Being Available to Christ

By Susie Rowan – Outgoing BSF Executive Director

When I was a young believer, a man handed me a small card at a church potluck (when we still had those). All it said was, “Ask simply to be used.”

The man was a mattress salesman. There was nothing special about his appearance or his pedigree. Yet his impact for the glory of God is still rippling years after his death. His funeral was attended by nearly a thousand people, and notable Christian leaders told stories about his love for God and influence on others. I carried that card with me in my wallet for years, and even after it was lost, the Spirit continued to bring that phrase to mind: “Ask simply to be used.”

Today, God is using that little card and its simple words once again. It translates to me as “Be available.” I pray, “Lord, I am available for your service today. How would you like to use me?” As I listen for God’s voice and watch how He orchestrates my day, He reminds me of the availability of Jesus. 

Christ is Available to Us

In this year’s Matthew study, we will behold the unexpected availability of Jesus. 

God sent His one and only Son to us. Jesus willingly left heaven to come for us. A virgin conceived and gave birth to a Son, whom we call Immanuel, “God with us.” The Almighty God of heaven and earth put on flesh to become available to us, to offer eternal salvation and a reconciled relationship with Him. 

And throughout Matthew’s Gospel, we will see Jesus’ availability to the needs of those who humbly sought Him. Jesus was available when the crowds needed food (Matthew 14:13-21). He was available when the people needed healing (Matthew 4:23-25). Most importantly, He sacrificed all to make forgiveness and redemption available to us. And now Jesus’ availability continues forever. For He did not leave us as orphans when He ascended into Heaven but rather increased His availability by sending His Spirit to dwell in His believers and walk with us through life. Just as He promised the disciples and us, “I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:20).

In response, Simon Peter, Andrew, James, John, and many others left behind their fishing nets, boats and former lives to follow Jesus (Matthew 4:18-22) and live every day available to be His hands and feet in the world.

Are We Available to Christ?

This is a recurring theme throughout the Bible. Those who know and follow Christ make themselves available to Him. Isaiah recognized the risen Christ on the throne and said, “Here am I. Send me!” (Isaiah 6:8 and John 12:41). Ananias, in a vision, was told by Jesus to lay down his plans to restore a man named Saul, also called Paul, for ministry to the Gentiles (Acts 9:10-19). In both instances, Isaiah and Ananias made themselves available to Jesus for an unexpected and risky assignment.

Many of you have very full plates. You are swamped with responsibilities – demanding work hours, caring for aging parents, raising a houseful of children, providing for loved ones, and more. Daily, you sacrificially become available to your family, employer, ministry, and so much more. Yet there are still times when we will be called to adjust our plans to the unexpected needs of friends, co-workers, or unforeseen assignments from the Lord. Often this means putting aside our own convenience to get involved. Sometimes this means taking a risk. 

There are other seasons of life when heavy loads of responsibility are lifted. A new city, a lost job, a child getting married, a big hole in your schedule. 

Here I Am, Lord

Last month I enjoyed lunch with a friend and former BSF Teaching Leader. We talked about her adjustment to a life with little responsibility after a move. She left behind her former home and teaching role within a BSF class. And the Lord made it clear she was not to jump into anything new. It was a season of quiet and waiting. It was a lonely season. Yet it became a refreshing season that led to a new assignment from the Lord. 

Today, I find myself in a new season, transitioning from a place of weighty responsibility to a stage of real availability. As I now retire from BSF, there is a big hole in my daily life. My temptation is to rush to fill it. But the Lord has spoken these words to me, “Be available.” “Ask simply to be used.” And good friends have counseled me, “Don’t take on too much too soon.” Rather than filling the hole in my schedule, I sense the Lord wants me to be available to see what He is about to do with each new week ahead.  

Is there a family need?  

Does a friend need help?  

Is someone sick who needs food?  

Is there a new assignment? Will it involve risk, a change of plans, a new direction?  

For now, being available to God is enough. Jesus is with me. He has redeemed me. He has filled me with His Spirit. So, I will continue to serve Him with spiritual fervor and zeal to make disciples of all nations. Whatever it looks like, I will be available to my Savior. For a short time, I expect to serve Him in quiet, with a focus on family. I will serve Christ’s Church as a seminary board member and in my local church. And in time, I hope to explore some teaching, writing, and mentoring as the Lord gives opportunity. 

But – bottom line – whether our schedules are full, open, or anywhere in between, being available to God is our worshipful response to His constant availability to us. 

If we ask “Lord, how do you want to use me today?” we might find our Kingdom impact to be like an ordinary mattress salesman who asked, “simply to be used.”

Susie Rowan

BSF Executive Director

Under Susie’s leadership as executive director, BSF membership has grown to serve more than 385,000 adults and 66,000 children worldwide, and the ministry has introduced BSF Online and WordGo Bible study platforms, and four new studies – IsaiahRevelation, and People of the Promised Land I and II (Part II coming in 2022). Susie and her husband, Roger, have been married for 45 years and have two children, Jerry and Sally, and four grandchildren.

