“Surrendered” Lesson 3: The Secret to Greater & Lasting Impact

“Come Help Change the World”

I’m Changing the World

In 1985, I attended a Christmas break conference hosted by Campus Crusade for Christ in Chicago. The three-day conference linked college students from all across the U.S. to the founder and president, Dr. Bill Bright. During his speech, he challenged us, “Come help change the world.” He may have been speaking to thousands that night, but his message woke me up as if he were speaking directly to me. My heart beat faster, and I knew that I would give up every other dream for that mission.

Over the years, I have sincerely pushed and pulled people to Jesus. I have worn myself out in the name of Jesus. I’ve viewed Him as an army general and myself as an expendable, active-duty soldier under His command.

Jesus is Changing Me

Now, 33 years later, I’m finishing a busy ministry week with plenty of results. But, I understand today what I didn’t understand years earlier: The secret to greater and lasting impact lies in doing less not more. 

While I viewed Jesus as an army general and myself as a soldier, He viewed me as a sheep under his care and management (see John 10:1-16). He wanted to breathe life and power into me as a grapevine feeds a fruit-bearing branch in a vineyard (see John 15:1-8).

As a woman driven by a mission, I’m tempted to measure the impact of my life by favorable responses to something I wrote or said. Social media has trained us all to measure life in “likes” and “shares.” Too often, I worry about how much “fruit” I’m producing for Jesus, as if my fruitfulness depends entirely upon me. John 15:5-8 teaches me to measure my life by my love for Jesus.

“Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned. But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted! When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father.” John 15:5-8

I’m slowly learning to rest in Jesus for the results. The real work, each day, is remaining in Jesus by keeping Him at the center of my love and worship. Last week, I wrote about learning to remain in Him through rest.

Surrendered: Lessons from the Vineyard

Jesus described our life in Him using a vineyard as the picture. Surrendered: Learning to Trust and Rest explores the lessons of the vineyard (John 15:1-8) through 30 days of short readings just like this one. It’s the second book in my Bible Studies To Go series, Led was the first, available next week through this website.

Surrendered (2018)

Led (2017)










If you’d like to receive a free download of chapter 1, type your email address in the subscribe form to the right of this post on the website, and I’ll send it to you. I promise not to flood your inbox. Once a week, I’ll send you short, simple thoughts about living a rooted faith for your busy life.

Stay Rooted in Jesus


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Daily, the power of stories amazes me–moves me, shapes me–an ordinary wife, mom, teacher, writer, Jesus-follower.

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