We are Included in God’s Will

The thing is whatever we do God’s Will is being done here on earth. Isaiah, an Old Testament prophet, teaches us that God’s Word does not return to Heaven empty (Isaiah 55:11). It does accomplish what God has willed it to do.

See, God accomplishes what He wills. He does not need us BUT He chooses to be a part of His plan. While we may be rebellious against God, He freely forgives us and graciously incorporates us to His plan.

Being a part of God’s plan is AWESOME! God has great plans to transform the world and us. It is beyond our own comprehension. The longer we journey with the Holy Spirit the more we begin to understand what God is doing.

We get to be included in God’s Will. As God is moving we come alongside and go for the ride. The Holy Spirit acts as our guide teaching us God is already doing.

It is an honor to to be included in God’s Will. It does not need to be scary though. As God invites us in He also gives us all the abilities and resources to accomplish what He has for us to do. He also gives us the courage to face any fears or attacks from the enemy.

Have courage fellow disciple of Jesus Christ. Be filled with joy as you anticipate the amazing things God will show you. Serve with gladness as God uses you to accomplish His Will in the world.

As you serve invite another to serve alongside you so s/he may see first-hand what God is doing. Pray that the Holy Spirit works in them so s/he may humbly surrender his/her whole self to God. Then with joy the two of you will see what God is doing.

We get to be included in God’s Will. This is reason enough to celebrate and give thanks to God for His unconditional love. 

This Week’s Challenge

In your prayers today thank God for including you in His plan. Share the joy you have with Him and what He shows you.

You are a Brand Ambassador for Jesus!

Brand Ambassadors are individuals who represent a company, showing the message embodying the core values. They are the human representation for the company.

They generally go out to meet people who have not heard of the brand introducing them to it. In the course of the interaction an invitation is given by the ambassador to the individual to “join” be a part of the community.

Sound a little familiar? Kinda like a missionary?

Well, you’re not wrong. Brand Ambassadors work similarly to missionaries. Both go to places that have not heard yet. Both embody the values of the community they represent. Each serve to invite people to join the community.

“But missionaries go to foreign countries. I can’t leave my life here.”

True some missionaries are led by God to serve in other countries. But each follower of Jesus is called to be a brand ambassador for Him.

For God’s Will to be done here on the earth. He chooses to use us, His disciples, to accomplish His Will. In order for us to do that we must recognize that all of our actions and words represent Him to the world. We are His brand ambassadors going out into the world inviting others into the Kingdom of Heaven.

What do we do as God’s ambassadors?

First we remember that we represent God where’ve we go, whomever we are with at the moment. We can recognize this in the safety of our home and still be scared to live it out in the world. When we are scared we pray for the Spirit to strengthen us to persevere.

Also we act as Jesus would act. We will not be perfect. We will make mistakes. But we do our best and keep showing love to others. We serve humbly not for our glory but to care for another. We do not let differences separate us but rather we use our difference to learn how God created us uniquely.

Brand Ambassadors for Jesus are resolved to get the Gospel out into the world. They know God’s Will is being done here on earth. They surrender themselves to the Creator God being faithful servants. They draw nearer to God as they are transformed by the Holy Spirit. They do not remain the same. They are new people with the help of the Holy Spirit.

As you go about your day to day ask God to show you how to represent Him in the world. Seek the message the He has for you to share. Once He tells go and do it. Be excited to share and invite others. Watch how the Holy Spirit uses you to expand God’s Will here on earth.

This Week’s Challenge

Write down the message you want people to know about Jesus. Then decide what you will do today to show that message with your life.

What Does the Daily Life of a Disciple Look Like?

In seeking God’s Will to be done we learn how to live the life of a disciple. In order to be a part of God’s movement in the world we must first know how to walk with God.

So what does the daily walk of a follower of Jesus look like anyway? Does one have to shave his/her head and move to the wilderness to live a solitary life?

No. You don’t need to become a monk/nun to follow Jesus. If God calls you to this life then I say openly embrace the incredible adventure God has planned for you.

For the rest of us, daily discipleship is learning from the Holy Spirit. We spend time hearing from God by reading the Bible. We talk with God in prayer sharing our deepest fears while listening to Him and all He has for us. We walk with God living our lives as Jesus lived His life.

How did Jesus lived His life?

He loved all people, believers and noon-believers. He invited everyone to their new life in God. He pointed back to God the Father to give Him all the glory.

Jesus lived His life so we had an example of how to be disciples in our own lives. We are to love everyone, those in the church and those not yet believers. We demonstrate what a new life in Jesus looks like by how we act at work, with friends, running errands, on our own.

