Get Out of the House

Growing up I always thought that I needed to go to church to find God. That is where He was right? If I wanted prayer, I go to church. If I wanted healing, I go to church. If I wanted salvation, I go to church. All of those statements are correct, however, they are not sufficient to live out the great commandment to “go and make disciples of all nations.” Church is a safe place to be with those who know Jesus and believe in His life giving message. Too many of us equate the building with the broader understanding of “the church.” Every believer in Christ Jesus is the church since Holy Spirit lives inside us.

I find it interesting when I read the creation story in Genesis 1 and 2. He creates the heavens, the earth, the animals and finally man. Then in Genesis 2:8 we are told, “now the Lord God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed.” There were trees and rivers and flowers. What was not there was a building. God had not wanted Adam and Eve to be restricted with a building. Fast forward to the time Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt. He had them live in tents. In fact, God Himself resided in the tabernacle, which was a tent. Then God had Solomon build a temple for God’s present to reside. However, it was a place to go to and then go from. Finally, Jesus gives His life for our sins and transforms our bodies into the temple of God.

Just like the tabernacle in Moses time, our bodies are meant to be the mobile temple of Jesus. We are not meant to restrict ourselves to a building. Church on Sunday should be a time where we can get instruction, a time to worship God as a whole body and be encouraged. We are then to go out and be the hands and feet of Jesus. He wanted us in a garden, to be outside, interacting with His creation. He wants us going to where people are sick and hurting. We are to get out and bring the gospel or good news to a world in pain.

 

Action for the day

Today, make a commitment to get out of the building and find a place can serve. The church is good, but get out into the community. The good news is search engines today enable us to find places that serve areas of our passions. If you don’t know where to start, try some of these searches:

  • Place to serve <insert the name of your city>
  • Volunteer opportunities <insert name of your city>
  • Soup kitchens near me
  • Serve food to the homeless
  • Anti-trafficking organizations <insert name of your city>
  • Non-profit organizations <insert name of your city>

Once you have searched and chosen a place to serve, take the action to contact them today and get involved.

Prayer for the day

Father God, thank you that You created a world full of wonder and beauty. It is good! Today, as I make a commitment to get out and be your hands and feet, guide me to the place where I can join You in Your work. Let my heart break for the things that break your heart. Reveal how my passions are in line with my purpose to live an abundant life. Show me where I can best serve to bring Your glory and the Kingdom of Heaven to earth. It is in the powerful name of Jesus I pray these things. Amen.

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A Relevant Word

The idea of witnessing is often an intimidating notion to many Christians. Lacking the spiritual gift of evangelism makes it even more daunting to many, adding to feelings of failure in this area of witnessing to unbelievers. The truth is, so much of evangelism is written from the standpoint of those who are naturally gifted, and thus who are quite at ease of introducing the gospel. Having said this, evangelism can often come across as a contrived plan for those who are not so naturally gifted, leaving one feeling pretty awkward.

One of the keys to evangelism that Les has found is finding ways to introduce the relevancy of the gospel and what real Christianity is about. He connects the gospel with a subject that he is interested in and relates it to his daily life. One of the areas he is passionate about is finances and the economy.

As Les meets people, the conversations often flows in a number of directions, most notably what’s going on in politics and how our everyday life is being impacted. This usually leads to a discussion about finances and the state of our economy. Because of Les’ interest, he has seen doors open up to talk about morality, integrity, the state of our family in today’s society. Without a moral compass, standard and foundation, we will drift as a people and a nation. It’s also easy to see how crazy our world is getting with global debt and outright conspicuous consumption spiraling out of control.

Most people intuitively know that there is something desperately wrong with our society and our world; at least those who are not blindly and wantonly rushing forward without a sense of conscience. They are looking for real answers and solutions in a world that is becoming more unstable and unsafe. Thank God for a gospel which offers peace that the world cannot give.

What’s your area of passion/interest? Marriage? Family and Child Raising? Business? Politics? Education? Each of these spheres represent an arena into which the gospel can enter and to bring transformation. We desperately need evangelism in every one of these aspects of society. It is about bringing the gospel into every area of society. God has uniquely made you and anointed you to be a light and salt in your sphere of influence. You are His ambassador. Today, be intentional to seek one person where you can start a conversation and share the gospel.

