Planting SEEDs of Faith: Share, Equip, Empower, Deploy

Planting SEEDs of Faith

Share, Equip, Empower, Deploy

Planting seeds of faith is done not by us but by the Holy Spirit through us.  We are all called to live out our faiths in authentic ways so that we give all glory to God.  As we go about our lives we encounter those who are not Christians.  How we interact with them gives witness to Jesus Christ. Some we build friendships with and thereby share the faith with him more personally and intentionally.

It is in these relationships where we are empowered by the Holy Spirit to nurture the seed of faith. But how do we do that? What if I’m not even sure how to tell my own faith story? What if I stumble?

Have no fear.  Don’t worrying. The burden is not on you. The Holy Spirit is tending to the person’s heart, preparing it to openly receive the Gospel message and grow in faith. Your job is to walk alongside one another modeling the life of a disciple. The best part is you have others to learn from and model after.

Each disciple, follower or student, of Jesus Christ is called to share his faith with others. It means not just telling your faith story but modeling how a disciple lives one’s life and faces adversities. Sharing in a verbal and non-verbal communication form.  As a disciple you demonstrate how one lives and acts so another is able to watch and learn from your example.

“The herdsmen fled and told it in the city and in the country. And people came to see what it was that had happened.” Mark 5:14

Sharing one’s faith story is the beginning to planting and nurturing SEEDs of faith. A disciple of Jesus Christ looks to equip another to learn how to share and serve others. They walk together serving side by side so that the newer disciple learns by watching and asking questions.

Jesus modeled this teaching method with the 12 Disciples. He showed them how to teach and serve. He explained to them what He was doing and let them try for themselves.

One needs to be Equipped in sharing and serving before going out. Think of it as a coaching time learning from an experienced one. A time of practicing alongside one who already knows the ropes.

As one practices the new skills and mindset there will be a natural progression towards Empowerment. A newer disciple of Jesus Christ will become more confident in ability. The focus will move toward him doing on own with support and encouragement from the elder disciple.  Being empowered is key to sending one out to ministry. It solidifies confidence and show support.

“I thank God whom I serve, as did my ancestors, with a clear conscience, as I remember you constantly in my prayers night and day.  As I remember your tears, I long to see you, that I may be filled with joy. I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well.” 2 Timothy 1:3-5

Finally every disciple is called to serve and share the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Some are called to remain where she lives. Others are called to move and serve in another place. Regardless of where the Holy Spirit leads one to serve each disciple is Deployed.  It is here a disciple is commissioned and sent out to serve. The newer disciple is equipped and empowered to go and tell to others, to serve faithfully and share with those who have not heard yet. The SEEDs of faith continue on to the next ‘generation’ of disciples. It is not an ending but the next beginning.

“Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:16-19

The Non-Listicle Blog on How to Start Faith Conversations

Recently I was asked how I’ve started faith conversation with people I meet. I must admit it was difficult to answer.  In some ways it seemed like I was asked why I am a writer. It is so natural and a part of who I am that to explain how I do it seemed so foreign to me.

Faith conversations happen naturally.  There isn’t a list or steps I follow. They just happen. The thought of attempting to put it into a formula for someone to copy is counter-intuitive.  I know having a ‘listicle’ (The 5 Steps/Ways to….) in today’s trending world is assumed to be necessary to have a trending article but truly connecting with one another is different with every pairing of people.  It happens naturally as each person shares his genuine self with another.

My own faith is so entwined with who I am as a person that it will naturally arise in conversations. It would not be a rarity to hear me say at some point, “Jesus and craft beer.  My two great loves and in that order.”  I am passionate about each of them and I nauseatingly talk about both of them to everyone!  I mean, everyone!  Even people who don’t like either (or both).  But because I come from a place of true passion and not judging people are intrigued and further engage in conversation with me. We connect and learn about each other.

This is my prayer for every disciple of Jesus Christ. Your own passion and excitement for your faith will come through your conversations.  You do not need to have a step by step guide to start a faith conversation.  Simply be you.  Because you are excited about your own relationship with Jesus Christ you will end up talking about Him to others.  You won’t be able to help yourself.

You just may find yourself saying, “Jesus and ________.  My two great loves and in that order.”

