Kingdom Impact in Your Community

Walking in His Footsteps with Gerrylynn Ferguson

On Monday, I had the great honor to chat with two dear friends: Myles Hanson & Gerrylynn Ferguson!

The second hour with Gerrylynn Ferguson, we focused on making a kingdom impact in our communities.

Gerrylynn also shared insights on clarifying God’s call for your life and how to leave a lasting legacy in your community:

THIS Monday, Oct. 26, 7-9 PM Central Time, I’ll have Tom & Sue Rice of Great Marriages for Sheboygan County, sharing their wisdom and experience from 50 years of a joyful marriage!

Tom & Sue Rice on their wedding day (a few years ago) — I’m sure it feels like yesterday!
Tom & Sue Rice on their wedding day (a few years ago) —
I’m sure it feels like yesterday! 🙂 

Tune in live at Praydio.com!

You can catch videos of past episodes here:

Aerial photo of a neighborhood in Haiti
Aerial photo of a neighborhood in Haiti
by Kelly Lacy on Pexels.com

God-incidences: Right Here, Right Now

What if coincidences are really God-incidences?

The scenes from Esther’s life recorded in chapters 5-7 of her book illustrate the power of a praying woman and God’s ability to turn even the most dire circumstances around for His glory and the good of His people!

Photo by Tirachard Kumtanom on Pexels.com

“Go!” said the LORD.

I started this message on the incredible faith of Abraham & Sarah from Hebrews 11:8-19 with a retelling of Genesis 12:1-4 and 15:3-6.

In what ways does the faith journey of Abraham & Sarah encourage you?

Which parts challenge you?

What is your “I will…” (your next step to “go”)?

Who will you share with what you discovered?

“Abraham, Abraham…” said the LORD.

“LORD, is that You?” Abraham asked.

“Yes, My child,” He responded tenderly. “I have something I want to say to you.”

With eagerness, Abraham shot back, Well, speak, LORD! I’m listening. I will do whatever You say and go wherever You ask me to go!”

“I know, Abraham. That’s why I’m calling you today. I have put that faith in your heart, so you will trust Me wherever I send you,” He said.

Bubbling over with excitement: “Thank You, LORD! Praise You, LORD! I do trust You. I love You. Thank You for speaking to me and thank You for calling me and thank You for loving me and…”

“ABRAHAM. Abraham,” His strong voice echoed.  “I am calling you… to leave your home country, the people you know, the land you’re accustomed to, even your father’s family – and go!”

“Go? LORD, go where?” the man of faith wondered.

The firm and loving One replied: “Go… to the land I will show you.”

Shaking but believing, His son said, “Go… Okay, go. And You will show me where to go. What should I do in this new land where You are sending me?”

Abraham, do you trust Me?”

Yes, LORD! I trust You with all of my heart,” Abraham immediately responded.

“Abraham, I’ll show you what you must do in this new land,” the ever-gracious One said.

Again thinking out loud as he wondered: “What about my wife?”

“Bring your wife with you of course,” the compassionate Father said.

Abraham processed aloud, “When we go to this new land that You will show us and we do what you will tell us to do, what will happen to us?”

“Abraham, do you trust Me?”

Abraham said, “Yes, LORD! I trust You with all I am. And then some… I trust You, because You have taught me and You help me to trust You!”

The LORD promised, “Abraham, I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you. I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever speaks against you I will curse. And all peoples on earth will be blessed through you. I am going to send the Savior through your family.”

“LORD, I trust You,” the man of God confessed.  “I believe what You say is true. At the same time, You have given me no children, and I am already an old man. My body is as good as dead.”

“Abraham, do you trust Me?”

“Yes, LORD! Oh, I trust You,” Abraham said from the deepest part of his being.  “You are God, and You can be fully trusted always. Everything You do is good, and everything You say is true and right.”

With a gentle hand, the LORD lifted his son’s gaze heavenward: “Abraham, look up and count the stars. If you can…” He said with a love-laced chuckle.  “This is how many children your family will have. Every person who believes in My Messiah will join your family of faith. Because you believe, you are right with Me, and we are close friends.”

“LORD, let’s go,” His son Abraham responded, exploding with anticipation.  “I will listen. I will follow You. I will… Wherever You lead, let’s go together.”

“Yes, Abraham, I will be with you every step of the way. I will always keep My promises to you – no matter what happens. I will speak to you, and you will follow Me. And you will speak My words to others. Let’s go,” said the LORD. “For I will be with you.”

(A retelling of Genesis 12:1-4 and 15:3-6)

Incredible Faith – Noah

What does faith look like? In fact, what in the world is it?

~Is it something etherial that’s near impossible to wrap our arms around?
~Is it just superstition, something we muster up in an attempt to be spiritual?


Or is it something quite powerful that we can experience, express, and walk out every day?

If you know me, you probably know my answer.

Hebrews 11 is chock full of examples of people who lived, loved, and walked by faith!

