10 ways to stir up your sentness

Go to school, get educated, get a job, get married, get a house, get kids, grandkids, retire. Go to work, come home, watch TV, go to sleep. Repeat!

This is the pattern that our society often tries to set for us, but Jesus came so that we would have more than just a pattern. We aren’t here to live life the way we are told to. We are here to make a difference!

Oftentimes, we get sidetracked and forget that we have a mission. Here are 10 ways to stir up your sentness – to remind yourself that you have been sent into the world, by Jesus, for a reason.

 

1. Prayer

Prayer takes the focus off you and puts it on God and other people. When we focus on God, and we try to hear his voice in prayer, he will always remind us of who we are. Children of God, ambassadors for Christ. Start each day with prayer and let God remind you of your identity and your purpose.

 

2. The Bible

By reading the Bible every day, you allow your mind to be renewed, which means that you won’t believe the lies of the enemy because you know the truth. “We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5).

The enemy will say “Your life has no purpose,” but because of the Bible, you can say “He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace” (2 Timothy 1:9).

 

3. Journaling

Journaling helps you to notice the holy in the ordinary. Life is full of mundane moments, and it’s sometimes hard to notice what God is doing. By sitting down and writing the things that have been going on in your life, you will be able to identify how God was with you on mountain tops and in deep valleys.

This will instill in you a sense of gratitude and new energy to keep on shining a light for Jesus.

 

4. Quotes

Print some quotes, or some Bible verses and put them on the wall somewhere you can see them and let them remind you of where you have been and where you are going.

 

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5. Accountability Group

If you find that you often stay at home on Sundays instead of going to church, or that you would rather spend your money on other things rather than give to God’s work, or that you care about what people think of you so much that you compromise on who you are called to be, get an accountability group/partner.

Tell them what you struggle with and ask them to keep you accountable. By asking people to help you out you are saying: I know there is a problem, I want to fix it and I need help.

 

6. Serving

The consumer mentality of our society is infiltrating our churches. We want to be served rather than serve. We would rather sit in a church service than turn up early and set up the stage or put the chairs out.

Mark 10:45 says, “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

You are called to be an imitator of Christ. The more time you spend imitating Christ, the less time you will spend imitating the world. Roll up your sleeves, and get involved in serving your local church.

 

7. Movies

I remember when I first watched “Amazing Grace” which focused on William Wilberforce and his work to abolish slavery in the UK, I was deeply impacted. It made me realise that the world has a lot of problems and God’s children are here on earth to help out—to be a voice for the voiceless, to bring justice, to help the poor, feed the hungry, protect the orphans.

Good Christian movies can remind us of our purpose, of the problems that still need solving.

 

8. Time spent with Christians

Time spent with people who genuinely love Jesus and are committed to his cause can leave you energised and refreshed.

Whenever I attend church, or my connect group or hang out with my Christian friends, I always feel inspired to keep living a holy life, because Jesus is with us, active in our lives, blessing us and giving us strength when we need it.

 

9. Time spent with non-Christians.

Time spend with non-Christians is also important. You don’t want to isolate yourself and be part of a Christian bubble. Being around people who don’t know Jesus, who are hurting, who have no hope reminds you of your mission: to tell them about Jesus.

 

10. Re-evaluating.

Lastly, re-evaluating is highly important. Stopping and asking yourself “Am I living a life of integrity?” “Am I living a life pleasing to God?” “Am I helping to expand God’s Kingdom?” will always bring to the surface our values and priorities.

 

Last thoughts:

We will never be perfect at “being in the world but not of the world” but the point is to go for it anyway—to live your life with purpose, to bring glory to God and make his name famous on the earth.

Romans 12:1-2 in The Message says, “So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.”

How can I be in the world but not wordly?

What does it mean to be worldly? Here’s a definition the Oxford English Dictionary gives us:

 

“Wordly: concerned with material values or ordinary life rather than a spiritual existence.”

Here’s how the Bible describes “wordly”: “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.  For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.” 1 John 2:15 – 17

 

Since we are encouraged not to become worldly, how can we spend relational time with nonbelievers and not be influenced by their way of thinking and living?

 

Be intentional

 

The key is to develop a ministry mindset. If I think about my time spent with non-believers as just “hanging out” with them, I will be influenced towards worldliness—it’s inevitable. But if I am intentional about the time spent with people and pray before those times that God will use me in their lives, then when I am with them I am thinking about how to expose them to God and the influence is flowing in the right direction. This method can also help you give your kids a healthy approach to school. Pray with them each day about the kids they know and their witness to them. Then watch them be the influencers rather than the influenced.

