The Introvert and the Great Commission

Clutching my 4 Spiritual Laws pocket book, and nervously watching for someone who might look like a nice person. ‘Nice’ meaning someone who wouldn’t scream at my face for wanting to share the gospel.

That memory of Street Evangelism will always make my heart beat like crazy and soles of my feet cold. I was only 12 years old then. Inviting friends to church outreach programmes was easier but also a big challenge for me.

It didn’t get better as I grew older. People would say, perhaps you will grow out of the shyness. But it didn’t get better because in university, I secretly heaved a sigh of relief when I managed to wriggle out of Street Evangelism again because the truth is – I am an INTROVERT.

INTROVERT – a typically reserved or quiet person who tends to be introspective and enjoys spending time alone

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/introvert

I am commonly misunderstood as an extrovert. My best friend once commented, “You like to talk so much, you can easily make friends with a stranger.” I thought in my heart, “No, I only talk so much to YOU because there is no one else whom I can talk to.”

For 27 years, my introvert nature has been a thorn in the flesh for me. I felt lost and condemned for not having the courage to share the gospel during evangelistic programmes. After all, it is a commandment – it is THE GREAT COMMISSION. So how does an INTROVERT fit into the Great Commission?

Jesus is the Gospel

Last year, I read “The Great Commission” again. But this time my eyes focused on first part of it, verse 17:

When they saw him, they worshiped him—but some of them doubted!

Matthew 28:17 (NLT)

Let’s see Jesus and worship Him. In whatever we do or say, it is for the audience of ONE – Jesus.

An Obedient Heart

And then I focused on the last part of it, verse 20:

Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.

Matthew 28:20 (NLT)

Let’s live a life that’s obedient to His word. May our lifestyles glorify Him and those around us will see Jesus in our lives.

Be Strong and Courageous

I love how Jesus always hears our emotions. He knows we are fearful and assures us that He will be with us always. Whenever the disciples fear, the first thing he says is “Do not fear…” God will send help and support when we fear in public speaking, sharing in small groups or even one-to-one. Moses was so fearful of speaking to the Israelites that God sent Aaron to be his helper and mouthpiece.

Sharing the Good News

The gospel is the Good News of Jesus. And it should be shared from our hearts.

I have told all your people about your justice.
    I have not been afraid to speak out,
    as you, O Lord, well know.
I have not kept the good news of your justice hidden in my heart;
    I have talked about your faithfulness and saving power.
I have told everyone in the great assembly
    of your unfailing love and faithfulness.

Psalm 40:9-10 NLT

Let’s share the good news – about Jesus’ faithfulness, unfailing love and saving power in our lives.

The Introvert has a role in the Great Commission. That role may be sharing about God’s love through songs, serving the community through volunteer work or watching out for the needs of others in our comings and goings. That role can also be in the form of ‘writing’ – writing about the good news. I’ve never thought of myself as a writer, even during my days as a student who did well in English. But over the years I discovered that God has given me the opportunity to write stories for His glory. And in writing, I also discover more about my faith.

Preach the word of God. Be prepared, whether the time is favorable or not. Patiently correct, rebuke, and encourage your people with good teaching.

2 Timothy 4:2 NLT

A casual lunch-date with a pre-believing friend could be THE TIME to share the word of God. Slowly but surely, the Holy Spirit will teach us Introverts to be ever ready in season and out of season to share the gospel, and in our own special way that God has destined for us in The Great Commission.

Valley faith

I thought I was walking alone
The dark
The nights
The cold

All along You were there
Beside
Holding
My hand

All along You were there
Before
Leading
My steps

All along You were there
Above
Covering
My head

All along You were there
Behind
Watching
My back

Now I see You in the valley
Now I know You in the valley
Now I believe You in the valley
Now I trust You in the valley

You are not just God of the valley
You are God with me in the valley
The valley of sorrow and death
Is also the valley of hope and life

faithandhope

Then a man of God came and spoke to the king of Israel, and said, “Thus says the Lord: ‘Because the Syrians have said, “The Lord is God of the hills, but He is not God of the valleys,” therefore I will deliver all this great multitude into your hand, and you shall know that I am the Lord.’ ” – 1 Kings 20:28
But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation. – 1 Thessalonians 5:8
Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful – Hebrews 10:23
For through the Spirit we eagerly await by faith the righteousness for which we hope. – Galatians 5:5
Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God. – 1 Peter 1:21

Mealtime devotions

In view of the current COVID-19 situation, staying home more often now means eating at home more often and gathering together more often too for meal times. We like to have conversations during dinner, maybe too much sometimes for the kids and they take really long to finish their food. But I truly believe that conversations are even much more important for such a time as this, particularly conversations about Jesus.