Today, I got to share a message about one of these everyday people, who lived with incredible faith, and how faith changed his life, his family, and the course of human history…

Artwork: “The Celebration” by Tom duBois

Hebrews 11 is chock full of examples of people who lived, loved, and walked by faith!

What stands out most to you from the story of Noah and his family?

How will you apply these discoveries in your life? Who will you share with?

Prayer as a Way of Life: Pray & Pray With…

It was a sweet blessing to host this Groups Connection Coaching Huddle with Darnell Robinson of the Milwaukee House of Prayer.

This conversation about the power of prayer strikes me as so relevant to this moment in history! Especially at times like these, it’s essential that we develop a prayerfully dependent way of life and learn to be led by Holy Spirit.

Especially at times like these, it’s essential that we develop a prayerfully dependent way of life and learn to be led by Holy Spirit.

I was struck by Darnell and Donna’s teachable, humble hearts and their obedience to Jesus, even when it cost them…

What stands out most to you? How are you developing rhythms of personal and corporate prayer in this unique season?

Photo by Binti Malu on Pexels.com

Never underestimate the power released when these two meet…

Where do you look to for strength as you journey through this life?

If like me you’re learning the art of practicing powerful prayer, what is it that gives your prayers power and effectiveness (James 5:16)?

In Praying God’s Word, we looked at lies we believe about prayer and how to pray the promises of God…

Never underestimate the power released when these two meet… prayer and God’s Word are truly a match made in Heaven!

Never underestimate the power released when these two meet… Prayer and God’s Word are truly a match made in Heaven!

Photo: Pexels.com

What lies have you believed about prayer? What principles and practices of prayer have been most helpful in your life?

Wounds from a Father: our journey toward healing & honor

I was grateful to share a Father’s Day message called: “Wounds from a Father: our journey toward healing & honor” at Bethany in La Crosse.

While I was prayerfully considering what message to share with a church family, experiencing some pain in transition, I connected with our FLD Church Leadership Catalyst Brian Thorstad.  Brian encouraged me to acknowledge the elephant in the room and to share a potentially challenging but healing message.

Heartfelt chats, tears, and prayer with dear ones between worship services confirmed the truth in Brian’s wise counsel.  Sweeping pain under the rug doesn’t help anybody involved.

But actively pursuing healing and choosing honor: well, that can be life changing…

Hearing God

I’m so grateful that Jesus connected me with godly mentors early in my spiritual walk who encouraged me to love God’s Word and prioritize listening to the Holy Spirit’s voice.

I learned then to practice 360 degree listening, which I still do today!  From the beginning to the end of the day, I posture my heart to listen to everything Jesus wants to say through the common themes of His Word, His whisper, conversations with others, and the circumstances of our lives that together create a complete circle wherein we can hear and be led by His Spirit.

We learn to recognize His voice by spending time in the Bible.  We’ll only hear Him if we’re willing to quiet our hearts and listen.  We test everything we hear according to His written Word.  Here are a few questions I like to use for listening prayer.  You might spend a few minutes asking the LORD one or more of these questions each day and writing or drawing what you hear, see, or feel as He leads and guides you nearer to His heart and deeper into His will:

a. What is something amazing about You I need to know?
b. What lies am I believing? What is Your truth about this?
c. What’s holding me back from being everything You created me to be?
d. Who do I need to forgive?
e. Who do I need to love? How?
f. Is there anything You shared with me today that would be a blessing to someone else?
g. Would You like me to share any of this with others? Who?

During a time in my life when I was facing discouragement, the LORD encouraged me through a conversation with a mentor.  He told me, “God is always speaking, so ask Him what He’s saying and listen.”

Consider taking a 30-minute, mini vacation today and listening to what He has on His heart to share with you.  Let’s cultivate hearts that love His Presence and delight to hear His voice!

Here’s a message I was blessed to share on hearing God’s voice from the life story of our brother Elijah in 1 Kings 19:

"Go!" said the LORD.

“Abraham, Abraham…” said the LORD.

“LORD, is that You?” Abraham asked.

“Yes, My child,” He responded tenderly. “I have something I want to say to you.”

With eagerness, Abraham shot back, Well, speak, LORD! I’m listening. I will do whatever You say and go wherever You ask me to go!”

“I know, Abraham. That’s why I’m calling you today. I have put that faith in your heart, so you will trust Me wherever I send you,” He said.

Bubbling over with excitement: “Thank You, LORD! Praise You, LORD! I do trust You. I love You. Thank You for speaking to me and thank You for calling me and thank You for loving me and…”

“ABRAHAM. Abraham,” His strong voice echoed.  “I am calling you… to leave your home country, the people you know, the land you’re accustomed to, even your father’s family – and go!”

“Go? LORD, go where?” the man of faith wondered.

The firm and loving One replied: “Go… to the land I will show you.”

Shaking but believing, His son said, “Go… Okay, go. And You will show me where to go. What should I do in this new land where You are sending me?”

Abraham, do you trust Me?”

