You Can and Should Buy Influence

In this world, anyone can have power and influence if they’re willing to spend enough money.

Here’s a statement that may shock you. I believe that you can buy someone into the Kingdom of God.

Ok, I don’t actually think you can pay someone’s way into Heaven or into a relationship with Jesus Christ. I do believe you can buy your way into a person’s life to influence them and point them to Christ. And all it will cost you is a little time and money.

Here’s what you do:

1) Pick one day a week that you’re going to CONSISTENTLY pursue this venture. Remember, ministry to others is a marathon, not a sprint. Like anything of great value, influence takes time to build. So you’re going to have to commit.

2) Pick a restaurant. Someplace you like to eat, but it must be a place where you get waited on at your table. No fast food.

3) Pray. Before you go for the first time, pray that the Lord leads you to the person He wants you to meet. Once you’ve prayed, go to the restaurant, be seated and KNOW that the person waiting on you has been put in your life by God. This is your mission. This is a moment of destiny.

4) Be nice and keep quiet about God. Don’t talk about church, God, or Jesus. Don’t even ask to pray for them. In fact, don’t even pray for your food when it comes. The goal is about actions, not words. The only thing you should do is walk in grace and be nice. NO MATTER HOW THE SERVICE IS. They may not be a great waiter or waitress, but God loves them as much as He loves you. So treat them that way.

5) When the bill comes, tip NO LESS than 50%. I told you this was going to cost you something. The cost doesn’t matter, the mission matters. You’re buying the right to point this person to God. How much is a soul worth to you anyway? (if you can name a price it’s too low.)

6) Do the same thing every week. On the same day, go to the same restaurant and ask for the same server. Be as friendly and be generous.

7) Watch what happens.

Here’s a little glimpse into what could happen from personal experience.

By the 5th or 6th visit, you know a little about the person waiting on you. You know if they go to school or if they’re in a relationship. You may know something about where or how they grew up. The point is your getting to know THEM. And they’re getting to know you. And the three major things they know about you are you’re kind, you’re generous, and they love it when you show up.

Now you’re in a position to speak into their life. You can ask to pray for them. You can invite them to church or share the gospel with them. Why? Because you’ve invested in them. You’ve spent your time and money on them. You’re not carpet bombing them with the Gospel, shoving it down their throat. You’re being the Gospel. You’ve become the Good News to them. And If it’s not good news when we show up in someone’s life, how in the world are we going to convince people that it’s Good News when He shows up in their life?

I know that this might sound manipulative. But I don’t think it is. Manipulation is selfish. Manipulation is getting what you want even if it hurts others. What we are talking about is the opposite of that. You are sacrificing your time and money for a perfect stranger. Your only motivation is for them to know how much God loves them, and you’ll do whatever it takes to accomplish that goal.

That’s not manipulation. That’s ministry.

Fact vs Opinion

“If you have facts, present them and we’ll use them. But if you have opinions, we’re gonna use mine.”
— Jim Barksdale, CEO Netscape

I love this quote and the clarity that this mindset brings. So many times we believe in something so passionately that we begin to consider it “fact” or “truth” when it is not. What’s worse is when we base decisions on what other people have presented as “facts” but are not.

Clarifying statements like this are necessary for wise decision making.

Be careful what you pray for… Seriously

I began this year asking God to teach me about humility. That may have been a mistake.

God is more into transformation than He is into information. And for some reason I expected Him to give me some deep revelation from His Word that I could study. I didn’t expect Him to enroll me in the school of humility where each lesson doesn’t enter your mind but gets engraved in your heart.

One thing I am discovering about this process of God working on my heart is that this kind of work tends to be the most uncomfortable when He is working on the areas of the Heart that may be a little tough*.

* I use the word “tough” because it makes me feel better than admitting my heart may be harder in this area than I first thought. I’m sure that will be a future lesson I will learn.

A Common Question

Why do bad things happen to “good” (“Godly”) people?

The answer?

