CHRIST AND SINGLENESS

Only let each person lead the life that the Lord has assigned him, and to which God has called him. 1 Cor 7:17a

 A couple of weeks ago, as part of our current sermon series, I spoke on being Single and Christian. Over the last couple of years, God’s been stirring my heart for the single people in our churches. There can be a pretty big stigma in terms of singleness among the Christian community. Culturally we’re taught to pursue and glorify singleness, worshiping the idol of individual independence. Likewise though, Christian culture can tend to view marriage as most glorious and end up making it an idol.

The bible teaches us that it’s God who’s most glorious and that making most of him is the goal of all our life. Both marriage and singleness are uniquely designed by God to help us do just that. Sin distorts anything; thankfully the gospel redeems everything. In Christ, singleness finds a home. It’s made beautiful and beneficial in light of Him; uniquely displaying our love for and trust in our all-sufficient and sovereign Lord.

If you’d like more on the Gift and Calling of Singleness that Paul outlines in 1 Cor 7, you can listen to the podcast. For this post though I wanted to touch on some of the practical things I’ve mentioned in regards to singleness over the last couple weeks. I compiled a list of eight principles for living a life of Singleness to God’s glory and for your good. It’s by no means comprehensive, nor do I have a verse for every one. They come from biblical principles, human experience and pastoral observations. My hope is they’ll be seen as simple, practical and helpful.

SINGLENESS AND YOU

Jesus First – Prioritize your relationship with Jesus above every other relationship. Cultivate your heart for him, find your identity in him and keep your focus on he and his kingdom first. The quality of all our relationships are rooted in our relationship with Christ.

Be Content – Scripture teaches, songs remind and life confirms we’re prone to wonder. We all want bigger, better and faster and chasing the world easily temps us to leave the Lord. Where you are and what you have are all a perfectly, purposefully timed gift from God. Practice gratitude.

Be Holy – Image scripture not the world. Walk in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yes, potentially you’re saving yourself for someone to come, but primarily you are sanctifying yourself for the One who’s already arrived; the One who sanctified himself for us through his life and death to make us his. Commit your body and mind to him while single and don’t act married until you are.

Be Humble – I’ll let the life-long single theologian John Stott speak to this:

 Apart from sexual temptation, the greatest danger which I think we face as singles is self-centeredness. We may live alone and have total freedom to plan our own schedule with nobody else to modify it or even give us advice. If we are not careful, we may find the whole world revolving around ourselves.

Be Intentional – The time is very short, make the best use of it. Single or married our mission is gospel proclamation and kingdom extension. There are no greater gifts outside the gospel itself like youthful zeal and the freedom of singleness when it comes to undivided devotion to Christ and his commission. Maximize it without regret.

SINGLE AND SEARCHING

Start with a Friendship, Not Romance – I learned this from Tim Keller and from looking back over the years spent with my best friend and spouse. What you need in this life, and want going into eternity, is a good friend, because that’s what lasts. Find and be a friend first. Walk with them as friends toward Jesus, helping the other become the person God designed them to be in him. You usually figure the physical stuff out just fine.

Clarify Your Beliefs Together in the Beginning – We over look a lot of things about people when we’re attracted to them. Let me just say, don’t let hotness supersede holiness. I’ve yet to sit with a couple after recently getting married who were having problems with each others physical appearance, but I have wept with many who realized they assumed someone’s salvation. What do you both believe? Who do you believe in? What does that mean? Where do you go to church? What are you learning from Christ? What is the gospel and how does it apply to life? These aren’t secondary matters. They are of marriage shaping, life changing and joy thriving importance.

Make Courtship Communal – Whatever you label your pursuit of a spouse; courtship or dating, let me ask you: Does your church family know the person you’re after? Why not? Do they have authority to speak into your relationship? They should. Lots of mistakes could be avoided if we simply invited and involved others in our courtship/dating. Do more together with others than on your own. There is no better help for you (and them) when it comes to keeping the first five points. Don’t limit your community to people just like you. Singles be around married, marrieds included singles. Ask questions, seek wisdom, invite accountability and have fun together. That’s what being the church is all about and this is a time when it’s biblically beneficial for both.

