We're Unleashing a Revolution of Love in Central Kentucky

Daily Devotional

Latest Blog Posts

I Know You Are, But What Am I?: Ambassador - Friday

Posted on Fri, Aug 22, 2014

We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 
 
Here we are at the end of this week’s passage where we learn one more important lesson. The lesson is this: It is always the role of the ambassador to stand for the desires of his leader. Just as a U.S. Ambassador is a representative for the President, we are a representative for Christ. That means none of the power comes from me individually, but all of my power and ability to reach the fallen world resides solely in the one I represent. As an ambassador, I am not making my own case for God, but God is making his appeal through me. 
 
Isn’t it incredible that God has chosen us, a rag-tag crew, to share His love with the world? Because of his incredible love and grace, he has chosen you and me to share His message of reconciliation with the specific people He has put around us. Today’s reading says God gave Jesus to take our place, so that we might take Jesus’ place and become the righteousness of God. We didn’t do anything to deserve it, but as ambassadors, our best response to what God has done for us is to tell about it. Reflect Him. Share the message. It's all from God. What has He done in your life? Share it. I bet there is someone near you who is like you, who needs to hear your story. God has a way of putting us close those who need us...making us ambassadors in the right “country,” if you will.
  • Look around. Who do you know that needs to hear the story of how God reconciled himself to you? Share your story today. God longs to make his appeal through you! If you are not sure who that person is, ask God today to bring someone to mind. 
  • Memorize 2 Corinthians 5:20: We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.

Hanna Wahlbrink
Creative Team Administrative Assistant / Events

I Know You Are, But What Am I?: Ambassador - Thursday

Posted on Thu, Aug 21, 2014

All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation:  that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 
 
Yesterday we talked about the message of reconciliation we have been entrusted with. As Christ’s ambassadors we are called to share this message with the world: God is no longer counting people’s sins against them. This is a great and exciting message to hear, but why should people believe us? This might sound crazy, but I think one of the best ways to share this message with people is confession. As Christ followers, one of our biggest strengths should be sharing our weaknesses, our struggles, our brokenness with the world. Because it is when we expose our imperfections and deficiencies that others can see how great and gracious our God truly is. You see the world understands pain, hurt, guilt, and shame. And your friend is much more likely to receive a message of hope from a person that can say, “Me, too.” 
 
Sometimes we miss this in the church. If God is telling us to share this message with our friends, we have to believe it for ourselves first. As a Christian, there can be pressure to have everything together (or at least look like it). We have a tendency to talk about sin and struggle as if it were only a part of our past. But the beauty of being a Christian is that all of our sin -- past, present, and future—can no longer define us. No longer enslave us. God is not holding our sin against us, but we may be holding ourselves back from God because of unconfessed sin. Confession will bring freedom and healing for you, and for those with whom you share it. Confess today and shine light on a God who is so gracious that He is not counting that sin against you. 
  • If we truly believe God isn’t holding sin against us, we won’t mind to share our struggles with others. Is there something you need to confess today? Or could sharing a struggle with a close friend help them see the hope Jesus is offering them as well? Share it! Confess it! Don’t let your sin define you any longer.
  • Memorize 2 Corinthians 5:20: We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.

Hanna Wahlbrink
Creative Team Administrative Assistant / Events

I Know You Are, But What Am I?: Ambassador - Wednesday

Posted on Wed, Aug 20, 2014

All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation:  that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 
 
This year at Southland, we are focusing on evangelism. We know the heart of God is to reconcile all people to Himself, and according to today’s passage, He is using His people (you and me) to do just that! Evangelism has always felt like a daunting thing to me. Like, in order to tell my friend about Jesus, I feel like I have to know them for a certain amount of time, make sure they trust me and don’t think I’m “weird.” After I have built up a certain amount of rapport, maybe, just maybe, I will work up the courage to invite them to church. After that, I can finally have that awkward conversation about how they probably shouldn't ________ so much. You fill in the blank. I don’t know about you, but I don't think that looks like God’s true plan for evangelism. 
 
