When it’s tough being the Light…

I’ve been reading different posts and tweets about people who are taking the #lightenup challenge and I LOVE it!! God is being glorified as Jesus is lifted up and that’s so very cool.

We need to keep being intentional about bringing Jesus into our conversations but what do you do if you’re too nervous to start talking to someone or if you have no idea how to bring Jesus up? Because sometimes it’s tough being the light…

I was reading in Acts 8 and came across a great word of encouragement for those of us who are hesitant or struggling to continue the #lightenup challenge. It’s the story of Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch and you can read it in Acts 8:26-39 to see what you can apply from it but here is what I learned—hope it helps.

  1. Ask —What if you ask the Lord to make you sensitive to His Spirit so that you are following His lead on a daily basis—in everything that you do? That would make you like Philip—in the right place at the right time. Then listen to His prompting when you come in contact with others.
  1. Listen-Philip listened to God’s prompting and instruction.. He ran up and stayed near the man in the chariot….and get this—he listened.. That’s key. In deciding how to go about lightening up your conversations—start by listening—to what they are saying or by ‘listening’ to their body language or actions. Then you will have a better idea how to jump into talking. Philip heard the man reading aloud something he was familiar with and so he asked a question to get the ball rolling. Good advice for us. We can ask too.

-ask a cashier if she is having a good day

-ask a woman shopping for toys something about her kids or grandkids

-ask someone about her Christmas jewelry or fun outfit

-ask someone in line if she is ready for Christmas

When you pay attention and listen you can find all kinds of ways to connect with perfect strangers. Philip listened for a connecting point and started there—

  1. Go for it- Once you start talking with someone, let the conversation go where they are willing to go. Philip talked with the man about Jesus starting from where he had been reading in Isaiah and kept going. When we encounter someone that the Lord has placed in our path, we never know how He has been preparing them so keep talking Jesus while you can.

Sometimes you will just barely get in a word about Jesus and other times they may want to talk all the way to salvation and accepting Christ. Only the Holy Spirit knows what is in their hearts—our job is be obedient in the opportunities that come our way.

Remember that you are the light of the world and have the privilege of sharing that light with everyone around you. Don’t get frustrated. Stay alert and try these 3 tips from Philip: Ask, Listen & Go for it.

It’s amazing what God can do when we speak up and lift high the name of Jesus—be the light!!!

Huge Impact

I read through a familiar passage Sunday (it was the basis for the sermon) in Phil 2 and read verses 14-15–here is what it says: Do everything without complaining or arguing,so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe…how good is that??? I have always loved those verses and they are especially significant with the lighten up challenge. But do you sometimes wonder “how am I supposed to be a light that shines like a star?”. I mean, think about it–go outside and look at the night sky–stars are millions of miles away and they impact us down here on earth–that’s pretty powerful, I definitely don’t feel like I make that much of an impact most of the time (or ever)

Here’s the thing, there are so many verses in the Word that we are familiar with and maybe even have memorized but when we take them in their context we can find such better meaning and understanding. Check out the very next verse (the one I don’t have memorized but should) its verse 16 and it tells us how we can be like stars: as you hold out the word of life–in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing. –alright stay with me on this—to ‘hold out the Word of life’ literally means: to have or hold upon, apply, to observe, attend to—to give attention to

Wow! that’s what I’m talking about. In our quest to be lights and to shine like stars–we must maintain a focus and be intentional about ‘holding forth’ the Word in our lives–we have to APPLY the Word to our lives daily.

I hear many many people talking about going deeper and so on in regard to Bible Study and teaching-the Truth is that it doesn’t get much deeper than “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength-and your neighbor as yourself” that’s pretty deep stuff and I wonder (if we want to make a Christmas application) how many of us have gotten caught up in our plans, our wants and our desires instead of asking what we can do for others or how we can put others first??

Let’s commit to being doers of the Word not just hearers especially in this season of ‘gimme gimme’ and ‘me first’…Jesus modeled the attitude we need to have and it’s described in the rest of Phil 2, read it there or watch my pastor’s sermon on the subject online but remember that we can shine like stars and have a HUGE impact if we keep holding forth the Word!!!!

Keep the faith:)
Rachel
#lightenupchallenge

Who’s Your Enemy?

How are your holidays going? Are you being a light? Are you staying focused on Jesus and actively resisting the culture? How you answer probably depends on the day–right? some days we are doing a great job at reclaiming the holidays and ‘lightening up’ while other days are more of a struggle.

Can I share with you something that I just read in Ephesians that really spoke to me? It was in chapters 4-6 where we are told not to give the devil a foothold then we see instructions for anger management (because we will have times that we get angry so how do we handle that in a godly way) and then the armor of God passage.

When you put all those together, it really boils down to some hard truth–when people get on our nerves or make us mad (can anyone relate?) how we respond will either allow the Enemy a place in our lives or not.

It seems to me that sometimes because of the amount of things that we have to get done in a day (have I mentioned that my shopping is not even close to done), that we have a short fuse with people about now. Sometimes it isn’t even about our busy day but how ridiculous some people we are in contact with act (that’s why we need to spread the lighten up challenge around:)

I love what the armor of God passage in Eph 6 has to say “Put on the full armor of God so that when the day of evil comes you may be able to stand your ground, and when you have done everything—to stand”…wow!

How appropriate is that? I have a friend who always reminds me when situations come up that frustrate me-“remember who the Enemy is”–that’s such good advice and lines up exactly with Ephesians. Who is our battle against? not the person in the next car, not the obnoxious shopper near you, not the stressed out store employee,not your boss—especially not fellow believers—we have one Enemy and when we put on the full armor of God then we will be able to stand against His schemes and be the lights that we are called to be.

Take a few minutes to check out Eph 5-6 today. Pray that armor onto your life and “be strong in the Lord and His mighty power”

JOYfully,
Rachel

ps–a friend told me in a meeting yesterday that her kids have been loving the lighten up challenge book and that they look forward to reading the verses together on the way to school as they talk about being a light! -that is such a good idea to do with your kids and what a blessing to hear how God is using His Word:)

Being & doing & Christmas

I love how there are no coincidences with the Lord. Sunday my pastor preached a great message out of Luke 10. I kept making instant connections with what God has been doing in the Lighten Up Challenge so I thought I would share some of the insights that I gleaned both from David’s words and the voice of the Holy Spirit.

We are probably all familiar with the story of Martha and Mary, if not don’t feel bad but go read it in Luke 10. Usually a sermon on them will boil down to bad Martha and good Mary and which are you?

That wasn’t my take away on Sunday at all. In a busy season full of Martha-ish moments that tries to drown out the Mary like opportunities–that is exactly what we can NOT let happen. There are so many good things about both sisters and instead of laying out a competition between the two, isn’t the greater message one that says “Before you can be an effective Martha, you must be a Mary”. Truly–‘being’ comes before ‘doing’, in the dictionary and spiritually.

As we go about serving those in our lives this Christmas season, we will be the best lights for Christ if we have taken enough time like Mary did–to sit at His feet and learn, worship or just be still in His presence.

Notice that Martha was busy and distracted doing good things, she wasn’t out at a bar or surfing the internet illicitly. Good things can be the enemy of God’s things if we let them. Beware and be intentional to ‘be’ what Christ has called you to ‘be’ before you get busy ‘doing’ all the things that need to be done.

JOYfully,
Rachel
ps-chime in and share your best tip on ‘Mary’ moments in the midst of a ‘Martha’ season!

#lightenupchallenge