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Publication date: 08/06/16

My Sheep Know My Voice, and I know Them

I recently heard FamilyLife’s founder, Dennis Rainey, give a talk on non-negotiables for the Christian Life. In seven simple statements, he gave a great outline to give new believers a good start. The first was: “Seek God, not sin.” Amos 5:6 says, “Seek the LORD and live.” One our our ministry’s most common types of question is: “Is ‘X’ a sin?” (Spoiler alert: it always is.) It’s harmful for us to start our new life with Christ trying to determine what we can get away with instead of finding out more about Him.

We keep reminding them of the implications of the gospel. Look to Jesus,” we urge.

“Seek God, not sin.”
—Dennis Rainey

We train them to seek Him and not self. Their eyes should be on Christ and what pleases Him, not what pleases the old nature.

In addition to the weekly devotional mails, we have a weekly “blast” mail to encourage contacts to write our Online Missionaries. Each month, it’s framed in the form of a prompt for prayer requests like the below:

God Knows What You Need Before You Ask, But Wants You To Ask

Scripture: “Hear me as I pray, O Lord. Be merciful and answer me! My heart has heard you say, ‘Come and talk with me.’ And my heart responds, ‘Lord, I am coming.’” (Psalm 27:7-8)

Almighty God says "Come and talk with me" to you. Isn't that amazing?

We would like to join you in prayer. What can we pray with you about? Just respond to this email to let us know.

In my discipleship publishing role, I serve a team of other writers and editors, as well as web communications specialists and translators to create devotional articles for almost 2 million recipients worldwide in 4 languages. (4 more coming soon) Our team meets to discuss questions new believers are asking and ways to bridge from topics they’ll read about to their need for Christ. If all we cared about was readership, this process would be simpler. Write about temptations. Define sin narrowly. Equate “spiritual disciplines” with “how to give so that you’ll get rich”, “how to read the Bible to earn God’s favor” or “how to craft a prayer God answers.” Some teachers find smooth ways to affirm a perpetually immature walk with God.

On the other hand, moralism comes naturally to a writer. Really, it’s just as harmful, if not subtly more so. (“David was a man of great faith. Be like him.”) Phil Vischer of VeggieTales, spoke about this: “Had I just spent 10 years trying to get kids to behave ‘Christianly’ without actually teaching them Christianity?”

When it comes to VeggieTales, I’m not quite ready to answer that with an unqualified “yes” but it’s a good point. Our kids loved the wholesome stories, but they supplemented Biblical teaching they got in church and at home. Our visitors come from every country in the world. (China, India, Nigeria, Egypt, Indonesia and Algeria top the list) Very often our sites and teaching are their intro to the Christian faith. It’s hard to know what else they might be getting.

I’m working on Online Missionary response training for the next version of the Next Steps App, which is in the testing phase. Among its new features: a beliefs survey, bible, new believer FAQ and five ways to connect with an Online Missionary.

Would you pray:

  • • That our team keeps our own eyes on Jesus as we write devotions teaching others to maintain focus on Him.
  • • That we’d be sensitive to the issues our visitors face and how best to communicate to them.
  • • That we can maximize our effectiveness. This is our #1 way of driving ongoing engagement between visitors and Online Missionaries!

Thank you so much for your prayers, your monthly support and other gifts to our ministry. It all makes it possible for us to give our full attention to our “share, grow and connect” mission.

Love, in Christ,

Mike Skinner Cindy Skinner

One Day Closer!
Romans 13:11