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.

Resolved to Share: Acts 20

“But my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus—the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God.”

Acts 20:24

Paul keeps up his frantic traveling schedule throughout Asia.  Each stop he makes he teaches to as people as he can as often as he is able.

And Paul loves to preach!

Have you ever sat through a lecture or sermon wondering if it would ever end? Or fell asleep during said lecture/sermon? 

If so, be thankful you were most likely sitting in a chair/pew. 

Eutychus was listening to Paul teach one evening when Paul was on a roll.  He kept teaching well into the night for so long Eutychus fell asleep. Now this normally would not be an issue except for the fact that Eutychus was sitting in a window.  He fell out of that window while sleeping to the ground below.

Paul raced down to be with Eutychus and by the Holy Spirit brought him back to life. (I have a feeling not much of what Paul taught was remembered after that)

Paul could not help himself from telling everyone he could about Jesus Christ.  He went on and on for hours at a time making sure that people knew the full story about Jesus. He did not leave unless he knew the young faiths would continue to grow in maturity.  This is why he trained people like Timothy to stay in cities to continue the teachings.

Paul lived his life fully for Jesus Christ.  He teaches each one of us how one’s whole life can be for the Lord.  It does not matter whatever your career may be. What matters is how you work in that career, how you interact with others at work or in your personal life.

As followers of Jesus Christ we share the Gospel with our whole lives. We tell in sharing why we love Jesus.  We share it when we serve our neighbor out of love.  We display it whenever we share blessings with others freely as we received. 

Paul may have travelled all over telling as many people as he could about Jesus.  You may stay in your hometown for decades but you can still share your faith with many people.  Think about all the people you encounter throughout your day.  How many know you are a follower of Jesus?  Do they know the reason why you love Him?

You are a missionary for God.  You are sent into your world to serve & share the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Re-solve how you interact with others so that they see Jesus through you.  Be resolved that you have God of Heaven with you by the Holy Spirit to speak the words and take the actions so all may know.

A piece of advice if you’re sharing your faith story just be sure no one is sitting in an open window sill. 

This Week’s Challenge

Make a list of people you typically encounter in your week. Pray for those who do not have faith in Jesus.  Seek to see how God is leading you to share your faith story with him/her.

Planting & Nurturing Seeds of Faith: Acts 19

“Then Paul went to the synagogue and preached boldly for the next three months, arguing persuasively about the Kingdom of God.”

Acts 19:8

As we read Acts 19 we see Paul teaching in Ephesus sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ and teaching them about the Holy Spirit. Now not everyone was receptive to what Paul had to say.  Some rejected what he taught speaking out against Christianity. 

Despite Paul’s passionate, thorough teaching not everyone believed, even after 3 months. It does not mean that Paul failed or could have done better.  Rather not everyone will become believers when they hear the Gospel.  It is not Paul’s job, nor ours to get everyone to believe.

The key lesson is to recognize that our true job in sharing the Gospel is to preach it authentically in word and action. We cannot control how or when people will receive Jesus as his/her Savior. God sends you and me out to simply tell our stories of faith to others.  It is the Holy Spirit that works in the hearts of others to prepare them to receive it.  This may occur instantaneously in our eyes or it may seem to take a long period of time.

What we do not always see all the aspects of God’s Plan of Salvation.  We do not see what God has been doing in a person’s life prior to our sharing nor do we see what God continues to do afterwards. It is our responsibility to simply share our story as God provides the opportunity. 

Paul teaches everyone this lesson in his first letter to the Corinthian believers:

“I planted the seed in your hearts, and Apollos watered it, but it was God who made it grow.”

1 Cor. 3:6

Paul was called by God to teach about Jesus & the Holy Spirit in Ephesus at this time. He was not held responsible by God to ensure that everyone became a believer. He shared and allowed the Holy Spirit to do the work in the hearts of the individual. 

In our lives we pray to God for the words to share and the courage to share it.  Then we pray for the seeds of faith to grow in the Lord. At times we see the blooming of a flower that was first planted by another.  Other times we are asked to plant the seed of faith so when another comes the flower will bloom. 

In your faith journey this week look to the people God is leading you to nurture the seeds of faith so that they can bloom.  Then pray for those God has for you plant the seeds of faith for future growth.  Know the difference between these two.  Ask God to open your eyes to recognize the moments as they present themselves to you.  

In all ways cling to the joy of the Lord that you have in your life. Always remember you are a child of God dearly loved.  God gives you the courage and words to share as God gave the same to Paul on each of his missionary journeys. 

This Week’s Challenge

In your prayer journey list those individuals God has you to nurture the seeds of faith.  In a second list write down those God wants you to plant the seeds of faith.  Each day pray for these individuals so all the seeds of faith grow strong in the Lord.

Why It is Important to Tell the Story: Acts 14

“Upon arriving in Antioch, they called the church together and reported everything God had done through them and how he had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles, too.”

