#168Life: Living Faith in the 168

There are 168 hours in a week.  Historically as the Church we have focused faith to be in the couple of hours on Sunday mornings we spend in worship & an hour during the week in Bible study. We begin to think that Church is what we do at specific times in specific places. Faith becomes categorized to a segment of our lives.  We treat as an outfit that we put on for certain occasions when it is appropriate.

But faith was never meant to be limited to 2-3 hours a week.  Being a disciple means “a follower or student of a teacher, leader, or philosophe” (Oxford Dictionary).  It involves a person’s whole life.  We follow Jesus wherever He leads us. We learn from His teachings in the Bible applying them in our lives. 

The #168Life is living out one’s faith every day all day.  It influences what we say with friends or post on social media.  Faith is the filter through which we see the world. By it we make decisions, interact with others, share love with the world. Faith shapes who we are in every area of life. It is who we are, not what we do.

Here at ReSolved Ministry we strive to live our faiths in a way that others ask what is different about us.  We serve others with love and share the Gospel with humility. We grow each day in the Lord knowing that we are being changed from the inside out by the Holy Spirit. 

There are 4 Missional Habits to help one live the #168Life: Be Present, Listen to Learn, Serve, Share. 

  1. Be Present – put away the distractions and be fully present in the moment.  It is giving your undivided attention to the one(s) you are with.
  2. Listen to Learn – listening to one another, not waiting to respond, but to learn about the other person.  It is listing with your eyes & ears hearing what is being said and what is not said.
  3. Serve – As you learn about one another you hear their real needs. You can serve with humility, caring for one another.
  4. Share – as the relationship grows so does trust.  In this trusting friendship you lovingly share why you love Jesus.

The Missional Life Habits are tools we use to help us live out our faiths 168 hours a week.  We grow in each one over time as we grow closer to the Lord.  

To help you grow in the Missional Life Habits you can join the ReSolved Ministry Online Community, our Facebook Group. It is a place to connect, share prayer requests, encourage.  On Sundays we look at one of the Missional Life Habits for that week then discuss how we can live it out in our lives for the next 168 hours. 

May every disciple life the #168Life so that the whole world questions the lives we live asking about the difference that is in us.  This is how the Gospel goes out into the ends of the world advancing the Kingdom of God.

Who’s In Your Tribe?

“The New Testament knows nothing of solitary religion.”

John Wesley

Reading through the Gospel of Matthew and the whole New Testament one sees time and time again how as God sends someone out to share the Gospel s/he goes with others.  No one was sent out by the Holy Spirit alone.  Even Jesus served in ministry with others and He was the Son of God.

Becoming a follower of Jesus involves connecting with other followers of Jesus. We come together in worship, prayer & fellowship to grow closer to God and thereby to one another. We share stories from serving in our communities, living out our faiths. 

Who is in your tribe?  Who are the people closest to you that walk with you as all of you serve the Lord?  

Having a tribe is vital to growing as a disciple of Jesus Christ.  Through our tribe God comforts us, teaches us, challenges us. In our communities we discern together how the Holy Spirit is leading us. 

If you do not know who is in your tribe pray to God to show you who He is bringing into your life.  Look to your local church community for a small group you can join. Or ask the pastor to help you get connected with others to have a tribe together.

As you have your tribe decide together when all of you will meet.  Is it weekly in person or bi-weekly via Zoom? Look to see how you will stay connected during the week.  Group text messages help to quickly share prayers & updates.  Emails provide a place for stories from ministry to be share in full. However you meet & connect it is important to remain in communication with one another.

Being a part of a small group is part of being a follower of Jesus. Together we serve the Lord participating in God’s Will being done here on Earth. We see the amazing things God is doing in and through us for His glory.

So, who’s in your tribe?

