Jennifer Kostick– Jennifer has been married for twenty-three years to her high school sweetheart, Paul. She is the mother of three children, Paul IV (22), Samuel (6), and Grace (6). She also has six babies residing in heaven. It is those six tiny souls who have propelled her into women’s ministry. She is a conference speaker and author of the book Nothing to Hold but Hope (one woman's journey through miscarriage, stillbirth, and infertility). Jennifer blogs at www.Jenniferkostick.com and is passionate about encouraging women through a godly message of mercy and hope.
Today’s blog post is longer than average. This is because I’m providing information on how to use the study, as well as adding an introduction. Please don’t be put off by this. Since you’ll only be receiving blog posts on Wednesdays, feel free to break the study into pieces and take it one small portion at a time throughout the week.
What you need to know before beginning this study:
We have each been created by the Maker of the universe – intricately woven with matchless pieces from Himself that gives us just a hint of who He is and the smallest clue as to who we are. Upon creation He fills us with longing that leaks from our souls. Little-by-little from the time we have intelligent thought we begin the lifelong search of figuring out what we were created to do and why.
Those of us who know with all certainty exactly who made us, know the foundation of truth in Psalm 139. We are ready for our assignments, and just like a bunch of small children who want to please their teacher with the correct answer, we raise our hands while jumping wildly from our seats begging, “Pick me, Lord, pick me!” We recognize our gifts have marked us with unique stamps of purpose, and we are ready to own our callings.
Women like us come wrapped in passion. We seek purpose and gain worth from figuring out what we were born to do and then pursue doing it well. Fueled by the desire to use our gifts we pray to thrive where He sends us. But sometimes He sends us to unexpected places and assigns tough tasks that require much more than our talents and abilities can offer. We quickly learn this “thing” He sent us to do is so much bigger than us. And then we realize something even more terrifying: this actually has nothing to do with us at all. We possess zero control and there’s more to this calling than we ever imagined.
No matter your mission, serving Christ is not platforms and accolades. Whether you stand on a stage, feed the homeless, volunteer in Sunday school, or spend each day praying over the feet of your very own children- pleading God‘s mercy as to where they might walk – fierce callings are filled with weeping, humility, and lots of practice holding tightly to Jesus. It’s the most rewarding life possible, and it comes with a high, high price.
I recently read a book by Dennis Peacocke who said, “The greatest tragedy of our age is an unused life.” So, as we begin our study today, here’s to Jeremiah: a real person with a real calling who experienced a gamut of emotions, and wasn’t afraid to have honest dialogue with His Creator. And, here’s to you: a called woman of God who longs to live your ministry well while learning more and more each day that this mission you’re on has nothing to do with you. Yeah, you’re beginning to see the bigger picture, and you hold the thrill of hope down deep inside.
Key Point of Struggle:
Serving Christ doesn’t always look the way we thought it would.
Key Proof of Comfort:
When we learn to refocus and update our definitions of ministry as it relates to kingdom building, we will begin to open our hearts to the purpose of Christ. His purpose and calling for us often looks differently than we expected. To find comfort in this, we will study Matthew 28 and find out how the Great Commission relates to us.
Out of every prophet, we can learn the most about the intricacies of ministry, and personal cries of the heart, from the life of Jeremiah. When we read his book, we read his heart. And, because of these Holy Spirit breathed words, we have access into the struggle of an average person called to an above average assignment, to say the least. But, before we can fully dig into the scope of this man’s life, we need to talk about what kingdom building and calling is as it relates to our purpose.
I’m guessing many of you are unsure of your purpose. You have no idea what you’re called to do. Most of us tend to look at purpose in the form of a dream longing to be fulfilled. Or, we don’t really have a dream beyond our day-to-day lives, and that makes us feel as if we are part of an unending search requiring us to look for something we are supposed to have, but don’t. It’s time to change our definitions. It’s time to reevaluate. Is that okay? Here’s why: It’s not about the big dreams. Sorry, it just isn’t. Listen, I’m a dreamer so this has been a hard truth for me to accept. Also, it’s not about seeking out a dream to fulfill. You might not realize this, but right now, at this very moment, you’re living with enormous opportunity to fulfill what you might not even recognize exists. Let me clarify:
According to Mathew 28, Jesus gives a charge called the Great Commission:
And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.
What does the Great Commission mean to you? Consider answering this question in your journal.
The Great Commission is our common purpose. But many of us tend to read it and think that we are all to become missionaries in foreign lands, lead a women’s ministry at a mega church, or become Mother Teresa. We think that if we don’t do those things, then we aren’t fulfilling the call. Some of us might even think that whatever it is we are doing right now isn’t meaningful enough to be titled kingdom work. It is true that some of us are meant to go to other countries, or to minister to large numbers of people right here at home, but not all of us. How we go about fulfilling our common purpose is unique to each life. Some of us are called to show our neighbors love – in the literal sense – like walk next door with a batch of freshly baked cupcakes, or offer to babysit kids who will surely hang on our curtains and tear up our houses. And here’s something else we often forget: our own kids – the ones staring us in the face at 6am, startling us out of that rare thing we call sleep, well, they’re the definition of our Great Commission. And, that job, regardless of whatever else He chooses to give us in the future, will be the greatest assignment of our lives.
We cannot kingdom build correctly if we make up our own definitions of what kingdom building is supposed to be. We have to understand our worth in Christ doesn’t depend on the calling itself, or our definitions of how enormous we think it should be. Our worth comes from His willingness to use us and our obedience in saying yes.
Jesus said, “Go therefore and make disciples.” So, who are the disciples we are supposed to make? I’m pretty sure you’ll be getting some of them off the bus after school today, feeding them dinner, and giving them baths. I’m guessing you’ll be speaking into the life of your spouse and encouraging him to be who Christ called him to become. I think you’ll say something to a friend over coffee that will change how she processes a difficult situation.
