Tag Archives: evangelism

Exodus 2; Luke 5; Job 19; I Corinthians 6

 

This morning we read about the calling of Matthew. He was a tax collector. Not a very honorable vocation in the sight of the Jewish people. Tax Collectors were historically crooked individuals who would gouge the people they collected from and usually took some for themselves. So Jesus calls Matthew (read below):

27 After this, Jesus went out and saw a tax collector named Levi sitting at the tax office, and he said to him, “Follow me.” 28 So, leaving everything behind, he got up and began to follow him.
29 Then Levi hosted a grand banquet for him at his house. Now there was a large crowd of tax collectors and others who were reclining at the table with them. 30 But the Pharisees and their scribes were complaining to his disciples, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?”
31 Jesus replied to them, “It is not those who are healthy who need a doctor, but those who are sick.  have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” (Luke 5:27-31 [CSB])

Sometimes the newer you are in Christ the more creative you are in sharing your new found faith. Here Matthew gathers his friends for a banquet to introduce to them his new found Savior, Jesus. Funny thing, Matthew knows a lot of tax collectors and sinners. And of course the Pharisees take issue with Jesus eating with them. And what is Jesus’ bottom line through all of this? We see it in the last verse he likens them to the sick and says it’s the sinners and calling them to repentance.

Perhaps you should throw a party for all your unsaved friends and invite someone who can explain the gospel in a non threatening relational way. Or perhaps you throw a watch party and show a Christian film that gets the point across. There are so many ways we can share our faith that doesn’t include grabbing someone by the collar or hitting them over the head with a Bible. What can you do? What can I do? this is our assignment this week. What can you do to share the gospel with your friends in a fresh and creative way. Share your ideas in the comments section… We may just start an evangelism movement!

Father God help us all to unleash the creative minds You have given us to plan ways to reach our friends for You. Thank You for saving us and give us that divine passion to introduce others to Jesus. I pray all this in the saving name of Jesus, Amen!

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Filed under 1 Corinthians, Exodus, Job, Luke, Uncategorized

Genesis 39; Mark 9; Job 5; Romans 9

Joseph, whose immaturity and lack of tact got him into further trouble with his older brothers, is sold to Ishmaelite traders, and finds himself serving Potiphar, the Pharaoh’s captain of the guard. Joseph has lost his freedom, but yet because God is with him, he still succeeds (even when it seems like he continues under trial). God goes with him through this all, and it is evident to those who stand witness.

20 So he took Joseph and threw him into the prison where the king’s prisoners were held, and there he remained. 21 But the Lord was with Joseph in the prison and showed him his faithful love. And the Lord made Joseph a favorite with the prison warden. 22 Before long, the warden put Joseph in charge of all the other prisoners and over everything that happened in the prison. 23 The warden had no more worries, because Joseph took care of everything. The Lord was with him and caused everything he did to succeed. (Genesis 39:20-23, NLT)

A man’s son suffers from violent seizures. He brings the child to Jesus for healing when the disciples were unable to do it.

21 “How long has this been happening?” Jesus asked the boy’s father.

He replied, “Since he was a little boy. 22 The spirit often throws him into the fire or into water, trying to kill him. Have mercy on us and help us, if you can.”

23 “What do you mean, ‘If I can’?” Jesus asked. “Anything is possible if a person believes.”

24 The father instantly cried out, “I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!” (Mark 9:21-24, NLT)

The disciples argue about which of them is greatest among them, and Jesus shuts it down.

35 He sat down, called the twelve disciples over to him, and said, “Whoever wants to be first must take last place and be the servant of everyone else.”

36 Then he put a little child among them. Taking the child in his arms, he said to them, 37 “Anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf welcomes me, and anyone who welcomes me welcomes not only me but also my Father who sent me.” (Mark 9:35-37, NLT)

Joseph’s immaturity and lack of tact got him into deeper trouble with jealous brothers. But still, God used Joseph, grew Joseph, and equipped Joseph for a greater purpose than just a kid brother getting sold out by his family. A child is victim to convulsions and seizures, powerless himself to something bigger than him and those around him. But Jesus, in his strength, authority and power is able–oh, he is able, to do great things.