That’s why I was so excited to stumble across this little line in today’s scripture: (God is) not counting people’s sins against them. WAIT. What? And did you catch what’s next? “And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.” It turns out, the first conversation Jesus wants us to have with people is not about that awkward blank. The Word says that God is reconciling the world to Himself and He has commissioned us as ambassadors to share one message: God is not counting people’s sins against them. That is incredible news! Forget the whole rigamarole up top. What a fun thing to share with friends. What an easy thing to share, even with a stranger. 
  • What is your approach to sharing your faith with others? Write down a list of a couple people in your life with whom you can share this message of hope and love. 
  • Memorize 2 Corinthians 5:20: We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.

Hanna Wahlbrink
Creative Team Administrative Assistant / Events

I Know You Are, But What Am I?: Ambassador - Tuesday

Posted on Tue, Aug 19, 2014

So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!
 
One thing I often ask for in prayer is to see the world the way God sees it, because I know he sees things totally differently than I do. My earthly eyes categorize and label. I am critical. He’s lazy. She’s promiscuous. They’ll never care about God. I hate to admit it, but these are my thoughts. 
 
Being Christ’s ambassador means we look at the world with totally new eyes. Today’s passage says that we no longer regard anyone from a worldly point of view. We are now to see others as our Leader sees us. We shouldn’t look at people for what they currently are, but for the glorious person that God could be turning them into. C.S. Lewis put it perfectly when he said, “There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilization—these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit—immortal horrors or everlasting splendours…Next to the Blessed Sacrament itself, your neighbour is the holiest object presented to your senses.” (C.S. Lewis essay, The Weight of Glory)
 
You see, if we are in Christ, we must view everyone as a potential new creation. We need the right perspective. You are I are not the saved looking down upon the sinners. We are all standing together simply inviting others to join us in looking up to Christ. We are ambassadors. A light in the darkness shining directly toward Christ.
  • How do you view the world around you? Pray today and ask God to give you new eyes to see the hurts and needs of the people in your life.
  • Memorize 2 Corinthians 5:20: We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.

Hanna Wahlbrink
Creative Team Administrative Assistant / Events

I Know You Are, But What Am I?: Ambassador - Monday

Posted on Mon, Aug 18, 2014

So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer.  Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 
 
“Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” Did you ever say that as a kid? In my experience, the only time I said that was when someone’s words had just stung me really badly! Whoever made up that line was a liar. Words can wound. And I have found that hurtful words can last much longer than a bruise. See, humans love labels. We love to categorize and judge. Often times in life, we end up with labels that God never meant for us to have. Ugly. Dumb. Mean. Alone. Unwanted. Defeated. And we can carry those labels with us for years. 
 
The Bible has something very different to say about who we are. This week we are going to be walking through 2 Corinthians 5:16-21 in which Paul has a new label for a Christ follower. He calls us Christ’s ambassadors. An ambassador is a person who resides in a foreign country while representing the country that he or she is from. A U.S. ambassador actually represents the President in an official capacity to foreign nations and communities. It is the role of the ambassador to bring peace and to extend help in times of need. They are meant to determine the local concerns and struggles of their assigned nation and have the ability to take those concerns back to their leadership. Are you seeing the comparison? As Christians, we are citizens of heaven who have been appointed as Christ’s representatives. We have a clear goal and mission: to represent our leader, Jesus, to the lost. This week we will take a look at what being an ambassador for Christ means for daily life. To the watching world we represent Christ. As a Christ follower, whatever we do, people see Jesus do. 
  • What are you an ambassador of? Who or what do you stand for? What does it look like for you to be an ambassador for Christ? 
  • How does your life reflect Christ? Make a list today of the ways you represent him to the world around you.
  • Memorize 2 Corinthians 5:20 this week: We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.