Action for the day

  1. Select one topic you love learning and talking about: Family, Church, Government, Education, Business & Technology, Media, Entertainment and the Arts.
  2. Spend a few minutes asking God how your passion for this topic can be used to open doors to share the gospel.
  3. Make a point to have at least one conversation today on the topic you selected. Watch how God opens the door to simply share God’s love with that person

 

Prayer for the day

Father, I ask you to take the things I am interested in and open a door to share Your love. May you give me time for a divine interruption to share the gospel with someone who does not know You. Bring to mind ways the conversation can relate to Your truth and Your love for the world. Holy Spirit, join me today as I look for that person I should share the gospel. I ask this in the powerful name of Jesus.  Amen.

Invest in a life

Cindy came from a Buddhist background and Confucius culture in East Asia until her second year at a graduate school in a Midwest college town.  There she first met Dr. Bill and Clarice. Dr. Bill was a retired school doctor for a large public university.  He found Jesus later in his life and felt commissioned to tell young people about Jesus so that, “they could start early”.

Cindy first met their daughter and her husband a week after her arrived in the U.S. She had a chance meeting at a local corn festival where they were distributing flyers for their church’s week-long revival meetings.  Cindy saw the word “church” on the flyer, and immediately told them, “thank you, but no thank you. I’m a Buddhist. I’m all set in my religion.”  Yet, they knew Cindy was new to the school, town, and country, had no transportation, no family, and probably would need some help at some point.  They gave Cindy their phone number and told her to call them any time if she needed any help.  Cindy left thinking she would never have anything to do with church or any of these overt Christians.

Dr. Bill and Clarice also hosted international students through the university’s international student’s office.  That night after they heard about their daughter’s encounter with Cindy at the fair, the family knelt down and ask God to send Cindy to their family so they could host her while in school.  Imagine Cindy’s surprise a couple of weeks later when she got a phone call from Dr. Bill asking her if she remember meeting a couple at the corn festival! Cindy had and they invited her over for a nice dinner.

Dr. Bill and his family had lived in Asia when he was in the Air Force. So they shared their travel stories and memories of that time. They also spoke about other topics and eventually the topic of faith came up. It was a pleasant conversation. At the end of the evening they invited Cindy over for dinner again and offered to take her grocery shopping each week since Cindy did not own a car.  Like many, Cindy had some negative encounters with Christians, but recognized Dr. Bill and Clarice were different. There was something special about them that continued to draw her to them.  While she wanted to be around them, her previous encounters had tainted her perspective. She suspected their hidden agenda to convert her to their cultish religion. She did not want to have anything to do with this thing called Christianity.

Yet, Cindy was touched by their hospitality and care, so she continued to engage with them. Her curiosity grew because she could see something different and that their faith played an important role in their life. Eventually, Cindy began attending church with Dr. Bill and Clarice. They gave me Cindy her first bilingual Bible, and three months later on the Sunday after Thanksgiving, Cindy was baptized, died to her old self, and resurrected with a new life with Jesus.

Being the first Christian in a Buddhist family that had a deep ancestor and idol worshipping tradition proved to be a real challenge.  While Cindy and her family fought over her new faith, Dr. Bill and Clarice prayed for her and her family. When Cindy was graduating, her non-believing family came to attend her graduation, and the two sets of parents (her parents and Dr. Bill and Clarice) finally met.  Cindy’s parents were not Christians, but they were deeply appreciative of Dr. Bill and Clarice’s love and care for me.  They were also grateful for them for being the surrogate parents to me while she was so far away from home.

Twelve years later, in God’s timing, Cindy’s mother decided to give her life to Jesus.  Since then, salvation came to her extended and immediate family like domino dropping; her cousins, aunts, uncles, her only living grandparent, her sister, niece, and most recently her father.  They abandoned the idols they used to worship. Now they worship the living God, not any idols. It all started with a family who decided to take the action to love a stranger from a foreign land.

 

Action for the day

Today be on the look-out for someone you are able to invest in their life. Maybe it is someone younger who could use a mentor. Maybe it is someone who is older and needs companionship. Maybe it is someone you meet in the fast food line. Ask Holy Spirit who He would like you to invest your life with. Imagine the domino effect when one life is changed, a whole family and generation can be changed.

 

Prayer for the day

Jesus, thank you that you see us. Thank you that you want us to invest in each other’s lives. Today, Father, point me to the person I should be investing my life with. Let my live be a living sacrifice to You and bring Your love to the earth. Let your love shine through me and touch those around me. Let me have an impact on families, not just individuals. I pray this in the name above all names. The name of Jesus. Amen.

Journey of Influence – Idea 6

Jeff is a Director at his company and had an opportunity to take on a leadership role at at new location. He jumped at the opportunity even though the commute almost doubled for him. Having recommitted his life to Jesus, he decided he would live out Romans 1:16 and not be ashamed of the gospel.

