Social Media Influencers for Jesus

Being a social media influencer is now a career path people aspire to become.  One posts on life, adventures, thoughts, products to share with the world. It’s not a bad gig when you think about.  You can travel for your job.  Try new products.  Eat at cool places. All so you can share your experience with those who are following you.

Social Media Influencers have great sway in the social media world.  They set trends and help places or products go viral. 

After Jesus’ Resurrection letter writing was their form of social media.  The four Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke & John) were in essence letters to be shared so people can learn together the story of Jesus.  Paul, the pastor to the Gentiles, wrote a prolific amount of letters in his ministry.  Paul and the Disciples were the original social media influencers.

What we learn from them is using the tools at our hands to share our story of Jesus.  What we post on our social media accounts reach 1000s of people.  In one click we can reach people all over the world.  We can be influencers on social media for Jesus.

So think about it.  You can share why you love Jesus. Or you can share what God is teaching you in your devotions.  You can have conversations with someone you may never meet in person and teach them about Jesus.  Your influence across social media can have great impact for the Kingdom of God.

Just as interacting with people on social media is a regular part of our daily lives it is a natural way to live out the The 168 Life.  Whether you are meeting people in person or via social media you can be an example of Jesus to them. 

Another way you can think about it is like being a brand ambassador. Over the crazy path that is my career path I have been brand ambassador for small craft breweries.  I got to go into liquor and offer people (of legal age) free samples of our beer and tell them about our brewery.  It was truly one of my favorite jobs.  

In this job I quickly learned that people connect to story. They love to hear how the company got started, what we stand for, why we do what we do.  This insight challenged me to see my own faith journey in a similar manner.  I represented Jesus as like a brand ambassador. I get to tell other why I love Jesus, how I got to know Jesus, what He is doing in my life. 

Now I get to do the same thing in my ministry as a Digital Pastor. I get to tell Jesus’s story on social media. We get to influence our followers on social media for Jesus.  We get to be digital missionaries without ever leaving the couch.

As you go online to post a funny picture or share your thoughts for the day think about how you are a social media influencer.  You don’t need a huge number of followers to have influence.  Just continue to share your story with Jesus. Be open to having conversations with people as the Holy Spirit leads you.

Go out into the digital world fellow followers of Jesus posting Jesus’ story for all to hear on social media!

This Week’s Challenge

Post on one of your social media accounts why you love Jesus or how you came to know about Jesus.  Watch for any conversations the Holy Spirit opens up for you to share online.

The Daily Practice of Learning

In the Church world we use the word “discipleship” a lot but we do not always do a good job of defining it. It’s root word, ‘disciple’ means “student or follower.” So discipleship is the practice of following or being a student of Jesus.

When one is a disciple of Jesus s/he learns directly from Jesus.  They regularly read the Bible. They pray sharing with God their heart while hearing what God has to share with them. They view the world as God sees the world loving all people. 

“That sounds so simple.  But what if my calendar is already full?”

I hear you.  It feels like it is another thing to get done in an already crazy busy day.  Here’s the thing we can spend time with God while taking care of other things.  

Go for runs, bike rides, or workouts?  You can listen to the Bible while working out. 

Feel stuck in the Kitchen cleaning up? Or tied to the Laundry pile?  You can talk with God sharing what’s on your heart while hearing what God has for you. 

Sitting on the couch twitching with wanting to do something? You can journal questions or learnings from your faith journey. 

There are pockets of time throughout each of our days to spend time with God.  As we get together with friends for workouts or coffee we can do the same with God.  You don’t have to spend hours at a time if that is too much for you.  The key is the constant touchpoint with God throughout our days.

Your daily practice of learning at the feet of Jesus is your own practice.  It does not need to look like anyone else’s daily practice. It is how you spend time and learn from God. 

The key is to find the intentional time and rhythm with God that works for the two of you.  As you do so stay consistent with those times.  It will be tempting to skip a day but take the time.  Before you know it those nuggets will be a natural part of your day you don’t even think about it anymore.

Learning at the feet of Jesus is important as a follower of Jesus.  The more we learn from Him the more we become like Him. Living The 168 Life is seeing the world through the eyes of Jesus.  We get to see the world as Jesus sees it as we learn from Him.

So as you find these nuggets in your day enjoy the learning.  Ask God to teach you more about faith.  Seek to grow in trust in God alone. 

May you grow in faith in the 168 hours of the week. 

This Week’s Challenge

Schedule nuggets of time with God in your day.  Find natural places for your to connect with God so you can grow in faith. 

Living Faith in the 168

This past year has been to say the least…difficult.

