left no back way out. I did not want to deal with this again. I also knew I would not be able to walk this out alone and strategically picked two friends to walk beside me. They were committed and were quick to hear and very slow to speak.

It was not the path I would have taken by choice. I had no idea how it would turn out, what it would cost me, nor when it would be finished or even what He had planned for me after it was done. What would I become? What was He preparing me for? What would that look like?

It would have been nice to know, just as a carrot to dangle in front of me for motivation. But, that was not His way - not this time.

This time He was focusing on trust. I soon discovered His definition of trust was radically different from mine. I had backed my definition off to seeing just one step beyond where I was at - that felt only a little comfortable. His definition did not include that extra step of sight. His definition was not seeing anything yet taking His hand and walking.

My comfort had no bearing on where He was taking me. He was out to kill more of the Adam inside of me. I had been praying that the effects of Christ in me would become more evident every day. It wasn't easy. It wasn't fun. And it certainly wasn't comfortable! It was death.

Did I ever want to rescind my noble prayer? No. My one hope, my one reward was the resurrection on the other side of this death where Christ truly became more evident in me.

This time I needed to give up my rights to all I had held so dear to me for so long. My right to hold on to the hurt. My right to hide it in a deep, dark corner of my heart. And my right to judge the offender. This was more than a scratched knee. This was much deeper. There was so much pain and resentment. I thought I had hidden it so well over the years but when it started to come out, others would say, "That explains a lot". When the journey seemed too hard, both friends reminded me "wounds have to be exposed in order to really be healed" and that "lancing a boil is painful, but an untreated boil can kill you."

Time had not healed this wound. Time had caused it to fester terribly.

I took many walks with Jesus where we had open conversations about the journey He was taking me on. It usually went something like, "I don't understand . . .” or "But why/how . . ." to which He would simply reply, "Trust Me". When language seemed inadequate, I asked for eyes to see. He was not afraid to show me both the Adam in me and Christ in me.

In the middle of all this, or maybe much more true, because of all of this, I decided to take a trip to the place where all the pain began decades before. Two months out, I knew I was supposed to go. I didn't know why and struggled with that for weeks. I thought that maybe it was to clear the air with the offender. I had two questions in mind - why? And who all knew? It just didn't seem right, though.

One morning, God seemed to suddenly want to deal with my heart. I pleaded, "God, don't show me my heart. I don't want to go there. I don't want to see it for what it really is. I know it's ugly. There would be too much pain there. I'm afraid." All the time, I kept hearing, "Child, you're forgiven. Child, you are loved." I knew that not seeing my heart was not an option and when He asks me a question, it's not for Him to discover something. He already knows the answer. It's for me to see my own heart. He shows me my heart when I answer honestly.

I wanted to say, "God, help me to go there. Help me to see my heart." But I really didn't want to. I felt like I almost couldn't even say the words. Yet somehow, I knew I needed to. So, I set it aside knowing God is faithful and He would bring it up again. It was later that very same day that I felt an urgency to see my heart for what it was and allowed my Jesus to begin to heal it.

I needed to feel something more than I had been feeling. I needed to love from a 'pure heart, a clear conscience, and an unpretended faith' (I Tim 1:5). I needed to love the one who offended me.

Four days before I left, He showed me why I was going. That discovery followed a very intensive week of healing for me. That week, He showed me that I cannot produce trust. Trusting Him is a result of knowing that He loves me. I don't need to perform for Him in order for Him to love me. He just loves me without expectation of anything more than what I am.

He also showed me that dead men have no rights.

God wanted me to offer forgiveness to the offender, without asking either of the questions I had in mind. It was to be unconditional. It took a full day to wrap my arms around that one! It was hard enough to form the words between God and me. But the offender? Therein was the defining moment. After all I had walked through to this point, I was not going back. I finally had an understanding of what it was I was supposed to do.

