Archives For Time

Today is part 4 and the final post in this series on witnessing and working among the forgotten of the world.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Listening and Co-suffering are lost gifts that need to be recovered in our witnessing.

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Through Listening We Witness

When I speak of listening I mean to be able to hear their secret hurts covered by multifaceted learned responses coupled by years of denial. I do my best to listen in such a way as to pick up on where they are truly wounded in their emotions by paying careful attention to each and every statement they are making.

I’m looking for where their life is unadjusted to the work of the Spirit of God.  I am convinced to find true and lasting healing a person must adjust their life to what God wants to do in their life. Once I have listened to them and  feel I have heard where they are truly wounded. I like to walk them through Romans 8:26-28.

 

Through Co-suffering We Witness

The bible says in Romans 8:26-28 “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will. 28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

This portion of scripture has over the years become very powerful for me in walking people right into the very presence of God. For me, this passage shows that without the leading of the Spirit of God, the perfect will of God, which I believe to bring lasting peace and joy, cannot fully be realized. It would do well at this point to pause and insert a thought. By speaking of lasting peace and joy I am in no way saying trouble or conflict will completely disappear from a person’s life. In fact, it is my belief that some hurt and pain this side of heaven will find its ultimate healing only when we find ourselves in His presence face to face.

Romans 8:26-28 is very power when applied to our life and the lives of those we are witnessing to. Notice verse 26 says, “the Spirit helps us in our weakness.” This is an incredible picture of the Spirit involved in the believer’s life by co-suffering. The Spirit of God actually comes along side of a believer and walks with them through their pain.

Another reason this verse is great to use is found in verse 26 because we are told that we don’t even truly know how to pray the perfect will of God for our lives without the help of the Spirit, who according to verse 27, searches our heart and knows the mind of the Spirit-then intercession is made according to God’s will.

Then and only then can Verse 28  be fulfilled which again says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” I love using this portion of scripture because I believe it truly demonstrates God centered witnessing by showing a person that God by His Spirit is truly connected with the believer’s everyday walk. At this point I’ve found it’s much easier to lead someone to Christ or minister to someone that is in Christ but has simply lost their way.

 

How are you at listening and Co-suffering? Do you think you listening well? Do you Co-suffer well? Leave a commit and share your thoughts with others.

 

 

 

In part 1 of witnessing and working among the forgotten of the world we talked about noticing the unnoticed. In part 2 we dealt with giving them undivided time. Today we explore the promise of hope.

 

Promise of Hope (part 3)
Once I have given them undivided attention I will asks them a simple question. “Do you think it can ever be any better than it is right now for you?” This question is perfect for leading to a God centered discussion on hope. Hope is powerful because in their world both the external living environment of the inner city and their internal dialogue often screams to the broken person living on the street or in a very poor condition there is no hope and change is impossible. The graceful truth of hope breaks through both of those lies. Many see themselves as marred beyond repair and feel they are worthless.

I then share the story of the potter in the book of Jeremiah 18:1-6.
I do a summary of how the clay was being worked on but for some strange reason the clay became marred in the hand of the potter mainly because it was off-center and that the potter instead of throwing it away did something amazing. The potter did not throw the ruined clay into the corner of the shop, or into the trash. He continued working with it and reshaped it into another vessel, which he deemed good to make. In other words, he began again, from scratch with the same clay and gave it a shape that was good and would hold its form.

Winning their trust through listening and co-suffering is very important because trust is when you give the care of your own life over to another for help and direction. Many people in the inner city have been let down so many times they have a wall built up that only listening and co-suffering can break. Listening; because it is godly, co-suffering; because it too is godly and both are grounded in God’s unconditional love.

Tomorrow we will take a look at listening and co-suffering.

How have you offered the promise of hope to others you have met in the harvest field of life? Share with us by posting a comment.

 

 

Part 4

 

On June 29, 2012 I posted about noticing the unnoticed. (Part 1)

Today I want us to take a look at giving undivided time.

Undivided Time (Part 2)

One day I was making my way through the streets and I saw a lady up ahead of me sitting on some steps and she was crying. People were passing by her in both directions but no one was stopping. What this lady needed was undivided time. By undivided time I mean doing more than just asking how someone is doing, I mean taking the time to stop and truly help. I have learned that time is the greatest gift you can give anyone because it’s something you can never get back. You can give all your money and make more, you can give things away and get more things back by hard work but time, once it is given, it’s gone forever and has now become a sacrifice to God.

I asked her if everything was okay and her response was an irritated crying “no”! I sat down beside her and she began to tell me how she had just finished using some crack cocaine and how her boyfriend had dropped her on the street to make money. She quickly began to talk with me about how her life was before drugs. She had a great job and was happy. I was looking for where God was working in her life. She spoke with me for about fifteen minutes before she finally paused to ask who I was. I simply told her I was a pastor that loves to listen and help. She smiled and thanked me for stopping. I had just given her undivided time and giving undivided time to a person more often than not leads to the earned right of speaking hope into their hopelessness. (Note: She ended up coming to church and we were able to help her)

Part 3

Part 4

For those outside the faith and for those inside the faith…when life doesn’t add up-Christ is still the answer. For Zacchaeus, the Tax Collector, life just didn’t add up. He was outside the faith. His story can be found in Luke 19:1-10.

1. He was very frustrated and unsatisfied with his life

2. He had self esteem issues (Possibly because of his short stature)

3. He was hated by many because of his profession. (A tax collector)

4. He knew there must be more and went looking for it.

5. Because he was looking in the right direction, (Christ) he found the answer

6. After meeting Jesus, what didn’t add up in his life now added up perfectly.

7. Because his life now added up, his character changed and he began to set things right from an eternal perspective.

Mary and Martha, friends of Jesus who were inside the faith, had quite another story. Their story can be found in John 11:1-44. For them Jesus seemed to have been missing in action. Their brother Lazarus had died and Jesus was no where to be found.

1. They felt abandoned (they had sent word to Jesus, (like us praying) and Jesus didn’t answer on their timetable.

2. They felt wounded. (they had giving Jesus a place to sleep, to eat…friendship)

3. Their brother who Jesus loved had became sick and when help was needed, Jesus doesn’t show up.

4. Jesus does finally get there, (late by Mary and Maratha’s account) and brings a strange and beautiful word.

5. Jesus speaks up on the old dusty road and says, “I am the resurrection and the life”

6. She believes but it still doesn’t add up.

7. Jesus then goes to the tomb of Lazarus and says, “Come out.” He does and now it all adds up.

What to do while God is not added up.

1. Outside the faith? Surrender to Him. Come to Him. It’s that simple. Stop running from the one that loves you so much he died for you.

2. Those inside the faith? Remind yourself that God is good, faithful, just and perfect love. You can trust Him for the right answer in due time. It will add up…I promise you.

Have you ever experienced an event in your life when things just didn’t add up? Then God shows up and the event changes quickly and adds up perfectly? Please take a moment to leave a comment and share your story.