Share your testimony

If I am being honest with myself, I had been overconfident in my career. I had pedigree companies that I had worked for and excelled. I went around and shared my motto, “what is the worst thing they can do?” The answer, of course is fire me. My overconfidence led me to think that would never happen. Until it did. The saving grace is God had already informed me that change was in the air. He had even told my wife and I to sell our house. As we prepared to put the house on the market, I was called into the CEO’s office and we agreed I would leave the company. This is where my testimony of the single most disruptive season of my life begins.

Even as I was leaving the office for the last time, I believed it would be weeks before I found a new role. I would not have conceived that it would take over eight months and hundreds of hours of networking. My arrogance prevented me from seeing that God will open the right door at the right time. However, He was faithful throughout the process to guide us through the season. I knew He wanted us to sell our house, but did not know where He wanted us to move. He proceeded to tell me the city and He gave my wife the date we would buy the new house. When we found the house in the new city, there were 17 other offers. We were not the highest offer. Yet, God had other plans. We were selected, even though we had put in a lower offer and it was accepted on the date God had given my wife.

Throughout the whole season of unemployment, God kept closing doors with perfectly good jobs. The reason is He wanted me to write a book. During this season, I was able to finish the book and God brought a publisher that wanted to publish the book. He also had me work on my overreliance on a company to find my security. I now know that Jesus is my only security and He will provide all of my needs. It is a tough lesson to learn, but we have a good God that loves us and gently corrects us.

What I also found during this season is my testimony of what God was doing in the midst of a season of trial was encouraging to others facing the same thing. It was amazing to see how many people I ran across that were also looking for a job. My testimony was a help in growing faith in the other person. My testimony was highlighting what God was doing in my life in the middle of a trial and how He is always there. My role was to build up the body because of what I was going through. We can choose to have a “woe is me” attitude or come in a different spirit. I love how Paul talks about the process of going through trials in Romans 5:2-5, “We continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we’re never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary—we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit!: (MSG). Our hope and joy, especially during trials, is infectious to others who are facing the same trail. So rejoice and share your testimony to beat back the enemy and encourage others to push on.

Action for the day

Today, share your testimony with one other person. Even if you don’t have a sensational God story, sharing what God is doing or has done in your life will encourage and help others see your faith. Maybe it is a family member, a friend or co-worker who doesn’t know Jesus. You can plant that seed because it is not your opinion, rather it is your experience. Watch how God uses your testimony to do something great!

Prayer for the day

Jesus, I thank you for always being present in my life. Even when the world seems to be crashing in, You are there with me. You are giving me strength and raising me up on wings like an eagle. You want good for me and will never leave me. I ask that you show me what testimony I should share and who I should share it with. I want to bring glory to the work You are doing in my life. Open the ears and heart of the person I share it with so they too can be encouraged and will see how You are working in their life as well. It is in Your powerful name, Jesus, that 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.

Building a Legacy Through Service

When I lived in Japan, the homeless were considered a blight on society. There was an untouchable class in Japan, but the homeless were considered even below that. The homeless would go to the subway stations at night to stay warm. They were allowed to sleep there between 1:00 am and 5:00 am, when the trains were not running. Once the morning rush hour began, they were ushered out so the commuters did not have to experience them. Japan did not have the shelters that we have in the US. So his family would to the train station around 5:00 am and hand out bags with a sandwich, granola bar and a bottle of water to as many people as they could find. Usually around forty to fifty people. Most of the time they were asleep, so they would leave the bag next to them. I remember one time one man was awake. We handed the bag to him and he looked in it. His eyes lit up like a child on Christmas morning. He just said arigato (thank-you) over and over. We did not understand much Japanese, but we certainly knew the word for thank-you. It was not much, but for one day those individuals were not hungry. Small things can make a big difference.

Maybe going one on one is not your thing. Maybe it is just too far out of your comfort zone. If it is, there are many other ways to get involved in Kingdom work and have a positive influence on your city. Check with your church or Google the areas of your passion and look for ministry or nonprofit in your city. Remember, we each just need to influence eight people to change the world. Time is a precious commodity for the busy American. We already discussed this earlier in the book. Finding time to engage in the community and have a positive impact is so important. It is important for those you are helping, but it is also important for your own well-being. Not only ours, but for our children and grandchildren. If we role model service to our children, they will pick it up and role model it to their children and so on. When we impact generations, that is a legacy. We can step into our role as heirs to the Kingdom of God. With Jesus as our King, we are princes and princesses who are tasked to help the kingdom. We need to step into our destiny as the first born heirs off the Kingdom and start putting action to our faith. If we do that, if we step into the role God wants us to occupy, then we can save our city. We can save Sodom one person at a time, one street at a time.