On the day I was to return home, there was a 30-second window. That was all I needed. Forgiveness was sincerely offered. What a feeling of freedom! From the response, I knew God had been working on that end also. On the trip home, God showed me just a little from His perspective - the offender is hurt, wounded, and a child of His.

Seeing God's perspective made for a change of heart in me towards my offender.

I did what I was supposed to do. Now, the ball is on the other side of the court. I am thinking this is not over and the ball will once again return to my side of the court, although I do not know when. That's ok. I don't have to. God knows. And I also discovered, I do trust Him. I really do.

We all have boils. Some are on the surface. Some are in deep, dark hidden places. Where does your trust lie? In the comfort and familiarity of the pain or in Jesus, who loves abundantly?

[If you want to contact Arla, her email address is: alreadyclaimed@yahoo.com]

The Lord Responded-Shirley McNeall

On June 7th Pastor Jim Bailey shared about the Quest trip with the youth. He said, “The presence of God was so strong at times.” He told the youth, “We need to ask the Lord what He wants to do and wait for Him to respond.” Pastor Jim told us that any time the Lord’s presence is felt we need to acknowledge the presence of the Lord and we need to find out what the Lord wants to do. I had never had anyone tell me that before.

When The Shepherd’s Way Ministry women’s team went to Municipal Correctional Institution to minister to the women inmates, we worshipped and sang some songs with them. Then I started sharing with them about the many promises and blessings God has for us if we will obey His Word. Some of the scriptures we read and talked about were the following: Deut. 28:2-14, Blessings for obedience; Deut. 31:6, 8, tells us to be strong and of good courage, not to fear, that God will go with us. He will not leave us nor forsake us. This is also promised in Hebrews 13:5. Gal. 3:11-14, 26, “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith... For we are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus.” Matt. 6:33 “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” What things? What we eat, drink, and wear. God will provide us a job or ways to meet these needs when we obey His word. Matt. 8:16-17, Tells about Jesus casting out demons and healing all who were sick. Matt.10:1, “And when He had called His twelve disciples to Him, He gave them power over unclean spirits, to cast them out and to heal all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease.” Mark 16:15-20, in these verses Jesus tells His disciples to go into all the world and preach the gospel and these signs will follow those who believe. They will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick and they will recover. Verse 20, “And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs. Amen”

The presence of God was so strong in that place. I asked the inmates if they could feel God’s presence. They said they could. The Holy Spirit brought to my memory what Pastor Jim had said on Sunday morning about asking the Lord what He wanted to do so we could partner with Him. So I told the ladies what he had said. I said, “Let’s ask the Lord what He wants to do.” So I did. Then I said, “Let’s wait for the Lord to respond.” After a few minutes one of the ladies started weeping uncontrollably. I just waited a few minutes until she calmed down some and asked her if the Lord had spoken to her. She said, “Yes, He said I could do these same things that you had said that Jesus and the disciples did if I would get my life right with God.” I asked her, “How do you get your life right with God?” She said, “I am not sure.” (She had already prayed to be saved.) I told her she needed to repent for not obeying God’s Word. When you repent, you can be in right standing with God. I told her what I John 1:9 said. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” Then we can be in right standing with God if we obey His Word. So she prayed and so did some of the other ladies, asking God to forgive them for not obeying His Word. With tears and then smiles on their faces they thanked us for coming and sharing the word with them. They wanted to know when we would be coming again.

By waiting in God’s presence and partnering with what He wanted to do, the Holy Spirit moved on their lives that day and hearts were changed. And some of them heard directly from the Lord themselves.

