Lee, Strobel and Horton challenge Empower crowd to share faith

March 4th, 2019 / By: Texan Staff / comments

IRVING—Hip-hop artist Trip Lee of Dallas opened the Monday evening session of the Feb. 25-26 Empower Conference asking the audience to consider “the one person who knew exactly what he was sent to Earth to do and did it to perfection.”

“If we are to be the mouthpiece of Jesus, we need to fully understand who Jesus is,” Lee said, turning to 1 Timothy 1:15-16 for the job description given by God.

“Jesus’ main work was with sinners,” he said. Lee added that Jesus isn’t looking for players with particular strengths or gifts. “Jesus has a reverse kind of draft. He’s not here to team up with people who have it all together, but picks those who don’t. I’m tempted to think I’m not good enough for Jesus, but this text reminds us we are exactly the kind of person Jesus came for.”

The passage also points to the extremes to which God’s grace extends as Jesus shows mercy to even the worst sinners. “We think that maybe God likes moderation in who he saved. Paul did terrible things,” Lee recounted. “None of us can drift so far or do things so terrible that Jesus can’t save us,” he added, describing how God’s patience and generosity was on display in the mercy shown toward Paul.

“Jesus’ job description ties in with yours,” Lee concluded. “Focus on the grace and patience and mercy of Jesus. As you embrace that for your own life it will overflow for you to share it.”

Author Lee Strobel told the Empower Conference crowd, “If you’re motivated to engage with people about Jesus, prioritize that in your life, and are prepared to do that, you never know what kind of unexpected adventures God will take you on.”

Recounting the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5, Strobel identified ways churches can be stronger salt and brighter light in the 21st Century. If Jesus was physically living in his house, Strobel said he believes he not only would talk to his neighbor about their heavenly Father, but he would talk to the Father about his neighbor.

Strobel remembered being asked if Jesus physically appeared to him and said he was going to answer every single prayer he had prayed last week, would there be anyone new in the kingdom tomorrow?

“Get your church together and you all agree to pray for one lost friend for one minute at one o’clock every day between now and Easter,” he proposed, including prayer for an opportunity to invite the person to come to Easter services.

Jesus would also leave the door open for questions, Strobel said. “So many of the lost people in our community have spiritual sticking points, questions and doubts in their journey toward God. We are to be prepared to give an answer. We have a defensible faith,” he reminded, pleading with believers to teach children from a young age to stand firmly on the truth of Christ. 

“As we learn to share that truth in a culture that’s increasingly skeptical and hostile toward the gospel, God is going to take us on a series of unexpected adventures that are going to be the joys of our life.” 

D. A. Horton, pastor of Reach Fellowship in North Long Beach, Cal., closed out the session expressing concern that overall declines in evangelism and baptisms reflect a lack of enthusiasm about Christ. In proclaiming believers to be the salt of the earth, Jesus is talking to “every single kingdom citizen,” he said.

Horton said the command is ongoing and imperative as Jesus calls believers to be his agents of both “purity and preservation,” salt in a lost world. As for Jesus’ comparing believers to a “city on a hill,” Horton called the church “the visible marketing plan for God’s kingdom” where faith in Jesus unites diverse people to create a community attractive to unbelievers.

“The world has questions and we have Scripture. It’s time we engage their questions with Scripture,” Horton said, encouraging believers to “reflect Jesus” and prompt lost people to ask, “‘What must I do to know Christ like you?’”

Reporting by Tammi Ledbetter and Jane Rodgers