Aug 16, 2022
What ideas or dreams has God put in your heart to reflect His love and bring others into the Kingdom? Are you ready to give it everything you got? A dose of inspiration is coming your way.
Cindy and I were in Jacksonville Florida for medical reasons. While there, we had hopes of connecting with some songwriters who live in that area. Our plan did not work out BUT God set up some other meetings for us that had more impact than we could imagine.
I’d had a song bouncing around in my head, but it just wasn’t coming together. I was feeling dry, wondering if inspiration had gone. I’d been discussing this with God.
Sunday rolled around and off we went to a nearby church we found online called The Well. We discovered that the church had a wonderful love for homeless people and there were quite a few who attended worship there. One of the unique ways the church served the homeless was driving a semi-trailer retrofitted with showers, dressing rooms and fresh clothes to different areas of the city. Check the show notes to learn more.
Worshiping along with homeless people was a remarkable and wonderful experience. Sharing communion and incredible conversation with them was humbling. These are regular people who have very little, but the ones we met had joy and a church family they called their own.
The next morning, God answered my prayer (while I was blow drying my hair) and the song morphed and “snapped” into place. Everything I Got! was inspired by the way that Pastor Tone Benedict and The Well Church in Jacksonville Florida loved those who were homeless. You can hear it on the streaming platforms or at GGSSPodcast.com
Next, I’d like to introduce to someone else who practices what the song “Everything I Got” is all about. He’ll have some practical tips for you to help pursue those dreams and ideas God planted in your heart.
I have a friend of mine, Dave Taylor, in the studio today. He's got a ministry called Acts of Friendship. I'm going to let Dave tell us a little bit more about that in just a second, but I want you just to know that Dave is somebody that I've known for several years. We're brothers in Christ. We got connected at church. It was primarily on Wednesday nights where we really got connected I think, right Dave?
(Mark) And so, but I'm going to let Dave, in light of this song, Everything I Got, I'm going to let Dave tell you a little bit about his story here, coming up. So, Dave, I wanted to have you on the show today because you embody what the song, Everything I Got talks about.
So why don't you tell us what you do and how it all got started?
(Dave) Well, first off, thanks for having me, Mark, and man, I love your heart for Jesus and others. I love the song, Everything I Got. I listened to it quite a few times and it just blows me away. Very thankful that God put you into my life six years ago. Praise Him for that.
Since being saved at the age of 40, 19 years ago, I have been embracing God doing a mighty work in and through me. I love Christ with all my heart, all my mind, all my soul and all my strength and I love others. So how I got going with this ministry called Acts of Friendship, I directed a ministry at Friendship Church where we met the needs of people and when we met the needs of people, we shared the gospel and encouraged discipleship. A few people along the way told me, Dave, this is way bigger than what you're doing. Everybody needs to hear about this.
So after lots of prayer and a year and a half of setting up the ministry, we launched the ministry Acts or Friendship six weeks ago. Our mission statement for the ministry is, “We are dedicated to inspiring and equipping followers of Jesus Christ to live a lifestyle of disciples who make more disciples.” The three things that we're really passionate about are 1) serving others from first fruits, 2) sharing the gospel and making disciples, 3) discipleship and multiplying. And I want to just touch on those three for a second.
We live very busy lives and we have the intention to serve others, but if we don't serve from first fruits, we may never serve anybody else. So that's serving others.
Then sharing the gospel, making disciples - we are all called to share the awesome news about Jesus, but something could be holding us back like fear, but we need to trust in the Holy Spirit.
Jesus died and then appeared to his disciples. They were all hanging out going, what are we going to do now? When Jesus appears to them and they are blown away. They're probably ready to go rock out again and hit it and do ministry again. But what does Jesus say to them in Acts 1:4? He says, “wait till I send you the Helper, the Holy Spirit”; Acts 1:8 ”when the Holy Spirit comes on you, you'll tell people about me everywhere.” Acts 2:4 at Pentecost the Holy Spirit comes on disciples. They preach to the multitude and 3000 come to Christ. And I love the end of Acts, more people come to Christ each day.
Not equipped is another reason people will hold back from engaging. We have the Holy Spirit and the word of God. So we are equipped to share the best news we know. Let's go. Right?
(Mark) Yeah right.
(Dave) And then discipleship, multiply. I want to share a verse, 2 Timothy 2:2, “And what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses and trust to faithful men who will be able to teach others.” We all need discipleship.
So my challenge is…I got three questions. When was the last time you served someone? When was the last time you shared the gospel with someone? Are you being disciples or are you discipling someone? Think about those three questions.
