Category Archives: Ministry

How Interesting

Some people hear you share a story from your life that you think is interesting, and share a similar story, because they want to connect with you – to find something that you have in common. If you show that you value their story, they share more at other times. Your relationship can grow.

Other people hear you share a story from your life and share a BIGGER story, because they want to be awarded a BIGGER score in the social interaction. Not wanting to encourage their one-up behavior, we usually offer a range of responses between sarcasm and silence. If, instead, we can convince them that we value them apart from their ability to score well on social contrast tests, we may be able to develop a real relationship with them, too.

Both opportunity types are costly, because it is more fun being interesting than it is being interested. Don’t throw either one away. Be both on days.

People are far more likely to meet Jesus through relationships with believers than they are by reading tracts about hell. Value relationships. The mercy and grace you pour into them will be returned to you with interest.

Humility

Being humble creates many opportunities and opens many doors.

It is possible to confuse fear, lack of faith, low self-esteem, and unforgiveness with humility, though. When I am afraid to commit to a project or idea or group because I fear being wrong or fear failing, I can use being humble as an excuse for not standing boldly.

If I, like Moses when Yahweh called him from the burning bush, don’t believe that God can or will cover my weaknesses and make me able to stand in a scary or important place, I can use humility as an excuse. God will be no more tolerant of it for me than He was with Moses.

Some days, I pretend not to be able to commit to a project because I’m just not that good, or not that well prepared, or some other excuse, when my real problem, like Jonah’s regarding Ninevah, is I just don’t love those people enough to become a target for their benefit.

Being awesome is our calling. Humility is appropriate as a covering from pride or fear. It should empower us, though, not excuse us or disqualify us. Stand up and be who Yahweh says you are, and do what He has authorized you to do. No excuses, no apologies, just bold, faithful perseverance.

The earth needs who you are in Christ to manifest His answers to their needs.

Motivations

I was reminded recently while talking with an intercessor that what motivates us to pray is sometimes more important than what we are praying.

When I first met Faye she was working in a daycare. When she became a believer, she started leading kids to become believers. I had been involved in several varieties of home meetings and prayer ministries and had heard some of the same prayers for years, because some of the prayers were never being answered. Included were many peoples’ requests for their unsaved spouses to get saved.

I don’t remember any of those salvation request prayers being answered. Faye started testifying in meetings about children she was leading to Jesus. She would then lead the children to pray for their family members. Frequently, she would soon be testifying about parents and siblings and aunts and uncles and grandparents of the children becoming believers.

I was shocked by the contrast of the answers to the childrens’ prayers for salvations being answered compared to the husbands’ and wives’ prayers seemingly being ignored. When I asked the Spirit about what I was not understanding, I believe that He said that usually the spouse was praying primarily because they were sick of the behavior of the unbeliever, but the children were asking Him to save people because they wanted them to be blessed by being with Jesus forever.

Learning to Look

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls,  who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it.”    (Matthew 13:45-46, NKJV)

Some things you only find when you are looking for them. In the beginning of having a Life with Jesus, it is sometimes impossible to miss anything, because He is so frequently on our minds, and He so very much wants us to learn to walk in the Spirit. Later, He seems to want us to take responsibility for whether there is food in the cupboard or not.

Every event is an opportunity to become more like Him when we look carefully and faithfully at it. When we stop worrying about whether we are being dealt a hand we don’t deserve, or worrying about what we did wrong, or why someone hates us, and examine the clues He sometimes leaves in very easy to find places, we will see His hand and His intentions and respond with the character, the power, and the eternal wisdom of His Spirit as we listen to the whisper of His voice.

When we begin a response to an event with the question, “What are You doing here, Lord, and what should I do to co-labor with You, and agree with You?”, we will get wondersful answers. We will manifest Him. The more we co-operate with Him and manifest Him, the more we become one with Him, and the more people will experience a visit with Him because we were present.

One of the most powerful keys to this realm is making a decision to expect Him to do awesome things in our lives, and then living out that decision. That decision requires a matching decision to stop expecting our enemies to prevail over us.

They’ll Know We’re Jesus People

We have spiritual gifts. Our ministries flow out of the gifts, influenced by our resources: who has parented us, what skills we have, who our neighbors are, and what other gifts are functioning around us.

If I am an evangelist, I will need to be around unbelievers to have effective ministry. If I am a pastor, I will need to be around believers to have effective ministry. If I am an evangelist and don’t know a pastor I trust, I may try to give pastoral ministry to the people who become believers around me. I won’t do it well.

You should look for gifts that differ from yours to be at work around you. It will make your ministry have greater impact when the total ministry people are receiving is through several manifestations of the person of Jesus. That may mean you have to be related to people from different congregations. It may mean that your most effective ministry is not related to any congregation at all, because the people you work with are each from different denominations.

