January 2009 - 1900 Hours:
Location: Church of undisclosed name
The Sermon : Being a leader for Christ.
Walking into the church building, myself and my recently wed wife sit down and take our seats. I sense God is with us and an air of excitement fills us
After some praise and worship, We sit through the sermon taking notes. Programs and courses, study and conferences flowing from the preachers mouth, filling our minds and paper with exciting ideas and pathways to follow.
Towards the end, the feeling that we are not quite up to par in regards to the Lords ministry tugs on our hearts as we start to consider what path we might take. The night ends in a feeling of bitter sweetness.
Over the next few weeks, after some prayer and thought in what adventures here and abroad might lay ahead, we felt that God did not desire us to take any of these pathways. We actually felt being prompted to start a family!
But hang on, that's not ministry? Surely we had not heard properly or missed something. Then, before we expected and were theoretically capable of it, we fell pregnant. Then again, and again over the years.
In the midst of changing nappies and sleepless nights for the past 5 years, and the associated stresses it places on yourself and your marriage â especially having a special needs child - I can recall grumpily asking God while performing parental tasks. The list is endless - such as changing nappies on a screaming child and dealing with a headache at 3:00am several times if this was his idea of life and ministry?
Because I was, and sometimes still are, tempted to throw in the towel at times.
What good were we if we had failed miserably at what we thought was his most divine appointment, The family unit? I have asked several times.
Not long after I had prayed asking what was the point of my life, I had a dream that myself and my wife were in our boat we used to own, enduring a terrible storm. Being the electronics and engineering geek that I am, the boat, in reality and as reflected in my dream, had the ability to completely empty itself of water essentially making it impossible to flood, thanks to a sealed floatation, power and pump system.
So in the dream, we were powering along in a progressively worsening storm, being smashed by waves and rain thinking the boat would sink at any minute â but it never did, even when it became completely engulfed by water, it would empty itself and keep going.
We came across several sinking and stranded boats in the same storm and helped them in the various ways they required. From finding people overboard to helping those in despair that just could not feel they could go on, we did our best to help. Some of those who we helped were able to then help others and many were saved from destruction.
In the end, the storm settled after what seemed like forever and we had made new friends, we cruised side by side to the pier and full of joy that we had survived, tied up our boats.
Symbolic of Jesus
I knew that myself or our new friends would possibly have never made it unless our humble boat had stayed afloat. Then I woke up, and even though the boat looked like a boat in my dream, I knew straight away it was symbolic of Jesus and I recognised the significance of the dream.
What essentially was revealed to me through this dream is that our very life is training for his ministry â that of helping families through tough times, preventing them from drowning which when we look back and name couples and families we have interacted with and been able to help in some sense, and at all hours, we have actually done more than we first thought.
Jesus is holding us together as a family to help others in the same boat â we have made serious oaths before God to never dissolve our marriage and I feel he is using this.
No course or Christian study could ever educate us to be able to perform in such a manner for as we all know, unless someone has been through a situation you have experienced, they cannot completely relate and minster to what you have experienced.
A few weeks later while listening to some Christian audio material, an interesting opening statement caught my attention : "Hands up how many of you are involved in ministry?" A few people raise their hands. "Ok, hands up all of those who are in ministry and don't realise it?"
This struck a cord with me! Of course, all of us that are saved are in full time ministry! Sure, we are not all charismatic preachers and missionaries in far off places â because while sure, that is genuinely some peoples calling, we are not all called to be that.
We all have a purpose and gifts to be used for his work, which is used when we are in the centre of his will and how ever you choose to look at it, we are all involved in the Lord's ministry whether we are aware of it or not.
This really does unlock the way you look at the Christian walk - everything really does have a divine purpose. As the Lord has revealed to us, what you thought was just an every day existence could actually be your missionary role of one of his secret agents â taking his gospel and love into every area of society.
And a splendid 2016 to you!
Michael Dahlenburg is an Electronics Engineer currently working in the ATM industry. He is non-denominational and has previously been involved in Church plants and assisting those in ministry. His interests include; enjoying family, home DIY, gardening, most things tech-related and driving his wife crazy with a constant stream of inventions!
He lives with his Wife Michelle and 3 children in Gods own land of Southern Adelaide, Australia.
Michael Dahlenburg's previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/michael-dahlenburg.html