When we worship God we are proclaiming the to Him that “You are Worthy!” of our adoration and praise.
Through worshipping God we redirect our focus away from our self and place it squarely on God. We acknowledge that it’s not about our sacrifice of praise, nor our offerings of good works to show our gratitude, but it’s all about God and what He has already done for us in Christ. What helps in growing and maturing in the faith is first recognizing that its far less about us, but far more about Christ in us.
When taking advantage of opportunities to share the message of reconciliation in God’s Word with others, we can take the same attitude of when we worship. Our focus is on God and giving him thanks for who He is and what He has done, not on ourselves.
King David has this down when he wrote his psalms.
When King David decided to transport the ark of the covenant back to Jerusalem, he wrote a hymn of thanksgiving. He reflect on God’s promises and how He always provides for his chosen people. Furthermore, he acknowledges the need to share these promises to the whole world. It’s not just an important truth, but an everlasting since it centered around God’s reconciliation with sinful mankind.
In that glorious worship service, David was inspired to write the following words found in 1 Chronicles 16:
“Give thanks to the LORD, call on his name; make known among the nations what he has done.” (v. 8)
“Sing to him, sing praise to him; tell of all his wonderful acts.” (v. 9)
“Glory in his holy name: let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice.” (v. 10)
“Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always.” (v. 11)
An ongoing worship of thanksgiving and praise is fueled by remembering God’s promises prompted by grace, mercy and love. The wonderful aspect of worship is that it can be applied to the opportunities we have of sharing God’s messages of reconciliation with others. Note the following:
1. In David’s hymn we are compelled to make known to all nations what He has done for us already in Christ Jesus. By faith alone, we receive the full benefits of Christ’s completed work on the cross. This is His message that can not only be found in His name, the promised Messiah, but also out of a heart of thanksgiving when we proclaim this wonderful news. (v.8)
2. When presented with unique opportunities to share His Word and tell of Christ’s wonderful acts, we can sing to the Lord our song of faith. Singing praise can redirect our focus away from our self and place it instead on the author and the receiver of our song. When confronted with opportunity, we don’t focus on our self that causes our knees to buckle and tongues to fall mute, but focus on God and let our mouth sing His glory, honor, and praise. (v. 9)
3. We rejoice at any and every opportunity to glory his name by sharing his name with others. (v. 10)
4. When confronted with fear and trembling at our weakness to share God’s Word, we are reminded that only in the Lord we find strength. In our weakness, we seek God’s face and He provides.
By worshiping God in sharing God’s Word, we take the focus away from ourselves. There, we find His strength. By the power of the Holy Spirit, his strength becomes our strength.
In sharing God’s Word with others it certainly can become a time of worship as we not only proclaim all that He has already done for us, but marvel at what He can do through us.
The promises of God are not just meant to inspire and encourage, but to give reasons why we can take God at His Word. He can be trusted. He knows what is best for us. There is a plan associated with each soul that God has knitted together in every womb. Comfort, peace, and true joy is accompanied with each promise the boldly declares, “I love you. You are mine. I’ve got you in the palm of my hand.”
One of the great joys of being in the public ministry is receiving support and encouragement from others. Personal notes and emails of appreciation along with ongoing prayers for the work being done are like diamonds that glisten in the sun. They are priceless. Sometimes the Lord uses these words at a perfect time. When trials and difficulty parch the soul, words of encouragement bring much needed nourishment to revitalize the commitment, effort, and passion it takes to carry out ministry. It’s both humbling and gratifying to know that there are a number of fellow Christians who are prompted by the Lord to provide the necessary resources to carry out what the Lord has laid upon the heart to do.
And you can’t imagine the encouragement we receive when gifts of financial support are provided through the mail or on-line. It’s amazing how gifts come at just the right time. I believe the Lord uses these times to complete our trust in him and sometimes close doors in order to open new ones.
After fifteen years in the ministry, I have come to keenly appreciate what the Lord inspired the Apostle Paul to write to the church in Philippi.
