I led a Bible study during the lunch hour with office and blue-collar workers at a manufacturing firm. We studied Old Testament covenants and how Christ fulfilled them in Matthew. Management decided the office staff and production workers should have separate lunch breaks at different times.
I asked Joe, a friend from church, “How would you like to lead a Bible study for other welders and assembly workers on the production floor?”
“I’ve never done anything like that, Mark” Joe said.
“I would be glad to train you. You might be amazed how God could use you,” Mark said.
“Ok, let me give it a try!” Joe said.
God’s kingdom came to this company as production workers trusted Christ. During their 15-minute morning and afternoon breaks, God’s word was discussed. In the evenings, Joe repaired many workers’ motorcycles at his home. He shared the gospel with many coming to faith in Christ.
Christ compared the kingdom of God to a mustard seed (smallest of all seeds) and leaven (obscure material) that grows like a tree, and expands bread from the inside out, respectively.
1. Acknowledge God’s design
Neither the Galileans’ blood Pilate inter-mingled with the Roman sacrifices nor the 18 killed when the Siloam tower collapsed were greater sinners than those still alive. Unless you repent, you will also perish. For three years, a fig tree didn’t produce fruit. If a tree didn’t bear fruit in four years with fertilizer around it, he cut it down (Luke 13:1-9). Acknowledge God’s design of circumstances so people repent of sin and bear fruit.
2. Help others experience freedom in Christ
A woman bent double for 18 years with sickness stood erect when Jesus laid hands on her. A Sabbath healing upset a synagogue official. Jesus said he was hypocritical. Shouldn't a daughter of Abraham be released from Satan's bonds? All His opponents were humiliated and a multitude rejoiced over the glorious things done by Jesus (Luke 13:10-17). Help others experience freedom in Jesus by releasing people from Satan's bonds.
3. Facilitate the spread of God’s kingdom
Jesus compared the kingdom of God to a mustard seed that grew and became a tree. The kingdom of God is also like leaven that a woman hid in meal until it was leavened (Luke 13:18-21). Facilitate the spread of God’s kingdom from small beginnings to impact a person from the inside out.
4. Experience God’s kingdom
When someone asked if just a few are saved, Jesus said to enter by the narrow door since many seek to enter without success. Those who know God's will eat and drink with Christ. Those left out will experience weeping and gnashing of teeth (Luke 13:22-30). Experience God's kingdom by trusting Christ and doing God’s will.
5. Patiently await Christ’s return
The Pharisees told Christ to leave since Herod wanted to kill Him. Jesus said His goal was to cast out demons and perform cures until His death and resurrection. Christ expressed sorrow over people rejecting and not seeing Him until His Second Coming (Luke 13:31-35). Patiently await Christ’s return when He sets up His kingdom.
The following principles show how God's kingdom grows:
1. Repent of your sin and personally receive His death and resurrection.
2. Bear fruit by accepting God’s rule in your life.
3. Be God’s agent releasing people from bondage to Satan so they experience freedom from the inside out.
4. Begin small with simple gospel conversations and see God's kingdom spread in your sphere of influence.
“I want freedom to do what I want! No one is going to tell me what to do,” Kerry said.
“What will your life be like if you follow that philosophy, Kerry?” Samuel said.
“If I make lots of money,” Kerry said, “I can help more people and not be under stress trying to make ends meet.”
“It makes sense for this life, but what about for eternity?” Samuel said, “Have you considered the eternal consequences of not centering your life around Christ?”
Most Christians live for this world, not for Christ. Because their lives aren't distinct from others, people avoid the church and Christianity. Luke 12 explains the Biblical convictions derived from discipleship.
1. Be authentic and transparent
Beware of hypocrisy because every secret will be revealed. Don't fear people, but fear the One with authority to cast you into hell. Because God loves you, confess Him before men so He can confess you before angels. Rejecting the Holy Spirit has an eternal impact determining heaven or hell. God will teach you what to say when sharing the gospel (Luke 12:1-12). Be authentic and transparent in leading people to Christ.
2. Lay up treasure in heaven
Be on guard against every form of greed because life doesn’t consist of possessions. Laying up goods on earth for comfort and pleasure is short-sighted because everyone gives an account to God. It's foolish to lay up treasure for yourself and not be rich toward God. (Luke 12:13-21). Lay up treasure in heaven by refusing materialism and greed.
