“Faith, without works, is dead.” (James 2:14-26) — Be His light in the world!

Last night, I was studying an article on Christianity.com, entitled “How to Trade Passive Belief into Active Faith That Changes Your Life,” by Whitney Hopler. It got me thinking of the Great Commission, given to the faithful by Our Lord, Himself:

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Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations,   baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching   them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you   always, to the very end of the age.” (Mt 28:18-20)

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Go and make disciples… go and make disciples… go and make disciples. Go… Go… Go.

How many of us only “go” to church, and go, expecting to “get?” The prophet is there, walking around the church with a “word” for some folks (“Ooh, I hope he has a word for me…”). People are “catching the spirit” in church (“When will it be my turn to be spirit-filled?”).

What does it mean to “make disciples?” This article made me start to think about the kinds of things that draw people to God. We have a narrow view if we think that the preaching of the pastor is the only way that God expects us to make disciples. How do we get folks to the preaching?

Maybe we are waiting to be “spiritually mature” or to have enough Bible knowledge in our heads to be able to “convert” people.  In the early church, the disciples spent less than three years with the Master before He sent them out, without His help.

I started to make a list of things that we can do every day, to show the world Whose family we belong to. Kind of a “month of faith actions” to consider. We try to do all of these in our family — I pray that these “seeds” are now bearing fruit!

Our daily bread

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30 Things You Can Do to Draw People to God:

  1. Order multiple copies of Our Daily Bread (it’s free). Leave them in every waiting room or rest room that you use. Keep 2 in your briefcase or purse, just in case. I get a box of them, and make it my mission to distribute the entire box within the month
  2. Pray to gather”sheep” before you leave the house. Ask God to place people in your path that need His love and encouragement, then pray that He provide you with the words to be His vessel. Assume that everyone (yes, everyone) that you see that day was then sent by Him.
  3. End all your work emails with “Be blessed.” And mean it. [I know what you’re thinking — I can’t do that at work. See my note*, below.]
  4. Pray for your boss. Even if you don’t like him/her. Especially if you don’t like him/her. This may connect to #3.
  5. Pray for your spouse. Direct preaching rarely falls on fertile soil, if your spouse is a non-believer. But prayer is good for everything.
  6. Anoint your kids’ feet while they sleep. Pray for their feet to take them away from danger and toward God’s work.
  7. Play gospel music in your house 24 hrs a day. Leave it on, even when you go to work. This is especially powerful if there is some discord in your home.
  8. Roll down your car windows when you’re playing gospel music. It might be the only Word of God that a passerby hears that day.
  9. Pray for the President. Even the one you didn’t vote for.
  10. Give to whomever asks of you. It’s not your business how the person uses the gift.
  11. Smile and say, “Good morning” to everyone you see on the way to your workplace or school. You never know how that smile and acknowledgment changes someone’s thoughts and day.
  12. Bless your money/credit cards and ask God to multiply it in the receiver’s hands. Notice I didn’t say to multiply it in your wallet or bank account. There is no “except when…” clause to this. See my note**, below.
  13. Call your adult children just to tell them you love them.
  14. Now call your parents and tell them, too.
  15. Offer a cup of coffee or iced tea to the delivery guy.
  16. Surprise the mail carrier with a baggie of cookies.
  17. Donate your used toys, books and children’s videos to your local children’s hospital. Getting your kids to donate their own stuff is even better.
  18. Buy an extra bag of groceries and drop it off at your local soup kitchen.
  19. Cook an extra portion and bring a plate to a neigbhor. Better yet, invite her to join you.
  20. Pay for the food of the person behind you in the drive-thru.
  21. When you finish raking your yard, rake your neighbor’s yard. Don’t tell them. There is a “shovel the walkway” equivalent of this rule, too.
  22. Hold the door for everyone today.
  23. Tell the store clerk to “have a blessed day” when he hands you your receipt.
  24. Hug three people today, who aren’t family members.
  25. End your day thanking God for using you. Do this, even if you think you had a bad day.
  26. Look your child in the eye when he talks to you. Make sure you put down the iPad/laptop/cell phone/TV remote.
  27. Say “I’m sorry” when you hurt someone. Mean it. And don’t follow it with, “But…”
  28. Admit when you are wrong.
  29. Let the other person choose first.
  30. Remember that no one is as good as God. Even you. And that’s ok.