This Week’s Challenge
Determine who is in our tribe. Now decide together how often you will meet & how you stay connected during the week. Watch together what God is doing in reaching all people with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Healing from the Inside

When reading the 8th chapter of the Gospel of Matthew one encounters two stories of Jesus healing people.  He was approached by two individuals who were not regarded ‘good’ by Jewish society as worthy of being around Jesus.  One was a leper who was perennially unclean and could not be around others lest they cause someone else to become unclean.  The other was a Roman centurion who was in a position of authority over the Jewish people and was seen as an enemy.

Each person, the leper and the centurion, understood who Jesus truly was, a gentle healer for all people.  They approached Jesus with humility to ask for healing for either themselves or for a loved one.  Jesus saw in these requests a faith that superseded anything else. Jesus offered healing because of their great trust in Him as the true Messiah.

In our lives today we face hardship and pain.  The loss of a loved one.  Difficulty in relationships. Struggles in professional lives. The pain is not always seen physically on the outside for others to see. It does sit deep in our souls where we try to cover it up and not let someone see it.

Jesus brings healing to everyone. Whether the pain is a disease or internal hurt His healing brings peace to our souls. This world is broken and not as God the Father intended at Creation.  So Jesus comes to us to heal us from the hurts of this world. 

We see His dedication in the parable of the lost sheep in Matthew 18:10-20. Here in this story we see the Great Shepherd leave the 99 sheep in their pen safe from harm and went out into the wilderness to find the 1 lost sheep.  He loves all of His sheep, children, so deeply that He will do what needs to be done to heal them.

Jesus brings His healing to you.  What pain are you holding onto from your past?  Where are you searching for peace from the brokenness of this world? 

Go before the Lord and give Him your hurt.  Tell Him where it hurts.  Let Him blanket you with peace to grow through the pain and become stronger in the Lord.  Grow in trust in the Healer God. 

As the leper said to Jesus, “Lord, if you will, you can make me clean” (Matthew 8:2), say the same to Jesus. Watch the healing He brings you from the inside out.

This Week’s Challenge

Each day this week pray to Jesus the pain you feel deep in your soul.  Ask Him to bring healing to you and show you how He is healing. Memorize Matthew 8:2 as part of your prayer life this week.

Evangelism Isn’t So Scary

The interesting thing about faith is how it can become extinct with each generation.  Unless people share why they love Jesus then faith is not passed on to the next person and slowly disappears.

As a follower of Jesus Christ each of us are to share why we love Jesus.  It is how the faith is passed on.  Think about how you began your own faith journey.  Who shared their own story with you?  Who invited you to begin your own walk with Jesus?  That is evangelism, the telling of the Good News of Jesus Christ.

Evangelism can be intimidating.  Pictures of going to dangerous places talking to people who are against the church.  Evangelism is not for everyone is a common thought.  Only certain people are called to do that line of work.

But think about people in your life who are not following Jesus yet.  Ask yourself, “How will they hear?” Perhaps God has placed you in each other’s lives so that you can build a friendship, grow trust and when the Holy Spirit’s leads share your story with him/her.

It is in the day in, day out showing up in one another’s lives, serving with humility. Here in quiet, humble service we are broadcasting the Word of God to everyone in our lives.  We are living out the Good news of Jesus Christ. Then the Holy Spirit goes out nurturing those seeds of faith.

When we consistently show up, listen to learn, serve and share over the course of our lives we will see many lives changed as a result.  In our resolved to serve God with our whole lives others will be resolved by the Gospel of Jesus Christ. 

Evangelism does not need to be scary.  See it not as going into strange places fearing for your safety.  See it in your friends, neighbors, co-workers who have not yet heard.  Broadly cast your story through word and action each day.  See how God is leading you to those who have not heard.  Live your life as an ambassador for Jesus Christ. This is the work of an evangelist.

This Week’s Challenge
Serve someone in your life this week who has not yet heard the Gospel.  Begin praying for the Holy Spirit to show you the right time to share your story with him/her.

How to Navigate When the Easy Road Isn’t So Easy

There is a misperception out there that once a person becomes a Christian life becomes easy. Somehow by following God all problems melt away, heartache is not a part of one’s life.

