Purposeful Life

   

   God made you on purpose with a purpose. I love this saying by Max Lucado. I believe it highlights something very important. God’s sovereignty touches every part of our life experience. I want to highlight two passages in Scripture that really showcase this point. Jeremiah 1:5 says “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.” Second, Psalm 139 reads “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” If you pause for a second you can certainly feel the wonder of that. But let’s dive in deeper to think about this truth so that you can marvel with awe and joy that the God of the universe is involved in the intricate details of each and every second of your live.

   God made you on purpose. Think about that. GOD MADE YOU! Now I will restrain my inner AP biology nerd, but I will give you a scientific fact. In the creation of a human life, did you know that there are over 8.3 million different genetic combinations; only one combination makes you. Any other genetic combination would result in an entirely different human being. So, that means God in His sovereignty placed your parents together at the right time and made sure the right genetic combination came together to create you. God’s sovereignty penetrates the molecular level. He knit you together in your mother’s womb. As the verse in Jeremiah reminds us, God knew you before you were born. But it’s more than that. God does not just know what will happen, but He causes and wills all things that take place. God never acts on the fly or responds to things in the spur of the moment. So, God did not just know you would exist; He planned your existence. The fact that you would exist in a certain place at a certain time is something God designed before the world was made, before time and space and material reality existed. And, if you are Christian, God also ordained your salvation in eternity past. God made you on purpose.

   God also made you with a purpose. Psalm 139 proclaims that all the days ordained for you were written in God’s book before one of them came to be. The beautiful truth is that God has planned out your life for His glory and our ultimate good in Christ. Days and life seasons are not random. Nothing in your life is random. Every moment happens for a reason. Every moment is part of God’s great plan specifically for you. While we are not consecrated prophets like Jeremiah, God has appointed each and every one of us with a task to do. He has gifted you uniquely to accomplish your God-given tasks. No matter your skill set, your vocation, your hobbies, your gifts, God made you with a purpose. 

   I hope this encourages you. No matter what season of life you may be in right now, rest in the truth of these verses. Rest in the fact that God, the all powerful, sovereign God made you on purpose with a purpose. 


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Christmas Light

 

   Picture this. You walk into your dark family room. No lights are on. You can’t really see anything. So, you walk over to the stepper and turn on your Christmas tree.Instantly, beautiful light fills the room, making the ornaments visible, reflecting on the walls, the ceiling. Now you can see. And for the next few seconds, all you want to do is look at the pretty tree in front of you. I don’t know about you, but I love doing this, either early in the morning or in the evening. Now, you might ask, why would I give this example? This description, this simple action of turning on a Christmas tree, can redirect our attention to a greater truth. This beautiful picture reminds us of what God does to the human heart in salvation. 

   Jesus is light and He makes the darkness of sin flee. Before Christ, the darkness of sin fills our hearts. It is only through the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit…it is only through the light God shines in our hearts that brings us to saving faith. Scripture often makes this connection between light and spiritual life. In Jesus “was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” (Jn 1:4-5)For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” (2 Cor. 4:6)  His light that gives life brings us faith and belief. He is “the light of the world, Whoever follows [Him] will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (Jn 8:12) 

    This is the miracle of the Gospel and this is what Christmas reminds us: We receive the greatest gift ever when God shines the light of salvation into our hearts. So, don’t celebrate Christmas in the dark. As you celebrate Christmas, celebrate the Savior, the Light of the World. Don’t let the long to-do lists take your focus away from God. Let simple reminders direct your heart to the saving faith that the light of Christ’s birth brings into a dark world. 


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Who Do You Say That I Am?

 

Matthew 16:13-20

Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?”  And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”  He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.  And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” Then He strictly charged the disciples to tell no one that he was the Christ.

   Who do you say that I am? This is the most important question all of us must answer. Your eternal destiny relates to how you respond to Jesus and the Gospel. Who is Jesus? Most people in Jesus’ day had expectations that the Messiah would be a great prophet. And Jesus is a prophet, but Jesus is not just a prophet. So again, who is Jesus? Fully God, fully man. Son of God. Perfect sacrifice. King of Kings. Lord of Lords. Savior. Redeemer. Lion of Judah. Son of Man. Lamb of God. Alpha. Omega. I AM. Light of the World. Mighty God. The eternal Word. Emmanuel. Messiah. Prince of Peace. Wonderful Counselor. Good shepherd. Living Water. Bread of Life. Cornerstone. 

