Convicted To Share

By Valerie, an MBC Tysons attendee

Over the past few weeks, I have been convicted to share my faith more freely, and I have been looking for ways in my life to tell others about Jesus on a daily basis. Of course, this is not easy. But I found that by having a few of Lon’s CDs or the Romans Road cards with me that it became a great introduction to tell others of my faith and get God’s message into their hands.

romansroad_card-2-NUMBER-ONESeveral weeks ago when Lon challenged us to pass out one of his recent Gospel message CD, I requested a few extra for my own little outreach that I had in mind. On a prior occasion I had taken my family to the Vienna Metro Station and passed out Romans Road cards along with bottled water. So I thought we should do the same with Lon’s newest CD. On a Friday afternoon, my two young children, one of their friends, my husband, and I waited outside the Dunn Loring Metro Station and passed out Lon’s CD and bottled water to the people coming off the train.

We stayed for about an hour and a half and tried to engage the exiting metro riders in conversation about the Lord. It was wonderful to hear my children say, “Hi, would you like a CD to hear about Jesus? And take some water too.” There also happened to be a man playing hymns on the saxophone. My husband would say, “You hear the hymns, now hear the story.”

As I passed out CDs, I tried to engage in conversation with taxi drivers and people waiting for the bus. I spoke with two Muslim ladies who said they were interested in having the CDs. I talked to them about Jesus, and they said they were interested in knowing more because it was important for them to know what other religions were all about. They said they would definitely listen with interest.

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It’s really not that hard to do what we did. Most people are happy to receive a CD, and those that don’t are usually polite or at least non-confrontational. We followed up our outreach with prayer, and we left the rest to the Holy Spirit.

That afternoon, we passed out about 100 CDs. We have 100 more. Time for another trip to the metro. Want to join us?

Unclear How God Can Use You?

By Steve Fowler, MBC Director of Production

In Multiply, author and pastor Francis Chan reminds us that making disciples does not have to be a complicated process. At its heart, making disciples simply means telling others about Jesus, and teaching them to follow Him.

This past summer, I had the opportunity to travel to Ukraine with the MBC Tysons Orchestra mission team. We served at a music camp for kids. Although I felt compelled to join the team, I was unclear how God would use me since I don’t play in the orchestra. But we have developed friendships over the years, and I couldn’t wait to serve together with them.

The language barrier in country was significant. I don’t speak the language; and very few of the kids spoke more than a few words of English. (Fortunately, we had a wonderful translator.) One camper in particular gravitated toward our team. He seemed to have a hard time making friends with his peers. But he was fascinated by my English Bible, and wanted to read it with me at every free moment. I sensed a divine opportunity to invest in this young man for the Kingdom, so I met with him whenever we were able.

SteveandUkraineboyI wanted to make the most of our time together in the Word. But our translator was very busy, and was not always available. Then it dawned on me—over the summer at MBC, we had memorized the Romans Road. Now I’m no artist, but I quickly sketched a picture as best I could of a car, with him at the wheel, telling other people about Jesus. Each of the road signs had one of the key verses on them. I asked him to bring his Russian Bible whenever we met from then on. After he sounded out the English words, I asked him to read the verses aloud from his Russian Bible. This way, he would understand what these verses meant.

Other kids seemed interested in what we were doing as well, and several of them copied my drawing. I prayed that the Lord would give them understanding (in spite of my pitiful stick figures) as to how He desires each of us to share our faith with those around us who do not know Jesus as their Lord and Savior. As the week went on, I began to think that my camper friend was there for me just as much as I was there for him. I wasn’t sure what I could contribute in an orchestra camp, but here was a young man with a thirst for the Word of God; what a privilege it was to share it with him!

The English Bible I brought with me was given to me as a graduation gift. It represented a lot of hard work, long hours, and also a sense of accomplishment. But the more I thought about it, the more I began to feel like I had just been holding on to it for my new friend.

On the last morning of camp, there were lots of photos, hugs, and more than a few tears shed by the kids (and the grown ups too). I told my camper friend that I had something for him before he left camp. I made sure that our translator was nearby as I told this young man about my Bible. Then I told him how proud of him I was for his thirst for the Word, and how much he had encouraged me as well, and that I wanted him to have the Bible. I had inscribed a verse to share with him on the inside cover. He gave me a big hug, and said “spacibo!” which means, “thank you!”

