Viewing entries tagged

Share - Day 5

Share - Day 5

Written by Greg Knarr

Matthew 28:18-20Jesus came and told His disciples, I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth.  Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

In today’s world all we seem to DO is share.  You can’t get on social media without seeing people share what they had for dinner, where they went on vacation and their feelings on almost everything else.  Almost everything…   The things we are most likely to share are literally the things in this life that in the grand scheme of things mean the least. 

The Great Commission was Jesus’ last earthly message to his disciples.  He urged all of his disciples to go and to share.  If the disciples had our hesitancy to share, many books of the New Testament would have never been written.  Their witness, their experiences, and their testaments to how Christ changed their lives would have been lost forever.  Did they share out of a since of duty or perhaps obligation or did they share because the witnessed the true power of Jesus in their lives and the lives that Jesus touched?  That true sense of urgency to share the good news.  Those transformational stories of how Jesus works in the most hopeless of situations and brings peace and comfort are not only true but compelling.  Everyone of us has a story of how Christ has transformed our lives.  The sharing of those stories is the juice that brings people to Christ.  Why hide those?

I have the opportunity to speak on various tax issues all over the country.  I know it can be a really boring topic, but when I speak about the these topics I don’t quote facts and give so much of the why.  I show examples.  I give stories.  I show impact and results.  

“Facts tell stories sell”  

About a year ago I got in discussion on God with a coworker.  I’ll call him Ted.  Ted is an atheist.  So Ted asked me if I believed in God and started to want to argue facts.  You could tell Ted had practiced his arguments against God.  He wanted to point out areas that he didn’t think were true or to him sounded crazy.  Rather than argue facts, I simply shared what Jesus had done and continues to do in my life.  I SHARED my story.  Ted couldn’t argue the impact or result.  For me, that is uncomfortable.  It is something I had to step into. Sharing an experience like a great meal or an awesome vacation is easy.  Sharing how Jesus transformed your life is tough.  It is definitely not for sissies.  

Father, We thank you for the opportunities you give us to share Your word. We know as we share our unique stories and experiences that you are right their with us.  Please help us to be more mindful of our job to SHARE Your Gospel.  Give us strength, courage, and wisdom to bring more people to You.  We pray all of this on Your name. Amen.

Go - Day 5

Go - Day 5

Written by Monica Lutes

“Who are you Lord?”  Saul asked.  And the voice replied, “I am Jesus, the One you are persecuting!  Now get up and GO into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”  Acts 9:5-6

Has Jesus ever asked you to make a 180 degree turn in your life to GO with Him in a different direction?  In this chapter of Acts and these verses in particular that is exactly what Jesus asks Saul to do.  

Prior to the events described in today’s verses, Saul was a man filled with anger and hate toward any person who confessed Jesus as the Son of God.  On the road to Damascus, Saul is confronted by Jesus, Himself.  Jesus gives Saul a directive to GO into the city and await instructions, instructions that will completely reorient Saul’s heart and mind.  Saul will go from being a murderous persecutor of Christians to proclaiming the Good News of Jesus to the Gentile world.   

Most of us don’t have an experience as dramatic as Saul’s, but Jesus will call all who follow Him to readjust our lives in some degree to GO forward with Him.  This readjustment will be no less profound in our modern lives and the lives we touch as Saul’s was 2000 years ago.  

My ‘road to Damascus’ experience happened 20 years ago when Jesus confronted me about the anger I carried from my childhood toward my father.  By all accounts, my anger and growing bitterness were justified – my father was a violent and angry husband to my mother.  My earliest memories are ones of extreme anger and abuse and my mental fixation on those memories was promoting the same anger in my own adult life.  

As I drove home from work mentally rehashing my anger at Dad and my robbed childhood (something I did often), the Holy Spirit ‘nudged’ me with a thought – my sin is equal to my dad’s.  If I want to enjoy Jesus’ forgiveness of my sins, I must forgive Dad.  At that moment, I felt like Jesus had hit me with a ton of bricks.  He was asking me to make a 180 degree turn in how I thought - to give up my anger toward my dad. Jesus was asking me to GO in the other direction – one of forgiveness and grace. The process of changing my thoughts wasn’t quick or easy but it freed me to GO with Jesus in a His direction.

Saul’s experience and response on the road to Damascus is a fantastic example of God’s power to transform a person’s heart and life with some very simple instructions – stop destructive behavior and GO in the way Jesus shows you.      

Is there a behavior or way of thinking that Jesus is asking you to change?  Is He directing you to adjust your current path a little or maybe even 180 degrees?  Is He asking you to GO in another direction, His?

Your response will make all the difference in your life and quite possibly someone else’s.  

Lord Jesus, 

I pray that You will keep nudging, gently or like a ton of bricks if necessary, us into a deeper relationship and service to You.  I pray for all who carry baggage of bad behavior, unhealthy thinking/feeling and hurtful habits to have the scales removed from our eyes so we can see You.  Like Saul, help us to acknowledge You as Lord and GO forward with Your guidance.  In Your name I pray, Amen.

Go - Day 4

Go - Day 4

Written by Noah Henderson

Exodus 33:14, “The Lord replied, ‘I will personally go with you, Moses, and I will give you rest—everything will be fine with you.’”

Right off the bat as I read this passage I have to attempt to recall the number of times I have heard The Lord tell me that he is personally with me. And the overwhelming sensation that we get as followers of Christ when we take a breath and stop for a moment to remember everything is going to be okay. That comfort can often times be overwhelming at first and unlike anything we can explain.