A team of people working together with others who have different gifts will be most effective when they are gathering and building relationships at least as much as they are gathering to do ministry. The fellowship creates levels of trust and respect and love that build the Body up and make it strong and easy to lead by the Spirit of God.

Even unbelievers will be able to discern that we belong to Jesus by seeing genuine love in our relationships, not just by seeing power.

Befriending Jesus

A friend loves at all times,
and a brother is born for a difficult time. *

In a little village named Bethany, Jesus had 3 friends: Lazarus, Mary, & Martha. They welcomed Him. They even welcomed the people to whom He was a Friend – His disciples and followers. They served Him and His friends meals.

The trouble He brought with Him of having people He had befriended was probably a test to anyone who wanted to be a friend to Him. If someone was going to be a friend to Him, their friendship had to be strong enough to bear His love for the others.

Twined together, responsibility and authority and service become leadership. They become parenthood. When Jesus discerned that His disciples were arguing about whom among them was the greatest (Luke 9:46), He did not rebuke them for wanting to be great – He instructed them regarding the path to greatness: be the servant of all.

We should have a great desire to be a friend to Jesus. It is costly, though. It means that the resources we want to spend on Him are spent on those He has become a Friend to. If I welcome Jesus, I will welcome the least and the greatest, and, having given to them, I will have given to Him (Matthew 25:31).

It is a valuable accomplishment when I step over the line of no longer being jealous that what I want to give to Him is being consumed by people who don’t deserve it. It is a wondrous freedom when I step past looking at the people He gives me the privilege of blessing, who, when I give to them, they see His hand offering the blessing to them.

When you are a good friend to Him, you empower His friendship to be real-ized in the earth. You will feed and comfort and shelter Him as a valuable friend when you do those things for the least of the people whom He has beFriended…

*  (Proverbs 17:17 – from Holman Christian Standard Bible® Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2005 by Holman Bible Publishers.)

Being Pregnant

When two people get married, the woman usually becomes pregnant soon. Normally, if she does not become pregnant, it is because they have done something to prevent it.

The design of humanity includes an intentional benefit of intimacy being reproduction. The design of the Church – the Bride of Christ – includes a similar benefit of intimacy. When our relationship with Jesus, our Husband, is proper, we will become reproductive as a congregation.

When we are more interested in our hobbies and possessions and activities and buildings and history and so on and so forth, anything but becoming intimate with our Lord, we will manage to avoid pregnancy with His purpose for an indefinite period of time.

His mercy may be able to get our attention focused back on our first Love, but not necessarily. Another possibility is that He would take the vineyard from us and rent it to a people who would tend it to fruitfulness. Our desire is that we would be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the earth with love of the Savior and with obedience to the King.

Sinned Against

Somebody sinned against me.

Since Jesus said that all sin had forgiveness available but blaspheming the Holy Ghost, perhaps, since John says there is “a” sin unto death (1 John 5:14-17), this is the sin he is referring to. He doesn’t say, so I will not presume to know surely. At any rate, that still leaves a grand pile of sin for which I may pray.

Even if I am going to respond to someone’s sin in some way beyond intercession for them, I will not know what that response should be apart from the Lord answering me as I pray for the person regarding how to answer their sin.

Prayer should always be my first response to someone’s sin. In some cases, it is all that is required. His answer to my prayer will change the individual or the situation on days.

In other cases, Yahweh may call me to further response. This article has some ideas about those other possibilities.

Judged in Advance

We have access in our minds to the Wisdom that designed the universe.

Instead of accessing it, we frequently make decisions using prejudice. Pre – judgment.

Last time we experienced that subject or person, we decided to respond to it or them a certain way, so that’s probably the way to deal with this situation too. We fail to or refuse to consult the Spirit of Wisdom and be informed about how to respond.

Instead of pre – suming and pre – judging, we could consult the King Who knows the end from the beginning. We could receive advice – better yet instruction – from the Ancient of Days.

Let’s do that. Think how awesome Life will be!

Critical Advice

As we move forward in the development of our true identities and purposes, the more public we allow our work and intentions to become, the more criticism we are the subjects of.

We need to learn to listen to the “advice” under the influence of the Holy Spirit. We are never as bad as our critics say nor ever as good as our dogs say. We are exactly what our Father says. Sometimes He says something through people who have opinions that differ from ours.

If He says you are a dancer, but someone else says that you don’t dance well, find out what is true about your ability shortage and learn to do what you can’t yet do.

Take enough critical advice to find your weakness and use it to become awesome, not to become separated from your courage and faith.