Making disciples does not have to be complicated. We are each called to share the Word of God with others, just as others have shared it with us. And when God asks us to do something, we can be sure that He will provide for us the opportunity to be obedient to His command.

Ask God who He has placed in your life today with whom you can share the good news of Jesus Christ!

What Does Biblical Community Look Like?

By Lorin Drinkard, MBC Arlington Small Group Leader

“Let’s hurry up and finish the study,” said one of our ladies during small group a few weeks ago. “So we can clean the apartment for her!” she finished, bursting with excitement.

We’ve been meeting for small group in a lovely Ballston apartment for the past two years. Our “hostess with the mostess”, as we like to call her, had to leave group early that night, and the ladies couldn’t wait to serve her by giving the place a little mid-week sprucing up.

Talk about melting my heart.

Our small group went on to eagerly pick up cups and snacks, put away clean dishes, wash the dirty ones, empty the trash, wipe the counters, clean the bathroom, and fold the clothes of our sister in Christ. In the midst of learning about God’s Word, here was a group of women who wanted to immediately put Scripture into practice.

About a year ago, after hearing a message preached on serving our church body like Christ served and loving through word and deed, we asked each girl in small group to share a way that we could better serve her.

To our girls without cars, it was rides to and from the grocery store. To another, it was help with her grad school application. More fellowship outside of small group. Continued prayer. Accountability in Scripture memorization. One-by-one, the ladies shared, and we took on the interests of those around us, striving to be in community as Paul encouraged the New Testament believers in Philippians 2:3-4.

“Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind, let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interest of others.”

As we took up the interests of others and began memorizing God’s Word weekly as a group, our sense of community began to grow and thrive. Y’all, there is something so sweet and life-changing about hiding the truths and promises of the Scriptures in your heart. Even on days when you don’t feel like serving or seeking to live in community, a gentle reminder from the Holy Spirit affirms what you know to be true:

“And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.” (Hebrews 10:24-25)

How to Deal with Your Issues

By Monica Gill, MBC Loudoun Attendee

I’m a girl with “family issues.” I come from a family dynamic with a legacy of being pummeled by the enemy. By the grace of God I gave my heart to the Lord Jesus when I was eight years old, but I lived in a home that was far away from Christ. I kept my faith to myself in order to “keep the peace.” Though I “believed” I did not begin to chase after a relationship with Jesus and look for discipleship until I was in my late 20’s. When I began down that path, the Lord wasted no time zeroing in on my “issues.” I remember vividly sitting in my morning quiet time as the Lord clearly revealed what it would cost me to follow Him. I read these words…

“Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven. “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn “‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law– a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’ “Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it”. (Matthew 10:32-39)

I remember slamming my Bible shut and pushing it away as my divided heart rebelled against His words. I knew what it meant, and I knew it was true. … If I was going to truly be a disciple of Jesus, I was going to have to reorder my disordered loves. I was going to have to quit keeping Jesus in my private little “faith closet,” and I was going to have to face my “family issues.” I tried to ignore it, but the Lord eventually painted me into a corner where I literally had to take a stand and draw an appropriate boundary in my family relationships. The reaction was not pretty and the wounds inflicted when I took this stand were personal and deep. I lost my status in the family as the “favored golden child” made clear by the loss of my “seat at the table.” Where I once literally sat “at the right hand” of my earthly father at Thanksgiving & Christmas dinners, my husband and I were relegated to the “kiddie table.” (Not kidding!) I struggled inside as I dealt with the pain of rejection while forcing myself to give up my “rights,” swallow my pride, and “go into the lion’s den” looking for ways to love my family even amidst the rejection.

This was probably the single most difficult time in my spiritual life. I was writhing in pain inside. I struggled with my “family issues” and I struggled with allowing Jesus to come first in my life. I struggled with letting Him soften and transform my heart of stone and judgment to a heart of love and forgiveness. I did not do this bravely, charging forth just “me and Jesus” conquering my world of hurt. I was too weak and broken. It was my husband and my church family who bore those burdens with me. Their love and care made it possible for me to struggle with all these issues. They continuously took me to the feet of Jesus to be transformed by Him.