Hanna Wahlbrink
Creative Team Administrative Assistant / Events

Relationships and Stuff - Friday

Posted on Fri, Aug 15, 2014

And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
 
My wife and I used to have a Jeep Wrangler. When you drive a Jeep, everyone else in a Jeep waves to you. When a fellow cyclist sees the bike rack on my Subaru at the gas pump, they’ll ask if I ride and we’ll inevitably start swapping stories from the road and trails. When I have all four of my kids by myself at the mall, the other dads without their wives give me the tearful headnod of both unity and mutual defeat. I bond with people all the time over the most superfluous of things. Everything from clothes to hobbies to facial hair seems to bring people together. People just like unity.
 
So reread that Colossians passage again. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. As introverted as I might be, I have so much joy from the unity that Christ brings to the Church. And, yes, I know that people in the church have messed it up here and there. We’ve all had our blunders. But when you see real love, the Jesus kind of love, the die-for-my-brother kind of love that we’re called to have within the church, it is the most satisfying sight you’ll ever see. 
 
Do you want that? I have to say, then: Let it start within the church. If you don’t have those relationships to build on, come to Launch Night and get in a Life Group. The love of Christ is what bonds everyone at that event. And that love binds all together in perfect unity. If you do have some friends in the church, I’d go back and reread this week’s devos with them. If you want more mileage out of your relationships, start with the verses that we used this week. Use them as guidelines to strengthen those relationships. 
  • Read these verses out loud with some friends. If you’re waiting to start those relationships at Launch Night, read them as prayers for your future relationships. 
  • Ephesians‬ ‭4‬:‭30"Don’t grieve God. Don’t break his heart. His Holy Spirit, moving and breathing in you, is the most intimate part of your life, making you fit for himself. Don’t take such a gift for granted."
  • Proverbs 17:17 “A friend loves at all times...”
  • John 15:12-13 “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” 
  • Proverbs 18:24 “A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”
  • Colossians 3:14 "And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity."

Derrick Purvis
Formation Pastor

Relationships and Stuff - Thursday

Posted on Thu, Aug 14, 2014

“A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”
 
In the last eight years, I’ve spent a lot of time on a bicycle. I try to log several thousand miles in a twelve-month period. And with all that mileage, you’ll inevitably find me stuck on the side of a road changing a flat tire every once in a while. When I first started riding I was using cheap, Walmart bicycle tires. I’d average one or two flats a week. I was constantly patching and replacing my inner tubes. My commutes to work quickly went from 30 minutes to 45. Then on one ride, I got two flats back to back. I was seriously considering just giving up on the whole cycling thing. 
 
I had to find another solution. 
 
That’s when I started investing a little more into the tires that I purchased. They cost more in the front end. But I was more efficient with my time and ended up saving money in the long run. Yes, I could go buy eight tires at Walmart for the cost of one of these nice ones. But it was worth it.  The higher the investment, the more satisfied I was. 
 
The same is true with your friends. Lots of us have lots of “friends” (Read that again and make air quotes when you say “friends.”). But lots of friends isn’t necessarily a good thing. You might be able to maintain eight buddies with little investment. But you need some people in your life that won’t flat out on you when you hit a bump in the road. You want more mileage out of your relationships, right? Well, that comes with investment. That comes with sacrifice. Put more into a friendship and you will get more out of it. I have those friends. They’re the guys I call when I’m stuck on the side of the road with a flat tire!
  • “Spend” a little more on your relationships. I’m not necessarily talking about money, either. But invest in relationships. Make a phone call or write a note. Check on a friend who’s been struggling through something recently. Surprise a friend with a nice gesture today.  Remember, in God’s design, sacrifice is the rule. It’s not the exception. 
  • Are you just clueless as to where to start? I get that. Start at church. Volunteer somewhere and meet some friends who think the same way that you do. Serve with them. Maybe try Launch Night. Next month we’ll be launching lots of folks into Life Groups. They’ll be willing to invest that same effort that you want to today.  

