Tag Archives: great commission

Protect Yourself

In today’s world, everything is politicized which makes each of us feel like we have to be on one side or the other. When we choose a side in any issue, we feel we are right, which means anyone who doesn’t agree with the way we think is wrong. When we think someone is wrong about any issue we are passionate about, they become our enemy. When they become our enemy, we lose the love we’re supposed to have for them and can begin to care less if they make it to Heaven. This is a real struggle that many of us are going through in this day and age, and I believe it’s a strategy of the devil to keep us from winning souls. He has us more concerned with causes, politics and ways of thinking than with eternity. While these topics are important, we must make sure we’re not falling victim to our enemy’s deceit.

Ephesians 6:11-12 says, “Put on God’s complete set of armor provided for us, so that you will be protected as you fight against the evil strategies of the accuser! Your hand-to-hand combat is not with human beings, but with the highest principalities and authorities operating in rebellion under the heavenly realms. For they are a powerful class of demon-gods and evil spirits that hold this dark world in bondage” (TPT). You and I are entrenched in a spiritual war right now whether we like it or not. The enemy’s strategy right now is to get us to think our fight is against other humans who don’t think like we do. If he can distract us with that, then he can keep us from the Great Commission. When we think our struggle is with people, we direct our attacks on them. We need to put on God’s Armor each day to help us think and see people, issues and battles the way God wants us to.

Jesus showed us a different way when He said, “However, I say to you, love your enemy, bless the one who curses you, do something wonderful for the one who hates you, and respond to the very ones who persecute you by praying for them (Matthew 5:44).” When we put on God’s Armor, we will love our enemies rather than hate them or despise them. In fact, we are to pray for them and bless them. Remember it’s God’s kindness that leads us to repentance (Romans 2:4). The next time you feel attacked or feel like someone is your enemy, remember to put on God’s Armor, ask Him to help you love them like He does and then turn your attack on our real enemy who knows that a house divided can’t stand (Mark 3:25). Our enemy has a strategy, but so does God. We need to make sure we are aligned with God’s and are not falling for our enemy’s.

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Making Disciples

For more than a decade I have been a corporate trainer. Companies hire me to help change behaviors, change results, increase productivity, to understand new concepts and to change culture. Training has that ability because it addresses the behaviors that change results. Studies have shown that untrained employees take six times longer to understand and perform a task than ones who receive training. During that time, an employee can get frustrated and leave. Also, if a company doesn’t train en employee, the employees don’t feel valued. If the co any isn’t willing to invest in their future and their success, why should they stay? Training is a very important part in helping people reach their potential.

I tell you all of that because I read the Great Commission with new eyes. Look carefully at what it says. Jesus said, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations [help the people to learn of Me, believe in Me, and obey My words], baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (AMP). He didn’t say, “Go therefore and make Christians.” He didn’t even say, “Go therefore and make Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians, Charismatics or whichever denomination you belong to.” He said, “Go therefore and make disciples.” A disciple is a student that needs to be trained. Jesus asked us to make disciples instead of Christians because you and I have the ability to teach and to train, but we do not have the ability to save. Only He does.

He asked us to help them to learn of Him. In order to do this, you must know about Jesus and read the Bible yourself. A teacher or trainer has to know and understand the material before they teach the pupil. Jesus next told us to teach people how to believe in Him. Your testimony is vital in this part of making a disciple. If you’ve accepted Jesus, your life has been changed. Share with others how it has changed so they can believe. Finally, He said train them on how to obey His words. Application is key to any training. Disciples need to understand how to apply God’s Word. Showing someone how to apply a principle changes behaviors that in turn change results. We’re called to change this world through making disciples who can then repeat this process. Who are you discipling right now? We’re all part of the Great Commission and have a responsibility to make disciples.

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Broadcasting Seeds

If you’re like me, you’ve probably planted a small garden somewhere on your property. In the spring, we till a few rows in a box beside our house. We usually plant a few things like tomatoes, cucumbers and green beans. The garden is small and takes just a few minutes to plant the seeds. My son enjoys checking on them to see how they’re growing. After watering it for weeks and pulling weeds, we get to go pick the vegetables and eat them. The garden is so small we can usually put our daily harvests in one bowl. We then try to share it between three people so all we get is a taste. My son is always super proud of it, but each time we split the vegetables, I can’t help but be reminded of how small the garden is.

