Tuesday, February 22, 2011



On the road to becoming a disciple and then making disciples there seem to be four levels of progression. The first is found all around you-your family, friends and acquaintances. Or, to put it more specifically, the entire world that is not now presently following Jesus.

Over the years I've come to realize that God is into what I call "divine appointments." A divine appointment comes up in, at least, three ways. First is a scheduled appointment. You know you are going to see a certain person today, but you may not know what may come up there that is all about the move of God. Second is a spontaneous appointment. You know the person, but had no idea you would run into him today. Third is the surprise appointment. You don't know the person you are encountering and it is a surprise to everyone, but God that you are thrown together into this appointment. In every case God is busily setting up divine appointments for each of us all day long. All He wants from us is to show up! In other words, God has something special for you to do as you touch this person. This is why I pray: "Lord Jesus, what is it that you have for me today?" I want to anticipate these divine appointments and look for them throughout the day.

When it comes to being obedient to making disciples of Jesus of all the nations, I think it's best to start right here where God is setting up the appointments for you. It's at this level that we are thinking in terms of exposing as many people to Jesus as possible.

So, how is this done most effectively? I mean, a street preacher on the corner or a spiritual march with signs and bullhorns may have some effect, but I know these approaches are not the most effective. As I have examined the ways we might show Jesus off, I have discovered only five in the New Testament.

FIRST-By lifestyle. Jesus says: "Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven." (Matthew 5:16) Your lifestyle-how you live your life-will speak so loudly to those who are watching. How you handle your problems and stresses, how you love your spouse and how you treat your family and friends are all on display. People can see Jesus in this way!

SECOND-By loving one another. Jesus says: "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another." (John 13:34-35) People can also see Jesus by our love for one another. This is so attractive and contagious.

THIRD-By giving a blessing when you are insulted. Peter says: To sum up, all of you be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit; not returning evil for evil or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead; for you were called for the very purpose that you might inherit a blessing. And later, Peter says: "Always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you." (I Peter 3:8-12, 15) People who give a blessing when insulted are acting in a counter-cultural sort of way. It's moving to the beat of a different drummer by the name of Jesus.

FOURTH-By sharing your own Jesus story. How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without someone to proclaim? (Romans 10:14) This is the only one of the ways we show Jesus off by our words. But NOTE that this is not you preaching to or arguing with anyone. The best thing to share is your own personal story. No one can argue with your own experience, strength and hope you have found through Jesus.

FIFTH-By ministering to Jesus through the needs of people. Jesus says something very unique: 'For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.' Then the righteous will answer Him, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? 'And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? 'When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?' The King will answer and say to them, 'Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.'" (Matthew 25:35-40) Once a month a group of us feed and minister to the needs of the homeless in Orange County. I always encourage each of the volunteers that by loving and ministering to these dear people they are actually ministering to Jesus Himself.

Now, each of these actions show Jesus off to the world-living a lifestyle like Jesus, loving one another, blessing when insulted, sharing your own story and helping those in need. In fact, when you do these things, you are living a lifestyle on a different level altogether and people notice. The people who notice are all of the people who are watching you day after day. We pray that through our interactions with our family, friends and acquaintances that they will become interested.

We're looking for those who are interested. This is really the only requirement that is necessary-to be interested. By the way, if you are interested and have a passion for Jesus and how His teachings and principles work in your life, you will find all kinds of people interested in the same thing. You will find interested people in Churches, Mosques, Temples, Synagogues, civic groups, schools, gyms, in the corporate setting, and in your community. Do you want to make disciples of Jesus, orbit around your world, looking for those who have ears to hear and eyes to see. You're not looking to close any spiritual deals or people to preach to; you're looking for the interested! They are all around you. God is setting up divine appointments all day long just for you. All He wants from you is to show up!