At this present moment, we have a choice. Seize up, or seize the day.
I was a senior in high school. It was early in the track season. I was a miler, and at that point in the season, I had won most of my races. My best time was 4:38, but that wouldn’t be good enough. This was a big race. Some of the best runners in the state were running in the mile. The best high school miler in the U.S. was in the race. The cut off time to compete in the “A” race was 4:30, so I should have been in the “B” race, but my coach lied and wrote down my best time as 4:30. As expected, I was in the back of the pack, sitting around tenth place, when with 300 meters to go, I made my move. Sprinting past runner after runner, I moved all the way up to second place with 100 meters to go. And then it happened. The “bear” jumped on my back. Lactic acid built up, my muscles seized up, and I didn’t think I would reach the finish line. What an awful feeling to seize up!
A few years later, the 1989 classic movie starring Robin Williams came out, Dead Poets Society. Perhaps the most iconic scene in the movie is when Williams’ character, an all boys private school english teacher named John Keating, marches his young men out of the classroom and up to a glass case holding pictures of former Welton Academy students. Keating asks the boys to lean in and listen. With their noses practically pressed against the glass, he asks, “Do you hear them?” Then he whispers the classic line, “Car-pe Di-em. CARPE DIEM!”
Seize the day!
Now is the time. Don’t miss your moment. Seize the day. Carpe Diem!
This Latin phrase reminds me of the words from the prophet Isaiah.
“See, I am doing a new thing!Isaiah 43:19a NIV
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?”
God is at work. Right now, He is doing something. Do we see it? Will we seize this moment, or will we seize up?
Carpe Diem. This Latin phrase reminds me of Jesus’ last words.
The month of May is Global Outreach Month, with May 30th being Global Outreach Day. Every believer in every church in every nation on every continent is being challenged to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with at least one non-believing friend, neighbor, co-worker, classmate, or relative during the month of May.
This evangelistic initiative was planned long before the Coronavirus, COVID-19, first sparked and began to spread like wildfire. We could not see what was coming, but God knew. Our world is hungry for good news. I love John Krasinski’s videos from home, Some Good News. They’re fun, encouraging, and heartwarming. But they are just some good news, they are not THE Good News. Another John shared that with us.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”John 3:16-17 NIV
GO2020 is an alliance of ministry organizations that is providing vision, equipping, resources, and strategies for this Global Outreach Month. With every believer equipped and unleashed as a witness for Jesus Christ, together we can see one billion people put their faith in Christ in May 2020.
That will radically alter life on our planet more than COVID-19 ever could.
So what must we as ministry leaders do to seize this moment?
You must cast vision. Jesus did this with the Twelve before He sent them out. “The harvest is great, but the workers are few.” One way to cast a compelling vision is to help those you lead see the need. Jesus saw the crowds. They were “harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” Another way to energize your people for this moment is to get them praying for the needs of the lost. Jesus challenged the Twelve, “pray to the Lord of the harvest to send more workers.”
A simple tool you can use to cast vision is to share the GO2020 trailer with those you lead. Of course, before you cast the vision, you must have a plan.
Whatever plan you develop must include a strategy for engaging your people in praying for the harvest. Your plan must offer simple training and tools to equip your people to share their faith. Your plan should include challenges for both personal evangelism as well as corporate evangelism, either through sub-ministries, small groups, or the whole church. How will you enlist your people in this effort, and how will they share the results of their evangelistic endeavors?
Just do it. You lead the way. Who is in your Circles of Concern? When and how will you Cultivate, Plant, and Reap with your spiritually lost friends? What evangelism tools will you use and equip your people with?
And don’t forget to share stories. See God’s Spirit build momentum as the excitement spreads throughout your ministry. There are few things that breathe more life into believers and churches than the active sharing of the gospel and the constant flow of new believers joining the family.
“I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ Jesus.”Philemon 1:6 NIV84
As I rounded the corner with the finish line in my sights and my legs began to seize up, my mind wouldn’t let me quit. This was my moment. Seize the day! I fought through the pain and fatigue. I finished fifth among the best runners in the state. I ran my best time by 15 seconds, a 4:23 mile. Carpe Diem!
Leaders, this race has been long. It’s been hard. We’re tired. We feel the pain. We’re ready to be finished. But don’t lose sight of the finish line. Fight through. Finish strong.
And while I’m talking about running, I want to invite you to join my friend Jeff Polen and me in doing a 5K every day in the month of May. If you don’t already have healthy rhythms in your life for exercise, May is the perfect month to start. Pray for your spiritually lost friends while you walk or run, or even invite them to join you on your 5K.