My "Sending Story" - A Guest Post from Jami Stroud.

I am stubborn. I have never really like being told what to do. I like to decide for myself whether or not I am going to do something. I cannot count the amount of times that I have felt God calling me toward something only to wait until I decided that it was somethingI wanted to do or throw up my hands and say, “Fine! I’ll do it!” My story leading me to Remedy was no different. 

As I look back, I really have been involved with Remedy since I was asked to be part of the call committee that brought Pastor Andy to theAlley. Since then, God has been moving me closer and closer to joining Remedy until I finally gave in to His urges that were tugging on my heart. 

I think that I was meant to say “yes” to Remedy a long time ago, but in my stubborn nature I instead weighed the pros and the cons of how I felt about leaving the Alley and joining Remedy. Not that I felt that God didn’t care about how I felt, but at the same time I wasn’t trusting him to take care of my needs while following Him. Admittedly and shamefully, there were a lot of factors that held me back from saying yes to God’s call:

1. I had a fear of joining Remedy and being in a close community with the people of Remedy, and putting my heart, love, and passion in to Remedy. From 2011 until earlier this year, I was involved with and worked for a ministry organization that I did put my heart, love, and passion into. I left this organization unexpectedly in February after some difficult conversations that blindsided me and left me reeling in hurt and guilt and confusion. Three weeks later I found out that this organization would be closing its doors at the beginning of April. There was fear in joining Remedy and putting myself in a vulnerable position to be hurt by or to lose something I loved. I didn’t feel strong enough to be able to handle that because even today, seven months later, I am still healing. 

2. I feared leaving the stability and easiness that I feel at theAlley. I had finally gotten to the point where I was comfortable there, and people knew who I was and I knew their names. I was involved in worship team, and new friends would invite me to lunch after church or ask me for updates on life happenings. Finally, I was feeling a sense of community. Why should I risk leaving that to go with a new church where there would be uncertainty in putting myself out there to meet new people or connect with people that I didn’t know as well? 

Did you notice, how I made each of these reasons about me? I am stubborn. I got hurt. I felt comfortable. Even though I had been praying earnestly about my decision, my perspective was in the wrong place. Thankfully, regardless of where we are, God can still work in the midst of our “I’s”. And he was revealing to me more Christ focused reasons why I should, in fact, go with Remedy. 

The number one reason (after this there needs to be none others) is that I truly felt God’s call. It was in those little moments tugging me to pray for Remedy, or to stay for dream meetings, or to go to Fourth Friday Worship that told me where God was leading me.

In the realm of still dealing with hurt and loss from my past job with the organization that I loved, I also feel that being a part of Remedy could be a part of God's healing story for me. I feel that there might be opportunities that could utilize my God-given gifts and passions that were used so fully at my last job that aren't being used in my new life as an administrative assistant.

What’s more, I feel like I am already a part of the Remedy community, and I love that. I love community and the ways in which God has created us to be in relationship with him and with one another. And already, Remedy has gifted me with a wonderful sense of community. This comes into play too, with the sort of "mission" that Remedy has adopted of "Connecting Disconnected People". One of my desires in any group of people is to make sure that everyone is included and feels welcome. I love that Remedy wants to do that in its community.

I am excited to continue on this journey in seeking God with Remedy. If you are reading this and there are various factors holding you back from joining remedy, I encourage you to pray and reflect on whether those reasons are self-honoring or God honoring. Regardless of if you go with Remedy or stay with theAlley, I’ll be praying you honor God in your decision and that He uses you to the Glory of His Kingdom. 

Am I called to go with Remedy -Part Three

This is the third post in a guest blog series by Stan Thompson, the current worship leader at theAlley Church in Cottage Grove (sending church for Remedy). See Part One and Part Two to get caught up!

Dead Ends

1 Kings 19:11 “Go out and stand before me on the mountain,” the LORD told him. And as Elijah stood there, the LORD passed by, and a mighty windstorm hit the mountain. It was such a terrible blast that the rocks were torn loose, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. 12And after the earthquake there was a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire there was the sound of a gentle whisper. 13When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave.”