This pasty year has been to say the least…incredible.

March 15, 2020 changed my life.  I was looking forward to this day as it was the Home Opener for my beloved Minnesota United FC. Instead of going to cheer, or should I say yell, for my team for 90 straight minutes I was instead at my first meeting as a Board of Director at my brewery.  And it was at this meeting that everything began to change.

After 3+ hours of intense difficult conversation we made the decision to close our taproom due to COVID-19.  We did so to protect our employees & the public from this deadly disease.  Without any knowledge of PPP Loans or state mandates we did what was right for our cooperative brewery & community.

By the end of that week I had lost 3 out of 4 jobs and was barely hanging on to the 4th one.  I had no idea how I was going to get through a global pandemic with little income, no health insurance & not a lot of job prospects.

That was the difficult part of the year.

After March 15th, I pivoted in my one remaining job.  Instead of welcoming people in person on Sunday mornings I shifted to connecting with people through social media.  Also I got connected with a congregation that had been doing digital ministry for a handful years & began learning from them how to be a digital minister.

While not being able to hang out in person with friends I still spent quality time with some via Zoom & a lot of late nights at work.  We bonded in such a way that will last a lifetime.

I found myself on a path slightly different from what I expected but exactly where God needed me to be right now & into the future.

That is the incredible part of the year.

Living faith in the 168 hours of the week has its ups and downs.  There are hours where you kind of go, “Huh?”  And other hours where you go “God, that was incredible!”  Faith is not picture perfect 100% of the time.  It gets a little crazy from time to time.

This week in our daily readings (available on Instagram at: @resolved_ministry) we are looking at people noted for their faiths.  They are mentioned in the Bible’s “Hall of Fame” chapter in Hebrews 11 for being faith filled.  But let me tell you they were not perfect.  They had their own difficult times with their own incredible times. 

What I pray for you to learn from their stories is how through it all they kept following God.  They made mistakes but repentance came.  They trusted God.

Friends, keep trusting God. I don’t know what you are dealing with today but I do know that you are not alone.  I do know that God is standing right beside you saying, “Take this next step.  Keep watching for what I have planned for you.” 

Hold onto God’s Hand.  Cling to it if you have to.  It’s okay God can handle it.

If you ever need a friend or someone to talk to you have one here.  Send an email or DM via social media.  I am happy to pray with you through the difficult hour towards the next incredible God has for you.

This Week’s Challenge

As you read the Daily Readings write in your journal what you learned from each one’s story.  How can you grow in your faith in God by knowing their faith in God?

We All Need a Priscilla & Aquila in Our Lives: Acts 18

“He had been taught the way of the Lord, and he taught others about Jesus with an enthusiastic spirit and with accuracy. However, he knew only about John’s baptism. When Priscilla and Aquila heard him preaching boldly in the synagogue, they took him aside and explained the way of God even more accurately.”

Acts 18:25-26

I think if Paul lived today he would be considered a frequent flyer with all the miles he travels on his missionary journeys. This week we see him go from Athens to Corinth to Ephesus to Caesarea then a stop at Jerusalem before going to Antioch.  That is a lot of miles by foot.

Along his journey we meet a believer named Apollos who is from Egypt. He was an enthusiastic follower of Jesus having come to know Him by John the Baptist.  Apollos taught others accurately about Jesus because he could not not share the Good News. Aquila & Priscilla, a husband and wife who were taught by Paul, sat down with Apollos to teach him the full Gospel of Jesus. This was not to say that Apollos was wrong but rather Apollos only knew part of the story.  Now he knew more fully the story of the Gospel as he can shared it with others.

We learn in Acts 18 the importance of learning from more mature followers of Jesus.  While Apollos knew the Gospel he did not know the full Gospel.  Priscilla & Aquila sat with Apollos to tell him about Jesus’ life and ministry.  By sitting down together Priscilla and Aquila shared with Apollos how to live one’s faith in daily life.  They taught him Jesus’ lessons on loving one another, on serving one another humbly.

In our faith journeys we learn from one another about faith & being resolved disciples of Jesus Christ. We need “Priscilla & Aquila”s in our own lives so we can learn from mature followers. They teach us from their experiences so we can benefit. They help us discern what God is teaching us. We learn by watching them how to serve with our whole lives, how to share the hope we have in Jesus.

So who is a Priscilla & Aquila in your faith journey?

Who are you learning from to gain a fuller understanding of the Gospel?

Who could you learn from that is already in your life?  Is there someone in your small group or faith community who’s faith you admire and would want to be like in your faith journey? If so, ask if you could have coffee or a virtual call with to talk.

