The Urgency

Do you ever feel like there is so much to do and not enough time? I feel that way more and more lately. As a Christian my heart is burdened. Look at the world. It doesn’t take a lot of looking to see the hurt, the pain, the unrest, the brokenness. I have seen plenty of memes lately about what a wreck 2020 has been. It seems like one thing right after another. This doesn’t leave me hopeless, dejected and filled with fear. On the contrary it leaves me filled with hope for the future and burdened for the lost. I could discuss the unrest in this world, the natural disasters, the social uprisings, and the pandemic, but it all leaves me with this urgency burdening my heart. It’s an urgency I hope you’ll share with me.

Jesus left us with a mission. “Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel”. That command came with a time limit, because Jesus also told us He is coming back. In the book of Ephesians it says to redeem the time because the days are evil. The word “redeem” means to buy up, to make the most of every opportunity. I don’t think I have to explain how evil the days are that we’re living in. The days are speaking for themselves.

What is the gospel and why should we share it?

The gospel is the good news of Jesus Christ, but in order for there to be good news there must be bad news, right? So before I dive into the good news, which is oh so good, let’s get the bad news out on the table. The bad news is that every human, no exception, is a sinner separated from a perfect and loving God. Our sin creates a gulf between us and our Creator. Sin requires the payment of death and eternal separation from God. And if you’re not sure what it means to be eternally separated from God… It means an eternity in Hell and the Lake of Fire. 

So that sounds pretty bad, right? Well, that’s why we have the good news. In order to understand the good news of Jesus Christ, we must understand who Jesus is. To some He was just a man, to others a prophet. To some He is make-believe and to others He is just a curse word. But, let’s get this fact straight real quick. Jesus is real. Jesus is alive. He is God’s Son. He really did live on this earth two thousand years ago, and He died for each and every one of us. God requires blood to be shed as payment for sin. Before Jesus died on the cross, the sacrifice had to be an animal, but the animal was never quite good enough. It was a temporary fix. Like a bandaid on a wound in need of stitches. But, Jesus? He was the perfect, ultimate and final sacrifice. He took the weight of every sin, shed His blood, and died. If you’re not familiar with the gospel you might be confused, because never has death sounded like good news. Remember one of the facts about Jesus I shared? He’s alive. Jesus didn’t stay dead. How awesome is that?

What does this mean for you? Well, it simply means that if you admit you’re a sinner, you believe in Jesus Christ, who He is and what He’s done, and you confess your sins and ask for forgiveness… You will be saved. Saved from an eternity in Hell and secured a future in heaven. Now that is good news! Salvation is not something that is earned or inherited. It’s a gift. It’s like your father is offering you a gift. He is holding it out towards you, it’s already been paid for, but you don’t get the gift unless you reach out and take it. 1 John 5:13 tells us that we can know that we have eternal life when we believe in Jesus Christ.

If you’re a Christian and you’re not sharing the gospel, striving to further the kingdom of Christ… You need a heart check. What’s the point of having the cure to all of humanity’s hurt and keeping it to yourself? Romans 1:16 says that we do not need to be ashamed of the gospel of Christ because it is the power of salvation to everyone who believes. The gospel isn’t just for me. I should not and I cannot keep it to myself. It doesn’t matter if I’m scared to share it. It doesn’t matter what others will think of me. What matters is what Christ thinks of me. What matters is whether or not I told the people in my life, my people, about Jesus. What matters is whether or not they have heard the truth.

I mentioned earlier that Jesus is coming back. The first thing to know about the return of Jesus is that no one, not even Jesus Himself, knows when it will happen – only God does. However, in the Bible God tells us what to look for, warning signs that it’s coming soon. Soon could be tomorrow, soon could be next year, soon could be five years or more. We don’t know, but do you really want to be caught unaware? Do you want to be caught sleeping in the garden when Jesus has told you to watch and pray?

“Then there will be signs in the sun, moon, and stars; and there will be anguish on the earth among nations bewildered by the roaring of the seas and the waves. People will faint from fear and expectation of the things that coming on the world, because the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.”

