Go & Tell: Dynamic Gospel Conversations

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Think back to how you heard the best news ever.
The news that God loves you…
That He gave His Son, Jesus…
That He made a way for you to believe and be saved. 
You may have heard it from a parent or a teacher. You may have read it in a book or heard it on the radio. You may have heard it from someone standing on the stage or from a friend sitting next to you. But someone told you, and it was the Best News Ever.
Who are you going to tell?

How do I share the best news ever? We’ve posted about the best news ever, why we share it, some wisdom in how to share it, but what do we say in a conversation?

“Make the most of every opportunity. Be gracious in your speech. The goal is to bring out the best in others in a conversation, not put them down, not cut them out.”  Colossians 4:5 (MSG)

We put too much pressure on ourselves when we go to share our faith. We forget what our responsibility is and that God is in control.

“A successful witness is sharing Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit and then leaving the results to God.”  Bill Bright

Our responsibility is to go and tell. 

Their responsibility is to respond.

God’s responsibility is to save.

We don’t do high-pressured salvation moments in our weekend services. We make the gospel clear. We say there’s one truth, one way to be saved, one way to God the Father, that’s Jesus Christ. We don’t try and manipulate or talk people into believing it. We do that because if we can talk you into believing in Jesus, someone else can talk you out of it. God is the only one who can open blinded eyes. God is the only one who can free a soul from the bondage of sin and transform someone’s life.


 

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Take a look at the timeline above. In the center is a cross that represents salvation, when someone believes in Jesus for eternal life. That’s not where we start, however, we start on the left side, far from God. There’s also space to the right, because salvation isn’t the end of the line, it’s the beginning of the line. The goal after salvation is to become like Christ and fulfill his purposes for your life and the church.

These three things don’t happen overnight. We don’t grow automatically, we grow in steps. So there are positive and negative numbers to illustrate that people are in different places. We all want the salvation conversation. The one where we pray with someone and they walk across the line. We should want that. It should be a goal. But maybe you’ve been gauging your success on the wrong thing or maybe you’ve even given up, because you’ve forgotten there’s a lot more to it.

People will need to be challenged and encouraged several times before they cross that salvation line. Our responsibility is to just have the conversation. You don’t have to move someone all ten steps. You don’t have to move someone all five steps from far from God to salvation. But maybe because of you, someone will move one step closer to the cross.

A gospel conversation is anytime you encourage someone to take ONE STEP from where they are, to where God wants them to be.

How do we have the conversation? What do we say? Here are three primary ways you can have a gospel conversation and share your faith. These can work in your everyday relationships.


Three Ways to Share Your Faith

1. Share the hope we have.

People are dying for hope. Share your hope.

“But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.” 1 Peter 3:15-16

Share your story with someone. Here are three elements in telling your story.

  • Tell how you realized you needed Christ

You needed someone who was strong enough to save. No matter what the situation or how old you were, you have a story to tell.

  • Tell how you committed your life to Christ

Before you point out what people should do, show them what you did. Tell them how you’ve committed to building your life on God. Share your life with them in such a way that they want what you have.

  • Tell the difference it has made in your life

This is the hope part. Share the difference and the hope you have. One of the best ways you can do this is to do it such a way to where they are hungry for what you have.

2. Share my church.

We have designed parts of our church for people who are far from God. We work very hard to provide ways for your kids, students and for you that move you to your next step. We create weekend services that believers would enjoy and unbelievers would want to come and see. A place where lost people could come, we want to make people feel welcome, serve them and add value to their life by answering their questions on how to live.

“Go out into the country…and urge anyone you find to come in, so that My house will be full.”  Luke 14:23 (LB)

God says, He wants churches full because the need is so big. How can you share your church?

  • Pray for them

Pray for the lost people in your life. In our small groups, we write down the names of the lost people in our lives and then, as a group, call out those names before God. The Lord is going to have to stir their heart before they will make a step toward God.

  • Show them I care

Before you invite them, show them you care. People don’t care what you know, they want to know that you care. So don’t even share your faith with someone until you’ve  added value to their life. People want to know if you really care about them. When you gain people’s trust, you gain their hearts.

  • Invite them to join me at a service.

When you invite someone, don’t just say, “Hey we’ve got five services, good luck!” Ask them, “Which service do you want to go to? I’ll go to the one you like.” Sit with them. You can pick up an invite card at the info table in the lobby and give to someone.

3. Share Christ.

We’ve made sharing the gospel too hard. If you know John 3:16, then you can share the gospel with someone.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”  John 3:16 (NIV)

That’s the answer to have eternal life. Every person is on a spiritual journey trying to connect with God. Tell them, God loves you, and the reason your life is so messed up right now is because…

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”  John 10:10 (NIV)

Now just because you become a Christian doesn’t mean you stop having problems. It doesn’t make life easier. It does mean fulfillment. It does mean strength. It’ll bring a fulfillment that you cannot explain. If they say no, they don’t want that kind of relationship with God, say, “Well if you ever think you do, if you ever change your mind…God’s love does not change and the invitation is always there.”


Three Simple Ways to Explain the Gospel

Here are 3 common misunderstandings that people have and ways we can clarify the gospel for them.

1. DO vs DONE

So many people make their spiritual life all about DODo this. Join that. Get on this path.  It’s only about what He has DONE. He lived a perfect life we could never live, He died in our place on the cross because of our sin, He rose from the dead and gave us eternal life. It’s no longer about what I do to be acceptable to God. it’s about what Jesus did to make me acceptable to God.

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.”  Ephesians 2:8-9 (NIV)

2. Good/Bad  –  Dead/Alive

Some people think being a good person is enough or they are too bad to be accepted by God. Sin isn’t about being a good or bad person. It’s about being dead and Jesus making us alive.

“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  Romans 6:23 (NIV)

3. System – Savior

Some people will tell you a list of things they have completed from church attendance, Christian school to Bible classes…that all sounds like a system. Jesus isn’t a system, He’s a Savior.

“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.”  Romans 10:9-10 (NIV)


Three Things to Remember

1. Rely on the Holy Spirit.

You might have a conversation with someone on a lunch break. The Holy Spirit was talking to them before that lunch, empowering you during the conversation, and will continue to talk to them long after you walk away. You played a role in the story God is crafting in their life. You don’t know what’s happening under the surface.

2. Reverse the question.

Almost every time you share your faith the other person will ask you a strange question. They go down a completely different path and ask a question about religion or things they’ve heard from the news.

The best thing you can do in that moment is to reverse the question and ask them how they explain whatever they just asked you about. You can even ask them, “Is getting that question answered really the thing that is keeping you from deciding who Jesus is?” Once you reverse the question, the conversation settles down into the realization that you weren’t trying to make them do something, you were just telling them some good news. All they need to know is that you met Jesus and something changed in your life, and now you have hope.

3. Remember your brokenness.

Brokenness is the biggest open door in sharing the good news. When life is great we give thanks to God, but it’s in the low points that we have a great opportunity to give an answer for the hope we have. When you share your story how out of grief or brokenness, God has given you hope, you will will rarely lack a listener. This is the message of hope that people are dying to know.


Today, we handed everyone a ping pong ball as they walked into church. Each ping pong ball represents someone we’re going to have a gospel conversation with. We want a fun way to track how many gospel conversations our church will have in the next 90 days.

As you have a gospel conversation, share your story, invite someone to church, explain the gospel or tell someone you’re a Jesus follower, write the name of the person you talk to on the ball and drop it in the wall display in our lobby.

Set a goal for yourself. How many gospel conversations can you have in the next 90 days? We believe everyone can have at least one conversation. Even if you’ve never shared your faith before, one conversation is a great goal. Watching other’s drop a ping pong ball in the wall will spur all of us on. We’ll rely on the Holy Spirit together.


