3 Dangers When Sharing Your Story

Photo by moein moradi from Pexels

Contributed by guest blogger Kris Castro

Have you ever been having a casual conversation with someone, when suddenly the topic shifts over to a personal circumstance they are struggling with that you have already walked through, but never told anyone about?

In that moment you have to make a split second decision: Do you share your story….or do you keep silent, providing a sympathetic nod, while hoping that person will simply move onto another subject?

There are 3 Dangers to consider when sharing your story:

  1.  You become invincible.
  2.  You may save a life.
  3.  You will fall more in love with Jesus

Now, if you are wrinkling your forehead in confusion wondering how those 3 items can be considered “dangerous,” I’ll let you in on a little secret….your story, when shared with others, is one of the most dangerous weapons you have against the lion that prowls around looking for someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8).

Photo by Rene Asmussen / Pexels

An article on ChristianityToday.com in 2007 asked 1000 Americans three questions to discover their feelings about fear, shame, guilt, and other issues.  The result of the survey was this: 38%  said they avoid shame the most, while 31% said guilt and 30% said fear.”

Thinking about publicly sharing the story of your journey through any sort of brokenness  can elicit all three of those emotions.  Fear about what others might think of you; shame at some of the things you did; and guilt around the people you hurt or the consequences that happened because of your choices.

Keeping your story locked up deep inside you as a bad memory and former life you want nothing to do with is certainly one way to move on from that painful experience. But it’s also the perfect recipe for the Adversary to hold you hostage to your past anytime he feels like it.

Let’s go back to that split-second decision….

….Did you ever consider that one of the ways the Lord had always planned to bring

Photo by Fernando Andrade / Pexels

beauty out of the ashes of your past (Isaiah 61:1-3) was to use your story as a redemptive opportunity to help others in their present situation?

 

Your story is DANGEROUS TO THE ENEMY for all 3 reasons I mentioned:

1) You become invincible

You know that saying, “Only a fool would underestimate a man with nothing to lose” ?   It is more than true…it’s powerful.  There’s a deep peace that settles inside you – which becomes stronger than anything that can happen around you – when you experience the freedom of letting go of your past through sharing your story.

Photo by Li Sun from Pexels

In a sense, you really do become invincible because no one (especially the devil) can twist the information to use it against you once you’ve shared it publicly the way you experienced it!

The same thing happens in the political arena all the time whenever a negative story is about to break wide open. The person at the center of the story can either remain silent and wait for the public backlash, or they can rush to the media to tell their version of the story first in an attempt to control how it’s perceived.

Being Invincible certainly does not prohibit some consequences of sharing your story. What it does, though, is provide a solid foundation of self-worth and inner confidence as you “face the music” of those who might not understand and choose to treat you differently because of your choice to share your story.

As sons and daughters of Christ, we have to remember that the Lord did not put us on this earth to simply live a quiet 70+ years and then off to heaven we go.  He has a purpose for each of us, and sharing our stories is part of that purpose (1 Peter 3:15).

2)  You save lives

I’m fine.”  How many times have you heard that response from others only to find out later that those very same people have been experiencing life altering challenges; keeping everything quiet because they are barely holding it together and afraid of what will happen if they let someone into their extremely difficult situation.

What those people need are assurances that they are not alone, and that the God of the Impossible has the power to step in and turn everything around for our good (Romans 8:28).  I know…because the Lord sent me on a “Crazy” 12K+ mile Adventure across the U.S.  to share my story in order to bring hope and provide encouragement to hundreds of people currently walking out a variety of incredibly difficult situations in their own lives.

As I traveled from state to state, I recognized the Lord had not coordinated that “Crazy” Adventure just for me, but rather as an incredible testimony of HIS faithfulness and desire to take care of all His kids because of how much He loves us.

Photo by Rahul from Pexels

A recent article on CNN.com shows a very concerning statistic:  “The suicide rate in the United States continues to climb, with a rate in 2017 that was 33% higher than in 1999.” 

