Every semester, one chapel is different than the rest. During this time, things seem to go on as normal, except perhaps there is a significant amount of guys aimlessly wandering the campus. This is because this chapel is Women’s Chapel, one service with a speaker whose message is geared specifically towards women. Today, we had the pleasure and privilege of hearing our own Lori McDaniel speak. She is lovely and engaging, with a real heart for the Lord and women’s ministry. Also, while her message may be geared toward women, it is applicable to all believers.
At the start of chapel, Lori gave a bit of her background twenty years ago, specifically the first steps that led her and her husband Mike into their current ministry. Her husband had gone a mission trip to Ukraine and, for the first time in his life, met someone who had not heard the gospel of Jesus Christ. It was such a life-changing experience for him, and when he came back, he couldn’t stop telling Lori about it. Finally, he paused and said,
“Lori, I think God might be leading our family to go overseas.”
As she held their first born daughter, thinking of all the plans they had, she thought, You’ll get over it. She’d been on mission trips before, and knew about the excitement people get right after the fact. Truly, though, she said it because she didn’t see herself as missionary material. She didn’t feel like she was smart enough, or good enough. But God started shifting her heart, showing her and her husband where they were supposed to go. They eventually did go into the mission field, and worked in Zambia for four years.
Lori shared a quote of a man who, at the end of his life, was asked what his regrets were. He said, “The only regret I have in my life are moments where I was insufficiently daring.”
What is “sufficiently daring?” What does that look like in our lives? Lori shared her observations that many times in the Old Testament God used weak and small people to do bold and courageous things.
She kicked off from there, reading Acts 3. This is shortly after Pentecost when Holy Spirit came down on the Apostles and they spoke in tongues, proclaiming the gospel and leading hundreds to Christ. It was extraordinary!
“But,” Lori asked the audience, “what happens after you’ve experienced God in an amazing way? Ordinary happens.” Oswald Chambers says, “We are not made for the mountains, for sunrises, or for the other beautiful attractions in life—those are simply intended to be moments of inspiration. We are made for the valley and the ordinary things of life, and that is where we have to prove our stamina and strength.”
Lori went into the text then, reading Acts 3:1-10, the passage about Peter healing the lame man. Obviously this ends in an extraordinary miracle amazes everyone. But Lori directed attention back to the beginning of the passage, to what the lame man and Peter and John were doing before the miracle. In 3:2, the lame man goes through his daily routine, begging at the gate. Then, Peter and John come to worship at the temple. They too were just living their ordinary life, but they were given an opportunity for something special—the healing of the lame man. They weren’t waiting for something spectacular to happen.
Lori charged, “We have to reject passivity and accept responsibility that we have been given the gospel to declare.” Lots of times people will wait for “someday” when they’ll be ready, when they finish school, get that job, get married, have kids, someday when I have everything figured out, then I will. . . .
You’ll never do it if you wait for “someday.”
Opportunities to share the gospel are not neatly packaged. They are beautifully unscheduled. But, we can’t forget that this is all for God’s glory. God created us for his glory, he raised up pharaoh to show his power, that his name would be proclaimed. Throughout the Bible, there is a theme of God’s name being glorified.
We must maintain perspective of whose name is on the line. It’s God’s name, not ours.
Lori then shared a story of a mission trip in Nepal. It was a side of missions that people don’t want to talk about, and she expressed her own tendency to sanitize such stories. But, as they were worshiping in a rural church, a woman ran up to Lori and told her to quickly come pray over a demon-possessed woman.
Everyone ran to surround the woman and prayed for her over 45 minutes when she finally realized—they put God’s name on the line. They were claiming God’s name in order to heal this woman. Lori said she prayed then that God would come and do his work, to prove his glory. And finally, without ceremony, the woman sat up quietly, and someone nearby commented “as if she were in her right mind.” And she was.
“We must tether our confidence to the power of the Holy Spirit at work in us,” Lori said.
In Acts 4, Peter and John continue to speak God’s word with boldness, even though they’re arrested and told to stop. Even so, we too must continue to speak God’s word with boldness. The frontier of God was never advanced by men and women of caution.
In her final charge, Lori said,
“Ladies, let us live our every-day, ordinary, daily lives by rejecting passivity and accepting responsibility that that we are to make his name known. It is the “why” about everything we do. And let us tether our confidence to the power of the Holy Spirit at work within us.”