Evangelism, life, mentoring, Mission, purpose

Let The Redeemed Of The Lord Say So!

We’re On A Mission From God, Literally

Brothers and sisters, there are not enough preachers and teachers of the gospel in the entire world to reach everyone with the Good News. We have people in our own groups who don’t attend church, don’t own a Bible, were not raised in a Christian home, don’t know Jesus, and don’t know they are missing out on the most indescribable gift.

If they don’t go to church, how will they hear the message the preacher is preaching? If they don’t own a Bible, how will they read the story of how Jesus died to save us? If we don’t live out the grace of God in our circles of influence, how will they see the way to go? It may be difficult to fathom, but there are millions of people in the world who don’t know why Jesus is such a Big Deal. We know some of these people. We probably interact with them daily.

In God’s plan of salvation, believers are assigned the mission of sharing the truth of Christ with the people He places in our path. That means you and I are responsible to them for their eternal future. If we fail to meet this responsibility, there may not be another opportunity for them to hear and see Jesus. This is the work of “Faith Without Works” fame. Keeping the glory and joy and peace of Christ to ourselves, when there are so many people who need these things, is the evidence of dead faith. You and I, in our secular, local, personal space are evangelists. The Bible does not tell Christians to go to seminary or Bible College, then go to all the world. It doesn’t tell us to get a degree in theology and then go tell the people the Good News. It doesn’t even tell us we have to be qualified or prepared or ordained. Being washed clean of our sin by the blood of Jesus Christ makes us qualified. Knowing that Jesus died and was resurrected and has chosen us out of the world is our ordination. The Holy Spirit that He sent to be our Helper is our preparation. There are no excuses that will cover our failure to share the risen Christ with anyone who will listen and to show by how we love others that we belong to Him.

Calling The Unqualified

We have been called out of our routines and comfort zones for the greatest rescue mission ever. Limitless numbers of people are counting on us to do our part and to carry out our assignments with excellence. Most of them probably don’t even know it, though.

We can all come up with dozens of excuses to justify why we’re not right for the job. We are unqualified, untrained, and unprepared. Some of us think we are too young or old or shy or afraid. We don’t know how to do it “the right way.” The fact is, though, that Jesus called you and me the same as He called fishermen and tax collectors. He called the tongue tied and the hot headed and the doubtful. He cared little for what they had, or we have, to offer and all for what He came to give. The moment we accepted the invitation to join with Christ, we became heirs to the kingdom of God and, along with that, received our assignment to share the Good News with the rest of the world. That may mean for us the far corners of the earth or the corner grocery store. We are the ordinary people called by God to accomplish extraordinary things for the kingdom.

Family, if we spend less time worrying about how to do it and more time doing it, God will take care of the details. As many have been called, all have been given what is needed to accomplish the work. Just talk about it. Tell your neighbor, your brother, your schoolmate, your work buddy what Jesus did for you. A degree in theology won’t accomplish more than a heartfelt , loving conversation about the joy of the Lord or your victory in Jesus.

Each One, Reach One

If every Christ follower, regardless of age or sex or profession or denomination, were to seek out just one person among their circles who doesn’t know Jesus and share His love and forgiveness and truth with them, the balance of the world could shift. If we, every one of us, did this, one person at a time, how many broken hearts could be mended, lost souls recovered, and captive spirits freed? Surely you can find just one person to share Jesus with. Surely there is one among your family, friends, coworkers, or neighbors you could share a coffee and a conversation with. There is, most definitely, someone near you who will benefit from knowing you are praying for them and that you and Jesus love them. It will not require a heavy theological discussion to show someone what spectacular joy is found in Christ. Tell the story of how and where Jesus found you and let the Holy Spirit do the rest.

We have been given access to all of the tools and skills that we need to accomplish this mission. We just have to know how to use them properly.

Prepare For Battle

As I said, we have been given all of the tools we need to carry out the mission. But, first, we need to get ready for battle. Make no mistake, the world is not always a safe place for Christ followers. Jesus knew this to be the case before He left the first time. That’s why He gave us a Helper who would stay and provide the support we need to navigate the darkness and light the world. The Holy Spirit is here helping us to prepare.

Put On Your Armor

We are not fighting against flesh and blood people. The battle is against powers of darkness and the forces of evil in the heavenly realm. Because of this, we must rely on the protection only the armor of God can provide.

  1. Belt of Truth so we can hold firm against the enemy and we will not be led astray as society ebbs and flows with what is acceptable and what is not.
  2. Breastplate of righteousness to protect our hearts from attack, living out the new life we have in Christ.
  3. Feet shod and ready for any occasion with the gospel of peace, always willing to love one another as Christ loves us even when we are the most unlovable.
  4. Shield of faith to protect against the enemy’s flaming arrows, having confidence that God is with us and that we are secure in Him through Jesus.
  5. Helmet of salvation to guard our minds from fear, doubt, and confusion, knowing that our future is secure and that Jesus is our Rock.
  6. Sword of the Spirit, the Word of God, which is sharper than any sword and able to judge thoughts and attitudes of the heart and provides us with the preparation and the power to do the work set before us.

Once we have prepared ourselves with these, we are ready to dig in to the work.

The Mission

Our mission, which we’ve already accepted when we accepted Jesus, is to do all in our power to ensure that the people we are doing life with know Him. By modeling the love of Christ in our families and neighborhoods and workplaces, we will have the opportunity to share that love with the people we encounter. Forgive people as freely as Christ forgave you. Tell others where you were before Christ and what He has done to save you. Talk about the glory of God. Spread sparkles of light and life wherever you go. Be authentic. Seek out the captives and help set them free. Shine with the light of a soul set free from darkness.

Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever. Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, Whom He has redeemed from the hand of the enemy, And gathered out of the lands, From the east and from the west, From the north and from the south. They wandered in the wilderness in a desolate way; They found no city to dwell in. Hungry and thirsty, their soul fainted in them. Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble, And He delivered them out of their distresses.

Psalm 107: 1-6

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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



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