If you do not see someone right now write down in your journal the type of faith you would like to grow into with the Holy Spirit. Pray fervently for God to lead you to a person you can learn from as Apollos learned from Priscilla and Aquila. 

As you take these steps ask God to open up your heart so that you can humbly receive the teaching.  God created us to be in community with one another.  Our differences are opportunities to draw us closer together. They give us different perspectives in God to grow in our faiths.

May we have the fervor of Apollos to share the Gospel joyfully with all as we learn humbly from Priscilla & Aquila to grow in our faiths.

This Week’s Challenge

Set up a time to meet with another follower of Jesus who’s faith you admire.  As you meet bring 2-3 questions with you to ask about faith, life and ministry.  Learn humbly from him/her to see what God is teaching you.

Learning Humbly From Jesus:Acts 16

“One of them was Lydia from Thyatira, a merchant of expensive purple cloth, who worshiped God. As she listened to us, the Lord opened her heart, and she accepted what Paul was saying.”

Acts 16:14

Paul continued traveling throughout the Mediterranean sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ with everyone who would listen to them. On this journey he meets a young disciple named Timothy. He wanted Timothy to join him on the remainder of the trip so Timothy can learn from Paul directly.

Along their journey they met some women outside the city of Philippi who were God believers.  By the riverside Paul, Timothy & Silas shared the Gospel with them. Lives were changed that day.  In that group of women was a business woman who received the Gospel and was baptized.  In fact her entire household was baptized.  

Paul, Silas & Timothy’s job was to preach the Gospel in each city as the Holy Spirit led them. How the seeds of faith took was not necessarily their responsibility.  Each person who hears the Gospel can receive it or reject it.  Their hearts are open by the Holy Spirit to be transformed by the Gospel.

Lydia teaches us having an open heart when being taught by God.  She was an accomplished business woman who probably had great influence in the city.  Selling purple cloth was not a small time business. Who could blame her if she thought she did not need God in her life.  She had everything she ever could need in life.

In life today we have many creature comforts that can falsely lull us into believing that we can do everything on our own.  We do not need God because we have everything that we need.  We can take care of ourselves. But that is not true.

God reaches out to everyone in love.  While God desires everyone to be in a growing relationship with Him it is not forced on anyone. Lydia is an example of receiving the Gospel message in one’s heart.  She received the Gospel as the Holy Spirit opened her heart.  Lydia did not push God away falsely believing she could do things on her own.

Lydia teaches each of us this importance of learning from God.  She sat with Paul & Silas learning from them about Jesus Christ.  She led others in her household to come to know Jesus for themselves. We can do the same in our lives when we gather together with other followers of Jesus to learn from Scripture.  We can share the Good News of Jesus with those closest in our lives by sharing how Jesus is changing us. 

May we all be like Lydia learning from Paul & Silas receiving the Gospel freely as the Holy Spirit opens our hearts.  Before our eyes God will change the world one changed life at a life.

This Week’s Challenge

In your prayer time this week ask God where there is an area in your life that is closed to the Gospel.  Learn from God how to freely receive God’s teaching. 

Acts 2: You Get God’s Grace! And You Get God’s Grace! God’s Grace for Everyone!!

“This promise is to you, to your children, and to those far away—all who have been called by the Lord our God.” (Acts 2:39)

This week we are looking at Acts Chapter 2.  We left Chapter 1 with Jesus promising the disciples they will not be alone once He ascends into Heaven.  He promised them the Holy Spirit where they would receive power as they live as witnesses in Jerusalem and all over the world. 

Now in Chapter 2 the disciples receive the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, a Jewish festival celebrating the harvest and 50 days after the Passover. While they were gathered together the Holy Spirit came empowering them to be witnesses in Jerusalem first and then all over the world. 

As you read Acts Chapter 2 note how Peter, the impulsive disciple, now stands in front of the city preaching a full sermon with full confidence. He quotes the Old Testament a couple of times. He preached so well thousands were saved that day.

Today we are looking at the verse 39 where Peter shares how all are saved by the grace of God. Previously only Jewish people were able to be saved.  If one was born a Gentile (not from Israel) s/he needed to be converted into the Jewish faith so that s/he can be saved.  What Peter says is revolutionary.  Gentiles can be saved?!?! God’s grace is for everyone?!?!?

No one is left out of receiving God’s grace.  Each one of us is loved unconditionally by God. We are called to repentance, a turning back on sin and turning towards God’s open arms. This is the joy to be found in God alone. 

