Living the Intentional Life
I have noticed that people who live fully in the Kingdom have intentional patterns and practices regarding how they do life. There’s a redemptive mindset and expectation that come with a set of behaviors that have been adopted by those who are engaged in the mission of the King. I want to share a few examples that I have witnessed and have practiced.
EARN THE ASK
My friend Timothy is always looking for opportunities to “earn the ask.” Timothy started to engage the local Rodeo Board to see if there might be an opportunity to start earning credibility. His approach was to find out what no one else wanted to do so he could volunteer. After talking to the Rodeo Board leadership, he volunteered to take out the trash and clean toilets during the events that were booked at the rodeo grounds. After a few years, and significant relational currency earned, Timothy ended up running the entire rodeo (other than what happens inside the arena). As a result of his investment, he started having Cowboy Church services, and was invited to pray at the beginning of the PRCA Rodeo each year. How did all that happen? Timothy intentionally lives in a way that make people curious—he “earned the ask.” Folks at the rodeo grounds are regularly asking him why he is doing what no one else is willing to do. His answer is never a big theological explanation. It is more of a curiosity builder, a way of inviting them to ask additional questions. So, his answer is something like, “It’s just a thing between me and Jesus” and then he will leave it there. As Timothy continued to “earn the ask” people started coming around to investigate what he meant by the Jesus comment. His response would be, “Well, if you really want to know I can tell you, but it’s, you know, it’s a God thing…” and away the conversation would go, and most of the time, people end up either coming to church or accepting Christ on the spot.
Another intentional practice is to ask the Holy Spirit to give specific assignments each day. I have found that there are Kingdom-assignments that the Holy Spirit designs for each person who is willing to ask. So, I ask for and then look for those assignments (assignments usually have faces) as I walk out the day. I start my morning asking for adjustments and assignments as I read His Word, and that sets the precedent for how I will participate in God’s day, and the people in it.
TAKING ENEMY TERRITORY
My friend Mike has a great practice. He decided he would try and take some enemy territory every day. Mike prays every morning and asks the Lord to give him at least one opportunity to present the gospel, and his goal is to do that 365 times a year. Last time I talked to Mike about it, he had gone an entire year with the privilege of sharing the gospel with someone every day. He asks for the opportunity and then looks for it. As a result, Mike pastors one of the larger churches in our denomination.
Another great tool that several of my friends are using as an evangelism practice is their outreach prayer list. They are committed to prayerfully reaching the least, the lost, the left behind, and those who just don’t know what it means to be in relationship with Jesus. Their outreach prayer list isn’t about a variety of subjects, it’s about neighbors, friends, family, and others that they bring to the throne room every day with the request that they would come to know Christ. Then they pray that the Lord Jesus would let them be a part of that miracle.
Third-space-ministry is an interesting way to reach people for Jesus. The thought is that each person lives in three spaces most of the time; their job, family, and their hobbies or passions. My friend Joel has been in prison a lot, and after getting out the last time, he came to know Jesus during a church service last year. Joel had a great epiphany in his discipleship journey when he realized that he could turn wrenches on Harley motorcycles in his garage with people who didn’t know Jesus and would never think to darken a church door. Joel created a third-space-ministry. We all have that space that can be parlayed into something redemptive for the Kingdom, if we’re intentional.
KNOWING YOUR NEIGHBORS
A couple of years ago we talked a lot about church leaders and pastors in the River Conference taking up the challenge to know our neighbors. I’m pretty sure that Jesus wouldn’t live in my neighborhood and not know my neighbors. It doesn’t make sense that He would live the life He lived, and die for all of our sins, just to ignore the people around Him in His neighborhood. So, to come up with an intentional strategy can be as easy as leaving a note on their door, or knocking on a door and asking if there’s anything you could do for them, or asking if they’d like to attend a neighborhood barbecue sometime to get to know some of the other people in the neighborhood, bringing them a pie, returning their trash can from the curb… if you are mindful and intentional there are many things you can do to get to know your neighbors, which can lead to “earning the ask.”
To live on purpose is a stewardship issue. Jesus is going to want to know what we did with what He gave us to steward. Maybe the most important stewardship issue to consider while in this fleshly tent is not tithing or time use, as much as it is passion and mission. To live on purpose is the most exhilarating, passionate way to navigate through life. That’s what people do who are intentional. The people I know who live fruitful lives are not governed by gifts and personality, it’s more about their own gentle push to do something each day for the Kingdom.
How will you practice sharing your faith? Can you enlist an accountability person to share and pray with you so another year doesn’t slip by? What is one thing you will do in the remainder of this year to add value to your faith-sharing journey? Share your answers and ideas on the TRC Pastoral Leadership Campfire in Basecamp so we can pray and celebrate together.
Let me leave you with this thought… intimacy with God is directly related to how you do intimacy with people. Find people and be intimate so you can be who you say you are.
Rick serves TRC as our Church Plant Director and has planted, pastored, and mentored pastors for over 35 years. He serves on the board of ImpactX a multiplication movement where he coaches and mentors several micro church and impact community leaders. Rick also coaches business owners and CEOs in organizational health as a way staying connected to the secular market place where Jesus needs a voice.