Check Back

Check back and review what we talked about last week. Have you begun being intentional with any of the seven ways from 1 Corinthians 9:19-23.

Listen to the sermon: online, iTunes podcast or Google Play Music

Hear the Word

“Make the most of every opportunity. Be gracious in your speech. The goal is to bring out the best in others in a conversation, not put them down, not cut them out.”  Colossians 4:5 (MSG)

Application

  • Talk about times you’ve shared your faith with others. How did those go?
  • Of the three ways to share your faith, which one do you gravitate toward? Sharing your story? Inviting to church? Sharing Christ and explaining the gospel?
  • Talk about the sequence of events leading up to the moment you believed in Jesus as your Savior. Who introduced you to God? What kind of false perceptions did you have of God that changed when you encountered His presence?
  • Have each person in the group give their two-minute testimony to the group. As everyone shares their testimony, be sure to point out God’s role in each story.
  • What do you remember from the message? What stood out to you?
  • What do you find difficult when you are having a conversation about Christ with someone far from God? Based on what you’ve learned, how can you overcome those difficulties?

Tell Someone Else

This is week four of this series. You now know what, why and how. Now, WHO do you need to tell? How would you tailor the sharing of your story where the people involved might have different levels of belief? Write a name down and ask the group to pray for you and that person. To share our faith with others, we must rely on God’s word. Read through the Bible verses in the outline. What Bible verse can you look to for strength as you share your faith with others?

 

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Go & Tell: Intentional Evangelism

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Think back to how you heard the best news ever.
The news that God loves you…
That He gave His Son, Jesus…
That He made a way for you to believe and be saved. 
You may have heard it from a parent or a teacher. You may have read it in a book or heard it on the radio. You may have heard it from someone standing on the stage or from a friend sitting next to you. But someone told you, and it was the Best News Ever.
Who are you going to tell?

Today’s post is from 1 Corinthians on how to be intentional in sharing your faith, written by the greatest evangelist, Paul. Much of what we know about God today comes from his willingness to share his faith. This passage is his blueprint for evangelism.

“Even though I am free of the demands and expectations of everyone, I have voluntarily become a servant to any and all in order to reach a wide range of people: religious, nonreligious, meticulous moralists, loose-living immoralists, the defeated, the demoralized—whoever. I didn’t take on their way of life. I kept my bearings in Christ—but I entered their world and tried to experience things from their point of view. I’ve become just about every sort of servant there is in my attempts to lead those I meet into a God-saved life. I did all this because of the Message. I didn’t just want to talk about it; I wanted to be in on it!”  1 Corinthians 9:19-23 (MSG)

Paul tells us that we must be intentional in sharing our faith. Everything worthwhile is uphill. It takes intentionality in the following areas to share your faith well. Here are 7 intentional steps we can take from this passage of scripture.


Intentional Evangelism

1. Intentionally add value to lost people.

“…I have voluntarily become a servant to any and all…”  1 Corinthians 9:19 (MSG)

He says, I’m not a servant, but I’m going to voluntarily become a servant and that’s how I’m going to add value to people. You’ve got to earn people’s respect. You do that by adding value to their life. Don’t share your faith until you’ve added value to someone’s life, until you’ve served them in some way. Add value to someone who doesn’t know you or can’t give you anything in return. No strings attached. You have to earn their respect before they’ll give you a relationship.

“We loved you so much that we shared with you not only God’s Good News but our own lives, too.”  1 Thessalonians 2:8 (NLT)

2. Intentionally include everyone.

“…in order to reach a wide range of people: religious, nonreligious, meticulous moralists, loose-living immoralists, the defeated, the demoralized—whoever.”  1 Corinthians 9:20 (MSG)

For God so loved…the world. That’s everyone! He gave his one and only son that… whoever. God loves you, God loves people you don’t know and God loves people you don’t like.

If you go through the gospels the one thing you’ll see is that Jesus values people. You are most like Jesus when you love and value everyone.

Let there be a greater desire to connect with lost people than you do to correct them.

God doesn’t change us to accept us. He accepts to change us. Think of the lost people around you. The biggest deal to God is not that they missed church last week or that they’re living with a girlfriend or boyfriend. It’s not that they get drunk or that they’re in a same sex relationship. It’s not that they’re stealing or gossiping or have uncontrolled lust or anger raging in their life. God is concerned about those things in anyone’s life, but his primary concern is that they’re infected with a venomous snake bite and they’re not gonna make it. His primary concern is that they’re lost, they’re dead.

“Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.”  Colossians 3:13 (NLT)

Make allowance for faults and forgive, just as Christ forgave you. If you have a school friend, coworker, neighbor, whoever, and you struggle to like them or have anything in common with them:

Find the 1% you agree on and give it 100% of the effort.

We disagree on a lot but we can find one thing. Keep looking for it and when you find it connect on that one thing. You don’t have to be like them to reach them, but you have to like them. We’ve got to intentionally include everyone, not just those who are easy to be around or those that we think are worth our time.

3. Intentionally know who I am in Christ.

“…I didn’t take on their way of life. I kept my bearings in Christ…”  1 Corinthians 9:21 (MSG)

Paul is saying he’s solid, he knows who he is. He’s not compromising, he’s not giving that away, he’s not a silent Christian and hanging around lost people isn’t going to tank his faith. You truly find out who you are when you hang out with lost people. It’s easy to love Jesus at church.

Never forget who you are. You’re their friend AND you’re a Christ follower. You’re saved, redeemed by the blood of Jesus. You have the hope of heaven in your heart. Be so confident in who you are so you can go to where they are. Some of you work or live in dark places. It’s amazing how you share your faith and stay so solid. Some of you can’t even be around a lost person without going back into bad habits and just living as lost as they are. It’s because you’ve just stopped at knowing God.

Everything about Rock Brook Church is built on taking people on a journey so they can be solid enough in Christ to then help others. We want to help people to find freedom from the past and the junk in their heart. You can know God and believe in him but still have habits and junk in your life. That’s what small groups and Celebrate Recovery are about; getting people connected to a group of godly friends so they can be real and find freedom from the hurts and the habits and the hangups. Then you have a purpose to live for. When you live with a purpose, you can make a difference. Then you’re solid enough to go back out into the community, back out and say, I know who I am in Christ.

“You are the salt of the earth…You are the light of the world…”  Matthew 5:13, 14

Salt makes things better light makes things brighter. When you become salt and light you become a dealer in hope. Every person has a homing device in them looking for hope that wants them to know God. When you meet a lost person, that person was looking for you – they need your hope!

4. Intentionally enter their world.

“…but I entered their world…”  1 Corinthians 9:22 (MSG)

“And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.”  Matthew 9:35-36 (KJV)

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When you enter their world you will be filled with compassion. The closer you are with them, the more you love them. Jesus came to us. He said, “I’ll enter their world. I’ll put on the robe of humanity. I’ll live where they live. I’ll feel what they feel and experience what they experience.” Don’t lose your passion and compassion for lost people. Someone entered your world. Someone told you. Someone accepted you. Someone loved you.

5. Intentionally experience things from their point of view.

“…and tried to experience things from their point of view…”  

If you can get them to love you you have a chance to get them to love God. If they don’t love you, it’s going to be harder for them to love God. How can you share your faith without first being a friend? How can you be a friend with someone and never share the most important and powerful thing in your life?

“The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and he who wins souls is wise.”  Proverbs 11:30 (NKJV)

6. Intentionally be creative to move people toward God.

“…I’ve become just about every sort of servant there is in my attempts to lead those I meet into a God-saved life…” 1 Corinthians 9:22 (MSG)

Be creative. Do anything to help people know God. Everyone wants to know God. Be creative to move them toward God. 

