The Influence Initiative
Good morning, everyone. Welcome to “Try Jesus!” If this is your first time joining us, it’s great to have you with us. I would like to thank all the new members for joining “Try Jesus.” Also welcome those in Kansas, Tennessee, Maryland, UMass, Florida, and Georgia.
As the weather and leaves start to change around us, we can thank God that he never changes. He is completely immovable, unshakeable, and always sustainable.
We his beloved children are also made to be immovable. As we trust in the Lord, we will not be shaken. (Psalm 46:4-7; 1 Corinthians 15:58). This morning, as we remember what the Lord has done for us, let us rejoice in his salvation.
As we follow Jesus today, we should be encouraged that we are divinely preserved, even though we go through trials and tribulation. Our God, who steadfastly upholds us, is far greater than the forces that threaten us.
Let’s pray, “Heavenly Father, thank you this morning for giving us the breath of life. Thank you for gathering many hearts around the country to your loving presence. Thank you for being merciful and long-suffering with us.
As we open the Bible today, I pray that we would hear your voice. I ask that your Holy Spirit would be at work, opening our ears to hear and our hearts to receive your word.
Lord, bless your word today. Bless the teaching videos. Bless the worship video. Draw broken hearts to your spiritual alter today, in Jesus’ name, amen.”
I want to start today’s message by asking this question, do you plan your day around other people, or do you plan your day around yourself? Many people have their family activity calendars all filled up for today.
I grew up in a family where you were pulled and motivated in many directions. When you have many voices feeling like a giant magnetic 🧲 pull on your emotions, it can either be exhilarating, or exhausting.
Sometimes growing up in a larger family can shape your personality in ways that promote a desire to succeed. You get to see many emotional rollercoaster lifestyle choices and where they end up going.
Have you ever heard a child say, “I want to grow up to be just like Uncle Bob?” Or maybe you made a great impression on someone in your neighborhood. Today, there are many paths in life people take.
But how are they getting there? If you have a Bible close by, let’s open the word of God and see where it leads us today. We all want to get somewhere in life, right? We all want to attain happiness, right?
Everyone has a heart that’s seeking some agenda in life. The Bible says this in Proverbs, “Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.” (Proverbs 4:7 KJV).
Many times, the way this is acquired is through following or leading. Here’s another question, “Who was or is the greatest influence in your life?” Today there is so much influence in our world that is destroying hearts and minds.
In many cases, these hearts and minds are adolescents. Children are like sponges. They are easily influenced and manipulated into dangerous ideologies. Parents must be the stop gap and protect their child’s mind with loving boundaries.
There are so many social media influencers that can influence and shape your child’s mind towards destructive behaviors. My mother would always tell me that if you hang out with bad people, their influence will rub off on you.
She would also tell me not to play “Simon Says” with kids looking to be mischievous. “Monkey see monkey do” are just some of the phrases she would throw at me to warn me about bad influences in my child-teen years.
Her greatest was “If they jump off the bridge, will you jump too?” There are many more she would toss in my ear drums. But I realized that she was trying to protect me from bad choices and the consequences that follow them.
How many sad stories have you heard from individuals who are influenced online by characters who push them to the edge of causing harm to themselves.
I read one story where a young woman was influenced by playing a selfie game by taking a selfie while standing on the edge of a cliff. It was to give the illusion that she was falling off the cliff. But the illusion turned out to be real.
She fell to her death. So many people were hurt by her death. So much grief over a senseless influenced prank. But the children and young teens are not the only ones in danger. Many adults are being influenced and trapped into destructive social media influencers.
Those of you who are “TRY JESUS” members have heard me say this more than once. The best way to influence you child to follow after God is to live your relationship with Jesus in front of them.
The second way to greatly influence them is to give them the word of God (The Bible) as soon as you teach them how to read. Are these guaranteed to always work? No. But you have set up a fruitful ground for your child to latch on too.
“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6 KJV). Some see God’s word for children as being outdated and away from the mainstream secular world.
But if you want to see the gift God gave you have an opportunity to know their creator, then it is your responsibility to introduce them to God. Afterwards, God will deal with them as they grow and mature (Deuteronomy 6:1-9).
[Parents should discover the individuality and special strengths that God has given their children. While parents should not condone, overlook, or excuse self-will, each child has natural inclinations and gifts that parents can develop.]
Parents who are praying and holding their children up to God’s throne can better discern and develop the individual capabilities of their child. This also applies to spouses. Sometimes spouses can be influenced by the people they associate with.
How sad it is to hear of stories of how adults are led down a path of evil influences because they assumed someone cared about them. There are many reasons why women put up protective emotional walls after being taken advantage of in past relationships.
