5 Amazing Possibilities Possibility #4: Making connections
People out there need you to connect them with someone who can enrich their lives.
Part of wisely using the gift of your influence is realizing you can’t be all things to all people. In fact, often one of the best things you can do for someone is to introduce that person to someone else. Someone else may have the skills, the resources, the personality, the vision your friends need to flourish.
I love connecting people.
You never know what will happen when you put two people together. One of the connections I made resulted in a business more than tripling in size and creating a beautiful work environment where people with Christian values can flourish. Another connection I made helped to bring about the end of a fifty year civil war. (More on that on the video.)
Be generous with your connections. Look for opportunities to put people together who can advance God’s kingdom.
5 Amazing Possibilities Possibility #3: Fixing things that are broken
If you’ve ever experienced panic attacks, you know how disabling they can be. You also know how hard they are to overcome. Like a childhood bully who’s a head taller than everyone else on the playground, panic attacks can feel like a frightening monster from whom there is no escape.
When my wife started experiencing panic attacks, we tried everything that a Christian would normally try to deal with them. What we tried helped a little, but not very much. Then we discovered a new type of prayer ministry that helped with panic attacks. We met with Steve Freitag. After Steve prayed with Kim, Kim’s panic went from a 9 to a 1.
Our lives and our world are filled with things that are broken, and panic attacks are just one of many examples. Sometimes marriages are broken. Friendships are fractured. Addictions, anger, poverty, oppression, corruption, injustice, and many other ills plague humanity. But you can be the doctor that brings healing, the mechanic that puts things back together.
And this is what God is all about. God is about redemption and repair. Our world is messed up; God is fixing things; we get to help.
The Gift of Your Influence can repair things that are broken.
It might be a literal thing that you fix. When my lawnmower was conking out, my neighbor invited me over, lifted my lawnmower onto his workbench, took it completely apart, found the problem, fixed it, and put it back together. Wow! Talk about improving the quality of my life!
You might fix a broken relationship. As followers of Jesus Christ, that is what we do. We repair relationships.
You might help break the chains of addiction, or a put back together a soul fractured by abuse. You might bring healing to an entire community or fix a disabled system.
Remember, you can be the answer to someone’s prayer.
The Gift of Your Influence: 5 Amazing Possibilities
Possibility #2 Experience
Who is the nicest person you’ve ever met?
For me, that’s a pretty simple answer. My grandma.
When I was two years old, my dad was deployed by the military to Japan. My mom, my brother, and I remained here in the US. My mom, saddled with the need to work and yet care for two very small children, did the only thing that made sense at the time; she moved us back to her parents’ farm. There she went to work every day, and my grandfather went out to work the fields every day. That left my brother and me at home with my grandma.
It was one of the best things that ever happened to me. From my grandma I learned some very important life lessons. Like some people are safe. Some people are kind. Some people are gentle. Some people can be trusted. It was clear to me that my grandma loved Jesus with all her heart—that was clear before I really even knew who Jesus was.
What did my grandma do? She used the gift of her influence to help me experience the love of God. While many of us believe that God loves us, that love remains abstract, theological, theoretical—unless and until someone comes into our lives to show us what that love is all about.
In my case, if it hadn’t been for my grandma, I don’t know that I ever would have said yes to Jesus. She made Jesus attractive to me.
Your world is filled with people who need to experience the love of God. The gift of your influence can make that possible. What will that look like? It might look like homemade bread toasted with butter and sugar given to a four year old child. Or it might mean a kind word, a meal, groceries, a long walk, a day fishing. It might mean you advocate for them, protect them, watch out for their interests in a world where everyone is looking out for #1. It might mean that your provide a safe place. In some cases, it means you hurt with those who hurt, you celebrate with those who celebrate. It may mean that you make sacrifices for them, little sacrifices, or maybe big sacrifices.
When Jesus walks in a room, everything changes. There are over seven billion people on this earth. Is Jesus physically present with each? No. Instead, He sends you. You are His body. You are His representative. You are His physical presence in someone’s life. You convey His love to the people in your world.
How do the people in your world discover that God is good? How do they experience God’s love? They experience it through you, through the gift of your influence.
When I was nine or ten years old, my dad, an Air Force Sergeant, was reassigned to Fort Fisher, a little radar site on the North Carolina Coast. We moved into a rental home off base, and one Sunday, we found ourselves—at the invitation of my dad’s coworker—at the Carolina Beach Community Church.
Wow! This place was different. The pastor, instead of wearing those robes that ministers wore, dressed in regular clothes. He talked about stuff he really seemed to care about. He laughed, and sometimes, he cried. Afterward, nobody seemed to be in a big hurry to leave. The stood around and talked, sometimes telling stories of what God had done in their lives.
Then one night the pastor came over to our home and talked to my dad about how he could find eternal life through Jesus Christ. My dad opted in, and a couple weeks later, the pastor came back to talk to my brother and me. When I prayed, I really could sense the Holy Spirit swooping down from heaven and cleaning out the inside of my soul.
That moment in time set our whole family on a different path. We started heading in a different direction, filled with a new hope.
That night in 1968 my world and my life changed. Because of Pastor Marshall Weaver I’m in a very different place today that I might otherwise have been in.
Your gift of influence opens up amazing possibilities. This is why the gift of your influence is so very important, and so very needed. I’ve identified five of these amazing possibilities, and the first one is discovery.
Right now, someone in your world needs you to help them discover a new path, uncover a new paradigm, find a new way.
Life can be full of dead ends. We chase what seems to be important, only to discover it doesn’t give us what we want. We try something, and it doesn’t work. We try something else, and it doesn’t work. After a while, all the paths we thought were good, end up going no-where.
We end up losing options. We end up losing hope.
That’s why we all sometimes need someone else to come along and show us an alternate route. This is where breakthroughs take place in our lives—we discover a new path, a path we didn’t even know was there.
We need someone to help us. And that someone could be you.
What’s your most important spiritual gift? Would it be a practical gift like giving, helps, or hospitality? Would it be a ministry gift like pastoring, teaching, administration? Or would it be one of the flashier gifts like healing, tongues, miracles?
I would like to suggest to you that while those gifts are important, you have been given a much more important gift: the gift of your influence.
What do I mean by that?
Have you seen It’s a Wonderful Life? In this classic Christmas movie, George Bailey has an incredible experience. He gets to see what his world would look like if he had never been born. What he sees is astounding. Without realizing it, he had prevented great evil and brought great good into the lives of many, many people.
What George Bailey was seeing—in a roundabout way—was the gift of his influence. When the movie was over, he understood for the first time, the huge hole that would be left if his influence was removed.
Likewise, you have the power to change lives, and to change your world for the better. You have the power to bring eternal good into many lives. All of this is due to the gift of your influence.
I’d like to unpack this gift for you, and help you see how amazing it is and how you can use it to bring much good into your world. As we do this, we’ll be looking at:
• 5 Amazing Possibilities—This is why the gift of your influence is so very important, and so very needed.
• Your 6 Unique Qualifications—This is why you are irreplaceable. No one else in the world or in the history of humanity is positioned to make the difference you are designed to make.
• Your 7 Transforming Identities—This is how God designed you to be the change agent your world needs.
• Your 4 Power Tools—These are the tools you need to get your gift of influence to work properly. You don’t want to neglect these. You can do everything else perfectly, but if you don’t get these right, it all falls apart.
• Your 5 Superpowers—Yes, you really do have superpowers, and I’ll tell you what they are and how to use them.
• 6 Easy-to-learn Kingdom Skills—Here’s how to take your gift of influence to the next level.