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And with all his abundant wealth through Christ Jesus, my God will supply all your needs. Philippians 4:19

When I was growing up in the church I was always amazed at the stories of great missionaries that gave up all they had to go to foreign lands to preach Jesus to the unsaved. I would watch Billy Graham speak to thousands and then watch (sometimes with tears in my eyes) as hundreds would come forward to ‘accept Jesus’.

To this day I read books by some of my favorite authors, watch my well-known pastors and teachers on TV and video sharing the gospel story and am, to be honest, just a little jealous. I’d love to be able to speak to 1,000’s about what Jesus has done in my life. What a rush it would be to have hundreds come forward and kneel at the altar because God has used my words to touch their hearts and bring them to him.

Before you think me too full of pride, does not Jesus himself tell us to ‘Go to all the world and preach the gospel?’ Doesn’t Luke tell us in his letter referred to as the ‘Acts of the Apostles’ that we would receive power from the Holy Spirit to preach the good news to the ‘uttermost parts of the earth’?

Many of us who have grown up in the church may have felt like I have. We were emotionally charged to win the earth to Christ as the result of some missionary speaker or a bible story or testimony that motivated us to consider full-time service for the Master.

So, what is the missing ingredient in fulfilling the Great Commission in your world, or is its fulfillment reserved for those called into full-time Christian service (i.e., missionary, pastor,BibleCollegepresident, evangelist, etc.)

When Jesus was on earth he spent his time with the common folk. His challenge (which we call the Great Commission) was given to a group of uneducated, blue collar workers with no formal education at all, much less training in cross-cultural ministry. Most of them were fishermen!

Want to be an effective Christ-follower? First of all, consider this. Jesus does not tell us to go win converts to the good news. In fact, in the 3 years we read of Jesus ministry his main focus was on physical, emotional and spiritual healing, not on winning friends. The relationships Jesus built were the result of his meeting the needs of people, not demanding their allegiance.

So what does he ask of us? To make disciples. Disciples are made over time through open, honest relationship, not through seminary training or programs. Jesus didn’t give lessons ON life; he showed the lessons IN life.

Each of us is called to make disciples as we go on our way. That’s what being fruitful as a Christ-follower means. The key to this is growing closer to Christ, not adding activity to our days. Our ability to be fruitful Christians comes from the depth of our relationship with Jesus not the level of our Spiritual activity.

Want to be a great missionary? Follow this simple rule. Grow closer to Jesus. He’ll do the rest. Our power as Christ-followers comes from his riches, not ours.

PRAYER: Lord keep me from thinking that the only way I can be used effectively by you is by having titles and numbers in my bag of tricks. Help me draw close to you so I can reach others. Amen.

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October 2011
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