tell 21

Below we have laid out the first three days of Tell21. There are 21 short chapters in this book. Read one a day for three weeks because it takes 21 days to form a habit. The first three days are included below. After you finish them on the app, download the entire PDF version of the book for free.

from the author

Introduction

There’s a story taking place. It’s a tale of epic proportions. An adventure with cosmic connotations. This is a life-altering saga with an intensesense of urgency. And you’ve been invited to join the cast of this chronicle. Handpicked. Summoned by the Author. God himself has chosen you. Plugged you into the plot.

No, it’s not a mistake. Your invitation was planned before you were born. The role was specifically created with you in mind. You’re here to be a testimony of God’s love that tells his story to the world. That’s why God chose you! Not by accident. Completely on purpose.

Before we continue, let’s set the record straight. You’re a member of the cast. Your performance is important. But this narrative can’t be about you. The real star of your story is Jesus Christ. He’s the Hero.

God sent Jesus to rescue the earth and to restore the world. He came to deliver all people from a life of slavery, oppression, suffering, and death. Sounding epic yet?

Make no mistake. This isn’t a fairy tale. It’s a nonfiction fight for freedom. But it’s also a love story. Love is the motivating factor in this historic adventure. God is love (1 John 4:8). He doesn’t get his way by bullying or making threats of sup- pression. He doesn’t work through manipulation, shame, and fear, like humans. Instead, he gave his Son. And Jesus gave everything in one heroic act on the cross to give you freedom.

By accepting God’s love and your role, you also commit to telling others about the world’s Rescuer, Jesus, and what he has done in your life. That’s your story. And when your story is used for God’s benefit, it becomes his story for his purposes.

God doesn’t make up the story as he goes along. It’s not an improv. There’s a plan. A blueprint. And Jesus has been at the center of it from the very beginning (Colossians 1:15–22). His purpose was to give people a way to know God. A way to escape pain, suffering, sin, and death. Even better, a way to have eternal life.

Jesus’ teachings defied dictators, rulers, and systems that controlled people. He conquered forces of darkness that fight against the freedom God intended you to have. He came to share a message of love. Of hope. And peace. Sadly, the world rejected him and killed him (John 1:9–13).

But that didn’t end the story.

Three days after Jesus sacrificed everything, God brought him back to life (Philippians 2:9–11). His death and resurrection gives us full backstage access to God again. The minute you understand and embrace Jesus’ story and its impact on your life is the moment you must prepare to share it with others. That’s their ticket to abundant life and eternal freedom.

Now, timing is everything. God is always on schedule (2 Peter 3:9). Your life at this time in his- tory is significant. God arranged for you to happen. He added you to the script. And since you know Jesus, you have an assignment to complete.

So what’s your task exactly?

Over the next twenty-one days, you’ll learn to tell others how Jesus’ story has become the story of your life. You’ll have the chance to explain that through God’s grace the world has a second chance to know him.

It’s this always-available, never-ending gift of grace that compels us to play our part in this plot and accept responsibility to share his story with the world. We shine his light because God made him the center-stage star and main character. It is now, and has always been, all about Jesus!

Is this assignment risky? Of course. But don’t worry. Millions of others have been in your shoes. God will give you strength and confidence. He has promised to never let you down (Hebrews 13:15). Remember, you’ve been purposely picked to help others find Jesus. This little book will help you learn your lines and live out God’s purpose for your life.

You’ve been invited to be a light in this drama. Someday the final curtain will close (Matthew 14:10–14), but right now, you’ve been enlisted. The clock is ticking, so let’s get started.

Time to let your light shine!

Day 1

Daily Reading

The first week of your twenty-one-day adventure begins by tackling the topic of prayer. During Jesus’ life on earth, he spent more than three years training young protégés to tell his story to the world. It required teaching them many important lessons.

One day when he was praying, Jesus’ students made a request: “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples” (Luke 11:1 NLT).

They could have asked anything. Like, “How do we heal sick people?” Or, “What’s the secret to getting rid of evil spirits?” Even, “Could you please show us the bread-and-fish trick again?” Instead, they desired the most important lesson Jesus could offer, asking, “How do we pray?”

The greatest resources to help you understand God’s plan for your life are his Word and prayer. They’re direct access through Jesus to the PowerSource. By praying, you connect one-on-one with God, who is the Author of the story. He’s the one who put everything into motion. He planned for your life and put you on this page. Literally.

God knew you’d be reading Tell21 today. He’s not shocked. He knows you’re getting ready to share your Jesus story. And He wants you to talk to him about your assignment. More importantly, he wants you to plug in to him every day as your source of strength. How? By praying. God invites you into a two-way conversation through prayer.