When you look at the section after Peter’s sermon you see how the community of followers shared life together.  If one had more of something s/he shared with the community. They gathered together to worship and have a meal together.  As others saw how much they loved one another and served in the city they asked more about faith and became followers of Jesus in their own lives.

This is the example we are to follow in our lives as followers of Jesus Christ.  It is the community we share with fellow disciples that gives an example of God’s love for everyone. By caring for one another we demonstrate God’s unconditional love for all people. Remember God’s grace is for everyone.  We cannot isolate ourselves with fellow disciples. God sends out to the world to be witnesses, telling our stories with Jesus.

This Week’s Challenge

Who is someone in your life that God is nudging you towards sharing your witness about Jesus Christ? What is 1 thing you will do this week to begin the conversation?

#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.

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.

Finding Shalom: Peace in the Midst of Anxiety

These are uneasy times. Lots of unknowns. There are more questions than answers. Each day I hear from another person how they are struggling with anxiety.

We all are searching for peace in a time of what feels like chaos.

We are not the first ones to have some doubts about the future. After Jesus’ resurrection there were some disciples who saw Him but still doubted.

“And when they saw him they worshipped him, but some doubted.”

Matthew 28:17

They did not know what was coming next. They knew Jesus was fully alive and returning to Heaven but what about them? What were they to do, or go?

Jesus’ response to those who doubted and to those who at the same time worshipped is what we now call the Great Commission:

“And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 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 that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Matthew 28:18-20

He assured all of them they are not alone. They are given the duty to tell others the good news about Jesus and through  the Holy Spirit teach them how to be a follower of Jesus.

They had shalom with God, wholeness or oneness with God. Whether there was doubt or worship all were given God’s peace.

For us today we have shalom with God as well.  Jesus gives us His peace by the Holy Spirit to serve through our worship and our doubts.

The enemy tries to cause us to feel anxious because we can’t answer all the questions. We don’t need to answer them all. We only need to point back to Jesus.

Friends, have the peace of God in all things. 

“do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”

Philippians 4:6

Live in the Shalom of God today and everyday. Be one with God. Rest in His arms.

As you feel anxiety creep in, pray: “God, blanket me with Your peace right now. Help me have Shalom with You alone.”

Having doubts is not wrong. Staying in doubt is not growing in the Lord. Give your doubts to asking to trust once again. There you find true Shalom with God.

This Week’s Challenge

Pray the prayer about whenever you feel anxious or doubt this week.

Keep Looking at Jesus

Last post we talked about the importance of being changed by the Holy Spirit. In order to be a part of God’s Will we must be transformed from the inside out.

As we are being transformed so much of life can feel like it is in complete chaos. Anxiety may build up. In turn it is important to have a focal point that we can turn to in these moments. As we fix our eyes on Jesus, our focal point, the chaos becomes white noise and the anxiety is replaced with peace. 

Jesus stands with us through all the changes. When temptations arise to return to our old selves we look to Jesus to remind us where we are going. We are able to take that next step God has for us.

Any journey a person embarks on the final destination remains in the forefront. Decisions of what route to take are made based on where one is going. You remember where you are going as you are getting there. Destinations arise but fall to the wayside because we remain focused on Jesus. So we may see a roadside attraction and want to stop at it for a little while.  But when we get back on the road we remember our ultimate destination and focus on it exclusively. 

It is possible to become self-absorbed as we are being transformed from the inside out. We can stop and look back and be proud of how far we have come. A sense of “Look at me. Aren’t I great?” This temptation causes us to keep our eyes on Jesus so that we continue to pursue humility.  We are not detoured from becoming aligned with God’s Will. 

To avoid the distractions and temptations we keep looking to Jesus. As Peter kept his eyes on Jesus and walked on water so too we ‘glide’ while keeping our eyes on Him. Storms still arise but we do not need to worry. Jesus calms our fears as we ride out the storm together.

As we keep looking at Jesus we see how God is moving in the world. We see His Word going out and returning fruitful. We watch the Holy Spirit working through others to spread the Gospel. We get a glimpse of how God is using us as well to make disciples.

Here’s another way to visualize it.  A figure skater finds a focal point before going into a spin.  This is to help cut down on feeling dizzy coming out of the spin. As s/he rotates they turn their head quickly around to focus on the point. We keep Jesus as our focal point to cut out the noise of this world so we can continue to be transformed by Him.

It’s all part of the wonderful journey with God as we grow closer to Him. As we grow closer to God we become more a part of God’s Will in the world. 

This Week’s Challenge

This week decide on a phrase/sentence you will say to yourself to bring your eyes back to Jesus. Note how it helps you in those times of distractions.