Luke 21:25-27

“But know this: Hard times will come in the last days. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, proud, demeaning, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, without love for what is good, traitors, reckless conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to the form of godliness but denying its power. Avoid these people.”

2 Timothy 3:1-5

“You are going to hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, because these things must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise up against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places.”

Matthew 24:6-7

The verses above all talk about things we will see and can expect to see in the last days before Jesus returns. I think they describe the world we are living in quite well. When Jesus takes the Church, the people who believed in Christ as their Savior, absolute chaos is going to abound. In 1 Corinthians 15 it says it’s going to happen faster than a blink. Suddenly millions of people around the world are going to vanish. It’s not going to be the good people, the moral people, the Sunday church goers, it’s going to be the people who put their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. If you have read the Left Behind series or watched the movies, they attempt to give us a glimpse of what it will be like, but if you’re curious about what to expect for those left behind in the time after Jesus comes, the tribulation, the book of Revelation gives a pretty clear picture and it’s not pretty. Over the course of seven years there are twenty one judgements from God. The first set of seven, called the “seals“, are found in chapter 6. The “trumpet” judgements are found beginning in chapter 8 and the “bowl” judgements begin in chapter 15. It’s going to be seven years of hell on earth. So the question returns: have you told your people about Jesus?

We are not promised tomorrow. This moment could be your last. This could be my last blog post. I’m not promised tomorrow. I could die tonight. Your family is not promised tomorrow. Your friends are not promised tomorrow. We live in a world of uncertainty. In the event that I do die today, or tomorrow, or the next day, I have peace and confidence in where I will be. In the event that Jesus returns today, tomorrow, or the next day, I have confidence that I will not be left behind in the chaos that is promised to ensue. But what about you? What about our friends, our family, our coworkers, and literally everyone else? Do they know? Have they heard? Do they know time is running out? Jesus is returning for His church soon. When I’m in the presence of my Savior I long to hear the words, “Well done my good and faithful servant.” I do not want to be asked, “Why did you choose to not share the gospel with the people I brought your way?”

There are so many souls in need of Jesus and time is running out. 

Time. Is. Running. Out.

Do you feel it? 

The urgency is here.

The urgency… We don’t know the future. Whether we die tomorrow or Jesus returns tomorrow our days are numbered. We must do all that we can while we can to further the gospel.

Sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ can be a little nerve wracking and scary, but I can promise the more you know the gospel, the more you practice it, the more you do it, the easier it gets. You do not need to have Bible school training, you do not need to have grown up going to church, you do not need to be eloquent or outgoing, you do not need fancy titles like “pastor” or “evangelist”. All you need is to be willing to step out in faith.

As Chrisitans we are called to full time ministry, to be full time missionaries. Full time ministry is being ready to give an answer for the hope that lies within you at all times. Being a full time missionary is to show people Jesus in every area of your life. You can be a missionary in Africa, but you can also be a missionary right where you’re at. Show people Jesus. Don’t hide your light. Be bold. Don’t be afraid to talk to a stranger if you feel God nudging you to go show them Jesus.

The first time I did street evangelism was quite the adventure and God was so faithful in every moment. Myself and three other young women, who were attending a Faith in Action retreat, were armed with Gospel tracts and we hit the city streets. We were all incredibly nervous. I was actually terrified if I’m being honest. Striking up a conversation with a total stranger about Jesus was something I never thought I would be capable of doing. At first we just stood there not sure what to do until we spotted a man sitting on a bench. Before approaching the man we prayed. My hands and voice shook as I greeted the man and asked him if we could talk to Him about Jesus. Long story short, the man was an Atheist and didn’t want to continue the conversation about Jesus, however after he told us this… He encouraged us. He told us he admired our bravery and that we were sharing our hearts. Then he told us to keep going and to not give up. Unreal, right? It was just the encouragement we needed. As we walked around the city approaching people and handing out Gospel tracts we passed a man several times who was literally bouncing up the streets while rapping at the top of his lungs. He was definitely a little rough looking and we decided not to approach him because he was scary and intimidating. As we carried on he passed us again and the Holy Spirit nudged my heart. “Valerie, Jesus died for that man. Jesus would go talk to him.” That was all it took. I stopped my friends and told them we needed to go talk to that man. I remember literally running down the street after him while still trying to remain casual. That man was the most receptive person we talked to all day. After that every time we approached someone it was a little easier.

