Life in Focus

Where following Jesus and Every Day Life Intersect

Advance!

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Last week I had my first experience seeing Beth Moore teach in person at a Living Proof Live event in Stockton, CA. I was impressed as she described praying that God would give her a specific word for our group of 5000 that weekend. God delivered some powerful answers to her prayers and used her to inspire the crowd in mighty ways.

Her theme for the weekend was “Advance!” based on this verse: Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters,that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel.” (Philippians 1:12)

She admonished us to advance in the gospel personally so that we could advance the gospel in the lives of others. Using the acrostic “A-D-V-A-N-C-E” she led us through a series of key points to make Paul’s message in Philippians applicable to our lives today. I always absorb information more thoroughly by taking notes and reviewing them. I’ll be using my next few posts to share the key points from her three talks and then I’ll add my own thoughts about them.

Here are the first two parts of the acrostic:

A- A Kingdom is Coming.

And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”   (Matthew 24:14)

God’s kingdom is a present reality and a future reality. When we share the gospel, we participate in spreading His kingdom on earth.   To advance the gospel, we must know God’s word and then pray for open doors to share it with others. Whether we have the gift of evangelism or not, this is part of our call as followers of Christ.

Every time we pray the Lord’s Prayer, we ask God to further His kingdom when we say: “‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,your kingdom come, 
your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:9-10) Asking for God’s will to be done on earth allows us to claim territory for Him. As hearts and minds surrender to Christ, we advance His Kingdom and the world around us changes for the better. We also add to the ranks of the souls who will celebrate in God’s forever kingdom.

Furthering the kingdom is about living out the gospel first with our deeds and then with our words. When our actions toward others align with God’s will and word, we bless them and spread His kingdom. Mother Teresa said it well: “Spread the love of God through your life but only use words when necessary.”

D- Dare to Advance It

The Greek word for “advance” is “prokopen” which Beth explains as “to beat or drive forward as if with repeated strokes, hence to go forward or further, make progress, proceed.” She connected this to the example of clearing dense brush in a jungle using a machete. Similarly, we use the sword of the Spirit to hack through the darkness to advance the Kingdom of God. “Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” (Ephesians 6:17)

If we don’t advance in our knowledge of the word of God, we won’t understand the access we have to God’s incredible power. Without these things, we can’t further God’s kingdom. Bible study doesn’t sound quite so tame when it’s described like that.

Don’t let all this talk about hacking through darkness scare you! Spreading God’s kingdom isn’t about hitting people over the head with a Bible. It’s about loving them. Here are few ideas for advancing the kingdom:

-Show compassion to a hurting world

-Give mercy instead of judging people

-Be honest about your own sin and brokenness with God and others

-Forgive people when they don’t deserve it

-Allow time in your day to be interrupted, to listen, to show kindness

-Say “no” to selfishness and self-absorption

None of these things can be done on your own strength. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you and equip you, then advance!

Every time I hear Jason Gray’s song “With Every Act of Love” it inspires me to further the kingdom of God on earth.   It makes me realize simple acts of love lead others to want to know Him. This is how we advance the gospel.

Click on the link to hear “With Every Act of Love.”

**Special thanks to my son for creating the scene of the advancing Lego army for this week’s photo.

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Author: mmccullum

Marybeth McCullum enjoys writing and blogging about her Christian faith and how it intersects with everyday life. Her goal in every post is to encourage, challenge and inspire her readers. She is in her 10th year at CPC's Focused Living Women's Bible study and currently serves as Coordinator. She also writes a regular blog and speaks occasionally. You can find her page on Facebook at: Marybeth Mc Cullum- Author. Learn more about her other endeavors at marybethmccullum.com.

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