Going Deeper through Personal Ministry
The principle underlying this week’s challenge to “reach higher by going deeper” isn’t complicated or complex, so in recognition of its pragmatic simplicity, I’ll get right to it. The prevailing decadence of the popular culture is a constant reminder that the message of Jesus Christ is not making contact with the upcoming generation. We’re failing in the area of personal ministry and need to go deeper and reach higher in this fundamental process. Every day we see ideas and behaviors that stand in blatant contradiction to God’s most vital and foundational principles. Worse yet, they’re not only approved and accepted, but heralded as desirable preferences. And to complete the cycle of unbridled foolishness, these contradictions are being adopted as public policy in legislative houses across the land. One question that begs to be asked is, “Why aren’t the followers of Jesus doing more to counteract these awful trends?”
A Universal Process ~
The quest for at least one answer to that question leads us to a fundamental observation. Christianity involves both an individual and group perspective. I didn’t know much about Jesus or Christians in my early years, but one thing stood out. They were all a bunch of groupies that met in steepled buildings. But as I learned many years later, there is a profound and deeply personal relationship that precedes all the group involvement. Personal ministry begins by seeing ourselves as distinct from the group. If we’re fuzzy on what our personal relationship with Jesus entails, then our approach to personal ministry will very likely be flawed and ineffective. Condensing some profound truths into a few steps might help to reinforce our understanding of who we are and why we’re here. There is a process involved for every person who comes to Jesus Christ, and while the individual circumstances and personal reactions will be different, there are some profound things that God does for us that are intimately personal.
- Personal ministry begins with a calling. Our relationship with Jesus Christ is intensely personal. He called us by name and in accordance with His purpose. Each of us who responded to His call is individually ordained as His personal representative.
No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day. John 6:44 (NKJV)
There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling. Ephesians 4:4 (NKJV)
- All those who are called by Jesus are thoroughly and eternally forgiven and cleansed. Every sin, every fault, every failure, and every flaw is obliterated from our record and replaced by the righteous record of Jesus Himself. Though none of us achieves perfection in this world, we can have an effective personal ministry when our lives are characterized by a consistently clean lifestyle reinforced by confession and repentance when we fail.
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9 (NKJV)
And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God. 1 Corinthians 6:11 (NKJV)
And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, Colossians 2:13 (NKJV)
- We are called to a life of service, not personal indulgence. Service is an action word and not a concept that can be defined by sitting in a sanctified auditorium a couple of hours a week. Serving Him is actively expressing the gifts He gave us and displaying the love He put inside us.
Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many. Matthew 20:28 (NKJV)
How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? Hebrews 9:14 (NKJV)
- God would never send anyone out to serve Him without first equipping them to do what He created them to do. Jesus bestows spiritual gifts–spiritual “equipment,” if you will–upon every follower of Jesus as it pleases Him. Personal ministry is the pragmatic expression and application of the qualities imparted to each of us by the Spirit of God. That makes personal ministry more than a possibility. It makes it a responsibility.
There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all. 1 Corinthians 12:4-7 (NKJV)
- All of us who are called to Jesus Christ are also sent by Him to carry out the purpose for which He created, redeemed, and equipped us. He assigns us our own unique place in His “Body” and provides all the opportunity we need to fulfill our role in the overall mission that Jesus sent us to carry out.
So Jesus said to them again, “Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you. John 20:21 (NKJV)
But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased. 1 Corinthians 12:18 (NKJV)
An Uncomplicated Admonition ~
We didn’t get to the state of moral chaos that surrounds us because those in the political arena failed to do their jobs, nor was it just those in the pulpits and those directing the mega-churches. We have what we have because too many of us foot-soldiers decided that reaching out to those around us was somebody else’s job. Maybe we drifted into the consumer mentality and started going to church for what we could get out
of it. Perhaps we felt that if we couldn’t do some grand thing that would go viral on Facebook, we were irrelevant. None of that is true.
Every one of us is vital to the One who died for us, and He’s depending on us to do what He called, cleansed, equipped, and sent us to do. So let’s get busy where He placed us and use the resources and gifts He gave us to turn this world not “upside down,” but “right side up” again.
“TWEETABLES” ~ Click to Tweet & Share from the pull quotes below. Each quote links directly back to this article through Twitter.
- “God would never send anyone out to serve Him without first equipping them to do what He created them to do. Jesus bestows spiritual gifts–spiritual “equipment,” if you will–upon every follower of Jesus as it pleases Him. @GallaghersPen (Click here to Tweet)
- “All of us who are called to Jesus Christ are also sent by Him to carry out the purpose for which He created, redeemed, and equipped us. He assigns us our own unique place in His “Body” to fulfill the mission Jesus sent us to carry out.” @GallaghersPen (Click here to Tweet)
- “We didn’t get to the state of moral chaos that surrounds us because those in the political arena failed to do their jobs, nor was it just those in the pulpits and those directing the mega-churches.”@GallaghersPen (Click here to Tweet)
- “Every one of us is vital to the One who died for us, and He’s depending on us to do what He called, cleansed, equipped, and sent us to do. So let’s get busy where He placed us & use the gifts He gave us to turn this world …“right side up” again.” @GallaghersPen (Click here to Tweet)
Check out Ron’s book, “Right Side Up Thinking in an Upside Down World ~ Looking at the World through the Lens of Biblical Truth”.
The Kindle e-version is just $1.99. No Kindle device is needed. E-book readers are included on most computers, tablets, and smartphones. If you don’t have one, the free Kindle app can be easily downloaded directly from the Amazon site on almost any device.
Click here for a “Look Inside” preview at Amazon.
© 2020 Gallagher’s Pen, Ronald L. Gallagher, Ed.S. All rights reserved.
“We are called to a life of service, not personal indulgence.”….wow! All of us needs to be reminded of that, often.
Thanks so much for taking the time to share a comment, Jason. We love the way you and your family take the love and grace of God outside the walls of church buildings. May He multiply the efforts you make to turn up the Light in this darkening culture.
Our Father has blessed each of us with special gifts. May we use them daily to His glory, and turn hearts and minds to Jesus.
It’s tremendous blessing to know that He never sends us to do anything that He hasn’t already equipped us to do. It’s also amazing how many different ways He finds to apply the gifts He has given us. Not everyone who has the gift of teaching, for instance, is found standing in front of Sunday School class. Sometimes we get tunnel-vision and miss all kinds of opportunities to use what He’s given. Thanks again, Martha, for another uplifting comment, and for being one of those who’s always looking for some way to demonstrate His love and illustrate His truth.