The Power of Relating

Posted: April 6, 2012 in The Word
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Without a doubt, an attribute that every believer and church should have should be a passion to reach people. When it comes to reaching people, we know that there are a few things that are absolutely necessary. Some of these things can be LOVE, SERVICE, GRACE, the HOLY SPIRIT, etc. These are all very important things that should exist and should happen when we are reaching out to people. These ought to be things that we are constantly aware of as we try to reach people.

If we’re being honest, most of us probably know these things. But I think there is one big thing that we often forget about when it comes to reaching out to people who are far from Christ: realizing who they are and where they’re coming from. Let me show you what I mean looking at some instances in scripture:

  • Jesus tells a parable in Matthew 13 about a sower and some seeds. He talks about all the different things that could happen to the seed once it was planted. What did tons of people do back in those days? People farmed, they planted seeds. People knew all about growing seeds and all that kind of fun stuff. Jesus speaks to the farmers by talking farm talk !
  • Jesus calling his first disciples in Matthew 4 – ” 18 As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. 19 “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” 20 At once they left their nets and followed him.” Okay, so Peter and Andrew were fisherman. Notice how Jesus calls them and tells them to follow him. He tells them he’ll send them out to FISH for people. He calls the fisherman by talking fish!


I think this lesson that we see in the life of Jesus is so vital for us today. Maybe the reason we are sometimes ineffective in reaching people is because we aren’t speaking their language. Sometimes we’ll try to call the farmers by talking about fish!

One very important thing we must remember is that the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is a global message. It’s for all people. All nations. All tribes. People of all interest. People of all skills. People of all jobs. We are not changing message of the gospel as we reach out to different types of people! We’re just altering HOW we present the truth and the power of the Gospel. 

As we strive to reach people let’s remember to speak their language. Know who the person is and where they’re coming from. Then present the truth and power of the Gospel. And be confident in this:

Isaiah 55:11 – “so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”

 

Everyone of us is very “answer” driven. We often want to sprint across the finish line but we don’t want to run the race. All of us want to take a short cut to the destination we’re headed to. Here’s a real simple example:

Math Class. Very few things can bore me like a math class. I especially can’t stand when the teacher will write out 19283836 steps to a problem and then finally get to the final answer. Twenty minutes worth of work all for 1 answer. If it were up to me, I’d punch some numbers into my calculator in about 30 seconds and then get the answer. BOOM. That’d be the end of it. But unfortunately, that’s not how math class works. In order to get credit, EVERY STEP has to be written out and explained, and then I get the final answer.

I know that’s how I am, and I have a feeling I’m not the only one. We want the solution. That’s it.

Unfortunately, this attitude that we’re all guilty seems to slip into all areas of our lives. One area that specifically noticed this has been in people’s (myself included) prayers. Go with me for a second, here are some things we’ll often pray:

  • Lord, give me peace in this situation. Or,
  • Lord, may your angels encamp around us and protect us

Now, at first glance this seems completely normal. But praying for peace is asking for a solution. Praying for the angels of the Lord to encamp around you is a solution.

Lets look at John 15 – “Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.”

When we ask for peace, it’s the final answer, it’s not the solution to our problem. We see in scripture that first we need the holy spirit, THEN we get peace. So really, what we need isn’t peace, it’s just the spirit of God, because the spirit of God brings peace. Don’t skip or miss that middle step!

Now lets check out Psalm 34 – “The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him.”

Again, asking for the angel of the LORD to encamp around us is the destination, the final answer. When we see here in scripture that in order for that to happen, we must fear the LORD. Yet so many times we want to skip that step and just ask for protection. Don’t skip that middle step.

So often we just want the answer. The finish line. When in reality, God has so much that He wants to teach us out on the course and in the race. Let’s not take the shortcuts, let’s FIRST walk in obedience and THEN, go get all that God has for us. No short-cuts.

Nate

Last week I posted this picture onto Facebook and Twitter saying, “backstage with Zac Brown!!” (For those of you who don’t know, Zac Brown is a big country singer)

Within a couple hours of posting the photo online, my friends and I were getting lots of responses and different people were texting us about being backstage with The Zac Brown Band.

All of this was cool and fun except there was only one problem: we didn’t go backstage with Zac Brown. The guy in the middle isn’t Zac Brown, it’s a guy that lives across the hall from me named Josh Lewis. (Who by the way, can grow an awesome beard) And we aren’t backstage anywhere, we were in our dorm – I know, they look similar don’t they? :p

This is an actual picture of Zac Brown –

Yeah, the first guy might look somewhat similar, but when you see both of them side by side it’s pretty clear that I didn’t get to hang out with Zac Brown. Yet, it amazed me how many people saw that picture and thought that I really did.

People saw something that looked pretty legit. Something that looked pretty cool. And they accepted it as truth. A couple reasons people would have accepted that picture as legit could have been:

1) They thought it was sweet, it looked pretty legit. Or,

2) They didn’t really know what Zac Brown actually looked like.

