Ordinary People – Extraordinary God

I was in the grocery store on a Monday morning. Not my choice as it was an early Monday morning and I was still exhausted from an 18 hour Sunday on the road ministering. I am standing in a long line – yes, it was really long and very slow and didn’t just seem to be because I wanted to be somewhere else doing something else, anything else. I am talking to the mother of two in front of me in line.

Started innocent enough – two young children who I relate to well – children are wonderful; adults can be a bother and usually are. So, I am having fun picking up teddy bears and other assorted things while talking to them. And I mention to the mother that long, long ago (and it does feel like it was in a galaxy far, far away) I use to shop with six kids tucked under my arm. The little girl piped up and say that there were three of them but one died. Her mother looked very sad and basically told her daughter that was enough. So, having already had the door opened for me – I jumped right in and told her that it was okay because she would, one day, see her in heaven. After all, the mother told her daughter to be quiet – not me. That comment went no where with the mother but directly into the heart of the little girl. She brightened up and said that her little sister had been really cute and fun to have but after a few days at home she died … and so I went back to my Heaven comment… it was a great shopping trip.

Said all that to say this: We do not need to be special or anointed or preachers to share the gospel. Mainly, we just have to be willing. We can be ordinary people because we have an extraordinary message backed by a supernatural and awesome God. I have learned that I need to step out in faith and begin the conversation. I simply obey God and step out into the adventure. This is demonstrating faith because my basic nature would be to say nothing and simply mind my own business and be quiet. Introverts are like that. Faith is not simply believing something. It is believing something and taking action in accordance with that belief. Hebrews 11:6 states that “without faith it is impossible to please God.” But it is also true that with faith, with the appropriate kinds of belief and obedience – we will receive power as power is needed. After all, the power was given so that we could be witnesses (Acts 1:8).

Are you ordinary? Are you willing? Will you take one step today towards reaching someone for Christ? As you do, you will find that God will come alongside of you and help you make the kind of eternal impact that nobody can make on their own.

Prophetic Sense

The economical, political, and religious systems of our world are in great turmoil. What has worked in each of these realms in the distant and recent past is no longer working. All three structures or systems are in desperate trouble and desperate means are being taken to rescue them.

However, I believe the Lord is saying that these systems do not stand on their own as individual issues but that all three – economic, politics, and religion – are all interconnected and what happens in one sphere is having deep effects on each of the other spheres. Read more


After your ministry in our church things just went uphill and we have spiritual growth. Here are some examples: Arsen recently started to attend church more faithfully and God changes him through the prophetic words that you spoke over him. He is has Kazakh nationality which means that he’s a Muslim but God has already changed him. He is a blessed brother. Sasha, who is the worship leader, was really touched by God when you released the prophetic words over him. Now he has great changes in the area of communion with God. Sergei, the little blond guy, also improved in his Bible reading and prayer. Read more

Have You Exercised Lately?

Too many Christians are so busy with life and, yes, even with ministry, that they don’t take time to develop their spiritual life. This is a fatal mistake because you can’t give what you don’t have. So, if you are not a strong Christian – you will not be able to help others become strong as believers. If you are not alive – others you help won’t come alive. If you are not an active and dynamic disciple of the Lord you will not be able to “go into all the world and make (active and dynamic) disciples.

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Always Be Prepared

Many people, probably some of your own family and friends, are just a few good questions away from taking Christ seriously. Yes, other concerns will sometimes arise, including lifestyle issues and a lack of willingness to yield their lives to God. But as long as people are held back by intellectual objections, they will use these reasons for not considering changes in those other areas of their lives. So, we must be ready to wield logic and evidence in order to show that the Christian faith is true and worth fully embracing.

The Bible tells us we should always be ready to give a clear and thoughtful response to people’s questions. 1 Peter 3:15 says, “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.” The Greek word that is translated “answer” in that verse is ‘apologia,’ which means “a speech of defense.” It’s from this that we get our Christian term “apologetics,” which is a reasoned defence of our faith.

