Tag Archives: gospel

5 Ways a “Word of the Year” Can Positively Influence Your Life

The New Year is still new, my friends! If you are still contemplating why you should choose a Word of the Year, I have some ideas for you. Here are 5 ways a word can positively influence your life in 2018!

But first, let me introduce my Word for 2018:

Advocate.

This word is probably my favorite Word of the Year (WOTY) so far. For our family, it means we never stop looking for ways to make the good news of Jesus’ love famous to the people around us.

I had this beautiful necklace made to daily remind me of my commitment to gospel-advocacy. I am so moved by this piece of jewelry that I just have to share it with one of you! Joy In the Morning has partnered with me at Campfire Grace for this exciting opportunity.  She has reserved a similar necklace for you to commemorate your own Word of the Year! This stunning accessory is 14kt gold, valued at $56!

To enter, add your name and email to the form below, then scroll through all the beautiful designs over at Joy in the Morning.

GIVEAWAY CLOSED 1/17/18. Congratulations to April Rogers!

And now for 5 Fresh Ideas for Your Word of the Year:

1. A Gentle Rudder:

A few years ago, I traded New Years goals for a Word of the Year. Goals felt harsh and bossy. Failure to finish felt crippling. By picking a WOTY, I traded fear of coming up short for confidence of going in a helpful direction. I think of it more as a rudder to my ship than a destination I must reach. This word steers me gently regardless of circumstances: whether I face choppy waters ahead or a steady breeze to push me along this year.

The year of 2017 was filled with moments that left me overjoyed! It also hollowed out my soul with immense sorrow. And yet, my Word helped me navigate each season. My Word of the year was “Live Alive.” In the bubbling laughter of the twins turning 3, I enjoyed the gift of life we had been given. Through the agonizing heart-break of lossed lives and world chaos, I stopped taking for granted this privilege of life lived fully. Each change of 2017, I asked, how can I fully live alive in the midst of this?

  • WOTY suggestions that serve as Rudders: Strength, Trust, Breathe

2. A Perspective Lens:

How our circumstances affect us is largely how we view them. In 2016, my word was Flourish. When my twins were potty training, I kept my eyes open for how I was still flourishing in the frustration of accidents and laundry and lots of tears.

How could you use a specific Word to filter how you see your year? Pick a word like “Giggle” and you might just laugh off the drama in the office. Adopt “Hallelujah” as your mantra, and notice every event as a reason to give praise to God!

  • WOTY suggestions that serve as Perspectives: Whole, Humble, Victorious

3. A Butler:

I want my goals, my word, my ambitions to work for me, not the other way around. It is too easy for me to become a slave to what I want to fix in my life. Instead, the intentional WOTY will work for me.

As a Butler, my Word will remind me to focus on the best things. It will usher in my favorite thoughts first thing in the morning. It will open the front door of my mind only to desirable guests like encouraging thoughts and creativity. It will promptly shoo away lies and discouragement that ask to take residence in my thinking.

  • WOTY suggestions that serve as butlers: Kindness, Intentional, Thrive

4. A Scale for Decisions:

For many of us, 2018 is already intimidating us with the wide open field of opportunities. Soon-to-be-graduates, recent empty-nesters, and everyone in between are facing lots of decisions this year. Why not pick a Word that could filter each option that comes our way?

We get flyers in my mailbox for another kids’ activity. Our Facebook notifications panel is full of invites to support one friend or another in their home-based business party. Our churches are asking for volunteers to lead home based small groups. Our coworkers chatty activity in the break room beckon us to join in gossip. Our mirrors and scales offer the options to self-loathe or keep living fully.

As I already mentioned, my word for 2018 is Advocate. My husband and I prayerfully discovered it together. We can easily filter out (i.e.: say no to) any option that does not help us to advocate for the hope of the gospel among those who live in darkness.

  • WOTY suggestions that serve as scales for decisions: Image Bearer, Holy, Purpose

5. An Ebenezer:

The Bible describes an Ebenezer was a monument or visual reminder of God’s faithfulness to His people. Last year, our word “Live Alive” was in many ways an Ebenezer to God’s care for us through some difficult times. God helped us keep living. God helped us keep thriving! And we could count on Him to do so continually.

Why not pick a word that represents God’s relentless love for you? This word will serve as a rudder, a butler, and an Ebenezer all year long.

  • WOTY suggestions that serve as ebenezers: Relentless, Unconditional, Big Love!

 

*Giveaway Rules:

The winner will be chosen on Wednesday, January 17, 2018. We will let you know on all online platforms (email, IG, FB, etc.) who the winner is.

We can only ship to residents of continental USA. If you are outside the continental states and still want to enter, we may ask you to help cover shipping costs.

Happy New Year!!!

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5 Gospel Sharing Hacks That Will Change the World

Are you tired of anxiety hijacking your chance to share your faith with a co-worker? Does the idea of evangelism incite an eye-roll reflex? Have awkward experiences tarnished the idea of gospel-sharing for you or your family?

I get it. I have been there before. Talking about church, God, faith, sin, and the afterlife can be incredibly intimidating. Many of us worry that talking about our faith will come across as

  • judgemental
  • fake
  • awkward
  • preachy
  • holier than thou

However, when we stop letting these presuppositions prevent us from talking about Jesus, we have the chance to join our Savior in changing the world.

You must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it. But do this in a gentle and respectful way. 1 Peter 3:15-16b

In other words, let’s make it a thing. With practice and a few tools, talking about the good news of God’s love can become normal, not awkward, in your sphere of influence.

