Make The Most of Every Opportunity

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Steps Toward Jesus
A lot of us have experienced this real life that Jesus offers, but very few people are sharing that real life in a real way. Some of it is because you're afraid of what other people are going to think. You're afraid of how they're going to feel about the things you have to say. You just worry you don't have all the right words or all the correct answers, so fear prevents us from even starting that conversation.   God has done something in you because he wants to use you to share that with somebody else. You don’t have to be past all the barriers to start doing this. The minute you start finding out about who Jesus is, you can already share it, even when you don't know all the answers and are still struggling with some things. If you want to get better at sharing the real life that Jesus has given through you, and you really want people to experience it, instead of trying hard and giving all our effort, just pray! It sounds so simple, but just ask that God would allow you today to share with somebody the real life that he’s giving you because you just want somebody else to know and experience it. This is the challenge for you today, not tomorrow or next week: Could you share that real life that Jesus has been given to you? Could you share that with somebody else? Look for an opportunity. Step into that opportunity, be the salt and light, be the flavor, and let's help other people experience the real life that Jesus has given us. Discussion/Reflection Questions: Who may God be placing in your path to share the real life with that maybe you haven’t realized before? How can you start sharing with that today?
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Open Doors
First Peter 3:15 says, “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.” Many people stop before the last sentence when reading this verse, and they think they have to know the answers to everything before they can start talking to others about Jesus. But we don't want to miss the importance of that last line!  You have to remember that Jesus is Lord. That means that you need to understand that Jesus wants that person back to himself more than you do. Sometimes, we can start thinking or feeling that we care more about it than he does. But he so desperately wants them to taste the real life of knowing him, but in the process, there's a relationship that needs to be formed. Paul had a heart for making sure his readers understood that they are called to share this gift of real life that they had been given. The only thing greater than experiencing God's love for us is experiencing God's love through us. So if you have found that Jesus is who he says he is, where he has offered you a life, pulled you out of darkness, and transported you into the kingdom of light, then God wants to use you. He wants to use you so that more people can come out of a life of lies, fakeness, and emptiness and instead, step into hope and real, genuine, transformative, powerful relationships. But it starts with you! Discussion/Reflection Questions: Who in your life do you most want to experience Jesus and embrace the real life that he has to offer? What steps can you take today to show them the reason for the hope that you have?
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Continually in Prayer
Prayer can be something that sounds so simple in theory, but also very intimidating for some people. After all, you are speaking directly to the creator of the entire universe who controls everything that happens throughout the course of our life. We are given this ability to speak directly to God because of the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross, whereas those in the Old Testament had to have a go-between, in the form of a priest or prophet, to speak to the Lord. Sometimes, when we start thinking about prayer, we begin to worry or get anxious about saying the right words to God at the right time, instead of just going to him to share what we are struggling with, the emotions we are feeling, or the situations that we find ourselves in. Scripture continually reminds us that we need to be in prayer consistently throughout our day. Romans 12:12 says, “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.” And Colossians 4:2 states, “Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.” When you go into every place or situation praying, you're going to start recognizing that God is planting opportunities for you to share the real life that's inside of you. And when that happens, you're going to start recognizing that life isn't random at all, and life is full of opportunities that are appointed for you to change someone else’s life.  Discussion/Reflection Question: Do you ever get intimidated by prayer? In what places or situations do you find prayer most difficult?
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Full of Grace
Colossians 4:6 tells us, “Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” In this verse, Paul says to season your conversations with salt, which may strike us as an odd statement when we first read it. What does Paul mean by this? This statement actually would mean two things to the original readers; seasoning something with salt adds flavor, and salt is also compared with truth. Paul is saying, “Listen, season your conversations with salt, season them with truth, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” For some of us, truth can sometimes be the most difficult part of a conversation, particularly when it’s someone we care about and it’s something we know they aren’t going to want to hear. But for others of us, truth comes easy to us in coversations and we aren’t afraid to share it, but it is the “full of grace” part that can trip us up. However, as Christ-followers, we are directed to speak in both truth and grace in all our conversations. We hold tight to the truths that we know from Scripture, while also recognizing that we have been given boundless grace by our Heavenly Father, so we are to impart that grace to others in our words and actions.  Discussion/Reflection Question: Do you struggle more with speaking truth or speaking with grace in your conversations? Be intentional and mindful of this key verse throughout your conversations throughout the day and see how it impacts your words.