The Clock, The Compass, The Calling

In my life there are three things that help me to become who God wants me to be
Who I am as a person – a disciple – and who I am becoming as I journey with Him
These same three things help me to do what God is calling me to do as a believer
And the call on my life – and on your life as well – changes over time as circumstances change and as you grow and mature in the faith
The clock, the compass and the calling … and I want us to look briefly at these three
The clock helps me to stay on track with what I am doing today – what I need to accomplish today
1 Corinthians 12:7a “Each person is given something to do that shows who God is: Everyone gets in on it, everyone benefits.”

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EVERYONE HAS A STORY – Part Four

In review, we have previously looked at the following points regarding telling your story about what Jesus has done and is doing in your life…

1> Ask for permission and don’t be pushy.                                                                                    2> Use ordinary language.                                                                                                                  3> Start briefly and share more as it becomes appropriate.                                                        4> Highlight God’s presence and power

5> Clearly present the before-and-after pictures

6> Share the source of life transformation

7> Let the joy shine through

8> COMMUNICATE WITH HUMILITY

A testimony is not a bludgeon we use to pound people into submission. It is a witness to what God is doing in our lives and a gift for others to enjoy. We need to be careful that our testimony does not come across as a speech in which we tell people that we are right and they are wrong, or point out how good we are now and how bad everyone else is who does not know Jesus. Rather, a testimony is a humble declaration that God is moving in our lives and that we are grateful for what He is doing.

9> REMEMBER WE HAVE MANY TESTIMONIES

Be careful not to get locked into one testimony. Don’t just memorize a scrip and robotically deliver the same words with the same inflection every time you tell your story. Instead, listen to the people around you and discover where they are in life. When you share a testimony, make sure it is relevant for them.

For example, if you are talking with someone who is dealing with loneliness and you have experienced God’s presence in a way that has strengthened you when you have felt alone, share that testimony. But if you are conversing with a spiritual seeker who is wondering if God provides for our needs and takes care of His people, you might tell a very different story – a different part of your testimony. As you walk with Jesus, you will have more and more stories about how a relationship with God transforms various areas of your life.

People love to hear stories, and that’s all a testimony is. In the course of most days you will have opportunities to share organically about the difference your faith in Jesus is making in your life. Pray for these opportunities, notice when the door is open, and then share your stories in a natural way. 

The Holy Spirit will infuse what you share with power. Remember, your part is not to change lives or even to have all the answers. But you can talk about the ways God is moving in your life. Your stories might be just what another person needs to hear.

EVERYONE HAS A STORY – Part Three

This is the third in this series of blogs regarding giving your personal testimony. Previous blogs had commented on the following points regarding giving a part of your Jesus story…

1> Ask for permission and don’t be pushy.                                                                 2> Use ordinary language.                                                                                              3> Start briefly and share more as it becomes appropriate.                                  4> Highlight God’s presence and power

5> CLEARLY PRESENT THE BEFORE AND AFTER PICTURES

When giving your testimony work to present a contrast between who you were and who you are now. In other words, gently state the difference encountering Jesus has made in your life. For example:

  • From hate-filled and self-centered relationships to loving and caring relationships
  • From a life without purpose and direction to a life of deep meaning and clear direction
  • From fear of death to confidence in this life and hope for eternity

Though such a pattern isn’t mandatory for every testimony, it does help people see the difference Jesus can make in a life. If you have experienced a transforming work of God, let it become the focus of one of your testimonies. Here are a few more examples:

  • From loneliness to a sense of belonging (to God and His family, the Church)
  • From anxiety to peace
  • From financial irresponsibility and fear to hard work and financial stability
  • From selfishness to generosity
  • From addiction and enslavement to freedom from addictions

The list of options is as diverse as our life experiences.

6> SHARE THE SOURCE OF LIFE TRANSFORMATION

As we share the story of our life transformation, it is critical that we articulate that Jesus is the source of the change. We could not have brought it about on our own. We don’t want our lost friends and family members to think that the transformation in our lives is the result of going to church or hanging out with a nice new group of people or even getting ‘religious.’ The only power that can changes from the inside out is the work of Jesus. His death on the cross, in our place, and His resurrection in glory are the reason we are becoming new people. We should be careful to express this as we share our stories. 

