The ward mission leader gave the lesson and gave us a lengthy handout. The contents are below.
If I had the cure for cancer, how long should I wait to tell the rest of the world?
Is our message not much, much more important?
"Becoming Unconsciously Competent"
May 29, 2011
Combined Priesthood and RS
Sullivan Hollow 2' Ward
Sullivan Hollow 2' Ward
Why God Lives -- Why We Live
Heavenly Father lives a vibrantly exciting, proactive life. His life is awe inspiring!!
Heavenly Father has one main purpose for living, namely, as stated in Moses 1:39, to bring about the exaltation and eternal life of every man, woman and child. He wishes for all to live as He currently lives.
No other Church on the planet knows or will teach this truth. Just us.
Most of us desire to live as HE lives. We wish to have all that HE and Jesus have. As His children, we are apprentices, seeking to become as the Journeyman, our Master Jesus Christ.
To learn and gain what They have requires of us to be proactive, involved, studious, observant, learning, growing, stretching, risking, failing, repenting, trying again and again, stretching some more, forgiving, overcoming our fears and weaknesses, struggling, smiling, inviting, patient, faithful, faith-filled, prayerful, charitable, striving for consistent exactness in obeying in all things, and becoming unconsciously competent in seeing and doing what needs to be done without being always asked or commanded (as HE would do them).
To become as They are (Romans 8:17), requires from us NOW, here in our probationary period of life, to be more than a passive spectators. If we want in the future what They have now and what many other Saints have sacrificed so dearly to have, we must be willing now to develop and use Their same character traits. Multiple scriptures and living prophets testify that it is a false belief to assume anything less.
For many members, this aspect is the hard part — the "stepping up," the "being willing" to go into the uncertain or scary zones of life. However, armed with faith in God, supported by other willing members, and by each of us choosing a charitable disposition, ALL things are possible.
How Heavenly Father Does it
HE has a specific, simple plan to bring us all back — if we are willing to be in motion.
Like His plans, for our plans to be effective, first there must be a vision, an impetus, or a main motivation or purpose for our plan to cause us to do something. For some persons, the initial "push" to get moving comes from our desire to be "obedient" and maybe even from a small fear of "not wanting to lose the prize of eternal life with God."
If that gets us moving, that's okay. Heavenly Father has no problem with our being obedient from a position of "duty." He has stated in about 20 scriptures that those who truly love Him and expect to be blessed must obey Him and serve Him.
Hopefully, however, as we become "engaged in the work" and feel the regular "touch of the Master's Hands" in our lives as we attempt to share the Gospel, our PRIMARY motivation of fear or duty is replaced with a genuine excitement and divine gift of love and charity for all others.
It bears repeating that we, who seek to be like Jesus (Eph 4:13) and want to be joint heirs with Him (Romans 8:17), are apprentices in learning HOW to become as God is. To do so, we must in motion and PROACTIVELY engage ourselves in being and doing what He does or would do if He were in our situations. That means seeking to think like He thinks, proactively acting as He would act and feeling as He would feel. Ultimately, as we consistently do so, we will be endowed with or bestowed the same passions, love and charity that God and Jesus have (Moroni 7) and become unconsciously competent because our very "nature" or WHO WE ARE at our very core becomes like They are. And when Jesus returns, we shall be like unto Him (Moroni 7:48) and rise up and be with Him.
How Do We Share the Gospel?
It is extremely easy — even though our fears and/or excuses make it hard.
Just as restoration and ALL the revelations to Joseph Smith came about because he or someone else had a question, was studying/praying, or was IN MOTION doing something related to the Gospel, we, too, must be IN MOTION.
In the simple process of sharing the Gospel, members have a simply defined role.
We are finders, inviters, mentors, fellowshippers and these matters cannot be delegated successfully to anyone else.
The ward and fulltime missionaries do some finding, but their MAIN responsibility is to "teach."
We would not be aware that God continues to speak to His prophets in our day, beginning with the marvelous First Vision wherein the Father and the Son appeared to the Prophet Joseph. We would not have the comforting assurance that we are led by a prophet, President Gordon B. Hinckley.
None of us are the "converters" — the Holy Ghost thankfully has that job.
How Do We Put a Personal Sharing of the Gospel "In Motion?"
Let's let Jesus Christ answer that question through Elder Ballard from April 2006 General Conference.