3. Seek God’s kingdom first
Don't be anxious as God provides for birds who neither sow nor reap. Have faith in God and don't worry about food, clothing, and shelter because He knows you need these things. Seek first His kingdom and these things will be provided. Don't be afraid because your Father has gladly given you the kingdom. Sell your possessions and give to those with real needs so you lay up treasure in heaven (Luke 12:22-34). Seek God's kingdom first by being generous and trusting Him to provide.
4. Live for Christ’s Second Coming
Be ready and alert for Christ's second coming to welcome Him with open arms. The head of the house will prepare and protect himself from thieves breaking into his house. The Son of Man is coming at an hour you don't expect (Luke 12:35-40). Live for Christ’s Second Coming by spiritual preparation.
5. Become a faithful steward
The faithful steward in charge of God's possessions won’t beat his slaves because of his master's delay. The unfaithful steward beats his slaves and the master assigns him a place with unbelievers. A slave who knew the master's will but disobeyed will receive many lashes. The one who didn’t know but committed deeds worthy of flogging will receive few lashes (Luke 12:41-48). Become a faithful steward of time, talent and treasure obeying Christ.
6. Suffer persecution
Christ was distressed until His baptism since He brought division, not peace, to families. Three members will be against two, two against three, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter, daughter against mother, etc. (Luke 12:49-53). Suffer persecution in your family by identifying with Christ.
7. Consider eternal consequences
Hypocrites analyze the weather but not this present time. They don't judge what’s right. If you have a dispute, it's better to settle than risk having the authorities throw you into prison until the penalty is paid in full (Luke 12:54-59). Consider eternal consequences of your actions with proper judgment.
Action Steps: Ask God to develop the following four Biblical convictions derived from discipleship:
1. Consider the eternal consequences of heaven and hell. Does that motivate you share Christ?
2. Be spiritually prepared for Christ's Second Coming.
3. Maximize your time, talent and treasure for God's purposes.
4. Suffer persecution within your family by identifying with Christ.
“Christians think they are so holy. I can’t live up to their expectations,” Larry said.
“Tell me more,” Sam said.
“The few times I went to church, they asked me if I was a Christian.” Larry said. “Their tone of voice made me feel judged! I haven’t been to church for years.”
“You know, Larry,” Sam said, “I often get angry with my wife. She might not talk to me the rest of the day!”
“How do you handle it?” Larry said.
“Jesus makes a huge difference!” Sam said, “I confess my sin and pray for God’s power to respond with a kind word. Sometimes I let my emotions get the best of me. I’m not perfect. I struggle with sin every day.”
Gary Comer lists the Disclosure window as one of the 10 key mission skills in his book, Remission. A Christian shares present personal sins or struggles to convey grace and Christ’s power, which opens up the dialogue with a non-believer. Luke 11 shows how to resolve our sins and struggles so we can disclose them to others.
1. Pray for God’s kingdom
Jesus' disciples asked for instruction on prayer. Jesus answered (my paraphrase): Father, your name enables me to develop a relationship with you so I can ask that you reign on earth like in heaven, meet my daily needs, be an ambassador to help others experience release from the guilt and power of sin and prevent being led into temptation" (Luke 11:1-4). Pray for God’s kingdom to come down on earth.
2. Pray persistently for Holy Spirit
Jesus told a parable about someone wanting to provide bread to feed an unexpected guest. When his friend refused an initial request at midnight, his persistence was rewarded. He who asks receives, he who seeks finds, and he who knocks on a door, opens it. If unrighteous fathers give to their children, imagine a heavenly father giving the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him (Luke 11:5-13). Pray persistently for needs and the Holy Spirit.
3. Defeat strongholds
Some accused Christ of using Satan's power to cast out demons. Christ said a kingdom or house divided against itself falls. Christ said it's impossible to cast out demons if He's divided against Himself. However, if He casts out demons by God's power, then God’s kingdom came upon them. "He who is not with Me is against Me; and he who does not gather with Me, scatters." (Luke 11:14-26). Defeat strongholds and idolatry by God's power.
4. Repent of sin
Jesus said those who observe God’s word are blessed. Christ said this generation didn’t repent of their sin like Nineveh after Jonah preached to them. The Queen of the South will also condemn this generation because she heard Solomon’s wisdom. Someone greater than Jonah and Solomon were in this generation's midst (Luke 11:27-32). Repent of sin and ask for wisdom to do God’s word.