 

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Let the Bible have the final say on things

 

There will be instances when the people you spend time with, who don’t believe in Jesus, will have different opinions than you on certain topics. These will probably be well informed, well thought out opinions which might be verbalised in an eloquent manner. It is very easy to get swayed by well informed, well thought out, well-communicated opinions. But remember that opinions are opinions. They should not have higher authority in your life than the Bible. Respect their opinion, but always go to the Bible and figure out what it says, so that when the chance comes you will be able to humbly let them know that you have a well-informed, well thought out, well-communicated TRUTH!

 

Be surrounded by a good Christian support network

 

You are called to be a worker in God’s field. This field is not a playground but a battleground. You are on a mission to take the message of his salvation and lordship into enemy territory, to win captives from the forces of darkness. To be effective in this mission, it’s important that you surround yourself with people of great wisdom, people who are friends of your destiny, people who are filled with the Holy Spirit. Their influence and support will ensure that you stay the path and keep living your life focused on Jesus.

 

Last thoughts:

Go out and spend intentional time with people who don’t know Jesus—it’s our heavenly mandate. But make sure that you also spend your time in the word, in church, in your secret place with God, and with Christian friends.

How can I urge my church to engage with non-believers?

 

As a leader of a church, the weight comes on you and your team to inspire people to move forward in their relationship with God. You want to see them living their faith outside the four walls of the church. You want them to engage with the people they have been sent to and bring them into a Christian community.

However, leading them to do exactly that takes some work and planning. This blog post aims to give you some ideas of how you can encourage people in your church to engage with non-believers.

You don’t have to be a church leader to apply these principles. As a church member, you can also influence the people you serve with—your small group, your family, and friends—to go out into the world and reach people for Jesus.

 

 

  • Do it yourself and talk about it.

 

People want leaders who act on what they speak. You can’t afford to stand a platform and encourage your congregation to be brave and speak to people about Jesus and you not do it. You will very quickly lose your credibility. Do it yourself. Set an example. Pave the way forward. Share your successes, your failures, your awkward and funny encounters. This will make you approachable and the people you lead will be encouraged by your example and vulnerability. This will also communicate to them: “If I can do it, you can do it too!”

 

  • Have believers share about doing this during church services. 

 

There is so much power in testimonies. They stir up faith. Hearing about someone coming to Jesus brings joy in the hearts of believers and encourages them to keep witnessing to people and to look forward to the day when those people come to Jesus. Keeping testimonies about believers witnessing to nonbelievers constant in your church life will keep the topic of evangelism and witnessing at the forefront of your congregation’s minds.

 

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  • Help them understand that they don’t need to share the gospel outline in their first conversation with someone.

 

The gospel is not a ‘presentation’ that you make. Rather, you want to have gospel conversations with people. Train your people in how to ask questions that can lead to meaningful conversations around God and the gospel. Encourage them that those they speak with will gradually come to a real understanding of God’s grace in the gospel over time and multiple conversations. Realising that they don’t have to force everything into one conversation and demand an on-the-spot decision helps believers to relax and enjoy the process of being a witness, trusting that God will take conversations where he wants them to go.

 

When people who attend EvangelismSHIFT grasp this principle, we often hear how they are set free from performance anxiety and how they feel encouraged to build relationships with people and allow the Holy Spirit to use them to lead people to Jesus in a way that is natural and not staged.

 

  • Help them see that people take steps towards faith in Jesus.

 

Being born again is an event that happens all at once at the moment of faith. But conversion is a journey. There is a point in time when a person begins moving towards God. Many different factors keep them taking steps along this journey until they are ready to put their trust in Christ. Our responsibility as believers, whenever we come in contact with people is to move them closer to Jesus. That’s what you need to communicate to your congregation. This will empower them to go out into their world and bring people one step closer to Jesus. It might be the final step when they commit their life to Jesus, or the first step when they first get to know a real Christian.

 

Have you found these tips useful? Which one is your favourite and why? Leave a comment down below. We would love to hear from you.

Three faith heroes who were in the world but not of the world

Dwight L. Moody said this: “Christians should live in the world but not be filled with it. A ship lives in the water; but if the water gets into the ship, she goes to the bottom. So Christians may live in the world; but if the world gets into them, they sink.” Today we look at three individuals who were in the world but not of the world and what that looked liked for them.

 

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George Mueller (1805-98)

Pastor with a passion for orphans

 

 

 

 

George Mueller was a native German who lived in England. He did follow up work for D. L. Moody, preached for Charles Spurgeon, and inspired the missionary faith of Hudson Taylor. But that is not what he is most remembered for.