Creating a gospel-sharing home is the easiest and most effective way that we can share the gospel.
My brothers and sisters, not many weeks ago I had both of my knees surgically replaced. So when I say that I am grateful to be
able to stand before you today, it is no idle statement. During this recuperative period I have been reminded of how blessed we are to know of the Atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ. I am overwhelmed when I think about the pain and the suffering He went through for us in Gethsemane and on the cross. How He endured it I cannot comprehend. But I thank Him, and I love Him more profoundly than words can express.
I also thank President Hinckley for the privilege of being with him at the birthplace of the Prophet Joseph. Because of Joseph Smith, we have been given much. Were it not for the Restoration we would not know the true nature of God, our Heavenly Father, or our own divine nature as His children. We would not understand the eternal nature of our existence or know that the family can be together forever.
Without the Restoration we would likely be under the assumption that the entirety of God's word is found in the Bible. As precious and wonderful as that book of scripture is, we would not know of the Book of Mormon and other latter-day scriptures that teach eternal truths which help us draw nearer to our Heavenly Father and the Savior.
Without the Restoration we would not have the blessings of priesthood ordinances that are valid in time and eternity. We would not know the conditions of repentance, nor would we understand the reality of the resurrection. We would not have the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost.
When we truly understand how great a blessing the gospel of Jesus Christ is in our lives, when we accept and embrace these eternal truths and allow them to sink deep into our hearts and souls, we experience a "mighty change" (Alma 5:14) in our hearts. We are filled with love and gratitude. As the prophet Alma wrote, we feel "to sing the song of redeeming love" (Alma 5:26) to all who will hear it.
"0, that I were an angel," Alma said, "and could have the wish of mine heart, that I might go forth and speak with the trump of God, with a voice to shake the earth, and cry repentance unto every people!
"Yea, I would declare unto every soul ... the plan of redemption, that they should repent and come unto our God, that there might not be more sorrow upon all the face of the earth" (Alma 29:1-2).
So it should be with us, my brothers and sisters. Our love for the Lord and appreciation for the Restoration of the gospel are all the motivation we need to share what gives us much joy and happiness. It is the most natural thing in the world for us to do, and yet far too many of us are hesitant to share our testimonies with others.
All around the world, missionaries are responding to this testimony-driven joy in sharing the gospel. Many of them are entering the MTC with their own marked and well-studied copies of the missionary guide Preach My Gospel. I am pleased to report that with the use of Preach My Gospel, they are increasingly able to teach in their own words by the power of the Spirit and are better able to adjust their lessons to the needs of those whom they are teaching. As a result they are having meaningful impact on many lives.
But quite frankly, what they need now is more people to teach. Experience has shown that the best teaching situations develop when our members participate in the finding and teaching process. This is nothing new—you've heard it before. Some of you may even feel guilty that you are not giving much help to the missionaries.
Today I invite you to relax and set aside your concerns and focus instead on your love for the Lord, your testimony of His eternal reality, and your gratitude for all He has done for you. If you are truly motivated by love and testimony and gratitude, you will quite naturally do all that you can to assist the Lord in "[bringing) to pass the immortality and eternal life" (Moses 1:39) of our Father's children. In fact, it would be impossible to keep you from doing it.
The Savior Himself showed us the way when He invited His disciples to "come and see ... where he dwelt, and [they] abode with him that day" (John 1:39). Why do you suppose He did that? The scriptural record does not explain His reasoning, but I am confident that it had nothing to do with comfort or convenience. As always, He was teaching. And what better way to teach His followers than to invite them to visit with Him so they could see and experience His magnificent message firsthand.
Similarly, our homes can be gospel-sharing homes as people we know and love come into our homes and experience the gospel firsthand in both word and action. We can share the gospel without holding a formal discussion. Our families can be our lesson, and the spirit that emanates from our homes can be our message.
Having a gospel-sharing home will not only be a blessing for those we bring into our homes but for those who live within it. By living in a gospel-sharing home, our testimonies become stronger and our understanding of the gospel improves. The Doctrine and Covenants teaches that we can be forgiven of our sins when we help someone else repent (see D&C 62:3). We find joy in helping others come unto Christ and feel the redemptive power of His love (see D&C 18:14-16). Our families are blessed as the testimonies and faith of both parents and children increase.