As I read Part 2, Chapter 1 in Multiply, it reminded me of that time. The “messy life” Francis Chan was talking about was mine, and the people who came alongside me to bear my burdens were God’s people. These people prayed with me. They counseled me with God’s wisdom. They didn’t just listen and let me cry on their shoulders, they literally cried with me as they pointed me toward Christ and then helped push me to get to Him. They were the ones who prayed for the Holy Spirit to transform my heart of stone toward my family to a heart of flesh.

I struggled with this mess in my heart for so long I sometimes felt like the fish in the Pink Floyd song “Wish You Were Here.” Just a lost soul swimming in a fish bowl, running over the same old ground! I even remember saying to those discipling me: “I’m so sorry I am still dealing with this. You must be so tired of hearing about it!” Their responses were all the same. They said, “We will walk with you in this as long as it takes! You may not feel like you’re getting anywhere, but we see the Lord working and we’re not going to leave you alone in this.”

Monica(center)_wfriendsWhen I read what Francis Chan wrote about what you need in order to “bear one another’s burdens” I thought about the people who bore my burdens. They had plenty of messes in their own lives, but they weren’t so distracted that they couldn’t take on mine too. None of them had degrees in psychology or conflict resolution. They only had three motivations that qualified them—they loved the Lord, they loved me, and they wanted to help me get closer to Jesus!

Getting involved in the lives of others is messy and time consuming. I know because I was a mess, and I consumed a lot of people’s time! But at the other end of that is the Lord’s victory! The Lord softened my heart, which allowed me to actively love my family and move toward them for true reconciliation. Out of the ashes came a right relationship with God and a reconciled healthier relationship with my family. But, none of it would have been possible without the church coming around me and getting into my “mess” to help me out of it and into the arms of Jesus. The memory of this over the years has so squeezed my heart that it’s motivated me to reach out in the same way for the same motivations—to help people get closer to Jesus!

In a way it reminds me of a simple illustration. When I was pregnant, my husband and I would go walking up our country road every day. There were pretty steep hills to climb. As my pregnancy continued the weight of carrying our daughter made getting up those hills really hard! My husband used to get behind me and press his hands to my lower back as I leaned my weight back on him. He would help push me up the hill as I walked. He didn’t carry me, I still had to walk, but it was a lot easier to do with him there to help press me forward. This is what it was like when my brothers and sisters in Christ helped bear my burdens. You see, I didn’t climb that mountain on my own. It was God’s people who got behind me as I walked. They put their hands to my back and bore my weight. They put their love, prayers, support and energy behind me and pushed me up the hill toward the Lord so I could get to Him and His healing power. Today, I want to ask you to look around. There are people to be loved and burdens to be carried. Who can you stand behind, press your hands into their back, bear the weight and help push them up the hill to get to Jesus?

What is Genuine Satisfaction?

Every Member a Minister

by Brian Walters, Director of Discipleship & Biblical Training @MBCLouduon

Did you know that you’re a minister of the Gospel? I bet you’re thinking, “I didn’t go to seminary, I’ve never even been discipled, I’m not a mature enough Christian, or God hasn’t called me to be a minister, so how can this be true?” These thoughts run rampant in many believers’ minds and feed one of the biggest misconceptions in the church—that the only minister is the pastor, but nothing could be further from the truth.

God has commanded every believer to spread the Gospel and make disciples (Matt. 28:18-20). Every Christ-follower is part of the royal priesthood (1 Peter 2:5-9), meaning you are a priest. Ephesians 4:11-12 says, “He gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelist, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ…” As we can see through the Word of God, the only distinction between pastors and other believers is one of function and gifting. Friends, a pastor is not any more important to God’s plan than you, his role is just different. Christian ministry is every member’s ministry and until we realize this, the body won’t function to its fullest potential. All believers are equally important to the healthy functioning of the church.

