Surprised By a Divine Opportunity to B.L.E.S.S.

What does it look like to walk in divine appointments as led by the Spirit?

This is what Michael and Phyllis experienced as they prayed for divine opportunities to B.L.E.S.S. someone.

It was a pleasant Saturday – but not an ordinary one. The night before, husband and wife, Michael and Phyllis had just completed a training on learning to share the Gospel in simple terms. That very morning, they prayed for divine opportunities to put it into practice. They chanced upon two domestic workers while they were at a park. Beginning with friendly small talk, the conversation flowed naturally into an opportunity to share the story of the Gospel through the 3 Circles.  Michael and Phyllis were surprised and overjoyed when the two domestic workers prayed to receive Christ.

“These two ladies appreciated a lot that we took time to speak with them, and they felt very valued, as they said usually people look at them like they don’t exist,” Michael shared.

While the domestic workers were initially sceptical, but when Phyllis shared the story of her own past and how Christ worked in her, they could relate to how the Gospel gives hope to us. After accepting Christ, they exclaimed, “You can share to so many like us in Singapore!”

Planting Seeds by Sharing Stories

 

“everything should be Kingdom-related and undergird what I do and say to people around me.”

 

B.L.E.S.S. is a simple framework for us to share the love of Christ – to Begin in prayer; to Listen, to Eat and fellowship; to Serve them; and to Share your Gospel story with others.

The B.L.E.S.S. training that Phyllis and Michael attended in June 2021 was an online workshop for Covenanters. It taught three ways of sharing the Gospel story – the 3 Circles, learning to tell simple Bible stories and sharing your own testimonies.

Phyllis was encouraged through the training that one need not be theologically trained to share the Gospel, but anyone can start a simple conversation and pray for an opportunity to share. Michael found that the training helped in showing how to share in simple terms that others can easily relate to, and ask thought-provoking questions that can lead to spiritual conversations.

At the same time, Phyllis emphasised the importance of surrendering the outcome to God and being led by the Spirit, rather than being driven by methods. “I’ve learned not to be so fixated on the method, instead to live and go by the motto ‘to know God and to make Him known’. To really live that out in whatever way, because God will empower when the time comes, regardless of the method used.”

Even if the hearer does not accept Christ, it may mark the beginning of the person’s journey towards God. Recounting a time when she shared the Gospel with someone who declined to accept Christ, Phyllis said, “The seed has been planted, so I may not have led him to accept Christ but he may do that when he meets another Christian. We start the ball rolling, that’s really important. In the past, I would be so afraid because I thought I had to follow through (to disciple), or succeed (in sharing) the first time. If I do my part, someone else does their part, we will be able to bring them to Christ.”

Love People by Building Relationships

 

“The point is not just going up to a stranger and sharing the Gospel. How I share the good news is to try and build relationships.”

 

Before attending the training, Michael and Phyllis had long been adopting a relational approach to connect to the people around them. They build bridges to share the Gospel by showing hospitality to the foreigners in their midst. From opening their house every Christmas to Michael’s foreign colleagues, to hosting foreign students, they see themselves as stewards of their home to show love to those who do not yet know Christ.

This has now extended to their daily interactions – to be relational first and foremost with the people whom they cross paths with. Now, they have begun building relationships intentionally with the strangers they cross paths with, in the hope that one day they would have the chance to share the Gospel with them. “The point is not just going up to a stranger and sharing the Gospel. How I share the good news is to try and build relationships.”

Phyllis and Michael (fourth and fifth from left) sharing a meal with their family and invited guests during Home for Christmas 2021

Sharing an example, Phyllis describes how she has been reaching out to the cashiers she often sees at the FairPrice supermarket she frequents. In the past, she would be in a rush, but now slows down, smiles to initiate a conversation, and asks the cashier how they’re doing to build a relationship. “I don’t have it in me to share the Gospel and immediately have someone accept Christ. I’m not empowered that way yet. But I can share through slowly building a relationship,” she says.

As for Michael, he has started to see that whatever he does, even daily actions, are something through which he can live out God’s purposes. To him, daily small interactions and chance encounters are moments to seize for God. “One big mindset shift is that whatever we do, whether we are out doing groceries or at home doing work, everything should be Kingdom-related and somehow undergird what I do and say to people around me.”

Letting God Take Over

 

“It’s not up to me to change the world, but it’s up to me to make a small difference where God can take over.”

 

Indeed, it’s not us who have the power to change the world, we are only vessels of God’s grace. Phyllis and Michael are not extroverted superheroes, they are simply faithful to God and willing to be used by Him.

“I’m actually a very shy person, who doesn’t like talking to strangers. But when I go out and see, there are so many people that don’t know God, I feel that I need to put off my own shyness and be unafraid to make Him known. Sometimes I’m like, how did I manage to speak to this person? I don’t know. What I know is when I do what He calls me to do, He empowers,” Phyllis shares.

For Michael, “It’s not up to me to change the world, but it’s up to me to make a small difference where God can take over. The rest God will do and I don’t have to worry about it.”

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Daily Devo

Daily Devotional Journal

Scripture:
1 Thessalonians 1:2-3; 3:1-3; 2 Thessalonians 1:3-4
Mon, 28 November 2022

1-2 Thessalonians Revisited: Establishing the Walk

Observation:

What significant observations can you make about discipleship and
disciplemaking in these passages?

Deeper Reflection
IN THE 1970’S, WHEN I WAS A YOUNG BELIEVER AND DISCIPLED by a Navigator, 1 Thessalonians was seen as a letter of Paul on following up new and young believers, especially chapters 1 to 3, from which we could glean principles for disciplemaking. The Thessalonians were young believers whom Paul was forced to leave abruptly by strong opposition against him (Acts 17:1-9). They were left to fend for and feed themselves spiritually – and in adverse circumstances, facing persecutions and suffering afflictions (1 Thess 2:14; 3:4). Paul was fearful that they might fall apart spiritually and fall away from the faith under the onslaught of Satan (1 Thess 3:5).But the Thessalonians did not just survive spiritually but thrive, growing in “work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope” (1 Thess 1:3). Faith, love and hope are fundamentals in the Christian life. And they are grounded in and grow out of a living relationship with God characterised by a consistent, faithful walk with God. The Thessalonians’ faith, love and hope were “growing abundantly” and “increasing” (2 Thess 1:3). Their abundant growth shows that Paul had laid a strong and firm foundation in their walk with God by discipling “each one of you” personally (1 Thess 2:12). The “word of God” that Paul fed them continued to be “at work” in them as they now fed themselves the living Word of God (1 Thess 2:13). And further and deeper disciplemaking took place when Timothy went to “establish and exhort you in the faith” (1 Thess 3:2).True discipleship will not stop there. It wants to give by discipling others.
Application:

How can I grow from discipleship to disciplemaking?

Prayer:
Lord, teach me the way of Your decrees, that I may follow it to the end. Give me understanding, so that I may keep Your law and obey it with all my heart. Direct me in the path of Your commands, for there I find delight. Turn my eyes away from worthless things and turn my heart toward Your statutes.43
43 Adapted from Psalm 119:33-37 (NIV)

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