5. Cleanse your heart
No one lights a lamp to put it under a bushel, but on a lampstand so people see the light. Your eye is lamp of your body. A healthy eye enables the body to be full of light instead of darkness. The Lord accused the Pharisees of cleaning the outside, but leaving their hearts full of robbery and wickedness (Luke 11:33-41). Cleanse your heart so others see Christlike purity, mercy and compassion.
6. Model authenticity
The Pharisees neglected justice and God’s love. They sought honor from men being unaware of their dead hearts instead of helping the weak experience justice and God's love. They were accountable for killing and persecuting prophets and apostles since the beginning of time. When Christ left, the scribes and Pharisees plotted against Him. They questioned Him closely on many subjects to catch Him in something He might say (Luke 11:42-54). Model authenticity by sharing Christ’s justice and love in your sins and struggles.
Action Step: Pray for Holy Spirit power to defeat strongholds, repent of sin, and cleanse your heart so you model authenticity by disclosing your sins and struggles with a non-believer.
Joe tells his son, Cody, to get dressed so they aren’t late to the 10 a.m. Sunday morning service.“Dad, do we have to go? Church is boring!”
“Cody, church is good for you. We don’t want to forsake the assembling of ourselves together!”
“Dad, what does it mean to assemble ourselves together?” Cody said, “I’d rather be playing soccer with my friends on Sunday morning.” “My friends in the youth group don’t say anything in Sunday School. They aren’t any different than people who don’t go to church. In fact, they’re more loving and less judgmental than those who don’t go to church,” Cody said.
Doesn’t God have something more exciting and fulfilling for us? It's better than surfing the largest wave, making the million-dollar sale, experiencing the thrill of victory or getting an A on a final test. Luke 10 shows how we can join a movement of adventure with God.
1. Ask God for laborers
Jesus appointed 70 followers and sent them in groups of two to every place where He was going to visit. He said to ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest. They were to be lambs in the midst of wolves (Luke 10:1-3). Ask God for laborers to be sent out into the harvest field.
2. Pursue interactive, trust-filled relationships
Carry no money or supplies, and do not greet anyone on the way. Whatever city you enter, stay and don't leave a house that contains a man of peace. The goal is discipleship until peace rests and remains there (Luke 10:4-8).
Pursue interactive, trust-filled relationships leading to gospel conversations and hospitality.
3. Trust God’s power to heal and share gospel
Heal those who are sick and say, "The kingdom of God has come near to you." If they don't listen, their judgment will be worse than Tyre and Sidon that leads to Hades. One who listens to you listens to Me, and one who rejects you rejects Me (Luke 10:9-16). Trust God’s power to heal and share gospel of kingdom so it connects with them.
4. Affirm your identity in Christ
The 72 told Jesus that demons were subject to them in His name. Jesus said He watched Satan fall from heaven like lightning and gave them authority so the enemy wouldn’t injure them. Jesus said to rejoice their names were recorded in heaven, not spirits submitting to them. Jesus rejoiced that the Father revealed revelation to them rather than the educated and kings
(Luke 10:17-24). Affirm your identity in Christ instead of ministry results.
5. Show compassion ministering to practical needs
A lawyer asked what he should to do to inherit eternal life. Jesus told him to love God with all his heart, soul, strength, and mind and neighbor as himself. Jesus told a parable about the Good Samaritan who felt compassion toward someone robbed. Instead of passing by, he bandaged their wounds, poured oil, put him on his own beast, brought him to an inn, cared for him, and paid two denarii to the innkeeper while he went away (Luke 10:25-37).
Show compassion ministering to practical needs that come across your path.
6. Listen to God and pray persistently for God’s kingdom
Martha offered hospitality as she welcomed Jesus into her home. Her sister, Mary, listened to the Lord's word, while sitting at His feet. Martha was distracted with all her preparations. Jesus said she was worried and bothered about so many things, but Mary chose the good part. Pray persistently for God’s kingdom to come on earth and for the Holy Spirit
(Luke 10:38-11:13). Listen to God and pray persistently for God’s kingdom and Holy Spirit
Ask > Relationships > Heal > Gospel > Identity > Compassion > Listen & Pray
Will you join the movement of adventure with God? Notice the gospel is at the center of everything we do. Ask God for laborers. Pursue interactive, trust-filled relationships leading to gospel conversations. Trust God’s power to heal and share the gospel of the kingdom so it connects. Affirm your identity in Christ. Show compassion ministering to practical needs. Listen to God and pray persistently for God’s kingdom and Holy Spirit so you repeat the movement of adventure with Him.