The Power of Our Testimony

Paul tell us in 1 Thessalonians 4:11–12, “Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.” He shows us one significant way to gain influence. It is by being humble, not by being ambitious, and thereby winning the respect of those around you. Joseph, Daniel and Esther worked hard to do well and please the Lord. They did not do it for themselves. God placed them in different places and they made the most of it. In all three cases, they served kings and influenced nations.

God has set each of us in different places. Whether it is geographic or socioeconomic, we all can have a positive influence on those around us. Our workplace is an ideal place to share the Gospel and show the world who Christ is. Not just our workplace, but school, grocery store, neighborhood, or Friday night football game. Paul knew if we win the respect of others, if we gain their trust, then we are much more likely to make a difference in their lives. We will be put into positions to share the love of Jesus and to let His light shine through us. We may be the only real examples of Jesus someone has ever seen. So it does not matter if we are in school, have an entry-level job, or are in the executive suite, God set us to have a level of influence. Since we have been entrusted with influence, we must learn to steward it well.  Once we have the relationship, we have an opportunity to share our testimony. Our testimony is simply a story about what God has done in your life. There is no magic formula to it, except that it gives God the glory to the blessings, hardships and outcomes you have faced.

Your testimony is one of the most underutilized tools of sharing the gospel. No one can take your testimony away from you. It is your experience and for those who know you, a valid point of discussion. Besides, your testimony is also one of the most powerful tools in spiritual warfare. If we desire to have our friend’s ears opened, we must also realize they are being closed by the enemy. Our testimony is a secret ingredient to having a major impact for the Kingdom. In Revelations 12:11, we are told “the enemy is thrown down by the blood of the lamb and the word of our testimony.” On the surface it is a nice thought. Most of us stop at the first part of the verse. The enemy is thrown down by the blood of the lamb. Jesus beat Satan and death for us. So that is it, it is finished. If we don’t finish the sentence, we miss a critical ingredient to having a wider level of influence. Our testimony is the second half of the equation. It is not reading our Bible or going to church three times a week. Satan is out to make sure as many people as possible reject Jesus. He uses all kinds of means to keep people’s ears closed or cloud their mind with the wrong thoughts. Our way to influence others and open their ears to hear the gospel is to use our testimony.

The Israelites in the Old Testament had to keep sharing their testimony over and over again to remind them of what God did for them. The Feasts of the Lord was the way God set it up so the Israelites would continually remind them of His goodness. Each year the head priest would sacrifice a lamb for the sins of the nation. But it had to be done every year because the blood of the lamb was not perfect.

The great news is we now have the perfect blood of the lamb. We have the first part of the equation handed to us with Jesus sacrifice on the cross. So we need to use our testimony. It becomes a weapon to deliver the knockout punch to the enemy. While Jesus took the keys of the kingdom back, we have to battle the enemy until Jesus returns. As we speak, words are released into the atmosphere. God tells us, “So is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it” (Isaiah 55:11). Our testimonies release the glory of God into the atmosphere and takes the enemies power away. It opens the door for others to hear and see the goodness of the Father. Our testimonies are one way to release the power of God into the atmosphere.

Why is your testimony so important? It is the way God releases power to throw down the enemy. There are a number of benefits to sharing your testimony that expands your influence. It is a way to declare blessings over someone. Many times someone who has been healed by God, will have a special anointing to share that same type of healing. If God healed someone with cancer, then they may have the healing gift to cure cancer. This is a way to bless others and bring life to the hurting. Another benefit is by giving encouragement when someone is in a tough situation. Sharing how God showed up in your life in a similar circumstance will give the person encouragement to keep going. You may not even realize how powerful your testimony is when you share it.

Today, share your testimony with someone and watch what Holy Spirit does with it. I guarantee, you will be amazed at what will happen. God will open ears and hearts to hear His message of hope and love.