My prayer for your today is that in whatever season of singleness or solitude you currently find yourself in, contentment in and enjoyment of Christ will rule your hearts.

Enjoy

 

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THE SPIRITUAL COST OF SMART PHONES

This week I’m easing back into my regular work week after a little vacation time. I hope you’re able to find some rest and recreation this summer as well. We all need it, and if your like me, struggle to take full advantage of it when it does avail itself.

One of the things I find myself needing to take a break from most is my phone. The internet, social media, entertaining videos, all vi for my attention on a regular basis, but my phone…that square headed little gremlin scheming in my pocket, is constantly crying out for attention, and if I’m honest, I kind of like it.

As I sat down to write this today, I realized I’d left my phone at home and in a moment of great irony and sad reality, I found myself feeling a sense of loss, fear and even panic thinking about what it’d mean for my day not have it by my side. Fortunately a browser was close at hand and I avoided getting the shakes.

My smart phone can be a great tool to help keep me connected, but it also came with a ton of hidden fees that cost me dearly and can disconnect me from things that matter most like family, friends and God.

What I need most when I disconnect from my work life is to reconnect deeply with my worship life. Genuine rest is better with genuine worship. We need daily time with God for sure; time in the word, in prayer and meditation. It’s a fight to keep the cares and concerns of the world from choking the breathe of the gospel from our lungs. But lets face it, life happens, things get busy and our relationship with God and our enjoyment of grace suffers for it. And when it’s been weeks, months…years of that, what we need is not just a week at the beach or a month in the mountains but sustain, thoughtful, reconnecting time with Jesus. I can leave work at the office and I can usually stay away from email…but my phone; it stows away unconsciously into my times of quiet worship. That phantom buzz seems to scream into my leg at the very moment I sense I’m reconnecting with my Maker.

There are a ton of available apps to help us worship God, but there several million more that keep us from it.

Tim Chester, one of the authors who’s been most helpful in my life, when it comes to teaching me practical gospel application, shared the following insightful questions from an audio interview with Tony Reinke on Desiring God. I think we would do well to consider them personally and answer them honestly ourselves and with others:

  1. Am I becoming like what I behold in my iPhone? Are my face-to-face relationships conforming to modes of communication that are shaped by my online habits?
  2. Am I overlooking my finiteness? I am finite. I am a man severely limited in what I can know and what I can read and what I engage and what I can care about. So do I want to know everything? Do I fear being left behind on what’s trending online right now?
  3. Am I multitasking priorities that should be uni-tasked. Specifically is my time with God in the word and I prayer being distracted and even being replaced by digital interruptions?
  4. I am deleting my embodiment? Do I truly value the personal, face-to-face relationships in my life over the disembodied relationships I maintain online? Are my face-to-face relationships with my neighbour, my wife and my kids suffering as a result?
  5. I am losing interest in the gathered church on Sunday? Baptisms, the Lord’s Supper, corporate worship, the laying on of hands – do I truly value the embodied reality that is my local church? Do I fiddle through it on my phone looking for something more entertaining?
  6. Am I careless with my words? It’s easy for my words to be published online. So what self-imposed limitations do I have to filter what I say and do I have any accountability in my life for what I say online?

I paid enough for my phone a few years ago. I’d like to keep it from costing me even more today. It’s tremendously helpful in our age, but like with everything else I have to be mindful of how and when I use it. I need to develop discipline with it or it will get more of my attention that it deserves.

It’s already a fight to have authentic relationships these days. False community is everywhere and idols are as shiny as ever and there’s an even bigger better one around the corner to keep us glued. The subject is worth a conversation and at the very least as Christians we should add it to our talking points with others we’re accountable to.

Listen the whole audio interview with Tony Reinke here.

COURAGE

In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.

John 16:33

COURAGE

This morning I was reading through the end of the book of Revelation. Not because I hang out there often, nurturing unhealthy codes and conspiracies, but because I was longing for what lies ahead for those in Christ. As I read I was again comforted by John’s vision of the coming Kingdom of God. It excites me to think about it; and in light of the suffering and death all around, I long for it to come quickly – today in fact would be nice.