They don’t. Bad things happen to everybody, “good” or “bad.”

“…rain falls on the just and unjust alike.” (Matt. 5:45)

A better question might be, How should “good” (“Godly”) people respond when bad things happen?

Unresolved Issues

I was shocked by a conversation I overheard between two women. They were talking about a divorce one of them was in the middle of. It was a messy, painful divorce between two people who had been married for over 25 years. (I’m not sure how long exactly, but she kept using the term “25 plus year marriage.”)

The part of this conversation that got my attention was when the women going through the divorce said, “We’ve been arguing about this since we were dating. We just can’t take it anymore.”

WHAT!?! REALLY?!? The reason behind this divorce was an issue that went unresolved for over 25 years! Since before they were married!?! It’s almost hard for me to believe.

This couple, who I’m sure at one point were madly in love, let something negative in their relationship fester for over 25 years, and it eventually ripped their marriage apart.

I’ve been thinking about this conversation and here are a few thoughts that I had…

1) Marriage is NOT the answer.

If you’re single, dating or maybe engaged and planning a wedding, please listen to me. If there is a problem in your relationship, an issue that just won’t get resolved, GETTING MARRIED WON’T MAKE THE PROBLEM GO AWAY. Before going one step further in your plans or your relationship, you need to have the hard conversation. Put everything on the table and work it out. And if you can’t work it out on your own or you can’t find another Godly person to walk and pray you through it. DON’T GET MARRIED! Period.

2) If you’re already married, QUITTING IS NOT THE ANSWER.

I believe marriage is a covenant. A covenant not just between a husband and wife, but between a husband, a wife, and the Lord. Your willpower to stay and fight, backed by God’s divine power, CAN and WILL restore ANYTHING. Get that thing you’re dealing with out in the open. Expose it to the Light. Get people around you who will pray for you and counsel you. FIGHT.

3) YOU CAN’T IGNORE THE PROBLEM! Anything left to itself will fester and DIE.

If I had 100 million dollars and used it to build the most magnificent house anyone had ever seen, but then, when construction was over, I locked the doors and never did a thing with it, eventually that house would rot and fall.

True of a house, true of a marriage.

We can’t allow negative issues to go unresolved in our marriages. God is the redeemer. Not just of our lives, but of everything, including your marriage. A problem ignored will not go away, it will grow, and, over time, it WILL hurt you and possibly destroy you.

These were just a few of the thoughts I had while thinking about this conversation. I’m sad for that couple. I’m praying for them. I hope that God works a miracle in that marriage, and in yours.

Choose to Forgive

I’m amazed at how many people I meet that are missing great opportunities because they can’t bring themselves to let old things go.
 People that are holding on so tightly to an offense that they don’t have a hand free to grab on to something good that might be coming there way.

Unforgiveness is a prison. It traps you at the moment in time when the offense occurred. I know you know people like this. They talk about hurts they experienced five, ten, twenty years ago like it happened yesterday.

Some people are lucky; when they hold on to unforgiveness, it only affects one area of their life. For other people, unforgiveness takes over.

They become bitter, hurting, mean, and unhappy. They don’t know how it happened. They use to be normal. They use to be happy. They use to be unafraid. They use to not feel so alone.

The offense was real. The pain you felt was real. The pain you might feel right now is real. But the odds are, the only one who is hurt by it now is you.

To hold onto an offense, to not forgive, to live any part of your life in the past only hurts you.

You may be spending so much time looking at the past, that you’re missing a great future.

Don’t let what happened to you in the past affect what could happen to you today.

Your spouse may have cheated and left, that doesn’t mean your next one will. Your parents may have hurt you, we all make mistakes, we all say things we shouldn’t. Your kids may not be speaking to you, call them again. Your old business partner may have stolen from you. Start a new business.

Every day that you wake up is a new day, full of new possibilities and great opportunities.

Don’t hinder yourself.

Choose to let go. Choose to forgive.


Originally published at Niles Holsinger.