Acts 14:27

Paul & Barnabas traveled far & wide on their first missionary journey.  They visited many cities sharing the Gospel of Jesus with Jews and Gentiles seeing many lives completely changed. 

This week we see them return to Antioch sharing the stories with the believers there who were waiting for their return. They shared stories of the lame man who was healed. The time Paul was stoned and left for dead. And countless other stories not included in the text.

Many beautiful things occur in ministry.  The conversations between people sharing stories of life & faith.  The incredible serving opportunities where God blesses all involved whatever their needs may be. The lives completely changed after beginning to follow Jesus Christ. 

As you travel along on your faith journey share the stories of ministry with your close friends.  Share with one another what God is teaching you right now. Share stories from serving others not to gain glory for yourself but to praise God together for the lives impacted by the Gospel. 

Think back to when you first heard about Jesus Christ.  Who shared their faith story with you? What stood out to you when you heard it?

Sharing stories is one way that we connect with one another.  We get to know someone in ways that only stories tell us.  We have a further bond with an individual that matures our friendship with them. 

Paul & Barnabas shared their stories from their first missionary trip so that the believers in Antioch can see how God answered their prayers for Paul & Barnabas.  The believers were together with Paul & Barnabas in ministry through many miles separated them. 

When you gather with fellow believers what stories do you share from ministry with one another? By sharing stories from living The 168 Life you are able to see how God is reaching the world through you.  Also you see the fruit of your prayers for each other.  As a community you are connected together sharing and serving together. When you share stories with each other or to someone who has not heard yet you are sharing God in your words. 

There is no need to be nervous about being able to speak well or not.  God promises to give you the words to share by the Holy Spirit. Share from your heart.  Share what you saw. The story will flow from you in ways you did not conceive.  Be assured that God’s Word does not return empty (Isaiah 55:11). 

This Week’s Challenge

The next time you get with friends share a story from when you first heard the Gospel story.

How to Be Encouraged During Opposition: Acts 13

“And the believers were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.”

Acts 13:52

Let the traveling begin. Paul & Barnabas were being sent now by the Holy Spirit to begin traveling to different cities to teach the Gospel of Jesus to the people in each city.  Their fellow believers prayed over Paul & Barnabas and then sent them out on their trip.

This trip is known as Paul’s 1st Missionary Trip.  He would eventually take 3 different trips over the course of his ministry.  With Barnabas they travelled far staying in the cities and sharing the good news of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection. 

Some people responded in believing what they were preaching. Others rebelled against them trying to stop their preaching. There were some Jewish leaders that did not like what Paul & Barnabas had to say.  The leaders rallied others to drive Paul & Barnabas out of town.  

This opposition did not stop them or slow them down.  The duo continued on their journey all over the region seeing many come to know Jesus personally for themselves.  There was much rejoicing celebrating these changed lives.

A key learning from this week’s chapter for us today is the importance to persevere in the face of opposition.  I grew up in a church tradition where change was hard.  In fact there was a joke saying “How many Lutherans does it take to change a light bulb?”  Punchline: “What’s change?”  

Yeah true story.

Paul & Barnabas were changing how people were worshipping God.  They were teaching everyone how Jesus is the Messiah, the Promised One.  From the Scriptures (our modern day Old Testament) they showed how Jesus fulfilled all of God’s promises and how by His life, death & resurrection we are saved from sins.

This Good News is life changing! It disrupts the status quo.

Some people are not ready or willing to hear this change.  They will be opposed to anyone who is changed by the Gospel. 

As you continue to follow Jesus with your life be encouraged to keep growing and sharing.  Yes, you will face opposition.  You might be facing opposition right now from family &/or friends. Stand firm in your faith.

Look to Paul & Barnabas as they went on their first missionary journey. They preached the Gospel in the town to all who would listen.  When it was time to leave they rejoiced for what the Holy Spirit did.  For those cities that rejected them they shook the dust off their sandals and went to the next city.

This week hold tight to Jesus’ hand as you go about your life. Listen to God’s Word when you pray, read the Bible, converse with fellow believers.  Ignore the opposition.  Shake the dust off your feet and move on to the next place where God has you to serve.

Be filled with joy as you mute the naysayers and sing the praises of God.

This Week’s Challenge

Memorize 2 Bible verses to say to yourself when you face opposition for the faith.

Acts 8: Follow On the Adventure

“The Spirit told Philip, “Go to that chariot and stay near it.”

Acts 8:29

So far in our study of Acts we have seen the disciples going here & there sharing the Gospel.  They were led by the Holy Spirit to go out from Jerusalem to neighboring cities & countries. Today we follow Philip on his journey of sharing the Gospel.