Plant seeds of curiosity.

Don’t make lost people mad, make them hungry. You’re the salt and the light. You’re the one that makes the earth palatable, you’re the one that lights up the darkness, you’re the one with the hope. When people are talking about the problems of the world and the darkness, and how scary it is, and how dysfunctional it is, don’t join in, say, “I wish you had my peace right now.” or “I wish you had my perspective right now.”

There is a business guy who goes around teaching and he starts his talk by saying, “There are four essential ways to value people, I’m going to give you three of them.” He just gives them three, and inevitably people stop him at the elevator or standing in line afterward to hear the fourth thing…which is about God. Make people curious. Make people hungry. Get creative.

“Make the most of every opportunity. Be gracious in your speech. The goal is to bring out the best in others in a conversation, not put them down, not cut them out.”  Colossians 4:5 (MSG)

7. Intentionally experience God at work.

“…I did all this because of the Message. I didn’t just want to talk about it; I wanted to be in on it!” 1 Corinthians 9:23 (MSG)

The moment you get your heart on what God’s heart is on. The moment you have a heart that is broken for lost people. There is an anointing for you, a covering for you and a power that will radically change your life.

In a conversation with a lost person, there are three people. There’s you, there’s them, and the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is doing something in you that you cannot see and the Holy Spirit is doing something in them that you cannot see. He is doing something in their life that we cannot do, He is drawing them to Jesus.

“The harvest is abundant [for there are many who need to hear the good news about salvation], but the workers [those available to proclaim the message of salvation] are few.”  Luke 10:2 (AMP)

The harvest is abundant. There are thousands in our community who would take their next step toward Jesus today, if someone just told them. Don’t just talk about it get in on it.

“Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his great name; make known among the nations what He has done.”  Psalm 105:1 (NIV)

Share the good news, not only the gospel of God but your own life. You were in darkness and hopeless when you cried out to God and He saved you. You were headed for hell. God doesn’t send people to hell, he saves people from hell. God is so amazing that he sent his Son Jesus to die on a cross. God does everything he can to save people from hell and gives everything he can to save people. You have to step over Jesus to go to hell, That’s our God. That’s what he has done. That’s the God I serve. That’s why we Go & Tell.


Check Back

Check back and review what we talked about last week. Anything from Pastor Kelly’s message on why we share our faith staying with you? Anything new reflections about the fishing illustration?

Listen to the sermon: online, iTunes podcast or Google Play Music

Hear the Word

Read: 1 Corinthians 9:19-23 (MSG)

Intentional Evangelism:

  1. Intentionally add value to lost people.
  2. Intentionally include everyone.
  3. Intentionally know who I am in Christ.
  4. Intentionally enter their world.
  5. Intentionally experience things from their point of view.
  6. Intentionally be creative to move people toward God.
  7. Intentionally experience God at work.

Application

  • Did you take any extra notes or have something you’ve been thinking about since you heard the message?
  • Of the seven steps to intentional evangelism, which one do you need to work on the most?
  • Share some ideas on how to creatively share the gospel.

Tell Someone Else

Who in your life do you need to be more loving towards? Who are you excluding? Ask the group to pray for you and help you as you forgive them and reach them.

 

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Go & Tell: Followers Fish

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Think back to how you heard the best news ever.
The news that God loves you…
That He gave His Son, Jesus…
That He made a way for you to believe and be saved. 
You may have heard it from a parent or a teacher. You may have read it in a book or heard it on the radio. You may have heard it from someone standing on the stage or from a friend sitting next to you. But someone told you, and it was the Best News Ever.
Who are you going to tell?

When Jesus began His ministry here on earth, He started by gathering together 12 followers called disciples. These disciples became the foundation stones of the church and the sustainers of Christ’s ministry on earth. Jesus made it very clear from the very start that what He was calling these men. The call that Jesus had for the disciples in that day, is the same call that He has for you and me today.

“And Jesus, walking by the Sea of Galilee, saw two brothers, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. Then He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.”  Matthew 4:18-19 NKJV

We are to be a Christ follower. That’s what a disciple does, he follows.

“From now on you will fish for people.”  Luke 5:10 NIV

There is an emotion attached to sharing your faith and it is primarily a negative one. The emotion that we feel about our own salvation is so different than the emotion we feel about sharing the Gospel. The emotion about our own salvation is positive. The emotion about sharing the gospel is negative.

Last week’s post was explaining what the gospel is. In John 3:16, we clarified what the gospel is. The way to heaven is NOT trying to be good. The way to heaven is trusting Christ to save you. Saving faith is trusting in Christ alone to save you.

This week’s post is about why it’s important to share the Gospel. As a follower of Christ,  you need to develop an unshakeable conviction about the importance of sharing the gospel. Then, in the next two week’s posts we will teach you how to fish for people.

The unknowns scares us and that creates some negative emotions. But understand this: 

Jesus followers fish, that’s what they do.

Jesus followers fish for people. That’s what Jesus calls, saves and empowers us to do. So why don’t we do it?

 


Three Reasons we Don’t Fish for People

1. We don’t know we’re supposed to fish.

We make the mistake of thinking that someone else is supposed to fish for us.

2. We don’t know how to fish.

One of the goals of this series is to help you learn how to share the gospel.

3. We’re afraid to fish.

One of the reasons why you might be afraid to share the gospel is you don’t want to be one of “them”. In your mind, you’re thinking of the stereotypical image of an evangelist. Maybe a person on a street corner yelling through a bullhorn, “Repent or you’re going to hell!”

Now I’m sure that these types occasionally win people to the Lord. It takes all kinds. Maybe it took that kind of approach to break through your shell and win you to Jesus. But that’s not what wins most people.

Now, think of the person who actually did lead you to Christ. How would you describe them? You would probably use adjectives like kind, caring, generous or prayerful. They fished for you, not by throwing a stick of dynamite in the water to drive you to the surface to get caught, by putting together a lure that was attractive and even helpful to you as a person.


“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life.”  John 3:16

Are you a whoever? Have you believed in Jesus Christ for eternal life?

You may know Jesus was the Son of God. That He came at Christmas, healed some people, preached some sermons, walked on water and did miracles. You may even know He died on the cross and He rose from the dead at Easter. But do you really believe that Jesus did those things for you? How will you respond to what Christ did for you?


Four Reasons to Fish For People

You have a sphere of influence. There are people in your life everyday and they are the fish that God wants you to catch.

1. Fishing is fun.

What a thrill knowing that you played a role in changing someone’s eternal destiny. To know that someone is going to heaven because of you is an exciting thing.

“I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”  Luke 15:10 NIV

You make the angels dance and the devil cry when you fish for people. How fun to see someone struggling with the meaning of their life and to tell them you have an answer to their problems? There is no problem that isn’t made better by bringing Jesus into the picture and you could be the one who does that. We have what people are looking for! We have the hope of a better life.

“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.”  2 Corinthians 5:18-20 NIV

2. Fishing is necessary.

This is serious business. This is the difference between heaven and hell for the people in your life. For you as a believer this is not an optional thing where you can take it or leave it. It’s one of the five purposes of your life. It’s why you were made. It’s why you’re here.

“For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be savedBut how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about himAnd how can they hear about him unless someone tells themAnd how will anyone go and tell them without being sentThat is why the Scriptures say, ‘How beautiful are the feet of messengers who bring good news!’”  Romans 10:13-15 NLT

Sometimes we think,  “Why doesn’t Jesus hurry up and come back?” But we’re not waiting on Him, He’s waiting on us.

“The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”  2 Peter 3:9 NIV

You’re waiting on Jesus to come back and Jesus is waiting on you to share the Gospel. Then the people in your fishing pond can come to Christ so Jesus can come back. The challenge of the Great Commission is not to figure out when Jesus is coming back. The challenge of the Great Commission is to get people ready for when Jesus comes back.

