I am thrilled for you to join me on this journey of serving the Lord wholeheartedly, and I hope we can work together to disciple others.
My desire and goal as a Christian, and I am confident you share this desire, is to be fruitful. God in His infinite wisdom chooses to use us to accomplish His will on earth. We get to co-labor with Him.
Although God could accomplish everything without us, He loves us and delights in us so much He sovereignly designed His will on earth to be accomplished with us and through us.
Just like, Jesus did not need anyone to roll away the stone to rescue Lazarus from the grave, but He chose to use Lazarus' family and friends to roll the stone away, and He beckoned Lazarus to "come out!"
What if the people didn't obey and failed to roll away the stone? Or, What if Lazarus was lazy and refused to come out? Could Jesus still save Lazarus from death and the grave? Of course He could, but would He?
The Lord prefers to work with us to co-labor and collaborate wih us. I think that is so cool! The bible says we are created to do good works, which God created in advance for us to do.
I don't want to miss out on the opportunities to serve Him this side of Heaven. Do you? I don't want Him to use someone else instead of me. I don't want a mission to fail because I refused to contribute my part.
Regarding serving the Lord, the Bible says, some till the soil, some plant the seed, some water the seed, and God causes the growth.
God calls us, He saves us, He equips us, He empowers us, but He asks us to "be fruitful" with the life He has given us. We have a choice, we have free will. We can choose to join Him on His mission or we can choose to live a meaningless life.
I wholeheartedly believe eternal salvation is one hundred percent a gift from God. We are saved by grace alone. I believe our faith to believe Him is a gift from God, but once we are saved the choice is ours to live for the Kingdom or for our creature comforts.
The Apostle Paul beseeches us in his letter to the Ephesians to live a life worthy of the calling we have recieved from the Lord.
Jesus, Himself, teaches us and warns us about the importance of fruitfulness in the parable about the seed and the soil found in Mark 4. Jesus says, "some, (believers), like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful."
I know I am guilty of this. I am constantly combating my fears and flesh from taking over my time and attention. I am tempted to work strictly for money instead of working for God and trusting Him to meet all of my basic needs as He promises to do in His Word, stating, "Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these will be added to you."
May we intentionally guard ouselves from distractions, idols and fears that hinder us from serving Him.
Jesus goes on to explain in the parable about the seed and soil, "Others, (believers), like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop—some thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times what was sown.” I want this to describe my life. Don't you? But how?
Now, couple Jesus' teaching of this parable of the seed and soil with His teaching of the vine and the branches in John 15. Jesus said, "This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples." "I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing of eternal value."
Six crucial principles I take from these scriptures to apply to ministry are:
1. Abide in Christ. We must saturate our hearts and minds with His word, pray continually and worship Him wholeheartedly.
2. Rely on the Holy Spirit fully to empower us step by step and moment by moment.
3. Pray for widom to know His will and the courage to do it.
4. Ask Him for opportunities to serve Him and be alert to them.
5. Beware of thorns a.k.a. idols that distract us from serving Him for they will compromise our mission.
6. Intentionally, plant ourselves in good soil, in other words, surround ourselves with strong Christian community, who will encourage and inspire us to fight the good fight of faith and to live up to our calling in Christ.
Focus on Christ
Rely on the Holy Spirit
Idols will compromise our mission
Together we are stronger
1. Teach a bible study
3. Lead a small group
4. Self-publish a book
5. Encourage everyone you meet
Now, I am confident you already know what I have shared with you regarding His word and this application for your minstry, but it brings me joy to confirm and remind us and rally us with the truths in His word.
I wish you deep joy and deeper intimacy with Christ as you co-labor wih Him to produce much fruit for His glory!!