When I think about the Parable of the Sower in Mark 4, verse 4 always catches my attention. It says that he cast his seeds. That’s different than planting them one by one like we do. I looked up how farmers plant large fields, and that’s what they do. They have a mechanism that broadcasts seeds and then they cover them up. In my mind, I always thought farmers planted each individual seed with the love and tender care that we do in our garden. It’s no wonder that in the parable some fell on the path where the birds ate it, and others fell on rocky soil and some even fell among the thorn bushes. However, you have to know that a majority of those seeds fell into the good soil he had tilled. Those are the ones that produced the harvest yielding 30, 60 and 100 times more than was planted.

It’s got me to thinking about how I sow seeds in life. Am I only planting a few within a confined space or am I broadcasting them everywhere. You can’t expect a large harvest when you only plant a few seeds. Are you broadcasting seeds? Will you need the Lord of the Harvest to send laborers for the seeds you’re planting? We’re reaping small harvests because we’re planting so few seeds. Freely we have been given, so freely we must broadcast or give. There will be seeds sown in rocky places, but we can’t let that stop us from broadcasting everywhere we go. Jesus finished that parable in verse 9 by saying, “If you understand this, then you need to respond” (TPT). Now that we understand what it means to broadcast, it’s time for us to respond.

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You Are Empowered

One of the things I speak to leaders about is the importance of empowerment. Instead of forcing everyone to do things the leader’s way, empowerment allows people to use their unique gifts and talents to accomplish a goal. It gives them the authority to make decisions and act in the best interest of the organization. For many leaders, this is scary because they are control freaks and this releases the controls to the employee. If there is a good vision statement and a set of core values to guide people, then empowering people is one of the best things any leader can do. It removes the restrictive permission based system and unleashes people to reach their potential.

Many times we look at Christianity as being a permission based life, but truly it’s an empowered life. Jesus gave us our vision statement in the Great Commission. We don’t need to be asking God if we should go somewhere, we’ve already been empowered to go. He’s given us His Word to give us our core values that guide us in our decisions, but too many times we’re still sitting on square one waiting for a sign. Each of us have been given authority to do the work of the Kingdom, gifts to accomplish our calling and a purpose. It’s time we quit making excuses as to why we can’t do something and act with the authority we’ve been empowered with to accomplish all He’s given us to do.

Here are some Bible verses on being empowered.

1. I can do all things [which He has called me to do] through Him who strengthens and empowers me [to fulfill His purpose—I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency; I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him who infuses me with inner strength and confident peace.]

Philippians 4:13 AMP

2. Now there are [distinctive] varieties of spiritual gifts [special abilities given by the grace and extraordinary power of the Holy Spirit operating in believers], but it is the same Spirit [who grants them and empowers believers].

1 Corinthians 12:4 AMP

3. Wherever I go, your hand will guide me; your strength will empower me.

Psalms 139:10 TPT

4. I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit.

Ephesians 3:16 NLT

5. So now, Lord, listen to their threats to harm us. Empower us, as your servants, to speak the word of God freely and courageously. Stretch out your hand of power through us to heal, and to move in signs and wonders by the name of your holy Son, Jesus!

Acts 4:29-30 TPT

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Being Great

One of the best Christian books I’ve read is “Good to Great In God’s Eyes” by Chip Ingram. It starts off asking the question, “Is it really wrong to want to be great?” As a Christian, we’re taught to be humble, but somehow we’ve equated being humble with being average. It’s as if you can’t be great and humble at the same time. I don’t want to live an average life, and I don’t believe we were created to either. The words from Jim Collins book, “Good to Great”, spoke to my soul when he wrote, “Good is the enemy of great.” How often do we settle for good when God has created us for great things? How often have we felt ashamed for wanting to be great?

When the disciples asked Jesus about who would be the greatest, He didn’t chastise them. He simply explained that greatness in His kingdom isn’t measured the same way it is in our world. He put the desire in you to be great, and even gave us the Great Commission as our mission. You can’t have the impact on the world that you’re called to have and not be great. The difference is that in His kingdom, greatness comes from serving others and helping them reach their God-given potential. It’s about magnifying His name instead of our own. If you truly want to be great in God’s kingdom, then you’re going to have to be disciplined and do things that make an impact on eternity.

Here are some Bible verses on being great in God’s kingdom.

1. So whoever breaks one of the least [important] of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, will be called least [important] in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever practices and teaches them, he will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 5:19 AMP

2. But this is not your calling. You will lead by a completely different model. The greatest one among you will live as the one who is called to serve others, because the greatest honor and authority is reserved for the one with the heart of a servant.