It is seriously important to note that this directive is not just for pastors, professors, and theologians. The verse tells ALL OF US as disciples of Christ to be ready to explain and support our faith. Consequently, this means we need to be reading books and learning about our faith as well as the most practical and reasonable ways to share it in the culture in which we now find ourselves.

So, how can you step into the adventure of giving good answers and evidence to help people in their spiritual journeys? Read, listen, study, prepare, and invest in resources (both for yourself and that you can hand out to others). This way you will be equipped and you wil also have interesting and timely resources to give to those you speak with to assist them in taking steps towards faith in Jesus Christ.

As disciples of the Lord – this is not an option and must be taken seriously and acted upon. It is our task to go into all the world and make disciples. And, if we are truly following Jesus we will do just this with great passion and zeal – just as He did because He left Heaven and became one of us so that He could “seek and save the lost.” We are simply following in His footsteps. After all, He did say, “follow Me and I will make you fishers of men.” Are you fishing yet?

Life Isn’t…

Life is not about having, it’s about being. That is a hard to sell truth in today’s consumer society. But sell it we must. The Bible states that fulfillment and contentment are found only in who you are and not what you are able to accumulate and surround yourself with.

You could surround yourself with all that money can buy, and you’ll still be as miserable as a human can be. You will only find contentment when your talents and passion are completely engaged, in full force – doing what God has created you and designed you to do for Him. As believers we need to recognize instant self-gratification for what it is. As disciples of the Lord, resist the temptation to grab for material objects like the perfect house, the coolest clothes, or the hottest or best car. Even a new iPad or iPhone 4 will not satisfy the feeling that is deep inside. Only Jesus and His plan and purpose for your life can bring that inner contentment and feeling of satisfaction.

The “if I just had X, I would be happy” syndrome is a mass delusion. When you look for happiness in mere objects, they are never enough. Sitting in boxes in the basements of many homes are the wonderful treasures that people have accumulated for themselves while living. Now that they have died and faced judgment, these “treasures,” which were costly and once so important to have, are considered “junk” by those who sorted through their loved one’s belongings after they died.

Life’s purpose is not to accumulate all that you can or even to simply enjoy all the pleasures that money can buy. It is not found in taking annual vacations, weekends at the lake, a cottage, a new car, the latest fashions, new furniture, a football game… It is not found in perfect health, looking like someone on the cover of a woman’s magazine or the latest superstar of the men’s fitness world… It is found only in your relationship with the Lord and with finding and fulfilling His plan and purpose for your life. Discovering, grabbing hold of, running with, and doing His perfect will for your life is the only way to have lasting satisfaction and fulfillment in life.

And life on this earth is relatively short so don’t wait too long to go looking for His divine destiny for your special life. Today would be a good time to start. After all, there is so much He wants you to become involved in and so many lives that He wants you to touch for Him … and the adventure awaits.

The Adaptability Factor

Tony Morgan in his blog writes, “When churches become married to their methods rather than their mission, the church plateaus and eventually declines.” I agree. And, regretfully, I see a lot of churches married to the methods (or non-methods) and so therefore no longer impacting the culture and society in which they function because they have become irrelevant. They are irrelevant because they are out of touch with the reality around them. They have lost the adaptability factor needed to continue to touch lives in an ever-changing and fast-changing world. The one in which all believers live today no matter where on the planet they reside.

If we are to be effective today in the only mission the Lord gave to His Church – to go into all the world and made disciples – we need to see ourselves as a minority in our culture. Nations once founded upon Christian principles are now post-Christian and most do not have a Christian consciousness. The Bible is no longer held to be truth and no longer a standard by which they live because it is not a standard that they believe in. In fact, many under the age of 40 have never read any part of the book.