Hear this — this is a lie. Life does not get easy once a person becomes a Christian. In fact it could be argued that life may become more difficult.

I don’t say this to scare you but to be authentic. Satan roams around the world to destroy us. The enemy does not want us to grow closer to God. The enemy does what he can to stop us from being changed by the Holy Spirit. 

Here’s the hope to cling to — Jesus faced temptations from Satan also. In Matthew 4:1-11 we read how Jesus was led by the Holy Spirit to the Wilderness where He fasted for 40 days! Only then did Satan come to tempt Him. Jesus faced the same temptations as we do and He did not give in. He resisted all temptations.

Now Jesus is the Son of God.  He is fully God and fully Man.  He is perfect.  We, human beings, are the created and are not perfect.  There are times we will stumble but all hope is not lost. We freely receive God’s grace to begin again. So let’s learn from Jesus how we are to respond when temptations do arise.

Jesus responded with each temptation with Scripture. He quoted Deuteronomy from the Old Testament. He understood the power in God’s Word and knew the Holy Spirit was with Him. Jesus shows us how to navigate when the easy road isn’t easy.

In your life there are hardships. The enemy does attempt to stop us from growing closer to God. When those times do come follow Jesus’ example. It is 2 Steps:

  1. Pray for the Holy Spirit to be with you
  2. Speak God’s Word to the enemy

Each day read the Bible even if it’s only a handful of verse. Memorize verses so God’s Word is written on your heart at all times. Over time you will see how God’s Word infiltrates your whole being.

Pray throughout the day. Stay in regular conversation with God the Father. Ask to see how the Holy Spirit is with you so you can recognize it during the not so easy times.

The road is not always easy. Problems arise. Heartaches happen. Satan tries to separate us from God.  Remember NOTHING can separate us from God’s love.

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 8:37-39

Speak God’s Word.

Pray to see the Holy Spirit.

Then the not so easy road becomes easier to navigate.

This Week’s Challenge

Memorize Romans 8:37-39 so you can speak Truth when times become difficult.

Do You Want to Know What God has for You?

“What do you want to be when you grow up?”

I’m convinced that most adults ask kids this question so they can get some ideas for themselves.  It is one thing to have a job and another to pursue a passionate career. We all want to live our lives with purpose.

Jesus called 12 individuals to be His students and do life with Him. Each one left an established careers to go follow a Rabbi who was a little radical according to the established leadership. They left jobs to discover a new passion and career.

One of those 12 was Matthew, the author of the Gospel we have been studying in this series, On The Verge. Matthew was a tax collector who was not well like by his fellow Israelites. Jesus invited him to join the 12 and discover a new life.

Read Matthew’s story here: Matthew 9:9-13

Matthew was not initially welcomed by the established church leadership to have dinner with Jesus. This did not matter to Jesus. Jesus had a plan for Matthew and that is all that mattered. Matthew went on to share the Gospel with all people after Jesus’ Resurrection. 

Fellow disciple of Jesus, hear the call the passion God has for you. The Christian life is integrated into our whole lives. God gives each of us abilities to serve Him and share with others.

It is in how we live our lives, in the good times and difficult ones, that we share the light of Jesus. We reflect walking by faith when we don’t have all the answers but we still act, trusting God.

So what passion has God given you in serving Him and sharing the Gospel? What times do you thrive? Times you feel confident. it’s in these moments you discover what God has for you to do. No further need to ask kids for ideas for yourself.

Go on the journey with Jesus learning like Matthew the new path God has for you. You are just on the verge of something incredible.

This Week’s Challenge
Through free-writing (no editing, simple write whatever comes to mind), write down the times you thrived and an individual. Then see how God uses those times to share the Gospel.

Give What You Have, God Will Multiply It

It can feel like you are not qualified to serve or teach others about Jesus. If you just knew a little bit more about the Bible. Or if you had a little more skill.  Then you will be qualified to go out and serve.

Here’s the joy: give what you have and watch God multiply it. It is not dependent all on you. What is required of each us is the willingness to serve and follow God.