A Financial Miracle for the Schneider Family

I (Fred) would like to tell you about a financial miracle that greatly impacted our family. Mike Bickle, the founder of Kansas City’s International House of Prayer, has said that God is just looking for ways to “wow” everyone who gets involved in a financial miracle - from the giver, to the receiver, to the ones who hear the resulting testimony.
When my contract job in California ended on December 31, 2004, we had already decided to move to Kansas City to attend the Intro to IHOP course. However, we were facing some tremendous financial pressures, and definitely in need of a miracle.
So, prompted by Mike Bickle’s teaching as noted above, my wife, Gretta, and I took a step of faith by “sowing“ my last and final paycheck from that contract job right back into the Kingdom of God. We gave it to various ministries that God had used over the years to touch our lives.
We knew that if we had used that money as we typically would by depositing it in the bank and writing checks against it, the funds would have only covered a few of our already overdue bills. Then, we would still be facing tremendous needs because we were planning to make a big cross-country move.
Not only had my job in California come to an end, but Gretta had just finished up her five year job as accountant with a Christian radio station syndicate.
To make matters worse, we needed to somehow come up with tuition for our IHOP course, and we were planning to move halfway across the country to an area where neither of us had any contacts or knowledge of the job market. What a pickle we were in!
So, contrary to all sound, logical, and fiscally responsible thinking, we sowed the money into God's work - taking the Bible literally when it says that “with God, ALL THINGS are possible.”
We had a family meeting and told our children that we were going to give this money toward ministry, and then we prayed together and asked the Lord to “show-off” and move on our behalf.
We boldly asked God to give us a TEN-FOLD RETURN on the amount we were about to sow, because when we added up our projected needs for the next three months, the needed amount came to approximately ten times the amount of my paycheck. We didn’t need $630 (my final paycheck) … we needed $6,300!
We did not tell anyone outside of our little family circle about our sowing in expectation of a ten-fold miracle return. However, we were counseled by our pastor to simply let it be known to our family and friends that we were planning to move to an International missions base in Kansas City, and if anyone would like to give towards that move, we would gladly receive any assistance offered.
This was a humbling experience for us, but definitely part of God’s plan.
Well, now we come the exciting part: Over several months, Gretta, the accountant in the family, kept accurate records as friends and family from all over gave financial gifts toward our adventurous move as we headed off to Kansas City … including a $1,000 donation from an old family friend living in Qatar over in the Middle East!
Approximately three months after we began this process, Gretta sat down in our apartment in South KC to look at the family finances. She was shocked and amazed to discover that we had received exactly $100 less than the amount we were asking for – a literal ten-fold return on the amount that was originally “sown” in faith.
Thrilled, but a bit perplexed, she forgot about it until later that same afternoon when she opened a card that came in the mail that day. It had been sent to us by her brother, and it contained a check made out for exactly $100.
The check was accompanied by a thoughtful card that said the following: “I woke up a couple of days ago and had the distinct impression from God to send this. I hope this arrives in time for whatever reason.”
Wow! Equally amazing is the fact that ever since the day we received that final $100 check, we have not received another penny in “donations”. What an amazing, wonder-working God we serve!We hope and trust you are as “wowed” about this financial miracle as we were and still are. This was certainly a miracle from God’s hand, and it has made a lasting impression on our family which we will never forget.

Financial Testimony-Scott O'Brien

As with all long journey’s it began simple enough. I was living by myself in a one bedroom apartment making about 30k a year. At the time, I thought the concept of having a credit card was a bad idea, but after receiving the envelope that promised “0%”, I decided to follow the crowd’s idea to have a card to build credit and for any emergencies. I was confirmed for a 5K credit limit with 0% interest for the first 12 months, and placed the card in my wallet to supposedly collect dust.

Psychologically, having access to 5k in funds when you only have $300 per month in discretionary income is dangerous. Soon things happened that began the downward spiral into debt. My wife, who had been my girlfriend for a year at the time, needed a new car, more so out of convenience than necessity. Up to this point, and the year to follow, I had no relationship with Christ. We started shopping around and found the perfect used minivan. After doing research, we landed on a selling price of about 14k for the one year old van. We patted ourselves on the back for such a good purchase, and then came my brilliant idea. Since I had a credit card just collecting dust in my wallet, how about putting a $1,000 down payment on the van with my card? After all, financing 1k at 0% interest is better than having it financed at 6%.

