With summer in the rearview mirror and cooler air just around the corner, the thoughts of many turn to certain things.

And, if you are a homeowner living in the Chicago area and elsewhere in the northern U.S., those thoughts no doubt include the list of unfinished things you meant to get done around the house this summer.

In life, the To-Do List can seem never ending. With homes, children, cars, pets, jobs and, yes, even church functions, if we let it, life can appear to pass by in a blur, like rows of Illinois corn along a highway.

And often, those things on our earthly To-Do Lists can crowd out some of the most important things in life:

The people around us.

As Mike Serino, shared with us last week, God sees people as He made them – and He longs to know all, heal all and allow all to know His love and His grace.

Often, for this task of sharing His presence and His love, God will choose individuals from among His family.

And that means us – me and you, all of us who He has called and redeemed - no matter how qualified we may feel.

This week, Pastor Bryan expanded on this theme, noting that, at any given point in time, God may have something for each of us to do.

While they may feel like inconveniences at the time – distractions from the “important things” on our own To-Do List – they are, in fact, gifts from God, opportunities for us to share God’s love, to be used by Him to bring someone else healing, and, in the process, find refreshment ourselves.

As Pastor Bryan said, we find true life when we choose to give our own away. When we refresh others, we are then, ourselves, refreshed.

We know many of you reading this may already know this, and would love nothing more than to be of service to your Lord, in being used to meet the needs of those around you.

But, you may ask, how can we know the right time for these God-assisted encounters with grace?

There are two keys: First, to do those things God wishes for us to accomplish, He wishes for us to be available. Don’t let your lives consume you to the point you are like the White Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland, rushing about, constantly on the run to the next thing on your list.

Instead, ask God for eyes to see the opportunities, and then to be the one who will be where God asks you to be, when He asks you to be there, and to be the one with the courage to take the step forward into the breach, to save the life of a person near you in your family, your workplace, your neighborhoods and your community - a person who God loves.

Today, be encouraged to know that God has a plan for your family, for your workplaces, for your neighborhoods, for your community and even for our nation. And that plan is you.

This week, begin to look for those opportunities to help another encounter the God who loves them beyond words. Listen for His voice, and His direction. And trust that when He gives you the task to do, He will also equip you to be everything He needs you to be, as you live The God First Life.