Here are 5 H.A.C.K.S. that my husband and I have learned along our own journey:

H. Hold the Gospel Close:

When a cup is poured into with more than it can hold, it splashes over on its surroundings. Similarly, when a Christian spends time treasuring the grace and freedom in a relationship with Jesus, he or she will overflow with joy and excitement for others to experience it as well.

  • Schedule time daily to treasure God’s love for you by reading your Bible.
  • Wake up every day and affirm your identity in Christ. Say “I am a child of God.” As children of the King of kings, we are also ambassadors of His Kingdom. The first is our primary identity. The second is our primary occupation.
  • Talk about the undeserved goodness of God’s grace with other believers. Gather often and get excited about what God is doing. Make it important.

A. Assume and Ask:

Many of us assume the people around us are Christians. They seem to know the lingo, sing the songs, attend the services, therefore, they must have accepted Christ as Savior, right? Not necessarily. News in today’s Christian culture reminds us that Christian people desperately need to hear the clarity of Jesus love and our need for Him. Because they might claim to affiliate with the religion, but never actually experience adoption into God’s family by grace through faith.

And then there’s the beautiful mosaic of people who authentically have no claim to a relationship with Christ. They need to hear about the hope that we have too!

This is where we get stuck. We can lament about people who don’t know Jesus, however it all feels SUPER intimidating to do something about it.

It doesn’t have to be! Most Christians think evangelism is a speech to memorize. However, the Bible is full of stories of men, including Jesus, who introduced the gospel via good questions.

 Asking a ChristianIf you think your friend or family member is a Christian, ask, “what was the day like when you accepted Christ as your Lord and Savior?” If they have a salvation experience to share, they will. If they do not, that will become clear and you can skip to “admire” below.

Asking a non-believer: If you do not know about your friend’s or co-worker’s beliefs, ask, “How would you describe your spiritual journey?”

C. Connect Personally:

This is your chance to practice hospitality, so let go of any debate points.

Find one thing you can celebrate about the person’s answer. What can you relate to? This is not the time to disagree. Use “I” statements to ensure the person feels loved and heard:

“I totally get your commitment to mindfulness.”

“I have always appreciated the kindness of your religion.”

“I deeply admire your resilience through so many hardships.”

Again, this is not your chance to prove them wrong. In fact, this is your chance to admit your own wrong-ness! Humility will set your experience apart from most “evangelistic” opportunities. Find a piece of the person’s story that connects with your own need for a Savior. Then tell the story how Jesus rescued you, adopted you, and changed your life forever. Here’s an example:

“In my own life, I find no matter how hard I tried to balance out my good and bad, I always felt the scale tipping. In high school, I finally understood that I am loved deeply by the God who created me. He sent Jesus to take the punishment I deserve for my imperfect identity. Now I have a relationship with God, not because I walked the right path, but because I trusted in Jesus to get me there.”

K. Know The G.O.S.P.E.L.

Many years ago, we traveled many miles for a missions trip to practice sharing the gospel. We learned how to talk to people and how to ask spiritual questions. However, by the end of the trip, I was still unclear on what the actual GOSPEL was. I knew I was saved because I accepted Jesus’ death for my sins, but I could not articulate the full story of the Good News. Dare 2 Share Ministries has changed that for me. This G.O.S.P.E.L. acronym is easy to remember, and simple to regurgitate in your own words. Because the Gospel is not a hard copy of the Holy Bible. The Gospel is the Good News we know from what the Bible says.

Memorize just the first word of each statement, and you are half way there:

  1. God created us to be with Him.
  2. Our sins separate us from God.
  3. Sins cannot be removed by good deeds.
  4. Paying the price for sin, Jesus died and rose again.
  5. Everyone who trusts in Him alone has eternal life.
  6. Life with Jesus starts now and lasts forever!

As you are connecting personally, remember to incorporate these truths. It can be easy to get wrapped up in the darkness of our past life or the beauty of our current salvation without actually pointing out the path that lead us from A to B.

S. Secure the Opportunity.

 

At this point, I tend to get awkward. What do I say next, now that I shared my story? So often we fumble through an awkward invitation to church or youth group and rush to change the subject.

When we do so, we are avoiding something beautiful. Who knows how the Holy Spirit is working in this moment!? The Bible is full of interpersonal relationship salvation stories, yet we want to shove the experience into a Sunday morning package.

The simple solution: offer a non-awkward way to continue the conversation. Say something like, “I really appreciate you listening to my perspective. Is there a good time we can meet to talk more about this?” Their answer will clue you into their interest level:

“Yes, now please.”

“Sure, how about at _____ time and place.”

“No, I’m not interested.”

If they are ready now, show them what the Bible says:

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. Romans 10:9

It doesn’t take a special prayer or incantation to get “in.” Believe and declare, have faith and make a statement. Our identity transformation from sinner to son/daughter is instant in the eyes of our Savior, though it takes a while for us to learn to act like it (sanctification). That is where invitations to church and Bible study come in handy.

Recap:

  • Hold the Gospel close
  • Assume and Ask
  • Connect Personally
  • Know the GOPSEL
  • Secure the Opportunity

I hope these Gospel HACKS re-ignite a joy and motivation to be a part of the incredible work God is already doing in our world!

What Gospel Sharing Hack do you plan to focus on this week? Share this post to stock the disciple-making tool box for someone else too!

*This post originally appeared on Becky’s former website, Campfire Grace, on October 21, 2017. It has been modified and re-published to keep sparking excitement for new readers.

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