7> LET JOY SHINE THROUGH

Joy is a universal language. If we talk about God’s work in our lives, the amazing changes we are experiencing, and the relationship we have with Jesus, but do so without joy, we will send the wrong message. Knowing the Father, walking with Jesus, and being filled with the Holy Spirit should bring a flow of joy that is visible and contagious.

This is not to say that we should paste on a fake smile and blurt, “Praise the Lord,” at the end of every sentence. It means the joy of the Lord is evident in our lives, even in the tough times. When the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) is growing in our lives, people will see it. Joy is always part of our story, because we know Jesus, the Author of joy. 

The Great Challenge

Setting the stage:

Jesus died on the cross of Calvary, was buried, rose from the dead, and appeared to His disciples a number of times over a period of 40 days…
Jesus, on one occasion, told them to head to Galilee because this is where most of His followers lived…
He was planning to meet them there…
We are talking here of more than the twelve He chose to be leaders in this movement … now eleven because Judas betrayed Him and then took his own life
We are talking here of a good number of followers…

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Basics of the Christian Faith

2 Corinthians 13:14
The love of God the Father
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ
The Fellowship of the Holy Spirit
Fellowship:
Social interaction
Partnering with
Participating in
The Holy Spirit is a person – He has a personality, purpose, plans

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The Simplicity of the Faith

If it is complicated – it is religion. If it is simple, it is Jesus! And, we do manage to complicate the Christian faith. Often, in fact, we make it into another religion. We take the basics of the faith and add things to it that take our focus off of Jesus and onto programs, buildings, budgets, bodies (number of people attending), and baptisms (number of people publicly confessing their faith).

In time, Jesus seems to get lost totally. Listen to the worship songs today; most are about us, not Jesus. Listen to sermons; most are about life principles, spiritual deeper life, the benefits we gain from salvation – healing, deliverance, prosperity. Jesus has gotten lost. Not His choice – we did it.

So, we end up with “another Jesus, another gospel, and another spirit” as Paul mentions in 2 Corinthians. And, often, we are totally unaware of it. May I add, “another church” (small ‘c’ because it is not the Church that Jesus is the Head of and that He is building). And, we end up in bondage to legalism or life lived without boundaries (license) and no longer experience the liberty and freedom Jesus spoke of and died to release.

It is time to refocus on Jesus. Maybe it is time to focus for the first time on Jesus. He is to be our focus – the King and His Kingdom. To focus or refocus will mean decluttering our spiritual life. It will mean purging religion out of our system (easier said than done). It will mean learning to travel light and experience life as it was meant to be lived.

Bible Reading – Hints and Ideas

As I speak with believers it is evident that many of them are not doing well spiritually. From young to old I hear about their spiritual lives being “stuck.” In other words, there is no life in their spiritual life. And, almost every time they comment that their Bible reading is adding nothing to their walk with God and, at best, is seriously boring.
As I spoke with them at length and thought about their comments I realized that there are a number of mistakes we make when reading the Bible. Often these mistakes are “life-threatening” and the result of people not being taught when first saved about how to read the Word of God and use it in their lives. Much could be said but let’s start with a few points…

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Prophetic Prayer

Around the world today there is a dawning of a new understanding of prayer

And, here on the home front we need a new understanding of prayer
For most believers, their prayer life lacks life
For some, their prayer time is seriously boring
For others, it is seen as a religious obligation to be fulfilled daily
For almost all, it takes up very little time on any given day
And, obviously it is mostly pathetic and not powerful

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Pitfalls On Your Walk With Jesus

Paul, an apostle whose life was totally transformed by his encounter with the Lord Jesus Christ, tells us – no, stronger than that – exhorts us to “redeem the time because the days are evil.” (Ephesians 5:16)
On our journey with Jesus we have much to learn and it takes time to get to know Him better as each day comes. It takes time to learn how to live a life pleasing to Him. It takes time to learn to live before Him. It takes time to grow in His life – learning to release His life from within and allowing Him to live His life through us. And, I observe that a lot of believers are wasting their time. And, let’s admit it, our time is limited and each day seems to have more to do than we can accomplish. So, we cannot afford to waste time.
Here are some ways I see that we waste our time as believers and disciples of the Lord…

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