6 Tips To Help You Start Gospel Conversations

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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)!”
  3. 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).”
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Share the Good News. The purpose of our lives is to spread the Gospel of Jesus. Share why you love Jesus and what Jesus did for you on the cross. In other words, share your story or what I’ve coined, “The Gospel in living color.” One of the many ways to share the Gospel is using the visual aid of the bridge illustration.

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?
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3 Bases To Run And Grand Slam Your Calling

I know, I know, baseball is “America’s sport”. But, there’s gotta be a deeper reason why 40

Our son, Oliver watching a Frisco Roughriders game.  We look forward to see Ollie bow, bask and BLESS!

Our son, Oliver watching a Frisco Roughriders game. We look forward to see Ollie bow, bask and BLESS!

MILLION people tuned in to see humans hit a ball and run around three bases on a baseball field just to see them reach the ultimate goal of sliding into home. Deep down, I believe every person wants to live out what they are made to do, their calling. Thriving in our calling is such a joy! I love living God’s calling on my life of being a husband, dad, a pioneering leader of a growing and thriving young professional ministry and a writer to bless YOU. Here are three bases YOU can run and grand slam YOUR calling:

1. Bow.

On his way to work, Peter thought it would be just another workday fishing. He and his co-workers worked all night and morning and caught no fish! Then Jesus showed up. Jesus supernaturally blessed Peter’s work and Peter caught so many fish that his boat started to sink. “When Simon Peter realized what had happened, he fell to his knees before Jesus and said, “Oh, Lord, please leave me—I’m too much of a sinner to be around you (‭‭Luke‬ ‭5:8‬ ‭NLT‬‬).” Peter humbled himself and bowed before the only one with the power to ignite and purpose Peter’s calling. Like Peter, when we bow before the Lord, He propels our calling. Peter, himself, explains this well: “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time (1 Peter 5:6).” Bow before Jesus. He will mobilize you into your calling at “the proper time”.

2. Bask.

A huge part of Jesus’ ministry of making disciples out of twelve ordinary guys was simply “being with” them. Luke 9:1 depicts this vividly: “He went on through towns and villages, preaching and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. The twelve were with him (Jesus).” Simply, Peter basking in God’s presence, being with Jesus, gave Peter all the accreditation Peter needed to thrive in His calling. In fact, people who saw Peter’s life even noticed this: “When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus (Acts 4:13).” At the end of Jesus’ historical life on earth after Peter basked for years in Jesus’ presence, God commissioned Peter in his personal calling that not only purposed his own life but is one that actually blessed YOUR life and is why the Gospel spread so you and I could hear and be saved: “When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” And after saying this he said to him, “Follow me.” These commissioning words to Peter from Jesus changed Peter’s life and the course of the world. How does it feel that you can start your day having breakfast with Jesus basking in His wonderful presence?

3. Bless!

Do you understand your motivations to want to thrive in your calling? This is important. As a leader, I hear a plethora of tidbits on platform building. But is the goal of thriving in our calling merely to have a platform to be heard? This can easily pervert our original God-given desire to walk in our calling. A platform is a mere result of thriving in our calling just like success is a mere product of giving Christ our excellence. Living out our God-given calling is ALWAYS to bless! God’s calling on your life is purposed to bless God and to bless people. We see this in Peter’s life: “But Peter said, ‘I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!’ And he took him by the right hand and raised him up, and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong. And leaping up he stood and began to walk, and entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God (Acts‬ ‭3:6-8‬ ‭ESV‬‬).’”

  • How do you humble yourself before Jesus and bask in His presence?
  • What are other ways that God has led you to grand slam your calling?
  • What does your time with Jesus bowing before Him and basking in His presence look like?

In the thriving discipleship mission work we lead among twenties, one of our focuses is equipping twenties to have a daily quiet time with Jesus. One of the many reasons why is because we want each young professional in our mission work to grand slam and thrive in their God-given calling. You can help help us do this! Will you become one of the remaining 31 monthly supporters we are praying for? Will you make a sacrificial year-end gift to meet our goal of $21,000 in year end giving? Click here and make your tax-deductible ministry financial partnership with us and propel this growing ministry to thrive! There is no extra online giving fee taken out of your donation from today through December 31st. You can help us reach our goal today!

Originally posted 2016-12-04 07:00:35.

10 Things You’re Thankful For Today?

As the first class starts at 8:00 a.m., the teacher gives the assignment: “Write down 10 things

These two special ones would be in my top three today under Jesus :)

These two special ones would be in my top three today under Jesus 🙂

you’re  thankful for so far today.”  Do What?! I just woke up. I have not had my coffee yet.  I’m just trying not to fall out of my wheelchair.  After weeks of doing this back in seminary, my morning perspective changed:

  1. I’m thankful woke up this morning.
  2. I’m thankful ate breakfast on my way out the door.
  3. I’m thankful I have a lightweight wheelchair so i’m not slowed down.
  4. I’m thankful I  got to drive to class.
  5. I’m thankful I have a jeep that i drove here.
Wow, this black and white verse came alive: “Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus (1 Thessalonians‬ ‭5:18‬ ‭NLT).”  Not only is this a great positive thinking exercise.  Thriving in thankfulness is God’s will for you and me!  Then, I was on a “roll”:
  1. I am able to throw my wheelchair in the back of the jeep!
  2. I am able to walk around my jeep!
  3. I am blessed to be in seminary.
  4. I have clothes and shoes to wear.
  5. I do not HAVE to be anxious about anything, now!
If I’m tempted to be anxious or to worry, I write the list above today.   In fact, God’s Living Word says this: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God (Philippians‬ ‭4:6‬ ‭NIV).”  I love what comes after this big “but”… “with thanksgiving”!  
 
Stop reading this right now.  I encourage you to write down ten things you’re thankful for today! Go!
 
We’re thankful for you! Will you become one of the remaining 31 monthly supporters we are praying for in the Fall40Campaign?  Will you make a sacrificial year-end gift to meet our goal of $21,000 in year end giving?  Click here and make your tax-deductible ministry financial partnership with us and propel this growing ministry to thrive! There is no extra online giving fee taken out of your donation from today through December 31st. You can help us reach our goal today!

Originally posted 2016-11-21 07:00:24.

3 Secrets to Avoiding Suffering

Actually, A Way to Experience True Freedom

ressurection-tomb

Art by Daniel Clarke

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:

  1. 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).”
  2. 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).”
  3. Experience the victory of the resurrection. Suffering with Jesus allows us to experience true hope and victory. This is one of my theme verses: “Although he was crucified in weakness, he now lives by the power of God. We, too, are weak, just as Christ was made weak, but when we deal with you we will be alive with him and will have God’s power (2 Corinthians 13:4).” Seeking Jesus deeply about my Cerebral Palsy led me to this life-changing truth: “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness’. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me (2 Corinthians12:9).” I read this in a special daily quiet time, then I immediately praised Jesus and thanked Him for the opportunity to experience suffering. Because now, what the world views as suffering, is now my victory and strength through the power of the resurrection. My life is a victory and a blessing, not “despite” my Cerebral Palsy but because of God’s power through the disability!  I’m blessed I’ve been able to speak on this around the world!

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?

Originally posted 2016-10-12 07:00:55.