Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Spiritual Multiplication

“What are we doing!?!?! (insert utter disbelief in my voice) 

This is exactly what I said after taking a look at the facts below.

Imagine if every year for the next 40 years, I had the privilege of leading 1,000 people to Christ every year?!?!? Incredible right? 40,000 lost sheep found makes us want to shout! Now imagine this: What if I made 3 disciples and trained them to make 3 disciples that would make 3 disciples and so on. If each disciple only made 3 disciples in their first year and never again, after the same 40 years there would be a total of 4 quintillion disciples...which of course is WAY more than the number of people alive today. All people of the world would be a disciple of Christ by the 22nd year! This realization led me to say, “What are we doing?!?!” Are we (the church) that poor at passing on the Great Commission? Bill Bright said in his book, The Coming Revival that only 2% of believers in America regularly share their faith. This is why it is so important that we pass on the urgency of the Great Commission to all of our disciples so they don’t rely on “professional Christians” to share the Gospel.

Olivia is one example of our spiritual multiplication. Ashlee met her in the fall of 2011 at an outreach to the SDHS volleyball team and has discipled her ever since. Olivia is now a freshmen enrolled at Tennessee Wesleyan. She began a Bible study with her volleyball team and volunteers with Young Life at a local high school. She’s been asked to speak at FCA and the Wesley Christian Fellowship. I recently asked her what is it that compels her to engage in the Great Commission. Here is her response:

“Going through the 10 Commandments and realizing there’s no possible way to keep one part of it on our own. I’m still struggling with this but just understanding how wretched and sinful I am (not that y’all tell me I suck or something but I mean, Ash doesn’t sugar coat stuff ;-)...). So the point where I realized that and that everyone is wretched and sinful and if they don’t have someone speaking the truth into their life and talking about Scripture and what God thinks of this or that then they are all going to hell and they won’t experience the love I have. 10,000 people die every day in the US alone (the majority of which do not know Jesus) so what is it that makes my comfort more important than their eternal destiny?”

Wow. Please pray God would do the same work in all of our students.

To God be the Glory! 
Jonathan & Ashlee 

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

A Memorable Story...

It was raining as I walked to the door.
I knocked and heard, “Sharpie’s here.”

Out file Matt, Tito, and Nick. Something in Nick’s hand catches my eye...it’s a Bible! The guys piled into my car and Nick quickly starts speaking.

“I did what you said on Monday. I went home and examined myself to see if I was in the faith. I realized that I had never repented and so I did just that. I deleted over 5GB of evil music off my iPod and shattered my shot glass. I’m going to tithe to the Lord from my paycheck right away.”

Hot tears welled up in my eyes. “Lord, can it be?!” I’ve spent many days with this young man and we’ve spoken for hours hanging out or in Bible study. This was Proverbs 13:12 in action, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.”

Nick is one of 1,500 Soddy Daisy students and thousands more in Chattanooga who we desperately want to see turn away from their sins and turn toward the Living God.

I also had the privilege of leading two young men named Tanner and one young man named Daniel to “repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ…” Please pray for these young men to continue in the faith. 

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Receive On the Spot Prayer Requests

If you would like to join us in prayer during the exact time something is going on in ministry then sign up to receive those text messages below. These will only be prayer requests and praises for what's going on in our ministry at Soddy Daisy High School. An example might be, "About to share the Gospel with the football team. Please pray!" and after that maybe, "10 students indicated they prayed to receive Christ. Follow-up Bible study next week!" or "Monday night meeting starts in 15 minutes, we are speaking about seeing their great need for God."...etc. You can unsubscribe at any time if you need get overwhelmed. You can reply to the text messages as well!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Come Join Us

Think seriously about this...do you have a passion to take the Gospel to the world? If you do, I have a serious proposal for you. I honestly believe that the best place to target with the love of Christ is the high school and middle school campus. 75% of all people who personally accept Christ as their Lord and Savior do so before their 18th birthday. High school and middle school students are like wet cement, waiting for someone to leave a lasting impression on them. Ok, they're impressionable...makes sense. Their also...together. Never again will these young men and women be gathered together like they are in high school. Think about when you graduated high school. When you walked out of the auditorium or gym...that was it, that group will NEVER be together again. There's no other common community like you'll find on a high school campus. There is no other place where there are so many different groups to target. Between sports teams, cheerleaders, and and other after school organizations on campus, there are 23 different groups at Soddy Daisy High School that we can target with the Gospel. There's no better place to take the love of Christ. If your goal is to give the most people an opportunity to hear and respond to the Gospel as possible, the high school campus is the place for you. Come join us! There is no limit to how many high school students and high schools you can reach. Maybe you read my last post. I'm dreaming BIG with God from now on. No one is going to convince me that God can't use us to reach the world. A new day is dawning, a day where we finally believe God. A day when we know He is going to move because He said He would. I believe one day God is going to use us to plant Student Venture ministries all over the US and the world. How? I have no clue. But I'm believing this with all my heart because I know whom I believe, and I am convinced that He is able to guard what He has entrusted to me.

