You Have More Influence Than You Think

Who do you think is the most influential person alive today?

If we were to assess influence by Twitter followers, the most influential people would be:

  1. Katy Perry • 66 million
  2. Justin Bieber • 61 million
  3. Barrack Obama • 56 million
  4. Taylor Swift • 54 million
  5. Lady Gaga • 44 million

If we were to, instead, assess a person’s influence by financial wealth, the most influential people would be:

  1. Bill Gates • $79.2 B
  2. Carlos Slim Helu • $77.1 B
  3. Warren Buffet • $72.7 B
  4. Amancio Ortega • $64.5 B
  5. Larry Ellison • $54.3 B

Each of these people along with other celebrities, business men and women, athletes and artists are incredibly influential. They seemingly possess the power to change culture, establish industries and transform nations.

With all of their influence combined, they don’t even stand a chance against the most influential Person of all time.

The Most Influential Person

Jesus has affected human history more than any person, nation, business or technology.

More than 2.1 billion people alive today worship Him as the resurrected God-Man. Almost another 2 billion believe in him in some manner or another but are not sure what or who to view Him as. An estimated 5 billion Bibles which detail His life, death and resurrection have been sold. Our dating of history is based roughly on his coming. Two of the biggest holidays in the world are celebrated in light of major events that He was involved in.

How did this working-class joe from a tiny, rural town in the Middle East become the most famous person in all of human history?

One of Jesus’ early followers, John, wrote a short biography about Jesus, detailing His life, teachings, death and resurrection. In the opening chapter, John wrote:

The Word became flesh
    and made his home among us.
We have seen his glory,
    glory like that of a father’s only son,
        full of grace and truth.

In this description about the coming of Jesus, John highlights an often overlooked component of Jesus’ incarnation: in order for Jesus to reach, influence and transform humanity, He became like them.

Wouldn’t it have been strange if God came to us as a giraffe or a deer? Heck ya, it would! Thats one of the many reasons why He came in human likeness.

Take it once step further: what if Jesus showed up in the first century wearing thick-framed black glasses, a long-sleeved flannel shirt, skinny jeans with rolled-up ankle cuffs sitting atop a pair of brown boots all while holding a steaming cup of Stumptown coffee? Do you think His degree of influence would’ve been diminished because of how foreign His appearance was to the first century?

Notice that in order to reach and influence a certain generation of people, Jesus was clothed with many of the cultural norms of His day, walked similar paths as the people He’d meet all while embodying countercultural values.

This is one of many reasons why Jesus became the most influential person in human history.

The Most Influential People

As followers of Jesus, we are to do just that: follow Jesus. During one his most famous talks, Jesus encouraged His people:

You are the light of the world. A city on top of a hill can’t be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a basket. Instead, they put it on top of a lampstand, and it shines on all who are in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before people, so they can see the good things you do and praise your Father who is in heaven.

Jesus told His people that they, His followers, are the light of the world. How would they be the light of the world? By their actions. Jesus profoundly points out that God chooses to work through His people to influence and reach those who are far from Him.

This doesn’t mean we have to have a Bible College degree or become a licensed minister to influence people for the Name of Jesus. It means that God has placed each of us in specific communities of the world in specific jobs and/or schools to connect with and influence those specific people we encounter every single day.

But how? Who could we possibly influence?

That person you serve coffee to every morning. That person who always rings you up at the grocery store. That person you sit next to in class. That coworker who drives you absolutely crazy! That leader you’ve blatantly badmouthed for years. That person you’ve ignored for far too long.

What if we as Christians looked at literally every single person we came in contact with as a person that God divinely and purposefully has placed in our lives? What if they were not simply someone you walk by or someone you order food from but as someone Jesus died and rose from the grave for?

God has given you far more influence than you can imagine, a platform far greater than millions of Twitter followers and a message far more significant and impactful than 140 characters could summarize.