In this daily walk we learn from the Holy Spirit God’s Will in this world. Our minds are transformed little by little each day. We are able to see more clearly because God teachers every day.

Being a disciple of Jesus is not something we do one day a week or only with a certain group of friends. It is who you are. It impacts every aspect of you, what you do.

Each day as you go about your day ask yourself how you are learning from the Holy Spirit? Are you humble to learn and grow? Do you listen to God or only speak at Him?

As you pray ask God to teach you that day a new lesson in being a disciple. How love another who is different from you. Or how to draw closer to Him. Walk each day with Jesus and learn from Him how to be disciple.

This Week’s Challenge

Read one of the Gospels in the Bible (Matthew, Mark, Luke or John) and note in your journal how Jesus lived His life.  What can you emulate in your life this week that Jesus did in His?

A Case Study in Philippians 1:18-26 – Celebrate When the Gospel is Preached

“But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice. 

 Yes, and I will continue to rejoice, for I know that through your prayers and God’s provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance. I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, so that through my being with you again your boasting in Christ Jesus will abound on account of me.” 

(Philippians 1:18-26)

When Paul wrote this letter to the disciples in the city of Philippi he was in prison.  His future was unknown.  His living conditions were not exactly optimal for good health.  It would not be surprising to hear him be discouraged and wish for it all to end.

Instead, Paul shares with them his joy in serving the in the name of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. While he may desire to go to heaven he understood God wanted him to remain so he can continue sharing the Gospel to everyone he met.

Paul held the Gospel in high esteem. It was the most important thing to him. Verse 18 of this passage he celebrate whenever the Gospel is preached.  He knew when the Gospel was shared the Holy Spirit worked in the hearts of people.  Even if a person had false motives, or preached for selfish gains, the Gospel was more powerful so it would still reach those who needed to hear it.

What we learn from Paul is to rejoice whenever we hear the Gospel being shared. The Old Testament prophet Isaiah wrote, 

“so is my word that goes out from my mouth:

It will not return to me empty,

but will accomplish what I desire 

and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” 

(Isaiah 55:11)

We know the Word of God (aka the Gospel) will reach each person who needs to hear it. We can rejoice with Paul each time we Gospel because we know the Holy Spirit is at work in those on the verge of faith.

It can be tempting to judge one’s motives in preaching the Gospel.  Instead of judgment, let’s stop and pray for the Holy Spirit to do its work. We can pray for those hearing the Gospel so their hearts are open to receive it and be transformed by it.

While Paul may want to return home to Heaven he served with joy knowing God was still using him reach those who are not yet believers.  Paul might be in prison but he was still free to serve and share Jesus Christ with everyone.

As we go about our days let us look for opportunities to share the Gospel and then in joy pray for the Holy Spirit to plant the seeds of faith in the hearts of those not yet believers of Jesus Christ. 

We may not be in a physical prison but there are obstacles we must overcome in order to share the Gospel. Be it fear of rejection. A sense of inadequacy to share. A desire to simply fit in. Whatever it is there is some thing that holds us back. But we have no need to fear.

If we worry about not having the words to say learn from Moses (Exodus 3-4). God called him to lead the Israelites and promised to give him the words to say to Pharaoh, the most powerful man on Earth.

If we fear rejection look to Daniel (Daniel 6). Daniel stood resolved with God and was thrown in the lions’ den to certain death. God protected him and by witnessing Daniel’s faithfulness people were saved that day.

Have anxiety about not being good enough look to Jesus’ own 12 Disciples.  They were rejected by all of the rabbis to be their students.  Jesus came to them and invited them to be His closest students.

Have no fear.  Be bold. Share with someone why you love Jesus.  Let the Holy Spirit work in their heart. Then rejoice with Paul that the Gospel is being preached to those who need to hear it.

This Week’s Challenge 

Each time you see or hear the Gospel being shared stop and pray for the Holy Spirit to accomplish what God has for His Word to do.  Then rejoice with Paul that the Gospel is being preached. 

What is a Disciple? A Disciple Share

Telling another person about Jesus Christ can be scary.  I mean you are opening up about an important part of your life. The fear of rejection is real.

“What if the person asks a question I won’t be able to answer?”

“What if s/he argues with me about Christianity?”

“What if…What if…What if…”

As a disciple of Jesus Christ we are not alone when sharing the Gospel.  After Jesus ascended into Heaven after His resurrection from the dead the Holy Spirit came to be with every follower to help us go out into the world sharing the Good News over all the Earth.