As I pondered the thought of Jesus making “all things new” in Rev 21, I was additionally struck by another idea, a word actually, among the list of those John mentions will miss out on experiencing this amazing final, hope filled, reality. It wasn’t the entirety of his list (thats the subject of countless other debates currently raging), but the first group of folks mentioned, “the cowardly”, those too fearful to follow Jesus; too timid to take a stand for his truth when push comes to shove.

FEAR

I don’t at all believe the bible is dismissive of the very real emotion of fear. The world is full of scary things. I know God gave us the ability to feel afraid to protected us from evil as well as the stupid things I spent my younger years engaging in anyway. Caution can be good and godly. I do believe, however, that there’s a fear that God is apposed to; a fear that makes us cowards toward the things of God and that can keep us from his Kingdom. A dread that comes as a result of allowing worldly cares around us to loom larger than he who is over us; faithlessness that gives rise to inaction as a result of disbelief in his great love. A fear of man, over and above a fear of God.

“The Cowardly”, are those who in the face of hardship and opposition choose to walk away from the power, promises and person of Jesus Christ. Those who for the sake of  themselves, forsake him. And before anyone, including myself, think they have never been or would ever act cowardly towards God, lets remember a similar list from 1 Cor 6 that soberly reminds us, “such were some of you.” On any given day, in any given moment depending on the given situation, I forget the gospel and become cowardly toward Christ.

Life is scary and our hearts are easily scared. The reality is it’s not going to get easier to follow Jesus. In the next 5-10 years many will abandon the God and gospel they claim today; no longer able to hide behind the name “Christian”, we will be left with only Christ. Unable to remain ambiguous about our beliefs, we will be made to deny or die on the Word of God. We will have to choose sides – courage or cowardice.

So that got me thinking about some simple ways we can help ourselves, our children and each other as a church, grow in courage walking with and awaiting our King and Kingdom.

THREE TIPS FOR BECOMING MORE COURAGEOUS
1. Know Jesus – If someone doesn’t know Jesus, it makes sense that they wouldn’t trust him. It also makes sense that if someone has an idea of Jesus, that’s not based in the true identity of Jesus they might also be a little fearful of following him. When you read the New Testament ask yourself, what truth does Jesus want me to know and trust about himself and what has he done to validate himself as trustworthy and true? We grow in confidence and courage in Christ when we know him as he has revealed and proved himself to be.

2. Spend Time in the Kings Court – That’s just my creative attempt at saying be frequently in the Word and Prayer. The more we know the truth through reading, study and memorization, the more we trust the truth. Half the promises that go untrusted are because people didn’t even know God made a promise. Spend time in the presence of the King, you’ll come to know his thoughts, ways and character along with his commands. In Scripture we listen and in prayer he looms. The purpose of both is not only to know what we are to do, but the one who asks it of us. Confidence and courage come from time in his Courts. That’s why David says in Psalm 27:4 its the best place for him to be.

3. Start with the Small Battles – This might be the one we need the most. Don’t expect to win wars if you never engage in battle. Every enemy is scarier when we dont face them. What acts of faith and obedience are you avoiding? God calls us to generosity, good works and gospel proclamation to grow us in our confidence and courage. It’s not to scare us, but to make us brave in him. If in your life you shun the small stuff, you’ll almost certainly sweat the big stuff. If you want to become confident in your finances, start by faithfully tithing. If you want to grow in certainty in regards to Gods Word begin letting it guide your prayers and start pursuing what it commands. If you want to become courageous in sharing your faith, initiate talking about it more often with those you know. Most fears are rooted in uncertainty and doubts and darkness dwindle in the light. We see it for what it is, and who he is, in faithful action. Courage is not an absence of fear, it’s a God trusting confidence in the midst of it.

As we enter an increasingly hostel world that doubts and denies the gospel; they desperately need to see and we firmly need to be confident, courageous Followers of Christ. I am praying, even now, that I will increase in my own courage for Christ in the coming days, months and years, and I’m praying that for his church as well.

Fear not little flock, for it is your Fathers good pleasure to give you the kingdom.

