Sean Lunsford

The Game of Things, Losing a Job, and Working for the Kingdom Part 2

In Part 1 of this blog I shared my recent experience losing my job. It forced me into a place where my faith had to get bigger. I went from fear in not knowing how provision would come to rest in knowing the truth that, no matter what, God will provide what we need. It also forced me into a place where I had to start the invigorating hunt for a job *insert tones of sarcasm*. Searching for jobs, applying, interviewing, and eventually deciding on a job is certainly exhausting. But what I was learning from God about his faithfulness and complete provision kept leading and empowering me. Understanding and believing the truth that God sees us, knows exactly what we need, and freely provides it gives us freedom. When we rest in this promise, we are free to approach job searching, or whatever unknown you may find yourself in, with a different mindset, a mindset that is more concerned with God’s glory than our benefit. Because I know and believe that God has me and will take care of me, instead of asking where I can get the most pay and benefits or where is most convenient for me or where I have the most opportunity to climb the ladder, my focus can be shifted toward simply asking where I can best serve God’s Kingdom.

There are certain temptations that accompany looking for and deciding on a new job. Especially when money is tight and a paycheck is needed, it is tempting to go for the job that is most immediate. With five days remaining before the coffee shop closed, I’d had only one interview and seemingly no others lined up. The interview went well, and I was hired on the spot, but I asked for a few days to pray about it. After seeing that I had received no other emails or phone calls about all of the applications I had been submitting, I didn’t think there was much to pray about. This was what was on the table and even though I wasn’t remotely excited about it, I thought, “It’s a job; it’s an income; I should take what I can get.” My husband returned home a few hours later, asked how the interview went, and noticed my demeanor. What he said was so simple and so full of faith: “It doesn’t seem like you want the job, so don’t take it. Something else will come up.” Not for one second did he pressure me into taking something just because “it was a job.” Not for one second did he doubt that God would have something better in store and that God would continue to take care of us. That guy’s faith makes me better, and it again shifted my focus toward asking where I can best serve God’s kingdom instead of where the quickest paycheck is. The very next morning, I received three emails from companies asking to set up interviews. Three interviews later, there were three new, exciting job offers on the table.

Now I found myself facing a new set of temptations. A couple of the job offers came with benefits, a pay raise, and even a fancy title. It can be a little disheartening to tell your friends and family that after spending four years getting a college degree, you got a job as a barista. It has been a knock on my pride, which I’ve most definitely needed. But needless to say, I was excited about this prospective job. It was a “big girl” job. It had the pay and benefits to make our life a bit easier. It had a title I wouldn’t be ashamed to say at our family gatherings. It was a good gig. But as I was sharing all the details with a friend, I felt God’s Spirit leading me back to this question: “Is this where I can best serve God’s Kingdom?”

All of these things: a quick paycheck, a big paycheck, or a cool title, they mean nothing. They won’t last. They’re not inherently bad and it’s wise to consider them, but they can’t be the crux of my decision. Ultimately, my “job” is to serve God the best way I can and with everything in me. So, throughout applying, interviewing, and deciding on a job, I kept asking, “Where can I best serve your Kingdom, God?” Praying this drew me away from those temptations for the most money or the fancy title, and it turned me toward God, his Kingdom, and eternity. Paychecks, benefits, and titles don’t measure up when you compare them to the glorious image of Jesus. When our hearts are set on seeking God and his Kingdom, it seems outrageous to go after such small things like money and titles. We should be seeking the place where our job is much more than the paycheck; rather, it is a place where we can daily have an impact for the Kingdom of God and work for eternal things. Because I know and believe that God will take care of me and completely provide for my needs, the money doesn’t matter. Because I know and believe that my identity is wrapped up in being a daughter of the King, the job title doesn’t matter. What matters is seeking a place where I can be used for much bigger things, things that last.

This summer we’ve been learning about the greatest commandment: love the Lord with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength. I think loving God with everything in me is choosing to trust him, to trust what he says is true, and to trust his ways are better. Jesus says seek his Kingdom first and he will take care of our worries, needs, desires, and dreams. In fact, he will take much better care of those things than we ever could, and he’ll show us how to live life abundantly. So, I’m choosing to trust God with my job, my marriage, my needs, my dreams, and my desires. I give it all to the King because my heart is set solely on him, not on chasing after these things. I will seek his Kingdom first, trusting that is the way to live life to the absolute fullest and trusting that God can do much bigger and better things with my life (my relationships, jobs, hopes, needs, desires, all of it) than I ever could on my own.