3. Jesus asked us to go fishing.

If you’re going to call Him “Lord” then you need to do what He asks you to do. All 4 Gospels and the book of Acts end with that “ask” from Jesus. The first five books of the New Testament end with that “ask”.

“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations…”  Matthew 28:19 NIV

“He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.'”  Mark 16:15 NIV

“With my authority, take this message of repentance to all the nations…”  Luke 24:47 NLT

“As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.”  John 20:21 NIV

“You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”  Acts 1:8 NIV

We’re to tell people everywhere. Sometimes we get hung up on, “Where is God going to send me?” God has already sent you. He sent you where you are right now!

4. We were all fish once.

So you’ve pictured the person who led you to the Lord. Now think back and picture you. Where were you, who were you when Christ found you? Where would you be, who would you be today if they hadn’t it? We fish because we were all fish once.

For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all…”  2 Corinthians 5:14 NIV

Christ didn’t just die for you. Don’t selfishly hold onto the Gospel. We MUST share it with others.

Are you a whoever?

Maybe you’ve gone to church for years, you know Jesus is the Son of God. Maybe you know all of that but the question is: Do you believe that He did all of that for you?

“…whoever believes in Him shall have eternal life.”  John 3:16 

You have to make a choice, a personal choice to believe in Christ.

Have you done that? If not, then do it today. If you have more questions or would like to let us know you have made this decision, email us at church@RockBrook.org.


Check Back

Check back and review what we talked about last week. Of the four statements from John 3:16, is there one that you took to heart anew this past week? If you’ve trusted God with salvation, you can trust him with anything. What did you trust him with this past week?  What is a doubt that you’re struggling with right now?

Listen to the sermon: online, iTunes podcast or Google Play Music

Hear the Word

Read: Luke 15:10, 2 Corinthians 5:18-20, 2 Corinthians 5:14

Application

Being fishers of men is God’s agenda for our lives as followers of Jesus. This is God’s plan to reach all His people. We have the honor of playing a critical role in God’s plan for people to know Him and spend eternity in Heaven. There was a time when we were the fish, and someone took the time and effort to share the love of Jesus with us. Sharing our faith is not only a call from God that we have to do, but also a daring adventure we get to be a part of. If you’ve never played a role in helping someone come to know Jesus, then you’re missing one of the greatest thrills in this life. According to Luke 15:10, even the angels rejoice when one sinner turns to Christ. When we follow Jesus, He makes us fishers of men.

And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brothers, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. Then He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” They immediately left their nets and followed Him.  Matthew 4:18-19 NIV

  • How did you come to know Jesus? Who is the person most responsible for you coming to Christ?
  • As followers of Jesus we are called to be “fishers of men”. Whose salvation are you persistently fighting for?
  • Inviting others to church and sharing the love of Jesus can seem hard and scary.  What is something in the past or present that is holding you back from sharing your faith?  Identify ways to replace those lies with truth.

Tell Someone Else

In this series we’ll do some coaching and equipping so you can confidently share your faith. However, if you know John 3:16, you know enough to tell someone what you believe. With whom can you share John 3:16?

 

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Go & Tell: The Best News Ever

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Think back to how you heard the best news ever.
The news that God loves you…
That He gave His Son, Jesus…
That He made a way for you to believe and be saved. 
You may have heard it from a parent or a teacher. You may have read it in a book or heard it on the radio. You may have heard it from someone standing on the stage or from a friend sitting next to you. But someone told you, and it was the Best News Ever.
Who are you going to tell?

Someone told you. A friend, a parent, a relative, a preacher, a teacher, a children’s church volunteer, a roommate, a small group leader. It could have been several different people tell you before you got it, but someone told you.

“For ‘Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’ But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them? And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent? That is why the Scriptures say, ‘How beautiful are the feet of messengers who bring good news!'”  Romans 10:13-15 (NLT)

“Jesus traveled about from one town and village to another, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God.”  Luke 8:1

The word gospel means good news. Jesus preached the gospel because the gospel is good news about the kingdom of God. It’s the best news ever. It doesn’t matter what you have done. How much you’ve done wrong or how much wrong has been done to you.

Because of the Gospel, you can have peace with God, peace with yourself and peace with others.

The cross is the central part of our story. It’s the epicenter of God’s power. When an earthquake happens they say it’s 47 miles off the coast two miles deep, the epicenter of our freedom is on a hill called calvary, and it silences the enemy. The cross is a place of power and the enemy will fight you down to the last eighth of an inch to keep you from touching it, and it touching you.

“May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.”  Galatians 6:14

There’s nothing for us to boast and brag about except the cross. Because the things that had authority in our life have been crucified and no longer have authority because the authority of the kingdom of God has the final word. The cross is the doorway to everything in our life. Not just a doorway you walk through once, but like your bedroom doorway, a door you walk through everyday. We walk through the doorway of the cross to what God has for us everyday.

In Numbers 21, the people of God are in the wilderness after slavery in Egypt. They’re getting very impatient.

They traveled from Mount Hor along the route to the Red Sea, to go around Edom. But the people grew impatient on the way; they spoke against God and against Moses, and said, ‘Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? There is no bread! There is no water! And we detest this miserable food!'”  Numbers 21:4-5

God has freed them from slavery, set them on a journey, the long way, so he can show his greatness. He’s even giving them food. In the midst of the journey, their thanks and worship to God is, complaining! God was so frustrated with their sinfulness that:

Then the Lord sent venomous snakes among them; they bit the people and many Israelites died.”  Numbers 21:6

Aren’t you glad we don’t live under the Old Testament old covenant anymore? We’d have snakes everywhere. That could be our life, because we still say the same things to God. “God why are you doing this to me today?”

“The people came to Moses and said, ‘We sinned when we spoke against the Lord and against you. Pray that the Lord will take the snakes away from us.’ So Moses prayed for the people.The Lord said to Moses, ‘Make a snake and put it up on a pole; anyone who is bitten can look at it and live.’ So Moses made a bronze snake and put it up on a pole. Then when anyone was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze snake, they lived.”  Numbers 21:7-9

We don’t understand why God does exactly what he does. But what he did here was put something in motion that involved their participation. He was foreshadowing Jesus. So he had the people make this bronze snake and put it on a pole. Then if you get bitten you had to come look a the pole and you would live. Some could have said, “That seems dumb. Why do we have to come to the thing and look at the pole? I don’t want to look at the pole. I don’t want to go way over there. I’m going to try to find another way to be saved and live.”

You can do that, but there is a pole. There is hope and life for anyone who looks on this pole, because God works and then we have to participate.

Then Jesus years later comes on the scene in John 3. The place where the most famous passage of scripture resides. And here’s what Jesus has to say about himself:

“Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of  Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.”  John 3:14-15

That’s the setup for the most famous verse in the Bible. John 3:16. This is the big time version of the bronze snake. 

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There is good news! The Son has been lifted up and we can look on him and be saved. How can you look upon the cross?

Over the next few weeks, we’ll teach you how to share the good news, but we have to do a couple of things first and that is gather around what the good news is and what we must do to be saved. The four statements from John 3:16, teach us what God has done and how we can look upon it.

1. I must recognize God’s love.        “For God so loved the world…”

We say I love you all the time, But we don’t go around saying, “I so love you.” But the Bible says God so loved the world. That means His love is extravagant. It’s beyond comprehension. God loves you on your good days and on your bad days. He loves you when you feel it.  He loves you when you don’t feel it.  Why?

God’s love isn’t based on who you are. It’s based on who He is.

You might say, God could never love me. It’s not about you. God’s love isn’t based on what you do, It’s based on what Jesus has already done for you.

“Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is (real) love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.”1 John 4:8-10

Before we even love God, he loved us. This has to become the foundation of your life. You’ve got so much stress in your life and no stability, because you’ve got a shaky foundation. It’s because you are building your life on something that can change. 

There’s only one thing in life that won’t ever change. That’s God’s love for you. It’s never going to change. So if you want stability in your life you build it on the rock foundation of God’s love for you. 

2. I must receive God’s gift.       “…that he gave his one and only Son.”

It doesn’t say God sent just a good man or an angel. It doesn’t say he sent a prophet, it says He sent His Son. He cared enough to send the very best.

“The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23

No one measures up to perfection. We’ve all made mistakes. When you break God’s laws, you pay God’s penalties. That means I deserve to be punished for the things I’ve done wrong in my life. That’s the bad news.

Here’s the good news. Every sin has already been paid for. That’s what Jesus Christ did on the cross. He took all our sin.

“For God took the sinless Christ and poured into him our sins. Then, in exchange, he poured God’s goodness into us!”  2 Corinthians 5:21 (TLB)

“(Since salvation) is by grace, then it cannot be based on works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace.”  Romans 11:6

3. I must respond to God’s offer.       “…that whoever believes in him…”

God has made an offer to you. It’s an incredible proposal. He says this, “That whosoever believes in Him should not perish.” 

“Now God says he will accept and acquit us—declare us “not guilty”—if we trust Jesus Christ to take away our sins. And we all can be saved in this same way, by coming to Christ, no matter who we are or what we have been like.”  Romans 3:22 (TLB)

There’s only one way we’re getting into heaven. By trusting Jesus Christ. The word there in Greek is “to trust in, to cling to, to rely on, to adhere to.” Begin to trust God in every area of your life. Trust Him with your finances, relationships, future, dreams and ambitions. Trust God with your problems. That’s what it means to really believe. It means more than just knowing about Him. Believing means we want to know God.

When we believe and trust,

“We are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.”Romans 3:24

The Bible says that Christ’s death justified you. Justified means “just as if I’d never sinned.” It’s even more than forgiveness. It’s forgotten, it’s wiped out.  It’s like it didn’t even happen.

Then it says “Through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” Redemption is an old slave trading term. The word “redemption” means to buy somebody’s freedom. If you were a slave, standing on a block to be auctioned off and someone raises their hand and says “I will pay a hundred thousand dollars for you.” They say, “Sold!”

You come off the auction block and the buyer says, “Ok, you’re free to go.” You were just paid for, but now you are given freedom. That person is your redeemer. They paid to set you free.

4. I must rely on God’s promise.     “…shall not perish but have eternal life…”

The promise is eternal life. You were made to last forever. One day your heart’s going to stop. That’ll be the end of your body, but it’s not going to be the end of you. But here’s the bottom line: if you want to spend eternity with God in heaven, you’ve got to build a relationship with Him now on earth. You don’t ignore him your entire life and then at the end go, “By the way, I’d like to come and spend eternity with You.” You develop a relationship with Him now. Maybe you’re afraid that if you put your trust in Him, you’ll mess it up and not make it in. It’s God who makes sure you make it.

“We are now members of God’s own family… Now we live in the hope of eternal life because Christ rose again from the dead. And God has reserved for his children the priceless gift of eternal life; it is kept in heaven for you… And God, in his mighty power, will make sure that you get there safely to receive it because you are trusting him.”  1 Peter 1:3-5 (TLB)

It’s not dependent upon you. It’s by the same power that rose Christ from the dead. Jesus said just come with your doubts and questions. You don’t have to have it all figured out. You don’t have to have great faith. Just have a little faith.  It’s not the size of your faith that matters. It’s the size of your God. You put a little faith in a big God and you get saved.


Check Back

Check back and review what we talked about last week. Anything from the interview with Ted McMillin that has stayed with you?

Listen to the sermon: online, iTunes podcast or Google Play Music

Hear the Word

Read:

  • Romans 10:13-15
  • Numbers 21:4-9
  • John 3:14-16

Application

  • Did you take any extra notes or have something you’ve been thinking about since you heard the message? What stood out to you?
  • Of the four statements from John 3:16, is there one you struggle to accept?
  • If you’ve trusted God with salvation, you can trust him with anything. What’s next for you trust him with?
  • What is a doubt that you’re struggling with right now?
  • In the message we memorized John 3:16. What’s another verse from the outline you’d like to memorize?

Tell Someone Else

In this series we’ll do some coaching and equipping so you can confidently share your faith. However, if you know John 3:16, you know enough to tell someone what you believe. With whom can you share John 3:16?

 

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Week 6: Live With God’s Glory In View: A Conversation with Ted McMillin

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We love our community and want to show the love of Christ tangibly in our neighborhoods, workplaces and homes. This summer, through weekend sermons, small group curriculum and daily devotionals, we will discover how serving can make a difference in our community, makes an impact for God and grows our faith. Join us as we discover significance through serving.


This week’s post will wrap up our Why I Serve series. We will be interviewing Ted McMillin today. He is a business leader and friend of Rock Brook. Today he will speak about how serving fits into many places in his life. How being a follower of Christ has made an impact in his leadership, marriage and family.


Pastor Ryland: The first duty as a Christian is not to do anything, but to be loved by God. How has seeing yourself as a child of God shaped your life? How has that ordered your life?

Ted McMillin: There are two things I want you to know before I start talking. First, I believe the Bible is inerrant, it’s God’s breathed word for us. Number two, I’m in no way perfect. I’ve struggled, failed and sinned. It’s only by God’s grace that I’m up here talking.

In business everything has to have a process flow. As I look at my life and how I’ve pursued Christ, I see these two book ends. As God formed us, in our mother’s womb He had a purpose for us. That’s one bookend. At the other end of this chasm, we are all going to meet God one day. That requires something of us, he created us and we will all stand before Him someday. That should greatly impact all of us. That means on this journey, in my relationship with my wife, with my place in the body of Christ and what I do in the workplace in those things I must be an ambassador of God.


When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’ They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’ He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”  Matthew 25:31-46 (NIV)

Ted: This passage has made a big impact in my life over the years. It hit me in a big way in 2002. I was on a mission trip in the Philippines when I found a devotional book by Billy Graham. In that book he talked about a church he visited in Germany a few years after WWII. In that church, was a beat up statue of Jesus. The building was bombed during the war and the only thing that remained was this statue. It was pitted and blackened and missing its hands. It was a symbol to that church that they need to be the hands and feet of Christ. What will matter in the end is the question, what did you do with Jesus Christ? That changed the way I saw ministry and my family. We have lived with the desire to be the gospel to the people around us ever since.

Ryland: The title of that devotional was “Live With God’s Glory in View”. When you look through the lens of God’s glory, it changes everything. How has having the heart of a servant impacted how you lead and love your family?

Ted: It’s a real joy to lead. First, it starts with the husband-wife relationship. We do ministry together within the local body. We were very intentional about having our faith be preeminent in raising our family. We’ve been intentional in making much of Christ in our home, not legalistically, but we made spending time in God’s Word fun. Monday through Saturday we had a daily prayer list and made that a big emphasis in our family time.

When we go after our children’s hearts, it’s not to get perfection. It’s to introduce them to Christ, but it’s up to them what they do with Christ. For us, last year we noticed some changes in our son’s behavior. When I approached him, a couple things came out. He wasn’t really sure who Christ was to him anymore and began making poor choices that had consequences. He is now in another state getting help. So we are on a journey for God to further remind us of His love.


Ryland: In parenting there are no guarantees that our children will follow Christ fully. How can you speak to anyone who is dealing with a child that is struggling with their faith or with their sin? What are the things you are doing for him as you pursue him, love him and father him?