It’s the second leading cause of death for those 15 – 24 years-old. Often that is because they get stuck in a mindset of hopelessness, feeling trapped in a cycle of emotional pain, causing them to withdraw which increases loneliness and exacerbates the hopelessness/trapped feelings. After a while, stopping the pain any way they can causes suicide to become a viable option.

YOUR STORY might just be the light the Lord has chosen to help them find their way back out of that very dark place to potentially save their life.

3)  You fall more in love with Jesus

This is the most interesting by product of sharing your story.  With each re-telling to the next person the Lord brings your way who needs to hear it, you step into a sacred place of thankfulness which becomes a tangible awareness of His love for you, which leads to a deeper place of intimacy with Him.  Just like human relationships (marriage or friendship), intimacy builds trust which then activates more faith in the other person, which breeds more love resulting in more intimacy thus naturally experiencing more love….repeat!

Photo by Pixabay from Pexels

Deeper love and intimacy with the Lord means your identity is no longer focused on “you.”  It is now focused on Jesus flowing through you. That shift means that every need you have is met in Him, freeing you to join the Lord anywhere He leads, helping anyone He brings to you, in any way He asks of you….without concern for the outcome or the consequences.

HE WILL TAKE CARE OF THE OUTCOME because of your willingness to step out in faith to partner with Him (Isaiah 46:4).

Will you prayerfully consider sharing your story?

Here’s an easy and no-obligation way to begin that leap of faith to (consider) sharing your story:

Take This 2-minute survey (watch the video then click the green button).  You can even submit it anonymously if need be.

After you take the survey, check out the impact others have experienced from telling their stories.

Are you willing to become “Dangerous” by allowing the Lord to use your story to make a difference in the life of one of His other kids? 

Take the survey, and then contact me at Kris @ BeginToShift .com to learn how to begin your story-telling process.

Article References:
Christianity Today: “Shame, Guilt, and Fear: What 1,000 Americans Avoid Most”

CNN:   The US suicide rate is up 33% since 1999, research says


About today’s guest blogger, Kris Castro:

View More: http://xxiiiphoto.pass.us/icf-final-headshotsKris Castro is passionate about making a difference in the lives of those around her by giving them hope, encouraging them in their challenging circumstances, and helping them transform their relationship with the Lord in a deeper way. She describes herself as a Faithful Warrior, an Inspiring Visionary, and a Bold Change-Agent after 50 years of walking with the Lord through both joyful and extremely difficult seasons of her life.  Kris’s company, Shift Inc.™, creates possibility-rich environments filled with laughter, encouragement, and affirmation, leading to endless personal and professional growth opportunities.  Kris helps others truly realize their identity in Messiah, achieve the destiny the Lord desired for their lives, enhance their potential, increase their confidence levels, and overcome obstacles more easily to achieve their heart’s desire in every area. She absolutely loves coaching, training and mentoring others in a deeply transformative way using the Holy Spirit her guide.

Visit her blog.

Planning for a Children’s Christmas Outreach

by Guest Blogger Alvin Gan

WeihnachtskugelnMost churches report that their highest attendance takes place at their Christmas and Easter services. While many of the kids who joined you for VBS and fall festival may have gone missing-in-action in-between, there’s a good chance they will turn up at Christmas if you give them a little nudge. So why not put together a fun outreach event this Christmas?

Start Planning Early

It’s never too early to start your planning for Christmas outreach, or any outreach event, for that matter. In fact, the best time to start planning for next Christmas is right after this Christmas! The earlier you decide on your theme, the better. You will then have more time to gather resources, ask around for well-loved items that you can re-use and take advantage store coupons and discounts. As you are preparing, executing, and evaluating this year’s event, take note of ideas that: you would have shelved, of what went well and what didn’t, and of what you wish you had done differently. Write them all down before you forget! They are all helpful tips for next Christmas!