Jesus is at work (notice last part of Luke 10:1—"place where He was about to go”). To see movement, train your friends and family who reach their friends and family, who reach their friends and family.
Adding even one ingredient can make a huge different for food.
For example, add zucchini to get moist brownies. Add fresh apples for sweet coleslaw. Add avocado for rich pudding. If you add each of the ingredients from God’s way instead of the world’s way (Luke 9), you have the recipe for effective kingdom ministry.
Listen to Jesus as He describes eight ingredients of kingdom ministry
in Luke 9:
1. Trust God’s power and authority
Jesus sent the twelve to proclaim the kingdom of God and to perform healing with power and authority over demons and diseases. He told them to take nothing, find housing, and leave if not received as a testimony against them. They went among the villages preaching the gospel and healing everywhere (Luke 9:1-6). Trust God’s power and authority to proclaim His kingdom and perform healing.
2. Surrender available resources
Jesus told the twelve to feed the multitude with five loaves and two fish for 5,000 men. Jesus instructed them to recline in groups of 50 each. He blessed, broke, and gave the disciples bread to set before the multitude. They had 12 baskets left over (Luke 9:7-17). Surrender available resources and trust God to provide what’s lacking.
3. Deny self and take up cross
While praying alone, Jesus asked His disciples, “Who do you say that I am?" Peter said, "The Christ of God." He said the Son of Man must suffer many things, be rejected by religious authorities, killed and raised up on the third day. Jesus said to deny self, take up cross daily, and follow Him. He who saves his life loses it, but whoever loses his life for Christ will save it. It’s unprofitable to gain the world and lose your soul (Luke 9:18-27).
Deny self, take up cross, and follow Him to save my life.
4. Listen to God
He took Peter, John and James to pray with Him on the mountain. The three saw His glory with Moses and Elijah standing with Him. A voice said, "This is My Son, My Chosen One; listen to Him!" (Luke 9:28-36).
Listen to God as most important priority.
5. Marvel at God’s greatness
The disciples couldn’t cast out a demon. Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit and healed the boy. They were amazed at the greatness of God. Despite receiving great praise for His works, Jesus said the Son of Man would be betrayed by men (Luke 9:37-45). Marvel at God’s greatness, even when betrayed by men.
6. Serve the least
After the disciples argued who would be the greatest,Jesus said they must receive Him like a child since the least is the greatest (Luke 9:46-48). Serve the least and disenfranchised.
7. Partner with other believers
Don't hinder anyone casting out demons in Christ's name since he who’s not against you is for you. When the Samaritans didn’t receive Him, Christ said the "Son of Man did not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them" (Luke 9:49-56). Partner with others in the body of Christ for healing.
8. Follow God completely
He told His followers the Son of Man had no home. Let the dead bury their own dead, but proclaim fully and everywhere the kingdom of God. Saying good-bye to your family and not putting your hand to the plow proves unfitness for kingdom of God (Luke 9:57-62). Follow God completely and separate from any hindrances.
Action Steps: Which of the eight ingredients of kingdom ministry will you put into practice this coming week?
Larry, a teenager, thought he knew more than his dad, Joe. He saw Larry enter the driveway and walk through the door. “I was hanging out with my friends,” Larry said. “What were you guys doing?” Joe asked. “Nothing! “We were bored,” Larry said, “so we cut down some small trees.”
“Don’t you think there are more profitable things to do?” Joe asked, “What would Jesus think about this?”
After further dialogue and questions to discern his son’s motivations and drives, Joe learned Larry feared he wouldn’t be accepted by his friends. He needed security.
Let’s listen in on their discussion. Joe said, “Not only does Christ unconditionally accept us but He wants to launch us into the most exciting life possible. Joining God in transforming lives. Let’s look together what Luke 8 says about practices that transform lives.
