Weekly Challenge # 4, October 5 - 10:
This is your last opportunity to invite people to Friend Day. Reconnect with all of those you have invited, reminding them of special day and the times of worship. Seek one of your names that you hope to have a spiritual conversation with this week. Ask God for an open door.
I trust that this month's emphasis on EMBRACE has challenged your heart to follow the Lord in obedience as it relates to see your relationships as God given opportunities for you to reach people for Him and to share the love of Christ. It is important that we realize that we are to love people as Christ loved them with a giving, sacrificial love and that part of loving them is to care enough to share the greatest truth in the world with them. That truth is that God loves them, sent His Son Jesus to die for them, and that God desires a personal relationship with them, now and forever.
How do we overcome the fear or the hesitation to enter into spiritual conversations?
1. Prayer. Pray that God will give you boldness to share in His confidence.
2. Salvation. Be sure of your own faith, and share your story of how God brought you to the place of salvation.
3. Purity. I know that if I have allowed sin or unconfessed sin to reign in my life then I am unlikely to want to share with others about my faith.
4. Faith. Faith is leaving the results to the Holy Spirit's work in their life. My job is faithful obedience and loving them, God is the one who saves.
Weekly Challenge #3, September 28-October 3
Make an intentional connect with a family member who needs Jesus. If local, invite them to Friend Day and seek to enter into a spiritual conversation by sharing your personal story of how you met Jesus. If you do not have family, seek to connect with a service provider, inviting them to Friend Day.
Family can be among the toughest of our relationships to navigate. Our families often know our past and our weaknesses more than anyone else. They also know how to push our buttons and get us off task. In some cases, you have shared a lot with family members and they don't want to hear any more about "church" or your "religion". Let me make some suggestions for dealing with the hard hearted family member.
1. Make sure that there is no relational barrier that needs to be dealt with. Is there anything that you need to ask forgiveness for or that you need to let go of and offer forgiveness for in your relationship. A heart felt "I am sorry" and "I forgive you", will break down barriers that have been built.
2. Pray for them before and after you share. Also, keep praying. You cannot change the hard heart or open the heart that is closed but God can. You must attempt to keep the relational lines open while sharing truth.
3. Look for open doors. God may allow a crisis to take place in their life. This can be an opportunity to share with them the hope that God can bring. Brokenness creates the opening for grace.
4. Be prepared to share your personal story and journey of faith and how you met Jesus. As you share your story, you can talk about sin, conviction, brokenness, grace, salvation, and healing without sounding like your condemning them, you talking about yourself. You can always ask them if they have ever felt that way?
Weekly Challenge #2, September 21
Make an intentional connect with a work associate or a frequent contact, inviting them to Friend Day and asking them how you can pray for them this week.
Yesterday we talked about brokenness and how we can see brokenness all around us. The truth is that most of us have experienced our own seasons of brokenness and have experienced God's grace in and through those experiences. It may have been brokenness that lead you to salvation or that has strengthened your walk with the Lord. When it comes to EMBRACE; look for those in your sphere of influence that are experiencing brokenness. Let them know you are praying for them and share your own story with them about how God is working in your brokenness. Remember brokenness is often God's tool to break the hard heart and reveal Himself.
Weekly Challenge #1, September 13
Make a relational contact with a neighbor or close friend; inviting them to Friend Day and seeking an opportunity to share God's love with them this week.
I am so excited to see what God is going to do through us as move in obedience with His heart to reach those in our sphere of influence with the good news of Jesus. As we talked about yesterday in the message, to EMBRACE those around us we must be intentional, relational, and motivated by love. We must show Jesus' love as well as tell them of His love. I am praying today, that God would provide opportunities for spiritual conversations and that the Holy Spirit will guide your thoughts.
I want to give you some suggestions in how to carry out this week's challenge. Neighbors and close friends may be the easiest to connect with personally because you already have a relationship. It will still need to be intentional. It may involve the sacrifice of time in order to connect. Let me give you three suggestions.
1. Use the gift of hospitality. Inviting neighbors and friends to your house for a cookout or a meal is a great way to build relationship and break down barriers.
2. Look for a way to serve them. This can come in all kinds of ways. It may be as simple as taking their trash cans up to their house or more significant in helping them with a project that they have been wanting to accomplish.
3. Ask how you can pray for them. I am convinced that praying for people is one of the most effective ways to break down spiritual barriers. You may already know of needs in their life. Send them a note letting them know you are praying for them and then follow up by asking how things are going. If you do not know how to pray, ask them.
Check back next week for some more suggestions.