Luke 12:32

The Perfect Church Doesn’t Exist…Yet

“If I had never joined a church till I had found one that was perfect, I should never have joined one at all. And the moment I did join it, if I had found one, I should have spoiled it, for it would not have been a perfect church after I had become a member of it. Still, imperfect as it is, it is the dearest place on earth to us.” – Charles Spurgeon

In a day and age where narcissism reigns it makes sense that people would do life by themselves, seeing as they are already living for themselves. In a time where Christ’s church is made to seem ignorant, intolerant and unnecessary, it also stands to reason many people would choose not to associate themselves with a community of Christians.

Some; however, seeming to sound very pious and yet being very confused, simply say with Bono, “I still haven’t found what I’m looking for.” The two most frequent causes of this type of thinking, that I have experienced personally and as a pastor, are: First our consumerists mindset, which grows from our narcissism, is rooted in our sinful hearts and conditioned by our culture. It say’s “its all about me” and when it comes to a church, just like my jeans and sleep number bed, it better fit me perfectly and in a way that best suits and reflects what I need and I love about myself. The second cause is misunderstanding of what the church is and the significance it is meant to play in the life of a Christ Follower. Often like myself, this is learned through years of poor teaching and even lazier learning.

Quickly, the church is Christ’s beloved bride. It is his creation, his focus and his love. So if you want to learn about the church, learn from Jesus. What he says about her is to be believed and practiced by his Followers.

That said, Christ has not yet returned to sweep away his bride to be with him in a holy , wondrous and eternal relationship. She remains in the realm of men, surrounded by sin, inside and out. She is deeply loved, deeply cared and provided for by Jesus, but she is not perfect…yet. That day will come when He returns and sets all things, including imperfect churches (and people), right.

I love Jesus, but I am not perfect. As I grow slowly more secure in the gospel this becomes more apparent as well as slightly more acceptable. I am broken, but I am loved and accepted by Jesus. So it is with the church. Her blemishes make his love all the more profound. The church is covered in beauty marks, each of us darkening her skin while simultaneously embellishing her beauty, radiating the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ.

When you look for a church don’t expect perfection from her. Just as you are looking for a place that will welcome and walk with you as you are, imperfections and all; lets extend the same grace to her, seeing her as Christ sees her, giving kindness as you have been given grace and laying down your life as he laid down his for ours. When we look to join ourselves with others on the journey, let us not look first to ourselves, but to him and remember that our commonality is found the Cross not culture and our lives are best lived for him in the service of others and not ourselves.

“Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.” – Ephesians 4:15-16

 

EVERYDAY MISSION – PART TWO

Go therefore and make disciples – Jesus

Matt 28:19

As I said in part one of this series, being saved means being sent. Jesus rescues us to make us rescuers. In giving us salvation and his Spirit he was commissioning and equipping us for mission, the mission being to make and multiply disciples. We are invited into many things – seeking justice, extending mercy, restoring the broken, embodying and extending the kingdom, but our primary task, as Followers of Christ is to make disciples. We are in word and deed to be proclaiming gospel truth and inviting others into gospel trust.

A genuine encounter with the grace of God, creates in a person a desire to share that grace with others. God is glorified most through more people experiencing his mercies and forgiveness, coming to know his love and kindness, and being adopted into his family. It’s not as if there is only so much to go around. Our infinite God has infinite grace that he wants to shed abroad in the hearts of whosoever would come to him. Our responsibility as Christians is to make the good news known, calling sinners to repent, believe and be baptized into his body where they can experience growth and participate in mission themselves.

Being on Mission with your Relationships

So in seeking to be intentional in the ordinary and often overlooked parts of our lives it means that every relationship has meaning. Each person we come in contact with has a soul. A soul created by God to bring him glory. Some have been awakened by God and put their hope in Jesus, but many have not. I’d imagine most us know people who don’t know Christ. They may be spiritual, they might claim religious affiliation, but have they encountered God in the gospel? Have they been convicted of their sin and convinced they need a savior? Are they worshipping God, involved in biblical community, invested in Gods mission, maybe, but maybe not?