Christians are not called to be idle bystanders while God radically transforms the world. We’re not called to sit back and enjoy the show of redemption that only pastors and ministers take part in.

Instead, we are all called to be proactively and passionately involved in what God is doing here and now to bring Heaven on earth.

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Ministry Update: We’re Moving On

By Tyler & Erin Saldaña

In December, we announced that we would be moving to the state of Washington. An opportunity arose for me to serve as the Associate Campus & Worship Pastor at Timberlake Church in the city of Issaquah.

Now, after over a month of praying and thinking through the situation as well as seeking counsel from close mentors, we have decided to leave Timberlake Church after just under three months of serving on staff. Due to major differences in theology, methodology, mission and staff values that quickly became apparent to us, we did not feel right remaining a part of the church nor did we think we could faithfully and passionately serve the community at Timberlake.

Regardless of our differences, we are grateful for our short time at the church. We trust that ultimately, God is sovereign and our time at Timberlake was not in vain. In the short time, we’ve formed some awesome relationships with people in and out of the church. We have also been challenged and as a result have learned a lot and grown much closer together.

What’s Next?

Currently, we are planning on staying in our city, Issaquah, Washington. In all our talks about potentially leaving the church, we never really considered leaving the area. For us both, this city has become our home.

We are currently in the application and interview process to become a Pastoral Resident at a local Acts 29 church. Essentially, we would go through a two-year apprenticeship to develop as potential church planters. Simultaneously, we will be working multiple side jobs to support ourselves during the residency and to stay connected with the community.

We ask that you please keep us in your prayers over the coming months as we seek God’s call on our marriage. We believe that He is leading us to plant a church in an urban context in the next decade. Please keep us in your prayers as the path there seems long, windy, and at times unclear.

Thank you for loving and supporting us as we pursue God’s call on our marriage!

Why Palm Sunday Matters

Today in church history, we celebrate Palm Sunday, the day in which Jesus made His triumphal entry into Jerusalem. It is the day which marks the beginning of what we refer to as Holy Week. Jesus rode into the city on a colt only to be crucified a few days later.

On Palm Sunday, the crowds cried to Jesus, “Hosanna!” or save us as He entered the city. On Friday, that very same crowd cried, “Crucify Him!” leading to His execution outside the city.

Why did the cry of the crowds so drastically change in such little time?

The King We Don’t Want

For centuries, the Hebrews had awaited their coming king from the line of David. The king was to restore power to God’s chosen people after their years of living in oppression.

This was the king they wanted.

This is why they cried for Jesus to save them. The Hebrews desired for Jesus to be their sovereign king, bringing their people from their lowly socio-economic state and restore their nation to political power.

Essentially, they wanted Jesus to make the circumstances of their everyday life better. Unfortunately, this was not Jesus.

They thought He was coming to take up His crown. Little did they know He would first need to take up His cross.

The King We Need

The Jews thought they needed Jesus to take over the city. In reality, Jesus came not to take over but to lay down His life for the sins of many. Their need was not a political or socio-economic restoration but a spiritual redemption. The oppression the Jews had endured for centuries couldn’t compare to the opposition they faced against God because of their sin.

Some of us approach God in a similar manner, don’t we?

We tell God what we in our limited understanding think our needs are. We, then, demand that He perfectly meet every single one of them. If He doesn’t fulfill these “needs,” we deem Him either as unjust or not real.

But is it reasonable to conclude that God is unjust or not real just because God doesn’t make our lives play out scene-for-scene exactly as we think they should? Is it so ridiculous to think that the infinite God of the universe Who crafted literally everything knows more about our needs than we do?

Jesus may not have been the king the Jews wanted but they absolutely needed Him. Similarly, He may not always be the Savior we want but He is always the Savior we need.

While we may not always understand why God does or doesn’t do certain things in our lives and in this world, Palm Sunday reminds us to trust God even when it doesn’t make sense.

There are eternal reasons for temporary circumstances.