Don’t Do It All Alone

Rather than doing everything yourself, invite others to join in your preparation and in running the event. Chances are you will end up doing a much better job at planning, promoting and executing your event as a team. Perhaps more importantly, you will have more people praying alongside you for the event.

Be Creative

Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Christ, but that doesn’t mean the theme for your outreach must be limited to the nativity scene or Bethlehem. Just google “birthday party themes,” and you will find lots of fun ideas, ranging from “under the sea” to “up, up and away!” Why should Jesus’ birthday celebration be any different? With some out-of-the-box thinking and creativity, there is no reason why we can’t think up a fun theme for our Christmas event – one that honors Christ and that kids would love to join in!

Ride on What’s Trending

One good way to get people excited about your event is to ride on the buzz of what’s currently trending. Find out what child-friendly movies will be released around Christmas and plan an event related to that movie. For example, Spies in Disguise is to be released in December 2019. The world is facing a disaster and counting on the nerdy Walter Beckett along with his partner Lance Sterling, (whom he accidentally turned into a pigeon), to come to its rescue. While not knowing much else about the movie, you can still plan an event with fun games involving heroes saving the world. Think spies, gadgets, and birds, and wrap it up with a Gospel presentation about Jesus Christ, the true Savior of the world! Alternatively, if you are uncomfortable basing your event on too many unknowns, plan an event based on a more well-known movie. Perhaps a film like Star Wars, which incidentally has another planned release in December 2019: “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.”

Or Stick to Something Traditional

If you prefer something more traditional, below are three themes you may like.

1. The Greatest Christmas Gift

Play a variety of games involving gifts. For example:

  • Pile Up the Presents – Players stack presents to form the tallest tower.
  • Elf Challenge – Whoever carries the most gifts across the room wins.
  • Oven Mitt Unwrap –Try your hand at unwrapping a Christmas present while wearing a pair of oven mitts.
  • Christmas Left Right Game – A story is read aloud, and the parcel gets passed to the left or right as directed by the story.

Detailed instructions for these and other delightfully fun Christmas games can be found here.

To wrap up the event, bring out a huge, eye-catching gift-wrapped box for an object lesson on why Jesus is the greatest Christmas gift.

2. Twas the Night Before Christmas

Written almost 200 years ago, “Twas The Night Before Christmas” remains the most popular Christmas poem ever. Many of our ideas about Santa Claus, for example, how he enters homes on Christmas eve through the chimney with a sack of gifts, originate from that poem.

Sadly, Santa Claus and Christmas trees have overtaken the nativity scene as symbols of Christmas, and “happy holidays” is becoming more commonly heard than “merry Christmas.” Recent surveys show that, although most people in the United States still celebrate Christmas, it has become more of a cultural holiday rather than a religious one.

Rather than sweeping Santa and the Christmas tree under the carpet, why not throw a party involving these popular festive icons before bringing up the true story of Christmas?

You can play a variety of games involving these Christmas symbols. For example:

  • Christmas Bingo – Featuring colorful festive illustrations of the nativity scene, baby Jesus, the wise men, Christmas trees, gingerbread houses and more!
  • Who Has The Ornament? – Don’t get caught with the ornament in your hands! Players sit in a circle and pass a Christmas ornament around behind their backs while someone standing in the center of the circle tries to guess where the ornament is.
  • Christmas Tree Dress Up – Use paper and other materials to transform a teammate into a Christmas tree.

You can find detailed instructions and download beautifully designed free printables here to play these and other Christmas games.

3. Christmas Scavenger Hunt

There are many ways to conduct a Christmas Scavenger Hunt. Here are some ideas:Christmas Scavenger Hunt

  • Christmas Party Scavenger Hunt – If you are playing indoors or with a large group of young children, you may like this version of a Scavenger Hunt. Instead of hunting for physical objects, players look for 40 Hidden Cards.
  • Christmas Scavenger Hunt Bingo – Combine the fun of Scavenger Hunt with Bingo! Each player gets a unique Christmas Scavenger Hunt Bingo Card and hunts for items found on their own card. The first player to Bingo wins!
  • Christmas Treasure Hunt – Just like the Magi followed clues that eventually led them to baby Jesus, players will look for various clues that ultimately lead them to the Christmas treasure.

