THE funny thing is, sometimes things just work out in an odd or peculiar way. Looking back, it was funny, not in a ha ha way, but in a strange way. Of course, when you are a child of the Lord God, nothing should ever be considered as odd or peculiar... It's all planned by Him when He is your master.
AFTER going through a difficult season of letting one of our staff go, we were in need of a new office person. But, where were we to turn? The Central Office of our Denomination? Our Headquarters in L.A.? The Bible College where we found good employees in the past? I mean, it's not like the kind of position you move someone in from out of the area to fill. I was also a little hesitant to ask anyone from the church to fill the position because at the time all we had at the church were weirdo's. Ah, just kidding.
WHAT were we to do? Well, I guess we could pray about it. Kind of a good idea when you pastor a church and need God's help. Might as well ask Him, right? So Joani and I began to pray and ask God for the right person, His person to come and serve all the weirdo's at the Foothills. Once again, I kid.
THIS morning, as I was reading the scriptures, I came across a verse from Acts 2:21. Peter said to a crowd of people, "And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." As I wrote this verse down in my journal I was struck by the fact that there are many things we need saving from, and not just our sins. Now I know from the context of what Peter was saying, that he was primarily referring to the born again experience of "Calling on the name of the Lord", but the word "save" has a few different meanings. One of which was what we were going through as a church needing office assistance.
SALVATION from the language Peter was speaking (Greek), is the word "Sozo" and means safe, well, bring safely, cured, made well, preserved, recover, restored, and delivered. Understanding this word helps us to know that there is more at stake with salvation than going to heaven and not hell. There are aspects of bringing peace and safety to our lives, such as: wellbeing, healing, preservation and deliverance. These were some of the things we needed as a church and why Joani and I felt led to start praying.
NOW back to the story of finding office help. Several years earlier a family began attending our church. They came every Sunday and started serving in areas and becoming a part of the community of The Foothills. I knew the family a bit but had not developed a real strong bond with them, only knowing their names and a little of who they were. So one Tuesday, not long after we started praying for a new staff person, I was meeting with Angel Ruiz (a staff pastor) for coffee at First Street Coffee. I had just got seated when this lady who had been attending The Foothills came in to get a cup of coffee. I jokingly said, "So, are you here for our staff meeting?" She said, "Well I could be." So I pressed it a bit further, "Are you here for our staff meeting?" Again, she said, "Well I could be." Not long after that chance encounter, we were interviewing her and then she gave her two week notice and started working for us. This August it will be 10 years that Lori Balog has been our Church Administrator.
WHAT I didn't know until recently was what was going on with Lori prior to our meeting that Tuesday morning. Just that morning, Lori was praying and thanking God for her job and that she knew He had provided her with it, but she was not very happy at work and was asking God to open up the doors for her to find a new job.
O.K., now for the peculiar (God thing) part. Our church was having V.B.S. that week and one of her sons was volunteering so she had to drop him off before heading to work. Now mind you, Lori lived in Morgan Hill and worked in Morgan Hill. What on earth was she doing at First St. Coffee which is in the totally opposite direction of where she had to be for work? God knew she had a staff meeting to get to before she went to the job she would soon be leaving.
GOD wants to save us from far more than our sins. He wants to heal, deliver, protect and preserve every component of our lives. We just need to call on His name. And when we do, He answers!