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?