Detailed instructions along with beautifully designed free printables for these scavenger hunts can be found here.

Keep Christ at the Center of Christmas

It is important that every child goes home with a reminder of the true meaning of Christmas. You can do this by giving each child  The True Story of Christmas Animated Tract at the closing of your event. It’s an affordable stocking stuffer and unique Gospel childrens-gospel-tract-5201-main-atract. It has captivating, moving animations, and kids will be intrigued by how the images can move without any batteries. Or buy any small gift and pack them in this YOU Are The Reason For Christmas! Box-Tract that opens up to reveal the gospel message.

Christmas is one of the most important days in the Christian calendar for outreach. Remember to keep Christ at the center of your event, and also at the center of your preparations. Pray, pray, pray! Christ loves all the little children of the world, and he wants to see your event draw the little ones to Him!

Click here to learn more about the plan of salvation for kids.


About our guest blogger, Alvin Gan:

Alvin Gan is the father of three noisy (but lovely) teenagers and founder of two websites that provide creative evangelism and discipleship resources.

Child Evangelism
LetTheLittleChildrenCome.com
specializes in unique child evangelism tools and resources to help convey the plan of salvation for kids effectively.

BibleGamesCentral.com
develops Bible games for youths, kids and even adults to teach spiritual truths.

Journey to Jesus: Building Christ-Centered Friendships with Muslims

By Mike Urton

The Pew Research Forum projects that the population of Muslims in the U.S. will more than double in the next three decades.[1]   Muslims from around the globe are moving into our neighborhoods, working in the same companies and studying alongside us in schools.  This is an amazing act of God as he is bringing precious Muslims into our sphere of influence.

Image previewIn order to be prepared to engage this unprecedented opportunity, Christians in North America need training.  That’s why we developed Journey to Jesus: Building Christ-centered Friendships with Muslims.

There are many resources currently on the market which offer training and equipping for reaching Muslims living among us.  What makes this particular training tool unique is that it is centered on three true-to-life dramas, each of which demonstrates how Christians can invite Muslims into their relationships with Jesus. Each of the three Muslims depicted represent three types of Muslims Americans may encounter here in North America. The three dramas are:

  1. Kate and Saalima: mommies who meet at a local park. Saalima is a recent immigrant from Egypt.
  1. Larry and Azim: men who work for the same tech company and enjoy conversations over lunch. Azim is a liberal Muslim from India.
  1. Brian and Abdul: fellow students who meet on campus at an American university. Abdul is a conservative Muslim who likes debating apologetics.

These scenarios are accompanied by teaching curriculum in the form of narrated power points.  The teaching sessions explore Christian attitudes towards people of other faiths, the importance of extending Christ-centered hospitality, an introduction to Muslim beliefs and culture, as well as how to deal with barriers that Muslims have in trusting Christ as Lord and Savior.  Each teaching session also provides questions and significant small group discussion time so that participants can process what they are learning together.

Journey to Jesus is designed for group leaders to have minimal preparation time.  Each session has a leader’s guide outlining the flow for that particular week.  Printable student handouts are provided for each session.  Leading a group through this curriculum is really as simple as reading over the leader’s guide, printing the relevant student handouts, inserting the disc and hitting play on a DVD player.

It is our prayer that this highly accessible and quality resource will encourage many Christians to step out in faith and build Christ-centered relationships with Muslims, so that they too can know the joy of following Christ!  Begin your journey today by getting this resource here.

[1] Besheer Mohamed. 2018. New Estimates show U.S. Muslim population continues to grow. Pew Forum. https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2018/01/03/new-estimates-show-u-s-muslim-population-continues-to-grow/ (accessed July 9, 2019)


Many thanks to Rev. Mike Urton for doing this guest post. To learn more about this much needed ministry and how you can get involved, please visit COMMA: Reaching Muslims Together.