In gospel-sharing homes we pray for guidance for ourselves, and we pray for the physical and spiritual well-being of others. We pray for the people the missionaries are teaching, for our acquaintances, and for those not of our faith. In the gospel-sharing homes of Alma's time, the people would "join in fasting and mighty prayer in behalf of the welfare of the souls of those who knew not God" (Alma 6:6).
Creating a gospel-sharing home is the easiest and most effective way that we can share the gospel with others. And we're not just talking about traditional homes with families consisting of two parents living with their children. College students can create a gospel-sharing home when they adorn the walls of their apartments with pictures that reflect spiritual pursuits instead of the things of the world. Older couples and single members exemplify a gospel-sharing home when they welcome new neighbors and invite them to attend church and visit them in their homes.
A gospel-sharing home is one in which neighborhood children love to play, making it natural to invite them and their family to attend church, a family home evening, or some other activity. Teenagers visiting a gospel-sharing home feel comfortable asking questions or participating with the family in prayer.
Gospel-sharing homes are very ordinary. They may not always be spotlessly clean nor the children perfectly behaved. But they are a place in which family members clearly love each other, and the Spirit of the Lord is felt by those who visit.
Let us follow the admonition of the Prophet Joseph Smith, "After all that has been
greatest and most important duty is to preach the
Gospel" (History of the Church, 2:478).
As we talk about what a gospel-sharing home is, perhaps it would also be helpful to identify some things that a gospel-sharing home is not.
A gospel-sharing home is not a program. It is a way of life. Creating a gospel-sharing home means inviting our friends and neighbors into the ongoing flow of family and Church activities. As we invite our friends to join us for these activities, they will also feel the Spirit.
Creating a gospel-sharing home does not mean that we are going to have to dedicate large amounts of time to meeting and cultivating friends with whom to share the gospel. These friends will come naturally into our lives, and if we are open about our membership in the Church from the very beginning, we can easily bring gospel discussions into the relationship with very little risk of being misunderstood. Friends and acquaintances will accept that this is part of who we are, and they will feel free to ask questions.
A gospel-sharing home is not defined by whether or not people join the Church as a result of our contact with them. Our opportunity and responsibility are to care, to share, to testify, to invite, and then to allow individuals to decide for themselves. We are blessed when we have invited them to consider the Restoration, regardless of the outcome. At the very least, we have a rewarding relationship with someone from another faith, and we can continue to enjoy their friendship.
In a gospel-sharing home we do not just pray for the health, safety, and success of our missionaries throughout the world. We also pray for our own missionary experiences and opportunities and to be prepared to act on those impressions as they come our way. And I promise you, they will come.
More than 20 years ago I suggested that the key to successful member missionary work is the exercise of faith. One way to show your faith in the Lord and His promises is to prayerfully set a date to have someone prepared to meet with the missionaries. I have received hundreds of letters from members who have exercised their faith in this simple way. Even though families had no one in mind with whom they could share the gospel, they set a date, prayed, and then talked to many more people. The Lord is the Good Shepherd, and He knows His sheep who have been prepared to hear His voice. He will guide us as we seek His divine help in sharing His gospel.
A sister in France was asked about the secret of her success. She said, "I simply share my joy. I treat everyone as if they were already a member of the Church. If I'm standing by someone in line and strike up a conversation, I share with them how much I enjoyed my Church meetings on Sunday. When co workers ask, 'What did you do this weekend?' I do not skip from Saturday night to Monday morning. I share with them that I went to church, what was said, and my experiences with the Saints. I talk about how I live, think, and feel."
In a gospel-sharing home, our personal missionary effort is a topic of family councils and discussions. One faithful family counseled together on the need for each family member to be an example. Later, the son's high school coach, who was not a member, sent a donation to the Church. Why? Because this young man had impressed him with his courage in speaking up and telling his teammates to clean up their language. There are thousands of experiences that could be shared where people have joined the Church because of the spirit and attitude they observe in the lives of those who come from gospel-sharing homes.
Church literature or DVDs can introduce new friends to the Church. Invitations to hear a family member speak in sacrament meeting or to attend the baptismal service of a family member or to tour a meetinghouse have also been appreciated by those who are not members. From every indicator we have, there is nothing more effective that any of us can do for our friends than to say "come and see" by joining with us in sacrament meeting. Far too many do not know they are welcome to worship with us.