“Transforming ministry is not a solo activity”
1. Work as a team proclaiming kingdom
The 12 apostles were with Jesus as He proclaimed the kingdom of God in various cities. Mary Magdalene, Joanna, wife of Herod's steward, Susanna and many others healed by Jesus contributed their support out of their private means (Luke 8:1-3). Work as a team to proclaim the kingdom of God.
“Encourage people toward a hope-filled future”
2. Paint a compelling future to open minds
Jesus spoke a parable of the sower who sowed seeds—some fell beside the road where birds ate it. Some fell on rocky soil that withered away without moisture. Some fell among thorns that choked it out. Some fell into good soil and produced a crop 100 times as great. He who has ears to hear, let him hear (Luke 8:4-8). Paint a compelling future with stories to open minds.
“Ask questions to know how to impart God’s word at the point of need in a person’s life”
3. Impart biblical truth for spiritual maturity
The seeds are the word of God. Seed beside the road heard and the devil removed the word from their heart so they couldn't believe and be saved. Seed on rocky soil received the word with joy without firm root, they fell away during temptation. Seed that fell among thorns was choked with worries, riches, and pleasures of this life, without mature fruit. Seeds in good soil heard the word with a good heart and bore fruit with perseverance under trial (Luke 8:9-15). Impart biblical truth that bears fruit in spiritual maturity.
“Become a model so disciples know how to obey”
4. Model obedience so others see it
No one covers a lamp, but puts it on a lampstand so people can see the light. Whoever has more will be given, and whoever does not have even what he seems to have shall be taken from him. Jesus said His mothers and brothers hear the word of God and do it
(Luke 8:16-21). Model obedience so others see your life.
“Trials can derail our ministry if we don’t persevere by faith”
5. Persevere by faith in trials
Jesus and His disciples got into a boat during a great storm saying, "Master, Master, we are perishing!" Jesus rebuked the wind and the sea became calm. He said, "Where is your faith?" They were fearful and amazed. He commanded the winds and water to obey Him
(Luke 8:22-25). Persevere by faith in trials.
“The least likely” people are the most likely to multiply disciples”
6. Cast out demons to encourage multiplication
A Gerasene demonic cried out in a loud voice to not torment him while acknowledging Jesus as the Son of the Most High God. Jesus gave the demon permission to leave the man and enter the swine. When people found the man delivered and in his right mind, they became frightened and asked Jesus to leave. He told the man to describe the great things God did for him (Luke 8:26-39). Cast out demons to encourage disciples to multiply.
“Often people must become desperate before they’re ready to trust Christ”
7. Seek response of faith
A woman with a hemorrhage for 12 years couldn’t be healed by anyone. She touched the fringe of Jesus' cloak, and her hemorrhage stopped immediately. After telling people why she touched Him and how she been healed immediately, He said to her, "Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace" (Luke 8:40-48). Seek response of faith when people are ready.
“Help people trust Christ by praying for special healing or supernatural intervention at the point of need”
8. Expect God to act
Jairus, a synagogue official, entreated Jesus to come to his dying daughter. After she died, someone told him to not trouble the Teacher anymore. Jesus said to not be afraid, but believe so she would be made well. He told them to stop weeping since she wasn’t dead. Jesus raised her from the dead after saying, "Child, arise!"(Luke 8:49-56). Expect God to act by speaking His word.
Which of the eight practices that transform lives will you do today? Who’s on your team to keep you accountable?
Gary Comer, author of Soul Whisperer: Why the Church Must Change the Way It Views Evangelism says spiritual influence doesn’t come by canned messaging of “telling the gospel.” We need practical dialogue skills on how to form authentic relationships. The drawing principles of Christ involve “starting where people are,” “read what they need,” and “know where to take them.” Luke 7 illustrates some of these principles.
1. Reach Out Authentically to Unbelievers
A centurion’s slave was sick and near death. The centurion told Jesus to say the word and his servant would be healed recognizing he was under authority like Him. Jesus said his faith was greater than anyone in Israel (Luke 7:1-10). Reach out authentically and honorably to unbelievers that God brings across your path.
2. Show Compassion and Pray for Healing
To the son of a widow, the Lord said, "Young man, I say to you, arise!" When the dead man sat up and spoke, fear gripped them and they began glorifying God (Luke 7:11-17). Show compassion and pray for healing to glorify God.