Once we begin to see ourselves as belonging to a minority within a predominantly pagan society with vestiges of cultural Christianity (not the real thing), we are freed up to reorganize our beliefs and practices in a more distinctly biblical pattern. Discipleship cannot mean going with the flow; it requires swimming against the current not only of contemporary culture, but often of contempory church life and experience. And, of course, the pre-requisite to discipleship is seeing people come to the cross and become born again – and that is no longer happening either.

A church, when it has lost its mission, has lost its only reason for existing. It has ceased to be a church and has become a social club, a nice place for nice people to meet, a social action group, a hospital for emotional and mentally sick people, a place to receive a handout. None of these are the mission of the church – all of these things may be a means to an end but the end of all things, the purpose why we exist, is to win the lost and make disciples of them for the Lord Jesus. Pure and simply. We must not focus on the means or the method – we must focus on the required outcome – making disciples.

This means there are few true churches functioning in our cities and towns. There are few who are acting as salt and light within their communities. There are many buildings called churches, many people called believers, much preaching and teaching, but little effective outreach or evangelism. This is about to change. God will have His way among His people. Change is upon us – all of us. I literally see God pushing His way to the front of the Church and moving people to the sidelines as He does so. Many who are leaders now will not be leaders shortly. Many who minister within the assembly will no longer have His permission nor anointing to minister to believers. Many who look good on the outside will be seen for what they are – white-washed tombs decayed and dead on the inside – going through the motions without the emotions … holding to an outward form of religion but denying the life-changing power of it.

When the push and shove are all over – the Church will look very different than it does today. The leadership will be younger; the numbers will be smaller; the focus will be the lost; the power will be evident; and people will be getting born again and entering into a discipling process that will release life and more workers for the harvest field.

A season of massive change is upon us and many will not like what they are about to see happen to their comfortable but powerless and ineffective faith.

Oh! Lighten Up Would You!

When teaching people to prophesy I always tell them to take God seriously, take the prophetic seriously, but don’t take themselves seriously. The same can be said when training people to share their faith with others. Lighten up and don’t take yourself too seriously. Here is what I know about witnessing to others…

1> You will offend some. The Bible states that the preaching of the cross is an offense and so logically you will offend some you speak to. Get over it.

2> Some will simply reject the Gospel and walk away no matter how good you are at getting through their defenses and presenting the good news in a way that is friendly and loving. Remember – they are rejecting the Gospel and not you. And, oh yes, get over it.

3> Some will ask questions that you can’t answer. That is okay as no one can have so much information that they can immediately answer all questions raised. Simply let them know you will find the answer and get back to them. And then do just that. And, get over it!

4> Some people you witness to will become violent and literally attack you. They did the same with Jesus so why should you expect something different. Just as they hated Jesus they will hate you. Get over it.

So simply put – stop taking yourself so seriously. it is not about you – it is all about Him.

And, wen witnessing and sharing remember to use humor as humor can lubricate conversations, forge an instant bond between strangers, and quickly create rapport where none had existed – even when the joke is on us. In other words, lighten up! As Sheldon Vanauken famously noted, when Christian are “somber and joyless, when they are self-righteous and smug in complacent consecration, when they are narrow and repressive, then Christianity dies a thousand deaths.”

If anyone should be joyful and optimistic, full of life and enthusiasm, it is people whose guilt has been permanently lifted off their shoulders, who have a personal relationship with their Creator, and who are assured of spending eternity in His perfect presence. What is not to like about all that? We ought to be ready to laugh, quick with a winsome quip, and eager to see the lighter side of life.

Humor is important in the adventure of personal evangelism because it dismantles stereotypes about Christians, it shows we are ordinary and enjoy having a good time (the kind of good times that don’t bring regret), and it establishes common ground. In other words, we usually laugh because we can personally identify with the situation being presented having been there and done that in the past before being born again. What’s more humor breaks down defenses and makes sharing the Gospel much easier.