Ted: I’ll confess, the first day I was so mad at the sin. But quickly, God reminded me that without His grace I’d be there too. We went after my son’s heart. I also went to 5 men who have been mentors to me and are close to my son. I asked them to pray for my son everyday and reach out to him. They have all traveled to see him and written several letters to him. They have shared their failures with him. I’m going after him like crazy and by God’s grace and mercy he will be a follower and this will be part of his story one day for God’s glory.


Ryland: You have so many stories of how God confirmed decisions you’ve made and things your family did consistently. Tell us of an example of that.

Ted: Every school year our family would pick a theme. In August of 2007, our theme was “Being a Difference Maker” and Nehemiah was our Bible character. Every year we would go to breakfast together on the first day of school. So this year, at that breakfast, we talked about today’s difference makers. I talked about how the United States is a difference maker internationally and President George W. Bush was a difference maker. About that time, I notice that there is flood of security personnel in black suits in that restaurant. I go walk around and try to figure out what is going on. I go back to my family and tell them I think the president of the United States is coming here today. We had just talked about him! After about 20-30 minutes, President Bush walks in the door and walks straight toward us. When he got to us, I told him that our family prays for him and his family almost every Saturday of his presidency. He stayed and talked with us for a few minutes. He told us how much he appreciated our prayers.

That night we had a family meeting and I told my kids that on that day God just reminded us that when we pray for people it matters. Sometimes God confirms in a big way that what we do in faith is important.


Ryland: I want to turn the page and talk about work. How has being a Jesus follower shaped the decisions you’ve made in the workplace?

Ted: I was hired as a leader in my company to include the gospel in how we manage and care for people. In business there is a thing called ROI, return on investment. We have changed that up a bit and we call it EROI, eternal return on investment. We are putting a lot into thinking about how we influence our people to see the gospel in action. We are just building this initiative right now. We expect to see some amazing things happen through people because of this emphasis.

Ryland: How do you lead and use that platform as a Christ follower?

Ted: My company recently took over a company in Denmark. I spent a week with them and on Friday I brought everyone together and let them know that I am Christian. I am a follower of Jesus Christ. What they can expect is: I am going to be very honest with you. I am going to work to make sure I am kind and careful with how I do things. I tell them I love them and care about them. That does two things: it makes it very clear who I am and it makes me be accountable. Once you’ve made a declaration that you are a follower of Christ, all of your days they people will watch what you say and do. I want that kind of accountability.

Ryland: A lot of times people will say they are a Christian and the message that often sends is “I am a Christian so what you can expect is for me to be offended, to be intolerant of certain things…” He’s saying “I’m a Christ follower and what you can expect is honesty and to care about who you are.” No one’s going to say “I don’t want THAT!” He’s leading the way with how God cares about that person. It works! One of my favorite metrics you’ve shared with me is how this has affected an international plant.

Ted: One of the great things about letting God take control is that you see the blessings and you know you didn’t get in the way and screw it up. In 2016, we were in India and analyzing the state of the business. One of the accountants told me that they have something incredible to share with me. Something they had never seen before. Usually, that means you are in a lot of trouble. He told me our company has a zero turnover rate. He had never seen that before. In 8 years, no one had ever left. In that culture, education is of high value and they are a very driven people. That often leads to job dissatisfaction and a typical person in that industry would stay at a company for less than 2 years. Our company had no one leave for 8 years. The way we lead people was making an impact.


Ryland: How important, in every season of your life, has the local church been?

Ted: The three greatest gifts from God, in this order, are salvation through Christ, the husband and wife relationship and the body of Christ. The body of Christ is where we go to get fed, grow and flourish. Over the last 2 decades, as we’ve moved all over, the first thing I look for is a great church in that community. Any success I’ve had in life, is in part because of the body of Christ.

Ryland: You can see how this is just a whole recap of everything we’ve talked about from work to leadership to family. That we are shaped in our world to make an impact for Christ.

Take a look back at any of our posts about serving in different places in life.


Check Back

Have you reflected at all on your SHAPE? How has knowing about Spiritual gifts, Heart, Abilities, Personality and Experiences helped you see yourself?

Listen to the sermon: online, iTunes podcast or Google Play Music

Hear the Word

Read the entire chapter of Matthew 25.

Application

  • What themes did you notice from Matthew 25?
  • Talk about the interview with Ted.
  • What stood out to you?
  • What challenged you?
  • Anything you can apply and do because of what you heard?

Tell Someone Else

  • Who do you need to share this message with this week?
  • How could this message impact someone else in your life?

 

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Week 5: Shaped to Serve

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We love our community and want to show the love of Christ tangibly in our neighborhoods, workplaces and homes. This summer, through weekend sermons, small group curriculum and daily devotionals, we will discover how serving can make a difference in our community, makes an impact for God and grows our faith. Join us as we discover significance through serving.


Have you noticed that God likes variety? Just look around, every human being is unique. God makes every person an original. He could have made us all alike, but He didn’t.

“God shaped man from the soil of the ground and He blew the breath of life into his nostrils and man became a living being.”  Genesis 2:7 (NJB) 

God custom shaped you and there’s nobody else shaped exactly like you. 

“You made my whole being. You formed me in my mother’s body. I praise you because You made me in an amazing and wonderful way. You saw my bones being formed as I took shape in my mother’s body. When I was put together there You saw my body as it was formed. All the days planned for me were written in Your book before I was one day old.”  Psalm 139:13-16 (NCV)

Before you were even born God made you, formed you, saw you and shaped you. God planned every day of your life. You are not an accident. Your parents may not have planned you, but God did. God chose two people to be your parents, because God knew they had exactly the right DNA to create you. God was more interested in creating you than He was in their parenting skills.

“Your hands formed and shaped me…”  Job 10:8a (GN)

God was intricately, intimately involved in creating you.

After God made you, He broke the mold. Nobody will ever be like you. When you get to heaven God won’t say, “Why weren’t you more like ___________?” God will say, “Did you become the person I made you to be?” You could search the entire world and never find anybody with your thumbprint, your footprint, your voiceprint or your eye print. You are unique.

Most people start off as originals and end up as carbon copies. If you’re here, it means that God has something you can contribute that no one else can. Only you can be you.


For over twenty years at Rock Brook we’ve been using an acrostic called SHAPE to talk about the five things that make you, youYour shape determines what kind of friends you should havewhy certain things frustrate you, your ideal work environment, the best ministry for you and where you will live and succeed. 

When you are working in the area of your shape it’s fulfilling and fruitful. God says we were made to make a difference for Him, a Kingdom difference.

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The Bible teaches that when you accept Jesus Christ as your Savior, God gives you spiritual gifts. There are over twenty spiritual gifts listed in the New Testament. Everyone who has trusted Christ is gifted by God with one of these gifts. The spiritual gift you are given, is one of the factors that determines your life purpose.

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There are things you have a heart for and are passionate about. What are you excited about? What is it that gets you up in the morning? Some people have a heart for kids, for teens, for adults or for the hurting. Your heart determines your ministry.

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The average person has over 600 abilities. You have abilities you haven’t even discovered yet. If you want know God’s purpose for your life, find the abilities God has given you and put them to use for His glory.

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We all navigate life differently. Some of us are very competitive and some are very cooperative. Some of us are extroverts while some are introverts. Some of us love variety and others love routine. Has he designed you to work on a team or work alone? Your personality will help determine your purpose.

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God can use the positive and the painful. What experience in your past do you want to hold back? God challenges you to let it come out for His glory. Your most powerful ministry may come out of your greatest hurt, because God never wastes a hurt.  


Why Should You Care About Your Shape?

  • Because your shape reveals God’s purpose for you. 

The way you find out what God wants you to do with your life is to discover how He shaped you.