My advice to you, truly live your life. Live it with passion, full of joy, and contagious excitement.  People will take notice. They will begin to ask questions.  Over time you will start to see faith conversations are happening all around you, wherever you go.  You may not see the change immediately but only when you stop and reflect.

The ReSolved disciple’s life stems from our individual relationships with Jesus Christ, our daily trust in God and our obedient following of the Holy Spirit.  It impacts our whole selves and transforms our perspective on life and others. There is no formula on account of each of us are uniquely created by God.

Be you.  Watch how your every day conversations will change.

This Week’s Challenge

Write, doodle, brainstorm why you love Jesus Christ.

Be prepared to answer why you love him when asked.  The more you understand (and we all are growing in our love for Jesus in our own faith journeys) they more confident you will be in telling another person.

“But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. 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” 1 Peter 3:15

Stories Of ReSolved Disciples of Jesus

2018 will be a year of resolution. One which refuses to sit by and passively watch it go by. It shall be one of going out exploring, experiencing and enjoying. One going and meeting other resolved disciples of Jesus Christ to hear their stories and then share with you.  Taking time to listen and learn from the Holy Spirit to passing along to fellow disciples.  This space is to be a place to share with one another questions, prayer requests, encouragement, discussions.  The community may be far reaching but we remain closely connected by the Holy Spirit as we are the salt and light of the world. Our resolve will be fortified by our joint commitment to be present, to listen and learn and to serve and share God’s love with the world.

God is challenging His Church to live authentically out the disciples’ faith. Faith cannot be simply a cultural manner of life.  It must envelop all of what we do and say.  It flavors our words, guides our actions, directs our decisions.  It is not what we do, it is who we are. It resides deep within our souls. Flows naturally from our very pores.

We are the brand ambassadors for Christ. We carry forth the announcement of His Gospel to live as His living examples here on Earth. With this come questions of how, importance of support, loving accountability with one another. This space here shall be that place. One where insights shared, challenges shared and discussion begun. How exciting to see what the Holy Spirit says!  The community may be far reaching but we remain closely connected by the Holy Spirit as we are the salt and light of the world. Our resolve will be fortified by our joint commitment to be present, to listen and learn and to serve and share God’s love with the world.

This space is not a place of lists to feebly attempt simplify complex lessons. This is a place of exploring, asking “what if”. Seeing life and faith from perms a different perspective. To dive deep into learning how to live faith authentically, without reserve, to be fully resolved for the One Who has resolved us by His grave, mercy and love.

I sit here writing this entry looking across the room at my new Travel Pack. Thinking of the miles it will travel and the people we will meet along the way.  There is space for the journals, books and pens that will be devoured on such trips. It is spiffy new with the fresh smell wafting through the room.  The tags are still attached waiting to be cut off and discarded for the new adventures and new friendships. Scuff marks and dirt stains will appear as tokens of those memories. Journals full of thoughts and stories eager to leap out of their pocket and land next to the computer to be shared with the world. So exciting!

Perhaps the Pack will find rest at your house or a pub near you. Maybe your story will leave a mark on the Pack. I can’t wait to go and visit together. Share a pint or a coffee while sharing our stories with one another. The time spent together will be beneficial for us. it will be a holy time together. Until that time let us continue to be resolved disciples of Jesus Christ serving and sharing Jesus Christ in our lives with our whole lives. We are His ambassadors sent into the world to proclaim His love and grace to all people. When we do meet we will have great stories to share with each other!

This Week’s Challenge: What does being a brand ambassador for Jesus Christ look like to you?

Who is the Holy Spirit?


The Holy Spirit is perhaps the most misunderstood person of the Trinity. Just the word “spirit” draws different imagery for people, some positive some not so positive. Change the word to “ghost” and that is a whole other level of confusion.

The Holy Spirit is a travel guide along our faith journey. As Jesus went up into Heaven He directed His followers to tell the whole world the Good News and how the Holy Spirit will be with them enabling them to go and make disciples.

“And when the Holy Spirit comes on you, you will be able to be my witnesses in Jerusalem all over Judea and Samaria, even to the ends of the world.”
— Acts 1:8 The Message

The disciples did not need to rely solely on themselves. The had the Holy Spirit with them giving encouragement, empowerment and fully equipping them to tell the Good News.

Since Creation the Holy Spirit has been with the people of God guiding them as they serve and share the Good News.  The still small voice whispering in one’s ear to go and tell.  The bold confidence to face one’s enemies without fear despite the obvious obstacles. The strength to carry on when the body grows weary.

