Reaching Your World with Luis Palau
Summary: Listen in as Luis Palau encourages Christians to share their faith with easy-to-use tips on reaching your world for Jesus Christ.
I read an interesting article some time ago in the Wall Street Journal. Kathleen Hughes wrote about finding true greatness by rethinking priorities and everyday uses of time. She wrote about the need to find meaning in life, especially in the second half of your life. In the article she quoted Henry David Thoreau who wrote, “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.” I think in many ways Hughes and Thoreau are correct. We are searching for meaning. People desire to make a difference with their lives. They are hoping to leave a legacy, to do something that matters. But so many are floundering. They aren’t sure where to begin or what to do. I would encourage you that there is nothing more meaningful to focus your life on than matters of eternal consequence. If you are feeling desperate to find meaning, open your Bible today. Open it to the Gospel of John. Read the amazing true, written account of God’s work in this world in real time and space. Consider your part in God’s great story. Say to Him, “Here I am Lord, send me.” Or “Here I am Lord, show me.” He is ready to free you from your desperation. And to equip you to reach your world. This is Luis Palau.
If you’ve grown up in the church and spent a lot of your time around other Christians, you may assume that most people are just like you. You may think that the majority of people know who God is, and that a lot of people probably believe in Him too. But the statistics say otherwise. Statistics show that a growing number of young adults are identifying themselves as atheists, agnostics or “nothing in particular”. Many parents are finding that their children who go off to college, come home having left their faith and the church.We must recognize that this is happening in our culture and think through how we ought to respond. In my experience, most atheists are honest people who have a pile of guilt that they don't know how to resolve. I think that the best thing is to draw them out and figure out what’s bothering them. Once you do, find one Bible verse that fits and then say that verse and repeat it again and again, and watch the Holy Spirit powerfully shape your friend’s heart through the Word of God. In 1 Peter, we are told we need to be ready to “give an answer.” Are you ready to give an answer? Even to those who annoy you when they say that they are atheists? This is Luis Palau.
As part of her article “Using the Love Commandment to Talk COVID-19 with Kids,” Christian ethicist Kate Ott collected drawings and quotes from children engaging in the topic of loving your neighbors during the pandemic. The children drew ideas like cleaning for people, calling them, writing letters, and praying for others. The ideas were so touching – and they were so simple. They remind us that loving people isn’t a huge inconvenience. Even the smallest acts of kindness on our part can make a massive difference to encourage somebody in their world. In John verse 13:35, Jesus reminds us, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples – if you love one another.” This is our greatest responsibility and privilege in this life – to live with generosity and gentleness, allowing the love of the Lord to permeate through our lives and radiate to others. Remember, it doesn’t have to be complicated and it’s so often incredibly simple. Pull someone aside and encourage them genuinely. Spend ten minutes in dedicated prayer for your partner or friend. Call or FaceTime a long-distance friend or family member. Make a list of ways that you can show God’s love, and then do it. Whatever you do today to love someone else, believe it will make a big difference. It will. This is Andrew Palau.
There’s an old saying in the secular world that goes like this: What you read about you think about, and what you think about you bring about. There’s a lot of truth to that, you know. I’ve been lately thinking a lot about what we read, what we watch on television, the movies that we choose to look at. What is it filling our mind with? The Bible tells us that what we think about we actually do bring about, and that our relationship with God is very closely tied to what our mind is filled with. In the book of Philippians, chapter 4 the Apostle Paul says this – listen to this – “Finally, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is beautiful, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things” [Philippians 4:8]. Yes, God wants us to think pure thoughts, beautiful thoughts, clean thoughts because what we think about we tend to talk about, and what we talk about we also tend to bring about. So fill your mind with good reading. Choose very carefully what you fill your mind with because it will determine much of your behavior even without you realizing it. So, meditate on the word of God. It’ll clean your life out. This is Luis Palau.
Way back in 1979 I went to a whole series of small towns in northern Scotland. In one of them, called Lairg, a teenager by the name of David Robertson who was seventeen, brought a busload of kids from another town. He filled it up with 50 students in his high school. At the end of the message, when I gave the invitation, almost every single one of those kids in that bus opened their hearts to Jesus Christ. Years later, I met with David when he was now a man and a pastor of a very big church in Scotland. He said to me, “You know, I followed up with most of those teenagers and they are walking with God today, 25 years later.” How exciting was that! And you as a teenager listening to me right now, or if you have teenagers in your family, tell them this story – how one teenage boy filled up a bus, brought it with high school kids to hear the word of God, and almost all of them gave their lives to Jesus Christ. Long live teenagers who love Jesus Christ! This is Luis Palau.