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Of course, there is scriptural support for each one of these. And I’m sure that you can think of a million more. Good! Now start…

ScriptureSeedsLogo

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*A note about faith and the workplace… I have worked in workplaces that were oppressive, for a person of faith. Those are the places that need you the most. If you are worried about the law, the law is on your side. If you’re worried about persecution, that goes with the territory – Jesus told us so.

If someone says to you, “Please do not send me an email with ‘Be blessed’, then say, “Oh, my mistake,” and stop. That is telling you that the soil is not fertile (yet). But you may have already planted the seed — you never know. If your boss/HR/supervisor says, “Stop, because it’s against company policy,” say, “Oh, my mistake,” and stop.  But here’s the thing: most people will not say that! We worry because the enemy plants that “It’s against the law/company policy/etc” in our minds.

I once worked in cubicle-land. Many of you probably do. You are at a steel-gray work center with gray fabric partitions that you can make “homey,” as far as you can take “homey” in cubicle-land. I went through a medical crisis one year, and my colleagues flooded me with cards and well-wishes. Because I am a Christian, many of my close friends also are, and sent me cards with a Christian message. I displayed my cards on the top of my filing cabinet, along with my family photos. A colleague asked me, “Can you do that? It says, ‘God’ on it.” I said, “No one told me to take it down yet. I hope they do.” They didn’t.

Read Matthew 26:34 and decide for yourself what you would do.

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Bible

 

** A note about blessing your money. Actually, two notes:

Note #1. When God said to sow seed, He didn’t mean to sow it into your own pocket. This is where I don’t agree with the way that the “prosperity Gospel” has been translated. If you put money in the Church basket expecting to reap “interest” on your “deposit”, then you are expecting God to pay you back for doing this (small) gesture. This is a “buying and selling” mentality. God doesn’t work that way — He uses a “seedtime and harvest’ economy. Abraham was not blessed because He was good to God — none of us can be so good that God pays us back for it, for “our righteousness is but filthy rags” compared to the goodness of God ( Isa 64:6). Abraham was blessed because he lived a righteous life – “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness” (Rom 4:3). When we follow the directions, it keeps us out of trouble, and attracts blessings to us. If we practice generosity, and wish the best for everyone else, it attracts blessings to us. We sow the seed through our lives. In due season we shall reap, if we don’t give up (Gal 6:9). God will determine the season, and the harvest. If we trust Him, it will be just what we need, and just when we need it.

Note #2. “I’m not giving my money to that person. He’ll just use it for _____ [you fill in the blank].” It’s not your business. You blessed the money, right? Let God do the rest. Look the person in the eye, tell them to have a blessed day and be well. And leave the rest to the moving of the Holy Spirit in that person.

Note #3 (Okay, I really have three things to say about blessing your money…). We have had times (as some of you have, no doubt), when someone took something of ours by force. Either you were cheated, or short-changed, or robbed, or tricked. Maybe you were the victims of a crime (as we were). Is this true for you? Go up the page and read #10 and #12. Do it. Make yourself. “Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing” (1 Pet 3:9). Say, “God, I know that person is in a bad way, or they would not have done this. Please bless that money (or car stereo, or jewelry) that it may be used for Your kingdom work, and send Your Holy Spirit to touch that person’s heart today.” You have released your hold on your stuff, allowing God to use it. And resentment and bitterness only blocks God from working in you. Enough said.

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If you’re interested in other readings about changing your heart to change your life, here are some ideas:

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