May 24, 2018
5 Part Challenge to be Used by God
May 21, 2018 | Joel Patterson
I would consider myself a pretty “closed off” person. I tend to keep to myself; I don’t wear my emotions on my sleeve; I’d say I have a few close friends and everyone else doesn’t know too much about me.
But something struck me this weekend.
What if the level of closeness I allow myself to have with others has an impact on how much God will use me? I hadn't thought about that before, but it makes sense. Why would God use someone who has a limited connection with others to actually impact others? I had never thought of it that way before.
Now maybe I am exactly the way that God made me or maybe my life and my decisions have molded me into the person I am today, but that is not the conversation for today. What I do know is that I am supposed to “...go and make disciples...” (Matthew 28:19). WE are supposed to “...go and make disciples...” But to do that, there is a requirement to willing be open to others ... to risk the consequences I so easily make up in my mind. Consequences that come as a result of being vulnerable with others and giving others time to be vulnerable with us. I know I am not alone in this line of thinking.
I believe this all comes down to being intentional.
For me, it can be easy to go through a day without having any conversations with others — let alone meaningful ones. But just like most things in life, if we don’t try, we will fail. For you, it may be easy to start conversations, but interjecting “hope-filled fresh ideas” that center about the truth of Jesus during those Holy Spirit ordained moments might be a piece that you can easily miss.
So the ongoing challenge for me is to:
- Intentionally pray a prayer something like this: “Father, I want to see things the way you
see things today. I ask you to put me in places that you would have me be a voice to interject the hope and truth that only you can provide. In those situations, help me to feel your prompting and for every word I speak to be the words you want others to hear. Fill me with the same love you have for each person I encounter today. In Jesus name, Amen.”
- Intentionally go to places that will require me to share a little bit about myself. For me, this means sacrificing convenience at times and getting out of my car rather than always using the drive-thru, delivery, or quick store pick-ups. This also means saying “yes” to invites more often. It means stepping outside and being around people. It means that it’s okay to be known as a “regular” at businesses. If I see the same person over and over again, it’s helpful to take advantage of us knowing each other’s names. Who knows what might happen once a relationship is formed?
- Intentionally ask people questions. This is where it gets to be tough for me - starting a conversation and not knowing where it is going to go. But I’ve learned that most people like to talk ... so giving them an opening to do so is almost always welcomed.
- Intentionally mention Jesus. If it is someone I don’t really know too well or at all, my go-to question is “Hey, do you go to church anywhere?” ... and if it is a friend or family member sharing about what Jesus or the Bible or church has shown me about a common experience is a natural-ish kinda thing to share.
- Intentionally repeat. I know I am not going to become any better making disciples by only accomplishing these goals once. But the more I do these, the more natural they should start to become. That is my prayer at least!
By just being more intentional, maybe — just maybe — that seed of hope will sprout into everlasting life in someone’s soul as a result.
Joel Patterson is the Director of Communications. He works with each ministry of our church to plan and implement effective communications through our website, social media, print, and word of mouth. Joel is also husband to Sara and together they have three wonderful children.