My point in telling you this story is to encourage you to not be afraid of what others think of you, go be bold for Jesus. If I can do it, so can you. Be bold in your workplace, be bold with your family, be bold with the person waiting in line beside you. God will help you, He will guide you, and give you the words to say. God wants you to share the gospel with others right where you’re at. God wants you to show the gospel with your words and your actions. Just go and He will steer you.

Sharing the gospel, being a missionary, can look different depending on where you’re at in life. Even in my own life it doesn’t always look the same. When I have my camp ministry hat on it looks like me building relationships with other girls and teaching them God’s Word. It looks like me staying up until two in the morning talking with my campers about whatever it is they need to talk about. When I have my teacher hat on it looks like me being a friend to my students and being the calm in the storm of their life. When my students ask me about my weekend or what I’ve been up to I don’t hide my faith-based activities from them. We typically start our week out with a circle discussion about how our weekends were. When I share with them I went to church, or I volunteered at a Christian event, or whatever it is I happened to be doing, it opens doors of opportunity. When I’m unashamed in my faith it encourages my students who are believers to be unashamed in their faith, and my students can be much more bold than I can in a public school setting. When I have my youth leader hat on it looks like me mentoring kids, playing games, and teaching them scripture. It looks like me having a good long chat with a kid about what their struggling with and pointing them back to Jesus. Being a missionary in your life may look like loving on your children, it may look like helping your coworkers, it may look like volunteering at a food pantry. Sometimes in my life being a missionary has simply looked liked being a friend, being available, and being approachable. You need a drive to go get groceries? Hop in. You need a shoulder to cry on? Lean on mine. It’s 11:00 P.M. and you’re having suicidal thoughts? Message me. You need someone to laugh with and go on an adventure? Let’s go. In the seemingly insignificant moments of the every day life God has given each of us opportunities to show people Jesus. The word “Christian” literally means “like Christ.” Go be like Christ to everyone you cross paths with. In those moments, you have an opportunity to build a relationship and point people to Jesus with your words and actions. If you’re claiming the title “Christian” live it out. Go be like Christ.

I’m not saying just do good things and help others. I’m saying that in those moments, when you’re being a friend, when you’re showing someone Jesus with your actions, look for opportunities to point them to Christ with your words. It’s so important to know the Word of God and memorize scripture because it’s in those moments you can drop a verse into a conversation and point them to Jesus. Faith comes by hearing God’s Word!

In Him you also were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and when you believed.

Ephesians 1:13

This verse tells me that I’m safe; I’m secure. The Holy Spirit of God protects me. I have absolutely nothing to fear, except the number of people who will spend an eternity in unending torment. So the question is, would I rather please God or please people? Am I going to let fear of what others might think of me stop me? Am I going to worry about my reputation? Am I going to keep the good news to myself? Choose this day whom you shall serve.

Feel the urgency and embrace it.

Ask yourself: Do my people know Jesus?

Go. 

Be bold. 

Share Jesus in all you do.

Valerie loves going on adventures, spending time in nature, and getting lost in the wonders of God’s creation. She works in the 6th grade resource room at the local middle school, co-runs a faith-based youth mentoring program, and is actively involved in Bible camp ministry. Valerie loves mentoring other women, teens and children. She has an obsession with pens and stocking up on beautiful journals. Valerie’s greatest joy is sharing Jesus with others. Her greatest desire is to know Him more deeply and make Him known. You can find her on Instagram @valerieeejayyy