Let’s take a moment to read from the Gospel of Matthew to see how Jesus did this in His ministry. Click over to read: Matthew 14:13-21

Jesus knew everyone needed to eat but there wasn’t a couple of food trucks on hand to take care of it. The disciples got 5 loaves of bread and a couple of fish and were confused how far that was going to last. Jesus had a plan. He gave thanks and blessed the food. From that “small” gift 1000s of people ate and were full.

The lesson we learn here in Matthew is how our role is to give what we have and watch Jesus use it to bless others. The full weight of providing all the resources to teach or serve does not rest on our shoulders. God stands besides us saying, “Watch how I’ll do this.”

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, as you sit on the verge of growing deeper in your faith do not think you must first learn more or be able to do more before God can use you. Know this, God wants your willing heart to serve, to grow. Before our eyes God will take our 5 loaves and 2 fish and multiply it beyond our wildest dreams.

So as you go out today see where God is asking you to serve. Maybe it is to give a can of food to a food pantry. Then see it be added to a bag of groceries for a family.

Maybe God has you to write a short note of encouragement to a neighbor. Then see it bring a smile to their day and they serve joyfully to others.

Whatever it is that God has to teach you this week welcome it warmly. Watch the seed of faith grow and help sow seeds of faith in others by the Holy Spirit.

Fellow disciples of Jesus Christ await with great anticipation the wonderful things God has for you to do in His Name. Give Him what you have whatever it is and watch God multiply it according to His Will.

This Week’s Challenge

Go around your house and collect what you can donate to another family or an organization. See how God uses and multiplies it to bless others.

Who’s in Your Tribe?

We are made to be in community with one another. No one was meant to go through life alone. To share both the highs and lows. There to be a shoulder to cry on. an extra pair of hands to help. A friend to share a laugh with.

Humanity was created in the image of God. God is a Triune God, 3 in 1. Three distinct Persons in the One Godhead. It is not separate gods. Rather The Triune God lives in perfect community with one another. Also it serves as the example we are to follow ourselves. 

Jesus’ Baptism is an example of the Trinity being present with each other. We see Jesus being pronounced by God the Father as the Promised One while the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove rest with Jesus. Three in One. Perfect community.

“Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John, to be baptized by him. John would have prevented him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he consented. And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” 

Matthew 3:13-17

So here’s a question for you:  Who is in your tribe?

Who do you share life with?

As followers of Jesus we must follow His example and be in community with others. God is perfect and lives in community with Jesus and the Holy Spirit.

Think about who you turn to in times of struggle for encouragement; in times of joy who do you want to celebrate with. It is the people who are in your tribe.

In previous posts we have seen how God speaks to us in community with other believers. Together we share life and grow closer to God. We serve for and with one another in community.

If you don’t know who is in your tribe pray with God to show who is your tribe. See who comes into your life and connect with them. Share life together with one another. 

As you have your tribe meet together to connect, check in, encourage, hold accountable. Share with each other the joys and sorrows, teachings from God, serve one another.

We learn from the Triune God how to be in community. We share life together because God shares life together. We follow God’s model. 

Now go out and be with your tribe. Make memories together. Learn with one another. serve with one another.

This Week’s Challenge

Establish a regular connection time with those in your tribe. Share stories with one another.  Share how you can be praying for each other. Laugh together. Serve one another.

3 Ways to Keep in Step with God

“Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.”

Galatians 5:25

If someone is to be follower one needs to know how to follow. How does one follow when you can’t see God?

Think about it this way: a person can’t see the wind but knows it is there and goes in the direction it blows. God’s leading is similar in that we may not see Him but we learn how He leads us. In today’s post we explore 3 ways God leads us.

First, we listen to God by reading the Bible. See, the Bible is the Word of God teaching us faith and life with Jesus. For anyone new to reading the Bible it can be confusing. I recommend starting with a Reading Plan. Also answering these 3 Questions will help you in understanding the Bible.