Whoever heeds instruction is on the path to life, but he who rejects reproof leads others astray. When people take the time to stop and listen, it may prevent others from leading them into painful relationships.
I have spoken to many individuals that have confessed after the fact (that is after the emotional damage has been done) that they wish they could have done things differently.
There are only two kinds of people in this world, leaders and followers. If you’re a follower, who are you following, and have they been a good influence in your life?
So many times you hear of celebrities and sports athletes being role models and spreading influence on their followers. But is it a healthy productive influence? Sometimes you have to step back and look at things up close and not 30,000 feet away.
I’ve always told the story about the man who walked from town to town wearing this huge smile on his face. It seems his smile lit up the sky. Sometimes he would begin to skip or hum a pleasant tune along the way.
Sometimes he would turn around to see who was following him. As he passed through each city, the crowds continued to grow. Others would begin to ask “Hey, who is that guy, where is he going?
Others would look perplexed and respond, “I don’t know, but his charm and smile seems to be infectious. So, the crowds continued to grow and follow this charming man. The man took one last look at the large crowds that followed.
He then begin to turn off onto a path that was lined with beautiful petals on each side. He then began to approach a clearing that showed the beautiful skyline. The path had ended, but now he was standing at a cliff.
There were sharp edged rocks 500 feet below. All of a sudden, he turned and looked at the large crowds still standing waiting and wondering what he would do. His face continued to beam. He then, for the first time started to speak.
He pulled out the megaphone from his shoulder bag and said to the people, “Are you ready to end it!” “Follow me!” He shouted. Some of the people who were joyous started to look at each other with concern.
The man laid down his megaphone and jumped off the cliff. Many gasped in amazement while others watched him leap to his death. But others had been so mesmerized by his influential charm, they decided to commit
What a tragic loss of precious souls. Today, so many people are under attack by social media predators. They are trapping our youth in life damaging tactics. God has warned this nation many times about strong deceptions that are attacking this generation.
The Bible says in the last days people’s hearts shall grow cold because of sin and lawlessness. They shall also be sent a strong delusion (2 Thessalonians 2:9-12; Matthew 24:4-12). Many people believe they have a right to rob and steal.
They are using many erroneous excuses as to why they are being lawless. Some say it’s reparations. The last time I held the word of God in my hand (which is today), it tells me that “Thou shalt not steal.” (Exodus 20:15).
It also tells me that we are to obey the laws of the land (Romans 13:1-2). Many people are being influenced by bad actors who are deceived into thinking our society is oppressive.
The recent event that happened in Philadelphia is a sad but true example of individuals being negatively influenced to think two wrongs will make everything right.
But in reality, what will happen is businesses will pack up and leave and the ones that will be hurt are the elderly and those families who cannot afford to pack up and move. Evil influencers and agitators are like a lighted match in a dried-out forest.
The Bible tells us, “Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.” (1 Corinthians 15:33 KJV). Poor choices in associations lead to gradual forsaking of good habits.
The influential action of bad company causes corruption, erosion and wasting away of moral virtue. I like to use the “chair experiment” to describe how negative influence can pull you down.
Simply stand on a chair and see if you can pick someone up of equal size or larger up on the chair with you. Now switch places and see if you can pull them down on the floor with you.
Which do you feel was easier to accomplish? Was it harder to lift someone up where you are, or was it easier to pull them down where you are? Listen carefully, you should be very careful in your friendships and business relationships.
If you’re a born-again believer and love Jesus with all your heart, then he has given you power to stand and lift others up with the gospel message. Seek God’s wisdom when spending a lot of time around unbelievers.
Be careful when hanging around those who don’t believe in Jesus or who ridicule people of faith. Why? Because they may influence you to doubt your own relationship with Jesus.
You could also find yourself becoming more comfortable with some of their sinful habits. That’s why the Bible tells us to watch and pray. (Matthew 26:41). Sometimes people think they just have to say a few words of prayer and that’s it.
But when you go out in the world, you must be equipped with strong faith, a solid understanding of God’s word, and the prayers and encouragement of other believers. (Ephesians 6:10-19).
Never allow influences in your relationships with unbelievers to lead you away from Christ or cause your faith to waver. Stay committed to the Godly standard the Lord has set for your heart. When you do this, the enemy will flee from you. (James 4:6-8).
If you desire to have influence in your home, then seek godly influence. What is godly influence? It is one who moves others onto God’s agenda. Before you can influence others toward godliness, you must be under God’s influence.
You achieve this by seeking God’s direction, obeying his impulses, and being where you’re supposed to be so God can use you. If you are moving toward God, someone is probably following you.