   This is Jesus. This is who Peter confesses, the Christ, the Son of the living God. But, sadly, not everyone sees Jesus this way. When a person is dead in their sin, Jesus is just another good person or good teacher or great prophet. It takes God to know God. For us to rightly know who Jesus is, God has to reveal Himself to the human heart. God has to take that which is spiritually dead and bring new life. This causes a person to respond to Jesus in faith and love and see Him as He truly is. That’s what Jesus tells us; God revealed Himself to Peter so that Peter had an understanding of who Jesus is.

   Jesus tells us something else, something very important. After Jesus points to God’s revealing power, He talks about rocks. Yes, rocks. And Jesus does an interesting wordplay in Greek that we don’t notice in English. He says, And I tell you, you are Petros (a piece of a rock or stone), and on this Petra (an immovable rock, a massive boulder) I will build my church. So, what is Jesus talking about here? Many people think Jesus refers to Peter as the rock on which the church is built. But He does not say, you are Peter and on you I will build my church. As we see, Jesus makes a distinction between the types of rocks. Along with many other commentators, I believe that Jesus is referring to Himself. He reveals that He is the Rock of the church. Jesus is pointing out that He will build the church on Himself, on what Peter confessed…the church is built on Christ, the Son of the Living God. 

   This is not the first time in Scripture Jesus is referred to as a rock or foundation.

-Isaiah 28:16: Therefore thus says the Lord God, “Behold, I am the one who has laid as a foundation in Zion, a stone, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone, of a sure foundation: ‘Whoever believes will not be in haste.’ 

-Acts 4:11: This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone.

-1 Corinthians 3:11: No one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

   I hope we get the point here. Jesus is the immovable Rock. Jesus is the foundation of the church. Jesus is the one whom Satan can never stand against. The church will advance, succeed, and overcome through their confession that Jesus is the one and only Savior, the perfect Son of God. Peter plays an important part in this…after Jesus’ ascension, he proclaims and preaches Jesus before many. That’s what we need to do as well. In our words and in our actions, we need to proclaim Jesus. And this is the God given responsibility of the church: to proclaim the name of Jesus. So, who do you say that Jesus is? Is He your God? Is He your Savior whom you will boldly proclaim? May God enrich our understanding of who Jesus is and embolden us to proclaim the Gospel.  


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God Moments

 

   Don’t you love God stories…you know, the moments only God could have orchestrated. As in, there is absolutely no logical explanation other than God worked an amazing miracle!  When your car fails and you are able to get off the highway before it completely breaks down. When you randomly have a conversation with an acquaintance about an online high school homeschooling program right when you are thinking of switching away from traditional schooling. When you go to the orthopedist for a routine check up. Your crooked spine is expected to stay the same, or get worse; but the x-ray shows that your spine got a little better. When you email out your resumė to Presbyterian and non-denominational churches who do not list a worship leader on their website. One pastor emails back and says that RiverTree is in the early stages of discussing having a worship position and would love to meet up and talk.  

   What if we viewed all of life in that lens? What if we recognized and praised God for His involvement in all that happens. To do so, we have to remember God’s providence and sovereignty. Everything in our lives happens under God’s providence and sovereignty. What exactly does that mean? Let’s go over some of the basics. 

   God’s sovereignty and providence means that God upholds, preserves, sustains, governs, orders, and causes all things. He did not set the world in motion and then step back and let things happen randomly by chance. He is actively involved in all things. God’s active involvement, God’s providence, is anchored in His eternal plan for His glory and the good of His people. God never responds to things on the fly, because nothing surprises Him or catches Him off guard. So, God’s sovereignty is more than just Him knowing what’s going to happen in advance. He not only knows, but He wills and causes what will happen in the future. That includes creation, good things, bad things…it includes everything. That can be hard to wrap our minds around, so let’s break it down. God’s providence includes all spheres of life. Let’s explore that. Let’s start with creation as a whole and work our way down to human sin and salvation. 

