Analyze & Anticipate


The New Year provides us with a great time to reflect on the past events of 2014 and to look forward to all of the gospel opportunities of 2015. One thing we can do to analyze the past and anticipate the future is to ask ourselves some questions. This will help us learn from our past actions and motivate us for future change.  Asking thought-provoking, reflective questions is not intended to produce guilt or shame, but to help us see how we have grown spiritually, and to see how we can practically improve in the New Year.
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Consider the following questions regarding your evangelism in 2014, and how you can grow in 2015:

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A Merry & Missional Christmas


Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year for many, but it’s also one of the busiest. More and more, it seems that if there’s one thing we can observe about the season, it’s that people are on a mission. Starting with the Black Friday doorbuster deals, to the detailed decorating, to the difficulty of finding an even uglier sweater than last year, it’s a holly-jolly and hustle-bustle Christmas.
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Even though the holidays can be hectic, the busyness of Christmas can remind us that we’re on an even greater mission. Christmas is about the mission of God and the commission of Christ. Jesus was sent by the Father in the power of the Holy Spirit to save sinners, and Jesus has sent us to be his witnesses as we share the gospel with sinners.

Beyond the awesome break from school and the long-awaited Christmas presents, we are reminded of Jesus’ presence on earth—how He came from Heaven in the form of a man to save mankind. It’s what we call the incarnation: how God the Son took to himself a human nature. And because of the incarnation, Christ calls us to be incarnational. Jesus was sent so He could send us.

The God Who Came

“The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” (1 Timothy 1:15).
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“Christ came.” That’s the message of Christmas. Through the incarnation, Jesus came into the world as an infant and he grew up within a real and specific time, place, and culture—the world of the first century Jewish culture. As Pastor Greg writes,

Jesus left heaven, lived our life, and died our death. He has walked in your shoes—and then some. He faced physical limitations. He felt real pain. It was actual blood coursing through His veins. Yet He was deity. He was God in human form. Jesus did not become identical to us, but He did become identified with us.

The Messiah was on a mission. The Savior was sent. And the Savior did everything He was sent to do. Jesus is the greatest cross-cultural missionary of all time, having left the glory of heaven to enter our world. He emptied himself and took the form of a servant. “And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:6-8).

The God Who Sends

“As you sent Me into the world, so I have sent them into the world” (John 17:18).

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Combatting Thanksgiving’s Competition

Thanksgiving faces an unprecedented amount of competition. Early signs of this appear as Halloween and Christmas are simultaneously advertised in September, making Thanksgiving seem like merely a traditional transition into the holiday season. In addition to all of the holiday anticipation, there are actually many things that happen on Thanksgiving Day that compete with its intended purpose of giving thanks. And it seems like some of these tendencies are indicators of things that we must battle against the rest of the year: discontentment, distraction, complaining, and carelessness.
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In order to learn how we might “give thanks in all circumstances” (1 Thessalonians 5:18), below are four things we can do to focus on being thankful throughout the year, but especially on Thanksgiving.

Cultivate Contentment

Thanksgiving has quickly turned into thanksgetting. Instead of giving thanks for what we have, we focus on getting the things we don’t need. Our attention can quickly switch to a search through the endless Black Friday ads as we compile our Christmas wish lists. And the retailers know it, which is why they’re opening earlier each year, forcing families to choose between dinner or doorbusters. There is nothing inherently wrong with holiday shopping; we can even justify the madness because we’re shopping for others. However, we must remember that consumerism kills gratefulness, and that true thanksgiving is shown through contentment. Don’t let thankfulness for things you already have turn into a thirst for things that you probably don’t really need. Instead, let thankfulness help you learn the secret of contentment (Philippians 4:11-13). As you remain content with what you have, others will see that “godliness with contentment” (1 Timothy 6:6) is greater gain than the best doorbuster deal.

