In an attempt to get our “Top 5” series off the ground – I spoke yesterday at Every Nation Church Singapore in an effort to answer the question “how do I try to be a positive influence to the world, without being negatively influenced” – i.e. engaging the culture without becoming engaged. After much prayer, research, and a “God-incidental” chance of a life time to sit under the teaching of Dr Stephen Mansfield last week in Auckland who taught about God in culture, I came up with these 8 points which I highlighted:
- Realise that you are the best YOU – Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for YOU, plans to prosper YOU and not to harm YOU”. There is a specific nature to the plan he has for you both individually and within a corporate context of your family, your sphere, your city, your nation. Put in tons of work to discover that plan, see it refined and defined more and more, and be the BEST YOU that YOU can possibly be.
- Don’t stay in the Locker Room – sad is the man or woman who stays in the huddle planning his ways the whole way, and not getting in the game. There is a time for prep, but even the best preparation is done on fields, they’re just smaller ones. And don’t just get in the game – leave everything on the field after each time you play!
- Understand your Guild – learn to understand the people within your sphere of influence. Dr Mansfield gave the sphere of influence the wonderful title of ‘the guild’. Learn by researching, and even more importantly listening to those involved. Hear their hearts. Pray accordingly. Pray also that God would give you that understanding of how to love them.
- Learn how to be a Friend – I learnt from a wise pastor that some people are just one crisis away from knowing God, and God willing, they will turn to their true friends. We’d better be that friend.
- You aren’t the only one – Form your God given non-negotiables early in the game. Even Matthew after coming to know Jesus, invited Jesus and his disciples to a party he held for his tax collecting friends. Don’t think you’re too cool to get others of faith involved in ministering within your guild through prayer, and becoming friends too. Remember it’s God’s reputation, not yours that matters.
- Find Mentors – on one level find skilled mentors, on another deeper level, find those who are not only skilled but have been through the fire of the trials of life and come out gold.
- Learn to pastor where you are – Pastor is more than a title, it literally means to shepherd or to care for the sheep. How would God have you care for his people where you are? in your workplace? at your school? in your apartment block?
- Immerse yourself in God – Like Daniel who prayed 3 times a day intensely immersed in the love and empowerment of his God, he would then go and worship God in the way he did his work – most excellently. Excellence attracts excellence. Go with God, without His presence going with you, it’s not only pointless – you’re doomed to fail and make an utter fool of yourself.
I know this is not an extensive list, but hopefully enough to challenge all of us to live engaging the culture where we are with the gospel of Jesus Christ… Jesus be a fence all around me every day!
Any thoughts on this?