   Throughout the Bible, especially in the Psalms, we see that God Himself makes a blade of grass grow, causes snow to fall, and sends wind throughout the earth. His sovereignty extends to sustaining the smallest molecule. So every drop of rain, every breath-taking sunset, every crashing wave is governed by God. 

   God’s sovereignty goes well beyond the realm of creation. His sovereignty permeates all life events, all human decisions. Nothing, past, present, or future is outside of God’s providence. We don’t often think like this. So let it soak in. Every nation, every person, every human action, and even every sin falls under His sovereignty. How can that be? There is a way in which God is the primary and first cause of everything while, at the same time, God nevers sins and does not tempt people, and humans are still morally responsible beings who make choices. This is a mystery that we as finite people will never fully understand. Even theologians have a hard time putting this Biblical truth into words. I think Joseph said it best in Genesis, “As for you (his brothers) you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good.” So even in the midst of human sin and human decisions God is working behind the scenes to accomplish His great purposes. Think of Jesus’ crucifixion. Men abused Him and sentenced Him to a criminal’s death on the cross. Yet it was God’s eternal purpose from before time began that Jesus would be our sacrifice and pay the price for our sins through His death. This is God’s providence writing history.  

   God in His sovereignty also orchestrates our salvation. We often like to give ourselves credit for our salvation. But we can’t. Salvation is 100% God’s sovereign work from start to finish. He specifically chose a people whom He would rescue from their sin. He makes sure they hear the gospel. He changes their hearts to give them new life. He enables them and causes them to respond in faith to His Son. As Scripture says, For it is by grace that we are saved, it’s not our own doing it’s a gift of God. So our salvation is a God moment, our response to Jesus is God’s providential work in our lives to bring about His desired outcome.

   Why talk about providence and how we think about our life experience? Because it helps us with anxiety. God’s providence is a great comfort for us. Nothing is outside of his control. If something were not under God’s control, then God would not be God. Then something would be greater than God. But that is not the God of the Bible. That is not the God we serve and worship. Our God is all powerful, all knowing and fully sovereign. So, we know that God is working out all things for the good of His chosen children who love Him. We can trust that He is providing the best thing for us at any moment. 

   That is true of our trials as well. Jesus tells us that in this world we will have troubles. Being a Christian does not exempt you from problems. We live in a fallen broken world where evil and Satan seem to win. But we know that all evil and even Satan himself is fully under God’s control. When troubles happen, we know God governs their duration; He knows how they will help us grow to be more like Christ and He will stop them at the right time. Sometimes we see the results in this life; other times God will sustain and provide for us through an ongoing trial until we reach heaven where all troubles disappear. We know God cares about our hurts and pains. He will be our source of hope and surround us with His eternal love. In the midst of our hardships we can trust that He is painting a bigger and better picture than we can ever imagine. 

    So, we need to remember to look back on God’s providence over our lives. It is really helpful. It helps us have hope for the future. Looking back at our God moments and miracles helps to fuel our worship and praise even when the future seems uncertain.  But we know that God’s faithfulness never fails; as He was faithful before and provided before, so he will be faithful and provide just what is needed again. He will never stop providing what is best for His children. So take time. Think of your God stories, your God moments and rest in the God who sovereign and loves you more than you can imagine. 


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First Grade Grammar Lesson

 

Okay, we are going to take a trip back to first grade for a grammar lesson. Verbs…they describe actions. That seems simple enough; in fact we use verbs constantly everyday without thinking about it. But now I want to challenge you to think about verbs….God’s verbs. God always has, always is, and always will act. God did not create the world, set it in motion, and then stand back and watch things unfold. Quite the opposite. God acts. God acts in time. He acts in human history all of the time. There is not one sphere of life, one activity you can do where God in his providence is not acting or working. Let’s walk through some Bible verses and see just how God acts in salvation, real human decisions, and creation.