I bet you’re thinking, “OK, I’m a minister, but I still feel ill equipped.” Well, you aren’t! God has given believers the Holy Spirit (John 14:15-31; 1 Cor. 3:16, 6:19). Through the Spirit we have the fruits of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control (Galatians 5:22-23) to help us. Additionally, God has given every believer spiritual gifts (1 Cor. 12:7; 11; 1 Pet. 4:10) for the benefit of others. Lastly, we have the Word of God, which is the lamp to our feet and a light for our path.

Not only does God have a role for us, and not only has He given us the skills and attributes to accomplish the work, He also doesn’t leave us to work alone. Ephesians 2:10 says, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” We are all part of the body of Christ, and we function together to accomplish God’s purposes, with Christ as the head and each of us as a unique and distinct part of His body. So while the primary job of the pastor is to be an equipper, every member of the church is a minister who has a role to play to bring our heavily Father the glory He so richly deserves. So the question we all should be asking ourselves now is, “Are we fulfilling our role in the body of Christ as a minister?”

Discipleship is Action (Part II)

by Brian Walters, Director of Discipleship & Biblical Training @MBCLouduon

In my previous blog I emphasized the point that a disciple must back his words with actions.  A disciple needs to strive to do his best and be obedient to God.  But additionally, a disciple should know and understand that he is not always going to get it right.

For example, when my wife Annie Laurie and I were leading a Small Group in D.C. I shared something about my wife with the group to back a teaching point with the intent to model and encourage transparency and authenticity with the group. However, I didn’t first run by Annie Laurie what I was going to share.  Boy that was a mistake!  She was not expecting that and was taken off-guard. I think most of the group was just praying I made it home that night in one piece.  I repented of my wrong and asked my wife to forgive me and then went back to the group and asked their forgiveness as well.  Here is a freebee guys, if you are going to share anything about your wife always run it by her even if you think what you’re sharing won’t offend or hurt her.

My point is that when we get it wrong, we need to have the humility to own it, repent, and ask for forgiveness of God and those we have hurt or offended.  The important thing about falling short is how we handle it after the fact.  This speaks volumes about our character, probably even more so then when we get it right.

Remember,  Paul had to rebuke Peter (Gal. 2:11-14) and Barnabas because they stopped mingling with the Gentiles and reverted back to legalism by only associating with Jews even though they knew no foods or people were unclean (Acts 10).  Paul also had to admonish the Corinthian believers and many others who fell short.  So do you have any recent situations in your life where you need to own your part and seek forgiveness?  If so, it’s time for you to own it because a discipler must be humble and admit when he/she is wrong. Discipleship is action.

Discipleship is Action (Part I)

by Brian Walters, Director of Discipleship & Biblical Training @MBCLouduon

Last weekend Lon said, “To be disciple makers, we don’t have to live perfect lives – just authentic ones!” Well, I absolutely agree with this statement because the most key ingredient to discipleship is not teaching or knowledge – it is modeling and living out what you believe and teach others so that your actions back your beliefs.  Who is going to follow or imitate someone who says one thing and then does another? Listen to why Mahatma Gandhi didn’t pursue Christianity,

The pious lives of Christians did not give me anything that the lives of men of other faiths had failed to give. I had seen in other lives just the same reformation that I had heard of among Christians. Philosophically there was nothing extraordinary in Christian principles. From the point of view of sacrifice, it seemed to me that the Hindus greatly surpassed the Christians.

To summarize Gandhi’s statement, he did not pursue Christianity because when he observed lives of Christians they weren’t modeling what they said or even taught.  The key point is that disciplers are imitators and modelers of Christ (1 Cor. 11:1; Phil. 4:9; 1 Peter 2:21).  If we don’t model, we are truly not discipling. We need to be authentic and real and not put on a false facade.

I tell the men I disciple that we need to always look for open doors to share the gospel or our testimony.  So, just the other day after I finished dinner, doing the dishes, putting the kid’s down with my wife, and picking up toys; my door bell rang.  Low and behold there were 2 Mormon missionaries at my door. I knew right then that I wasn’t going to get a chance to sit down and relax because I had something more important to do and that was to share the gospel. I could have easily closed the door and told them I wasn’t interested or to come back another time, but I would have missed a great opportunity for God to use me and this was a clear opportunity to live out what I have been teaching to others.