Generally we tend to approach our relationships in one of two ways, under assumption or with indifference. We tend to either not bother to talk about Jesus with people, assuming they are a Christian or that they are at least good people and therefore not in need of hearing the good news, or secondly we simply don’t think about, or worse don’t care about their spiritual state. Neither of these is beneficial for them or you.

If you are like me its just easier to keep to yourself, to enjoy the benefits of our relationships without mucking them up with tension inducing talks of spirituality. But this approach is not the approach God took with me, and certainly not an approach that reflects the saving grace and loving kindness I have experienced in Christ. I confess it just feels easier to stay clear of these conversations. But what I am doing in remaining unintentional or indifferent is choosing to save my own soul at the expense of another’s. I am in these moments pushing back the Holy Spirits conviction in order to love and benefit myself. But wasn’t this the old me? Wasn’t this the way I acted before I followed Jesus? Exactly.

Living mission with our relationships begins with reminding myself of the gospel. It’s preaching to my own heart and mind the riches I’ve received in Christ. It’s pointing my gaze back to the cross on a daily basis, because it’s the love of God that chases out the fear of living for him. Sin stills wants its way with us. Satan still tries to play us with terrors and temptations, thoughts of what we will loose if we run people off with our “religious talk”. What we need to remember is that God is already at work in the hearts of men and women. Our role is messenger, not messiah. We cast a net of conversation and where the Spirit is working people respond. Our part is to remember the gospel, rely on the Holy Spirit and be attentive to opportunities to speak the truth in love to fellow souls.

What I am not saying is that our relationships should be viewed as evangelistic projects. What I am saying is that no relationship is beyond the need for or the power of the gospel and therefore should be taken seriously and pursued with intentionality. We should see it as needing to always try and “bring up God”; a Christian full of the Spirit and walking with Jesus will eventually bring up the love and joy of their life with the people around them. It’s natural. What’s unnatural is not sharing it.

Try this. This week pray for God to open your eyes to the people around you. To speak to your heart (if he hasn’t been already) and direct you toward conversations you might have with people. What opportunities are before you? How do the stories you hear everyday give voice to Gods story? How could you help people see God at work in their lives? What Christians has the Lord put in your path that might have good connections with the nont-yet-Christians in your life? What friends and family would allow you, if asked, to just share your gospel story? What relationships, if you asked, might join you for a meal, visit your church, check out your community group on an enjoy night? What would it do to your heart and your faith to see people come alive to grace? Can you imagine seeing mom, dad, brother, sister, friends, co-workers, even enemies and strangers, being baptized, joining the church, singing worship songs and sharing in mission? What if the people we are now afraid to talk to about Jesus suddenly where people we couldn’t stop talking about Jesus with? My guess is that it makes your eyes widen. I bet it makes your heart flutter at the thought.

What if you prayed right now? What if you risked this week? What if you saw God move this month?

To be continued…

Read Everyday Mission Part 1

EVERYDAY MISSION – PART ONE

As the Father sent me, even so I am sending you. – Jesus

John 20:21

If you are in Christ you are a missionary. The moment you relinquished your life and gave your allegiance to Jesus you became an agent of the gospel. What a privilege to be invited by God into the ongoing mission of God.

If you are like me you get really excited about the possibility of being part of changing the world for Christ, but it only takes a few minutes to get pretty overwhelmed by this reality. What do I do? How do I do it? What if I can’t? What if I don’t? It quickly goes from being an thrilling opportunity to a threatening obstacle.

What if it wasn’t really that hard? What if we were over thinking it? What if mission was far more about relying upon the Holy Spirit for the miraculous stuff and me being more intentional with the seemingly menial stuff? Most of us spend a lot of unproductive time fretting over our inability to write the “big check for God” that we miss accomplishing amazing kingdom size things through the faithful writing lots of a lot of little checks.

Let’s look at some often overlooked areas of our lives that with a little more intentionality on our part could be redeemed by Christ to accomplish great things for his kingdom.