Sharing your faith does not require a degree from a Bible school.  It simply means telling another why you love Jesus. To tell another why you surrender to God’s leading and to journey with His Son, Jesus learning from the Holy Spirit. 

Here’s one way to think about sharing your faith:

Think about your favorite restaurant.  Now how do you tell your friends about it?  Do you tell them about your favorite dish? About the friendly staff? The people you meet there? Do you invite them to join the next time you go there?

Sharing you faith story is similar to telling another your favorite restaurant. You tell them about Jesus with enthusiasm and why you love Him. You include a story from your faith journey that is important to you. There is an invitation to the person to come experience for him/herself.

“When they deliver you over, do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say, for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour.” (Matthew 10:19)

Yes, sharing one’s faith can be scary. But have no fear the Holy Spirit is with you as It was with the Disciples in the 1st Century. You will be given the words to share and the courage to step into the conversation.

As you spend time in prayer this week place any fears you may have at the feet of Jesus. Let Him take them away and fill you with His peace and courage. Take the time to journal why you love Jesus , what is an impactful time with Him.  Then listen to the Holy Spirit for who and when you are asked to share.

This Week’s Challenge – Share with someone this week why you love Jesus.  Invite them to your next small group meeting or to worship with you on Sunday.

What is a Disciple? A Disciple Serves

I have served in the hospitality industry in a variety of roles.  In each of them I learn another aspect of serving others. There is joy in taking care of others and connecting relationally. You are able to connect with others learning about one another.

Serving one another is a privilege we get as disciples of Jesus Christ. It is placing the needs of another above our own.  We lovingly meet their needs in that moment.  By doing so we demonstrate God’s unconditional love for all of us.  It is through serving we preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

As in hospitality there are many ways to serve. Each of us are gifted differently to serve one another. One may have the gift of decorating a space to make a warm environment for others. Another may be a gifted cook who makes delicious dishes.  A third may have the gift of perceiving another’s true need and meeting it with love. 

All disciples of Jesus Christ are called to hospitality ministry in serving others as we all have been gifted by the Holy Spirit.  Being hospitable is a joy. Authentic connections are established through genuine service.

“Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people.” Ephesians 6:7

One beauty about serving is the trust that develops between the two parties. A bond is established based on this gentle trust. They are uniquely connected that can only truly be understood by the two parties.

In serving one another we see each other where one is at. Pride is cast aside as we humbly kneel in front of our brother or sister and gently wash his/her feet. It is an authentic demonstration of love for a fellow child of God.

So a question for you. What is a way you are uniquely gifted to serve? How can you use that gift to authentically love another?

In the next week seek out an opportunity to share your gift in service to another child of God. Pray to see God’s Will in how He is leading you to serve. Be courageous by the Holy Spirit to boldly and humbly serve. Learn the intricacies from Jesus Christ of daily serving one another. Be filled with joy as you serve others pointing to Jesus in all you do and say.

This Week’s Challenge: Seize the opportunity this week to share your gift in serving someone.  What do you enjoy doing? How can you use it to love another?

What is a Disciple? A Disciple is Authentic

“Preach the Gospel always.
Use words if necessary.”
Saint Augustine

This quote has been circling the globe for centuries.  While no one knows for sure who is the original author it is widely accredited to Saint Augustine. 

At the heart of the quote is the lesson that our actions speak to those we interact with in our lives. By what we do and the decisions we make we communicate who we are. As disciples of Jesus Christ how we live our lives preach the Good News. Before we speak we have already communicate the Gospel to them.

With this in mind it is important to reflect on how we truly live our lives. Do we wear a mask to hide our authentic self? Are or lives split where our church life does not cross our “every day” life?

Living an authentic life is difficult at times. There are challenges that will scare us to be unauthentic for a period of time. The temptation is real to hide and avoid leaving our comfort zone.

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”

(Matthew 5:13-16)

We are empowered by the Holy Spirit to live our authentic lives in the world. We need not be afraid of ridicule or judgment. Instead we shine brightly in the world pointing to Jesus with our whole lives and our words. The world gets to know Jesus by watching how we follow Him with our whole selves.

So here’s the question how is your light shining in your whole life?

How many of your friends, family, co-workers, neighbors would describe you as a disciple of Jesus Christ?

Where are there places or people you wear a mask to maybe not shine your light so brightly?

As a disciple of Jesus Christ each one of us are called to live authentic lives. That means the good and the bad. See, when we experience difficult ties (and they will come) it is how we journey through them and rely on God that is an authentic sharing of the Gospel.