Unwind and Unplug

Instead of spending time together with family or friends to give thanks, many people get distracted by all of the holiday festivities. Between the Macy’s parade, NFL football, tryptophan-induced naps, Black Friday extravaganzas, or technological seclusion, many spend a lot of time not giving thanks. That’s what makes Thanksgiving dinners so nice, because it causes many people and families to actually come together for a purpose. Be intentional and actually have meaningful conversations with your friends and family. Yes, this means that you actually have to put down your devices and talk to someone in person! Go ahead and take a picture or post a status of what you’re thankful for on social media, but let’s not say that we’re thankful for the people we spend Thanksgiving with, and then ignore them the entire time while we stare at a screen. And ultimately, let’s not get so busy or so distracted that we neglect to thank the One who deserves all praise.

Quit Complaining

In comparison to any other day, did you know that there are three times as many house fires on Thanksgiving due to unattended cooking? The same can be true of other “fires” in the home that need to be extinguished. Relational problems, unresolved drama, and dinner table disputes can easily be multiplied as we complain about how things are rather than how they could or should be; we focus on what we don’t have, rather than enjoying what we do have. If there’s one thing that destroys gratitude, it’s complaining. However, Thanksgiving presents a great opportunity to fight against complaining by considering others as more important than ourselves, which will shine the light of the gospel and show the character of Christ (Philippians 2:1-16).

Be Specific

We’ve grown accustomed to automatically—and sometimes thoughtlessly—say “thank you” as a general response. But during Thanksgiving, we should be intentional and specific about what we’re thankful for. It may have been a long time ago, but it might be a good idea to bring back the handprint turkey craft and specifically identify at least five things we’re thankful for. Let’s not just say who or what we’re thankful for, but why we are thankful. And ultimately, let’s consider all the ways in which we are to be thankful to the Lord. Make a list, have some quiet time, or pray it out loud; do whatever it takes, so that you can say, like David, “I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart; I will recount all of your wonderful deeds” (Psalm 9:1).
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Ironically, it can be hard to be thankful on Thanksgiving. As you prepare for all of this year’s holiday festivities, let Thanksgiving turn into thanksliving. Consider how this day, which is intentionally set apart for thankfulness, can shape an attitude of gratitude for the entire year.

Unashamed at School


“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear” (1 Peter 3:15)

The average student in America spends around 6.5 hours at school every weekday. While some may feel that this is a complete waste of time, God calls us to use it wisely. Every day at school, there is a great opportunity for us to tell people about Jesus through our actions and our words.

While many students try their best to do the least amount of work in school, this shouldn’t be the attitude of Christians. Solomon writes, “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might” (Ecclesiastes 9:10). This means that we should not be the person who never does the homework, never goes to school, or never gives any attempt at success. When we work hard, as unto the Lord, it will be a witness to teachers and fellow students. Growing in knowledge is a good thing; we should work hard to learn all we can because it can be used to help us further the kingdom of God.
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However, Paul warns us about being taken captive by empty philosophy and worldly ideas while we pursue our education (see Colossians 2:8). Most of the world mocks the authority of Scripture, the deity of Christ, and the exclusivity of Christianity. They believe it is all foolish and ridiculous. Instead of being discouraged by this, see it as an opportunity. There are hundreds of books out there that can help us to defend our faith to those who believe otherwise. We know that we have the truth, so we shouldn’t be afraid of talking about it. Engage in conversations with fellow students and teachers who oppose Christianity; show them the love of Christ and share why you believe the message of the gospel. Most people will be blown away by a student who will stand for Christ in a class full of those who reject Him.

There are so many people at school, for such a long amount of time, that we have great gospel opportunities in and outside of the classroom there. If dirty jokes, gossip, and countless other ungodly things are the main topics of discussion at school by the students, how much do those students who don’t participate in these things stand out? If we are always loving to everyone rather than tearing others down, talking about church that weekend instead of some party, helping others as much as possible rather than ignoring them, people will wonder what is different about us. They will see that we don’t need the parties, the sex, or any other thing to be happy. We have something far greater, and that is Jesus Christ.
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We need to take every opportunity to explain the gospel to everyone, but our actions must show it first. People at school will have no problem figuring out if we’re fake or not, so it’s important that we live out and show the gospel with our actions, as well as sharing it with our words. School can be an incredible platform to proclaim the gospel message through a life that is unashamed. Be intentional about sharing the gospel with your classmates and do all you can to demonstrate the love of God for them with your actions.