Derrick Purvis
Formation Pastor

Relationships and Stuff - Wednesday

Posted on Wed, Aug 13, 2014

“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” 
 
I have this mental rolodex of guys in my life to go to for certain needs. If I’m looking for some good music, I go to Chris. If I want to know about fishing, Jim is my guy. Been outsmarted by my iPhone? Justin gets the call. When my bike is making a funny clicking sound, Jason’s on the speed dial. Those are the guys I look up to for different reasons in my life and I love catching their wisdom and example. It makes me a better, more well-rounded man. 
 
And surrounding myself with experts in all these different areas gives me some great opportunities to grow. So who do you go to for relationship expertise? Man, I’d go to the source. There’s no greater act of love than laying down your life for someone else. And who laid His life down for you? Jesus. Jesus is the best friend you’ll ever know. Take your cues from Him. 
 
I’d challenge you to read through the Gospels with the lens of Jesus’ relationships. Look how He treats His friends. Observe how His relationships grow and mature. Put yourself in the shoes of those folks He’s talking to. Where is love in those conversations? When is hard truth spoken? Where is grace and loyalty extended?
  • Consider this reading plan through the book of John. Read it through the lens of Jesus’ relationships.
  • Spend some time in prayer asking God for clarity on relationships. He’s the source for this stuff. 

Derrick Purvis
Formation Pastor

Relationships and Stuff - Tuesday

Posted on Tue, Aug 12, 2014

“A friend loves at all times...”
 
I hope that my little Subaru Forester doesn’t read the devos. If it had feelings, I’m certainly hurting them this week. But the truth is, I’m not a huge fan of it right now. I mean, we had some good times. I’ve stacked kayaks and bikes on it’s roof and it’s handled those trips with ease. I’ve taken it camping and it’s folding seats offered the perfect sleeping quarters. I’ve given friends rides in snow storms and it’s all-wheel-drive handled it so well. But now that it’s giving me trouble, I’m not sure how much I can get out of it any more. 
 
“I’m sorry, Forester, but if you’re not going to serve me in the ways I need, this relationship may not have much of a future. There’s a pick-up truck out there that would love to have me behind it’s wheel.”
 
Okay, obviously I’m being silly now. To treat an object like it’s a person is just cockamamy, right? But, quite honestly, we play the other side of that spectrum with our friends all the time. We treat people like objects all too often. If our friends start to give us trouble, we’re quick to toss them in the trash.
 
“I don’t like the truth that you just said to me.”
“I don’t like that you’re too busy after having the baby.”
“I don’t like that I make more effort in this relationship than you.”
 
And before we know it the relationship has drifted. Hear me, though. I’m not asking you to stay in unhealthy relationships. Some relationships are abusive. Some relationships are manipulative. But many of us miss out on quality friendships because we lack loyalty. We give up too easily. We don’t want to be vulnerable or speak difficult truths so we walk away. Sometimes a streak of awkward conversations makes us walk away from a friend like they were a 1998 Subaru with faded paint and a busted headlight. But a true friend loves at all times. A true friends sticks with you through the arguments and frustrations. Be that friend and you’ll have those friends. 
 
  • Have you wronged someone by walking away from a friendship because it became stale? Have you treated someone in a way that doesn’t align with Proverbs 17:17? Write that person a letter or grab coffee with them this week. Commit to righting the wrong. 
  • Do you have one of those relationships that’s made it through thick and thin? Be thankful! Tell God and tell them how grateful you are for that friendship.

Derrick Purvis
Formation Pastor

Relationships and Stuff - Monday

Posted on Mon, Aug 11, 2014

"Don’t grieve God. Don’t break his heart. His Holy Spirit, moving and breathing in you, is the most intimate part of your life, making you fit for himself. Don’t take such a gift for granted."
 
My car only drives eight miles at a time. After eight miles it overheats. I took it to the mechanic and they couldn’t find what’s wrong with it. But my commute to work is only seven miles so I can make it there just fine. So for the last three years, I’ve lived my life within an eight mile radius. I’m not complaining, either. I kind of like it. “I’d love to come to your Bachelorette Season Finale Party. But it’s nine miles away. So I can’t make it.”
 