Believe me, I don’t always get it right. For instance, I have not yet given out Lon’s testimony CD like he asked us to do last week, but that is OK. As disciples we need to strive to do our best to ensure our actions support our words, also knowing at times we are going to get it wrong . Are there areas in your life where you putting up a façade?  Pray and ask God to help you see the areas where you can better live out your beliefs.

Will You Love Until the End?

By Carol Schryber, MBC Tysons attendee and leader of Community Bible Study

Have you ever known someone that was really hard to love? So hard in fact that you chose not to love them? I had a neighbor who made my life miserable for several years. When my husband and I first moved next door, I was nine months pregnant. We worked furiously to get me moved-in quickly. In the midst of it all, Bob rang the doorbell. Rather than welcome us to the neighborhood, Bob reprimanded us for leaving our unpacked boxes at the curb (two nights before pick-up). Another time, he scolded us for having our sprinkler too close to his yard—it was getting the end of his driveway wet. I wondered if he scolded God when it rained! Time and time again he corrected us. It was hard to love my neighbor. So, I’m sorry to say…I didn’t.

One day, Bob installed a large tower in his backyard so he could operate his “ham” radio from home. (A “ham” radio is a radio frequency communication device that can be very helpful in emergencies, but is also a hobby for amateur operators.) The next night, after we had finally put our newborn down, we heard voices coming through our baby monitor. After hours of mindless ham babble, we heard, “10-4, this is Dynamite Bob, over and out.” This went on for months, and continually interrupted whatever quiet time we had, because it also came through our television. It drove us crazy! But one day it all stopped and never returned. We didn’t look into why, we just rejoiced. Months later we learned Dynamite Bob had gotten cancer and died.

I now realize that Dynamite Bob was just a lonely man who never had a friend. He communicated the only way he could—anonymously to strangers across the airways (long before the Internet). Jesus would have found a way to serve him. Jesus would have loved him to the end.

“Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.” John 13:1

At that moment Jesus knew that His time had come to be wrongfully accused, mocked, flogged, and hung on a cross. Without caring for His own needs, He rose from supper, poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet. This was something that only the lowest servant would do for a master.

Love became an action word. It might have been easy to wash John’s feet, he would go to the cross, but what about Peter who would deny him and Thomas who would doubt? What about Judas? He would betray Him. Jesus did not distinguish between them. He loved them all until the end.

There are those in our world that are easy to love, and then there are the Dynamite Bobs. Jesus’ example shows us that love is more than a feeling. It is aligning our wills with the love of the Father. Jesus did not wash Judas’ feet to gain appreciation. He did it out of His love for God. He washed the feet of those who sinned against him. What an example of love! I have missed so many opportunities, but there are many more that I will come across. Who am I called to love to the end?

A Family Multiply Story

Nelson hold Multiply bookBy Laurel Jenkins, MBC Tysons Attendee and Nelson’s Mom

The buzz of Multiply was in the air! There were orange T-shirts, orange books, and even Pastor Lon had on orange shoes. How could one not notice something was happening? As our family was driving home from church that Saturday night in September, my fifth-grader was asking questions about getting involved in Multiply. He wasn’t really clear about how to ask his question. He knew something exciting was going on, but he didn’t quite understand it all. Then, he asked, “Can I do Multiply?”

I was thrilled to hear of his own personal interest about being involved and said I would be happy to read the book with him, and we could talk about it. That wasn’t quite what he had pictured. I mentioned maybe he could come to the adult service with us when Pastor Lon started preaching on Multiply. That still wasn’t quite what he was thinking. Finally he asked, “How can I be in a Multiply group of my own?” He was catching the bug and wanting to be involved in this exciting movement at our church.

We continued to discuss the options on the way home and decided we could be a small group on our own; our family could have our own Multiply group. We talked about how we could go to church together on Saturday night as a family and listen to the sermon. Afterwards, we could go out to dinner and have a discussion about what we learned from the sermon and how we could apply it. Success! It was a plan that fit the need and desire of our fifth-grader, and he was now excited to be involved in a Multiply group of his own.

Have you thought about having a Multiply group just within your family? It doesn’t have to be well thought out with great detail. It can be as simple as a discussion at the dinner table. What better place to start making disciples than within our own families?