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Go Share Serve

Share - Day 3

Share - Day 3

Written by Arlene Dile

"I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf and give thanks for them. This is good and pleases God our Savior, who wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth." - 1 Timothy 2:1,3-4

The first line of this chapter says to pray for ALL people. In studying this it seems clear to me that the word ALL was significant. It is much bigger than just praying for others. Although we don't really want to, it pleases God when we pray and intercede for a person whom we know has injured another, either physically or mentally.

We want justice served ON them. God wants eternal life FOR them.

We had many testimonies in 2016 from brothers and sisters in our congregation. Every story was different yet similar in that in every testimony someone came along side them, prayed with them, and shared the gospel with them. This is an example of Go, Share and Serve.

When we pray for someone a change takes place in our heart for that person and God changes the heart of those we bring before Him in prayer.

Have you ever thought about having a spiritual backpack?  Let's imagine what might be in ours if we had one.

Here we go.

When God examined our“backpack” what would He find? Is it filled with rocks ready to throw at the unsaved? Are there rocks labeled “judgmental thoughts and remarks”? Is there a rock for someone we have given up on?

Want to clean out that backpack? What if we filled our backpack with rocks marked, “Jesus loves you”, or “I'm praying for you”? Maybe one marked, “I'm a sinner too; let me tell you about Jesus”. These rocks are not hurtful; they are padded with love. 

Here’s your chance, throw a “prayer” rock at someone- hit them hard!

What's in your backpack?

Share - Day 2

Share - Day 2

Written by Rachel Ferguson

After four years serving God as a missionary in Brazil, a well-meaning acquaintance asked me, “So how many people have you saved so far?” Completely unprepared for the question, I mumbled, “Zero” to both of our embarrassment. Laying on my bed that night, of course, I came up with many, many other answers. 

We all know that I, Rachel Ferguson, can save no one. It is just not in my skill set. God is the only one in the soul-saving business. But as a Christian, and especially as a missionary, sometimes the pressure and unspoken expectations make me forget this. 

“In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see so that everyone will praise your Heavenly Father.” Matthew 5:16 

We are to share Jesus by our lives, by what we do and say. We are to be like lights: they shine. It is what they ARE. When I first went to Brazil, I didn’t speak any Portuguese, so I worked really hard on shining. I even practiced in front of the mirror. Smiling, nodding, and giving hugs was about all I could do, but I wanted to do it well. 

After over a decade of serving in Brazil, I still haven’t “saved” anyone. I have shared and shared and smiled and shined my biggest and brightest, but no good. I often forget the second half of the verse: “That everyone will praise your Heavenly Father.” 

It doesn’t say “that they may be saved.” It doesn’t say “that you will feel successful.” It doesn’t even say “That everyone will praise your Heavenly Father in front of you.” Most of my shining won’t get a response to me. Because that isn’t the point. The point is whatever God wants to do in that person’s life, through seeing me being me: God’s child, walking with Him.

So what does shining look like, practically? They say Moses’ face shown so bright after he was with God that they made him put a veil on (Exodus 34:29). It is living life with God. It isn’t being perfect, and it certainly isn’t practicing your smile in the mirror. It isn’t forcing something or planning a list of good works. It is the life that happens when you make up your mind that nothing is going to be between you and God, ever. That whatever it takes—you and God are going to meet up in the morning, and are going to live life together all day, every day. 

I went to a wedding last year, and at the reception, there was music. No one was dancing, but there was space to, and so I pulled my husband’s hand and we danced. I remembered when I got married. I remembered how much I loved him. And I am not a good dancer, but my heart was full and I sat down breathless. One of my old students came up and said, “When I grow up, I want to be like you. I want to be like that.” 

I had shone like a light. They saw something they wanted in me: someone lost in love and happiness. I like to think that is what being a missionary is, living my life with Jesus and people seeing something they want in me. Maybe they will ask me about it. Maybe they won’t. But they praise my Heavenly Father. 

Share - Day 1

Share - Day 1

Written by Ruthann Armentrout

I Peter 3:15 (NIV) says, “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord.  Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.  But do this with gentleness and respect,”  

God gives us opportunities everyday of our life to show His love.  The question is, do we share it or not?  God gives us many doors to choose.  If we choose not to open the door then He will use someone else to do His work and you will miss out on the blessings He has in store for you.

For example, God called me to go to Russia and minister to the children in the Russian orphanages.  I shared the gospel message with the children but no one asked Jesus into their heart at that time.  I felt maybe I hadn't completed God's task.  When I returned home my 8-year-old son asked me why I went so far away and left him at home.  I explained that these children had no parents to love them, but more importantly that they needed Christ's love that would last forever and they could receive the gift of eternal life. 

He held my hand and said that he wanted to ask Christ to be his savior.  God showed me it was Levi's time.  If I hadn't followed His call I wouldn't have shared the special moment with my son.  Levi is in college now, but before he graduated from high school we both returned to Russia together to share His love with orphans.

My challenge to you is to start your day with prayer.  Ask God how He will use you today.  Second, love people around you.  God will place others in your path that need to hear your story.  Last, when God puts it on your heart to share His love, take the risk and do it.  Just look for the blessings He has in store for you! 

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.