The journey of faith can grow tiring at times, discouraging from time to time.  It does become difficult to keep trusting when you cannot physically see or hear God.  Faith is bolstered by the Holy Spirit through the Spirit’s comforting nature.  For one to know it does not rest solely on one’s self reduces the anxiety levels.  An individual can exhale and not keep the stress all inside. We are equipped and empowered by the Holy Spirit as the followers of Jesus Christ to be His witnesses to the ends of the earth.

One does not need to be scared by the Holy Spirit.  Rather, be comforted by your travel companion given to you by your Heavenly Father.

So the question to you is this: how can you rely on the Holy Spirit to guide you along the journey of faith? What area of faith would you like to grow more in?

Growing in faith and trusting the leading of the Holy Spirit does require a surrendering of control on each of our parts.  We cannot be led if we continue to insist to retain control and make the final decision.  Whatever area of faith you would like to grow in trust the Holy Spirit.  The Spirit will not misguide you.  Be not afraid of where you are being led.  Follow in the footsteps of the Holy Spirit knowing the details of the journey have already been planned by God.

This Week’s Challenge:  Give one thing over to God and trust the Holy Spirit to guide you through it.  Pray and listen to learn how you are being led by the Holy Spirit.  Go serve and share and see how God is using you to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ.

How Can You Hear God Speaking?


Us Christians have a habit of using the phrase “hear God speaking…” To someone who is not a follower of Jesus Christ it does sound a little strange.  How can one physically hear God speaking? How is it is possible to hear a person who is not even seen visibly?

What do Christians actually mean when they say they listen to the voice of God?

First things first, it is possible to physically hear the voice of God.  He does not very often audibly speak to a person but He has and does speak audibly to us.

More often God communicates with individuals through one’s reading of the Bible. It is the Word of God. It has been written down for all over the world to read and hear the voice of God. We hear directly from God each time we read it.

Have you ever gotten a gut feeling about something? You can’t explain it but you know it is the right choice?  That gut feeling is another way God speaks to us.  He uses the Holy Spirit to guide us along the pathway God has planned for each of us. It feels like an urge, push in a certain direction. A still small voice in one’s soul speaking the voice of God in a quiet manner.

A third way God speaks with us is through our fellow believers. Listening and learning from their experiences and perspectives can help one know where God is leading her. We hear the voices of our friends but it is the words of God that we are hearing. Praying directly to God helps us understand what He is saying to us.

One final way we hear God is the doors that open and the doors that close before us. The circumstances we can find ourselves in can be signs of how God is leading us. There are times things or opportunities that seem to fall right out of the sky into our laps. God guides us and brings us to places and people at just the right time so we can serve and share Him in all we do and say.

There are many different ways that God speaks to us. However loud or soft spoken He may be we need to slow down and fully listen to Him. It gets easier over time as we draw closer to Him in our relationship with Him. No matter what it requires humility to always be willing to listen and learn from our Father in Heaven Who loves us no matter what.

This Week’s Challenge

Take time this week to notice those moments you sense God talking to you.  What does God teach you when reading the Bible? What did a friend say to you that seemed like God was talking directly to you? What opportunity arose this week that could only be God orchestrating it? Write each moment down and see the common thread in them in what God is saying to you.

Why Read the Bible?


Classic literature can be so boring to read. How did someone ever think this was really good? Moby Dick, anyone?  There must be some piece of entertainment to it if it has lasted over the decades, centuries or even millennia. People keep reading the classics and keep recommending them to read.

At times the Bible can be boring to read and appear to be irrelevant to modern day times. So why would one want to read it?

The Bible is more of a portable library then one book. It is comprised of 66 books written by different authors, to different audiences, in different styles over a couple thousand years in various languages. It has war stories, family drama, love affairs, political and religious upheaval, start of a new movement, unjust persecution, hope-filled love stories.  It has a little bit of everything for everyone.

A person would read the Bible to learn how to be in relationship with God the Father. In it one reads how much God loves us and never gives up on us. An individual will see through the stories that God works in and through people who have made mistakes and been cast aside by society. It gives hope, confidence to anyone who reads it. No one is too far away from God.

But how do you read the Bible?