This got me thinking: how many times have I accepted something as true because I thought it sounded good or seemed legit? How many times have I accepted something as truth because I really didn’t know what the real truth was?

Truth is the word of God. Straight up. Hands down. It’s the truth.

If something sounds sweet or seems legit, yet it contradicts the Word of God, it’s not truth. And if we don’t KNOW the Word of God, then we’re going to have a really hard time distinguishing real truth.

Use the Word as your filter for truth, and KNOW what it says. Let’s not let all the other noise around us to allow us to be fooled.

 

 

Nate

Yesterday, I was reading a Sports Illustrated article about Aaron Rogers, the Green Bay Packers quarterback. Aaron Rogers, who just won a Super Bowl last year, is having another killer year and has his team rolling strong heading into the playoffs. Without debate, Aaron Rogers is an incredible football player.

 

 

In the article that I was reading, it talked about Aaron Rogers in high school. It said a couple things that I found really interesting. It said that as a freshman in high school, Aaron Rogers knew what he wanted to do. Be a football player. It also said that him, along with a good friend, decided to not live it up like everyone else during those years, and they decided to focus on football (what he knew he wanted to do).

Aaron Rogers wanted to be a football player. Just going to practice like all the dozens of other football players at his school wasn’t enough. The article said that while all the other kids would go out and do other things, Aaron and his friend would spend hours upon hours watching and studying film from football games. Not only did they watch film, but they also trained hard core and worked on the things they knew would make them better players.

Here is what I took away from reading all of this: Aaron knew what he wanted to do – be a GREAT football player. Not an average quarterback, but a great one. Not only did he KNOW what he wanted to do, but he EXPOSED himself to what he knew would make him better. 

In order to be great at what we do, not only do we need to KNOW what we want to do, but we have to EXPOSE ourselves to what we know will make us better. For example:

  • I want to be a great preacher and pastor. So each week, I spend hours watching different pastors that I feel like do an amazing job at delivering God’s word and leading a church.
  • My friend Nate Fleming wants to be a famous film producer. He spends tons of time watching and studying awesome videos and movies.
  • Want to be a great football player? Don’t settle for just going to the standard or required practices –  go the extra mile in your work outs. Study film. Be the first one to show up in the weight room & the last one to leave.

KNOW what you want to be great at. And EXPOSE yourself to things that will help you get there. Now go get em’!!!

 

Nate

Faith, Not Facts

Posted: December 21, 2011 in The Word
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5 When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Philip,“Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?” 6 He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do. 7 Philip answered him, “It would take more than half a year’s wages to buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!” -John 6:5-7

Jesus chooses to ask Philip where they could get some bread for the thousands of people simple because Philip was from that area, so he would have known where the resources would have been. And Philip simply responds like any of us would. He lets Jesus know that they didn’t even have close to enough cash flow to buy that much bread.

Newsflash: Jesus already knew that they didn’t have enough to buy that much bread.

As you read in verse 6, Jesus was just testing Philip. He already had everything taken care of.

When Jesus asked Philip where the bread would come from, He was looking for faith, not facts.

Philip simply gave Jesus the facts. The problem with that is that Jesus didn’t need to hear the facts from him. Jesus already knew the facts. All of them. Philip just needed to show Jesus some faith.

So when God calls us to do something, let’s stop wasting our time telling Him the facts and how impossible it seems (which He’s already aware of) and start showing some faith. Because just like the Bible says in John 6:6, “he already has in mind what he is going to do.”

Thankful

Posted: December 14, 2011 in Random Goodness
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Not too long ago I read a quote my Max Lucado that said something along the lines of, “What if tomorrow, you only had everything you thanked God for today?”

This really got me thinking about how I take so many things for granted without simply stopping to thank God for everything He has blessed me with. I couldn’t remember the last time I thanked God for clothes on my back, food to eat all the time, the chance to get a university education, a family that loved me, a brand new opportunity to get up each morning, etc. I could go on for hours. I’ve got so much to be thankful. And chances are if you’re reading this on a computer, or phone, or iPad, then you’ve got lots to be thankful for also.

James 1:17 tells us that “every good and perfect gift is from above…” I want to start giving more honor and thanks where it is due, so my new goal is going to be to thank God for at least one thing in my life every single day. I’m really believing it will help me keep my perspectives in check and stay thankful and humble, knowing that everything I’ve been given has come from above.

I’m gonna encourage you to join me in being thankful DAILY! And I believe it’ll bless you too.

TODAY, I’m thankful that you took time out of your busy day to read my blog! 🙂

 

Nate

 

When We Trust God…

Posted: December 7, 2011 in Video
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Here is my message from this past Sunday about trusting God. Hope it blesses and encourages you guys!

1. When we trust God, we will obey God.

2. When we trust God, we are under the protection of God.

3. When we trust God, God moves.

 

 

Nate