1. Pray — No good work of God is of God if it hasn’t been brought to God. I may have made this statement up or borrowed it, but it is true: if you want to see how and where God can use you, then ask the Master for guidance. None of the remaining suggestions matter if you haven’t started here. “Carry Everything to God in Prayer.”

2. Counsel — “Without counsel purposes are disappointed: but in the multitude of counsellers they are established.” (Proverbs 15:22) I may get in hot water for saying this, but you don’t always need advice from multiple sources for doing the work of the Lord. Certainly, if you’re planning to quit your job, sell your home and take your family overseas, you’ll want to receive counsel. Your spouse, a close friend and a pastor are good places to go when seeking confirmation. Too many “counselors” and you’ll hear contradictory advice and get confused. Been there, done that.

3. Study — Any work of the Lord should be undertaken only if you’re regularly studying the Bible and have a good foundation established. That foundation will help you stand when the winds blow and the rains beat down (Matthew 7:25) and when the cults come a calling and when satan’s schemes are stepped up.

4. Plan – “The steps of a good man are ordered of the Lord…”  the psalmist cried. “…and He delights in His ways.” The first part of Psalm 37:23 is your instruction, the second part explains how God responds to the person who allows Him to take command. Follow this command and you’ll one day hear, “Well done good and faithful servant,” priceless words every follower of Jesus Christ should want said.

5. Action — Consider the following 20 points as your action plan or at least tips for your consideration.  At this point you’re ready to move out, but don’t forget: you’ll be doing plenty of #1 and #3 as you make your advance. You’ll revisit #2 from time to time and may modify #4 as God leads. Are you excited yet?

6. Neighbors — If you’re wanting to win the world for Christ, don’t overlook your own world. Your nearest physical neighbors are the people next door, across the way and down the block. Why not start nearby?

7. Church — If you belong to a church, is there some way you can become involved in a particular ministry? Perhaps one where your contact is with the lost? Some of the greatest kingdom advancements are made on the local level. Not everyone can go out to faraway mission fields; some are called to stay and labor locally.

8. Short Term — One way to find out if you’ve been called is to do a short term mission. That is, head out for a week or two in the Lord’s service. That two week vacation period this summer might be used for a trip helping orphans in Haiti, feeding the hungry in India or teaching a class in Nigeria. It could also mean you volunteering for your church’s Vacation Bible School this summer — lots of Jesus’ “little ones” are ready to receive Him.

9. Give — What you decide to do and how you decide to give are between you and the Lord. Whatever you decide to give, do it cheerfully (2 Corinthians 9:7). Consider how you can give more, but stick with what God has shown you to give and avoid falling into the trap of what man thinks you should do.

10. Abide — Jesus said, “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in me and I in him bears much fruit. For without me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5) Understand this verse — we Christians in the west think we can do so much, but we really cannot do anything. Make certain that everything you do is undertaken under the authority and through the strength of God.

11. Serve — Serve man and you’re serving God. The greatest commandment is to love God. The second greatest is to love your neighbor as yourself. (Matthew 22:35-40) Everyone in the world, by the way, is your neighbor.

12. Love – It isn’t possible for us to humanly love people, but we can agape love them. When we demonstrate God’s love then “they will know we are Christians by our love.” Like a moth attracted to a flame, the unsaved are attracted to the light and fragrance of Christ coming forth from us.

13. Share — Everything you own belongs to God, so why not start giving it back to Him? You already give, but there may be something of value you can share with others. Extra clothing. That old car you were thinking about trading in for a new one. Your timeshare at the beach which would be a blessing to an overworked volunteer Sunday School superintendent. You might even be able to help a neighbor avoid foreclosure.

14. Rejoice — “God inhabits the praises of His people.” So very true and what a wonderful way for us to glorify God and have our souls refreshed. When you’re feeling overwhelmed, rejoice!

15. Repent — Keep in mind that we all fall short and will make mistakes along the way. Be quick to repent and quick to forgive. Most certainly, avoid falling into the trap of the evil one who would condemn you. Romans 8:1 reminds us that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Repent and quickly move on.

16. Display – “Preach the gospel at all times. If necessary, use words.” Francis of Assisi wisely uttered these words, excellent advice in our day when people believe that “actions speak louder than words.” Unless your heart is lined up with your actions, what you do simply won’t be received by those who are outside of the faith.

17. Teach — From the youngest believer to the seasoned Christian, we have the ability to share truth as revealed to us in the Bible. Not everyone is called to pastor or preach, but we’re all called “…to rightly divide the word of truth.” You may be able to help someone get out of a cult or to press on when she feels like giving up.

18. Relieve — Bear each other’s burdens including for the brother or sister who has fallen into sin (Galatians 6). Restore or relieve the one who has sinned by giving them the chance to repent and move on. Doing so fulfills what we read in #11.

19. Trust — The hallmark of a Christian is his or her trust in a God they cannot see. On our own, this isn’t possible. But, with God working through us it is possible. And absolutely necessary. Christians who have been deeply tested and are standing after a trial are excellent examples God uses to show the world that He can be trusted.

20. Touch — You may fumble your words or you may have difficulty expressing your feelings. If you can hold the hand of an elderly nursing home patient, an orphaned child or comfort someone who has AIDS, you present Christ to that person in ways no words can possibly do. See #16 for putting actions above words.

21. Care — Recently, the U.S. Supreme Court decided that a certain “church” has the right to protest at funerals, a decision applauded by free speech advocates. I’m for free speech, but I certainly do not like the message being brought forth by this group of people who do not know the love of the Lord. How very important it is for us to show the world that we care and love people without condition.

22. Feed — Before Jesus taught the 5,000, He fed them. Sometimes people need a temporal need met before they’re in a position to hear what God has for them. Even before Jesus fed the 5,000 he was “…moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick.” What a beautiful illustration of a Good Shepherd who truly cares for His sheep. (Matthew 14:13)

23. Comfort — Many people are lonely and are trying to find comfort through sex, drugs and rock ‘n roll. Those not caught up in a particular vice are looking for something and oftentimes that need does not become manifest until disaster strikes. We saw it following 9/11, in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina and in Haiti following the earthquake. This is your opportunity to be the hands and feet of Jesus to the world.

24. Peace – “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” (Romans 12:18) Too often, I hear of Christians who want to take up arms against their neighbors. I’m not against the right to bear arms, but I’m also of the mind that we should be willing to lay down our rights from time to time. We live in a litigious society too — perhaps suffering loss isn’t always a bad thing especially if you win a soul.

25. The End – Some day, your life will be over or the Lord will have returned and snatched the dead and then the living away. (I Thes. 4:13-18) When that happens we will be in His presence forever. But, that also means your opportunity to make a difference will have come to an end. Make the most of your life by following Jesus with all of your heart, soul, strength and mind.