Pray for This Ministry in Uganda

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Jacob Olowo

Please join me praying for Jacob Olowo in Uganda. He has not yet been able to begin his ministry but does want to. He explained it this way:

Currently I don’t have a registered Ministry as you know its quit expensive but as believers we have acquired a piece of land where if we get some funds can start off the Ministry premises and registration.

I request that with your great work on this globe, pray for us to have our Ministry succeed in order to have good coordination and even receive many people who will air out many problems to be prayed for.
Here are Jacob’s prayer requests:
  • Pray for my family to live peaceful including my children
  • Pray for me to have money that can open up a project or Ministry that can start helping the needy i.e orphans, vulnerable children, widows, disabled persons, people living with HIV etc.  
  • I  request that I continue with my education which I did not complete (Diploma level)
  • Pray   for my children to always get tuition fees for their  study
  • Pray that we continue having rain because without it many people live without food for example my country is now is starvation season and many have lost lives due to failing to acquire what to eat.
  • Pray for my community to have electricity, safe cleaning water and even good roads, or many infrastructure i.e a health centre
  • pray for me to be financially stable such that I can involve in opening many projects to help people in communities
  • Pray for me to start moving on even a motorcycle but not a bicycle which I have so far used it for many years.
  • Pray for young girls to continue with their education but not drop out of school due to early pregnancy.
  • Pray for me to build a house for sleeping and can accommodate many people  or visitors
  • Pray that I get many gardens which I can plant crops for both domestic  and  commercial services

Please pray for this church in Romania

2018-2-6_baptism1Please join me in praying for these church planters (Michael and Mihaela Gravitt) who are currently pastoring and growing a church in Sibiu, Romania. I am blessed to be personally acquainted with this ministry since at one time I was in the same church with Michael and Mihaela in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Michael describes the ministry this way:

We are church planters who are currently pastoring and growing a church in Sibiu, Romania.  More specifically, we launched, 5 years ago, a church that especially cares for people who came to the Lord from the streets and orphanages of Romania.  We have a great variety of members, but our number one goal is to be a church that cares for the hurting and the broken.

We accomplish this by Sunday services, worship events, seminars, discipleship, prayer, meals, fellowship, financial support, youth camps, Christian radio programs, and on and on!  Basically we do what we have to do to meet the needs of the people God sent our way.   We are a growing church, and we have growing needs!  What a joy!!!

And here are the current prayer requests from Michael:

1. We need GREAT wisdom in helping hurting people.  Some of their burdens are very large!

2. We need DEEP anointing in all that we do!  People from the streets and orphanages need a chain-breaking anointing!

3. We are in the process of starting a House Of Prayer on our campus!  God, send the prayer warriors!!

4. We need Prayer and Financial support for what we do here.

 

Pray for the Street Light Ministry in Pakistan

Please join me in praying for the Street Light Ministry in Shah Faisalabad, Punjab, Pakistan. I recently connected to Imran Sajjad on Linked In. He sent me this information about himself and his ministry:

I was born in a Christian family, baptized and blessed in Christ. At a very early age, I used to spend most of my time with clergy men. I was weak in my curriculum study, but I was fond of reading Urdu translated books regarding Christianity. I am third in my family; belonged to a marginalized family that’s why I have to earn money for my family in my playing days. With this great responsibility, I was passionate to find out truth and I also want to provide my services for the salvation of God. I want to tell this reality to each and everyone in the world. Actually, I was working in a computer shop where I got to know about the usage of computer and access of internet. One day Jesus sent my boss in ministry for a job and his president was the Bishop, he was finding good, faithful persons for his ministry and for his management. He really appreciated my work which I  had done for his ministry. He offered me to work with him and my answer was yes, I did work with that ministry for two years. After that God used me in other ministries & organizations  too, but I thought there is something hidden which ministries are not doing. Ministries are misusing their talent for their own profit, and these things really hurt me, so because of that I stopped working with them. I then worked out with  the people in the street life, which was my basic plan, that I should do something for them.