SALVATION

God’s Saving Work in Israel

Acts 13:16-33 Godchose our fathers and made the people great during their stay in the land of Egypt, and with uplifted arm He led them out…He put up with them in the wilderness….He gave them their land as an inheritance…. He raised up David to be their king, …this man’s offspring God has brought to Israel a Savior, Jesus, as He promised. He has fulfilled to us their children by raising Jesus.

God’s Action in Saving People from Start to Finish

Ephesians 1:4-5 He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world…He predestined us for adoption 

Titus 3:5  He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to hHs own mercy,

Romans 8:29-30 For those whom He foreknew He also predestined…And those whom He predestined He also called, and those whom He called He also justified, and those whom He justified He also glorified.

God’s Action in Believers Good Works

Ephesians 2:10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Philippians 1:6 And I am sure of this, that He who began a good work in you, [He] will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.

Ezekiel 11:19-20 I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh.  Then [because of God’s action] they will follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. 

HUMAN ACTIONS

God’s Action Over and Through Real Human Decisions

Proverbs 19:21 Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.

Daniel 4:35 He does according to His will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay His hand or say to Him, “What have you done?”

Ezra 1:1 The Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom  

Psalm 23:2-3 He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.

God’s Actions Over Kings and Kingdoms

Romans 9:17 Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you”

Isaiah 45:13 I have stirred [Cyrus the King] up in righteousness and I will make all his ways level; he shall build my city and set my exiles free,

Proverbs 21:1 The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord;  He turns it wherever He will.

CREATION

God’s Action in Creating and Sustaining Every Molecule in the Universe

Psalm 147:8-9 He covers the heavens with clouds; He prepares rain for the earth;  He makes grass grow on the hills. He gives to the beasts their food,

Genesis 1:1 In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth

Hebrew 1:3 He upholds the universe by the word of his power. 

Nehemiah 9:6 You have made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them; and You preserve all of them; and the host of heaven worships you.

Isaiah 45:7 I form light and create darkness;  I make well-being and create calamity;

 

Wow, that really is an eye-opener. In those few verses, there were 55 God verbs. God always purposefully acts for the sake of His glory and the good of His people. So, I challenge you… as you do your Bible reading, don’t mindlessly look at the verbs. Revisit first grade. Look for the God verbs and let your heart fill with awe and praise as you see how God is always in action.


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Time for Lent

Easter is nearly here! The time of year where we celebrate our Risen Lord. How are you preparing your heart? It is so easy to become caught up in the routine and everyday busyness, that we often forget to pause and reflect. In our American culture, we often neglect the necessity to intentionally quiet our spirits and allow our souls to absorb the magnitude of our reality. The reality that we don’t get what we deserve. The reality that The One True King has chosen us. The reality that the God of the universe has stopped at nothing to make a way for us.

But how do we do this? How do we practically apply such a profound concept that our finite brains cannot possibly fully comprehend? Maybe, we simply start with stillness. Maybe, we intentionally set aside time to hear from our Creator and Savior. And perhaps, by setting our agenda aside, we can intentionally allow room for the one who deserves our all.

But what if we don’t stop there? And instead, we live given. Because if we live with walls to block out inevitable pain and discomfort that we all are all too familiar with, all the love that is trying to get in will be blocked out as well. Maybe, we admit our brokenness. We need to first admit this to ourselves. And then, take it immediately to our Savior. And maybe then we can be brave enough to admit our brokenness to each other. Because, what every broken heart needs is to break down its self-protecting walls. What every one of us broken beings needs is to be vulnerable enough to share its brokenness. You will see as much healing in your life as you let people see the brokenness in your life. You are as healable as you are vulnerable.

Perhaps, this Easter season we can do it differently. Perhaps we can reflect on what our Savior has done for us through our intentional vulnerability as we live given.


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Party With A Purpose

 

   Have any of you ever heard the song, “Every party has a pooper that’s why we invited you, party pooper, party pooper.” I think someone wrote that song for me. To put it mildly, I am not a big fan of parties at all. I will do what I can to avoid them. As an introvert, parties are the exact opposite of what I like. For group settings, I appreciate one on one gatherings or getting together with a very small number of people. Maybe some of you are like me, total introverts who know what I’m talking about. Maybe some of you are the opposite, maybe you are an extrovert, a people person, or the life of the party. Maybe you are somewhere in between. I don’t know. So how can we, as introverts, extroverts, and middleverts, if you will,  think together about the RTCC habit “throw a party once a month”?