 

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3,259 Comments

  1. Thank you for your years of service, your leadership, your passion for BSF, God’s Word, and your firm desire to fulfill the great commission of Matthew 28. I will always remember the retreats in Portland and your heartfelt teaching there among the many hundreds of BSF faithful.

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  2. Dear Susie, thank you so much for your Godly leadership and the many initiatives. Your leadership has been a blessing to me, BSF and all.

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  3. Dear Susie, Well done, God’s good and faithful servant. Well done! May the Lord’s richest blessings continue to follow you where you go. You left BSF in good hands and you also left it in good shape. Yours is the victory in our King Lord Jesus Christ, and your imprint of love and sincere care will be with us always. Thank You and God bless you. In His love,

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  4. Susie,
    I have been truly blessed by your integrity, commitment and leadership; I have grown spiritually as a results.. Your encouragement has challenged me to be available to the Lord Jesus and serve where He leads me. Thank you!
    Wherever you serve as you step down from BSF leadership, you will be a blessing to everyone.
    God’s richest blessing to you,

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  5. Thank you for your sacrificial service to BSF, where I and many others learn what born again is and come to Messiah Yeshua! Continuing to pray for revival and restoration for America and the world!

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  6. Hi Susie,
    Thank you for your prayers and leadership. May the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge, reward you fully for what you have done. Ruth 2:12

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  7. Thank you for your tremendous love and service to the Lord and to the BSF attendees are awesome. May the Lord continue to bless you and use you in many ways for His glory till He come.

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  8. Although I have retired from BSF Leadership I am still available to share my hope, energy and JOY remains in Jesus. Sure going to miss your encouragement, energy and humor! Love me some Susie Rowan!

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  9. I always enjoyed your visits, and getting to know you through those and the blogs. Thank you for your love for God, your commitment, and availability.

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  10. Well done Susie. It was a pleasure working with you. All the best.

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  11. Susie: I am excited for you. In some ways the ‘hard’ part is over in that you took the plunge. My sister in law closed on a house and will move to a new home: from suburbia to the country. It was scary, an a lot of work. But now she’ll more readily see the beauty of nature and the seasons. Even simplifying life is a “new beginning”. God will guide you to adding a new plan to the many purposes you already serve. How coincidental to be at a crossroads during the harvest season. Jeremiah 6:16 assures us that our direction will be a guiding light.

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  12. Thank you Susie for your service. Certainly we have been blessed to have your leadership on our continuing journey down the path toward Righteousness. Blessings to you and your family in the future.

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  13. Thank you, Susie, for saying yes to God and leading us in BSF these past years through many changes and challenges. I have so appreciated your warmth and Christ-like spirit of love and encouragement as well as your willingness to listen to teaching leaders and respond. May God bless you as you move into a new chapter in your life!

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  14. Susie, I first met you at a BSF Leaders’ Retreat I was so impressed and assured that God had made the right choice in you. Thank you for your faithful and tireless service to this vital ministry, especially in these stressful and turbulent days. May God richly bless you far beyond measure or imagination as you move from this area of ministry to the next. Thank you for answering the call “to simply be used”.

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  15. Thank you for being available to lead as Executive Director, as I have grown closer to God through all the studies. I pray God’s continued “Disproportionate Grace” over you and your family.

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  16. Being Available to Christ!

    Thank you so much for your humble and wonderful leadership Susie♡

    Praying for your family and wish es in your heart ❤

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  17. Thank you Abba Father for your love to us through Susie Rowan. Thank you Miss Susie for your deep commitment to God that encourages us to continue to learn and grow. May our dear Father continue to bless your good heart more and more.

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  18. Well done soldier of the Most High God! You have done an excellent job in teaching, training and imitating our Lord Jesus in love, patience, understanding and care of others. I pray you have a rewarding and happy retirement. Thank you for all you have done for us at BSF. You will not be forgotten.
    God be with you and bless you and your family. 🥰🙏

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  19. Thank you Susie for being a strong BSF leader. Praise God for your service to Him through your leadership. We have all been blessed by your service. May the Lord be with you.
    Be blessed,
    Floyd

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  20. I have always looked forward to your inspiring messages over the years. During Summit as you discussed the class options that have been developed to suit individual classes & communities my excitement increased..
    I chose to lead on Zoom so I that can remain mobile. I had not considered that it was actually God laying it on my heart for His plan to meet the needs GMs in our community. Thank you for your commitment to encourage and motivate leaders around the world. May God bless you and your family in many unexpected ways..