But I am running into a problem. Other little things are starting to break down on the ol’ Subaru. It needs brakes, windshield wipers and now the driver’s side door won’t lock. But I’m not inclined to fix those problems when there’s a bigger problem with the engine. Until the engine is fixed, what’s the point of repairing the peripheral issues.
 
Same is true with your friendships. In some of your relationships you’re experiencing a short eight miles at a time. They’re finite. They’re not very useful. They get overheated quickly. And, frankly, you’d like to get a little more mileage out of those friends. But you’ll never fix the friend problem if you’ve got a God problem. If you’re relationship with Him isn’t what it needs to be, you’ll never get much mileage out of those other relationships. It is THE MOST intimate part of your life. Working on your relationships with others without getting right with him is like replacing the brakes on a car with no engine. There’s just no point to it. 
 
  • Spend some time with God today. Have coffee with Him. Go on a walk with Him. Begin a conversation with Him in prayer. Ask Him if there’s more you need to be investing in that relationship before we start the conversation on your relationships with others. 
  • Ask Him to reveal to you how you can be the kind of friend you want others to be for you. It all starts with letting Him make you healthy so you can be a good friend to others. 

Derrick Purvis
Formation Pastor

The Satisfaction Trilogy: On - Friday

Posted on Fri, Aug 08, 2014

I always thank my God as I remember you in my prayers, because I hear about your love for all his holy people and your faith in the Lord Jesus.
 
Nolan, Jill, Ken, Scott, Gary, Barb, Tom, Rick, Sherry and many others all shared Jesus with me. Over time, these relationships and conversations led me to give my life entirely over to Jesus. I could probably list dozens upon dozens more names, but these people first came to mind. I am who I am in Christ because people were willing to share Jesus with me. Think about being on someone’s list like this. Your friendship and faith story could be one of the reasons they come to know Jesus. It may not even be a direct connection that makes the eternal difference. Matter of fact, the third name on that list didn’t teach me about Jesus until long after I’d accepted Him, but he did help make all the difference.  
 
Ken played sports growing up. He was handsome, athletic, smart, funny, well liked and competitive. Somehow he struck up a friendship with a guy that bested him in pitchers’ duels from time to time. This kid he met, who later became a friend, made him mad because he seemed to delight in beating him on the field. Off the field they became friends. His new buddy didn’t have the same stability Ken had. Ken could have kept his good family, good looks, good friends and good life to himself. Instead, he shared it with a rival, and that rival found a home in his home and eventually found a home in Christ.  
 
If Ken hadn’t shared Jesus with my dad, I don’t believe I’d know the love and grace of Jesus. As we wrestle with what it looks like to share Jesus, take some time to imagine your name being on someone else’s list. Imagine someone getting to the end of their life and being filled with joy because you had the love, compassion, courage and confidence to share your life and story with them!  Maybe their kids will get the chance to thank you some day for the generational difference you made. I was able to do just that last year at my dad’s funeral when Ken came to share in the celebration.
  • Take some time to thank God for the people that helped you come to Jesus.
  • Ask God to give you a vision for the future, what’s possible, as we share Jesus with those He’s sent us to.
  • Invite a friend to hang out with you at church this weekend. Take them out to eat afterward and pray about a next step in building that relationship for Jesus.
  • I’d love to pray for you and those Jesus is calling you to share Him with. Email me your name and the names on your list. I’ll gladly pray weekly for the next year.
  • Memorize Matthew 28:19-20Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.

Nathan Head
Executive Pastor of Ministries

The Satisfaction Trilogy: On - Thursday

Posted on Thu, Aug 07, 2014

 
I’ve started to dabble in car repair. I can’t explain how gratified I felt the first time I put a new set of brake pads on my car. I walked a little taller, strode a little more effortlessly, and puffed my chest out a bit that day. A few months prior I would have never considered trying it, let alone doing it. Fortunately, I had a good buddy that got into car repair as well a few years prior, and he walked me through the entire process. It really came down to study, preparation, encouragement, and time to do it.
 