“I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Phil: 1:3-6)
We can use these words of Scripture to offer the following prayer:
“O Lord, we offer you up our praise and thanksgiving for all Your people that you have prompted to partner with us and financially support our ministry. Doing Your work requires resources and we give you thanks for providing all that we need to carry out the work you have given us to do. We also give you thanks for the many people throughout the world who are regularly praying for our ministry. We trust that the work you have begun through will be carried out on to completion and we thank you for all those who are partnering with us to help make this possible. In your gracious name we pray, Amen.”
I wonder what the Israelites thought when they saw the towering walls of Jericho looming before them? Did they start to doubt? Did fear begin to invade their confidence? God told them to go and claim their promised land. This was his directive for his chosen people. Conquering Jericho was to be God’s battle and not their own.
Could God’s specific instructions to conquer the city have caused them to question?
It was a crazy idea. From man’s perspective, it was completely foolish, even ridiculous. To march around the walls of the city for six days in a row and on the seventh day, the priests will blow trumpets and the people will shout. Then, the walls of Jericho will fall down. The plan was so crazy that the walls may have looked even taller to the Israelite people and more impenetrable than before. Trust can be that way. Past performances can be easily forgotten when confronted with a formidable opponent called fear. Upon seeing these walls and hearing God’s plan, the Israelites may have muttered, “These walls are too big! They are too strong. They have been built and re-fortified over the course of many generations. There is no way we can reach those people. Why even try?”
The plan to conquer Jericho was simple enough. March around the walls of the city carrying the ark of the covenant. No brandishing of swords. No taunts or threats. And do this for six days before raising a shout on the seventh. It was not going to be the power and cunning of his people which would conquer Jericho, but the power of God. It was a matter of taking him at his Word.
The Bible clearly gives the directive to all Christians to share with others the message of good news that by faith alone we receive citizenship in heaven. In carrying out our role of being ambassadors for Christ, we are reminded that by being rooted in Christ, fear is displaced by perfect love (1 Jn 4:18); words are formed on our lips when we do not know what to say (Mark 13:11), and his presence is always with us (Matt 28:20). Our message of salvation is given to us by God. The power that tears down the walls of unbelief strictly comes from God.
Sharing God’s Word with others requires persistence, patience, and trust on our part. The persistence means a commitment to prayer and never giving up. Patience is always relying on God’s Word to win the soul and refrain from trying to win the argument. Trust comes from believing that God’s Word works.
When sharing God’s Word with others who appear disinterested or hostile to God, sometimes people focus on the walls and not the people. “They are unreachable!” we try to convince ourselves. “Their walls of false teaching are too high! Their hearts are impenetrable!”
What seems impossible, God deems possible. Perhaps it may takes years of walking around the walls people have built up. But that doesn’t mean a person should give up. Like Jericho, perhaps it will that seventh time, that seventh year, that seventh day when the walls come tumbling down. That’s the trust we have in God’s Word and the power of his name.
Being God’s ambassador means delivering a message of reconciliation to all people. The message centers on what Christ has already done for us on the cross. It’s a message of victory! By faith alone, a soul receives the full benefits of the victory Christ won for us. There is great joy when the miracle of faith occurs and a soul is declared perfectly righteous in God’s eyes and 100% worthy of heaven.
A soul receiving faith is described in God’s Word as a harvest. Like a stalk of wheat or a tree bearing fruit, a mature plant ready to be harvested must start with the planting of a seed. The same goes for sharing God’s Word. God’s ambassadors sow the seeds of God’s Word by delivering an all-important message. Christians take joy when those seeds take root and a person comes to faith by the power of the Holy Spirit. There is joy in the harvest and we are reminded that joy can also be found in the act of sowing
“My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work. Don’t you have a saying, ‘It’s still four months until harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest. Even now the one who reaps draws a wage and harvests a crop for eternal life, so that the sower and the reaper may be glad together. Thus the saying ‘One sows and another reaps’ is true.