I told my future wife that I would make the down payment on the credit card on the stipulation that we would move in together, in sin, a concept that was still foreign to me. After all, if we could eliminate the living expenses of one of us, then we could pay the $1,000 off and make extra payments on the van, so I pushed the idea. She grudgingly agreed. As a result of this one transaction we ended up with a 14k car loan, 1k in new credit card debt, and a choice to live in a way that would bring us no blessings. All of these factors caused unbelievable hardships in both our lives and finances. My future wife came to her senses later and decided that we would not be moving in together. I didn’t understand her reasons at the time and we broke up, albeit for a month. Later, I learned greatly to respect the hard line she took. As I became a Christian, I was thankful that we never moved in together. Regardless, we still had the debt.

The next year began some transitions. I lost my job twice that year. Since I had no savings, I used my credit card to pay bills and get by. My future wife also had some financial issues and we used my credit card to cover several of her bills as well. Add to this the use of the card for impulse buys, and the debt started to mount. The balance was growing faster than my salary.

In October of 2002, one year after purchasing the car, I had lost my job. I was at the bottom. Then one day, while driving in my debt laden car, I came to Christ. The next 10 months I worked 60 hrs a week as a temp, using the overtime pay just to keep afloat. My future wife and I still managed to increase the debt load with little things, like eating out and planning for a very modest wedding. Working as a temp is a challenge because you never know when it could be your last day. This was a great time for me to trust in the Lord. As I increased my faith, more doors were made open to me. I was eventually hired as a permanent employee and have continued to work for this firm, doubling my starting pay in 6 years.

During this time, we decided to have my wife quit her job one month before the wedding. We thought that with our combined income and decreased bills, this would be good timing for her to find a job that would be less demanding and allow her to spend more time with her daughter, my future adopted daughter. Two months after we were married, my wife was pregnant and never went back to work.

One income put a stress on our finances, but the rewards of my wife staying at home were great. In reality, we had a negative cash flow for the first year. With a negative cash flow, we found ourselves using our credit card even more. We ended up getting a second card as well. While our blessings were multiplying, our debt was too. At this point in 2003, we had two cards and two cars worth of debt. In 2004, our daughter was born and we bought a house, financing 7k of debt into the house. But even with this transfer, we still had some debt left on the cards. We were too ignorant at the time to cut them up so the debt became as high as 17k with no savings and nothing to show for it.

The year 2006 was an amazing rollercoaster. At this point the van started to fall apart. We had our first son in May, and after a miraculous delivery, my wife and I were on cloud nine. “Debt, what debt? I’m just clag my wife and child are well.” That’s what I thought until a hospital administrator came in and said “I’m your case worker, and I was wondering why you delivered at this hospital since you don’t have insurance here.” The smile immediately left my face. Somehow that hospital fell out of our network in 2006. We would have to come up with all the money to pay for the birth. The bottom fell out financially. God again saw us through that situation. Because the delivery ended up being an emergency and we had no other options, the insurance ended up covering the birth. Glory to God!

Other things started falling into place; the van, the start of all debt, was going to be paid for, and I was going to get a raise, which would increase our cash flow by almost $350. Unfortunately, that was a full month away, and we needed to pay some bills now. I talked to my wife about how dire our situation was. We agreed that we would ask my wife’s parents for a bridge loan, an amount of money that would get us through the next month until our cash flow turned positive. Her parents had some reluctance, but they extended the loan. It wasn’t a large sum, just what we needed for the bridge, but it marked the beginning of the end. I am very thankful for their generosity. From August 2006 until present, we have not taken on any new debt.

Once our van was paid for, my Saturn died forever. We were now a one car family, but had no intentions of getting a car loan. Again, my wife and I prayed for God’s provision. During this time of waiting, our life group leaders decided to do the Dave Ramsey financial study. Although I was against this concept, I relented and put money down on faith. Following this decision, we received a phone call from a wonderful family in our church, who decided to give us their spare truck! I never would have thought such a thing was possible. God had a plan, and we faithfully followed it. It is amazing what can happen when you just wait.