If you’re wondering how the story ended, I did decide on a job. I am proud to say I will continue serving up your favorite caffeinated drink at Tillerman Coffee Co. I’ll be working with a small family that is opening a new coffee shop in the Corporate Research Center. Our open date is not set in stone and seems to be delayed a bit, but if this process has taught me anything, it’s that God has us and no worry or stress will change that. This family is passionate about cultivating community and investing in the people that we will serve, and I am totally on board with that! It seems like it is going to be a place where I can be working for the Kingdom in so many ways, and I am excited to begin.

Throughout this process, Christian and I have truly been blessed by so many people praying for us, encouraging us, and generously taking care of us. I cannot thank you enough for walking with us. The Lord has used you greatly.

Matthew 5:33 “But seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”

~Meg

The Game of Things, Losing a Job, and Working for the Kingdom Part 1

Have you ever played the game of Things? Well, if not, it goes something like this: you draw a card and it gives random topics and you write down your response. Here’s an example:

Things you don’t want to hear your boss say:

“We’re going out of business.”

About a month ago, I heard those exact words from my boss. I, along with my coworkers, found out less than two weeks before the closing date that we would no longer have jobs at the coffee shop. Wait a second. For those of you wondering who this random girl is posting on NLCF’s blog, I’m not a hacker. My name is Meg, and I’ve been a part of NLCF for about a year now. I graduated from Liberty University (go Flames!) in 2015, got married shortly after, and moved to Blacksburg (go Hokies?) shortly after that. My husband, Christian, is on staff with NLCF and I am so blessed to be a part of a family like this one. Now back to my story. If you could’ve seen what was going on in my head at the moment I heard I was losing my job, you would’ve thought you were watching the movie Inside Out. Sadness, anger, disgust, and fear were fighting it out. Sadness won at first. It gave me great joy to serve our customers and to serve my coworkers, as well. I saw God move in me and in others while I was there, and I am so grateful for my time at the coffee shop. After sadness came disgust and anger at how we were told our jobs would no longer be there. I was disappointed in the twelve days notice that we received. I was not looking forward to searching for another job. But, most of all, I was scared. I was scared I wouldn’t find a job immediately and we wouldn’t be able to pay our bills. I was scared we’d go into some major debt. Yes, I knew the words to say. I knew to talk about how the Lord provides and how everything will be fine. I knew those things but I didn’t feel them. It’s easy to believe God provides when we have a steady income to count on. But what happens when that disappears? What happens when we’re confronted with not knowing how provision will come?

How many times does God have to prove to me he can be trusted? I can’t even begin to count the number of times I’ve seen him provide when there was no other way. I’ve seen him come through so many times in support raising over the past few years. I’ve experienced his complete provision throughout college and in the first jobs I’ve had in Blacksburg. And I know that he promises he will take care of us and give us exactly what we need.

Matthew 6:25-34 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Isn’t there more to life than food and more to the body than clothing? Look at the birds in the sky: They do not sow, or reap, or gather into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Aren’t you more valuable than they are? And which of you by worrying can add even one hour to his life? Why do you worry about clothing? Think about how the flowers of the field grow; they do not work or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his glory was clothed like one of these! And if this is how God clothes the wild grass, which is here today and tomorrow is tossed into the fire to heat the oven, won’t he clothe you even more, you people of little faith? So then, don’t worry saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ For the unconverted pursue these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But above all pursue his kingdom and righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. So then, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Today has enough trouble of its own.

But even after all that I’ve seen him do and all that I know to be true, I was still fearful.

It’s moments like this, losing a job or not even having one or an unexpected expense, when we are thrust into places of having to trust what God says is true. Without knowing where money is going to come from, there really is no choice in the matter. We can trust that God will take care of us or we can worry and stress, and God will still take care of us. His character and his promises don’t change just because I have a hard time believing they are true sometimes. Praise the Lord for that! But it’s also in these moments where God desires our faith to get bigger. He pours his gentle Spirit out on us and testifies to our hearts that his words and his promises are in fact true. He’s saying, “I’ve got you. I always have and I always will. Trust me. Believe me.” God uses moments like these to reorient our hearts to believing his truth. Instead of fear, he wants us to feel rest in knowing he has us. I’ll be honest; it’s not my first reaction all the time, as you saw above. It’s not always my default to rest in his truth and promises. It doesn’t come easily, especially in difficult circumstances, but this is when we preach to ourselves God’s truth and we fight the lies and fear with Spirit-empowered faith in his promises.