The joy of sowing comes from trusting God’s promises that we can be used in the process — even when we may never know the results. We may never have the opportunity to witness the reaping while here on this earth. Yet, I believe one of the joys of heaven will be a soul thanking a Christian for taking the time to plant the seed of God’s Word in their heart.
We can go to the Lord in prayer:
“Lord, grant within us the fruit of joy when we follow through with the act of sowing God’s Word. So often, Lord, our eyes are closed to the fields before us. We ask you to open our eyes and see the work that is being done and the work that we could be doing — all according to your purpose and your glory. Allow us, Lord, to see the lost as you see them. Allow us to love them as you love them. Allow the fruit of joy to grow in our spiritual life as we continue to trust your promises and the power of Your Word! In your name we pray Amen.”
More prayers for the mission-minded Christian:
A part of being God’s ambassador and by being a new creation in Christ is that we redirect our confidence away from ourselves and place it squarely in the power of God’s Word.
Sharing the message of reconciliation between God and all people is really not about us, but about God. As a result, we can place our whole confidence in the power of the message, not ourselves. We withstand the temptation to judge the effectiveness of the message, by how a person responds. Some will accept God’s message, most will reject it. Our job as God’s ambassadors is to simply deliver the message trusting God’s promises that His Word is at work.
It’s like a good farmer who plants their seed in the spring. He has great confidence that those seeds he planted will turn into a crop. With that same trust and confidence, God’s ambassadors know that every time we share a message of what Christ has already done for us, we plant seeds in the hearts of souls expecting a harvest according to God’s timing. With eager expectation we can boldly deliver messages that rely solely on the power of God’s Word — leaving the results to God for that is His business.
Consider the following verses.
Romans 1:16-17: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”
Isaiah 55:10-11: “As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, 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.”
We can go to the Lord in prayer with praise and thanksgiving for His powerful Word and wonderful promises.
“Lord, as we come before you with thanksgiving for being commissioned to share your message. We give you praise that we can place our complete confidence and trust in the power of your Word. As we trust in the wonderful promise that we are 100% forgiven and fully accepted by you as your dear child, we trust that your Word alone is what creates the same faith in others. Thank you Lord, Amen.”
In His Word, God commissions all Christians to go and make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:18-20). This is a daunting task in itself. Yet, seen in a new light, we discover that witnessing is not just a command, but an adventure — a unique opportunity to experience and witness God working miracles of faith.
Adventures cause different reactions and may take different forms. For some, the adventure of a ten day hiking and rafting trip through the Grand Canyon or perhaps an African safari would be exhilarating, for others rather intimidating. When it comes to the adventure of witnessing to Mormons, most Christians initially react with more fear than exhilaration.
A way to conquer fear is to be prepared. When a person feels prepared, fears are alleviated and confidence increases. Once people get beyond the fear, sharing God’s Word can become the adventure of a lifetime. It can stretch people further spiritually than they could have ever imagined. More importantly, the joy and reward associated with being used by the Holy Spirit to bring a soul to heaven is truly beyond compare.
Sometimes people have the wrong idea of what it means to be an effective witness. We have a tendency to measure an effective witness by whether or not a person comes to faith or not. But the Bible teaches a much different understanding. An effective witness presents the gospel of Jesus Christ in a way that is understood by the hearer, regardless of a person’s response. For example, Noah was an effective witness even though his hearers didn’t believe him. Christians are ambassadors for Christ who have been mandated to carry an all-important message. The responsibility of how the hearers respond to the message is not the ambassador’s responsibility. The effectiveness of their responsibility is simply to deliver the message. How a hearer responds becomes the responsibility of the work of the Holy Spirit and whether or not the hearer accepts or rejects is message. With this understanding, the pressure is off the ambassador.