When it comes to talking about your faith and why you believe, it’s really the same thing. If you’ve ever decided to do something big you’ve never considered before and then accomplished it, you understand. Maybe you hate sports, but then you ran a marathon. Or maybe you couldn’t stand sewing and now make your own curtains. It takes effort but is so worth the reward.
 
Here’s what I recommend for those of us that haven’t really been able to share our faith before. Write out your story. I’ve worked on a five-minute version and a 30-second version. The basic outline is: My life was. I connected with Jesus and now my life is. The key is to be yourself—don’t use a bunch of church or spiritual words—and get to the point! For more insight in how to do this, check out these additional and excellent resources:
  • Just Walk Across the Room by Bill Hybels. Don't have a RightNow Media account? Go here.
  • Prepared by Andy Stanley
     
  • As you prepare your story, pray for those that you will share your story with. Ask God to build confidence in you as you prepare to share His love with others.
  • Memorize Matthew 28:19-20Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.

Nathan Head
Executive Pastor of Ministries

The Satisfaction Trilogy: On - Wednesday

Posted on Wed, Aug 06, 2014

Now in the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen (who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch) and Saul. While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off.
 
I’ve noticed this tendency in life to compare myself to others. Growing up, when I learned a new sport, I defaulted to comparison with the best on the team or in the league. I rarely gave myself the grace to improve in a realistic time frame or to simply be average. If I didn’t progress fast enough and become the best or one of the best, I was frustrated. I do this with all kinds of stuff. As a young communicator, I would always compare myself to people that were nationally known for their speaking gift. Over time I’ve matured some, but I still find myself setting the bar at near perfection.
 
When it comes to evangelism, I’m guilty of the same thing. Like I said on Monday, doing evangelism feels like writing a foreign language with the pen in my “off” hand; it’s not natural and I stink at it. So, like other things in my life, I’ve built up in my mind that evangelism is something “real Christians” do well and do alone. That evangelism always ends with the person’s conversion, and that it happens quickly. Well, none of that is typical or really true. For one, it takes on average 17 connections with a Christian or Jesus-inspired moment before someone accepts Christ. Statistically speaking, it's the exception, not the rule, when we're part of the final conversation where someone establishes faith.
 
One misconception I want to pick off today is that we must “go it alone.” When it comes to sharing our faith, let’s consider doing it in pairs or groups. In Luke 10 that is exactly how Jesus taught His followers to do it. As a matter of fact, the greatest missionary to ever live, the Apostle Paul, didn’t go it alone either. He had Barnabas or Silas or others alongside. If he went with a pair then why should I do it by myself?
  • Take some time to identify expectations about evangelism that you’ve put on yourself. Make a list and talk to God about that list. Talk to him about unrealistic expectations you’ve placed on yourself.
  • Consider a friend or group of friends that you can focus toward sharing Jesus as a group or pair. Some Life Groups have figured out how to take their group and make it evangelistic. Consider who can join you in sharing Jesus. If you want help with ideas, let our Formation Team know. We’d love to talk more.
  • Memorize Matthew 28:19-20Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.

Nathan Head
Executive Pastor of Ministries

The Satisfaction Trilogy: On - Tuesday

Posted on Tue, Aug 05, 2014

After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go. He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves. Do not take a purse or bag or sandals; and do not greet anyone on the road. “When you enter a house, first say, ‘Peace to this house.’ If someone who promotes peace is there, your peace will rest on them; if not, it will return to you. Stay there, eating and drinking whatever they give you, for the worker deserves his wages. Do not move around from house to house.
 
Yesterday I asked us to take some time and consider who we are drawn to naturally and who we want to see come to Jesus. I did this because in Luke 10 Jesus gives instructions to His followers that play along these lines. In these verses, He basically tells them to go out and share the Kingdom of God with others. In an effort to make the leap of over 2,000 years and from a drastically different culture to ours, it would be reasonable to conclude that Jesus is telling them to go evangelize. There's a reason Luke recorded this. It’s vital to Jesus’ mission, and as Jon said this past weekend, “There are more people that need to hear the gospel than share the gospel.”
 
