Here is another week’s installment of daily ideas for leading your household in discipleship, worship, fellowship, and safe-service to others! Don’t be thrown by the dates you see below – any of these ideas can be done on any day of the year. (The dates listed here simply correspond to the days they were first published via social media.)
Monday, April 20, 2020
#HOMEchurch Day35. Happy Monday! Here are your mealtime conversation starters!
Increased time with loved ones (in our homes and over the phone / video-conferencing) is one of the greatest aspects of this quarantine. Share a meal together, and enjoy some discussion around the following questions:
- What are you dreaming about for your life?
- What was something you thought would be easy until you tried it?
- What “non-spiritual” activity in your life makes God smile?
Tuesday, April 21, 2020
#HOMEchurch Day36. Faith-Sharing Hurdle #1 – “I Wouldn’t Know What To Say”
The next four days of HOMEchurch exercises will be aimed at helping you overcome the most common hurdles for sharing your faith in Jesus. By the end of this week, you’ll to be ready to share your faith with someone far from God. You can do this ! [I’ll help you :-)]
Today, I’d like for you to call a Christ-follower in your life whom you admire, respect, and trust – someone who will encourage you in this process – maybe a parent or grandparent, a close friend, or a mentor from your past. Call them, and have an open, friendly conversation with them around the following three questions:
- Who or what first led you to faith in Jesus?
- What is the most recent thing God has helped you with?
- What certain hope do you have because of your faith in Jesus?
Your simple answers to those three questions represent a short version of your relationship with God – this is your story of faith! – this is what you have to share! Call your trusted Christian friend over the phone, talk through these things with them, and overcome your first hurdle today. Have I mentioned yet that… YOU CAN DO THIS!
God loves those far from Him. Let Him love them through you!
*UPDATED*: In case you are interested in my answers to those three questions: 1- As a child, I had numerous adults and teens in my life who modeled following Jesus for me, and I wanted to be like them. 2- I’ve had three episodes of anxiety over the past five weeks related to the potential outcomes of this virus. I gave each one to God in prayer, and He calmed me each time through Scripture promises and the wise perspectives of beloved Christian friends. 3- God has assured me, many times throughout my life (primarily in His Word), that He will always be with me through any and every circumstance – He will never leave me, abandon or forsake me.
BOOM! I just shared my faith in Jesus with you! (You can do it, too!)
Wednesday, April 22, 2020
#HOMEchurch Day37. Faith-Sharing Hurdle #2 – “I Don’t Know Who To Tell”
Yesterday’s exercise helped us overcame the hurdle of not knowing what to say. Today’s exercise will help us think of who God may be leading us to tell. It starts with prayer:
“Father, I know from Your Word that You love those far from You. I was once far from You, and You sent people to lead me to You – thank You! Now, God, I invite You to share Your love with others through me. Who, Lord, would You have me share my faith in You with this week?”
Now, grab a pen and paper – and, continuing in a mindset of prayer and listening to God, take your phone, and begin scrolling slowly through your contacts. Write down any names there that give you any sort of pause. If you are on social media, scroll through the first 15-20 posts in your feed, and see if any of the people there stand out to you. Add their names to your list. Lastly, think of your extended family members, one-by-one, and your closest neighbors. If any of them stands out, that could be the Holy Spirit nudging you – add their names to your list.
Well done! Now put your list in a prominent place where you will see it everyday, like on your bathroom mirror. Let this list guide your prayers this week, and your thinking around who God might be leading you to share your faith with. And – congrats! – you just overcame the second hurdle :-)
Thursday, April 23, 2020
#HOMEchurch Day38. Faith-Sharing Hurdle #3 – “It’s Too Difficult/Awkward”
There are four main hurdles to faith-sharing, and you’ve already overcome two of them: you know what to say, and you have a list of people God may be leading you to share with. You’re halfway there! Next is to overcome the feelings of difficulty and awkwardness. Today’s exercise will help:
Did you realize that almost everything you have learned to do in your life was challenging at first? It took me two solid months to learn to drive a stick-shift. But over time, with regular practice, my feet and hands learned what to do. It was difficult at first – even frustrating! But now I’ve been driving stick for 25+ years, and I love it! It has become second-nature. I don’t even think about what my feet are doing on the pedals anymore.
