Over three million copies of the novel Thirteen Reasons Why have been sold and the Netflix series is a runaway hit. It's the story of a shy high school student named Clay Jensen, who comes home from school to find a package containing seven cassette tapes. On these tapes, another high schooler named Hannah Baker, details thirteen reasons why she chose to kill herself.
"Now then, choose twelve men from the tribes of Israel, one from each tribe. And as soon as the priests who carry the ark of the Lord—the Lord of all the earth—set foot in the Jordan, its waters flowing downstream will be cut off and stand up in a heap.” Joshua 3:12,13
'Wait on the Lord; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart;
Wait, I say, on the Lord!" Psalm 27:14
Getting on Team Jesus is simple. We put our faith in him and we are on the team!
Jesus put it this way in John 6:28,29, "Then they asked him, 'What must we do to do the works God requires?' Jesus answered, 'The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent” John 6:28-29.
Salvation is a matter of trusting, not trying, believing, not achieving, and relying, not resolving. When we trust in Jesus, based on his finished work on the cross, we are signed up on his team...never to be kicked off by the Coach.
Yes, getting on Team Jesus is easy. But being a starter on his team takes 100% commitment. And, sadly, not every Christian is willing to pay that high price. And, if we're honest, there are times even the most committed of us have fallen grossly short of starting team requirements.
On September 1st, 1991 Dare 2 Share officially began in the office of my spiritual mentor and theology teacher, Jonathan Smith. Originally, the overall ministry was called "Tandem Ministries" which was comprised of two branches, Tandem Bible College (now called Rocky Mountain Bible College) and "Warriors for Christ" (now called Dare 2 Share!)
We all make mistakes. And God can use all of our mistakes, missteps and mess ups as essential ingredients in transforming us into his masterpieces!
Over the last 27 years of full-time professional ministry here are my ten worst ministry mistakes:
1. Not prioritizing prayer
Up until 2008 prayer was the caboose, not the engine, of my ministry efforts. Sadly, it took The Great Recession to see true progression in my prayer life. Now prayer, specifically intercessory prayer, is driving my ministry efforts forward in ways I never could have imagined. Learn from my mistake in this area and let prayer propel your life and ministry efforts forward (1 Timothy 2:1-8.) You will not regret it because God will do "exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or imagine...."
NEWSFLASH: Ministry can be extremely stressful (And all God's people said, "No duh!") From relentless meetings to the unmet expectations of pastors, peers and parishioners, the daily grind of day in and day out ministry feels like it may crush you at times.
The same is true of me and the ministry I help lead, Dare 2 Share. I'm on the road a lot, preaching across the country in various venues. When I'm back in the office, there are meetings to participate in, books to write and money to raise. All of this, combined with leading and loving my own family, can create quite a bit of stress that can wake me up in the middle of the night with those various "Oh no!" moments of realization.
We live in a society where tolerance is elevated to a high virtue and theological certainty is viewed as angry, narrow-minded dogmatism. This reality can bring Christians into sharp dispute with the world because, according to God's Word, the very essence of faith is "being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see" (Hebrews 11:1.)
1. Find a prayer "hot spot" and use it.
“But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” Luke 5:16
We all know about wireless hot spots…you go into a coffee shop and want to know the wireless code for the hotspot so you can get online. Well, I believe that Jesus had prayer hot spots. Sure, he could pray anywhere but I believe there were places he especially liked to connect with God through prayer.
On Wednesday I posted a Tweet that read, "A TSA agent just collapsed in my arms crying when she found out I ministered to teens. She has a wayward grandson. We prayed right there." It must of struck a nerve because there was a lot of chatter about it afterward.
It got me to thinking about all of the hurting people who pass by us every day without us recognizing them as God-given opportunities.