Being on Mission with your Schedule

No one has a lot of free time anymore. Our schedules are packed. The demands of family, friends, work and life seem endless. But lets be honest, there are still the same hours in a day that there have always been and that hasn’t changed sense God put the sun in the sky and called it “day”. Granted our culture has figured out how to be so efficient we can now fit several days worth of stuff into that same period, but its not really made us anymore productive. If anything its made us unproductive and unhappy to boot.

What if we slowed down? What if we learned to say no to some things. What if God could so satisfy our hearts with himself that we might not even want some of the same things we spend so much time trying to get? What if we took some intentional time to prayer, to sit with other Christians to share and compare our schedules and see if there where places we might make some changes?

What are you here to do? What has the Lord saved you for? What were you created to do? What do you dream about doing with your life to bring glory to God the Father and joy to your soul? Are these things on the calendar? What would it take to make room for them? Not just putting more on the schedule, but taking some things off it? If you just keep putting toys in the pool eventually there is no room to swim. So what would it look like to have adequate time during your week to pursue life giving, soul satisfying, people engaging, gift using, God glorifying things? Lets make it even simpler. What ONE thing could you accomplish for the kingdom that God has put in your heart if you were intentional with your schedule this month?

You’d be surprised what God can do through deliberate lives, lived with patience and purpose. You’d also be amazed at what it would do for your soul. Remember its not just about what we can accomplish this week, its what we could achieve in our lifetime that will make the greatest impact.

To be continued….

Sown for Glory

Image

“That they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified…” Is 61:3

Oaks of Righteousness

In the book of Isaiah, referred to by many as the Gospel of the Old Testament, the prophet Isaiah foretells of THE PROPHET who will come to undo all that’s gone wrong in the world through sin. What exciting news for Gods people back then. God would come and restore all that was broken, release all that was enslaved and establish an everlasting joy – WOW!

The excitement for us today as Christians should be even greater, because we know that THE PROPHET has come. Jesus, the Anointed One, the messiah, God came to earth to fulfill the promise He made to rescue and redeem a people for himself. God is always keeps his promises.

Jesus lived the perfect life we couldn’t live, died the punishing death we do deserve and rose triumphantly from the dead, defeating sin, the devil and death. Through faith in Christ we are forgiven of our sin, receive his righteousness as our own and are “clothed in the garments of salvation.” We are accepted by God, adopted as sons and given a new assignment, to love God and live our lives for him as a testimony to his mercies and grace.

Planted for Glory

We are not merely saved by God to sit around. Through his saving grace we become seeds, oaks of righteousness, created for a purpose, his purpose. The Christ Follower is given a new heart and mind to live a new life, a life that is to be “living sacrifice” to God. (Rom 12:1-2). Every thought and action is now an act of worship, a labor of love, lived out as a great big “thank you” to the Lord for his loving kindness.

Seeds are only fruitful when they are planted. And that is just what God does with his seeds (Christians). He plants us into places, into relationships and into situations that his grace would grow in predetermined places (Acts 17:26) and his glory would shine for all to see. That our words and deeds would bring the life, light and love of the gospel to into dead, dark and desperate places. And every time these gospel seeds sprouted, through Christians laying down their lives for God and the good of others, he would be glorified. (1Peter 2:12)

What an amazing gift we have been given in Christ. Not only are we saved, but we are sent. Invited to participate with God in his redemptive and restoring work in this world. Is there a greater purpose? Is there a more amazing opportunity? I think not. We should be blown away by the kindness of God the Father.

Let’s look at just a few practical applications of this planting God does, by examining three places he plants his people into every day life.

Planted in the World

It’s no accident you live where you live. Love it or hate it, God was not surprised by your residency. You are the exact person, in the exact place to accomplish his exact mission at this time in history. You have the just the right amount of talents, abilities and spiritual gifting do be faithful to God’s mission where you are. Faithful to proclaim the gospel in word, sharing the good news of Jesus with friends, family and neighbors. Calling people to repentance, to faith, hope and joy in Christ. It’s as simple as telling them who Jesus is and the story of how he saved you.

