What is your greatest hope for 2019? I have used this conversation started for the last few weeks. It has given me insight into people’s lives.
One young lady at the drive-thru responded, “I want to learn to drive.” The conversation that followed revealed she was a single mom, wanting to get her GED so she could go to college. I prayed for her and offered to help her getting her GED.
Another waitress said she wanted to get back on track at the local community college. This lead to her showing me pictures of her one-year-old son. She too was a single mom desiring to earn a degree that would give her the ability to provide for her little family of two. I was able to pray for her and her little boy!
If you ask these open ended questions, you will be amazed at how many people will open up and share their hearts with you. These moments often become an opportunity to pray with them.
And be warned, if you ask these kind of questions you may just have the tables turned so be prepared to give an answer yourself. One time, the person asked me the same question. And it was a good thing Beth was there, she said, “One of our hopes is to pray peace over our community!”
2019 is the Year of the Peace Challenge of us.
In Luke 10, Jesus gives us a glimpse into His strategy for the invasion of the Kingdom of God into our world. He sent 72 of His disciples out in pairs to the towns and villages He planned to visit next.
He gave them a simple strategy:
- PRAY – There is an urgency in Jesus statement here. He says that the Harvest is ready, but the harvesters are few. Pray that God will send more harvesters. People are ready to enter the Kingdom of God, but faith comes by hearing and how will they hear if no one tells them the Good News! The sad part is if the harvest is ready and no one goes, the harvest will sour. Pray – Father send more disciples to our community who are willing to share the Good News of the Kingdom!
- GO – The second part of the strategy is be the answer to your own prayer. We see the same urgency here as well. Jesus tells them to go straight to where He sends us and travel light. Where do we go? In Acts 1:8 Jesus says, “You will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and to the end of the earth.” So we start in our own homes, neighborhoods and community.
- EXTEND PEACE – Jesus said when we enter a house, extend our peace. What is this all about? We understand pray and go, but extend peace – what is that? Peace is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. Jesus wants us to share that fruit with others. Here are three kinds of peace: Peace with God (to be reconciled with God), Peace of God (to have God’s peace reign in my heart), and Peace for God (to be a peacemaker).
I want to challenge you to live sent lives by focusing on three simple life habits: PRAY | EAT | BLESS
Let me share a quick progression on how to live out this life habit. First, pray as you walk around your house and work place, pray as you drive through your neighborhood and community. Second, begin to pray for people as you hear what they hope for or what they are going through. Third, ask people if you can pray with them. It doesn’t have to be some super-charged theological prayer. Just tell God what is going on and ask Him to intervene.
Eating is about building deeper relationships. We cannot build deeper relationships with everyone. In Luke 10, Jesus talked about investing deeply in a person who received your peace. Here is the plan: eat at least one meal a week with someone other than your immediate family. This can be a friend at work or a neighbor. Maybe it is someone from the committee you serve on at your child’s school or even someone from your bowling league.
Be a blessing to others. You can serve them. You can encourage them. The idea is to give them a glimpse of God’s peace in you.
To close, let me give you the rest of one of the stories above. I was eating lunch with my young friend Samuel when I asked the waitress what was her greatest hope for 2019. Unknown to us, an elderly couple was watching and grabbed our bill and paid for it.
The next three blog posts will explore one of the different kinds of peace and how they impact the Peace Challenge.
ACKNOWLEDGMENT: In October of 2018, I had the privilege of hearing Pastor John Honold from Journey Church in Hawaii speak about the Peace Challenge. This idea so hit me, at the church we are planting, Discover Point, we are entering into a year of peace adapting some of the Honold’s ideas.