Thank God He chose me to save many souls and to help those who really need the help, so I started this ministry which is named:  (The Street Light Ministry & Foundation)
I have some plans for this street life like:
•             Working for the nation’s future
•             Women’s education
•             Helping the poor and needy people
•             Sharing of the Gospel with people
I am really thankful to God, my friends, family, and all of those who are supporting me for these projects.

In the meantime I give thanks to all of those who are reading this and I hope that everyone will cooperate with me in this very common issue which every developing country is facing, may God bless you all, Amen.

Our brother has need of a ministry building and van or car. Please pray for God’s anointing and provision for him and this ministry to do all God is calling them to do.

 

 

Please join me . . .

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The Christian Church is under attack around the world. Almost daily we see end time prophecies being fulfilled. We must band together as Christians to encourage one another . . . to pray for one another . . . to glorify God in all we do . . . and to reach the lost.
I have started a blog that I hope will help draw believers together to pray for ministries around the world. And that’s the name of the blog . . . PrayForMinistriesAroundTheWorld.blog.

I am posting praise reports and prayer requests I am receiving from ministries around the world. And more and more people are following the blog so they can join me in praying for these ministries. I hope you will join us.

“Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers
for all believers everywhere.”
Ephesians 6:18 NLT

Here are just a few examples of the ministries we are praying for:

From Bungoma, Kenya

KIBACHENJE CHURCH WATER NEED:

2017-7-19_SISTER IRENE LOOKING AT THE NEW BOREHOLE BEING DUG AT KIBACHENJE GBF CHURCH.WE PRAY AND HOPE TO FINISH IT AS GOD ENABLES
Sister Irene looking at the new borehall being dug. We pray and hope to finish it as God enables.

Due to a big need for clean, safe domestic Water in the area, BY FAITH we started digging another Borehole Well as we expect the Lord to complete it; The Borehole is expected to go down over 40 feet and needs Culverts, Cementing and a Manual or Electric Pump and possibly Storage. All by His Spirit…

Read more.

 


From Andhra Pradesh, India

2017-7-15_2
Sharing the Gospel

Beloved Sister, Reaching the unreached with the good news of gospel of Christ with a great burden. I drove along with our team to many houses in the Tribal villages by walk to share the good news which change their lives. I know many people are perishing without knowing the gospel. The villages that we minister don’t have facilities for proper  living. They eat wild roots and honey most etc. . In our second visit one of the village ‘GANDIKOTA’ we have distributed provisions (Rice & Dhal). They are so excited. It’s our spiritual responsibility to share the good news to the unreached and people who didn’t hear the gospel for the first time in their life. It’s challenging thing because I worked among Non-Christians . And I was financially week. I request each and every one to pray for the efforts that we have been doing in difficult areas for the extension of the Kingdom.  Read more.


From Visakhapatnam City, India

India_john-sung-ministries_summer-drinking-water-supply-project_2016
Water project in 2016. By God’s grace, they were able to reach out to even more people this year.

WATER PROJECT to HINDUS & MUSLIMS (Non Christians) who can read in our Language (Telugu). By this Project many came to the knowledge of CHRIST and wanted to WALK in the LIGHT. Pray that these people stand for Christ in these end days.

Read more.

 

 


From Pakistan

mpakist

Hello, I want tell you about the Pakistani Christian peoples how spend spiritual life in Pakistan. They don’t know about God and Bible but they are just naming Christian but they nothing know about Christianity but I am go there and tell about the God and Bible and now they know what is importance of God in our life. Now they accept the Jesus Christ. I am work outreach peoples.


I invite you to browse through the many posts already there and follow the blog so you can join me and others in praying for these ministries. And tell others about this prayer opportunity.

“Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers
for all believers everywhere.”
Ephesians 6:18 NLT