Growing & Going

I’m not much of a resolution kind-of-guy, at least the New Year’s kind. But I am resolved to continue following Jesus until moment I exit this temporary existence and enter into eternal glory! That resolution is not a seasonal thing, but an everyday thing.

That resolution is a result of His saving grace, which I experienced in December of 1987, many moons ago. I am eternally grateful to the Lord for His manifold blessings extended to me in Messiah Jesus.

One of the privileges and responsibilities associated with knowing and following the Lord is to serve others, as He did. Remember Jesus’ earthly mission included service, as He declared in Mark 10:45, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”

Part of our service to others is evangelism. As Jesus came to “seek and to save that which was lost” ((Luke 19:10), we are called to invest in this same effort, the effort that is a foundational component of the Great Commission.

How will I serve others evangelistically in 2023? In some ways the same way I have for years. Yet, in other ways, differently.

Let me explain.

The basic evangelistic activities will be same. Namely, I will continue to pray for the lost. I will continue to love people in Jesus’ name, doing good deeds. And I will continue to proclaim the gospel message, the truth that sets people free.

Yet, at the same time I will do those things differently. There will be new people, peopel who need the Lord, that He brings into my sphere of influence. I am called pray for their salvation and my witness and the witness of others to them. There will be all kinds of new opportunities to demonstrate God’s love in tangible ways. And the specific ways I share the gospel both verbally and through other kinds of medium (ie. videos, books, cyber links) will be different depending on the individual I’m seeking to reach. 

In one sense, this is a joy and at the same time a challenge we experience in the Christian life!

You see, as His witnesses, we should desire that lost people come to a saving knowledge of Jesus. And to that end, we should be resolved to follow the Lord, playing our unique roles as He builds His Church through the Great Commission effort of His people, the Church.

For our part, this effort will include both growing and going!

The growing is being conformed more and more into the image of Christ, as we seek Him and seek to follow Him.

And as we grow, hopefully we will, in obedience, go wherever God calls us and do and say whatever He calls us to among those He brings across our path.

As you read these words, know that my heart echo’s that of the Apostle Paul, as He prayed in Colossians 1:9-11, I also

“ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that you may walk worthy of the Lord [including the evangelistic work], fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy;”

Paul also exhorted the believers in Rome with these words,

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Romans 12:1-2).

What is the will of God for you and I evangelistically in 2023?

That is for us to discover as we walk by faith, seeking Him and His will for us.

For me personally, I can share one area of my witness He is growing. In street ministry I have, for many years, utilized Gospel of John booklets (I get them from Pocket Testament League, an excellent ministry). Recently I have been convicted to begin having them on my handy when I’m out and about.

In November, while flying to Las Vegas to speak at a Bible Conference, I had an opportunity to witness to a man sitting next to me on the plane. During our conversation he mentioned he didn’t have a bible. I encouraged him to get one and read the gospel of John. During that weekend I thought about that interaction, and wished I would have had a Gospel of John booklet on my handy to give him. This year I plan on being intentional to keep them on my person as opportunities other than street ministry to pass them out arise. That conviction to simply be more intentional in this one specific area of my witness is just one example of an opportunity to grow.

As Christians, this side of glory, we never arrive and we all have room to grow and to go. And God is faithful!

Jesus spent His entire earthly ministry within the boundaries of the Holy Land. Yet after the resurrection, He commanded His followers to make disciples of all nations, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:18–20). Notice the first word: “Go.” We can only imagine their reaction when He said go out to all nations. 

The resurrected Lord reaffirmed His mandate to go to all nations in Acts 1:8, including the promise of the Holy Spirit partnership in the Great Commission endeavor: “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria and to the end of the earth.” 

I wonder what the disciples were thinking when they heard the words “to the end of the earth.” The disciples are a great example of stepping out on faith. They were called to move beyond the walls of everything they knew.

Geography was only one part of the story. They would follow the Lord to new places, but they would also be ministering among various peoples and cultures. This would be quite a learning experience and faith stretching endeavor to be sure. 

The willingness to go where you’ve never gone before—and maybe even do what you’ve never done before—is an amazing commitment. This was the Great Commission given to the disciples and it is the same mandate for us today. Will you and I step out in faith and go where He calls in the coming days, weeks and beyond?

As the curtain has opened and the page turned to this New Year, 2023, may you and I embrace the many opportunities the Lord will give us to be Ambassadors for Christ.

For daily are the opportunities for growing and going! 

Lord Jesus, as your child, please help me to grow in grace and show me what going looks like in my witness for You in the coming days, weeks and beyond – for Your glory and for the building of Your Church. Amen!

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