Come join us. So what's involved in joining us? There are several opportunities we have. Highest level of commitment would be to join staff with us. Not gonna lie, there's a lot involved with that. Including raising 100% of your financial support. God's big enough. You could be full time staff here in Chattanooga or in Atlanta, GA or Raleigh, NC or Orlando, FL or Jacksonville, FL or Cincinnati, OH or Columbus, OH or Indianapolis, IN or PA or NY or CA or TX or several other places in the US. Maybe you would like to join a team that will soon be going to Ecuador to plant a Student Venture ministry there. Come join us. Email me at jsharp at studentventure dot com

Volunteer with us. What would you be doing? Below I've laid out our local volunteer covenant:

Student Venture Chattanooga Volunteer Covenant

We are thrilled that you have chosen to partner with us to take the love and truth of Jesus to middle and high school students in our city. You are truly an answer to prayer. Our hope is that, as you experience the changed lives of students, you yourself will be changed by the gospel.

Step 1: Go to www.gocampus.org/apply and apply as a volunteer

Below is our expectations of all our volunteers and our commitment to you:

ENTRY LEVEL: 7-8 Hours a week
  • Leading or connected to a small group
  • Bi-weekly volunteer  meetings
  • Serve at Monday night SV Meeting
  • As schedule permits, go on campus (Classroom Talk, Lunch, Outreach)
  • Go to one conference a year (Fastbreak or Getaway)
LEADERSHIP LEVEL: 10-12 Hours a week
  • More time on campus
  • Monday night meeting setup
  • Planning/prayer meetings with campus directors/team
  • Life-on-life discipleship with students
CAMPUS LAUNCHING LEVEL: 12-14 Hours a week
  • Meet with Coach weekly
  • Fundraising
  • Recruiting other volunteers
  • Developing community partnerships (lay people/churches)
*All volunteers, regardless of level, need to:
  • Be involved in 2 outreaches a semester
  • Bring at least 3 students to a conference you attend
  • Share your faith with students as the Lord gives you time and opportunity.

  • Priority #1 - Encourage you in your walk with the Lord
  • Provide an authentic community and a safe place where you can share your heart, as well your gifts, talents, and weaknesses.
  • Being willing and available to coach and develop you as a leader, celebrating how God uses you but also challenging you beyond the capacity of your own strengths
  • Provide you with training and opportunities that will help you walk with God and serve Him for the rest of your life

Name: ___________________________________                                  Level: ____________________

Signature: _________________________________                                Date: _____________________

There you have it! COME JOIN US!  Email me at jsharp at studentventure dot com

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Dream Big

Ashlee and I were grateful to experience the Campus Crusade staff conference in Fort Collins, CO this summer. Probably the thing that the Lord used to most impact us was one morning when Francis Chan shared with us. He challenged us by asking if we were truly living a life of faith. Are our lives only explained by the power of God in us or are we relying on our own abilities to accomplish things. As I thought about this it didn't take long to realize that I'm relying on my own talents to live my life. I never trust God to step out of "Jonathan Sharp's Scope". Francis said he used to say to the other pastors at his church, "If doing this job is easy for you and doesn't require faith...you need to leave." This struck something in my heart. What would my life look like if I truly believed God for His Word and stepped out of my own skills to do something that would be impossible for me to do if not for the Spirit of God living in me. I had to confess to the Lord that I was showing by my actions that I was not truly trusting Him and have asked Him to lead me into this true fellowship with Him. Very soon after that morning session with Francis, God gave me renewed (and new) vision for high school students. Sure I can go onto the high school campus and meet students and invite them to Student Venture meetings and Bible studies and I can setup an outreach with the football team and share the Gospel with them, but what if I trusted God to do more than this? What if I believed that He truly could use me to give EVERY student at Soddy Daisy High School an opportunity to hear and respond to the Gospel. Sure, that's always been our vision, but what if I really believed it could happen? I'm eager to trust God and see Him work before my very eyes. He also has broadened my vision to reach other high school students in Chattanooga and even across the country and around the world. What if I trusted God to allow us to recruit others who have a passion for say, Ooltewah High School or CSAS or Ringgold High School and to coach them in how to take the Gospel to these schools? My God is great and mighty and powerful and He can do all things! God doesn't need me but I'm so thankful that He chooses to work in my life and lets me be part of His great plan of redemption! Will you dream big with me? Will you see the great needs around you and trust God to use you to intentionally take the Gospel to people who are not being reached? They are right there in your neighborhood, and at your job and at the gym you work out at and so on and so on. 60% of people in the U.S. have no desire to step foot in a church and won't respond to an invitation and only 10% of churches are targeting these people.  Will you dream big with me and trust God to use you to reach a specific group of people with the Gospel? Invite others who share that vision to join you. Have your own missional team here in the U.S.! A great place to find others who share your vision is www.allcallings.com. You'll see the beginnings of our mission team at SDHS and soon many others will be checking this site out. Dream big.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Humility and Obendience

