Month: December 2018

All It Takes Is an Invitation

Matthew 28: 19-20
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.

The words above are some of the last recorded words of Jesus before He ascended into heaven. Do you notice who Jesus focuses on right before He leaves earth? There are many things he could have said, but he chooses to focus on “them.”

Who do we go to? Them. Who do we baptize? Them. Who do we teach? Them.

The “them” here is referring to those who do not know Jesus. I was “them” before I met Jesus. I am so grateful that someone answered the call to invite me.

The first challenge for us is to make sure that we are in relationships. Some of us have been in the church for so long that we do not know them. Jesus wants us to be in relationship with those far from him, so we can invite them into a relationship with Him.

All it takes is an invitation. Most research says that people will go to a church service if given an invitation. Below are a few different ways and ideas to give a Christmas Eve invitation.

After you have taken time to pray for them, ask God for the courage to invite.

Here are just a few ideas:

  • Bake a plate of cookies and place a Christmas Eve invite on top.
  • Post an invite on social media.
  • Ask if they would be willing to go with you.
  • Hand out an invite card.
  • Offer to take them out for a meal before or after service.
  • Tell them you’d like to pick them up and carpool to service.

SVCC_ChristMESS_DevoPost_12162018Thought of the day: Where are you connecting with people who do not know Jesus? As you plan for Christmas, how can you make inviting someone a part of the season?

Prayer: Father, thank You for including me as a part of them. We hear Your command and reminder to invite those who do not know You. We ask for the courage this year to extend an invitation to someone who may not know You. Give me the ability to see them as You see them.  In Jesus’ name, amen.

The New Is Here

2 Corinthians 5:17-18
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come. The old is gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation.

Over time it is easy to become stagnant in our choice to be a part of His plan to make all things new.

The reconciliation is a one and done deal on His end, but the transformation process is a lifetime experience on ours. His gift to us keeps on giving. Our culture tends to blind our judgment, so we put that gift on a shelf and get lazy in allowing the inward transformation to continue to result in outward changes.

Heart check moment: do you still crave and love the things of the Spirit? Are you still operating from a place of humility and gratitude, offering compassion to the people that don’t know Jesus, and desiring to love and serve Him through loving and serving others?

We will fail and fall, but the result of that failure is different because He covers all sin for all time. In Him, we learn to love Him more than we love anything sin has to offer. The question is, do we really want to change? Are we ready to experience the inward transformation that happens up close and over time?

It can be uncomfortable; He will take us places that we could never expect. Sometimes we think to receive His forgiveness we have to achieve some level of worthiness. In our limited understanding, we miss the point of the gift.

We cannot renew or be made new on our own power, merit, or works. If you’re waiting to “get it together” before you unwrap the gift He is, there’s no better time than today.

Jesus is the maker of all things new. We cannot earn it. We can receive it and learn to give that gift away to others. He promises to create a new heaven and earth and we, as new creations in Him, are part of that plan.

ChristMESS-12-14Prayer: Father God, thank You that You want to be in relationship with us and make that possible through Jesus. Help us today to receive that gift with humility and excitement. Help us to take the gift of Your forgiveness and reconciliation off the shelf and be reminded of how You want us to actively share Your good news with others through love and service to You, Your family, and the people in our lives and community that don’t know You yet. In Jesus’ name, amen.