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Mark Roberts

Are you a disturbed sinner?

By | Nehemiah | No Comments

“While Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the servant girls of the high priest came by.   When she saw Peter warming himself, she looked closely at him. ‘You also were with that Nazarene, Jesus,’ she said.

But he denied it. ‘I don’t know or understand what you’re talking about,’ he said, and went out into the entryway. When the servant girl saw him there, she said again to those standing around, ‘This fellow is one of them.’ Again he denied it.

After a little while, those standing near said to Peter, ‘Surely you are one of them, for you are a Galilean.’

He began to call down curses, and he swore to them, ‘I don’t know this man you’re talking about.’

Immediately the rooster crowed the second time. Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken to him: ‘Before the rooster crows twice you will disown me three times.’ And he broke down and wept.” Mark 14:66 – 72

If you can relate to this story, you qualify as a disturbed sinner. I will confess that I have denied my relationship with Jesus several times. Then reacted just like Peter. I once heard the best description of a Christian from a talk show host in Atlanta. Some lady, Mrs. I’m Better Than You, was arguing with the talk show host and said to him that he did not even know what a Christian was. To which he replied, “Mrs., I know exactly what a Christian is…a Christian is a disturbed sinner.”  Wow, now that is good.  I know I belong to Him because when I sin or deny Him, I am disturbed about it.  

I have learned a couple things from these moments.  I think sometimes we deny Jesus because we cannot adequately defend our faith.  We know so little about the Bible that we cannot make a solid argument.  I have also learned that when faced with these moments, no one can take my faith story away… I was blind but now I see. The more time you and I spend with God, reading His word and talking to Him, the more we build that relationship and become more confident in who we are and whose we are.

2019 First Priority Fall Conference

By | Events | No Comments

The countdown is on. There is only one week left to get the Early Bird price of $199 for our 2019 National First Priority Conference in Orlando, FL. Register and pay before August 1st in order to take advantage of this pricing. The price will increase to $250 on August 1st so register today!

Take 5 and Pray for 5 Tool

By | FP Tools | No Comments

With the school year quickly approaching, we want you to take a peak into one of the tools you can use to train students to share Jesus. This tool is included this year in month 7 ‘The Conversation with Enemies’ of the new Hope Weekly Guides. You can (soon – we are updating) access all of these tools online for free at firstpriority.club/Hope or via the First Priority of America app. Here is the sneak peek.

Who would you say your enemies are? This can bring up different kinds of feelings, from betrayal to gossip. As you think of who these people are, start praying that God will give you a heart to love them. Let’s read what Jesus says we should do with our enemies in Matthew chapter 5 verses 43 & 44. “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ BUT I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you”. Why should we pray for our enemies? Because Jesus did. He prayed for those who opposed Him, for those who betrayed Him, and as He was hung on the cross, He asked God to forgive them. Jesus modeled how we should pray for our enemies and commanded us to do the same. Our hearts should desire for our enemies to have a relationship with Jesus and their presence in Heaven. So we pray like the apostle Paul did in Romans chapter 10 verse 1, “Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved.” This can be something as simple as a card to remind us to Take 5 and Pray for 5.

Think of 5 people you would consider your enemy and commit to take 5 minutes a day and pray for their salvation and for God to give you an opportunity to share Jesus with them.

 

 

 

This tool is here to remind us to take the time to pray for those who may be really hard to pray for. But if you take this simple step, it can truly change your life and the lives of those you are praying for.

Do Something!

By | Nehemiah | No Comments

Has God called you to do something that you have not done because of fear?

Paul said to King Agrippa in Acts 26:19, “So then, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the vision from heaven. 20 First to those in Damascus, then to those in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and then to the Gentiles, I preached that they should repent and turn to God and demonstrate their repentance by their deeds.”

Paul was in prison for years because he was obedient to the vision from heaven. Wow, look where obedience gets us; locked up!

No wonder we get scared to really jump out there and do something that God has told us to do, like start a campus ministry, go to the mission field, etc. We are scared of the unknown, the uncertainty of money and stability and the fear of failure. All of these things and many more keep most Christians on the sidelines of life, watching everyone else play. We wait for the players in the game to write a book or a song on how exciting it was for them to play in the game. Then we run to the next conference to hear them speak and leave like we did at summer camp, ready to charge hell with a water pistol. Once we get back home, we get caught up in business as usual and we sit and watch.

Life, real life, abundant life, is a life of obedience. If God told you to do something, then do it. Paul, like Nehemiah, was right where God put him. He was speaking to a king and proclaiming the good news. We believe God put you right where you are to unite your city to reach thousands of students. Do something. Get in the game.

Mark Roberts

Tool: Romans Road to Salvation

By | FP Tools | No Comments

Some may say they do not believe in God or life after death. I believe they are denying their heart. Ecclesiastes 3:11 says, 11 He has made everything appropriate in its time. He has also set eternity in their heart, yet so that man will not find out the work which God has done from the beginning even to the end.

When God gives you an open door to talk to people about Jesus, use the book of Romans to walk people through the way to salvation. Romans gives us a road map that many call the Romans road to Salvation.

It begins with Romans 3:23, For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

What all humans have in common is that none of us are perfect, we have all fallen short. The 2nd verse on this road is: For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 6:23).

We just established that we are all sinners. We find out here that the penalty for our sin is death. Not just physical death but eternal death. The first two verses are depressing but the 3rd verse on this road is where it changes to hope.  Rom. 5:8 says, But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Our sin separates us from God and we are hopeless, but Jesus saves the day by dying for us and taking our place. If you were in prison for a crime that sentenced you to death and a friend showed up and took your place, you would be free. That is what Jesus did for you and me.

