Have you tried shutting up?

December 16, 2013 under Unlikely Christian
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Hey there good Christian,

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Got some people in your life far from Christ?

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I know right?  “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.”  – Luke 10:2 

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I know you’ve read that before, so you know you have your work cut out for you and since the workers are few, that means you have to work harder right?  Because, “…..how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them?  And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent? That is why the Scriptures say, “How beautiful are the feet of messengers who bring good news!”Romans 10:14-15 

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So you’re telling them about Jesus, inviting them to church/encouraging them to find a good church home, inviting them to your Community Group/Bible Study/Life Group, giving them Bibles, etc…..

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And you mean to tell me that some of them still aren’t open to it?

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Hmm…..

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Well have you tried shutting up?

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No, the above wasn’t a typo, but before you call me a big meanie and go back to crushing more candy, please hear me out.

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We are called by God to help reach the lost, to be the light etc…..I get it, but we also have to be mindful of the possibility that SOMETIMES our actions, words and persistence could be doing more harm than good, especially if your attempts haven’t been received well.

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Look, I know you’re just doing what you feel like you should be doing as a Christian, but some people won’t see it that way.

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Let me break it down for you.

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You see yourself as a good Christian who’s just trying to save their soul.  They see you as a pushy Christian with an agenda.  #GoAway

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You see yourself as a good Christian who knows how much God has changed your life and you want it so badly for this person as well.  They see you as somebody who just doesn’t know when to stop.  #TheyRankTelemarketersHigherThanYou

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You see yourself as a good Christian who’s just trying to shine your light.  They see you as a three year old with a flashlight.  #DangMyEyes!  And while it’s true that Jesus used blindness to help convert Saul/Paul, you aren’t Jesus.   

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Seriously, some people just aren’t ready, and the more you push it, the more you are widening the gap rather than closing it.  Believe me when I tell you this, because I used to be that guy who wished Christians would just keep all that Jesus stuff to themselves.  You know how many of those Christians that continually beat me over the head with “Jesus talk” actually brought me closer to God?  ZERO.  They made me loathe Christians.

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Sometimes you just have to back off.  Even Jesus told His disciples that, If any household or town refuses to welcome you or listen to your message, shake its dust from your feet as you leave.” – Matthew 10:14

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Does that mean you should give up on these people?

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Umm…..no.

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Just shut up and…..

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Pray for them.  God is the one who changes people anyway.  It’s not your job to save everybody.  I know it might feel like it, especially if they are family, but it’s not.  Give it to God continually and then some more and then some more.  It may take 10, 20, 30 years, heck you might not even be around to see it come to fruition, but keep it up.  I’m the product of at least 15 years of continual prayer.

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Be a sermon instead of preaching one.  Actions speak louder than words so always be walking the walk. 

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And…..

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Love them.  #Verb

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We are not called to personally lead EVERYBODY we know to Christ. 

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This is God’s Orchestra.

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Sometimes He’ll let us get the song started with a beautiful cello solo, other times He might only call on us to strike the triangle a couple of times.  Sometimes we might get a big part – playing throughout the song.  And sometimes, If we’re lucky, He may let us play the final note in the grand finale, but sometimes, the song may not call for our instrument at all.  No matter how much we want to clang our cymbals, it’s just not meant to be.

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I know you want to, I know it feels like you need to, but don’t do it.

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Instead.

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Pray.

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Be a sermon.

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Love.

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And keep your cymbals at the ready, and your eye on The Great Conductor.

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Live Second – Huddle Up

January 17, 2013 under Unlikely Christian
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So, a couple months back, I AM SECOND asked me to guest blog in their “60-Days-of-Second” campaign to promote their new book, “Live Second: 365 Ways to Make Jesus First.”  I was assigned ‘Week 10’ from the book and asked to write 4 posts, which would be featured on their official blog in December.

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Ladies and gentlemen, post #3.

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Live Second – Huddle Up!

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“What relational circles do you see in your life?”Live Second – Week 10, Day 6

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I love talking about Jesus.

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I love talking about how He pursued me.

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I love talking about how He’s changed my life by giving me a new one.

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I love talking about how He’s still shaping me today.

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Yeah, I love talking about Jesus…..among my circle of Christian friends.

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But the people who really need to hear the message?  Well…..to be honest, I’m not really hanging out with them much these days.

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What can I say?  I love hanging out with my Christian friends.  They speak truth into me, look out for me, encourage me, and help keep me on track.  I always walk away from our get-togethers with some extra pep in my step, that’s right, pep in my step.  Plus hanging out with your Christian friends is Biblical – “As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.”Proverbs 27:17 NLT

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So what about the people who really need to hear the message?

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Look, I’m a busy guy.  I have a job that keeps me busy, and a family that needs me to be there for them, so when I do have some friend time, I tend to want to spend it with my Christian friends.  Plus, did I mention, it’s Biblical?