He spent most of his life in Bristol, England and pastored the same church there for over sixty-six years. In 1834 (when he was 28) he founded The Scripture Knowledge Institute for Home and Abroad. Five branches of this Institute developed:

  • Schools for children and adults to teach Bible knowledge
  • Bible distribution
  • Missionary support
  • Tract and book distribution
  • “To board, clothe and Scripturally educate destitute children who have lost both parents by death”

The accomplishments of all five branches were significant, but the one he was known for around the world in his own lifetime, and still today, was the orphan ministry. He built five large orphan houses and cared for 10,024 orphans in his lifetime.

 

 

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Joseph Lister: (1827 – 1912)

A Christian, British surgeon with a passion for patients

 

 

 

 

 

 

During Lister’s time in the 1800s, sterilisation standards were not high in hospitals. Doctors would wear their blood-stained coats around as if they were a badge of honour and rarely wash their hands or tools they used on the last patient when dealing with a new one.

Many patients who went into hospitals with one problem would end up dying from another, as bacteria and viruses were unknowingly shared.

Lister, a Quaker, called on hospitals, nurses and doctors to do a better job cleaning so they wouldn’t spread viruses and bacteria among their patients. This led to a reduction in postoperative infections and made surgery safer for patients, distinguishing himself as the “father of modern surgery”.

 

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St. Basil of Caesarea (330 AD – 379 AD)

A bishop with a passion for the poor

 

 

 

 

 

 

Basil, the bishop of Caesarea, ardently defended the truth of the Christian faith as well as being generous toward the poor.

Ordained as bishop in 370, he had long preached social justice in his sermons. Soon after becoming a bishop, he put his authority into action, establishing soup kitchens, hospitals, hospices and poorhouses throughout the region.

In one of his infamous sermons he stated, “The bread which you do not use is the bread of the hungry; the garment hanging in your wardrobe is the garment of him who is naked; the shoes that you do not wear are the shoes of the one who is barefoot; the money that you keep locked away is the money of the poor; the acts of charity that you do not perform are so many injustices that you commit.”

 

Last thoughts

Being in the world, but not of it, is necessary if we are to be a light to those who are in spiritual darkness. We are to live in such a way that those outside the faith see our good deeds and our manner and know that there is something “different” about us. Being in the world but not of the world means that we are present in the world enough to see the needs of hurting people and do something about it by God’s grace. How can you make the world a better place in the name of Jesus?

How should I tell someone that they are going to hell?

 

I was at a BBQ with friends and God gave me the opportunity to share the good news of Jesus Christ. And then the question came, “So what you’re saying is, if I choose not to believe in Jesus I’m going to hell?” Wow—what a question! How do I tell someone they are going to hell?

 

That wasn’t the only time this question has been asked of me. I take some comfort in knowing that people have heard and understand the gospel to be able to articulate such a question. But it is an important question that demands a thoughtful explanation. After all, the good news of Jesus is just that because without Christ it is very bad news.

 

John 1:14 says, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.”

 

When we see Jesus in the Bible, he never wavered from speaking the truth. He was straight in pointing out the sinful behaviour of people and calling people to repent of their sins – Matthew 4:17. Why is it that we often avoid confronting people about the eternal consequences of sin? Maybe it’s because we feel the weight of our own sin and don’t want to judge others. Maybe we think this will offend them, but most often it’s because we don’t want to ruin our relationship with people. But what was the result of Jesus speaking truth?

 

“News about him spread” across the land. Matthew 4:24

 Why did news about Jesus spread when he preached such a clear message of truth and repentance? Why was it that hell-bound sinners were attracted to him?

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Remember, John tells us that Jesus came “full of grace and truth”. Even though some received his message as a hard message, in his actions Jesus loved them with a sacrificial love. They felt Jesus’ heart to see them restored to his Father. Jesus said “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” The people saw Jesus’ words match his lifestyle—a lifestyle of grace and a message of truth that brought life to their souls—and this was attractive to them.

 

Isn’t this the very thing that the people in your life are so desperately searching for? Grace in a world that judges them and truth in a world of lies and deception.

 

2 Peter 3 talks about the coming day of judgment for all that reject Jesus. A day God promises will come. But in that same passage we read “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise [to return] as some count slowness, but is patient towards you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.”

 

What a true picture of God’s grace in light of the truth of Jesus. He is patiently waiting, desiring all to be saved from the coming judgment. In grace and truth the Word became flesh and it is in grace and truth he waits for the day of judgment. As we live and speak the gospel are we characterised by those two words—grace and truth? God will provide you the opportunity, the open door to speak the truth for him. He will also give you each day to walk in his grace and display his grace in every encounter you have with people.

 

Last thoughts:

1 Peter 3:15 says, “But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.”

How do I respond to someone who asks if they are going to hell? As Jesus would—full of “grace and truth”, and as Peter explains—with “gentleness and respect”.