Romans goes on to say in verses 9 and 10, 9 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

Your heart is your totality of being. It is the person you are when you lay in bed and can’t sleep, it is who you are when you are alone with yourself. If I confess Jesus as Lord and believe in my heart I can live eternally.

The next verse is the best verse in the Bible. Rom. 10:13,For whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Whoever! That is all of us. All we have to do is ask. Salvation is simple and God desires all of us to know Him. When you share this with people, ask them if they would like to call upon the name of the Lord and ask God to save them. You can lead them though a prayer that goes like this:

Dear God, I admit that I am a sinner and deserve death. I thank you Jesus for dying for me and taking my place on the cross. I believe you rose from the grave 3 days later and I put my faith in you and invite you to be Lord of my life and to dwell in me. I confess you are Lord of heaven and earth and you are now my Lord. Amen.

Now go right down the date you prayed this prayer and get involved in a church and be baptized to show the world that you are a new creation in Christ. 2 Cor. 5:17

Open up spiritual eyes

By | Nehemiah | No Comments

1 Corinthians 2:14 says, “The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit.” I hear a lot of people say the Bible never really made sense to them until they gave their lives to Christ. Well, there you go.

If you have ever been around non-believers and they think you’re crazy, welcome to the party. God has changed your heart because you heard the gospel and the Holy Spirit of God convicted you. Then, a real conversion happened in you. Your mind became re-wired to hear the Holy Spirit. You also were given a new heart. You and I were influenced by somebody, but make no mistake, we play only a small role in the salvation department of God. However, it is a huge part of God’s plan. Our job is to love God and love people. I pray today that you will play your part. Pray for those around you. Ask God to give you the opportunity to partner with Him to influence the lives of people so that they too may understand the Spirit of God.

We are aliens of this world, strangers passing through. Our great goal is to take as many people with us on our way to our real home.

Pray God opens the spiritual eyes of those around you, and be ready to help guide them through that process.

Keep Fishing,

Mark Roberts

The primary way to start doing ministry in a public school

By | Priority Parents, Church Leaders, Community Leaders | No Comments

The answer? Think Long Term.

Period. I really could stop there and say nothing else. If you follow that way of thinking, you will be where you want to be. But really think about it for a moment. Who has access to all the places in town? The individual who everybody knows and loves. Who does everybody know and love? The person who has been around for a long time and goes above and beyond the call of duty.

Which leads to point number 2: Think long term.

Again? Really?! Yup!? NO SINGLE EVENT WILL LEAD TO REVIVAL! Even the ministry of Billy Graham got started in a tent revival in California that lasted for weeks. Do not form a committee that does a bait and switch school assembly where someone feels ‘inspired’ to share the Gospel even though you said you wouldn’t. Yes, maybe 60 students did come to faith through the event. They are thankful. But they also have not been followed up with to get plugged into a local church (cause that never happens to its capacity). And God does not tell you to do something that is illegal or undermining. Never has. Never will.

Which leads to point number 3: Think long term.

Paint a wall or some lockers at the school. Organize a group of adults or community churches to do a workday. And if you’ve been around so long the paint you put on cracks, paint it again. Clean garbage out of the stands after a ball game. Don’t ask, just bring some trash bags with you to the game and get started. It’ll make the custodians night/weekend if you do.  Show up at a summer football practice with popsicles for the team. They could use a little sugar kick and flavor.

The long and short of it all: It is not about you. It is about God’s love for the students walking the halls of your school. Start with a servants heart and end with a servants heart. Bring Chick-Fil-A to the secretary the first day you walk in so it won’t be the last.

How Layton uses her time in school as a role model

By | Local FP Communities, Student Leaders | No Comments

In this video, Layton, a student in NC, shares her story of how she has become a role model in her school by making a public profession of faith in Christ through baptism. It has made her a role model where she gets the opportunity to be asked questions about God in school.

This video is from FP Greater Clayton
Joel Rowland, Director
http://www.fpgreaterclayton.com/

The Call of God on your Life

By | Nehemiah | No Comments

The walls and gates of Jerusalem had been torn down for over seventy years. During those seventy years, there were probably hundreds, maybe even thousands of people who thought to themselves or said to a friend, “We need to fix these walls.”

How many times has it been said in our country that, “We need to reach these schools?” Everyone in the church would agree with the statement and might even go so far as to try to do something about it. However, they get busy with all of their other obligations and it becomes just another great idea. Many churches are doing good things, but nobody is organizing them all to share the hope of Christ with every student. Like in Nehemiah’s example, if there is not a person waking up every day to organize the work, it will not happen.

When Nehemiah inquired about the Jewish remnant and the conditions of the city and was told of the situation, he was moved to tears. Nehemiah 1:4, “When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven.”

The difference between all of the thousands who had seen the condition of the walls and Nehemiah was that Nehemiah was burdened. He was burdened to the point that he spent days fasting and praying to God. If you are burdened, fast and pray.

We tell others who are thinking about starting First Priority in their community to pray, familiarize themselves with First Priority, and with the conditions of their community. If they can’t sleep, then it is a good indication that God is calling them to do something about it! We like to call it the “sleep test.”

The call of God to unite your community and reach students is very important. This is no easy task! If it were easy, someone else would have already done it. There will be very hard times and a lot of frustrating moments, but the call God places on your life is what will keep you keeping on.

Mark Roberts
Associate Director
First Priority of America