Routinely, he would arrive at the office early in order to beat the traffic. On those days, he would sit in his car and spend a little quite time with Jesus, praying and reading the bible. One morning a long time employee who had also recently transferred to the new location pulled in next to him. When he looked over, he saw Jeff reading his bible. A man of faith himself, saw Jeff’s devotion to God and decided that morning he was going to like working at the new location.

Everyone that Jeff works with is aware of his faith, even though he does not go around beating people over the head with his bible. His quiet countenance and care for people is what others first notice. One day at the end of the shift, a young employee walked into his office and asked if Jeff would take a few minutes to have a talk. This young man was known to live a fast life, partying and having a good time. Jeff asked, “you are giving notice are you?” The young man told him that he had no plans on leaving and he loved his job. What he wanted to talk about was God. He was tired of the fast lane and wanted Jeff’s help to understand what he could do to make a change in his life.

They spent over an hour and talked well past closing time. The young man left and didn’t bring the topic up again, even though Jeff made a point to check in on him over the course of the next week. About three week later, Jeff gets a text on Sunday with a short video attached. It turns out the young man had accepted Christ and the video showed him being baptized. Because Jeff was not afraid to read his bible at work and let others know he is a follower of Christ, it opened the door for a lost young man to come into a personal relationship with the Lord.

Action for the day

Today is the day for you to make sure others know you are a Christian. You don’t need to yell it from the rooftop, but make sure you are not hiding your faith. Some ways to do that are:

  • Bring your bible of a devotion to work and read it at a break or lunch
  • If you have a whiteboard, write your favorite bible verse or pin it on a cork board
  • Get an armband with a bible verse or an encouraging word
  • Share an encouraging bible verse with someone who is having a difficult day

Prayer for the day

Father, give me an opportunity to show others who you are. Let my obedience be noticed by others and open that door for a conversation about You. Let me be a example of Your glory to those around me. Let them see You in my actions and behaviors. I ask this in the holy name of Jesus, Amen.

Journey of Influence – Idea 1

I love watching people. Many people do. I have spent a lot of time in airports. There are times when I don’t feel like working or reading. So I settle in and watch the travelers of the day. I don’t just watch the people go by, I actually make up back stories for them. I look at what they are wearing, notice if they are carrying anything and if they are in a hurry or leisurely walking down the terminal. It drives my wife crazy that I can come up with the most ridiculous stories about people that have no basis of fact or reality. However, it is fun and helps pass the time.

I also love going over to other people’s houses. When you walk into someone’s house or apartment, you get to see their backstory displayed throughout. I don’t have to make something up, rather, I am able to glean what they love, what their passions are, where their heart is. Look at the bookshelf and see what kind of stories they read. Look at the music they listen to by their CD or record collections, as well as the movies they watch. Though it was easier to see when you actually had to have a physical disk or a tape. Books, music and movies show what the person likes to put into their mind. It helps you understand how they think.

You can also look around at the walls. What do they hang in the empty spaces? Pictures of friends, family, vacation pictures or some other form of artwork shows their passions. Some people like to put words or other types of decorations on the wall. Take it all in and you will get a glimpse of the person. Finally, look at what they display on their shelves. Maybe it is flowers, or reminders of past travels. Maybe it is some form of sculpture or other type of collection. Each item peels back the layers of what the person values. Where their heart treasures are.

A simple walk through of a house will allow you to know what the person values. It shows their passions, hurts, loves and desires. It is a great way to get to know someone. What does your house or apartment say about you? During football season is it completely decked out in paraphernalia? Is Christmas all about Santa Clause? Is Easter about the bunny and the eggs? If someone looked at your books, your music, your memento’s, what would they say about you? Would anyone know you love Jesus by just walking through the door? If you want to influence others, they need to see where your treasures are. Today, start in your home and make sure it shouts to others what you love. If others can see your love for Jesus when they walk into your home, you have already started the journey of influence in that person’s life.

Action for the day

  1. Go through your home and ask yourself, what does it say about you? Make a list of what you think it says.
  2. Ask yourself the difficult question. Is there anything that would tell someone else that you love Jesus?
  3. If your home does not reflect your passion for Jesus, make a commitment to do something about it. Decide today to make sure your Lord and King is what people see.

 

Prayer for the day

Father, show me where my heart is. Show me what I put my trust in. I long to reveal You to a hurting world. As I walk through my home, Jesus, point out the things that might be a hindrance to You. Show me anything that might be a stumbling block for a closer relationship with you. Reveal the things that might prevent someone else from seeing Your glory. Thank you that You love me and want the best for me. In your powerful name, the name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.