Secondly it means being faithful in deed, to love the people around us in visible and tangible ways. It means serving others ahead of serving ourselves. It means being attentive to needs and meeting them. It looks like belonging to a church that is actively engaging your cities culture and commerce. It’s acts of mercy and justice. Its being in relationship with the people no body cares to know. It means putting down roots and contributing to the good of the places and the people where God has placed you.

Where do you live? What gospel fruit is visibly growing there through you? Who is being served? Who is being saved?

Planted in the Home

Home is where the heart is they say. It might also read “home is where the heart is revealed”. Behind closed doors the real me comes out. It’s where I am most known. That’s the scary part. It’s also where I can have the greatest effect. That’s the good news.

God uses marriage. In the home, with the spouse you chose to give your life to, God does some of his deepest work. In the tension of relationships Jesus is at work. He reveals our selfishness and teaches us sacrifice. When he plants two people together it is for the purpose of being glorified in those two souls. If we are attentive to his leading and willing to respond he will teach us awesome things about himself in the process of loving one another.

Husbands your call to love your wife as Christ is meant to plant the gospel in you and have it flow from you into your marriage. Wives, your call to respect your husband is meant to plant the need for the gospel in you as well and have it blossom in your unity for the world to see and admire.

For parents the home is the place our children should first hear the good news.

Dad, you are a soldier and a farmer. Defending the hearts, and tilling the souls of your children. What a huge responsibility and what a great privilege. Love your kids well, to teach them tangibly about Gods love. Give them grace, teach biblical truth, allow them freedom and pray for them often.

Mom, do not think your sacrifice is meaningless. Your role is great and your opportunity astounding. Raising your kids is a noble calling, never let anyone look down on you for it. Yours is the voice your child will first know, lead them to the Lord with soft words and Jesus filled songs. You are a seed sower and gospel shower every day. Take advantage of the moments, set good boundaries and give lots of grace.

Our children will teach us most about the gospel.

Practice hospitality, inviting people into your home to see the gospel at work. Not just in the good times but in the difficult times as well. Let not-yet-Christians see you need Jesus.

As a side note to singles, most of you dont live alone, which means that the place you live and the people you live with should be seen as the family you are a part of. Gospel opportunities abound. Some of you already feel like the mom or dad anyway. Simply begin being proactive.

Who do you live with? What gospel fruit is visibly growing there through you? Is the gospel in the air? DO you serve one another? Love one another? Is Jesus in your conversations? Are not-yet-Christians in your home? Are they being introduced to other Christians, invited into community, introduced to Christ?

Planted in the Workplace

It’s not a job is a mission field. You dont have to leave the country to make converts. You dont have to go very far to change the world. You merely need to die to your own ambitions and sow into where you have been planted.

Whether you are an owner, an employee, part time or full; whether you love your job or feel like a slave to it, there is gospel good to be done there. There are hurting people all around us. There are single parents. There are lonely souls, unmet needs and glorious opportunities for the grace of God to flourish in your work place. Every day there are chances to love, share and show Jesus to people. You will spend most of your time at work, it just makes since that some of your best missional efforts should take place there. And here is the good part, you wont have to go anywhere or spend anything to do it. It will fit right into your schedule. The only requirements are awareness and intentionality.  God already has a plan and God guarantees results. And before you feel frustrated that nothing seems to be happening in the people around you through your gospel efforts, pause for moment and remember,  the work God is doing is also in you. The mere fact that you are thinking about sharing the gospel, inviting others to church and praying for fellow employees is gospel fruit. Surprise Jesus is working in your work.

Work hard, like you are working for the Lord. Be honest. Be a servant. Respect authority. Listen to and honor others. Practice repentance and be a good example. These things get noticed quick in our day.

Where do you work? What gospel fruit is visibly growing there through you? Do people know you are a Christ Follower? Is it evident in your words and in your deeds? Are you befriending not-yet-Christians? Are they being invited into your life, introduced to other Christians and invited to church?

When we embrace the reality that we are seeds, saved by grace, sent on mission and sown into the world we will begin to see gospel fruit, both in our own lives and in the lives of others. As we experience this grace we will grow to want more of it, Jesus will be made much of and God will be glorified as more and more people come to love and worship him, meaning more souls will be saved and more seeds will be planted.