We continued with the Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University with our life group, and have held to the principles we learned since January 2007. One by one, we have watch credit card debt fall away. During 2008, we also became parents of twins. Talk about your double portion of blessing. It is one of the most awesome things God has blessed us with. It is truly a unique and wonderful experience.
When you are close to a goal, the enemy will try all kinds of things to derail you. In October, I crashed the truck beyond repair. We were a one car family once again. Because my wife needed a car to transport the kids to home school coop, this was a very bad circumstance. But God gave us friends that work from home who allowed us to borrow their car so that my wife could take the kids to school on Mondays. We had to put our debt snowball on hold. In its place, we began a car savings snowball. After 3 months of saving, we were able to buy a 15 passenger van with cash. It was the van we always wanted and it came without debt. This happened just 3 short weeks ago.
Since that time, we have received our tax refund and paid the bulk of our remaining debt. On February 6, 2009, we made our final payment toward debt. God has a plan for us after this adventure. It might be just sharing our story. In this difficult time in our nation, we need stories of redemption. I have a desire to lead Financial Peace University classes in my church. This is the time for us to all take up the yoke of Christ. Where your money is, your heart is also.

A Hope and a Future - by Cecilia York

My husband, Kelvin, and I had been married for two years when we thought it time for us to have a family. However, it wasn’t turning out the way we wanted. The doctor told us that it wouldn’t be possible for me to get pregnant. That was horrible news; we love children and we had a strong desire to become parents. We knew that everything is possible to God, no matter what the doctors think. So, we prayed and cried out to God, “Please, Lord, bless us with a baby!” But as the years went by with no answers from God, we thought maybe it wasn’t for us. During that time, Kelvin worked at St. Luke’s Hospital in the evening shift as a Patient Care Technician. While he worked, I prayed and cried to God, asking Him, “Lord, where are you?” Then one night I realized that I was asking God for a blessing when He wasn’t willing for that blessing to happen yet. So I asked God what He wanted me to do. In my thoughts came the word: FORGIVENESS.

I grew up in a dysfunctional family, which was not easy for me. My father left us when I was a baby, so my mother took all her frustrations out on me. My older sister followed my mother’s attitude towards me. I always thought I deserved it, because I was too ugly, worthless, good for nothing, and wasn’t worth anything to anyone. The Lord reminded me that I was carrying a heavy load of pain and resentment against my family. That night I changed the way I prayed, “Lord, help me to forgive them, help me to forget my past!!” Every night I spent time with God, I cried with so much pain inside of me, “Heal me Lord, this is too painful!!” One night I was pleading to God for His divine help, when all of a sudden I felt His presence around me, and peace fell over me. I stopped crying and felt better. I knew that my Lord healed me that night; finally I felt joy in me. A few days after that, my sister called me for the first time in many years and invited us over for Christmas. I accepted the invitation very happily, and knew that God was doing something on purpose. That Christmas was the best Christmas ever; for the first time we asked each other for forgiveness, and felt love around us. I thanked God for preparing my heart. I was free of resentment, and instead my heart was full of forgiveness. After we got home that day, there was a peace and love around Kelvin and I.

Around January, Kelvin came home from work with tears in his eyes. When I asked what happened, he told me to get ready; you will be a mom very soon. What?! He was taking care of this patient who had been unconscious for three days, but one night he just sat up and said, “Kelvin, you have a beautiful son! He’s standing next to you.” Kelvin was stunned, how did the man know his name in the first place? How could he have woken up, said those words, and then just go back to sleep? The man’s wife was a witness to this. She told Kelvin that he had better believe it, because her husband loves the Lord strongly and was a deacon at his church. We finally had hope again that God was going to bless us with a baby.