When Jesus calls another little child into the group as an object lesson, I think on this child. Children are immature. Inexperienced in life. Naive, perhaps. Impulsive. Not all children operate from a moral high ground–not even adults have mastered this. Kids are kinda cute, and it’s likely easier to welcome a child in Sunday school into the fold–but what if it’s the kid in the neighborhood no one likes, or the kid in the classroom that causes constant trouble, or the kid acting like a bully? An adult can be equally unlovely, immature, inexperienced, impulsive, unkind.

Certainly there are circumstances the disciples wanted to shun people, where Jesus stopped and took time.

49 “For everyone will be tested with fire. 50 Salt is good for seasoning. But if it loses its flavor, how do you make it salty again? You must have the qualities of salt among yourselves and live in peace with each other.” Mark 9:49-50, NLT)

Oh, Lord. Don’t let me lose my salt. Thank you for giving me a Kingdom focus. Thank you for your reminder that we are all tested with fire. Thank you for showing me that you go with me in difficult places, and that you show mercy on those you choose. Thank you for showing me that even while the disciples followed you and loved you, they still messed things up and turned people away. Oh, Lord. Don’t let me lose my salt.

Courtney (66books365)

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Jeremiah 1-4; 1 Timothy 6

“I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb.  Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you as my prophet to the nations.” “O Sovereign Lord,” I said, “I can’t speak for you! I’m too young!” The Lord replied, “Don’t say, I’m too young,’ for you must go wherever I send you and say whatever I tell you.  And don’t be afraid of the people, for I will be with you and will protect you.  I, the Lord, have spoken!” Then the Lord reached out and touched my mouth and said, “Look, I have put my words in your mouth! Today I appoint you to stand against nations and kingdoms. Some you must uproot and tear down, destroy and overthrow.  Others you must build up and plant.” Jeremiah 1:5-10 NLT

Fully known, set apart. How much different would I live if I fully comprehended that? Jeremiah struggled to believe it, even after the Lord spoke it to him. He questioned and doubted his influence because of his young age.  What excuses am I making when God has asked me to do something? “I can’t because…” This is exactly where Satan would want me. To live in defeat. When God has called me to live in faith.

“Get up and prepare for action.  Go out and tell them everything I tell you to say.  Do not be afraid of them, or I will make you look foolish in front of them.  For see, today I have made you strong like a fortified city that cannot be captured, like an iron pillar or a bronze wall.  You will stand against the whole land- the kings, officials, priests, and people of Judah.  They will fight you, but they will fail.  For I am with you, and I will take care of you. I, the Lord, have spoken!” Jeremiah 1:17-19 NLT

It’s hard to get ready if I don’t see a storm coming. My family is going through a storm right now that seemed to hit us out of nowhere. When I find myself being battle weary, I can rest that God knew it was coming. He was preparing me in ways that I didn’t even know.  He provides every step of the way, I just need to look to him.

Fight the good fight for the true faith.  Hold tightly to the eternal life to which God has called you, which you have declared so well before many witnesses.” 1 Timothy 6:12 NLT

Dear Father, thank you for your faithfulness.  For your goodness. Thank you that you go before me.  And that nothing I go through will ever be wasted. That you will use it for your glory. Amen.

Amy(amyctanner)

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Proverbs 13-15; Matthew 9

In Matthew chapter 9, we see a series of people that came into contact with Jesus.

They had different issues, problems, and needs: a man who was paralyzed, a tax collector who had been known to take advantage of people, a woman who had suffered with bleeding for a dozen years, the heart-broken father of a girl who had died, two blind men, and a mute.

They all came to Jesus and were changed, according to their faith.

The paralyzed man walked home.

The tax collector became a Disciple.

The woman who bled was healed.

The girl was raised from the dead.

The blind saw.

The mute spoke.

And while Jesus was busy ministering to these needy people, the Pharisees looked on and despised him for it. They saw these people as broken, useless, and worthless. But Jesus saw something different.

Matthew 9:35-36 NIV

Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.

Jesus’ compassion never ceases to amaze me. Jesus was passionate and strong about the things that mattered most. He didn’t shy away from conflict or from telling people the truth, and there are many times we read of him rebuking the Pharisees or those who were trying to destroy the work of God. But Jesus was also kind, compassionate, and gentle with those who were broken both physically and spiritually. He saw them far differently than everyone else – to Him, they had worth; they had potential. Instead of leaving them to their own devices, he introduced them to the power of God to change their lives and give them meaning and purpose. He knew the missing ingredient, and He was determined to share with them the hope that He had to offer.