Of course, all of us support the ward leaders and assist in making the ward mission plan effective. Whatever our Church calling may be, we help priesthood and auxiliary leaders assist missionaries, welcome and involve visitors, and fellowship new members. You can ask the missionaries to show you their daily planners so you can see how you can best help them accomplish their goals. As we work together, the spirit of our gospel-sharing homes will overflow in our chapels, our classrooms, and our cultural halls.
I bear testimony that if we will just do some of these simple things, the Lord will lead us to find tens of thousands of Heavenly Father's children who are ready to be taught the gospel. Our love for the Lord, our appreciation for His atoning sacrifice, and His mission to have all come unto Him should provide all the motivation we need to be successful in sharing the gospel.
May the Lord bless you, my brothers and sisters, with greater faith and trust in Him as you reach out now to introduce the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ to the people of the world, I humbly pray in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
Love and faith can conquer that fear. Courage
is not the absence of fear, but the ability,
driven by a higher cause and love, to act in
certain ways in spite of fears. Eventually,
"tasks" become easier not because the tasks
became easier, but because we grew in love,
faith and good works.
Our ward is a pyramid to which each of us
brings a rock. My rock affects the entire
What Can We Do To Share the Gospel?
- God helps those who are in motion and "step up."
- First, please follow the Heavenly guidance of the Lord's anointed mouthpiece on this matter, Elder Ballard. Set a date to have someone taught by the fulltime missionaries in your home. Work on that goal like everything depends on you and pray and fast as if everything depended on God. Live a life that draws on the powers of God.
- Make yourself available to have nonmembers taught in your home whether you find the nonmembers or less actives or someone else finds them.
- Pray for, fast for, work towards at least one "missionary referral" from your household in the next 6 - 12 months. Set a date and work towards it. Don't worry if who you teach is outside our ward. The Lord doesn't care about borders.
- Acquire a copy of Preach My Gospel and use this in your personal study. It's a huge help in many ways.
- Invite neighbors to our many "neighborhood" (ward-sponsored) socials and programs.
- Find ways for neighbors and friends to serve you and to serve with you. A unique closeness comes from this.
- Implement a specific family and individual Gospel-sharing plan with the aid of ward missionaries.
- Use CERT, family history, emergency
preparedness, sports, neighborhood watch, etc as means to become more closely connected to our neighbors — just for the sake of being connected. Eventually, sharing the Gospel will come out of it now or in some other time.
- Invite others to FHE's or parties in your home.
- Organize a neighborhood party.
- Reach out to everyone, particularly anyone who is a stranger to you.
- Connect with everyone, even for 5 minutes. You just never know who or why Heavenly Father will put someone in your pathway and when HE will involve you to be the key that starts the Gospel engines for that person.
- NEVER let anyone sit alone in Church.
- Bring a good attitude to Church. Wear out your arm shaking hands and your face smiling even when your day is "sucky."
- Establish genuine friendships just for the sake of having friends and NOT because you are "on assignment." If eventual conversion comes, count that a bonus!! However, never base a friendship solely on a person's desire to hear the truth. Most of my many nonmember friends receive an invitation from him at least once a year to hear the Gospel — some having received the same invitation over 20 times. And yes, they're still good friends.
- Invite at least three neighbors to the ward 4th of July and Christmas Parties as well as to the outdoor Halloween activity. Everyone wants to party. Invite with enthusiasm and fun. KEY: Follow up on your invitation.
- See all persons, places, events, meetings, etc. as opportunities and locations to share the Gospel.
- Create at least 5 minutes daily for sharing the Gospel in some way.
- Watch for ways to connect to people — births, deaths, marriages, events, people moving in, etc
- Look at EVERY situation — even the not-so happy ones — as opportunities to share the Gospel and to be friends.
- Pray daily for "opportunity collisions" and for softening of our personal hearts and of those around us.
- Whether we want to be or not, our example speaks loudly of "missionary work." Are we exclusive or inclusive, wise or foolish, etc.?
- Be brave. Reach out. Love people as they are. Let us choose the habit of REACHING OUT by shaking hands and looking people squarely in the eyes and giving them a loving greeting.
- Invite people over to your home — SOCIALIZE. Let them "feel" your goodness and the Spirit.
