I just returned from spending most of August overseas with Pandora. We served the church in the North Africa region working with children, youth and adults from Egypt and Sudan.
We experienced delay on our flights home that resulted with arriving in Myrtle Beach a day late. Just a few days later I left for Tennessee to assist my parents who are living in daily uncertainty in a nursing home. Near the end of the visit news of hurricane Florence came out and I rushed home (8 hour drive) to help Pandora prepare our home for the storm. Now we are evacuated with our two dogs to be sit out the storm with our family in Columbia.
I struggle with uncertainty and not being sure when we will be back on a normal schedule for a few days. And yet I just came from a region of the world where everyone I walked with lived with much greater uncertainty than I ever encounter.
Some live in a war zone and hate to hear a gunshot or a plane fly overhead.
Some live in an area of contamination of the water and a shortage of food.
Many live with only have a paying job one day at a time.
Everyone lived with currency devaluation and extreme price increases. It is not unusual for prices to go up 3 to 4x the starting price in less than a year.
And yet — they sing. They worship. They serve with great energy and passion. They keep moving forward with the Gospel. They are filled with joy and peace most of the time. They struggle but do not focus on it. They expect this life to be a struggle and live for the hope in Christ.
UNCERTAINTY HUMBLES ME — AND I FIND MOST OF THE TIME I STRUGGLE WITH BENDING MY KNEES AND TRUSTING IN MY GOD. THANK GOD FOR HIS MERCY!
In June I celebrated the 46 year anniversary since my spiritual birth which God did at a conference of 85,000 people in Dallas TX — known as Explo 72.
I will use my story to seek to underline the ESSENTIAL and SIMPLE core of making disciples. How did God take a teen who thought he was a Christian because he occasionally attended a church and change his life forever?
#1 — Bud and Peggy Pettigrew acted on what seemed like a good idea at the time to help the youth group in the church they attended in Tennessee, raise funds to go to a conference in Texas. Out of that conference several of us became Christians and gave our lives to Jesus to “Come Help Change the World”.
#2 — About a month later two young adults, Esther Cowan and Billy McCoy, made a 2 hour drive to encourage us with the Bible and prayer to go to a follow up conference for those who had attended Explo. Several of the youth and leaders went and many of us began a consistent daily journey of walking with Jesus in the power of the Holy Spirit.
I will stop here with these two examples. As I have been giving thanks over what happened 46 years ago there are many, many more stories.
How do these actions focus us on the ESSENTIAL CORE of making disciples?
People who were Jesus followers:
- Were aware God had entrusted them with some life changing truth in Jesus.
- Opened letters and read about an opportunity to give what God had entrusted with them.
- A letter sent in 1971 described a conference in Dallas and it became a dream, a goal burning in Bud and Peggy’s heart.
- A letter sent in June 1972, right after the conference, contained the addresses of some of the Explo attendees. It was delivered to the Campus Crusade workers asking them to make a visit.
- Stepped out by faith, invested some of their time taking what God had given to them, and offered it to us.
- Filled with the love of Jesus, they planted seeds into the soil of others’ hearts.
- God gave the growth!
Let’s not make disciple making too complex. Here are some questions to revisit continually as you go through a day.
What has God entrusted to me? What can I say, “I cannot imagine facing life without this grace, this truth, THIS life I have received through Jesus.” NAME some of the specific blessings.
What is God doing around me right now? What hearts has God given me some access to, some influence over, some opportunity, so I may offer to share what has given me life.
Ask God for the faith to step over any fear, the hope to endure, and the love of generous sacrifice to sow the seed.
Know that your God will give the growth.
You may or may not get to see the fruit that comes from your seed but sow it anyway.
It may not seem to be warmly valued and received in the moment but sow it anyway.
You may feel very uncertain where this step will lead to tomorrow but sow it anyway.
You may feel unqualified, and can think of others who would be better suited for the task, but sow it anyway.
SOW THE SEED GOD HAS GIVEN TO YOU AND LET HIM GIVE THE GROWTH!
It is a glorious freeing, joyful and scary way to live but you will see the final result of the work of God, that included your small seed, when you are with Jesus.
I WELCOME YOUR COMMENTS OR QUESTIONS.
The life as a Jesus follower is a journey from being declared with right standing before God to experiencing the reality of our new identity in Christ. Anxiety about the past failures, or the future unknowns, fear of the present challenges, a sense of weakness and uncertainty are all rooted in a lack of living in our identity in Christ.
Suggestion: CLICK HERE AND DOWNLOAD A PDF. This is a list of statements and Bible passages on Who We Are In Christ by John Stumbo. Take the first statement. Read the passage 3 times very slowly. Then, in your journal record your answer to this question. “If this truth was guiding my life today how would I see differently?”
Let me know your thoughts. Let’s live out of what we believe in 2018!
Life is living out our design to love God and others. BUT — this is not the love of our culture. The Spirit’s work in you is always to make you a Jesus-like lover!
“Love is the key.
Joy is love singing.
Peace is love resting.
Patience is love enduring.
Kindness is love’s touch.
Goodness is love’s character.
Faithfulness is love’s habit.
Gentleness is love’s self-forgetfulness.
Self–control is love holding the reins.”
~ By Barnhouse
“Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” — Jesus
Lord, May we, in joyful confidence in You
— Willingly do small things;
— Boldly do big things,
— and —
— Be Relentless in doing all things you offer to us.
Like a little child may I run hard, enjoy every waking moment, laugh a lot, cry when I fall down, and run to your arms for your healing Papa kiss that makes it better.
May I so enjoy all the things you give me to do that I say, “I’m not sleepy!!!” and then as soon as I stop I am soundly and peacefully resting in you.
— Your kingdom children, Roy & Pandora
What is the difference between a problem and an opportunity?
What is the difference between a interruption and a surprise?
What is the difference between a complaint or a burden?
Most often the only difference is our PERSPECTIVE that is guiding our response to a life situation.
I can have a life full of opportunities, surprises, and burdens if I see God as bigger than anything touching my life. If I embrace his good and loving heart toward me as seen in Jesus then the load is lighter and I am filled with gratitude instead of complaining.
I am NOT describing a spiritual denial — NO certainly not! I am holding up a trust and confidence in God’s presence and activity in all spheres of my life.
He holds my whole world in his hands!
God gave me the opportunity to preach at Sandhills Community Church in Columbia, SC on July 2. My text was Revelation 1:4-8.
In the first 4 minutes I explained our new adventure which includes church starting and leadership coaching.
Whatever “BAD NEWS” is touching your life — God has GOOD NEWS to touch the hard painful places. The good news centers on our God who IS, who WAS, and who is TO COME. Enjoy!
I WELCOME YOUR COMMENTS OR QUESTIONS