There is a brilliant ministry inside what seems like a boring mess and we don’t often see it.
Jeremiah was called as a prophet for a huge task and the price was high. We are going to discover more about his initial calling next week. I don’t want to overwhelm you with too many words today. You see, before we could really dig into Jeremiah’s life, we needed to adjust our focus and redefine some important principles. That was the point of today.
In preparation for next week:
Don’t forget to comment under today’s post sharing your thoughts on kingdom building. In doing so, you’ll have a chance to win Never Unfriended by Lisa-Jo Baker! If you’re not on my email list, I would love for you to be part of this kingdom building community! (Subscribing makes you eligible for the giveaway. You can unsubscribe anytime.) For more details on how the giveaway works, click here. I’ll be announcing the winner next Wednesday, May 3rd!
PS: Share on Social Media what everyday kingdom building looks like to you! We can find each other by using the hashtag #KingdomBuildingSisters.
Hello Friends. I hope you had a joyous Easter Sunday celebrating the resurrection of our Lord! For those of you who haven’t seen my video on social media, I want to tell you about something that will be happening here every Wednesday for the next six weeks.
Beginning next Wednesday, April 26th, we will be spending six weeks studying kingdom building through the life of Jeremiah. I’ve had an internal struggle in my own life concerning what kingdom building looks like for me, and not only for me, but as a whole for sisters in Christ. I’m passionate about digging into the Word and letting God speak to us through lives He used to build His kingdom. We can learn so much from the life of Jeremiah. Every Wednesday for six weeks we will discuss Jeremiah’s ministry, his struggles, how he dealt with them, and what God was speaking to him throughout the process. He was known as the weeping prophet. He might feel like our best friend when we’re done. I already feel connected to his life.
As I’ve been struggling with the concept of kingdom building, I’ve been reading books from some wonderful authors who have written about their own journeys. I’ve enjoyed these books so much that I want to share them with you! That means that every Wednesday when the new blog post on Jeremiah comes out, I’m going to be giving away a book! For starters, on Wednesday, April 26th, I’m giving away Lisa-Jo Baker‘s new book Never Unfriended: The secret to finding and keeping lasting friendships. I believe EVERY WOMAN SHOULD READ THIS! I’m not kidding. That book ripped me at the seams and sewed me back up again whole. It’s a fantastic representation of what friendship looks like. Think about it this way: if we are going to be kingdom builders, we need a crash course in friendship because we all need each other. Lisa-Jo’s book is scripture laced and sealed with honest accounts of what every woman needs to hear regarding friendship.
To enter the giveaway, all you have to do is subscribe to my blog and comment in the comment section underneath the blog post. I would love to know your feelings on kingdom building and what you’re learning from the life of Jeremiah as we study. Subscribing means you’ll never miss a blog post, and you’ll be eligible for the giveaways. (You can unsubscribe anytime. I’m not the boss of you.) If you’re already a subscriber, you can win too! I’m selecting one of my existing subscribers from my email list every week to also win a book! All you have to do is click from your email to Jenniferkostick.com and comment underneath the blog post.
I’ve created a hashtag for this series, because I think kingdom building is going to be a thing around here for a while! the hashtag is #KingdomBuildingSisters, just in case you ever want to share.
To see the video introduction about this series, click to my Facebook page.
I’m looking forward to studying Jeremiah with you!
I often wonder what it would have been like to occupy earth with Jesus before the cross. Would I have followed Him or turned away? In my mind, when I place myself in the multitude, I’m no more than a woman intrigued by a man who looks familiar, yet different. In the middle of my wondering, healthy fear begins to rise because of the uncertainty of who I would have been. I’m overtaken by what ifs…
What if I was overly sensitive or easily offended? What if my very existence defined the word skeptic? What if I didn’t like what I heard, turned around and walked away? What if I never looked back?
Once again, in my mind, I see Him there in the midst of the multitude. He’s preaching and teaching, giving away everything for every soul. I’m still there hanging onto every word while peeking behind a tree, hoping not to make eye contact, because what if He decides to speak directly to me, and what if I don’t want to accept His truth? The next thing I know, my wondering walks me straight into Peter’s shoes. What if three steps on water turned into a three time betrayal of everything holy? Here’s the question: if I were there, one of them, would I have believed?
After the resurrection, there was evidence of an empty tomb and full hearts. To this day it remains. However, we are living in a world wanting to omit what we should amen. Truth can’t be changed and yet we’ve practically made an Olympic sport out of trying.
Today is the Saturday before Easter. Two thousand years ago on this day there was a heaviness of grief that tried to choke out life and hinder hope. But little did those believing souls know what would happen only one day later. Throughout the in between time, inside the solitude of a lonely Saturday, there was a baptism happening. The heavy tears of grief baptized every heart of those who would forever stand for the peasant king, once dead yet coming alive, in preparation of purpose, second chances, and the hope of living holy.
I want to believe that had I been there, I would have given my heart while standing in the multitude, and I would have followed Him to the cross, been dumbfounded by an empty tomb, and baptized by grief in waters of tears so deep that I would have used every last breath in my mortal body to share about the immortal Savior.
Dear friend, Sunday isn’t only coming, it’s here to stay. There will be no more darkness because Light has resurrected. May you amen the hard words in His book so the sweet ones can be sweeter. May you live and love and find freedom in the midst of a world who wants to live for themselves rather than for a God they cannot see. May you know that when deep grief wants to settle inside your bones, you can be baptized by your tears because your Savior lives and breathes. He’s working for you, and He will never stop working for you. But make no mistake, He already won, which means you’ve already won, because Sunday is here to stay.