3. Observe Varied Benefits of the Gospel
Jesus healed many people of diseases, afflictions, evil spirits and granting sight to the blind. He told John the Baptist's disciples to report what they saw:
1. Blind receive sight (spiritual)
2. Lame walk (physical)
3. Lepers cleansed (mental and psychological)
4. Deaf hear (social relationships)
5. Dead raised up (emotional)
6. Poor have gospel preached to them (evangelism)
7. Blessed is he who is not offended by Me (grace and peace) (Luke 7:18-23). Observe varied benefits of the gospel.
4. Dialogue Wisely to Form Friendships with Unbelievers
Jesus told the multitudes that John the Baptist was a messenger to prepare the way of Christ. The people and tax-gatherers acknowledged God's justice, but the Pharisees and lawyers (power elite) rejected God's purpose. John wasn’t indulging in bread or wine, so people said he had a demon. Jesus came eating and drinking, and people said he was a drunk and friend of tax-gatherers and sinners. (Luke 7:24-35).
Dialogue wisely to form friendships with unbelievers.
5. Discern Gospel Key to Prepare Minds and Hearts
Simon, part of the power elite, requested Jesus to eat with him. An immoral woman came to the house weeping, kissed Jesus' feet, and anointed them with perfume. Simon judged the woman because of her sin. Then Jesus told him a story about a moneylender with two debtors: one owed 500 denarii (500 days of wages) and the other 50. He graciously forgave both since neither could repay. Jesus asked Simon who would love Him more? He said the one who forgave more. Jesus told Simon that the one forgiven much loves much. Jesus told the woman that her sins were forgiven and her faith saved her (Luke 7:36-50).
Discern the gospel key in preparing minds and hearts to believe and follow Christ.
I wake up and look at my phone checking emails, sports scores and news. Before I know it, I’m obsessed with my “to-do” list. My mind becomes cluttered with scheduled meetings, family obligations, errands to run, and people to call or visit. Unfortunately, this describes some days.
We grow up consumed with efficiency. We crowd many activities into a day. If we aren’t careful, it’s tempting to equate multitasking and busyness with success. Marriages break up when a spouse makes family second to work and personal accomplishments.
Our busyness not only hurts us physically, mentally, and emotionally, but also spiritually. It weakens physical health, robs the soul of peace, and prevents ministry to others. More importantly, we lose reward in heaven. Let’s look at Luke 6 for perspective and a way out of this treadmill.
1. Believe in Sabbath rest for refreshment
The Pharisees questioned why Jesus and His disciples picked and ate grain that violated he Sabbath. Jesus said when David and his companions were hungry, they ate consecrated bread reserved for priests alone. "The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath"
(Luke 6:1-5). God designed the Sabbath for physical and spiritual refreshment.
2. Use rest to be equipped for ministry
When Jesus healed a man to restore his withered hand, He said to the Pharisees, "I ask you, is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good, or to do harm, to save a life, or to destroy it?" (Luke 6:6-11). God designed the Sabbath for ministry in helping others.
3. Spend extended time with God for strategic impact
Jesus spent a whole night on the mountain praying to God. He chose twelve to be His apostles. Many disciples and people were healed of their diseases and unclean spirits (Luke 6:12-19). Spend much time in prayer for effective healing ministries.
4. Employ humble attitudes for reward in heaven
Jesus said to be poor, hungry, and weep to experience the kingdom of God, satisfaction, and laughter. People received great reward in heaven when men hated, ostracized, cast insults and spurned their name as evil for the sake of the Son of Man (Luke 6:20-26). Embrace humility, endure lack of earthly resources, and tolerate insults because of your faith to experience God’s kingdom and reward in heaven.
5. Show mercy to difficult people for reward in heaven
Love enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you, and treat others the way you want to be treated for great reward in heaven as sons of the Most High. Be merciful as your Father is merciful. Don't judge or condemn, but pardon. Give and it will be given to you. (Luke 6:27-38). Show mercy and kindness to difficult people who mistreat you.
6. Speak from a God-centered heart
A blind man can't guide a blind man. Take the log out of your own eye so you can see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye. Good trees produce good fruit. Bad trees produce bad fruit. A man speaks from that which fills his heart (Luke 6:39-45). Good speech flows from a heart reconciled to God.
7. Ground yourself in God’s word
Everyone who comes to God, hears His words, and acts upon them is like a man who builds his house upon the rock. It's able to withstand floods. The one who didn't act upon God's word is like a man whose house collapsed and suffered ruin without a foundation (Luke 6:46-49). Obey God's word to stay grounded in life’s storms.