[There is] a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance.” Ecclesiastes 3:4

Our Faith Is Not True Because We Believe It

Often when I am out witnessing to the young people I am called to reach someone tells me they would like to believe what I am telling them but they have doubts about the Christian faith. Heck, even talking to people in the churches where I preach regularly I hear these types of comments – from believers none-the-less. When someone expresses a doubt while you are talking with them about Jesus – it does not help to tell them that they simply must try harder to believe.

Spiritual confidence – our own and that of the people we want to reach – comes when we ask questions honestly, face objections squarely, and present information accurately. Ultimately, our faith is not true because we believe it; rather, we believe it because it is true. Christians, and everyone searching for God, should be lovers of truth who base their beliefs on what is real. We have nothing to fear because our faith rests on a bedrock of genuine facts.

It is easy to say that our faith is built upon facts, but it’s another to really believe it. We can’t convey spiritual confidence to others if we don’t possess it ourselves. So, what can we do to gain assurance of our beliefs? You are most likely not going to be like the answer. To have confidence in the facts and assurance that they are true and that you can thus handle any questions you are asked or doubts that are expressed to you by others – you need to do your homework. Yes, your pastor may know most or all of the answers but self-assurance doesn’t come vicariously from others or through intellectual osmosis. You have got to get it the old fashioned way: through serious study.

The apostle Paul stated: “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). This includes spending time reading, studying, and even memorizing parts of the Bible. There is no substitute for knowing the Word of God so you can accurately and convincingly convey God’s truth to people you talk to.

Still, that is not enough in a secular, post-Christian, post-modern culture like ours. Today if you answer someone’s question by quoting a Bible verse, you will likely be asked why you believe the Bible. When that happens, it won’t be enough to simply say because it is God’s Word to us. They don’t believe that. You will need to know WHY it is the book for you and WHY you believe it – rather than some other religious text – or none at all.

There are some great books to help you to gain this confidence and the ability to defend your faith and state emphatically why you believe the Bible to be the only source of truth. Some include:

1> The Case of Christ – Lee Stroble
2> The Case for Faith – Lee Stroble
3> Choosing Your Faith … In a World of Spiritual Options – Mark Mittelberg
4> Contagious Christians – Lee Stroble and Mark Mittelberg

Have a go at knowing what you believe and why you believe it. Then go with confidence and share your faith in a world where everyone has doubts and questions. And, have fun.

Comfort or Discomfort – Just Do it!

Yesterday we were talking about the often forgotten call upon every disciple of Jesus to seek and save the lost as Jesus did (Luke 19:10). In the blog I mentioned six different styles of witnessing and gave a Bible example for each. It is okay to go back and have a look at that blog… in fact, it would be good to read it if you have yet to do so and review it is you have read it.

All of us have a style of evangelism that syncs up well with our personality. Yet there are circumstances where we need to move beyond our usual approach in order to reach someone who is in urgent need of Christ. Yes, it may make us feel a bit awkward, but our discomfort is not nearly as important as their eternity.

An example might help here … You may know a person with only a short time to live, or one who is about to do something that is somewhat dangerous and that could be life-threatening. It may be a person you will probably never get an opportunity to see again, someone maybe without other Christian influences in his life. At such times, merely planting a spiritual seed isn’t enough. We have to cast aside our own discomfort and adopt to some of the apostle Peter’s direct or confrontational style, even though it may not be our own style of preference or one we are comfortable with.

But have confidence: when those circumstances arise, you won’t be alone. As I have found out many times, God is right there helping me to present the gospel in a way basically foreign to me personally but needed by the person I am witnessing to. God loves them more than I do – and so He is right there to help me to share the gospel in a way that I find uncomfortable and simply not me.

You can trust that when you have pushed yourself as far as you can in the adventure of evangelism, at that critical time, He is going to show up for you. His grace will be there helping you leave your comfort zone and still be effective in spite of your discomfort.

Hebrews 12:15 “See to it that no one misses the grace of God.”