Acts of Friendship has some really cool platforms and tools. Do we love others? And do we use the tools and engage others in our everyday life? So we can have these cool tools, but if we're not using them, we're not reaching people. So let's get out there and reach people.
Main thing is to keep Christ at our center of our lives, not the ministry, but Christ is the center and the ministry happens from that. And then I love this verse, Hebrews 12:2, “keep our eyes on Jesus. He's the author and perfecter of our faith.” As we go through one step at a time, one day at a time, walking out His call.
(Mark) That's awesome. I really, really appreciate you sharing that. So I'm sure over the years you've met some obstacles and some challenges. What was the biggest challenge? Not to bring this down, but I think it would be encouraging for people to realize that anything that when we do something for the kingdom sake, the enemy realizes this and he's going to throw things in our way and try to discourage us and try to keep us from accomplishing the goal that we believe God has for us. So what was some of the biggest challenges that you had to overcome?
(Dave) Yeah, for sure. A couple things that come to my mind, church culture can be very inward and compartmentalized. What I mean by that is we tend to serve, share the gospel and disciple in the church building and that is awesome. I love it, but we need to be living a lifestyle each day, no matter where we are with using the time, talent and treasure that comes from God. So we're pushing against culture a little bit. We need to shift that culture to in the church building AND in our everyday lifestyle.
And then patience and trusting and God's plan timing. Proverbs 16:9 says “the heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.” It took one and a half years to put this ministry together. The whole way God was doing a mighty work in and through us. We embraced that and we stayed within His timing on this thing. As much as we wanted to launch it in six months, it took a year and a half and His timing is perfect.
(Mark) Love it. So what do you love most about what you're doing?
(Dave) For me? Just really, it's being obedient to God's call on my life. Since I got saved,
I want to walk out His call. I'm a new person in Christ, and He has a plan for us.
The other thing I love about it is meeting people where they are, loving them well and encouraging them to take the next step with their relationship with Jesus. It blows me away to watch somebody come to Christ and then watch them grow in Christ and then watch them actually go share with others. It's amazing how God does that work in each of us.
I lived life for the 40 years without Jesus as my Lord and Savior. No peace, no joy, no hope. Tried to fill it with worldly things. None of it filled it. I did not serve others. I put myself first in everything. After God saved me, I've been filled with peace, joy, and hope. No emptiness. I know for today, God's in control and I know where I'm going and I put others before myself.
(Mark) That's fantastic. So, what do you think has been most helpful for you in making Acts of Friendship a reality?
(Dave) First and foremost, prayer, always. Always be praying. Keeping Christ at the center of my life each day is huge.
God gave me a verse when He saved me 19 years ago, Ephesians 2:10, “for we are God's masterpiece” and other versions say “workmanship. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so that we can do the good things He planned for us long ago.” So we are His masterpiece, His workmanship. He gives us our identity, not this world, not myself and not other people. God had a plan for us before we were born. Discern the plan and run with it. God's will is the way. His will is going to happen. Trusting in this each day can be tricky. So just trusting in the Lord that He's gonna provide whatever's needed to run the race.
Trusting in the Holy Spirit each day that's dwelling in us, daily discernment in the Lord each step of the way. God may close one door, but He'll open another. Be alert to that. A closed door means probably don't go through it. An open door could mean go through it.
Patience is a big one for me especially. I pray for that every day, to have patience in God's timing. God puts people in our lives like my partner, pastor Brent, and a friend of mine, Ryan; we are called to do ministry together. Each of us are gifted differently. Romans 12:5 says, “so we, though many, are one body in Christ and individually members, one of another”. We need each other.
(Mark) So I'm going to go off script just for a second here from some of the questions that we were talking about here and just say, tell me a little bit more about that patience thing that you were mentioning there.
(Dave) Yeah. I'm definitely a task-driven doer and I'm pedal to the model. When I first got saved, somebody called me a Coke-bottle-Christian cause I was exploding all over the place. So really having patience in God's timing knowing, His timing is perfect. So being patient with Him preparing the hearts of the people that you engage with and preparing you for what you need to do the work that He's called you to.
(Mark) So that's kind of a daily prayer because you don't really know who's coming in front of you or who you're going to come in front of. Cindy and I have people we pray for. We say, “Lord, we're looking for somebody to “bump” into them so they can “bump into Jesus.” We have no idea who we're going to come in contact with. Sometimes it's just kind of praying for the day, unknown people that you're going to bump into and be able to say Jesus to and maybe be able to share the gospel with them.