Being unashamed of the gospel at school is only one area of the Christian life. Check out this book and learn how to be unashamed in a lot of other ways!

Unashamed: Sharing and Showing the Gospel

 Questions to Consider:

1. What are some practical ways that we can show the gospel to people at school?

2. How equipped are you to deal with those who oppose Christianity, whether they are teachers or students? How equipped would you like to be?

3. What message does your conduct—what you talk about, how you act, how hard you try—at school send to those around you?

4. In what ways are you connecting with other Christians at your school?

Christian Clubs:

We want to be involved at your school! If you’re school doesn’t have a Christian club, let’s start one! Or if it does have a club but it’s not doing very well, we want to come alongside and help strategize for the year. We want to help mobilize students to reach their campus for Christ. Please contact us so we can be involved with your school Christian club this year!
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Click here to download a free resource on how to have an Uprising on your campus:


New Book! — Unashamed: Sharing and Showing the Gospel


In a culture where many students are unashamed about their sinful practices, God is calling Christians to be unashamed about the greatest truth—the gospel of Jesus Christ. Living a life that is Unashamed of the gospel means sharing the gospel with your words and showing it with your works.
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In this book, you’ll find practical advice and biblical wisdom on how to be a witness for Christ in all areas of your life. Whether for individual use, small groups, or ministry wide teaching material, Unashamed: Sharing and Showing the Gospel can serve as a helpful aid in the context of student ministry.


Uprising Conference Recap


Rise, Revolt, Reach! That was the message at Saturday’s Uprising Conference at Harvest Orange County. With a focus to equip the church and evangelize the lost, Uprising 2014 drew hundreds of youth. The band Citizens rocked the house, and Pastors Jason Powell, Greg Laurie, and Steve Wilburn spoke words to encourage, equip, and ignite.

“The world needs Jesus. Anarchy is in the air. We need to rise up, and raise the white flag of Jesus.” Focusing on Hebrews 12, Pastor Jason Powell pointed out the importance of running the race to win. The lives of the heroes outlined in Hebrews 11 should inspire us to run the race hard—to go big for Christ. You can’t be an effective evangelist if you’re not living the gospel. Godly living, coupled with sharing the gospel, is what the world is waiting for.
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A runner has to prepare his body for the race with clean consumption. So must we prepare to run the race and share the good news of Jesus Christ by first preparing ourselves through living the gospel. Sin for a Christian is like a runner getting a cramp in the middle of the race. We need to stay finish-line focused. The Christian life isn’t easy, so when you hit the wall, remember: stay strong, don’t give up, don’t give in, dig deep, and keep your eyes fixed on Jesus.

Pastor Greg Laurie brought us to the brass tacks of evangelism. We are not called to isolate, but to infiltrate. Believers are uptight about evangelizing, and unbelievers are uptight about being evangelized. But evangelism isn’t an option for followers of Jesus Christ. People are on their way to hell. We have a world on fire and we need to get our buckets out, and help put out the fire with the love and light of Jesus. We should follow Jesus’ example and evangelize “Jesus style.” Our objective is to be a stepping stone, not a stumbling block.
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uprising (2)

Evangelism starts with a burden; we need to go to whosoever, wherever, and whenever. But we need to use tact—to make our point without making enemies. Evangelism is a dialogue, not a monologue. We must adapt to the situation. We can’t deal with every person the same way. When we’re sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ we should stay on point and stay focused so we don’t go down rabbit trails. We can tell our story, share our testimony, but we should be careful not to glorify our past.

The worst that can happen to us here is America is that we might experience a little rejection, but it’s nothing compared to what Christians like Saaed Abedini have endured. He’s in a prison in Iran for sharing his faith and many others have died for sharing the gospel.
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Pastor Steve Wilburn encouraged Uprising attendees to be “the real you” and pointed to Timothy who was fearless, shameless, and relentless. So we, too, shouldn’t be ashamed of the gospel or intimidated. We should rely on the power of God to do the saving (see Ephesians 3:20). You’ll never be an eyewitness to the saving power of the Holy Spirit if you never step out and share the good news of Jesus Christ. When Pastor Steve offered to pray for those who desired a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit, nearly every single person in attendance stood. It was awesome!