In England many, many, many years ago there was a famous preacher whose name was Charles Spurgeon. He said many impactful things that I’ve learned from since I was a teenager. One of them that impressed me profoundly, and that I’ve repeated over and over goes like this: To preach Christ without His cross is to betray Him with a kiss. What a profound statement that is! If you and I are going to reach our world there are many things you can talk about with your neighbors, school friends, office people, factory…wherever you may be. But there is one thing you cannot miss and that is Jesus Christ crucified. Judas Iscariot denied Jesus Christ though he walked with Him for three years, and never honored Him, and sold Him for thirty pieces of silver. You and I cannot do the same as Judas Iscariot, but we would if we don’t preach the cross. When you want someone to meet God, you must explain how Christ died on the cross for our sins; how God the Father laid the sins of us all on Him, and how He, by dying in our place, bought us forgiveness and eternal life. To preach Christ without His cross is to betray Him with a kiss. This is Luis Palau.
Once I was in the United Kingdom on the BBC and they were interviewing me, and people were calling in with their questions. I was explaining how to meet Jesus Christ and have the joy and pleasure and fullness of life that He brings. A man called me up from another city and he said, “I’m an attorney. I’m happily married. We have two daughters, my wife and I. We’ve got plenty of money. We’re in great health, we enjoy vacations in Europe, and life is wonderful. How can you say,” he asked me, “that it’s only through Jesus Christ that you can enjoy life in its fullness? I’m enjoying life tremendously.” So I said to him, “Well, sir, congratulations. I’m glad that you’re physically in good shape and enjoying a good life. I’m so glad you’ve got money and in your intellect and emotions and education you’re having a great time. But,” I said to him, “you’re missing out on one-third of your life, and it’s the most important one-third of your life.” He said, “What do you mean?” and I said, “You’re missing out on the spiritual side. You don’t believe in God, you said. You don’t know Jesus Christ. You don’t read the Bible. You’re missing out on one-third. He said, “What do I do to enjoy the one-third?” I explained it and I was hoping he would say, “Alright, I’m ready.” But he didn’t. He turned it down. Are you missing out on one-third of your life? If so, come quickly to Jesus Christ, right now. This is Luis Palau.
Do you teach your kids that they can be used by God to reach the world with the love of Jesus Christ? Parenting is hard work. My wife Wendy and I are constantly on our knees begging God for wisdom and guidance as we raise our three children. We feel compelled and convicted to teach our kids the very same truths that changed our lives - the truth that God has a heart for the world and for the lost. 2 Corinthians 5 makes it very clear that we are called to be Christ’s ambassadors, that Christ makes his appeal through us. What a privilege! What an honor! As parents, it’s pretty easy to raise selfish individuals. Our generation places a heavy emphasis on the child - their accomplishments, their needs, and their schedules. This is great. But, we need to teach our children clearly and constantly that God wants to reach others through them. All their education, accomplishments, and privileges should translate into the same burden that God has for the people of this world. If you have children, ask the Lord to impress on their hearts a desire to reach their world. And you, as a parent, model for them what it means to actively share your faith. They’ll notice your example and who knows how God will use them to radically influence the people in their lives. This is Andrew Palau.
I know a woman named Danielle who has a young brother, named Jon. Today, Jon is 17, but years ago, when he was 9, Danielle gave him a Bible. For years, Jon didn’t touch the Bible. As a young teen, he got into trouble with the law. Danielle prayed for him and continued to pour into his life. She would text him Bible verses that God laid on her heart, and she loved him even when she was hurt by his actions. One day, a few months ago, Jon texted Danielle a picture of the Bible she had given him years before. In his text he said, “Remember the Bible you got me 6 years ago? I’ve still got it. I’m reading Proverbs 3:5-6, which say to “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” Danielle cried tears of joy when she received this text; after years of prayer and pouring into Jon’s life, he had opened his heart to Jesus. I share this story because the best thing you can do for those you love is plant seeds of faith in their lives. Talk to them about Jesus. Share with them your Bible. And don’t give up on them! God has a heart for young people, and He wants to use you to reach them. This is Luis Palau.
When I was 17 and beginning to get serious about my faith, there was one Bible verse that bothered me. It was John 14:12, which says, “I tell you the truth, that anyone who has faith in me will do what I am doing.” That’s a pretty big statement! To do what Jesus and his disciples did means to step out of our comfort zones for sure. It means to spread the Good News to people we come in contact with. It means to live out the Gospel. I see young adults today get discouraged with so many options for what to do with their lives, and not enough clear direction. As one young man put it, “I almost feel paralyzed by the amount of college majors to choose from—let alone jobs.” There has been an increase in depression in people in their teens and twenties, and I’m sure that feeling uncertain about what to do with your life only adds to the other stress involved in growing up. But here is one reason why I love Jesus: in John 14:12, He tells us exactly what we ought to do with our lives. He tells us that if we love him, we ought to model ourselves after him. By sharing the Good News, and by living it out in our lives. Wherever you are today, with whatever decisions you have to make about your education or job—know that in any position, God calls us, as believers, to do what Jesus did. So join me today in sharing the Good News. This is Luis Palau.