He was sent by the Holy Spirit to go south on a road away from Jerusalem.  The reason why was not first explained but Philip did learn quickly on his trip the reason. He met a man from Ethiopia who was studying the Scriptures. Philip stopped and asked if he was understanding what he was reading.  From this question a conversation about the story of Jesus began ending in the Ethiopian man being baptized as a sign of his new faith in Jesus. 

Being led by the Holy Spirit is an adventure. We do not always know the ‘why’ as we start out.  We are asked by God to trust and follow.  As we journey along over time we see the ‘why’, either in full or in part. God has a purpose for us as part of His Plan. We cannot see the full picture but we can see the pieces of the puzzle that are directly connected to us.  

Philip models for us the willingness to go where God leads. He starts out on the road not sure where he will end up but once he sees the man on the road studying the Scriptures he understood what God had for him to do that day.  As their conversation began the words were given to Philip to share with the Ethiopian man so as the Gospel can be received openly.

In our lives God has us go and do things we may not understand immediately as to why.  We know it is God sending us in a variety of ways.  It can be gut feelings that simply don’t go away.  It can be studying the Scriptures ourselves when a verse pops out at us and the next step becomes clear.  It is in our prayers with God when a thought becomes clear.  A passion from within us grows bright that cannot be denied.

As you travel along your journey with Jesus note the times God is leading you.  What are the gut feelings you have?  Trust God’s leading and follow on the adventure. 

When you study the book of Acts note the times you can relate to the disciples as they are led by God.  Pray to God asking what God is leading you to do, teaching you in the moment.  Then trust that where God leads us the Holy Spirit will give you the courage to serve & the words to share.

Being a follower of Jesus Christ we are on an adventure with God.  We will see amazing things, experience incredible moments.  While we do not always understand the ‘why’ right away we trust God fully. 

So this week, follow God’s leading.  That gut feeling you have that just doesn’t seem to go away, pray to God what you are to do.  The conversation you just know you need to have know the Holy Spirit will give you the words to share at just the right time.  Follow along on the adventure ready for the experiences that await you.

This Week’s Challenge

As you go about your week note the nudges you get to have a conversation or go somewhere.  Pray to ensure it is from God.  Then go & do as God leads.  Afterwards look to see how led you on this part of the adventure.

Acts 1: Sharing About Jesus in 1 Sentence

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)

Today we begin a new series going through the Book of Acts. Acts was written by Luke (the same guy who wrote the Gospel According to Luke) as a ‘sequel’. He wrote Acts to follow the story of the disciples (the closest followers of Jesus) and the growth of the Church after Jesus returned to Heaven after His Resurrection. 

We are going through Acts chapter by chapter to hear the stories of the disciples & the Church to learn from them how we can share the Gospel in our lives. From ordinary men and women God built the Church.  These men and women were not famous already.  They were like you & me, people who loved Jesus and follow Him wherever He leads them.

Each week read the next chapter of Acts.  So for this week, read Acts 1.  You can read it each day and see what jumps out at you for that day.  Write it down in your journal.  If you want you can use the YouVersion Bible App to read the chapter in different versions.  I recommend: New International Version (NIV 2011), English Standard Version, New Living Translation, The Message.  

Spend quality time with each chapter.  Let the Holy Spirit teach what God has to say in each chapter.  You can even choose a verse each week to memorize.  By the end of the series you will have 28 verses memorized.

Now to the 1st chapter of Acts:  Here we see Jesus spend some final moments with His followers before He ascends to Heaven.  He tells them to wait in Jerusalem until the Helper (aka the Holy Spirit) comes to empower them to go out into the world sharing the Gospel. 

Today Jesus gives us the same instructions to receive the Holy Spirit and then go out into our whole lives sharing the Gospel.  It does feel daunting but it does not need to be. Focus on the day ahead of you.  Look to the people already in your life. God will show you opportunities of where you can share with people already.

As you follow Jesus you are not left alone to figure out life on your own. No need to fear. God gives you the Holy Spirit to give you the courage to go out and the words to share in conversation. You are not alone.

In your devotions this week think about the reasons you love Jesus.  What difference has Jesus made in you and your life? Write it all down in your journal.  Then craft what you wrote into 1 sentence.  Make it a sentence that is easy to remember. One that sounds natural as you say it to someone else.  Let it be a succinct way for you to share why you love Jesus. 

As Jesus promised the disciples that they will receive the Holy Spirit so that they can go out as witnesses of Jesus in the world. They knew Jesus.  They saw how He lived and interacted with others.  They were to simply go out and share their experiences with Him to the world.  Us today have our own relationships with Jesus. We have our own stories to share about Him.  That is what we are asked to do.  Share why we love Jesus. 

So go about your day, your week and as the opportunities arise tell someone in 1 sentence why you love Jesus.  Then see how God guides the conversation from there.

This Week’s Challenge

Write down in 1 sentence what you want someone to know about Jesus. What is 1 thing this week you will do to live this out?

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.