There are so many broken people in our world, in our states, in our cities, and in our neighborhoods. How many of them are simply sheep without a shepherd, waiting for someone to share the hope of Jesus with them? Will we see them like Jesus, or like the Pharisees?

Matthew 9:37-38 NIV

Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”

I want to have the eyes of Jesus when I look at the world around me. I don’t want to be like the Pharisees, who saw people as obstacles; I want to see people as the gifts God has given me, the people He has entrusted to me, for the purposes of His kingdom. I want to offer healing, help, and hope in the name of Jesus. I want to be a worker in God’s kingdom to bring in the harvest of souls to heaven!

Father, forgive me for getting so caught up in my own comfort that I’ve missed those around me who are suffering and need You. Help me to be a vessel of your love and grace to those who are suffering, both physically and spiritually. I want to be a faithful worker in Your Kingdom, and to be a faithful representation of your compassion and kindness to those the world has written off as worthless, useless, and unnecessary. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

 

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Filed under 66 Books, Matthew, New Testament

Exodus 35-37; Acts 3

One thing I love about this reading plan is that we alternate OT & NT. So many times one will shine a light on the other and illuminate the passage in a way I’ve not considered before. Today was no different!

Exodus 35:5, 10 ESV

Whoever is of a generous heart, let him bring the Lord’s contribution: gold, silver, and bronze…

Let every skillful craftsman among you come and make all that the Lord has commanded:

Exodus 36:3b-5 ESV

They still kept bringing him freewill offerings every morning, so that all the craftsmen who were doing every sort of task on the sanctuary came, each from the task that he was doing, and said to Moses, “The people bring much more than enough for doing the work that the Lord has commanded us to do.”

What a simple but impacting passage! I find it interesting that God appealed to their generous hearts, rather than just demanding; and how He asked them to donate not just possessions, but also their time and talents. While God asked for different things from different people, He asked for one purpose: Building His Tabernacle. What I love most is how the Israelites responded with intense generosity! In fact, they gave so much that Moses had to actually STOP them from giving any more!

The same generosity is seen in Acts 3. A lame man was begging at the temple gates when he asked Peter for money:

Acts 3:5-8 ESV

And he fixed his attention on them, expecting to receive something from them. But Peter said, “I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!” And he took him by the right hand and raised him up, and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong. And leaping up, he stood and began to walk, and entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God.

Peter had a generous heart. What the lame man needed in that moment wasn’t money. It wasn’t a sermon. It was healing. So Peter gave him Jesus. And it changed this man’s life.

I love the line, “I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you.” Sometimes it’s hard to feel generous because we don’t have much. But generosity isn’t limited to finances – many times our generosity is more effectively seen in our time and talents. It’s when I stop to encourage someone who is having a bad day, or when I give someone a ride when their car breaks down. It’s when I offer to help someone figure out their financial issues, or I when I take the time to explain a passage to a new believer.

When I recognize that my giving is not so much about the “what” as it is the “why,” it makes it easier to be generous with the things that cost me the most – things like my time, skills, and abilities, which are often harder to give than money itself.

I may not have a lot of money, but I do have time. I do have talents. And ultimately, I have Jesus. May I be as generous with Him as He’s been to me.

Father, thank you for showing me these examples of generosity in Scripture. Cultivate in me a generous heart that is quick to give to those in need, regardless of the cost or time that it requires. Help me to give generously, with great joy, in order to further Your Kingdom. In Jesus’ name, Amen.  

Bethany Harris (drgnfly1010)

 

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Filed under Acts, Exodus, New Testament, Old Testament

Numbers 30-33; Psalms 35; Luke 3

“These are the journeys of the children of Israel, who went out of the land of Egypt by their armies under the hand of Moses and Aaron. Now Moses wrote down the starting points of their journeys at the command of the Lord. And these are their journeys according to the starting points: They departed from the Ramesus in the first month, on the fifteenth day of the first month; on the day of the Passover the children of Israel went out with boldness in the sight of all the Egyptians” Numbers 33:1-3 NKJV

The Israelites were on their way to the Promised Land.  I imagine Moses writing about their struggles, hardships, faith or lack there of.  “They departed”…What old ways am I still holding onto that could be leaving me stuck? I think about times that I can get complacent. I read over my journal entries and my hope is renewed over God’s faithfulness. Sometimes I have to look back to be able to move forward.