I’ve felt callings at several points in my life. I take the word calling to mean a priority on which God wants me to focus my effort. In addition to continuing to develop my relationship with Jesus, my callings are to care for my family and friends and my jobs at the Alley and Gethsemane. A calling doesn’t have to be a job, but right now I feel like my jobs are callings for me.

Recognizing a calling usually starts for me with an unsettled feeling that persists when I should feel settled. It’s a prompting to take action and usually doesn’t make sense within the context of my own schedule or plans (or comfort for that matter). I don’t always recognize what is happening right away, but with time and prayer it clarifies.

Sometimes those promptings have led me to “dead ends.” About 7 years ago, I felt the prompting to apply for a youth pastor position at the church where Bev grew up in Cook, MN. I really didn’t want to do it, but felt the pull so strongly that I knew I needed to pursue it. It would have required my leaving a good job, moving the family to a small town, leaving friends and some family behind (though moving near the other side of the family), all things that I didn’t want to do, but we put the decision in God’s hands. After a lot of prayer and having a couple of conversations with the lead pastor, he decided that I wasn’t going to be a candidate.

Honestly, Bev and I felt very relieved, but I look back on that as a time God prompted us and we responded. Like God prompted Abraham to take Isaac into the wilderness, sometimes God prompts us to action so He can see if we are listening.

So how about you? Are you listening? Are you feeling a prompting? Please take some time this week to pray about your calling and if it might be connected to Remedy.

-Stan

Am I Called to go with Remedy? -Part Two

This is part two in a series of guest posts by Stan Thompson, the current worship leader at theAlley Church in Cottage Grove, which is the sending church for Remedy. Read Part One Here.

Pushed v Pulled

Even been “pushed” to do some thing you didn’t want to do? Maybe it was through guilt or a feeling of obligation to return a favor or maybe it was the “right thing to do.” I’m thankful that God doesn’t work like that. Sure, I put obligation and guilt on myself (and when I feel guilty, I usually am), but God’s grace and mercy are free and paid for through Jesus' death.

Rather than pushing, God draws us near and leads us. Scripture says it many times. Here are a couple of examples. Luke 4:1-2 “Then Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan River. He was led by the Spirit in the wilderness, where he was tempted by the devil for forty days. Jesus ate nothing all that time and became very hungry.”

Romans 8:14-17 “For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, ‘Abba, Father.’” For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children. And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering.”

In being pushed, there is uncertainty without protection. You have to find your own way, figure out where to look, make your own decisions.

In being drawn or pulled, you follow the leader. You walk down the path that the leader has cleared.

Do you remember as a child being led by a parent through a crowd of people, maybe at the State Fair, a baseball game or at a busy store? You couldn’t see the destination, but you knew your next step was following the path of your mom or dad. Sometimes they took the bumps of an accidental collision. That may have jarred you and you might not have always known where you were going to end up, but you trusted and you knew where to take your next step.

Are you feeling led in your life, drawn by the Holy Spirit? That’s not just a Remedy question, but it can be. Take some time today to pray about where God is leading you and commit to follow Him.

Blessings,

Stan

Am I Called to go with Remedy? - A Guest Post by Stan Thompson

 

Am I Called to Go with Remedy? -Part One

As you know, Pastor Andy is planting a new church in Oakdale in October called Remedy. As the Alley, we are providing prayer and financial support. As individual Alleyans, we have been asked by Pastor Ben and Pastor Andy to consider going with Remedy.

About 30 people have already committed to go with Remedy in October. Are you called to join them? Am I? Over the next couple of months, Bev and I will be spending deliberate time discussing and praying for discernment about our involvement with Remedy and we encourage you to do the same.

 

What could committing to Remedy look like?

  • Pray daily for Remedy and the community
  • Be on the music team once a month
  • Support Remedy financially
  • Participate in service events with Remedy
  • Go with Remedy for 6 months
  • Go with Remedy for 1 year
  • Go with Remedy for the foreseeable future
  • Help Remedy in another way

Please be in prayer today for Remedy and for how you might help. 

Blessings,

 Stan