Dare To Lift Your Light Higher—Increase Your Influence and Joy Part 1
by Rick Renner
Editor’s Note: This article is Part 1 of Rick’s continuing series “Lift Your Light Higher” in which he teaches in-depth from Matthew 5:14-16 and shares from his own experiences of respecting the gift of God within and stepping out of the shadows to allow that gift to bless others.
Something profound happened to me about ten years ago when the Protestant movement in Russia was really beginning to grow and gain momentum. It began when certain members of a Russian administration requested that all the Protestant leaders in Russia assemble at a retreat center just outside the city of Moscow. For an entire weekend, these administration leaders would share their view of the church in the modern age.
Protestant leaders showed up and listened for hours as these men talked about their policies, philosophies, and views on religion. They explained: “So often, the church plays a minimal role in society. It frequently plays a historic role and a religious role — and it has great value for maintaining the history and the tradition of a nation. But very often it has no impact outside its walls.”
When I heard that, I began to think about my own church. What was I doing outside the walls of our building? I realized that much of my praying up to that time was that people would come to us – to our church. All of our outreach was basically designed to take place within the walls of the building where we held our services. I quickly discovered that if I didn’t change my viewpoint, I – along with my other minister friends in Russia – would eventually fall into the same category as having “no impact outside our walls.” We would have no positive, godly influence on society around us.
A real dissatisfaction began to come into my heart concerning the status quo of our church. When it came time for our services, I felt frustrated. The church in Moscow was just three and a half years old, and we were running approximately 1,500 in attendance. The people were blessed and growing spiritually, and a few new people were getting saved regularly. But these words kept running through my mind: The church has no impact outside its walls.
In the following weeks, I want to talk to you about how the Lord, by His Spirit, broke me free from this “inside-out” thinking – and to encourage you if there’s any area of dissatisfaction in your own life. Often those yearnings for something more and the feelings of discontentment that accompany them are signals that it’s time for the dream God has given you to emerge. But He needs your cooperation – something He can work with. So I encourage you to pay attention to those feelings of dissatisfaction instead of just ignoring them, hoping they’ll go away. As you press in to God, you give place to Him – as well as to the dream – and God can definitely do something with that!