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As Christians it can be real easy to stay in our ‘Holy Huddles’ – hanging out with only other likeminded Christians.  I mean, after all, it’s comfy and tends to be mutually beneficial, and did I mention Biblical? 😉 

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Speaking of huddles, I love football, and at the risk of losing a few readers, I’ll go ahead and come out as a Dallas Cowboy Fan.  Look, I can’t help it.  I was raised on Dallas Cowboy Football.  Besides, according to legend, which I was taught as fact, the hole in the original Texas Stadium roof was so God could look down and watch His team play.  So technically, being a Cowboy fan is also Biblical. 😉

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Anyway…..I think Christians should be more like football players when it comes to their ‘Holy Huddles.’  Football players huddle up and encourage each other, but then it’s all about their mission.  They also know that if they stay in their huddle too long, they’ll get penalized, so they break the huddle with a handclap and get to work. 

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Are your ‘Holy Huddles’ lacking in mission?  Consider the following: 

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“But how can they call on him (Jesus) to save them unless they believe in him?  And how can they believe in him if they have never heard of him?  And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them?  And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent?  That is why the Scriptures say, “How beautiful are the feet of the messengers who bring good news?” –  Romans 10: 14-15NLT

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The perfect verse to follow the above is – Isaiah 6:8, The Lord asks, “Whom should I send as a messenger to this people?  Who will go for us?”  Isaiah answered, “Here I am.  Send me”

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“Alright Christians, huddle up!  We have a lot of people out there hurting, searching for that something that’s missing in their lives.  They don’t know Jesus because nobody has ever told them.  The Lord is looking for messengers to reach out to these people, messengers to bring the good news!  Christians, we are the messengers!  So when we break this huddle, let’s expand our relational circles!  Let’s reach out to those in need!   Let’s be the beautiful feet!  Alright messengers…..send me on three. 1-2-3 SEND ME!”

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Hashtags:    #HowWillTheyKnow?  #BreakTheHuddle  #SendMe  #LiveSecond

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Live Second – Influencers

January 15, 2013 under Unlikely Christian
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So, a couple months back, I AM SECOND asked me to guest blog in their “60-Days-of-Second” campaign to promote their new book, “Live Second: 365 Ways to Make Jesus First.”  I was assigned ‘Week 10’ from the book and asked to write 4 posts.

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Before you dive into post numero dos, check out this I AM SECOND video.

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Live Second – “Influencers”

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Yes, we should definitely tell influential people about Jesus!

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Yes, we, being the influential people we are, should definitely share Jesus with others!

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I couldn’t agree more.  What great truth for influential people, and people who know influential people.

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I, however, am neither.

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The end.

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Wait…..hold up…..back up…..

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Dude…..did you even watch the Stephen Baldwin – I AM SECOND video?!?!

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A self absorbed, money hungry, wealthy, Hollywood actor was influenced by a woman who was hired to clean his house.

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How absolutely fantastic is that?!?! 

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Think about that for a second.  Those are two people on totally opposite spectrums and if anybody is going to influence anybody, much less change a life in that relationship; 99.9999 times out of 100 it’s going to be the other way around. 

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Man…..I love this story because it has God’s stamp all over it.  I mean, who else but God can orchestrate a divine appointment such as that? 

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As Christians, we shouldn’t really be surprised to hear a story like this, because that’s how God rolls.  He loves to use unlikelys to do the unlikely.  Just open your Bible and see the unlikely cast of characters God uses to do amazing things. 

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Paul lived to persecute Christians, then not only became one, but went on to write a big chunk of the New Testament.

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David, the runt of the litter, almost an afterthought in his own family, went on to become a king, and a man after God’s own heart. 

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Moses was a murderer with a confidence problem when it came to public speaking, but was nevertheless handpicked by God to lead His people out of slavery. 

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A prostitute named Rahab provides refuge and an escape route for Joshua’s spies, then ends up in the genealogy of Jesus.

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Mary, a teenage virgin, gives birth to God in the flesh, in a barn.

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The list of unlikelys goes on and on, Gideon, Esther, Joseph, Sarah, etc…. 

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And since God is unchanging, He still uses unlikelys today – unlikely people & unlikely situations, e.g. Stephen Baldwin & his cleaning lady.  I don’t know about you, but that gives me hope, because I’m an unlikely. 

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It was unlikely, wait…..scratch that, it was highly unlikely that I would ever become a Christian, but I did.  And my life, since I gave it to God five years ago, can only be described as unbelievably unlikely.  It’s completely different now and because of God, I’m doing things today that I never ever thought I’d be doing…..like ever.

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You know what else is unlikely? 

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My influence reaching an influential person. 

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First off, I don’t really know any influential people, certainly no Hollywood actors, professional athletes, musicians or anybody who might one day end up sitting in the “I AM SECOND” chair.  

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Secondly, I’ll just be honest here; talking to people isn’t really my strong point.  I’m a little bit socially awkward, plus I’ve got this whole introvert thing going against me.  God has been chipping away in this area over the last 5 years, and we’ve made great strides, but He’s still got His hard hat, safety vest and work gloves on, so to describe me as an influential person would be a stretch in my mind. 

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But here’s the good news, where I say, “Unlikely!”

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God says, “Give Me those odds all day long!”

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God is setting our divine appointments, some of which are unbelievably unlikely.

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Our job:  Be open and willing to share.

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God will do the rest.

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*FootnoteTo my peeps at I AM SECOND, if you found yourself feeling sorry for me because I don’t know anybody famous, next time David Murphy, Bethany Hamilton or Lecrae drop by HQ, hook a brother up.  I’ll bring the donuts. J

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Hashtags:  #GodCanUseYou  #BeAnUnlikely  #LiveSecond

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