Yes, LORD! I trust You with all of my heart,” Abraham immediately responded.

“Abraham, I’ll show you what you must do in this new land,” the ever-gracious One said.

Again thinking out loud as he wondered: “What about my wife?”

“Bring your wife with you of course,” the compassionate Father said.

Abraham processed aloud, “When we go to this new land that You will show us and we do what you will tell us to do, what will happen to us?”

“Abraham, do you trust Me?”

Abraham said, “Yes, LORD! I trust You with all I am. And then some… I trust You, because You have taught me and You help me to trust You!”

The LORD promised, “Abraham, I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you. I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever speaks against you I will curse. And all peoples on earth will be blessed through you. I am going to send the Savior through your family.”

“LORD, I trust You,” the man of God confessed.  “I believe what You say is true. At the same time, You have given me no children, and I am already an old man. My body is as good as dead.”

“Abraham, do you trust Me?”

“Yes, LORD! Oh, I trust You,” Abraham said from the deepest part of his being.  “You are God, and You can be fully trusted always. Everything You do is good, and everything You say is true and right.”

With a gentle hand, the LORD lifted his son’s gaze heavenward: “Abraham, look up and count the stars. If you can…” He said with a love-laced chuckle.  “This is how many children your family will have. Every person who believes in My Messiah will join your family of faith. Because you believe, you are right with Me, and we are close friends.”

“LORD, let’s go,” His son Abraham responded, exploding with anticipation.  “I will listen. I will follow You. I will… Wherever You lead, let’s go together.”

“Yes, Abraham, I will be with you every step of the way. I will always keep My promises to you – no matter what happens. I will speak to you, and you will follow Me. And you will speak My words to others. Let’s go,” said the LORD. “For I will be with you.”

(A retelling of Genesis 12:1-4 and 15:3-6)

The end

A few days ago, I went to the bank and added a beneficiary, payable on death, to my accounts.

I sat across the desk from the banker, who was dressed in her business suit and blue collared shirt. In my sweater and jeans, I supplied my information and signed the paperwork. The banker seemed strangely nervous. Suddenly, it struck me: I wonder if she thinks I’m planning to end my life.

 
After all, she knew my address was Moody Bible Institute. Why would a young college student want to add a payable on death to his accounts? I looked into the banker’s eyes and decided to clear things up.
 
“I’m graduating this semester and thinking about endings,” I chuckled. “I’m not planning on dying anytime soon.” Right then, it hit me. Who does? Today could very well be our last day. I saw an opportunity to share about life and death.
 
“But I know I won’t live forever,” I clarified. A slight misstep. “At least, not here on earth. When I die, I’ll live in Heaven because of what Jesus has done.” The banker nodded as she ushered me toward the door. When I asked about her spiritual background, she mumbled about being Baptist and said she’d received a million-dollar gospel tract before. 
 
Encounters like that move me to pray about the end. As I answer questions about future plans and listen to the Holy Spirit for next steps, I’m reminded of Ephesians 5:16-17. Time passes so quickly. You can become either disheartened and immobilized or reminded and energized. Redeem the time. Make the most of every opportunity, for the days are evil. Consider it a challenge. If you follow Jesus, the Holy Spirit’s power is available to you.
 
If we’re to live this abundant life that Jesus lived, died, and rose to provide, we must become skilled in a few key areas (Jn. 10:10). We’ve got to realize that our days are numbered and our time on earth is short so that our hearts may overflow with wisdom (Ps. 90:12; 23:5).
 
Get in the habit of listening prayer. Spend time quietly waiting before the Lord Jesus. Keep a pen and paper nearby. As you’re learning to hear the Spirit’s voice, test what you hear according to the Bible (Acts 17:11). Your discernment will grow with practice (Heb. 5:14). We must be filled with the Holy Spirit that we might discern His will (Eph. 5:17-18).
 
Learn to say “no” to things outside His will. Throw off sin and anything that hinders (Heb. 12:1). Over committing will kill you. Refine your schedule and eliminate activities that don’t contribute to expanding Christ’s Kingdom, your spiritual growth, or your rest. What monkeys have you taken on your back that you need to surrender to the LORD?
 
Also, learn to say “yes.” As you grow to know Jesus more intimately, you’ll learn more about yourself. How has He gifted you? What do you love doing? As you discern His will and calling for your life, seek confirmation from mature believers. We learn His will from His Word, His church, and His Spirit. When we ignore the good we ought to do, we grieve the Holy Spirit (Jm. 4:17; Eph. 4:30). Adrian Rogers said, “Procrastination and disobedience are just different shades of the same sin.”
 
The Father may call you to bold new territory. In fact, He will always nudge you out of your comfort zone, so you learn to trust Him. Take holy risks. Love boldly. Make it your practice to step out in faith. I never expected I’d preach the Gospel in the open air. It’s one of my ministries that thrills and stretches me most. Join me! After all, our lives are rapidly coming to an end. The question is: will yours be a glorious one?

 

letters on yellow tiles forming the end text