First find one that feels comfortable for you to read.  There are many styles & translations that make it more approachable for anyone to read the Bible. There are also Bible apps you can download for free (YouVersion Bible app is a good one) to help you get started in reading the Bible.

It does seem scary at the start to read the Bible.  Fancy phrases.  Long lists of people. Rules. Poetry.

Where to begin?  Genesis? Matthew? Psalms? Acts? And much should one read at one time.

All are great questions.

I recommend people start with a Gospel (Matthew, Mark, Luke or John). Read as much as you want at a time. There is no set timetable to get it “done.” What is important is to read and listen to what God is teaching you.  Reading the Bible is not an academic experience. It is meant to be a time growing one’s relationship with Jesus Christ.

The Bible is how God communicates directly with us. It is the Word of God. It is timeless. It applies to every person in every context, culture.

When you read the Bible read to learn, to explore. Take time to process it. Whether it be by journalling, doodling, contemplating, running/biking/hiking, or whatever. Approach it as spending time with a friend and listening to his stories.

This Week’s Challenge

Pick a book of the Bible to read each day this week.  Read at your own pace. After each day’s reading spend time writing, doodling, thinking/praying, exercising, whatever to better understand what God is teaching you. Be surprised by what you learn.

How Do You Pray?


“Let us pray.”

(Did you have an innate urge to bow your hear and fold your heads?  I certainly did.)

Many people hear that statement and get nervous. They don’t know what to say or how to pray. What if one says the wrong thing? Will God get mad and stop listening?

What is the best way to pray?

To best answer the question we must first understand what prayer is.

It is communicating with God. It involves both talking and listening. We share with God our thoughts, feelings, concerns. He, in return, comforts and cares for us, share His love for us, let us know what He has planned for us. Prayer is a two way conversation. We listen and learn from God.

Prayer is not a vending machine. We cannot go through life doing everything on our own and when we are unable to get what we want we turn to God to make it happen. Prayer is the time we spend with God communicating and building our relationship together.

Prayer helps us practice the Missional Life Habits of “Be Present” and “Listen and Learn” We put away the distractions and spend time with Jesus alone. We share our highs and lows.  We listen to learn what God has to share with us.  We simply talk with God in a conversation.

So, how can you pray?

You can bow your head and fold your hands.  Another way is to go to a quiet place, sit in a comfy chair maybe with a cup of coffee and talk with God.  Or go out for a walk/run/bike ride. The exact how of prayer looks different for each person because everyone’s relationship with Jesus looks different.

However you pray focus on being authentic with God. Share your honest thoughts and feelings. Be open to hearing from God and learning new things from Him.

Keep it simple.

Keep it real.

Talking with God does not have to be fancy with archaic sounding words. It can be a casual conversation like one you would have with one of your friends. What is most important is building the trust and relationship between you and God. Prayer is the communication tool you use to do just that.

This Week’s Challenge

Find time each day this week to talk with God. Write in a journal. Go for a walk/run/bike ride. Sit in a comfy chair and talk with God over a cup of coffee. However you pray listen to what God is telling you.

What is Faith, Anyway?

What is faith? How do you know faith when you see it?

The technical definition of faith:

“complete trust  or confidence in someone or something”

Each person has faith in something or someone. Trust in your car’s brakes to stop when you step on them. Confidence the floor won’t collapse out from under your feet. Trust that a loved one remains by your side through thick and thin.

Faith is an interesting thing. It is a living thing. It grows though shared experiences and wanes by non-use. It must be practiced in order to grow and continue to exist.

The Christian faith is not simply a religion. It is a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. It is learning to let go of yourself and embrace more of Him. A surrendering of the need to control. Letting God be God and placing ourselves second.

So how does one have faith in Jesus Christ?

It begins with sitting with Him and listening. Reading the Bible and learning from the Holy Spirit. Asking a disciple/student of Jesus Christ why s/he loves Jesus.

Faith in Jesus is similar to a muscle that needs to be practiced in order to grow and strengthen. One must take a courageous step to grow and learn about faith. Similar to trying something new. You are not sure what to expect but you are going to try anyway. Could be bad. Could be good. Who knows unless you try.

As you begin your faith journey try new things, ask questions, learn from others. Explore. Experience. Enjoy. Follow where the Holy Spirit leads. Be not afraid. Have every confidence that God is in complete control and will not steer you wrong.