Also in the good times giving God praise and not our own shares the Gospel. Pointing back to Jesus in all things is our witness.

Being authentic is being transparent. Admitting when you need help. Giving credit to your Father in heaven. Saying you don’t have all the answers but you know the One Who does.

A disciple is authentic modeling complete trust in God in all circumstances at all times.  Be not discouraged fellow disciple. Continue to turn to God pointing back to Him for all the world to see and come to know Him for themselves.

This Week’s Challenge 

Take 2 minutes (even set a timer) and write out what message of God you are passionate about sharing with the whole world.  Then spend 5 minutes brainstorming practical things you can do in your daily life to share that message in your actions and in your words. 

What is a Disciple? A Disciple Loves

“Let me give you a new command: Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another. This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples — when they see the love you have for each other.” Luke 13:34-35 (The Message)

God loves all His children.  Some love Him. Others choose to turn their backs on Him. Regardless of our response God’s love does not change. He loves us, all of us.

As His followers we strive to love others. We are His representatives here on Earth. So as we love, the world learns about God’s love. Loving is a primary duty of a disciple.

In His last formal teaching time Jesus directed the 12 Disciples to love one another. This was how the world would come to recognize each of them as a follower of Jesus.

They struggled to be obedient even at the outset. As Jesus was handed over to be crucified, one by one the disciples abandoned Him. Eleven repented and returned to be with one another. There in a locked room the Eleven were together to see the Resurrected Jesus and be anointed with the Holy Spirit. They went on to love in the world sharing the Good News (Gospel) of Jesus Christ. 

So what does this mean for us today? How do we strive to love one another as God loves?

In previous posts we saw how a disciple follows the Holy Spirit’s leading, listens to Jesus’ teachings and learns from the Creator God. These practices help the disciple to witness God’s love first-hand so that s/he can go and do likewise in one’s every day life. 

Loving others is seen in helping someone get to a doctor’s appointment on-time. Or encouraging another during a difficult time. 

Love is also shared when a person chooses to work together with another despite personality or philosophical differences. It would be understandable to argue and refuse to work together but in love the differences are seen as opportunities to understand one another.  They are not used to divide or harm each other.

As fallen, sinful beings love is not always easy to do. There is pain. But how incredible it feels when we receive love whether we “deserve” it or not. Why deny someone else that glorious joy?

We are able to love one another because God first loves us. We are only able to love because He lives in us. It is our duty as His followers to love one another. No excuses. It is after all how the world will know we are His disciples.

This Week’s Challenge

Think of an individual or group that differs from you in personality of philosophy.  What is one thing you will do this week to demonstrate love to them this week?  Schedule it in your calendar. 

What is a Disciple? A Disciple Learns

A follower of a teacher leans what the teacher has to pass along.  This process is on-going, not just a one time occurrence. As the teacher and the disciple, or follower, spend more time together more lessons are shared amongst them. The disciple becomes more like the teacher the more closely s/he listens.

A disciple of Jesus Christ learns at His feet or as they both go along the way. Each day as the two spend time together Jesus teaches the disciple more about the Kingdom of God and the great things God the Father has for her. Wonderful things occur during these times.

Sometimes we humans think that learning is for a designated period of time of life. When that time is over there is nothing left for a person to learn. This is false! 

Learning continues throughout the course of one’s life. Think about it: you do not know what you do not know. Therefore one must remain a learner all the days of his life. 

As disciples of Jesus Christ we continue to learn from Him all the days of our lives. We journey with Him, watching what He has done by reading the Scriptures. We listen & learn to become more devoted followers of Him. It’s a daily walk filled with new adventures and lessons every day. 

So what does this mean for everyday life?

For one it means studying the Scriptures with an open heart.  The amount you read at a time does not matter.  Whether you read one verse, one chapter or one whole book it is okay.  What matters is hearing God teaching you in that passage and applying it in your life.

Another learning opportunity is seeing how God is acting in your life.  Those times you are out of your comfort zone and have to trust God to lead the way.  The moments you truly see how God has provided for your needs in ways you did not expect. 

Learning requires an open heart to hear new insights and have new experiences.  It has one be willing to surrender control allowing the Holy Spirit to lead the way.

So as you go about your journey with Jesus Christ remain a lifelong learner.  Enjoy the new experiences with Him.  Remain open to learning things you may never have learned without Him. 

This Week’s Challenge

Go about your day looking to learn something new from God.  When you do learn something new write it down, draw, or whatever helps you to remember.  At the end of the week see all that God has shown you.  Do you see a common theme in them?