You know, this is the first time in history when some of our most successful businessmen, entrepreneurs, and CEO’s are young. Mark Zuckerberg, for instance, founded the popular social networking site Facebook when he was in college. Other entrepreneurs have developed formulas or written books that have pushed us forward as a culture by the time they were teenagers. And yet, for some reason, as older Christian men and women, we still find it hard to talk to young people about faith. Perhaps we don’t think young people can comprehend the depth of Jesus’ mercy and grace—or perhaps we are afraid of appearing uncool. But wherever you are today, I urge you to consider the next generation. Think of them as future leaders, future presidents, and future decision-makers. Don’t you want them to know about Jesus? Don’t you want them to know the Gospel? Take advantage of this time in their lives when you can influence them. The Bible says in Matthew 19:14, “Let the children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” This week, pray for the children and young adults in your life. Then, find a time to share with them the Good News of Jesus Christ. This is Luis Palau
To all the parents and grandparents listening, I think we give our children’s friends too much credit! We are told we have no influence and that all they will care about is what their friends think. But you know, when we hold a festival, young people come by the thousands. In fact, young people come in large, large numbers. And they listen to what I have to say—and I’m not some young hipster on stage. Young people want to know what mature, experienced people have to say, and we don’t have to pretend to be young for youth to listen to us. In fact, one young woman I know told me that she thinks young people are all starving for meaning, purpose, and truth. When they aren’t getting Biblical wisdom from parents at home, they often turn to other things to fill their God-shaped void. So today, I want to encourage you to reach the youth in your life. Perhaps it’s a son, or granddaughter, or even younger sister or nephew. Take responsibility for being their living example of what a Christ-follower looks like. Sit down with them, listen to them, and be real. Share about your own relationship with Christ. There is no better gift you can give a young person than that of salvation through Jesus. This is Luis Palau.
After an interview with his good friend and co-author, Paul Pastor, Luis walked him out to his car. It was a spring morning. There were cherry blossoms on the trees. As they enjoyed the sun, Paul saw tears come into my Dad’s eyes. Suddenly, Dad pointed at the houses surrounding them in his Portland neighborhood. “So many of them don’t know how good life is with Jesus,” Dad said. “It’s not just about the next life. They are missing out on His love now.” There, in his driveway, my Dad nearly began to weep. He ached for his neighbors. His heart still burns for one thing: that all might have a chance to say yes to true life. Yes, both my Dad and I are known to tear up from time to time. Jesus cried, as well. And not just at Lazarus’s tomb. [John 11:35] Jesus also wept when He looked out over of the city of Jerusalem and predicted its awful destruction by the Roman Empire. [Luke 19:41-44] I wish every Christian would tear up. It’s part of loving the Lord wholeheartedly and loving your neighbor as yourself. I urge you to go outside and look around with the eyes of Jesus. May it move you deeply. This is Andrew Palau.
You might be surprised how often widows come up in the Bible. Consider what the poor widow’s two mites show us. Those two mites prove no gift is too small, and no gift is too large. First, the two mites prove no gift is too small. Those two little bronze coins called mites couldn’t buy the smallest bird to sacrifice or eat. How in the world could this miniscule donation make any difference? To Jesus, it made all the difference in the world. That small donation proved the poor widow was fully and wholly dedicated to the Lord. Her love, trust, and sheer bravery move me. And, it clearly moved Jesus, who honors her in Mark 12:41-44 and in Luke 21:1-4. He uses her as an example of the kind of faith and generosity that God loves. Second, the two mites prove no gift is too large. Jesus tells us the poor widow put in more than all other contributors. She put in all she had to live on. Let’s not allow our personal interests, wants, and desires, and toys to end up squeezing our tithes and offerings to a trickle. How easily we ignore this important truth: Everything we desire, want and need is found in the Lord. This marvelous truth had grabbed the poor widow’s heart. May it grab your heart, and mine too. This is Luis Palau.
Do you remember the story we read in the Bible of the poor widow? We often focus on her two mites, but let’s not miss what Jesus does. I can imagine the poor widow contemplating the promises of God as she walks toward the Temple that Tuesday. This was just three days before Jesus gave His all on the cross. As she walks into the Women’s Court in front of the Temple, I can imagine the widow carefully carrying her small purse, contemplating what she is about to do. As Jesus watches, she stops in front of a funnel-shaped offering receptacle. She reaches out her hand and drops in two small bronze coins. Jesus knew this widow well. Yes, it’s true, He knows all widows. And He knew this poor widow had no property and no close family to take care of her. Therefore, since it was probably something He did often, I can imagine Jesus motioning for one of His disciples to follow after her and quietly give her a handful of silver coins. In Matthew 6:21, Jesus tells us: “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” The apostle Paul enlarges on this in 2 Corinthians 8, especially verse 5, which says that generous giving is the outflow of all who give themselves “first of all to the Lord.” May we do the same. This is Luis Palau.