You can have faith by trusting Jesus. You have faith when you humble yourself and follow Him. Faith will grow as you dare greatly and try new things as He leads you.

This Week’s Challenge

Try something new this week and trust God to protect you.

What is one thing you have been wanting to do but scared? Take the courageous step forward in faith and see what happens.

All for Love

On my right ankle there is a tattoo which represents two great loves of my life, Jesus Christ and baseball. It is two baseball bats in the shape of a cross. Not your typical cross emblem. It is a visual summary of where my heart lies, my faith and baseball.

Many people when they see it ask me about it. I share how my Mom and Grammy shared their own faiths with me as I grew up through the baseball games we watched together.

The cross in many respects is the logo for Christianity. Whenever a person sees it, regardless of his/her own faith, they associate the cross with the Christian faith and Jesus Christ. What was once used as a brutal device for death is now a highly recognizable symbol of love, grace and forgiveness.

So why would millions of people wear something that brutally killed thousands? It is because of one man who died on the cross but 3 days later rose from the grave. Jesus’ death on the cross changed the entire world. He willingly gave all of Himself so that each of us may live eternally with Him, the Father and the Holy Spirit in Heaven.

Question: But couldn’t we solve the problem ourselves? Why would we need a Savior?

Answer: “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23).

No one, nary a one human being could save him/herself by his/her own effort. God the Father demands perfection. One mistake and all is lost. There is not one human being who would be able to meet that standard. All of humanity is need of a Savior. Jesus Christ willingly gave of Himself to die on the cross on our behalf to pay the entire price for our sins.

Jesus died because He loves you. He died to redeem you from the bondage of sin, death and the devil. He did not stay dead. He rose from the grave conquering sin, death and the devil.  Because He lives we can live too.

This Week’s Challenge – Do something for another person to show him/her how much you care for them.  Cook a nice dinner for a loved one.  Surprise a friend with a small gift. Wash a friend’s car just because. Serve one because you love them.

The Question We All Will Answer

I cannot exactly remember when I met my best friend. There was not a specific event where we met, instantly connected and knew we would be best friends forever.  Our friendship found its beginnings in a more subtle way. We hung out in the same circle of friends and over time, slowly but surely we became best friends.

We have been friends now for several years. Share experiences together. Been by each other’s side through thick and thin. Through it all our bond deepens.

It was similar experience with Jesus Christ. Growing up in the church we hung out together and over time we became best friends. I would not say there was one significant moment that solidified our relationship.  It grew gradually over time, deepening at different experiences. Each time Jesus stood by my side asking the same question, “Who do you say that I am?” (Mark 8:29)

Most people have heard the name Jesus Christ.  Some call Him Savior.  Others a wise man who lived thousands of years ago. Still others think He was a crazy guy who thought He was God.  Wherever you fall on that scale you have a general idea for yourself who Jesus Christ is.

Jesus is One Who loves unconditionally, whether we love Him back on or not. He walks beside us through thick and thin helping and caring for us every step of the way.  He waits for us to turn back to Him and journey with Him sharing the wonderful experiences in life.

One time while Jesus was teaching His disciples He asked them who do they think He was. Their answers came from what others were saying about Him. A reincarnation of a great prophet from Israel’s past, to His recently killed cousin to the long-awaited Messiah, Savior of the people. He did not care what others said He wanted to know they thought for themselves.

The same is true for us today.  It does not matter what our parents, spouses, friends say.  Jesus wants to hear from us directly. He longs for a personal relationship with us alone.  Another person’s faith cannot save us. Faith is non-transferable.  While one shares his/her faith story we all are called by God to have our own faith story.

The question that is front of each us — Who do you say Jesus is?

Is He some crazy dead guy who thought He was God?

Is He a wise man with good teachings?

Is He the Lord and Savior Who loves you unconditionally and wants to have a relationship with you alone?

We all will answer this question for ourselves one day. I pray as you seek the answer for yourself you listen to Jesus speak to you and hear how deep His love is for you.

Listen to one’s faith story. Read Jesus’ words in the Bible. Have the conversation with Him alone. May you answer for yourself, “You are the Christ, Son of the Living God.” (Mark 8:30)

This Week’s Challenge

Read the Gospel of Mark (only 16 chapters).  Ask a friend to share why s/he loves Jesus Christ.