1. Set a time each day to unwind from the busyness of life. Get out of the house, take a walk, or spend time in a park away from your cell phone, computer and technology to hear God speak to you.
2. Make it daily habit so this time becomes the highlight of your day.
3. Allow the Holy Spirit to lead you for ministry to others.
Joe and Mary enter the church and talk to long-term friends. They get a cup of coffee and ask how Sarah how she’s enjoying their new house. Joe and Mary sit down in their familiar seats by the center aisle so they can leave quickly. They sing some songs, hear a message, and then go home.
A church culture has dominated a mission culture in many of our churches. Too many "Christians" are busy playing church instead of seeking the heart of Jesus. As a result, the church is declining in the US. Jesus’ example and teaching in Luke 5 helps us change a church culture to a mission culture.
1. Obey Jesus’ word
After not catching any fish, Jesus asked Simon to let down his nets in deep water for a catch. By obeying His word, their nets broke with so many fish. Simon Peter fell down at Jesus' feet saying he was sinful. Jesus said to Simon, "Do not fear, from now on you will be catching men." They left everything and followed Him (Luke 5:1-11). Obey Jesus' word and admit sinfulness to bear fruit in evangelism.
2. Pray for spiritual power
A leper was cured immediately when he saw Jesus and begged to be made clean. Jesus ordered him to see a priest and make an offering for his cleansing as Moses commanded and as a testimony. News spread as great multitudes gathered to hear Jesus and be healed of their sicknesses. Often times, Jesus would slip away to pray alone (Luke 5:12-16). Pray to provide power for physical and spiritual healing.
3. Show compassion for sinners
Because of the crowd, some men carrying a paralyzed man went up on the roof and let him down through tiles to set him in front of Jesus. So skeptical and condemning Pharisees would "know the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins," the paralyzed man rose from his stretcher where he had been lying and went home, giving glory to God (Luke 5:17-26). Show compassion instead of condemning sinners.
4. Share a clear verbal witness
Jesus told a tax-gatherer named Levi to follow Him. He left everything behind and followed Him (Luke 5:27-28). Witness verbally and challenge people to follow Christ so they will repent.
5. Socialize with those who need to know Jesus
After Levi invited other tax-gatherers and gave a big reception for Jesus, the Pharisees and scribes grumbled at His disciples saying, "Why do you eat and drink with tax-gatherers and sinners?" Jesus answered that since the sick need a physician, He was calling sinners to repentance, not the righteous (Luke 5:29-32). Influence sinners by having meals and personal relationships.
6. Delight in God's presence
The religious leaders said John's and Pharisees' disciples fast and offer prayers, but "Yours eat and drink." Jesus answered that it was appropriate for his disciples not to fast since He, as the bridegroom, was present with them now and not later (Luke 5:33-35). Delight in God's presence and have fun relating with others.
7. Use new methods
One doesn't tear a piece from a new garment and put it on an old garment since it won't match the old. You also don't "put new wine into old wineskins, otherwise the new wine will burst the skins, and it will be spilled out, and the skins will be ruined. But new wine must be put into fresh wineskins. And no one, after drinking old wine wishes for new; for he says, 'The old is good enough'" (Luke 5:36-39). Use new methods for greater effectiveness in making disciples.
To move from a church culture to a mission culture, I will do the following:
1. Obey Jesus' word and admit sinfulness to bear fruit in evangelism
2. Pray for physical and spiritual healing
3. Show compassion instead of condemning sinners
4. Witness verbally and challenge people to follow Christ so they will repent
5. Influence sinners by having meals and personal relationships
6. Delight in God's presence and have fun relating with others
7. Use new methods for greater effectiveness in making disciples
My goal is to ignite the hearts of people by explaining God's word in the Law, Prophets, Psalms and New Testament consecutively, much like the experience of the two disciples on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:32,44). I have been a missionary in Lincoln, NE, for 13 years with Christ For the City Int. and Sync with God.
Sync with God is a highly versatile web app that hosts on-demand, virtual small groups. Sync is designed to connect young seekers in the faith and scripturally-trained mentors, even globally. It offers a safe, engaging interface for Millennials/Gen. Z and is readily adaptable to technical advances well into the future.
Sync pilot lesson 1