   Well, we have to remember that the point of the party is really spiritual in nature. We do it for God’s glory. We do it for the Gospel. The Gospel means everything. So many people need to hear the good news that Jesus died and rose again and with Him there is abundant forgiveness to those who place their faith in Him alone. Normally, we don’t have conversations like that off the bat or with people we don’t know well; you are most likely going to share the Gospel with people you know, people you have a relationship with. 

   That’s why building relationships is so important. That’s why we have “parties”. These “parties” provide a place for conversations. They create safe spaces that foster a relaxed environment where people can speak freely about their life, their triumphs and their hurts. So really, these “parties” can show people that you truly care about them. Once relationships are built, these “parties” give you opportunities to share about Jesus and the Gospel or to move up one conversational gear with unbelievers. Also, they create time to fellowship about spiritual things with other believers. 

   These parties can be large group gatherings or they can be as simple as you meeting with someone one on one. There is no fixed mold. Do something you love to do.  But, remember we need to be intentional about this. Put something on your calendar. Schedule a “party” before life pulls you a million different ways. Keep in mind one last thing: don’t lose sight of God in the process. Don’t have a party just to have a party. Have a party with a purpose. Have a party for His glory. 


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Why Parables?? (Devotional on Matthew 13:10-17)

Matthew 13 focuses primarily on Jesus teaching the people through the use of parables. A total of four parables are presented in this chapter. However, right in the middle of this section, there is a small excursus on why Jesus uses parables at all (vv.10-17). In simplest terms, Jesus says that he uses parables to fulfill the prophecy from Isaiah “You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving. For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise, they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.”

 

This explanation, when taken in isolation, feels callous. It paints Jesus as someone intentionally trying to hide his message. As someone seemingly trying to mislead people. However, I do not believe this is the intent of this explanation or of Jesus’ fondness of parables in the first place. At the most basic level, what is a parable? It is a morality tale. It is a story told to impart a message of right and wrong or of good and evil. Perhaps, the best analogous modern example are fairy-tales and fables. What does the story of the tortoise and the hare tell us? That pride can be the downfall of the powerful. What about Hansel and Gretel? That greed and gluttony will harm you in the end.

 

Stories like these are how we take hard to understand and high concept ideas and make them more palatable for children. I believe that Jesus is doing the same thing with his use of parables. He is taking concepts that might be difficult to understand and putting them in terms and situations that virtually everyone around him could understand. He is making it as easy as possible for people to hear and understand his message.

 

With this idea in mind, then his explanation of why he uses parables shifts slightly. Now, his use of parables does not come off as an attempt to confuse people into ‘hearing but never understanding’ but rather as an earnest attempt to make his message easy to grasp. By using parables,  Jesus is trying to cast as wide a net as possible, to help as many people as possible understand his message of salvation. This understanding then puts the Isaiah quote in a different context. It becomes less a stance on Jesus gatekeeping and more a disheartened plea for people to just simply open up their hearts and hear the words that Jesus is saying.

 

Jesus uses parables to give us as much information as possible, in a way we can most easily understand. It is Jesus taking the theologically rich topics of salvation, faith, atonement, and divine judgment and framing them so that they make sense and are easy to remember. It is Jesus’ way of making sure that as few people as possible fall into the camp of those who ‘hear but never perceive.’ 


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Answering the Call

Luke 2 beautifully tells of what we call the Christmas story. I love this passage. And it doesn’t seem like Christmas until we have heard this passage recited by Linus on Charlie Brown’s Christmas.

But today, let’s zoom in on something specific within this passage. Take a look at verse 15. When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

The shepherds who maintained a humble posture and kept their hearts open regardless of their lowly circumstances, received the first birth announcement of the long-awaited Savior, the Messiah!

And when the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go to Bethlehem! Let’s see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” They hurried to the village and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the manger.

The Shepherds didn’t hesitate, and they immediately and obediently went. They heard a message from God. They received the message from God. And they acted on that message from God!