The hard part for me is when life gets busy I often hear the “noise” of life and forget that this world cannot make up an ounce of comfort that God graciously and unconditionally gives every moment of every day. This verse is a reminder that our God is the definition of peace and without Him, true peace is hard to find, comprehend, or understand. Yet, if we apply this to OUR lives we can start to realize that we are never alone. Just as Moses was unsure of the path that the pillar of smoke and the pillar of fire may lead him, we too can become unsure of where God may lead us.

I personally know a few moments in my short life that what I wanted to do was not what God had planned for me at that point of my life. Since high school, I have wanted to move to closer to family. I had a chance to move to Washington State many times. The first time, God laid on my heart that He wanted me to stay in Shelbyville, 5 months later I was accepted into Vincennes when many of my peers and family had already marked me as a failure in life.

The second time I began to look for a job in Seattle (in the same field I was currently working in) when I heard God tell me again that He had more work for me back at home, that same summer I found out my current job (EMT) was not for me and was offered a full time position for the school system with great benefits. 1 year later I started looking again for an open position in Tacoma and yet again I heard The Lord tell me that He has more work for me in Shelbyville. That summer I was promoted at the school and was accepted into Indiana Wesleyan University’s business program in the same month.

After two years I find myself with a job offer on the table from a school district in the Tacoma area, but still fully knew that God had more for me here. I turned down that offer and took up an offer to completely surrender my heart to The Lord. I began to lean more and more on Him as I received another promotion, graduated College, got involved in small groups, was offered another promotion, got involved with the creative team, started working with the youth group, and relentlessly and continuously gave my time and resources to local businesses and the community.

His peace and comfort grow in me as I feel Him going with me just as He went with Moses. My prayer is that God continues to open my eyes and gives me sight to focus on His path and His plan. I also pray that He use me to be a light to others so that they may see, wherever they go He is personally there with them too.  

Go - Day 2

Go - Day 2

Written by Cameron Crenshaw

Then the LORD spoke to Jonah a second time. “Get up and GO to the great city of Nineveh, and deliver the message I have given you.”

We all have “places” we don’t want to visit. Some of them are thoughts or memories that we don’t enjoy reliving. Some of them are people who are difficult to deal with. Some of them are actual, real locations that we would love to never end up in for one reason or another. For Jonah, that place was Nineveh.

Jonah hated Nineveh. He hated the people there too! The last thing he wanted was for God to save the city – because they were evil! God was calling Jonah, a rebellious prophet, to go preach to a military stronghold in the heart of a hostile nation. So, as many of us might, Jonah tried to ignore God. 

Right at the start of this chapter, it says God spoke to Jonah a second time. This means that Jonah ignored God the first time (Jonah 1:1-2). We know how that ended, by the way: Jonah was swallowed by a fish and ended up in Nineveh anyway! Jonah believed that his judgement was better than God’s – that the people of Nineveh were too wicked to be saved. Do you ever think your judgement is better or higher than God’s?

God gave Jonah everything he needed – a message, an audience, and even transportation. But because of Jonah’s heart, he still didn’t want to go – even as he stood outside the city gates. Scripture says over and over again that God has a heart for the nations of the Earth. Jonah didn’t share this heart for people – that’s why he didn’t want to go where God led him. When Jonah finally relented and obeyed, God did an amazing work and saved the city of Nineveh from their wickedness (Jonah 3:10). But Jonah remained bitter and angry to the end, because he refused to share God’s heart and go willingly.

Where are you being called that makes your stomach churn? Who is that person who annoys you to no end that desperately needs Jesus? What unforgiveness in your heart or memory from your past do you need to finally let go of? You may not be called to a wicked city, but you are commanded to GO where God wants to use you. Will you listen and obey, or will you have a bitter, angry heart? 

God, we thank you for your mercy and grace that saves even the most despicable people. We’re sorry for the ways that we are like the people of Nineveh. Help us to share your Heart for the places and people around us, Lord. Transform us into messengers for you, so that we learn to love obeying your call – the first time. Give us the strength and endurance to GO where you want to use us. Thank you, Jesus, for your love and mercy. Amen.

Go - Day 1

Go - Day 1

Written by Hanna Baker

Mark 16:15 begins by saying, "GO into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone." This command, often referred to as the "Great Commission" sounds simple, and is easy to understand. For most Christians, including me, we have a really hard time playing this out. Either we are afraid of being laughed at or we are too comfortable in our faith.

In a study conducted by LifeWay Research 80% of those who attend church one or two more times a month, believe they have a personal responsibility to share their faith, but 61% have not shared the gospel in the last sixth months. Sixth months that someone could have been lead to Christ and promised eternity in heaven, gone.

In Philippians 2:12-13 it says "Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose." God's reason for putting us on this earth is to share the gospel with others and lead them to Christ. The Father's greatest desire is for you to have a relationship with Him through Christ and to show others the light of Jesus.

Many days I have a hard time getting up and going to school, but something my mom constantly tells me, "Hanna, you have to go, not for you but for other people. Who else is going to show them love? Who else is going to show them the light of Jesus?" Maybe instead of going right up to a person and bluntly saying," Do you have a relationship with God?" You can be kind to them, love on them, show them grace and smile at them when you pass by.  Living out our faith means  more than just words.  Maybe they'll ask questions which is the perfect opportunity to share the good news. Maybe they'll want to learn more, or maybe they'll cut you off as soon as the word Jesus leaves your lips. Either way, you will be following God's greatest desire.

It's not our job to lead everyone to Christ, but to plant the seed. Our most important mission as Christians is not just to know Christ, but to make him known to others. So GO and share the good news.