What all have you learned to do in your life that was challenging at first? Make yourself a list. Here are some ideas: you learned to walk, to speak English, to read… riding a bike, swimming, dance, karate… how about singing or playing an instrument… each new level of education, your skills for work… You have overcome so many obstacles all throughout your life! You have learned to do so much that at first seemed impossible, but now is no big deal.
Faith-sharing is exactly the same. YOU CAN DO THIS! Practice makes progress. We learn best by doing. And remember: God cares even more about this than you do. God loves those far from Him. Let Him love them through you!
Friday, April 24, 2020
#HOMEchurch Day39. Faith-Sharing Hurdle #4 – “I’m Not Qualified/Ready”
The previous three days of exercises have helped you overcome the first three hurdles to faith-sharing. Now for the last and biggest one: “I’m not ready.” How do you get “ready” to share your faith in Jesus with someone far from God? You fast and pray for them.
Today’s exercise will help you align your heart with God’s toward the person you will share your faith with tomorrow. [Yes, tomorrow! :-)] Today, I want you to forego one of your meals, and instead of cooking and eating, spend the time you would have spent cooking and eating in prayer for a person you know who is far from God.
Pray for them by name, that they would turn to faith in God, and that He would give you courage and favor as you contact them tomorrow to share your faith in Him with them.
God loves those far from Him even more than you do. Let Him love them through you!
Saturday, April 25, 2020
#HOMEchurch Day40. Faith-Sharing: Learn By Doing (or, Practice Makes Progress)
You’re ready. YOU ARE READY. You can do this! I believe in you. The Church believes in you. God believes in you. (Did you know that? It’s true!) You are ready.
You’ve overcome the previous four days’ worth of hurdles: 1- You’ve practiced sharing a short version of your faith journey with a trusted Christian friend. 2- You’ve prayerfully thought of people God may be leading you to share with. 3- You’ve reminded yourself of all the challenging things you’ve learned to do throughout your life. 4- You’ve aligned your heart with God’s through fasting and prayer. You are now ready to share your faith!
1- Write down your short answers to the three questions from HOMEchurch Day36 (1- Who or what first led you to faith in Jesus? 2- What is the most recent thing God has helped you with? 3- What certain hope do you have because of your faith in Jesus?). This is a summary of your journey of faith.
2- Think of the specific person who emerged from your list through your time of fasting and prayer with God yesterday (see HOMEchurch Day39 above). Decide which format you think would be most effective in communicating with them: phone call, text, email, instant-message, or hand-written letter.
3- Pick up the phone, computer, or pen, and lovingly share your journey of faith with that person. You don’t have to convince them of anything. You don’t have to be able to answer all their questions. (Saying “I don’t know” is perfectly fine!) You are simply sharing what is on your heart for them, no strings attached.
YOU CAN DO THIS.
God loves those far from Him. Let Him love them through you!
Sunday, April 26, 2020
#HOMEchurch Day41. When Jesus was asked, “What is the greatest commandment?”, He replied, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength.” (Mark 12:30) Why not practice that today with your family, roommates, or a friend over FaceTime? Here’s how:
Using paper, a whiteboard, or tablet, make a grid of four squares, writing those four words in the squares. Now, together as a family (or with your roommates or your friend over FaceTime), brainstorm together as many ways as you all can think of to love God with each of those arenas of your life. Here are some ideas to help you get started:
HEART: This is the seat of your emotions – the source of expressing how you feel. How can you express your love for God from your heart today?
SOUL: This is the central core of your being – this is who you most truly are in Christ – your identity as one made in the image of God, and adopted into His family forever by faith in Jesus. How can you love God today with your core identity, that which He has lovingly and carefully crafted you to uniquely be in Him?
MIND: This is the seat of your thoughts, your perspectives, your mindsets, your creativity, your thinking patterns. This is also the place of your unique experiences, education, and skill-based training. How can you love God in & through & with your mind today?
STRENGTH: This refers to your physical body. How can you use your hands, feet, & face to love God today? How can you use your posture, movements, or physical abilities to express love for God today?
Now that you have your own personalized chart of love for God, have each member of your household choose one action from each box to express their love for God. You could each do your own item from each box, or you could all choose one thing from each box to do together!
Have FUN and enjoy worshiping the Lord together today! This isn’t a performance – no one should feel pressure or be judging or critiquing each other. This is just a way to practice together what Jesus described as the most important thing we can do with our lives!