The adventure of sharing God’s Word with a Mormon
Christians have a message Mormons need to hear because the eternal consequences are so great! Mormonism is not a Christian religion. Their teaching does not lead people to heaven, but regrettably, is leading them to eternal damnation. Mormonism is a growing religion not only in numbers, but in society’s growing acceptance of Mormonism as mainstream Christianity. People’s itching ears are being drawn away from God’s absolute truth and towards the falsehood that all religions worship the same god. With the idea that people can become exalted and god-like through their works, Mormonism can make sense to many. It is a brilliantly conceived religion that is cloaked in the sheep’s clothing of Christian terminology. Mormonism is becoming the next great world religion threatening the tenets of Christianity.
An amazing adventure awaits to those who choose to be ambassadors of sharing God’s message to Mormons with the saving truth of God’s Word. Christians who embark on this adventure will regularly experience the mystery of how God works — accepting His timetable and trusting the power of His Word to perform miracles of faith.
At Truth in Love Ministry (www.tilm.org), our approach in sharing God’s Word rests on the biblical mandate to speak the truth in love. Recognizing the common fears and frustrations associated with witnessing to Mormons, our ministry prepares and equips Christians by accomplishing three important objectives:
1) Offering the encouragement that people can do it!
2) Showing that a person doesn’t have to be an expert on Mormonism or Christian apologetics to be an effective witness; and
3) Emphasizing that a significant part of speaking the truth in love is showing respect, being sincere, and being committed to persist in the effort.
By confronting barriers to witnessing, comparing the basics of Mormonism with Christian truth, relying on the power of God’s Word, and covering all that with the fabric of love, any willing Christian can be an effective witness to Mormons.
Upon arriving late into the night in San Antonio, Texas, I woke up early on Sunday morning to make the drive on I-10 to Houston. With minimal traffic on the freeway, I was able to watch the darkness slowly transform into dawn. With Texas providing a vast, open landscape, the colors of the awakening sunlight prompts one to pause and wonder. Dawn is God’s way of introducing creation. It gives off a different light as if to reintroduce to ourselves the hills and the trees as a reminder that these were made with a purpose in mind — for our enjoyment.
My destination was Houston. I was coming to Christ the Lord Lutheran Church in Sienna Plantation. They recently opened a new K-8 school, Sienna Lutheran Academy, and were now conducting worship services in the new gym. Sienna Plantation is on the southwest part of Houston. It’s a growing and developing area. Bordering the school grounds on one side is a large public high school and on the other a cattle ranch. Calves were frolicking in the cool dawn when I arrived at the facility.
The people greeted me with great enthusiasm and there was a nice turnout during the Bible study hour which is held prior to the worship service. And I met Britney and Steve. Britney grew up Mormon in a small town in eastern Utah. She expressed great appreciation for our approach of speaking the truth in love, plus shared her story of coming to the Christian faith. I encouraged her to share her story and look forward to featuring it in the upcoming spring newsletter of Truth in Love Ministry.
In my travels to Texas throughout this spring, a person just can’t be able to grasp just how large the metropolitan cities can be. Endless freeways and connections. Freeway ramps are like sky bridges. And, if there is any construction going on, a person like myself can get easily lost. Then, there’s the toll roads. Determined this time not to utilize a toll road and not spend the $15-20 a day to get a toll pass for my rental car, I invested my time in plotting out my routes to avoid them at all cost. I was successful in doing that. But, it did take extra time. I’m amazed that it took me 45 minutes from going to southwest Houston to southeast Houston.
Thankfully, I arrived at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church by Cypress in time for a potluck supper and a presentation that evening. My trip in Houston concluded by visiting with pastors and friends of Truth in Love Ministry before heading back to San Antonio.
This was my first trip to San Antonio. I arrived and left in the dark, so this time I was able to enjoy and appreciate the landscape. Cross of Christ Lutheran Church is located in Universal City which is northeast of the city. Driving by Randolph Air Force base, I successfully made the correct turns and arrived at the church in plenty of time. I had a wonderful dinner with Mike and Wendy and appreciated the opportunity to share about our ministry to the members who came to the presentation that evening.
I love travelling and making presentations about TILM. The highlight is always meeting people. It’s a privilege that the Lord could use a ministry like ours to encourage people to not only grow in the faith, but also to share it.