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  21. Thank you, Suzy, for your dedication & commitment to BSF and God’s work in general. On occasion it has brought tears to my eyes when I have listened to your blogs. I had a late start in joining BSF. It was after retirement at age 60 and though I had been a Christian since 10 years old, I can say it changed my life as Scriptures came alive for me and reached my heart. I prayed that our daughter would want to come & she did and has continued when she could as she has 2 growing daughters, a husband, & shiftwork as a nurse. When I heard the shortage in the Childrens Dept. would jeopardize the Ladies Study group I felt so strongly to volunteer my services so my daughter & other younger women coming, as well as the older ladies, could continue to come. What a blessing it has been! I have found fullfillment in this ministry and pray more women could realize the added benefit of leadership in BSF. God bless you as you continue to serve in whatever He has for you.

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    • Janice, your comment is so inspiring! Thankful for your heart to serve

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  22. I will start Matthew with the words Unexpected and now Available. I thank God for these last 12 years as you steered the ship, with lots of help. I will miss your emails coming with always a phrase or a verse that adds another note in my Bible.
    How about a Podcast to fill some of your retirement? Sign me up!! Enjoy this next stage. Thanks doesn’t seem strong enough but I am filled with gratitude that you answered the calling He wanted for your life. Both He and a lot of us have been blessed.

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  23. Woman of God …. your words challenge me. I often measure success if church events are well attended. I have learned to set that aside and to let God guide me. I feel great when I do that and God is my evaluator. Phew what a relief. Thank you for all you have done and may you continue to follow the path that our Lord has set out for you.

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  24. Thank you Susie for your obedience to God’s call to serve him full time as BSF International ED. We thank God for giving all of us at BSF the privilege to be led by you with His wisdom. Indeed, BSF has grown to greater heights, and us who study God’s Word have grown towards maturity. May the good Lord bless you and keep you always.

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  25. Mighty Woman of God, Thank You for being available to God and the spill over influence that impacted me and others. I believe the often stated phrase, “anointing flows down from the head.” As I look back, I can see the good influence that manifested from your availability. Even this writing offered as you make your transition is powerful and has clarified some recent things in my life. So again, thank you. May God continue to bless you and keep you … .

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  26. Hi Susie, thank you for faithfully serving our Lord and Saviour through BSF, may God continue to bless you and guide you according to His Will & Purpose!

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  27. Susie, Mrs Susie Rowan May God go before You and May God GO WITH YOU; May GOD Bless You to Enjoy Family and whatever God Direct You to get involved to Share this Great talent God has given You!.

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  28. Hi Susie,

    What a blessing to meet you as you take your humble bow. I’m just coming in as a group leader and your inspiration was phenomenal. Thank you for reminding us to simply be available. I wish you all the best in your new endeavours. And I loved your blue dress in today’s summit video!!! God bless you and yours always.
    Ifueko

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  29. Thank you Susie, for your faithful service to God as Executive Director of BSF and leading by example as you made yourself available to serve Christ and His Body. God bless you and guide you during this season of well deserved rest.

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  30. Thanks Sister for your service for Christ in BSF.your work for Christ will not be wasted.you will be rewarded for your each & every work done .God Bless & honour your work in Christ Sister
    From. Sarah Alex

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  31. Thank you for being willing to “be used.” May God continue to bless you for your service to Him.

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  32. Susie,
    As a woman called to full time ministry myself, facing a new season where there’s a large hole in my schedule, your blog post hits home. My husband and I actually met while in the Arlington, TX single adults class in 1997 and have been a part of Bsf since. Learning alongside other discussion group members and since 2007, leaders, who also utilize the 4-fold approach has changed the way I’ve learned to receive love from God and to be available in loving every kind of neighbor. And although I fall so short in loving well sometimes, your consistent exhortation to stay focused on magnifying God and maturing His people, has kept me grounded in service to The King through Bsf. Thank you for setting the bar high for leaders yet adapting structure alongside the Board, to help God’s truths become more accessible these last few years and conversational discussion group training the norm. My husband and I both serve in north Houston groups and will continue to do so as long as the Lord leads. And in this current season, I pause to consider my availability. Thank you, Susie. I feel like through Suz. W and Hollie’s direct shepherding, I also know you like a friend.

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  33. Praise God for working in your heart Susie and heeding God’s call always…leading us in BSF for the past wonderful, fruitful, and spiritually enriching 12 years.

    THANK YOU for the encouragement and inspiration to “be available” all the time to the Lord and His vineyard.

    May you continue to be a bringer of God’s Word, hope, and love to others and a blessing to wherever God plants you.

    May the Lord “bestows favor and honor;” may He “satisfy you in the morning with [His] unfailing love.”

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  34. Well done Susie! Thank you for your dedication and inspiration in following Christ and helping BSF move to a better place. As a result, we leaders are better equipped to lovingly assist others in finding and following our Savior.

    May God bless you and keep you.

    Larry B.

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  35. Thank you, Susie, for your many years of service to the Lord through BSF.

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