In March around my birthday, I took a pregnancy test and it was positive. We told ourselves not to get too excited until we saw the doctor, but it was very hard not to be excited. That night when I finally fell asleep, I had a beautiful dream. I asked, “Jesus, is this you?” He said, “You are pregnant, and it is a boy.” I told Him in my dream thank you, thank you. He said, “But I want you to do something.” He said, “Follow me,” and took me to Noah’s ark; inside of it were the 12 apostles preaching to people. He said, “I want you to help him to become just like them.” In my dream I told Him, “I promise to you Jesus, I promise.” I woke up, and after telling Kelvin, we both knew that I was pregnant and it was going to be a baby boy. The next day, the doctor told us, you are very pregnant, but don’t tell anybody yet, because at your age we don’t know if this is going to happen or not. But nothing is impossible for God; I was 39 years old and pregnant. As soon as we left the doctor’s office we told friends and family the good news. After 10 years of waiting, God blessed us with a beautiful, healthy boy, because it was in God’s timing, not ours.

Since I became a Christian, I’ve loved Jeremiah 29:11-13. It reminds me that my Lord has given me so much in my life. He has given me hope and a great future. “‘For I know the thoughts I think toward you,’ says the Lord. ‘Thoughts of peace and not evil, to give you future and hope. Then you’ll call upon Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.’”.

Cecilia York

What Kind of “Zilla” are You? - Heather Trent Beers

“Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.” (Philippians 4:5)

Godzilla: a gargantuan lizard that terrorized New York City in the movies.
Bridezilla: someoone who makes life miserable for others in order to have her dream wedding.
Too bad those examples are not confined to TV. Do you know someone like this?
Cleanzilla: someone who rants and raves when dirty socks and dishes are left on the floor, in a bedroom, or in the family car rather than “where I told you to put them three hours ago!”
Fashionzilla: someone who shops (often without regard to the family budget) so she (or he) can “have something to wear” or who pouts and makes life unbearable for others because she (or he) “has nothing to wear.”
Dietzilla: someone who is going to lose weight “if it’s the last thing I do” and who makes sure that those around her start praying for the end to come quickly.
Those examples hit too close to home with me. And when I read Philippians 4:5, I was completely struck out.
As a woman (or man) who professes devotion to Jesus, do you have a few Zilla tendencies of your own? Or do you make it your goal to please Him (2 Cor. 5:9)?
Challenge: Ask the Lord to show you your own ugly Zillas. Then, humbly repent, knowing that the Holy Spirit loves you and is there to help you in your weakness.
Lord, I don’t want to be a Zilla of any kind. Make me a new creation. I want to please You.
The other day our family drove out to La Cygne, Kansas to hang out with Michael Sullivant at their new retreat home. It was such a nice day, warm and sunny…one of those rare winter days here that you just have to soak up when they come along!
We enjoyed being outside, and being with each other…then we noticed the lake that was frozen over. Being from California where we don’t see much of that it was calling my name! Hudson and I walked out on the small boat dock and I just had to see how thick the ice was…it was really thick!
Totally cool!
Amy snapped these photos of Hudson and I playing with the ice. When I saw them I immediately thought…that looks dangerous and then…that is exactly how we are to be with our Heavenly Father! Look how much fun Hudson is having..totally trusting daddy to hang on to him. He is full of joy and not at all scared or tentative.
How many times do we actually enjoy walking on the ice of life with this kind of joy and peace? What ice are you facing today that threatens to push your heart into fear and mistrust? Where in your life do you need to hold daddy’s hand and simply enjoy being with Him? How and where in your life can you allow your emotions to trust in Abba Father enjoying the adventure of the life He is giving you?
I think many times we forget that He is really holding tightly onto us. I know that when my eyes look down and see the thin ice that I feel like I am walking on each day I am always tempted to freak out instead of trust and appreciate His faithfulness.
Let’s look to Him to hang onto us and carry us…lets trust and enjoy the fact that He is Daddy who holds us and will even lift us up if the ice does break!