Matthew 20:26-27 TPT

3. Whoever makes himself great will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be made great.

Matthew 23:12 GNT

4. The silence was deafening—they had been arguing with one another over who among them was greatest. He sat down and summoned the Twelve. “So you want first place? Then take the last place. Be the servant of all.”

Mark 9:34-35 MSG

5. But many who are the greatest now will be least important then, and those who seem least important now will be the greatest then.

Matthew 19:30 NLT

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The Rescue Mission

Twice this week, I’ve heard stories about people who are on a rescue mission from God. One group is trying to rescue the homeless in Houston and their babies. The other person is on a joint drug task force who is taking the Love of Christ to some of the darkest places imaginable. Both of these people have a Holy Calling from God to rescue people from the gates of Hell. It’s incredible and encouraging to hear the stories of the lives their changing. As I listened, God reminded me that we as Christians should all be in the habit of rescuing people.

I live in Houston where hurricane Harvey flooded so many parts of our city. The world watched as people jumped in boats and went house to house rescuing those who were stranded. What we witnessed was God’s heart in action. Every one of us were made in God’s image, so every one of us are worth rescuing. Every person has value. That’s why the Great Commission is really a rescue mission to go into all the world. Will you do your part?

Here are some Bible verses on how God rescues and we are to be rescuing.

1. But God will rescue me; he will save me from the power of death.

Psalm 49:15 GNT

2. It’s news I’m most proud to proclaim, this extraordinary Message of God’s powerful plan to rescue everyone who trusts him, starting with Jews and then right on to everyone else! God’s way of putting people right shows up in the acts of faith, confirming what Scripture has said all along: “The person in right standing before God by trusting him really lives.”

Romans 1:16-17 MSG

3. Rescue others by snatching them from the flames of judgment. Show mercy to still others, but do so with great caution, hating the sins that contaminate their lives.

Jude 1:23 NLT

4. He said to them, “When you pray, say: ‘ Father, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. ‘Give us each day our daily bread. ‘And forgive us our sins, For we ourselves also forgive everyone who is indebted to us [who has offended or wronged us]. And lead us not into temptation [ but rescue us from evil].’”

LUKE 11:2-4 AMP

5. Rescue those who are being taken away to death, And those who stagger to the slaughter, Oh hold them back [from their doom]!

PROVERBS 24:11 AMP

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Our Final Mission


In light of all the recent events and tragedies, I’ve been asked numerous times for my thoughts on them. I refer them to 2 Timothy 3 and Matthew 24. It’s no surprise to God, and it shouldn’t be a surprise to us that all of this is going on. Some of the things those two chapters tell us are that in the last days, people will be greedy, they will consider nothing sacred they will be unloving and unforgiving, they will easily be offended, there will be earthquakes, sin will be rampant, and the love of many will grow cold. 

Those two chapters paint a perfect picture of where we are right now. I highly encourage you to go back and read them. I prefer reading them in the New Living Translation. The point is this: we, as Christians, can be shocked and offended that all of this is going on or we can get an urgency to be about the Father’s business. We can choose to fight what God said would happen (which is what I see many doing) or we can understand what’s going on and do something about it.

In Matthew 24, right after it describes today’s world, it then tells us that the Gospel will be preached throughout the world so that all nations would hear it. That’s what I think we need to be doing instead of getting into arguments. Our mission has not changed since the Great Commission was given. It’s just become more critical and more urgent. Hebrews 10:24-25 says, “Let us be concerned for one another, to help one another to show love and to do good. Let us not give up the habit of meeting together, as some are doing. Instead, let us encourage one another all the more, since you see that the Day of the Lord is coming nearer” (GNT).

Now, more than ever, the world needs to see us showing what love is. They need to see us doing good and meeting together. Let’s not be afraid and upset over where the world has gone, but rather let it be an encouraging sign to us that we are almost home. Let’s show love to those whom we disagree with by doing good to them and for them. In doing so, we open up doors to communicate the Gospel so that the whole world will hear and have the opportunity to be saved. That is what our final mission is.

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Dreams And Goals


I like to ask people, “What’s the difference between a dream and a goal?” A lot of people struggle with this question at first because it’s hard to articulate on the spot. But think about it for a second. They’re very similar with one exception. A goal is something you have a plan for in order to accomplish it. Dreams are usually large goals without a plan. The problem is most of us think we have set goals when really all we have done is created a bunch of dreams without a plan to accomplish them.