“Before I shaped you in the womb I knew all about you. Before you saw the light of day I had holy plans for you: A spokesman for the nation, that’s what I had in mind for you.”  Jeremiah 1:5 (MSG) 

God had something in mind for you before you were born, but God won’t force you to do His plan. God gives you the freedom. You can use your life on personal, self-centered things and totally miss God’s plan for your life.

  • Because your SHAPE equips you to serve Him.

“God formed me in my mother’s womb to be His servant and He commissioned me…”  Isaiah 49:5 (NLT)

There is a life mission that God has for you that nobody else on this planet can do.

  • Because life is a test.

You need to know your shape because this life is preparation for eternity. God is testing you to see what you will do with what you’ve been given on earth to determine what He will give you to do in heaven for eternity. One day you’re going to stand before God and He’s going to ask you two questions.

What did you do with My Son, Jesus Christ? 

God sent Him to earth to be your Savior by dying on the cross for you. Did you accept that or reject it? Did you accept the forgiveness, the salvation, the ticket to heaven that Christ offered you. If the answer is, “Yes, I accepted Jesus, your Son, as my Lord and Savior. I accepted Jesus and what He did for me.” That is the question that gets you into heaven.  

What did you do with what you were given? 

This question determines not whether you get into heaven, but what you do after you get there. Jesus told a number of stories in which He said that your rewards in heaven and your role in heaven and your responsibility in heaven will be based on what you do with what you’ve been given here? That is the question you need to be prepared to answer. 

“From where He sets God overlooks all of us on earth.  He has shaped each person in turn and now He watches everything we do.”  Psalm 33:14-15 (MSG)

“Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much.  If you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth who will trust you with true riches?”  Luke 16:10-11 (NIV)

  • Because it shows God’s glory.

When you use your shape and do what God made you to do it not only feels good to you, it also makes God smile. When God sees someone using the spiritual gift that He gave them for His glory, He smiles.

Everything you have in your life is a gift from God. It can be either used or it can be abused. God says, “I’m testing you to see what you do with what I gave you. There are eternal consequences for everything you do. Rewards, roles, responsibilities.

“Bring Me all the people who are Mine whom I made for my glory.”   Isaiah 43:21 (NJB)

When people fulfill their purpose they bring glory to God. You were made for God’s glory. That’s why you’re alive. Even people with little contribution to our society matter. God wants them alive, because He just wants to love them. They’re alive to teach us to love unconditionally. God says He loves them and He has numbered their days before they were born. God wants them here and has a purpose for them. Maybe the purpose is just for Him to love them and for us to be unselfish and love people who can’t help us back.

The Bible says God loves the weak, the infirm, the needy. We need them in our lives to learn to love like God loves. We must always protect the sanctity of life from the unborn to the elderly. Because you are valuable no matter who or what you are.

“The Lord said to him, ‘Who gave human beings their mouths? Who makes him deaf or mute? Who gives them sight or makes them blind? Is it not I, the Lord.’”  Exodus 4:11 (NIV)

What are you doing with what you’ve been given? God isn’t going to compare you with anybody else. He is going to compare you with your potential though. How did you use what you’ve been given?


How Should You Respond To Your Shape? 

  • Acceptance: Believe that God knows best.

Acceptance means that I believe that when God made me, He knew what He was doing. It all comes down to a matter of trust. When you reject yourself you are rejecting God because He’s your creator. 

My friend, I ask, ‘Who do you think you are to question God? Does the clay have the right to ask the potter why He shaped it the way He did.’”  Romans 9:20 (CEV)

Whenever we doubt God’s love and whenever we doubt God’s wisdom, we always get into trouble. The root behind all of your problems is you don’t believe God really loves you. You don’t believe He has your best interest at heart. You wish He had made you different. As a result there’s a spirit of bitterness in you that keeps you frustrated and keeps you from being all the man or woman God meant for you to be.

“You guided my conception and formed me in the womb.”  Job 10:10 (NLT)

He wanted you alive so He let that conception happen. He wanted you and He loves you.

  • Salvation: Receive God’s love.

“Let Your love, God, shape my life with salvation exactly as You promised.”  Psalm 119:41 (MSG)

Even the most desperate and tragic situations show us God’s love for us. God can always bring good out of bad. You are loved by God and the cross proves it. Jesus Christ died for you. God made you. God saved you and God has a plan for you. He wants you to fulfill the purpose you were shaped for here on earth in this life and for eternity in heaven. That cannot happen apart from salvation.

  • Refocus: Develop what’s inside not outside.

In our society we are obsessed with outward appearance. People spend millions of dollars to work on the outside, but they don’t spend any time on the inside of them.

“The Lord does not look at the things that man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance. But the Lord looks at the heart.”  1 Samuel 16:7 (NIV)

God wants you to take the time and effort to discover your SHAPE. All of the stuff inside of you determines what God wants you to do with your life. Satan is doing everything he can to keep you from using your SHAPE, because if he can keep you from discovering and deploying your SHAPE, he can rob you of your rewards in heaven and he can rob God of His glory.


Check Back

Which question and reason for work did you focus on last week? In what ways did you make progress? What are some next steps you can take to continue your progress?

  1. How can you personally advance the mission of your workplace?
  2. How can your job grow your character?
  3. How can you let your light shine?
  4. What more can you give as a result of your job?
  5. Where is your reward?

Listen to the sermon: online, iTunes podcast or Google Play Music

Hear the Word

Read: Psalm 139:13-16 (NCV)

Can you identify the 5 elements of your SHAPE?

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Application

1. ACCEPTANCE: Believe That God Knows Best

“My friend, I ask, ‘Who do you think you are to question God? Does the clay have the right to ask the potter why he shaped it the way he did?’”  Romans 9:20 (CEV)

“You guided my conception and formed me in the womb.”  Job 10:10 (NLT)

What do you need to accept about your SHAPE that you have been resisting?

2. SALVATION: Receive God’s Love

“Let Your love, God, shape my life with salvation, exactly as You promise.”  Psalm 119:41 (MSG)

Have you received the forgiveness and salvation that Christ offers you in every area of your life?

3. REFOCUS: Develop What’s Inside Not Outside

“The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”  1 Samuel 16:7 (NIV)

“By the grace of God I am what I am.”  1 Corinthians. 15:10 (NIV)

What part of your SHAPE do you need to discover and develop more fully?

Tell Someone Else

Acknowledge your SHAPE this week. Think about who God has put in your life that needs to understand their value before God. How can you help them find their value by discovering their SHAPE?

 

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Week 4: How You See Your Job

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We love our community and want to show the love of Christ tangibly in our neighborhoods, workplaces and homes. This summer, through weekend sermons, small group curriculum and daily devotionals, we will discover how serving can make a difference in our community, makes an impact for God and grows our faith. Join us as we discover significance through serving.


Today’s post is all about how our work has a part in your serving mindset. The average person will spend around 100,000 hours of their life at work. Work defines, describes and dominates our lives. But surveys tell us that about two-thirds of people say they are not satisfied in their jobs. Some people think work is actually punishment from God, because the Bible says after sin entered the world, God cursed the ground, and said, “Now you’re going to have to work by the sweat of your brow.”

“The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.”  Genesis 2:15

The result of sin is not work. The result of sin is harder work. You are going to work in heaven too. In heaven it will be good and fulfilling work. There will be no bad bosses, no gossip, no inner-office politics. Your work in heaven will be fulfilling and fun.

Work is not the enemy of your life. Work is an amazing opportunity of life.

“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”  Colossians 3:17

How do you see the “whatever you do”? How are you going to spend those 100,000 hours of your life? Most people see their job negatively. What if you could see your job as an opportunity to do something in the name of Jesus in freedom and thanksgiving to God, not as a prison?