  1. What did you just read?
  2. What does it mean?
  3. How does it apply to you, your family, work, life and community?

Over time you will hear more clearly God speaking to you. Your questions will adapt as well.

Another way God leads us is in prayer. Prayer is our conversation with God directly. It is where we share our joys, fears, worries with Him. It is where He rejoices with us, comforts, heals and teaches us. So keep talking with God and listen to that still, small voice. Test to see that it is God. Keep praying and following the Lord.

A third way God leads us is in community with other followers of Jesus. Those nudges we get in our Bible reading & prayer are confirmed by our faith community. Faith is not to be in isolation. God created us to be in community with one another. As a united body we follow Jesus together keeping in step with the Holy Spirit.

“Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” And he laid his hands on them and went away.”

Matthew 19:14

Jesus welcomes everyone to come to Him and become His follower. If you are on the verge of faith be assured that God is leading you. Trust the insights you hear from reading the Bible, gut feelings God gives you in prayer and the ministry opportunities for you and your faith community.

This is not an exhaustive list of how God leads us His followers. It is a list to get you started in following His lead.

Set aside 15-30 minutes this week to read, pray and reflect on where God is leading you. Then take the first step in being obedient to that leading. See where God takes you.

This Week’s Challenge

Schedule time in your calendar to reflect on how God is leading you. Share any insights with your small group or church community.

Disconnecting to Reconnect with God Each Day

How do you like to learn?

By reading?

Watching someone do it?

Trying it yourself?

Asking questions?

Whatever is your preferred method of learning it is important to make the time to pursue learning as you go forward from being on the verge of faith to a growing relationship with Jesus Christ. 

Spiritual disciplines are the practices we do as followers of Jesus so that we learn and remain close to God. They include, but are not limited to, prayer (Click Here to read previous post on Prayer), Scripture reading, worship, serving, Sabbath.  For the purposes of this post we are looking at two, Scripture reading and Sabbath.

First, reading the Bible is where we directly encounter the Living God. We read it not as a textbook to gain knowledge. We read it so that we are changed by the Holy Spirit. We read the Bible to learn what God has to teach us.

If you sense your anxiety level rising at the thought of reading the Bible take a deep breath and now exhale slowly. Here is a little bit of advice to help you:

  1. Read the Bible at the same time each day or put it on your calendar to remind you.
  2. Find a reading plan to help you get started.  Here is a helpful place to find one for yourself: YouVersion
  3. As you read answer these questions:
    1. Summarize what you read
    2. What does it mean?
    3. How does it apply to you, your family, work, life and community?

Follow this rhythm for two weeks and see how it goes. Note how God is teaching you. See what has begun to change in your relationship with God.

Second, observing a regular Sabbath is key in our relationships with Jesus. To clarify, Sabbath means resting from work and rejuvenating your soul as you spend quality time with God. We are told in the Old Testament to “Remember the Sabbath by keeping it holy.” [Exodus 20:8]. God wants us to slow down, step away from work and be with Him alone. One day a week. One hour a day. We disconnect to reconnect with God.

Now this one can be a little more difficult to implement all at once. It’s okay to build up to it. This day can either be a full calendar day or from sundown to sundown whichever works better for you. The key is to schedule it in your calendar like everything else.  Guard it.  Prepare for it by getting things done ahead of time. Give yourself things to do that is fun, life-giving.

As for daily Sabbath, make the time for it. Do what gives you life. Step away from work for an hour and have fun.  If you enjoy going outside go for a walk, play ball with family or friends, spend time at a park reading or drawing.  Whatever it is give yourself permission to be in the moment, truly present with God.

Having a daily rhythm with God will look different from time to time. It is important to spend the quality time with God each day.

Find the rhythm that fits you and follow it. Ask a friend to hold you accountable and share stories of growth with each other.

As you spend time with God you will see the Spirit is changing you from the inside out.  

This Week’s Challenge

  1. Start a Bible reading plan and take notes on what God is teaching you.
  2. Schedule your weekly Sabbath and plan what fun, life-giving things you will do.