- Contact home and visiting teaching families to "customize" goals with the families such as pursuing family dry pack canning to meet preparedness goals, pursuing indexing or family history work, etc.
- Do things fun & fulfilling together.
- For those who are shy to invite neighbors, the ward is willing to go with you to connect to your neighbors and to invite them "to break the ice." Ward missionaries are very eager to help.
- Create a specific family "Sharing the Gospel Plan." Ward Missionaries can help you.
- Conversations could include: (a) "If you could ask God one question right now, what would that be?" (The Gospel has answers.) (b) "You believe in prayer and so do we. A young man read James 1:5 and prayed for wisdom regarding his dilemma of what was true and which Church he should join. He received an answer."
Elder Ballard said in April 2003 General Conference
("THE ESSENTIAL ROLE OF MEMBER MISSIONARY
("THE ESSENTIAL ROLE OF MEMBER MISSIONARY
WORK") that "...some members say, "I'm afraid to share the gospel because I might offend someone." Experience has shown that people are not offended when the sharing is motivated by the spirit of love and concern. How could anyone be offended when we say something like this: "I love the way my church helps me" and then add whatever the Spirit directs. It's when we appear only to be fulfilling an assignment and we fail to express real interest and love that we offend others."
He went on further to say that as a ward unifies around a ward mission plan and each member and auxiliary does their part, miracles will occur.
Are we willing to do our part to make such miracles happen here?
"Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God
hath prepared for them that love him." I Cor 2:9
hath prepared for them that love him." I Cor 2:9
The Lord promises us, as we share the Gospel, that he shall use our words for some good -- even when we may not see direct or immediate results from our sharing the Gospel. (Isaiah 55:11).
Like Enos, ours is the blessing "to feel a desire for the welfare of (our) brethren" (Enos 1:9). Who else will carry the words of life to our neighbors? If not us, who? If not now and forever...when?
Ultimately, when we put plans in motion to share the Gospel, we have the companionship of the greatest missionary the world has ever known -- the Lord. "And whoso receiveth you, there will I be also, for I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up" (D&C 84:88).
D&C 123:17 concludes with this: "Therefore, dearly beloved brethren [and sisters], let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power; and then may we stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed.
What greater cause or "cure" is there?
What greater blessings can be found?
Can we not go forward in such a great cause?
We ALL have concerns about sharing the
Gospel. When we are willing, Heavenly
Father will strengthen, empower, embolden,
inspire and otherwise help us with any
Ward and fulltime missionaries and other
Church leaders will assist YOU to put "in
motion" a successful plan to share the
Gospel. Would you be willing to start today?
We're ready to help when you are ready to be
Our life on earth is our schooling and apprenticeship to become like Jesus Christ.
Courage is doing your duty in spite of your fear.
If you could ask heavenly father a question right now, what would it be? Many people in the world have unanswered questions that have answers that God has given us through the restoration.
The Doctrine and Covenants came about for the most part because Joseph Smith had questions.
23 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment,mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.
24 Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel.
Fishers of men
The missionaries are like professional fisherman who do it full time. We are like casual fishermen. There are many more casual fishermen and more fish are caught by them. We should not fail to cast our lines and our nets because we are not professional fishermen.
How dare you not share the best message in the whole world with another person.
We have such a great message and we would be foolish to not share it with everyone we know.
From The Bulletin
President David 0. McKay, said: "True Christianity is love in action. There is no better way to manifest love for God than to show an unselfish love for your fellow men. This is the spirit of missionary work." Sharing the gospel is the best way to love our neighbors. It is also a way of showing our appreciation and love to the Son of God.
As we learn to love our neighbors, we find it easier to share gospel blessings with them. As we do so, we find greater happiness in our lives. Missionary work is about love; if we love others, we will share the gospel with them.
"There are many yet on the earth ... who are only kept from the truth because they know not where to find it" (D&C 123:12). The Lord is preparing people all around us—where we work, where we live, where we travel, on the buses we take, and in the restaurants we patronize.
"Behold, the field is white already to harvest; therefore, whoso desireth to reap let him thrust in his sickle with his might, and reap while the day lasts, that he may treasure up for his soul everlasting salvation in the kingdom of God" (D&C 1 1:3).As we follow these principles and the counsel of the prophets, we will reap the great blessings that come to member missionaries." Elder Don R. Clarke