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Is this your work story?

You graduate from high school or college and then comes the prison sentence, 40 years to life. It all starts with, Sunday afternoon when you realize you have to return to prison and you begin the grieving process. You prepare the house and family for you to be away. You eat your last meal and put your last words on social media.

Monday morning you walk into work like it’s Shawshank Redemption. Then, Tuesday rolls around and you hate the idea that you’re starting to get used to your workplace prison. Now Wednesday is hump day and it feels like sort of a break in the middle of your sentence. Thursday, you find yourself the largest cup of coffee known to man just to make it through the day. Then on Friday – you’re released!

Don’t get too excited though, you are only out on parol for the weekend. The office keeps you on a leash and put a shock collar on you called a cell phone.

Does that sound about right for you? We shape our work by how we think about it. If you hate Mondays, you’ll end up hating one seventh of your life. There must be a greater reason for work. There are actually six biblical reasons why work is in our lives.

1. Necessity: We work to meet our needs.

God also says that providing for my family is my spiritual responsibility. We are to take care of our own families as best as possible.

“The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.”   2 Thessalonians 3:10

Notice the word unwilling. He’s talking to the unwilling, not the unable. Sometimes you can’t work because of a disability or sickness. But if you can work, you need to do your part. God did not put you here on earth just to provide for yourself. God expects you to make a contribution with your life.

“Lazy people want much but get little, but those who work hard will prosper.”  Proverbs 13:4 (NLT)

Notice the word prosper. God is not opposed to prosperity. God is opposed to selfishness and greed, but God is not opposed to prosperity. Jesus praised businessmen who used business skills to make a profit. Profit is not the problem.

If necessity is the only reason for work, you’ll see work as a prison.

Your job is a platform. We’re so focused on the prison, we miss the platform we’ve been given from God to give Him glory.

2. Identity: God wants you to work so you can express what He made you to be. He’s given you certain gifts and talents.

“A lazy life is an empty life.”  Proverbs 12:27 (MSG)

God doesn’t want you to ignore your gifts and abilities. Work is a place to show your creativity and ingenuity. Work is a place to make a difference and to give back and express your identity. God has wired everyone to do something different so that everything gets done. 

“God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another.”  1 Peter 4:10 (NLT)

Ask Yourself: How can I personally advance the mission?

Most companies and places of employment have mission statements. Maybe the 2 of 3 of us who are unfulfilled in our jobs can understand and be about the mission of our company. When you don’t know the mission you’re on, you feel imprisoned.


Rock Brook Church

Mission Statement: We exist to bring you to Jesus Christ so you can find and fulfill God’s five purposes for your life. [Worship, Fellowship, Discipleship, Ministry & Evangelism]

Vision: Know God, Find Freedom, Discover Purpose and Make a Difference

Values: Follow Jesus, Love People, Remember Why and Choose Joy


3. Character: God uses your work to develop your character.

God plants little seeds of character in your heart. Seeds of love, joy, peace and patience. Then He fertilizes those seeds of character, often, in the workplace because you spend so much of your life at work.

God is developing your character here on earth to prepare you for heaven. God is watching you so He can determine what kind of job to give you in eternity.

“So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you property of your own?”  Luke 16:10-12

While you’re working on the job, God is working on you.

Ask Yourself: Who am I becoming?

4. Credibility: Your work is a witness to others. The quality of the work that you do can open up doors for you to share your faith. Good work is a good witness.

Your work demonstrates what you believe, especially when you’re under pressure. When people are making unreasonable demands on you and you respond to those demands in a Christ-like way, it grows your credibility as a follower of Jesus.

“Mind your own business, and to earn your own living, just as we told you before. In this way you will win the respect of those who are not believers…”  1 Thessalonians 4:11-12 (GNT)

Respect is earned and before an unbeliever wants to know if Jesus is credible, they want to know if you’re credible.

“Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”  Matthew 5:16

Ask Yourself: How Can I Shine?

God scatters us throughout the darkness to shine a light so that when people see that light, the good work we do, they’ll want to know about our faith. They will ask why you are so forgiving? How are you so kind? It’s the fruit of the Spirit of Christ in you shining.

5. Generosity: If you want God’s blessing on your work you’ve got to be generous. 

“Use your hands for good hard work, and then give generously to others in need.”  Ephesians 4:28 (NLT)

The more generous you are, the more God blesses your work. God wants us to become like Him and He is a generous God. Everything you have in life is due to the generosity of God.

“A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.”  Proverbs 11:25

Giving unlocks God’s blessing on your life.

“But remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth.”  Deuteronomy 8:18

“And I have been a constant example of how you can help those in need by working hard. You should remember the words of the Lord Jesus: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”  Acts 20:35

Ask Yourself: What more can I give?

If you’re never asking this question, you don’t understand how much God gave for you. God gave Jesus.

6. Eternity: I can use my job to build God’s kingdom.

One way is to tell your co-workers the good news of Jesus. Work becomes your mission field. Another way you can do this is by making money in your business and giving it to Kingdom causes.

“Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.”  Matthew 6:33 (NLT)

“Store up for yourselves treasures in heaven.”  Matthew 6:20

You can store up for yourselves treasure in heaven. Not treasures for God, He doesn’t need it. God says you can create a bank account in heaven that is eternal, pays the highest dividends and nobody will steal it from you.

God says don’t just be a wealth builder, be a kingdom builder.

Maybe you think that you don’t do anything important at work. Your work has far more significance than you realize, because it wasn’t meant for just necessityGod wants to use your work for identityGod wants you to express your talents through work. God wants to use your work for character building. He wants your work to make you stronger, more mature, more patient. God wants to use your work for credibilityHe wants you to use your work as a platform to influence the people for the sake of the Gospel. God wants you to use your work for generosity He wants you to be selfless and generous enough to live on a little bit less so you can give a little bit more. You can waste your life, spend your life or invest your life. The best use of your life is to invest it in the Kingdom of God because it’s the only thing that’s going to last forever.

Ask Yourself: Where is my reward?

One day God is going to do an audit on your work. Everyone’s work will be put through the fire to see whether or not it keeps its value. What’s the value? Identity, Character, Credibility, Generosity and Eternity. If the work survives the fire, that person will receive a reward. But if the work is burned up, the builder will suffer great loss.

This has nothing to do with salvation or getting into heaven. You get into heaven by asking Christ to forgive your sins. Your reward is about your position, your job in heaven. God wants to give you a great reward in heaven. The greater your reward, the greater His glory. That’s why your work is so important.

Will you say, God, I’m going to give you my work not just for one reason, but for all six reasons that you planned for my work to be?


Check Back

Leaders leverage their authority for the benefit of those under their authority. Did you ask anyone last week, “What can I do to help?” Did the principle, “Do for one what you wish you could do for everyone.” help in any way?

Listen to the sermon: online, iTunes podcast or Google Play Music

Hear the Word

Many people see work as a necessary evil. Work is not evil. Before sin entered the world, there was work. We will work in heaven. Work is not a result of sin, hard work is a result of sin.

The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. Genesis 2:15

There are six reasons for work in our lives:

  1. It’s necessary.
  2. It lets us express our identity.
  3. It grows our character.
  4. It increases our credibility.
  5. It gives us the means to be generous.
  6. It empowers us to build God’s kingdom which lasts for eternity.

Application

Let’s just work through the five questions in your outline…

  1. How can you personally advance the mission of your workplace?
  2. How can your job grow your character?
  3. How can you let your light shine?
  4. What more can you give as a result of your job?
  5. Where is your reward?

Which question and reason for work do you need to focus on most right now?

Tell Someone Else

How could this message impact someone else in your life? Is there someone at your job you need to apologize to for something? Is there someone at your job you need to forgive?

 

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