Encouragement, Evangelism, leadership, life, purpose

It’s Time To Wake The Neighbors

If your house is on fire, what do you do?

Do you hope someone will come along and get everyone out, or do you work like mad to wake the people up and get them out of the inferno? Well, the house is on fire, and you are right here. It’s time to start working like mad to wake the people up and save them from the coming flames.

In diverse places around the world, Christians are under attack. Entire villages have been destroyed in Nigeria, just in the past couple of weeks, with hundreds of people murdered because they claimed the name of Jesus Christ. It’s against the law to own a Bible in dozens of countries. Christian churches are targets of government harassment and physical attack in more places than we can keep up with. In the United States, there is a concerted effort to have crosses, prayer, and expressions of faith removed from public view and exercise.

Now, more than ever in our lifetimes, we need leaders who will stand in the gap in prayer and speak the truth of Christ into this generation.

But, who will these leaders be? Where will they come from and where will they lead?

We, brothers and sisters in Christ, are the leaders this generation and this time requires. Jesus said so Himself. He told His followers to “Go!” He told them to, “Make disciples of all nations.”

He was talking to you and me. He was telling us that the house is on fire and we are the chosen to show the people the way out.

One of our biggest mistakes, as believers, is to think that only certain people are responsible for sharing the gospel. The message of Christ is not just for the trained or the ordained to tell. It is for the rescued and redeemed to proclaim. That’s us. All of us who have been washed in the Blood should be shouting it from the housetops. Jesus died for our sin, was raised back to life, and will be coming back to take us with Him. It is time, right now, to be making sure our families and friends and coworkers and neighbors are ready to go.

It’s time to show Jesus to our people. It’s time to share the Good News of Christ wherever we are and in whatever we do.

It is time to love and serve and give like Jesus.

It is time to wake up, you sleeper, and invite the neighbors to the wedding feast. There is no time to waste and no excuse that will cover our failure to act.

We have brothers and sisters literally dying for Christ, how do we dare keep the miracle of Christ quiet, especially when we are in no danger for the sharing?

YOUR MISSION:

  1. Pray for the people in your circles of home, work, and community to be open to the urging of the Holy Spirit in their hearts.
  2. Pray for the Holy Spirit to arrange opportunities and openings for you to share Christ.
  3. Ask the Holy Spirit to give you the words you need and answers to questions that may be asked so you will be ready when the openings occur.
  4. Cultivate the fruit of the Spirit by keeping a close relationship with Christ.
  5. Love the people God has placed in your path, without judgment or condemnation.
  6. Live out the joy that Jesus came to give everyone who follows Him.
  7. Encourage others with words filled with life and love.
  8. Forgive always as you have been forgiven.
  9. Follow the example of Christ and establish relationships with others in order to share life together, encouraging and edifying one another.
  10. Share the Good News sincerely, kindly, joyfully, gratefully, compassionately, and peacefully with all who have ears to hear.

Brothers and sisters, there is work to be done and not enough workers to do it. Jesus is coming soon. Plant the seeds now, while it is still daytime, and when He returns He will gather a great harvest of souls. Surely there is no one we want to leave behind.

Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. When He saw the crowds, He had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, the send out workers into His harvest field.

Matthew 9: 35-38, NIV



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Encouragement, leadership, mentoring, purpose

7 Mentoring Skills I Learned From Jesus

Life is hard. It can be overwhelming, confusing, even a little scary once in a while. It’s good when you have people who can come along side you to help navigate the waters sometimes. It’s nice to know that others have been in this same boat on these same choppy waters and have lived to tell the tale. These are the people we want on our side when the storms rage or when we just need a bit of encouragement.

This is what mentoring is all about.

I have had the benefit of being mentored by some awesome people over the years. These men and women invested time and interest in me and in my success and well being. They taught me some of the best lessons I’ve ever learned. Sometimes, these were uncomfortable truths that I needed to grasp but wasn’t getting to any other way. I appreciate these people more than they will ever know. It is partly because of them, I think, that I love being a mentor to others. Having the opportunity to invest in the growth and success of another person is a tremendous privilege. It is something I take very seriously, so much so that I have spent a good amount of time and energy studying and seeking to improve my own mentoring skills. I want to be sure that I am providing my best to those I wish to guide.

Of all of the books, TED Talks, seminars, webinars, and conferences I’ve experienced, the best example of mentoring I have ever found is Jesus Christ. He is the greatest Mentor, ever. It is no coincidence that one synonym for mentor is “shepherd”.

There are some specific things that we can borrow from Him and incorporate into our own mentoring style that will make us more effective and impactful in helping to develop and encourage others in any mentor/mentee setting.

7 Mentoring Skills of Jesus:

1) He Was Purpose Driven:
Jesus knew His mission. He was laser focused on achieving it. He came to walk among men to seek and to save that which was lost. Everything He said and everything He did characterized that mission. He entered into a dying, hopeless world and intended to leave behind Him a world of people filled with life and hope. Because He was mission focused, He was not swayed and did not wander or waiver. He was intentional and purposeful in how He spent His time.

2) He Was People Focused:
He carried out His mission by interacting and engaging with the very people who were dying and hopeless. He talked with them and listened to them. He ate in their homes and fed them in the fields. He celebrated when they celebrated and mourned when they mourned. He didn’t leave it at that, though. All along the way, He gave them back their hope. He loved them and healed them and gave them life. He served them to the very point of dying. His mission was, and continues to be, the people.

