Monday, July 5, 2010

Everyone Needs A Barnabas...

Week five of the "Wanted" sermons...(stick with me on this, I need to give a little "history" on who Barnabas is, then I will share my "Barnabas" story...)

Everybody needs an encourager. Everybody needs someone who will believe in them and give them a second chance.

Everybody needs a Barnabas.

I don’t know if you are aware, but Barnabas’ real name is Joseph. His nickname was Barnabas because of his actions. In Hebrew, Barnabas means "son of encouragement". And because Joseph walked the talk of a Barnabas, an encourager, his nickname stuck. When all the Christians were afraid of Saul (who later became Paul) because of his persecution of believers, throwing them into prison and torturing them and forcing them to blaspheme the name of Jesus, many in the church could not believe Saul had committed his life to Christ....
Do you know who took Saul under his wing? Do you know who took a risk to believe in him, to give him a second chance?
I could really identify with this weeks I was writing notes during pastor Mark's sermon I scribbled on the side of my note card, "Who is your Barnabas?"
....towards the end of the sermon, after learning what a "Barnabas" is, I wrote two answers next to the question I had written at the beginning of the sermon...
The Meekers
Jesus Christ
If you haven't read my testimony, start here.  Then you will have a better understanding...
The Meeker family is how I came to Memorial Baptist Church.  I was without a license due to a recent diagnosis of Epilepsy and Greg and Becky Meeker had been helping me get to the places I needed to be.  (Hottie husband was away with the National Guard, leaving me with our three boys...and no license to drive!)  One Friday after work Greg asked me how I was getting to church on Sunday's (sneaky...because I'm pretty sure he knew the answer)...I didn't go to church...I didn't need God...I had all the answers, I was getting by just fine, thank you!  A simple reply from Greg..."it wouldn't be a problem if you would like Becky and I to pick you and the boys up, you could come to church with us.  There is a great kids program, the boys might like it." 
....So I said okay (in all honesty, I said okay because I felt like I couldn't say "no" to my boss). 
That first Sunday that I sat with the congregation of Memorial Baptist Church was the Sunday that pastor Mark was "interviewing" for the pastoral position at the church...he stood before roughly 300 strangers, far from his home in Texas and he delivered a sermon that breathed the Holy Spirit into me....
...I remember sitting in the pew, next to Becky and Greg, surrounded by the most loving, friendly and real people...overcome with emotion and a great sense of peace that I have never felt before.
I have never stopped going to Memorial Baptist Church since that day in February of 2009.
Later that month I made my first business trip to New York City with the Meekers and it was Becky that explained the meaning of "becoming saved" to me...she shared with me her testimony, she shared the decisions her own boys had made to follow Christ at a young age, she listened to me as I shared my guilt and my fears of the life I had lead...
...and she encouraged me...she shared the Word of God, the peace that it brings, the love that is felt...
Jesus can make any life beautiful again, more valuable than before, though it has been marred by sin and regretful mistakes, if we will commit that life to Him and say "use me Lord, I am yours"....

...and as I laid in my bed in that hotel room in New York City, I thought about the people that had been brought into my life, these people that took me in...despite my flaws, my "party" ways, my selfishness....these people that had something about them that I couldn't quite place, something I desired...
...and then it occurred to me....they had Jesus.
And so it was that I prayed, I prayed hard.  I cried out to my Lord and I begged for forgiveness.  I pleaded with Him to come into my heart and to cleanse me of my sins, to fill me with more of Him...
...and at that moment I felt the same peace I had felt while sitting inside the church just a few Sunday's before. 
Thus began my faith journey...
...and as I have said many times, it's hard... 
I fall...daily. 
But I have my "Barnabas" (I struggled with how to say that since I consider the entire Meeker family to be my encourager's...would it be "Barnabi"  get it?  The plural of Barnabas...)...they encourage me to get up, brush off and stand tall in the Lord. 
My second answer...the ultimate encourager, Jesus Christ, who changed my life and continues to stand with me every day. It's as simple as that!

So who will you stand for?

...Who will you tell "I believe in you?" 

Becky, Greg & Me at Carmines in NYC
(one of our FAVORITE restaurants)


  1. I was there! Your first Sunday!

  2. Fabulous post.

    I love Barnabi. I really do.

    I think I would have to give credit to Pastor Kelley in Marceline and my mother in law. My sister in law Joy is a walking testament daily, as is my brother in law Gary.

  3. You never cease to amaze me! When I read your blog, on some of them I laugh hysterically, on some I cry. This one made me cry. You have come a long way in a short amount of time on your faith journey. You are an inspiration!