So instead of thinking of evangelism as a call to find the biggest, baddest, and meanest sinner alive, it may be that Jesus wants us to consider who we’re naturally drawn toward. For a very select few, we’ll be called to the challenging people that breathe fire and eat snakes. The truth is our calling will be natural and confirmed as we live it out. For me, I'm called to people that have kids, are involved in stuff like youth sports (my kids play and our family is “all in”), and that are pretty similar to me. That’s not to say I’m not called to stretch myself. But like the 72, I’ve had to be honest with God and myself and find out who I find peace or commonality with. 
 
I think there’s a reason that Jesus gave us specific instructions here. He knew it’d freak us out to go and do the supernatural relationship thing with others. He instructed his followers then, as he does now, to think about where we find connection leverage and how that connection could lead people to Jesus.
  • Take some time to consider a couple of people and/or places where we meet people that God may be prompting us to share our lives including our faith.  (Don’t overthink this. Jesus did His ministry in a very small corner of the globe.  Your workplace, your book club, your gym, your street, or your daughter’s softball practice field may be the exact place God wants to transform through you.)
  • List the names of people and places and then share this list with a friend. Tell them what excites you about this and what scares you about this kind of list.
  • Memorize Matthew 28:19-20Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.

Nathan Head
Executive Pastor of Ministries

The Satisfaction Trilogy: On - Monday

Posted on Mon, Aug 04, 2014

As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.” For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” 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 preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”
 
Confession time. I stink at telling people about Jesus. Anyone with me? It feels odd for me to say, “So, uh, do you know Jesus? Do you, uh, need God in your life?” As a pastor this seems odd, but I can talk weather, sports, grilled meats and parenting little crazies just fine, but when it comes to putting Jesus “out there” it feels so awkward. I can literally stand on a stage in front of a few thousand people and talk about my deep love for Jesus without breaking a sweat, but when it comes to one-on- one or a small group of people that don’t know Jesus, I’d rather have a root canal sans pain killers.
 
This past weekend Jon talked about living life “on mission.” This kind of message always gets me excited to do something. I have no shortage of “want to” when it comes to sharing the hope I’ve found in Jesus. The challenge for me comes in how I do it.
 
When I was growing up I went on a youth group outing where we went to the beach (I lived 15 minutes from one). We were told to tell someone about Jesus before lunch time. As an introvert’s introvert you might as well have told me to gargle a jar of June bugs. There I was, all 5’11”, 115 pounds of walking skeleton, literally praying to the God of skinny punks for someone willing to hear me stutter through a bungled series of questions about where they’d go if they died tonight and if they knew Jesus.
 
Since most of that awful experience is blacked out of my memory, I can’t tell you how it all went, but I can tell you no one became a Christ follower on my watch that day. Suffice it to say that evangelism isn’t my strong suit and hasn’t come naturally over time. So when Jon said the important words, “There are more people that need to hear the gospel than share the gospel,” my response is to agree and continue to wonder why I’m not good at bringing lots of people to Jesus.
 
If you're like me, let’s spend some time this week being honest with God about who we are and where we are with evangelism. We’ll explore what it looks like to share Jesus when what typically comes to mind is not how we’re wired to share Him.  
 
If you are a natural, then follow along with those of us who aren’t, so you can understand how to help us. I bet there will be some helpful nuggets for you, too.
  • Take some time to tell God what He already knows about your evangelism abilities (or lack thereof). For the record, He loves you either way!
  • Take some time to ask and answer these questions:
    • Who am I naturally drawn to?
    • What connections do I make without trying too hard?  
    • What group or “kind” of people do I want to see come to know Jesus?
  • Memorize Matthew 28:19-20 this week: Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.

Nathan Head
Executive Pastor of Ministries


Older Entries