(Dave) Oh, I love that. Yeah. Being in real time and having an open mind, open heart and not being in a big rush to engage these people that you come across in life. It's not by accident that we're seeing these people. So how can we best meet them where they are at, love them well and it's really pointing them to that next step for them wherever they're at, towards their relationship with Jesus?
(Mark) Love it. So what advice would you give somebody that has a big idea that would impact their world, so wherever they’re at or the world, but isn't sure where to start or if they have what it takes?
(Dave) The starting place is always prayer and continue with prayer every day. Don't skip that. And there's a time for prayer and there's a time for action, but start with prayer, continue with prayer. And then when God gives you the green light, hit it and put it to action.
The other thing is, share your idea with some others that you trust and get their feedback, get their input. I get feedback from my good friends, from my wife, from my kids. I'll bounce stuff off of them. Getting that feedback is really big.
A lot of time when God calls us to do something, I'm going to tell you, it's way bigger than you could ever imagine, way bigger than you think you can handle, but nothing is too big for our awesome God. So trusting in Him that He's gonna provide, taking those steps of faith, that's big. You'll need to walk in faith each day with God's timing.
When you have clear discernment on what to do, do not hesitate. I encourage you to run, hammer it down. When you get clear direction, don't miss it. Sometimes it's full throttle. Sometimes it's one step at a time. You got a lamp in your hand and you can't see the next step until you take that one step of faith. That's slower moving, but take those steps of faith and it'll blow you away.
Be specific on what God is calling you to do. He's not calling you to save everybody. He's not calling you to engage everybody. What specifically is He calling you to do? We're all gifted differently. And we all have a calling. The calling in the Ephesians 2:10 verse was “before we were born”. So what is that calling for you? Identify that and then really dive into it. And it'll probably match up with passions that you have too. Check your passions. Those passions aren't by accident. They've been given by God.
Stay true to the call even when running into challenges. You will run into challenges. Stay true to it. Just keep forging forward. Again, God's timing. He may be pulling you back with it, slowing you down a little bit. Or He may be saying, pick up the pace a little bit on this. Just follow him.
You have what it takes. You have the Holy Spirit. We are the vessels that God works through. So we're the vessel; God's doing the work. So you're just the willing vessel. And that's what He wants from us. He doesn't have to use us, but He chooses to use us.
(Mark) That's right.
(Dave) That blows my socks off. And it just blows me away.
Another thing, if you feel led, you can contact Acts of Friendship. We'll pray with you with this new venture that God might be calling you on. And we'll even walk with you the best we can. We're a 501-C3, faith-based nonprofit. We're all set up, we’re insured. We did all that stuff. We know the ins and outs of putting all that together so we can walk with you in that.
(Mark) So if they want to get more involved with you, what's the best way for them to get involved with Acts of Friendship National?
(Dave) Yeah, for sure. Probably our website and our web address is AOFministries.com. Go there, check it out and you can contact us through the website.
We would love to connect with you and do what we call an inspirational brainstorm meeting. What these are…no one knows it all, but together we come together, we can bounce stuff off each other and we learn from you and you learn from us. Let's engage and let's get the church moving, right? Let's live a lifestyle of serving others from first fruits, sharing the gospel, making disciples and discipleship, multiplying all to God's glory.
(Mark) So you and I are the church. When you say get the church going, we're talking about people, we're talking about God's people, people that have given their lives to the Lord. When we say, get the church going, that's what we're doing.
I couldn't say that any more clear than you just said it, Dave. That's really awesome. Acts of Friendship, Dave Taylor, AOFministries.com. So you can check him out right there and find out a little bit more about this.
Thanks again, Dave. I really appreciate you showing up today, driving all the way over here to the studio and for us being able to chat together and share this with others. Thanks, man.
(Dave) Yeah. Thanks Mark. Love you guys. I have a saying that's on my voicemail, my phone, it's “be cool in Christ”. So stay cool in Christ each day. Somebody asked me once, “what does it mean to be cool in Christ?” I said, “the best way I can say it is, love Christ with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength and love others.” I said, “if you roll that, you're being cool in Christ, right?”
(Mark) So I'm sure if you could see Dave right now, he's got this smile, that lights up a room. And so I told him whenever I talk to him on the phone and I can't see him, I can hear his smile. And I'm sure you guys can hear his smile too. Praise the Lord. So glad you're here. Thanks again, Dave.
(Dave) Yeah. Thanks Pastor Mark.