"And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore, God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."
Paul is explaining how the greatest act of humility is the most worthy of praise. Paul leaves no doubt as to how worthy of honor and praise Jesus is. So worthy of praise that EVERY knee will bow and EVERY tongue will confess Him as Lord.

I'm challenged today by the obedience of Christ. He was obedient to the point of death. By His grace, I can be obedient. Although, He has only called me to obedience to the point of dying to myself and to potential rejection...much less than the point of death, even death on a CROSS! There is something God has continually been placing on my heart to say to someone and I haven't wanted to because of the potential strife it may cause and quite simply it will make me uncomfortable. Praise the Lord for leading me to this verse to encourage and challenge me to be obedient to the point of "potential" strife and discomfort by reminding me that He was obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

Until the Whole World Knows,
Jonathan Sharp

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Live or Die?

"If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better." - Philippians 1:22-23 -
Paul is sorting through whether he wants to live or die in this part of his letter to the Philippians. He writes this from Rome while he is in prison and on trial, so no doubt dying is an option. Side note, this is his first imprisonment and he is eventually released and goes on to write I and II Timothy and Titus. His letter to the Philippians is summed up in two words, "Gospel and Joy". He just wrote before this how it is his eager expectation and hope that he would not be at all ashamed but that with full courage, now as always, Christ would be honored in his body, whether by life or by death. And then the familiar, "For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain."

I love how in these verses Paul shows that he KNOWS he will have fruitful labor if he lives. He fully trusts the Holy Spirit's continued working in his life. He has seen it over and over again to a point that the debate is over...everyday he wakes up wondering how God will use him to be fruitful with the Gospel. That said, make no mistake about it, dying and being WITH Christ is FAR better than living. Nothing compares with being with Jesus. This letter is full of Paul showing how far better Christ is (see chapter 3). Of less importance is how this verse combats the idea of "soul sleep", in other words when you die, you are with Christ, not "sleeping" until the resurrection of your body.

Sometimes I wonder if God will work through me and produce fruitful labor. Paul encourages me because he has no doubt...to live in the flesh MEANS fruitful labor. This also combats any fear of death (not that I have that in the USA) because if you die as a believer you are with Christ.

Lord, help us to fully trust the working of Your Holy Spirit as Paul did. Thank You for his example to us.

Until the Whole World Knows,
Jonathan Sharp

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Be Strong in the Lord

I was reading the other day in 1 Chronicles and came across this verse:
"Then David said to Solomon his son, 'Be strong and courageous and do it. Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed, for the LORD God, even my God is with you. He will not leave you or forsake you, until all the work for the service of the house of the LORD is finished."
This is David's charge to Solomon to build the temple. This is the Old Testament version of,
"If God is for us, who can be against us?"
The strength of this verse lies in,
"For the LORD God...is with you."
David is saying he can do it because God is with him. What an encouraging thought!

This gives me encouragement to continue strong in raising our financial support. It's what God called me to do just as He called Solomon to build the temple. I can be strong and courageous, because the LORD is with me. When I feel fearful, I should look back to this verse and remember the strength of the LORD! I'm so glad nothing is up to me. And by that I don't mean I don't have to work hard at anything but knowing that ultimately, it all rests on God's shoulders and He is in control is an overwhelming comfort. 

How great it is to know that even my own salvation is not up to me. It's not dependent on me doing this and not doing that, nor is it dependent on me saying just the right prayer and praying sincerely, but salvation is the work of God and for this I am grateful.  Solomon had cause to "be afraid and dismayed" if God was not with him. We have cause to be afraid and dismayed if God is not with us! Thanks be to God for His inexpressible gift in the sacrifice of His Son Jesus Christ. Are you trusting in the strength of the LORD or are you leaving it up to yourself to be saved, share the Gospel with others, love your enemies, spend time with God...etc?