I’ve always made this statement for years, “If you’re a leader and nobody’s following you, you’re just taking a walk.” (Romans 12:8) speaks to leadership leading with zeal.
Do you desire to lead others in your home, church, and community with spiritual influence? Do you have loving passion towards seeing others be successful? Do you seek God about vision and direction?
True leaders must care passionately about who they are influencing. Please read the following scriptures aloud in your study groups or in your quiet time alone. Allow God’s word to encourage you to be a living epistle.
☆ Proverbs 9:9-10; 10:17-20; 13:20; 22:24; 27:17; Matthew 5:13-16; 1 Peter 2:9-12; 3:15-16; Galatians 5:7-9; Hebrews 10:24-25).
It’s been said that one apple can spoil the whole barrel. Always make sure you’re building friendships that reflect the presence of God. Friends and associates can affect you in many ways.
During Paul’s ministry there were many naysayers about Jesus. Paul saw many detractors come to stir up the people and try to influence others to reject the gospel message Paul was bringing (Acts 6:1-12; 13:50; 14:2; 17:13; 21:27).
Paul encouraged Timothy by telling him, 12} “Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity. 13} Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. (1 Timothy 4:12-13 KJV).
When countries begin to decay from within, the culprits will undoubtedly be out in full influence mode, to detour and destroy lives from seeking after God. Who you follow truly matters for eternity.
[In light of eternity, ignoring God and living your own way is a foolish gamble. Your belief or unbelief in the Resurrection will affect your view of the future. It also ought to affect how you live today.]
As some of our nation’s leaders continue to see evil as good and good as evil, evil influences will continue to indoctrinate our youth and break down the nuclear family in this country.
[Lawlessness is the hidden, subtle, underlying force from which all sin springs. Civilization still has a veneer of decency through law enforcement, education, science, and reason.]
It’s been said that sin is a powerful task master. But when strong influences come in through erroneous laws being implemented that influence crime, cities can be decimated very quickly.
More than ever, we need godly men in these cities that are being pummeled by lawlessness to fast and pray. Crying out to God with endless tears moves the heart of God to act. “We the people can definitely have a say.”
God’s influence is the greatest on earth. Some may believe God manipulates his creation to get his way. Nothing good be further from the truth. God does not manipulate his people because God’s nature would not permit this.
God is holy, just, perfect, and all-powerful. He gives people the choice to obey and do his will or disobey and suffer the consequences. The choice is ultimately ours.
The Lord may sometimes motivate us to clearly see the benefits of the right choice. God also guides and disciplines, but he never manipulates. God guides; Satan manipulates.
🗣📢 Last words: Here’s what a godly influencer can do:
1. They can encourage others to seek a closer walk with God. (Psalm 1:1–3; 23:1-6; 84:11; James 4:7-10; Jeremiah 7:23-24; Micah 6:8; 2 Corinthians 6:16).
2. They can be filled with compassion and be the need-filler. This can be a strong influence in drug infested cities.
Influence grows when we show compassion. We must model compassion, like the Lord did in (Luke 10:37).
3. They can be trustworthy and committed to words of unity and not words of separation. (Ephesians 4:11-15; James 3:6; Proverbs 26:20–22).
4. They can be a real living epistle. Their words in the community should build up and not tear down. (Colossians 4:6; James 3:2; Ephesians 4:29-32; Philippians 1:27; 4:6-8; Proverbs 25:28; Romans 10:17).
It seems our nation may be in the beginnings of an implosion. But God’s great love of influence can calm the tremors our nation is going through.
Let’s determine to be a positive friend, mentor, and influence in our offices, churches, and communities.
Christians should not be influenced when people try to trick them with lies so clever, they sound like the truth. Instead, we will speak the truth in love.
Thought provoking words today: Think twice before you speak, because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another person.
🛐 Here’s a prayer you can pray to embrace godly influence. “Heavenly Father, thank you for today’s eye and heart opening message. Lord, it’s been hard for me this past week. Sometimes I find myself drifting in wrong directions.
Choosing the wrongs friends has led me to adopt some habits that are hurting me and my family. God, please help me to cut off those so-called friends who influence me in negative ways.
Heavenly Father, please destroy the power of Satan’s influence in my life. Break the chain of evil associations in my life. Lord Jesus, whatever influence he has had, hangovers or remnants of his power or influence, I ask you to remove and destroy it in Jesus’ name!
Lord, may I boast in my weakness and invite your power to work in me. I know the outcome will be better than anything I could come up with in my own strength. In Jesus’ name, amen
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“The grace of our Lord
Pastor Todd Boxley Worship Ministry