The idea of ‘Mealtime Devotions’ came up one day when I displayed a lettering artwork of a bible verse on the wall that’s next to our dining table. Prior to that, I have not display my artwork at home. Usually I would just file it up after it dries. But after reading Deuteronomy 6:7-9, I was inspired to display it on the wall, hoping it will be an invitation to talk about Jesus.

You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. – Deuteronomy 6:7-9

The first day during lunch, my 5-year old daughter  enquired about what I lettered as she has not learnt to read yet and we had a wonderful time talking about the verse. And then a few days later, during breakfast, my 8-year old son asked me as well and we had the opportunity again to talk about the meaning of the verse during breakfast. He then subsequently asked if I was going to put up new artwork with new verses. 

That inspired me to come up with 3 more and I digitalised them into printable cards. If you will like to kickstart conversations about God during meal times, you can purchase a set of these 4 Devotion cards (in PDF Files) at this link: https://payhip.com/b/23tB

Simply download and print them out on cardstock. The photo shown below is an A5 size design that is printed on A4 paper and then folded into half so that it can stand. On the back, there is the passage from which the lettered verse was take from and a simple reflection. 

IMG_8400IMG_8441Collage_Fotor

With these simple cards displayed near or on your dining table, I hope your family meal times will be full of conversations about Jesus’ love for us.

Lead me to the rock

Lead me to the rock that is higher than I
Though I might take three steps forwards
And then two steps backwards
But now I know I’m still making progress
I will give thanks for this imperfect progress

Lead me to the rock that is higher than I
Though I might slip and fall
And even make a big splash
But this time I won’t be flailing my arms
I know I can reach out to hold His Hand

Lead me to the rock that is higher than I
Though I might have to start from the beginning
And be the slowest to ascend
But through it all, He sets my feet on a rock
I have Christ, the solid rock I stand upon

Rock

He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. – Psalm 40:2

From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I. – Psalm 61:2

For in Scripture it says: “See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame. – 1 Peter 2:6

I missed you, my BFF

To me, there are different levels of friendship in the world: BFFs, inner circles, just friends, acquaintances, familiar strangers, and so on.

In my mind, I know that God is good. But in my heart, I’m not so sure if He is good to me. This thought has been nagging me for many years but I’ve never surrendered it to God.

I know I am a friend of God’s. But somehow I didn’t feel like I’m His best friend, like I’m not part of His inner circle of friends. The friend who hears directly from Him, the friend who is abundantly blessed by Him, the friend who is serving Him wholeheartedly in ministry. And I’m not in His inner circle because I’m not good enough or holy enough.

And these thoughts have been eating at my soul until my spirit broke down. For many weeks, I ventilated to God and wrestled with Him on how envious I felt of others who were blessed because they were part of His ‘inner circle’ and I wasn’t. And then finally one day, He spoke to me:

Was the woman at the well part of my inner circle? Was the woman with the issue of blood part of my inner circle? Were they good Christians? Were they holy? 

No Lord, they weren’t. In fact, they were outcasts. Women who have been shun by society. Women whom people think you wouldn’t consider them to be your friends.

But you did.

You reached out to the woman at the well first and she responded to You.

He had to go through Samaria on the way… Soon a Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, “Please give me a drink.” (John 4:4-7)

The bleeding woman was just someone part of the crowd and You healed her when she reached out to You.

She said to herself, “If I only touch his cloak, I will be healed.” (Mark 5:28)

Jesus has always been there beside me. I just needed to respond, I just needed to ask, I just needed to hold the hand that has always been at my side.

Dear Jesus, I’m sorry I missed you. Thank you for being my BFF.

my bff