Until the Whole World Knows,
Jonathan Sharp

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Proclaiming His Name!

I was reading Psalm 22 today (day 23 of the "Read the Bible in a Year" plan I'm following...or trying to) and really began to focus on verse 22:
"I will tell of Your Name to my brothers; in the midst of the congregation I will praise You"
King David wrote this and I love how he says he will proclaim the name of God to his brothers and praise the Lord among the people. This simply shows us that people need to hear about God and this is a form of our worship of Him. I know that part of my worship (notice "part") of God is telling others about Him and what He has done in my life. I should be talking about the glory of God to all those I'm around in worship of Him. I know I should not be ashamed to speak of God and what he has done for me. I am resolving to be more intentional about proclaiming His name.

I get it that "proclaiming His name" might sound a little strange. Let me make it real life relevant to you. It's as simple as just telling someone what you learned while reading scripture and praying over it or as complex as sharing the story of God with someone. Lately, I've been telling folks I'm around about the importance of daily time in the Word, which I plan to blog about later.

My favorite part about what God revealed to me as I read this verse was that this is a part of our worship of Him. I started to think about the things I "proclaim" to people. For instance, many on Facebook might have seen my status updates about saving money at the grocery store. I'm in a sense, praising the website where I get all the coupon info from. I'm sharing how I'm excited about it and thrilled that I'm saving money. I have no qualms about sharing how to save money on groceries. So why do I have qualms about sharing Christ and what He is doing in my life and what He can do in yours? I need to worship my Savior by telling others about who He is because of how great He is. This is something I should do because I'm so amazed at the greatness of God. Will you worship God today by telling others about Him? Lord, may we speak boldly of Your glory by the power of Your Holy Spirit who lives inside us!

Until the Whole World Knows,
Jonathan Sharp

Monday, October 12, 2009

Trusting God for His Word

Today, I've been reading from Genesis 18:1-15. In this passage of scripture the Lord visits Abraham and Sarah. Abraham runs (in his old age) to the Lord and falls at His feet. He then prepares a meal for the Lord and the two with Him. The Lord then says how He will return in about a year and Sarah will have given birth to a son. Sarah laughs at this remark since "the way of women had ceased to be with her". In v14 the Lord says, "Is anything too hard for the Lord? At the appointed time I will return to you, about this time next year, and Sarah shall have a son." In case you don't know, their son Isaac came right on time. God was responding to Sarah's lack of faith. He asks a question with an obvious answer...NOTHING is too hard for the Lord, no matter how impossible it may seem to us. God then reaffirms what He will do. There is nothing the Lord cannot do! If He says He will do something then He will. The Word of the Lord is trustworthy. As I study the Bible now I'm seeking to do 4 things: highlight a verse or two of the passage that speaks to me, explain what it says, apply what is says and respond to it (to learn this simple method, check out this BOOK). So in responding to this verse I decided to look at the promises of God to His children and set my mind on these things. As I began to scan the New Testament for such promises the Lord brought me to Philippians 1:29, "For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake." Then quickly 2 Timothy 3:12 came to mind, "Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted." Then I began to think of Jesus' words that we will be persecuted. I'll have to admit that the promise of persecution isn't exactly what I wanted to set my mind on today, nevertheless I can rejoice in it. Our suffering won't be in vain, it will be for the sake of the Gospel. A challenging question is to ask yourself, "Am I suffering for the sake of the Gospel?" If not, do you desire to live a Godly life in Christ Jesus? The second is not void of the first.

Until the Whole World Knows,
Jonathan Sharp

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

God's Call on Our Lives

Today I want to share about God's call on our lives.  What I mean by "call" is simply what field He is asking us to serve in. It could be in the finance industry, the medical profession, or whatever other field you could think of. For us, it's full-time vocational Christian ministry. And more specifically, it's full-time vocational Christian ministry with Student Venture, the high school ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ.
"The call of God is not always convenient, but it is always correct." - Darryl Smith, National Director of Student Venture
This doesn't seem to be the mindset of many Christians today. People are throwing out the words "surrender", "count the cost", "lose your life" and substituting things such as "what's the best fit?", "is it a win-win?", "are you wired for that?" Moses wasn't "best fit" for speaking to Pharaoh was he? Jesus came from heaven to earth...how is that a win-win? There seems to be way too much focus on someone's giftedness and where they will be "most effective" in ministry (not just full time ministry, all Christians have a ministry!). What really matters is what is God calling you to do. When God speaks, you can weigh the pros and cons but ultimately we are to follow what side God's voice falls on, whether or not if it seems to be the "best fit" for a person.  And don't misread me, this is not to shame someone that's doing something that IS the best fit for them and it DOES perfectly line up with their gifts and talents but rather this shifts the foundation of our decisions away from ourselves and onto the God who gave us those gifts and talents.