God is working in power in raising up a generation of believers—a generation called for such a time as this: a time when the return of Jesus is near, and hell is waiting for those without Jesus.

Article written by Teri Ann Moyer | Pictures by Nick DiGerolamo


From Isolation to Infiltration

Infiltrate Check out the Uprising article on The Christian Post, “From Isolation to Infiltration: 5 Points of Encouragement for Student Evangelism.” In this article, you’ll be encouraged to know that you’re not alone in evangelism because the Lord has you covered in all directions—inside, behind, around, before, and above.inflatable castles


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Who Could Stand?

Who Can Stand

“If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness, that you may be feared” (Psalm 130:3-4).

It’s been said that if you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything. And that is certainly true, which is why it’s important to have purpose and passion in life. However, it’s also true that in order to truly stand for faith, we must first fall for forgiveness.

Missing the Mark

Think of all the sins that you’ve ever committed. Now, write them down. Not only would I not be able to do this because I hardly handwrite anymore (thanks to technology), but because it’s impossible to recount all of my sins—they are innumerable. I’ve missed the mark of God’s commandments for life. I’m a sinner who can barely even grasp the extent of my own sinfulness.
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The psalmist knew this well. He knew that if the Lord was to mark, or count, our iniquity, we’d get owned. The evidence is in and there’s no argument. He asks the rhetorical question, “Who could stand?” As sinners, who could stand in God’s presence? Who could approach a holy God? Answer: no one. No one could stand in His presence, stand through judgment, or stand to worship. But, there’s good news.

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Reconciled to Reconcile

We are foreigners with a message of utmost importance; a message that can save the very lives of the people to whom we have been sent. We are not a comfortable people with a “personal belief” that can stay locked up in our own minds. Rather, we are a delegation of important ambassadors sent to diplomatically engage with a dying world.

 “All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.  Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God” (2 Corinthians 5:18-20).

We have been reconciled to God in order to bring this message of reconciliation to the world. There are three important aspects to what it means to be an ambassador entrusted with the ministry of reconciliation.inflatables

An Ambassador of Christ is a Foreigner

As a Christian we become entirely new creations. “Old things have passed away all has become new” (2 Cor. 5:17). So, as Christians, our nature is fundamentally transformed. We are foreigners whose citizenship is in heaven (Phil. 3:20).  Unfortunately foreign diplomats aren’t always well received, right? Just think about how Jesus was treated. When speaking to His disciples He said:
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“If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you” (John 15: 18-19).

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5 R’s of Repentance

Repentance can be confusing. Is it to be simply be sorry for sin? To try harder next time? To never sin again? The Bible is clear on the importance of repentance (Luke 13:3; Acts 17:30). So, it is crucial to know what repentance is and what it looks like.

Essentially, to repent is to turn away from sin and to turn to God and trust in the gospel. It involves the altering of both the inward emotions of the mind and heart and the outward actions of the body. There are many vital elements in repentance, and throughout the Bible we see a clear picture of repentance.

Recognition of Sin

 “For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. Against You, You only, have I sinned and done what is evil in Your sight” (Psalm 51:3-4).

When you realize you are a sinner and you see your need for a Savior, you’ll then come to the point of recognizing your sin. This is to confess your sin to God and ask for forgiveness. To recognize and confess your sin is to do what David did in Psalm 51: admit that you sinned against God and agree with Him that you are guilty. In addition to recognizing your sin, you are to also recognize the remedy for it—the cross of Jesus Christ.

Remorse for Sin

 “As it is, I rejoice, not because you were grieved, but because you were grieved into repenting. For you felt a godly grief, so that you suffered no loss through us. For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death” (2 Corinthians 7:9-10).
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In repentance, Paul says that godly grief should occur. To have godly grief is to have remorse for sin, which is to show deep sorrow and regret over sinning against God. When this occurs, you will be “grieved into repenting.” And because it is a godly grief—a grief that doesn’t just acknowledge wrongdoing, but also admits crime and offense against God—it produces repentance that leads to salvation, for it leads to a confession of sin and an acceptance of the gospel. Remorse for sin is sour, but it leads to the sweetness of the gospel.

“Till sin be bitter, Christ will not be sweet.” – Thomas Watson

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