3) He Chose His Team Carefully:
Jesus knew that His time in this place was limited. In order to effectively accomplish His mission, He had to prepare others to carry on in the work after He left. He was very particular about the people He called. He was surrounded by throngs of people, He chose for His circle only a few. He chose carefully, His invitation was simple. He promised to make some fishermen into Fishers of Men, and Andrew, Peter, James, and John followed. He called a man sitting under a tree whom He said was without guile, and Nathanael accepted. He called a tax collector and a religious zealot and Matthew and Simon joined Him. He called twelve and twelve followed. Each one of these who went along with Jesus would be transformed by their work with Him and would then be part of the most life changing mission, ever.

4) He Invested Himself In Them:
Once He had His team, Jesus started pouring Himself into them. They spent a lot of time together. They traveled and ate and talked together. He shared with them the vision about the mission and of the coming Kingdom. He showed them how to pray and how to heal and how to live. He taught them how to raise the dead. He prayed for them, died for them, and after three days, came back to life for them. He gave them, literally, everything He had to give.

5) He Prepared Them:
During all of this work with His team, He was making them ready to do their part and to go off in their own way to continue the mission. He warned them about the hardships. He promised to send a Helper who would be with them after He was gone. He told them that one would betray Him and one would deny Him, but that was part of the mission. He showed them things to come that they could not have imagined before He had called them. At the proper time, He completed His work on earth and went to the cross, where He suffered and died.  But then , just as He promised, He rose from the grave, alive.

6) He Sent Them To Complete The Work:
When He returned from the grave, leaving death and hell destroyed, Jesus rejoined these disciples of His for some final instructions before it was time for Him to go back to the Father. He let them know that they were ready to do the work they were called to do. He promised them that they would be able to perform greater things than He had done. He gave them His blessing and told them to go.  He sent them to the far reaches of the earth to carry out the mission they had been preparing for. He got them ready, then sent them packing, to share the Good News with all the world.

7) He Is Still Available:
Even after He returned to the heavenly places to wait with His Father, God, Jesus remains available and vigilant for His people. He intercedes with God on their behalf. He sent His Holy Spirit to be with them as a guide and helper. He is preparing a place for all of His people so they can be where He is. He told His disciples to stay connected to Him like branches to a vine. Even though He sent them to the ends of the earth, He remains available to listen and encourage and guide always.

If we have chosen to follow Christ, we, too, are His people. He freely offers these same things to us. We have been sent on this same mission. We have this same responsibility. We should take these lessons as we go to the ends of the earth making disciples of all nations. If we do these things, if we pour ourselves out into others as Jesus has, we will be partners in changing lives. In doing this, we may just change the world. After all, that is what real mentoring is all about.

I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit….

John 15: 1-5a, NIV



Encouragement, life, purpose

Pick A Different Ending

How’s life going for you these days?

Are you where you want to be?

Is this the way you imagined things would be when you were growing up?

When you were a kid, what did you want to be? Did you make it? Are you there?

Are you happy?

If your spirit is filled with peace and joy, regardless of what is going on around you, that is awesome! I am so happy for you. Continue on!

If your spirit is struggling with fear or anxiety or regret or pain, I am sorry for you. No matter what you thought life would be like when you were young, this probably isn’t it. As children, we are usually filled with hopeful expectation and anticipation of what adventures the future may hold. Some of us get there, and some of us do not.

Are you struggling with the result of poor choices, addictions, bad habits, or unfruitful thought patterns? Do you see more darkness than light at the end of the tunnel? Have you traded the days of hope for nights of hopelessness?

Has anyone ever told you it doesn’t have to be this way?

As long as there is time for one more choice, it isn’t too late. This next choice could be the one that makes the biggest difference. As long as there is time to do something differently than you did the last time, then there is time to be more, to have more. Just because every choice you made in the past may have been the wrong one, you don’t have to keep making that same choice.

There is time to make a different choice. There is time to change the path you are on. New paths lead to new destinations. Just because you’ve always done a thing doesn’t mean you have to keep doing it. It’s okay to choose another way. Just because you’ve always taken that first drink or placed that first bet or said that first angry thing or thought that first defeated thought, you don’t have to do it this time.

I’ll ask again. Right now, regardless of your age or circumstance, what do you want to be when you grow up?

It is not too late to have a better day today. It is not too late to have a better tomorrow.

God created you for a purpose. He loves you and has a plan for your very best. You are not an accident or a failure. Jesus died for you. Jesus is alive today, for you. Today is the day the Lord made. Make a choice today to rejoice and be glad in this day. Even if you didn’t win yesterday, you don’t lose unless you give up. Jesus makes old things new and dead things alive. He changes hopelessness into victory. He’s right here, right now, rooting for you. The entire host of heaven is cheering you on. They know you can do it. They know you can choose a better ending for this day, and for the rest of this life.

If you need more, if you want better, it isn’t too late to make a different choice. You are not alone. There is more for you. There is better for you.

All you have to do is pick a different ending.

Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with temptation will also make the way of escape, that you will be able to bear it.

1 Corinthians 10:12-13, NKJV