I'm writing this to motivate you to seek God and His will. The reason this doesn't sit well with some people is because it's God's will that we pick up our cross daily and follow Him. No one is standing in the line where Jesus is passing out the crosses but rather we are in line to get the loaves of bread and fish. No one wants to pick up the cross (hello, including me) because when you pick up the cross, along with it comes pain, rejection, ridicule, and being misunderstood. The call of God is not always convenient, but it is always correct.

We must turn from our tendency to rely on the logical decision and put our faith in the good, acceptable and perfect will of God. This does not mean that God cannot call us to something that is "logical" but it does mean that logic and reason won't always lead you the right way. As it turns out, logic and reason are very poor gods.

God does not use a Christian "cookie cutter". What we learn from what God called Abraham, Moses, Samuel, David and many others to do is that there is not a one size fits all. We learn that God calls people to do all sorts of things. Maybe it will be like Samuel, God will have to call you three times and then have someone else say, "Hey, that's God talking to you." Or maybe, it will be like David and you'll just get picked up and moved to where you should be. Perhaps, you'll see a flash from Heaven and hear "I am Jesus, do this..." as Paul did. There's no one way this is going to happen.

Again, in no way am I saying to throw logic and reason out the window. I'm simply saying, seek God and His will for your life. This is not about your ability to effectively seek God, study His Word and discern His will, rather this is about trusting in the faithfulness of the Creator of the universe, who loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life, to communicate His will to you.

As Christians, we all have the same job description, "Walk with God, do what He tells you to do."

Friday, September 18, 2009

Preach the Word

Romans 10:13-15
"For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have not heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, 'How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!' "
Today my heart has been stirred by the Lord. I value you this so much because we aren't always going to "feel" God and be passionate about the things we are doing. My heart has been stirred to preach the Gospel, "in season and out of season" as Paul urges Timothy. I'm not talking about standing in front of a large group of people and preaching. I'm talking about whoever I'm in front of and with. I'm talking about preaching the good news to myself! I need the Gospel every day. Today the Gospel is sweet to me. It's more than forgiveness, it's acceptance. Today, to myself, and to whoever is willing to read, I preach Christ crucified and raised again. Today, I am intensely aware of my sin against the God who loves me and has given EVERYTHING for me. Today, it's time to die to myself. Today, I'm not worried about tomorrow. Today, what will become of my faithfulness to God? Today, I have rest in the arms of my Creator. Today, I need fellowship with Jesus. Today, I am delighted in the character of God. How I wish every day was like today!

Love God with everything you've got...He's it.

Friday, September 11, 2009

This is where it starts...

This is where we throw down in the mornings! I escape to my lair in the basement and Ashlee spends her sweet time with the Lord on our living room couch (Mya is wherever her pillow goes). It's essential, neglected, exhausting, life changing, exhilarating, sometimes a struggle, the beginning and end of who we are. It's our quiet time, our daily devotional, our TWL (Time With the Lord). It's where our hearts are convicted, changed, moved, encouraged, and content. I'm sad to say at times I leave my sweet Savior for another day. I become the real life bride of Hosea. The power of the Christian life does not reside in the one believing, but in the one in whom we believe. We must trust our God and Savior as the ultimate priority. He is the reason that we should wake up and move. Psalm 119:105, "Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path." Spend time with Jesus today, and tomorrow, and the next day, and the next, and the next...
Love God with all your heart. He's it.
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Here we go...

This is the beginning. Action is coming. For now, we are somewhat in waiting. Our mission is simple. See lives changed by the power of the Gospel. There is so much in between a vision and seeing it realized. Our vision for the lives of high school students is a constant. There will never be the day when we say, "Okay, vision accomplished." It's ongoing. There will always be more students to teach and learn from.  Here's to living that dream...

Ashlee and I have joined staff with Student Venture. The high school ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ. We are actively seeking others who share our heart for high school students to partner with us in ministry. Once our team is complete, we will begin reaching out to students on the Soddy Daisy High School campus.

Hopefully...prayerfully, we will keep you updated and a part of what we are doing. Love God with all your heart today. He's it.