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Posts Tagged ‘gospel’

This past week I met with a wise mentor of mine. We were talking through areas where I feel stuck in my own emotional and spiritual life.

I am a person who has learned to figure myself out pretty well. From an early age, I have had to learn how to be self-sufficient. This is where I now wrestle with my weakness of self-sufficiency and independence. I can get stuck on thinking that this life is up to me.

This particular mentality gets in the way of what God’s thoughts are about me. It even gets in the way of others getting to know a deeper me. I have many “great walls” in my life. I am learning that they are not as effective or safe as I might perceive them to be.

In light of my growing understanding of my heart, I am learing where I get stuck in knowing who God is. My walls seem to keep even the creator of my heart, out.

My mentor described the person of Moses to have some of the same characteristics. Moses wanted to know God so bad. He asked, maybe even demanded, that God show Moses his glory. Moses craved knowing and understanding as much as he could of who God was. I have that same craving. In my self protection and self-sufficient mind set, I can demand God for the same thing.

My mentor challenged me to read the gospel of Luke 10 times in a row. I guess I should also add that it was through negotiating that 10 was the final number. Why Luke? Luke is said to cover the person of Jesus more so than the other three gospels. Matthew describes Jesus as king. Mark focuses on Jesus as servant. And John talks about Jesus as the Son of God.

The challenge is to read Luke straight through, not looking for nuggets or anything in particular, but just reading to learn about the person of Jesus. So hard for me. I am a nugget girl!

Maybe you want to take the challenge with me. If there is another aspect of Jesus your heart is more curious about maybe choose one of the other gospels for the challenge.

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For the past two days I have been talking about the idea of what evangelism really looks as well as the idea of minitry being who you are. As these two topics are important to me, I also wonder how do these ideas play out in my life? How do these ideas come to fruition in my life?

I am a person who gets hooked on words and phrases. I have been hooked on these ideas for over a year now. Along this journey I came across a phrase I have not been able to shake. In the gospel of Matthew, I found Jesus talking about this very topic to a crowd of people.

Jesus takes a crowd of people and has them sit on a large hill. He then starts to teach them about the law. Jesus just doesn’t just teach what the law is, but what the heck this law has to do with them. Jesus points out to the people what they know about the law around them, but then challenges them to take what they know a step further. It is within taking that step that life starts to become ministry.

My mantra comes from Matthew chapter five. Jesus starts each idea with, “you have heard that it was said..” I like his wording because it addresses what is known. Jesus is saying that “you know this already, but…” He uses the example of a person who is forced to carry a centurion soldier’s gear for one mile as a punishment. Jesus challenges the people to take that known law, but take it a step further: walk two miles instead. That second mile will attract the curiosity of the people around. This is where the phrase, “go the extra mile” comes from.

I so desire to be a second mile person. I crave being a person who lives out a life that reflects difference. I want to be different. I want to show different. This means many different specific things to everyone. Jesus gives numerous examples on how to be a second mile person in the first couple chapters of Matthew. Jesus challenges the people to love those who don’t love them back, and give to those who will not give back. Be different. I believe that it is within the second mile that our lives of being ministry begins.

Being a second mile person for me means being someone who chooses the hard of what is right regardless of consequences, working through conflict with friends in humility and gentleness, showing myself faithful, being committed to my word, speaking the truth in love and without judgment, loving deeply, responding in honest weakness and struggle instead of hardening my heart, and sacrificing my own agenda to allow some necessary interruptions of my time.

Being a second mile person looks unique in everyone’s lives, but the point is that you look different. I want people to wonder why I am different. I want to live in that place where the unexpected happens just because I am choosing the second mile.

Jesus states that he desires that “we have life and life to the full.” I believe that life is fully experienced in that second mile.

What would it mean for you to be a second mile person in your life?

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Lately, I seem to find myself in conversations on the topic of evangelism. Evangelism seems like an intimidating word. I think there are many stereotypes that can accompany that word. I know when I think of evangelism, I think of someone on stage, probably on television, preaching about God. That is very intimidating. I think that there is also a misconception that evangelism is only for those who have the “gift” of evangelism.

The word evangelism means something different to me. I do think that there are some gifted speakers out there who can communicate a relationship with Christ very well. I also think that every believer has a responsibility to communicate a true relationship with Christ.

The story of the first disciples in the gospel of John is one of my favorite stories. John explains evangelism in a way that gets me passionate.

In the gospel, John talks about what I describe as the “great invitation.” John tells the story like this: one day Jesus was walking by John the Baptist. John the Baptist points out Jesus and says, “there goes the Lamb of God.” Two of his disciples heard this and head out to follow after Jesus. Jesus then realizes he’s got company and stops to address the men. These two disciples ask Jesus where he is staying. Odd question, but alright a question at that. Jesus doesn’t explain to these men about his life or where he is staying. He simply says, “come and see.”  Three of my favorite words is the bible. Jesus invited these men to be a part of his life. Out of that invitation these two men were changed forever.

Jesus communicates the gospel by inviting people into a relationship with himself. Yes, Jesus had many stages, as well as, many crowds, but he invited twelve into the intimacy of life with him. Those twelve men did the same thing after Jesus was gone. Those twelve men also had many different kinds of stages, but I believe all invited people into their lives to know a true relationship with the savior. Actually, I love that you can see the first example of that between Nathaniel and Philip.

There is a risk with inviting others into your life. There is a real possibility of rejection. Jesus’ invitation was rejected all the time, but he never stopped inviting. The great thing about evangelism is that it’s not about having it all together,  having the “right” answer, or even being that much further ahead of someone.

Evangelism is about growing in an understanding that God died to save your soul and reconcile your heart to his. Evangelism is about offering the same invitation you were given to be reconciled, everyday, back to an original perfect relationship. What that explanation looks like is your life, lived out, growing in the understanding of grace and forgiveness. Evangelism comes out of offering to others the invitation to taste and see that He is God by your life.

This week I want to talk more about evangelism as ministry, being a second mile person, and the great commission.

I would love to hear your thoughts on Evangelism.

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