“Plead my cause, O Lord, with those who strive with me; Fight against those who fight against me. Take hold of shield and buckler, And stand up for my help. Also draw out the spear, And stop those who pursue me. Say to my soul, “I am your salvation.” Psalms 35:1-3 NKJV

David cried out to God to make right the wrongs committed against him. Things that could have hindered him, he gave to God instead and found freedom.

“And my soul shall be joyful in the Lord; It shall rejoice in His salvation. All my bones shall say, “Lord, who is like You, Delivering the poor from him who is too strong for him, Yes, the poor and the needy from him who plunders him?” Psalms 35:9&10 NKJV

As I prepare my heart for Easter, I pray that I would be filled with wonder over what Jesus did for me.

“The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord; Make his paths straight. Every valley shall be filled. And every mountain and hill brought low; The crooked places shall be made straight. And the rough places smooth; And all flesh shall see the salvation of God.” Luke 3:4-6 NKJV

Dear Father, thank you for the victory I have in you. I pray for others who don’t know you, to know how much you love them. Enough to die on the cross for their sins. Thank you that you will complete the work you started in me. Amen.

Amy(amyctanner)

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Genesis 18; Matthew 17; Nehemiah 7; Acts 17

The Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Shall I indeed bear a child, now that I am old?“Is anything too hard for the Lord? At the appointed time I will return to you, about this time next year, and Sarah will have a son. But Sarah denied it, saying, “I did not laugh,” for she was afraid. He said, “No, but you did laugh.” Genesis 18:13-15 NLT

If I am honest with myself, there have been times when I have laughed at God like Sarah did. I’m sure she didn’t think that God heard her, since it says that she “laughed within herself” (Gen 18:12NKJV) She even denied it, but God knew her heart. How many times has God spoke to me, but I laugh instead. I explain away my disobedience. God was fulfilling His purpose in Sarah’s life. He is fulfilling his purpose in my life too. Even when I am confused and don’t understand. I am thankful for a God who is much more patient with me, than I am with myself. He pursues me. He never gives up on me. I give up on people far too easily. Sometimes I stop praying for them if it seems they are beyond reach. But God is prodding and showing me that he is still working in hearts.

Starting from scratch, he made the entire human race and made the earth hospitable, with plenty of time and space for living so we could seek after God, and not just grope around in the dark but actually find him. He doesn’t play hide-and-seek with us. He’s not remote; he’s near. We live and move in him, we can’t get away from him!” Acts 17:26-28 MSG

Abraham asked the Lord to show mercy on Sodom.

Suppose there are only forty-five righteous people rather than fifty? Will you destroy the whole city for a lack of five?” And the Lord said, “I will not destroy it if I find forty-five righteous people there.” Then Abraham pressed his request further. “Suppose there are only forty?” And the Lord replied, “I will not destroy it for the sake of forty.” Gen 18:28-29 NLT

Nehemiah listened to God to return the exiles from captivity.

Then God put it into my heart to gather the nobles, the rulers, the people, that they might be registered by genealogy…There are the people of the province who came back from the captivity, of those who had been carried away.” Nehemiah 7:5&6 NLT

The disciples were relying on their own strength.

Afterward the disciples asked Jesus privately, “Why couldn’t we cast out that demon?” “You don’t have enough faith,” Jesus told them. “I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it would move. Nothing would be impossible.” Matthew 17:19-20 NLT

Dear Jesus, Help me to be obedient to your plans for my life. I pray that I would listen to your voice even when it is hard. You might be using those times to refine me. Asking me to step out in faith to overcome my fear. Thank you that you are always with me. Give me a boldness and courage that can only be found in you. Help me to truly love others like you do. And to reach out to them with your grace and mercy, like you have done to me. Amen.

Amy(amyctanner)

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Filed under 66 Books, Acts, Genesis, Matthew, Nehemiah