As you see on your right, the Partner Party 2016 is getting closer! I, personally, hope to celebrate with you at this very special the together. Limited space available. Please RSVP today by clicking here. Let’s celebrate and rejoice TOGETHER because:
The Lord has done many wonderful things! Everyone who is pleased with God’s marvelous deeds will keep them in mind (Psalm 111:2).
I recently was asked to speak on this subject. I’m expecting this article to receive the most
hits on my website! Humans will do anything to protect ourselves, set up the right precautions, execute certain protection plans just to avoid suffering. So I’m giving you my three top secrets to avoiding suffering:
You cannot avoid suffering. Did you see this coming? Or is this first point a surprise just like you’re shocked each time you suffer? It’s not hard to prove this first point… I was born! I was born with Cerebral Palsy, so I roll around in a wheelchair with a speech impediment. There is nothing I can do to avoid this! A lot of you have heard the powerful outcome of my story as I have spoken about it all over the world. I spent most of my life attempting to avoid the elephant in the room and pretended like my Cerebral Palsy did not exist. Pretending like your suffering does not exist ALWAYS worsens your suffering. We always go to something to cope with suffering, don’t we? What do you escape to with your suffering? Humans escape to gambling, relationships, alcohol, junk food, sex, and the list goes on. We see proof in the revenue made in these industries capitalizing on human suffering. Suffering is inevitable! The Bible states: “You have to suffer various kinds of trials for a little while (1 Peter 1:6).”
Go through the suffering with Jesus.True freedom is found when we stop dealing with suffering in our own ways and start suffering with Jesus. The Apostle Paul beautifully illustrates this through these words while in prison: “For you have been given not only the privilege of trusting in Christ but also the privilege of suffering for him (Philippians 1:29 NLT).” For a long time, with friends all around me, I had deep loneliness. I preferred talking with them about my suffering rather than talking and experiencing my suffering with the all powerful creator of the universe. “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses. Instead, we have one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet he never sinned (Hebrews 4:15).” When I truly started being with Jesus who sympathizes more than any other and talking with Him intimately about my suffering and being transparent and vulnerable with Him with my suffering, Jesus, the Wounded Healer, coined by Henri Nouwen, began to free me and heal me. “He personally carried our sins in his body on the cross so that we can be dead to sin and live for what is right. By his wounds you are healed (1 Peter 2:24).”
Please take some time and reflect on your suffering. What or who do you go to in your pain? What are some practical ways you can suffer with Jesus? Now that you’ve put your trust into Jesus, been baptized and resurrected with Jesus and live in that victory, what are some tangible ways your daily life is different? I’d love to continue the conversation with you! Comment below. If this helped you, will you share this blog with your friends and family network now?
Anyone who knows me knows I love to meet people. As I have followed Christ over the years, I have realized that the purpose of each encounter I have with people, whether in a coffee shop, grocery store, or gas station, is, as a former mentor, Stanley Ship, told me, is to “put in a good word for Jesus.” Here are six practical tips that help me share Jesus in everyday conversations:
God is the main evangelist. God saves people; we do not. This powerful truth lifts a heavy undue burden off of us. God is pursuing people with His love. His Holy Spirit is the one who convicts and draws someone to put their faith in Jesus. So, just relax. We have the joy of joining God in what He’s doing.
YOU have a major role! These semantics are common in certain circles of pop theology today but not in the Bible: “God does not need you.” The truth is God invites us to join Him in the Great COmmission. In fact, Paul clearly and passionately exclaims in Romans: “How then can they call on the One they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the One of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone to preach? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news (Romans 10:14-15)!”
The Holy Spirit in you empowers you. God, Himself, the Holy Spirit lives inside of us. His will is for people to be saved. He speaks for us, and He reminds us of what Jesus says in conversations. Jesus encourages us in our Gospel conversations: “For it is not you who will be speaking—it will be the Spirit of your Father speaking through you (Matthew 10:20).”
Initiate conversation. I have never met anyone who does not like for someone to ask how they are. Although we live in a world of connectivity through digital social networks, people often feel disconnected, are more isolated in real life and do not often get asked how they are. This week, step out, even if it’s out of your comfort zone, and ask someone simply, “How are you?” Ask about their lives and their story.
Mention Jesus. There are many outgoing people. I’m outgoing and could have ten to twenty conversations a day and never mention Jesus. But I would miss out on my God-given purpose when I do not have purposeful conversations centering on Christ. Like my late mentor, Stanley Shipp said “put a good word in for Jesus”. This might be saying something like, “God has given us a beautiful day.” Most of the time, if the person is interested in talking about God, they’ll hear my faith and continue to converse about God or ask questions.
I know by experience that you will walk (or roll, in my case) away from the conversation with deeper faith in Jesus, knowing more about what you have in Him. This is one of my personal verses that inspires me to start Gospel Conversations: “And I pray that the sharing of your faith may become effective for the full knowledge of every good thing that is in us for the sake of Christ” (Philemon 1:6, ESV).
What motivates you to start Gospel conversations with people you just meet? How may we be praying for the ones in your life who you are having Gospel conversations with? Comment below. This month the twenties in our ministry are going to “put a good word in for Jesus” in at least one conversation each day this month. Will you join us?
CELEBRATE with us! Our Nav20s Partner Party is October 29, 2016 and we look forward to SEE YOU THERE!!! Look to your right for the details and RSVP today!
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My one year old son, Oliver, reached for the doorknob. He couldn’t reach it. He looked up at me. I saw what he desired and simply reached over from my wheelchair and opened the door for him. Oliver looked back up, smiled, and confidently walked through. Here are three simple progressive steps to make your desires realized:
Ask – Sound wisdom from the Bible states “You want what you don’t have…you don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it (James 4:2).” How many times have you wanted a relationship, a next step, or a gift, but you never asked God for it? Ask Him.
Seek – After you ask, look and see what doors are right there in front of you. In my twenty years of ministries among twenties, I have counseled many who want to be married. Most of them married someone they already knew! When we ask, God opens our eyes so we can seek and find! “Then Elisha prayed, ‘O LORD, open his eyes and let him see!’ The LORD opened the young man’s eyes, and when he looked up, he saw (2 Kings 6:17 NLT).”
Knock – Don’t you know God is at work on both sides of the door? You asked God. You sought. Now give someone the opportunity to be blessed. There are people that God can use in your life to open doors. Ask that person and give him/her that opportunity to bless you like Oliver gave me. Yes, God blessed me in that moment that I got to open the door for my son, Oliver. It brought me joy to be the one that helped Ollie reach his next destination.
If these three steps look familiar to you, you know what happens after you knock: “Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. You parents—if your children ask for a loaf of bread, do you give them a stone instead? Or if they ask for a fish, do you give them a snake? Of course not! So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him (Matthew 7:7-11 NLT).” If I loved opening that door for my son, Oliver, how much more will God love opening that door for you? Comment below. I’d love to continue the conversation with you.