This weekend I was privileged to deliver the message at my home church, PCC, during a series called Close Encounters.
I shared an account of how the Jesus feeding the 5000 might have looked from the perspective of the boy whose meal He used to perform this miracle. From this story, I encouraged folks that we can each have a Close Encounter with God if we are willing to Show Up to meet with God, and if we are willing to Give Up everything we have for Him.
You can watch the full 24-minute message here…
As follow-up, here are the Top 5 ways that we can Show Up and Give Up RIGHT NOW to have a Close Encounter with God – plus two Bonuses!
1) Daily Quiet Time – It all starts here. I have studied many successful Christian and non-Christian leaders. Almost all of them have one thing in common … they rise early in the day to have quiet time. Daily quiet time allows us to focus on what’s important in our upcoming day. For Christians, it’s a great time to read the bible, pray, and quiet ourselves to listen to what God might have to say to us.
If you’re just getting started with this, start slow and build. Begin with just 15 minutes a day and gradually increase to 30 minutes a day. If you think you just don’t have the time, I would encourage you that you are probably too busy NOT to spend time with God. If you find that you never have enough time, Michael Hyatt wrote a great blog post called How to Create More Margin In Your Life that has really helped me in this area.
2) Serve At Church – At PCC, or whatever church you attend, there are always opportunities to volunteer your time. One of the great things about serving at PCC is the “First Serve” program. You might be hesitant to volunteer because you’re afraid that signing up involves a “lifetime commitment”! Good ministry leaders don’t want you serving in a position for which you are unfit, anymore than you want to serve there. The First Serve program works like this:
a) Pick Your Maybe’s – Think and pray about two or three ministries that God might be leading you toward.
b) Hang Out – Contact the leader of that ministry, or the staff of the church to ask if you can just hang out in those ministries for a couple of weeks and observe.
c) Make a Short-Term Commitment - Choose the ministry where you feel called and determine a timeframe that you are willing to commit to serve (12 weeks is usually a great first-time commitment). That way the ministry leader knows when he/she can count on you and you know, in case it doesn’t work out, there is a defined end time to your commitment and you can try another ministry later.
To begin serving at PCC, you can fill out the Serve at PCC online contact form. Even if your church doesn’t have a formal First Serve program, I’m sure that they would be willing to allow you to use the process outlined above.
3) Find A Small Group – Some churches call these home groups, core groups or some other name. For most churches, especially larger churches like PCC, this is where community really happens. This is where people meet to grow in together in their relationship with God.
The groups are small enough to meet in a home, though they may meet at an office or a coffee shop, or even at the church building. The attendees usually have something specific in common (i.e. young families; men; women; business people; even special interest groups like softball players or hunters). Many times the leader acts as the pastor, or primary caregiver, for the people in the group to ensure that they are receiving care when they are in need.
To find a small group at PCC look for the small group Connections Catalog to come out in September, or contact Sammy Frame with questions.
4) Tithe Our Income – Malachi 3:10 is the only scripture in the bible where God tells us to test him. How should we test him? “Bring the whole tithe into my storehouse”. The “whole tithe” is 10% of our income. “My storehouse” is the church. I know many people who have done this, including Tricia and me. Most of them would tell you … When you Give Up the tithe with a cheerful heart, you will actually live better on 90% of your income, than on 100%. That’s God’s economy!
5) Give Offerings – Offerings are any gifts over and above your tithe to any church, ministry, or good cause. I love what our pastor Brian Hughes has done throughout his life as a Christ Follower. After he and his wife, Susan, started giving their tithe, each year they have determined to increase the amount of the total offering that they Give Up. One year they gave their tithe plus 1% of their income as an offering, giving away 11% of their total income. The next year they raised it to 12%. Each year they aim to give a little more. What a great way to start small and Give Up big!
If you’re not sure where to give your offering, PCC’s 10 years, 10 dreams, $100,000 initiative is a great place to consider!
BONUS #1: SHAPE - If you’re serious about Showing Up and you want to explore how God created you for ministry and for life, check out PCC’s SHAPE class. Through personal assessment and discussion, we’ll explore how God has uniquely SHAPEd you through your Spiritual gifts, Heart, Abilities, Personality, and Experiences (SHAPE). I’ll be facilitating this class in the fall. Email me if you’d like to know when the schedule comes out.
Bonus #2: Financial Peace University (FPU) – If you are willing to Give Up everything you have, but your money is tight and you just don’t know where to begin, or you just want some guidance on how God teaches us to handle money, sign up for a Financial Peace University (FPU) class at DaveRamsey.com or check out the PCC small group Connections Catalog in the September for a class there.
One more note: During my message, I forgot to give credit to Mark Batterson for introducing me to the phrases “5+2=5000 r12” and “JEJIT = Just Enough Just In Time”. If you haven’t read Mark’s newest bestselling book, be sure to get a copy of The Circle Maker.
What are other ways that you think we can Show Up and Give Up to have a Close Encounter with God?
Please leave a comment below or by clicking here…