Jesus reminds us that the flowers and the birds are taken care of and fully provided for, and he says we are so much more valuable! Because that’s true, how much more will he provide for and take care of us! In the past few weeks, we’ve seen the “much more” that Jesus was talking about. We’ve experienced God provide in ways we never saw coming, and he has given us everything we need and more.

So here’s another example of the game of Things:

Things the God of the Universe and your Creator says:

“I see you. I hear you. I know your needs. I promise to take care of you and provide all that you need. I will never fail.”

Philippians 4:19 And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.

Where Is Your Sting?

This post first appeared on seanlunsford.com on March 28, 2016, the day after Easter.

You may have heard of the explosion that rocked Lahore, Pakistan, yesterday. Having grown up in that part of the world, it hits pretty close to home for me.

The sad thing is that it isn’t even an unusual occurrence. The sad thing is how, well – mundane – these blasts have become in the region. How often I feel a buzz and look down at my wrist to see yet another news alert with yet another body count. And I have to wonder at just how detached I’ve become. I look down and all I see are numbers. Maybe it’s a defense mechanism. If every one took an emotional toll it’d be too much. But then once in a while, something makes me take a step back and feel that emotional reaction to the evil and tragedy of it all. And it breaks my heart.

And yesterday it hit harder than it has in a while. Because yesterday those buzzes on my wrist came literally as we were singing that Christ has risen, that he is victorious over death. That he brings light to the darkness. While out there in the world it’s as dark as ever, and death is still very, very real.

I feel like there should be some takeaway or something, but I got nothing. The thing is, this is where we are right now. On the one hand we proclaim Jesus’ resurrection and victory over the evil one and death itself, and on the other we’re still waiting for the final, utter vanquishing of evil, and for the restoration of creation to be completed. And until then we live in a world where a bomb will kill dozens even as we celebrate Jesus’ resurrection.

So as I stood in that auditorium yesterday, as the alerts came in with the climbing death toll, I sang through the tears that were welling up, “You give life, you are love, you bring light to the darkness.” And I sang it praying that his light would pierce through the darkness hanging over Lahore right now.

Because as dark as it seems right now, the darkest day in history was that Saturday two thousand years ago. But when all hope seemed lost, Jesus came back. And the very thing that seemed to have beaten him is what clinched his victory. So we celebrate that victory, we proclaim it and live in it, even in the face of unspeakable evil. God’s light is breaking through the darkness, and we are carrying it, knowing victory is ours.

Death is swallowed up in victory.
O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?

1 Corinthians 15:54-55

~Sean

Upcoming Dates: April–May

Esteio vtONE (a campus-wide Worship event)

vtONE has been rescheduled for Monday April 20th @ 7p in Commonwealth Ballroom.

For all the details – visit the Facebook Event Here.

Remember to bring a SNACK FOOD for the Snack Food Drive with 209 Manna Ministries!

buy provigil online mexico Ladies Only: a Unique Volunteer Opportunity with American Heritage Girls!

NLCF Ladies! Do you have a passion for youth? Are you looking for ways to build into the next generation of women?  New Life (our 10a community congregation) charters a troop of American Heritage Girls and we are looking for some ladies who can help lead our group of 4th-6th grade girls next year. This is an amazing opportunity to help some neat young women grow in Christ through earning badges, community service, outdoor activities, and much more. We have such a good time and hope that you will join in the fun!

Please contact Kati Williams for more details.  (If we don’t get any leaders, unfortunately we won’t be able to continue this program next year- so please let us know by the end of the semester if you are interested!)

Summer and Fall Volunteers needed for New Life Kids & LiFT!

New Life is also in need of volunteers for New Life Kids (ages 6 months – 4th grade) and LiFT (middle & high schoolers) for the SUMMER and for the FALL.  If you are interested … please email Jeanette.  We’d love to help you get credit or build your resume if you are an early childhood education major, human development major, etc.  ALL are welcome!

EXAM SURVIVAL KITS!

Probably the LAST thing on your mind is that EXAMS are just a month away!  For the 2nd Year, the staff will be delivering Exam Survival Bags (on Monday May 4th).

ALL YOU HAVE TO DO (perhaps your easiest assignment this semester!) is fill out the link here!

Save the Date!

Class of 2018 (freshmen!) – join us for NLCF’s Annual Pancake Breakfast DINNER – Monday May 4th @ 6p

Class of 2015 (graduating seniors/grad students!) – join us for NLCF’s first ever SENIOR Night – Wednesday May 13th