The supernatural angelic concert had concluded. The singers had disappeared in the deep silence from where they had come. The shepherds, gathering up their scattered thoughts, said one to another (as if their hearts were speaking all at once and all in unison), “Let’s go to Bethlehem! Let’s see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” The response was immediate! They do not shut out this heavenly truth by doubt and vain questioning. And neither do they keep it at a distance. No, they yield themselves up to it completely and entirely. And we have to wonder, as they immediately made their way to Bethlehem, in the quick step and in the rapid beating of their hearts, could one trace the vibrations of the angel-song? These shepherds are ready with such a perfect acceptance. Their hearts are practically leaping forward to meet and embrace this Gospel, and the Son of the God of the angels.

Do we have the same obedience to the extraordinary call that God calls us to? Do we expect to hear from God regularly? Even Frequently?  Do we have the courage to seek and expect the extraordinary?

May we find within us hearts like shepherds and voices like angels.  May we surrender to the beauty and glory of God born in a manger.  See how God loves us!


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Move up a Conversational Gear

At RiverTree, when we speak of conversational gears, we are speaking to 4 different dimensions of conversation. 1.) Casual, 2.) Meaningful, 3.) Spiritual, 4.) Salvation.

As we get to know people, moving up conversational gears happens naturally. When you meet someone for the first time, your conversation typically revolves around what you have in common. The place at which you are in attendance, or maybe the organization that you are involved with, the job, the school, the project, etc. As you see this person regularly, you get to know them. You talk about your personal lives. You ask them non intimidating questions about their family, or pets, or other interests. And once we have a personal relationship with someone, when they know that we are a safe person and that we genuinely care, we can ask them spiritual questions.

 This often happens as we get to know them personally; we can talk about how we managed through a crisis or a particularly difficult time by talking about how it was through prayer and God’s strength that we got through. We can ask if they have ever experienced anything like that.

We don’t have to go overboard with starting “Jesus conversations”. These conversations really do happen naturally. However, we do have to be intentional. And we can’t chicken out when that moment occurs. And guess what, you can still do this even if you feel uncomfortable having “spiritual conversations”.  It’s ok. Read the latter half of the New Testament, even Paul had some anxiety about sharing spiritual truths.

I invite you to pray about this. Ask God to bring about the people that you are to speak with. And ask God for strength and courage in the moment. We have the Holy Spirt to guide and direct us. Rely on that power!

So, my question for you is, who are you having conversations with? And how can you move it up a gear? What is your next step?

Consider these words from 2 Corinthians 5:11-21:

Because we stand in awe of the one true Lord, we make it our aim to convince all people of the truth of the gospel; God sees who we really are, and I hope in some way that you’ll look deeply into your consciences to see us as well. But we hope you understand that we are not trying to prove ourselves to you or pull together a résumé that will impress you. We are simply hoping that you will find a sense of joy in connecting with us. And when you are approached by others (who may value appearances more than the heart) asking questions about us, you will be able to offer an answer for them. If we seem out of control or act like fanatics, it is for God. But if we act in a coherent and reasonable way, it is for you. You see, the controlling force in our lives is the love of the Anointed One. And our confession is this: One died for all; therefore, all have died. He died for us so that we will all live, not for ourselves, but for Him who died and rose from the dead. Because of all that God has done, we now have a new perspective. We used to show regard for people based on worldly standards and interests. No longer. We used to think of the Anointed the same way. No longer. Therefore, if anyone is united with the Anointed One, that person is a new creation. The old life is gone—and see—a new life has begun! All of this is a gift from our Creator God, who has pursued us and brought us into a restored and healthy relationship with Him through the Anointed. And He has given us the same mission, the ministry of reconciliation, to bring others back to Him. It is central to our good news that God was in the Anointed making things right between Himself and the world. This means He does not hold their sins against them. But it also means He charges us to proclaim the message that heals and restores our broken relationships with God and each other.

 So we are now representatives of the Anointed One, the Liberating King; God has given us a charge to carry through our lives—urging all people on behalf of the Anointed to become reconciled to the Creator God. He orchestrated this: the Anointed One, who had never experienced sin, became sin for us so that in Him we might embody the very righteousness of God

 


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