In the Bible, we see Jesus praying for his followers. The night before Jesus was going to be murdered, we find him having dinner with his disciples. At one point, he turns to Peter and says, “Stay on your toes. Satan has tried his best to separate all of you from me, like chaff from wheat. [Peter], I’ve prayed for you in particular that you not give in or give out. When you have come through the time of testing, turn to your companions and give them a fresh start” (Luke 22:31–32 MSG).

Basically, he says, “I’ve asked God to give you the strength to tell your story.” Really, that’s what he means. Jesus knew Peter’s friends would go through a rough time. He knew there would be days they felt like giving up. And he knew Peter’s story of trusting Jesus to overcome his struggles could change their lives.

You have a story to tell too. And many of your “companions” need “a fresh start” as well. So this Bible verse is for you. Jesus has your back. You really have nothing to fear at all about the part God has asked you to play in his story.

Spotlight

Have you ever thought, I’m just one person, so what difference can I make? If so, you’re not alone. Throughout history, countless others have asked the same question. Despite the odds of being alone, they decided to trust God to use them and make an impact.

A few years ago, some Christians visited a country to tell young people about their Hero, Jesus, and the salvation he offers. They walked around neighborhoods. Hosted games. Visited schools. And handed out thousands of books that explained the life and sacrifice of Christ.

One day, the team invited neighborhood children to come to the town’s theater for a fun-filled event with all kinds of prizes. This would be a real celebration. On the night of the event, thousands of young people packed the theater. At the pinnacle of the party, one team member stood up and explained that Jesus wanted to play an important role in their lives. So anyone who was ready should stand and come to the front of the stage.

Silence.

No one stood. Or moved. The team prayed for someone to take this important step of courage. Nothing. Nada. No one wanted to walk forward first.

Finally, a young man rose. His friends told him to sit down, but he didn’t. So they mocked him.

“I need Jesus!” he shouted. Then he marched to the front with his head high and his heart sure. As he made the walk, hundreds more followed and asked Jesus to take center stage in their lives.

James 5:16 tells us, “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results” (NLT). With prayer and courage, God can work through one. He can work through you. Be conta- gious. And set the pace for others!

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You’re here to be a testimony of God’s love that tells his story to the world. #tell21

day 2

Daily Reading

Have Patience

The world just keeps moving faster and faster. A push of a button is all it takes to get instant information. How does living in a downloadable world work when it comes to patience and prayer?

Word

[The man in the vision] said, “Don’t be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day you began to pray for understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your request has been heard in heaven. I have come in answer to your prayer. But for twenty-one days the spirit prince of the kingdom of Persia blocked my way. Then Michael, one of the archangels, came to help me, and I left him there with the spirit prince of the kingdom of Persia. Now I am here to explain what will happen to your people in the future, for this vision concerns a time yet to come.” (Daniel 10:12–14 NLT)

Reflect

Daniel didn’t have today’s technology at his fingertips to give him immediate data on what was coming his way. When he saw a vision of a troubled future, his only option was to patiently humble himself before God in prayer. Like you, he had to wait for God to show up and reveal his plan.

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God has a plan. Pray for direction to follow it, patience to wait on it, and knowledge to know when it comes. #tell21

Prayer

Lord, I believe you’ve written me into your story and given me this important assignment. I know there will be obstacles during this twenty-one- day journey. Please help me to be patient as I commit to pray every day for the right oppor- tunity. Thank you for removing the roadblocks to telling others about the world’s only hope. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Day 3

Daily Reading

Be Persistent

When we pray to an invisible God, it can be hard to believe he’s there, he cares, or he’s listening. But we must take him at his word. He will answer right on time and in the very best way. Keep praying.

Word

[Jesus] said to them, “Which of you who has a friend will go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves, for a friend of mine has arrived on a journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; and he will answer from within, ‘Do not bother me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed. I cannot get up and give you anything’? I tell you, though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his impudence he will rise and give him whatever he needs. And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” (Luke 11:5–9)

Reflect

After Jesus taught his students to pray, he told them the story you just read. It was his way of preparing them for those times of doubt and unbelief. The lesson is still true for you today.

Don’t get discouraged when God makes you wait. Be faithful, continuing to ask, seek, and knock. Prayer opens doors.

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Faith sees the invisible, believes the un- believable, and receives the impossible. #tell21

Prayer

Lord, I want to believe you’re always there. You know my heart, and you hear my prayers. Help me to not become discouraged in the delay. Give me a greater hunger for you. Teach me to be persistent and to trust in your perfect timing so I don’t give up when I should keep pushing on. In Jesus’ name, amen.