The people I know who are goal oriented aren’t easily swayed into doing things that don’t align with their goals. They know exactly what they need to do in order to accomplish them and they are pretty disciplined. Dreamers aren’t as disciplined. They live with their heads in the clouds and are easily knocked off course by distractions. Unfortunately that’s the way many of us live our lives and it bleeds into our faith as well. We’re living for Christ without a purpose, and that’s dangerous. 

One night on a roof in Egypt, the head of middle east missions for a large denomination asked me, “What’s your goal as a Christian?” I had never thought of that. I answered almost asking a question, “To get to Heaven?” He said, “We’ve found your answer is not enough to live a spiritually successful life. You’ve got to have other goals if you’re going to impact this world.” That question and answer haunted me for months. Our goal can’t be to just get to Heaven. We’ll live spiritually unfulfilled lives if it is.

In I Corinthians 9:24, Paul mentions that in a race, everyone runs, but only one wins. He then tells us to run to win. Verse 26 says, “Therefore I do not run without a definite goal” (AMP). Not only are we to run to win the ultimate prize, we are to run with purpose. We are to run with goals. To keep from being easily distracted by all this world has to offer, and to keep our head out of the clouds, we need to have spiritual goals. There’s no other way for us to have the impact on this world that we’re called to have.

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Risk Your Gift

Throwback Thursday is a new feature I’m using to help build some margin into my schedule to pursue other writing ventures. Each Thursday I’ll be bringing you a previously written devotional that still speaks encouragement to us from God’s Word.


A few years ago I had my nephew read the Parable of the Talents in Matthew 25:14-30. After he read it, we went to dinner to discuss it. He explained to me how the king had given servants silver and asked them to invest it while he was gone. When he came back for his money, one servant made ten times the original, another made five times and a third just buried it in the ground. The king was happy with the first two, but furious with the third.

After he explained it to me, I pulled out a hundred dollar bill and set it on the table. His eyes lit up. I slid it across the table to him and told him to invest it for me. I told I wanted him to think of a ministry he wanted to support with the profits. He quickly named a missionary in Kenya who had made an impact on him. I then told him I was going to come and ask for the money back and that we’d give whatever he had left to that missionary. Three months later, he ended turning that $100 into nearly $500. Not bad for a 12 year old.

It got me to thinking about what am I doing with the talents God has given me. Am I using them? Am I growing them? Have I invested them so I can show a profit from what He gave me? Yes, the story with my nephew is about money, but I’m talking about gifts God has enabled me with. Each of us has been given certain gifts and talents. Not one of us is talentless. Sure, some have more talent and gifts than others, but that doesn’t give us the right to bury ours in the sand.

In Romans 12:6-8, Paul tells us that no matter what gift God has given you, you should use it well. And in I Corinthians 12:7, he says that a spiritual gift has been given to each one of us so we can help each other. That means that God has given you a gift and He wants you to take a risk with the gift He has given you by using it. There’s a saying in business that says, “No risk. No reward.” Don’t be afraid to take a risk today with your gift. You might fail or you might succeed. You’ll never know until you try

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The Bus Station


What I love about having been to Israel is that when I read the Bible, I can picture each place in my mind. There are two sites celebrated as the place where Jesus was crucified. One of them is in a magnificent church and the other out in the open. I got to visit both places on this last trip, and both were incredible in their own way. Personally, I enjoyed the one outside better for a number of reasons, but I was a little offended at first by what I saw.

We were sitting on the property of the Garden Tomb, and they read Matthew 27:33. It says, “And they went out to a place called Golgotha (which means ‘Place of the Skull’)” (NLT). They pointed to a hill just about 50 yards away, and asked if we could see it. They showed us pictures of about 50 years ago and another from over 100 years ago. You can see how it looked like the Place of the Skull. But when I looked at the base of what could be Golgotha, there was a busy bus station. I couldn’t believe such a holy place was being disrespected.

That’s when it hit me that a bus station at the foot of the cross was the most appropriate way to honor it. One of Jesus’ final instructions before His ascension was from Mark 16:15. Jesus said, “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone.” The buses that I saw there were a representation of the Great Commission. Those busses carry people all over the place the same way we are to carry the Gospel. Our message is summed up by what happened at the Place of the Skull.

Where Jesus’ mission was fulfilled, ours began. Where He said, “It is finished,” He was handing the baton to us. That place of death became the birthplace of eternal life. We are the bus drivers of His message. We carry His spirit within us to be witnesses in all the world. Wherever we go, whomever we meet, we are to transport His message of hope and love. We can turn this world upside down at He disciples did, but we have to be willing to get on the bus and go.

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