Tag Archives: great commission

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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Beautiful Feet


When most people think of feet, “beautiful” is not a word that comes to their mind. In the Middle East, feet are used to convey negative emotions rather than positive ones. The Bible discusses feet in that context over and over. In Genesis, it implies that we will bruise the enemies head with our heel. Jesus told the disciples to shake the dust off their feet when people wouldn’t receive the Good News. It was a really big deal that Jesus washed feet. By holding them up to wash them, He was teaching the disciples to be lowly servant leaders.

In light of all that, it is significant that in Isaiah 52, God called feet beautiful. If you think that doesn’t compute with us, imagine the significance to that culture. Verse seven says, “How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of the messenger who brings good news, the good news of peace and salvation, the news that the God of Israel reigns!” (NLT). God took what was once used to insult someone and showed how it could be used positively.

We all know that the Great Commission is to go into all the world, to carry the good news of salvation to every tribe, tongue, and people. God sees it as a beautiful thing when we obey His command and share our faith. You were never meant to keep it inside of you or to yourself. Your feet were meant to help you carry the Gospel to the ends of the earth. I like how Bob Goff says that if you don’t know where to go, grab a globe, spin it, and put your finger down. You’ve already been called to go. God will bless you when you follow His command.

If you want these “beautiful feet”, then go into the world spreading the Gospel. I understand that some of us can’t physically go, but there are still a couple of ways to have beautiful feet. We can all pray for those who go and live apart from family and friends, and give up the comforts of a familiar place called home. The other is that each of us can support those who go. No gift is too small for those who live and serve on the mission field. The money you sow into their ministry will yield a harvest of souls that you will be a part of. Each of us can have beautiful feet in God’s sight.

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Good News


For me, one of the greatest things about taking a trip to Israel is being able to put a picture with a story. For a lot of people, it’s the ability to walk where Jesus walked. There is something about being here that makes the Bible come to life. You get a new appreciation for the stories you have read your whole life. You see the caves of En Gedi that David hid in while running from Saul. The Kidron Valley is deeper than you have imagined. The terrain that Jesus and others had to walk through is formidable. I’d like to share one of my take aways with you.

First, there is a strong, vibrant Christian community of Arabs here. I know most people think all Arabs are Muslims, but that’s not the case. We went to two church services with Arab Christians and felt God’s presence strongly. Not only are there Arab Christians, but there are Arabs who don’t hate Israel or Israelis. These pastors we met reminded us of Romans 1:16 that says, “For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes—the Jew first and also the Gentile” (NLT).

These men and women are not ashamed of Jesus, and preach His name to Muslims around the Middle East. They know their lives are in danger every time they preach the Good News, but they do it anyway. They know that God loves Arabs and Muslims and He wants them to find the truth. One of the ways they do that is to remind Muslims that the Quran says that not only was Jesus a prophet, but that He’s the Word of God. If He is the Word of God, then they need to see what He teaches and how it’s opposite of what they’re taught.

We have to remember that Jesus didn’t just die for the Jews and the Americans, He did for everyone. John 3:16 says that whosoever “believes in Him would not perish, but have everlasting life.” We can’t be picky with whom we share the Good News with. God’s desire is that none would perish. It’s up to us to reach who we can, how we can. As the verse above said, the Good News was for the Jew first and also the Gentile. We can’t be afraid or ashamed of this Good News.

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World Changing Prayer


In I Timothy 2:1, Paul says, “I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf and give thanks for them” (NLT).When I read those words, I wonder if they challenged Timothy as much as they do me. Paul didn’t tell him to just pray for people he liked. He didn’t tell him to just pray for Christians. He told him to pray for all people and to ask God to help them.

To me, that’s hard to do. Selfishly, there are people that I don’t want God to help. I’m like Jonah a lot of times. I know God’s desire is to bring others to repentance, but I don’t always act in accordance with that. When God told Jonah to go to Nineveh, he disobeyed because he didn’t like them. We know that because later, when God spared the city, Jonah threw a hissy fit. He said, “I knew you were a merciful God. You are eager to turn back from destroying people.”

I wonder if Timothy was beginning to show the same signs. I wonder if he was being selective in who he shared the Gospel with. It’s not up to us to be selective with it or with our prayers. God doesn’t want anyone to perish. When we truly get that, we will start praying for others. We will intercede on their behalf. We won’t hold back from sharing the Gospel because we know that’s what God’s heart is.

God knows we let our human emotions get in the way of His will at times. We let how we feel about someone override how He feels for them. Paul knew the remedy for the situation is to pray for them and to give thanks for them. When we begin to pray blessings on people we don’t like and thank God for them, our vision of them changes. We stop seeing them as humans and start seeing them as souls. We quit looking at their value to us, and see the value God places on them.

I’ve always heard that prayer changes things. One of the biggest things it changes is us. That’s why Paul urges Timothy to pray. He knew as a young minister, he could fall into the trap of being selective with the Gospel. He knew that Timothy needed a greater vision. One that included all men, not just a few. It’s a vision that you and I need today. The way we get it is to begin praying for all and asking God to help them. If we truly want to see the world changed, we have to get on our knees and spend some time interceding. 

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