Pastor Jim Bailey

Stories to Tell by Heather Trent Beers

"No one lights a lamp and then covers it with a washtub or shoves it under the bed. No, you set it up on a lamp stand so those who enter the room can see their way. We're not keeping secrets; we're telling them. We're not hiding things; we're bringing everything out into the open. So be careful that you don't become misers of what you hear. Generosity begets generosity. Stinginess impoverishes." (Luke 8:16-18, The Message)

I studied my Weekend To-Do List. Laundry – check. Groceries – check. Phone calls, yard work, pay bills – check, check, check. Sighing, I poured a cup of coffee. Frustration nibbled around the edges of my satisfaction.
I felt it coming; The War of the Words, my ongoing fight with myself

You accomplished a lot. You should be proud of yourself.
I do. I feel really good.
Then what’s wrong?
Wednesday is coming.
Yeah? Wednesday always comes. What’s your point?
My point is Wednesday is critique group, and I don’t have anything to read. Again.
So write something. What’s the big deal?
I don’t know. I have ideas, but I’m not sure what to do with some of them. I seem

to lack direction, and I wonder sometimes why I even bother.
You bother because you love it, remember?
Oh, you don’t understand.
What’s to understand? You love to write, so write! Just do it!
Oh, shut up! Since when did you become a spokesperson for Nike?

Even a good night’s sleep didn’t help. I turned my attention to the Lord as I drove to work the next morning, but I couldn’t pray. I could only hold my heart up to Him for His inspection; my feelings about my writing swirled like a dust devil on a summer baseball field.

Arriving at 801 Main Street, I parked in the lot. Monday: time for a full week of work. But first, a jolt of caffeine!

I get my morning fix at The Hard Bean, a hip and friendly place. Great music permeates the air and big leather chairs beckon you to sit and sample the books stacked on the fireplace mantle. The wood floor is happy, painted red with big, black, whimsical swirls.

“Morning, Heather. What’ll it be today?” Cheryl is already holding a cup. She knows without asking I’ll choose a grande.

“How about a Chai Latte?” Cheryl nods and starts whipping up my frothy treat.

It’ll be a minute, so I walk to the mantle and check out the titles: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe; The Bourne Identity; Pride and Prejudice; The Message. I pick up The Message, Eugene Petersen’s brilliant “contemporary rendering of the Bible…in everyday language.” I flip it open and sigh. My heart beats a wordless prayer, enunciating for me my confusion and disquiet.

Oh! Good ol’ Luke. Let’s see what you have to say in chapter eight.

It’s the story of the seed that fell along different types of ground. I’m mesmerized by Eugene’s telling of this old, familiar story. After explaining how the seed falls on different types of ground and either grows or doesn’t, Jesus says,

“Are you listening to this? Really listening to this?” (I can almost see Him as He’s talking. It’s almost as if I’m there, and He’s looking through me.)

“Why did you tell this story?” the disciples asked. (Good question! I think.)

He said, "You've been given insight into God's kingdom—you know how it works. There are others who need stories.”

Suddenly, Cheryl calls. “Heather, here’s your Chai!”
And Jesus has caught hold of my hand through The Message. His gaze is boring straight through the confusion in my heart, and He’s saying, “There are others who need stories. Go tell them.”

I’d like to say that since then the words flow effortlessly through my fingers into my laptop for hours on end and it’s joy unspeakable. That I’ve written diligently every day and know exactly what to do with the ideas I have.

The truth? My time has been filled with laundry, grocery shopping, work, family, and yes – even wonderings about my writing. What will I write? Who will read it? Will I ever finish that story I started?

Now, though, I refuse to engage in a War of the Words with myself.

One morning, I invited the late Oswald Chambers to speak to me through his book, “My Utmost for His Highest.” In the March 10th selection, he says, “Let God have perfect liberty when you speak. Before God’s message can liberate other souls, the liberation must be real in you. Gather your material, and set it alight when you speak.”

“Yes,” Jesus tells me. “Gather your materials. There are stories to tell.”

Heather is a member of Metro and a writer. You can read articles she's written for Focus on the Family on her blog: http://www.heathertrentbeers.blogspot.com/.