Adult Team Blog

A World Day of Prayer

A few years ago I had the privilege of speaking at our Associational WMU luncheon held in observance of the Baptist Women’s World Day of Prayer. What made that day memorable for me was not that I was the guest speaker, but what I learned through my preparation.

My text was from the book of James about Elijah’s prayer life. The phrase that captured my attention said that Elijah was just like us (James 5:17).  Elijah was a prophet. He did so many extraordinary things that I never thought of him as just an ordinary man. But that’s what he was. There was nothing special about him. Yet, his prayers affected the forces of nature.

When we gather to celebrate the World Day of Prayer, the Lord is listening to us just like he listened to Elijah. Our world needs prayer—now more than ever before. Let’s be faithful to join together and pray for our nation and our world.


Sandra Knox Miller writes from her home in Sylacauga, Alabama. 

Stay Connected

A lot of reasons seem pretty valid for disconnecting with someone these days. With the ever-growing use of social media, it’s fairly easy to get offended by some thought your classmate from kindergarten posted that you never would have known if she hadn’t been awake at 3 a.m. with no one to talk to. A lot of Christians may choose to stay away from social media for this very reason. Not this girl.

I am absolutely grateful for such unique ways to connect with people. Here I am, approximately 909 miles away from my parents on a daily basis, but I can still see anything that is going on in their lives that they want me to see! When I turn FaceTime on, no matter who I’m calling, my son now says, “Memaw? Memaw!” because he knows that usually his Memaw’s face is going to pop up. He’s going to get to grow up knowing her face, just because of technology like this! We can share videos, pictures, posts, deep thoughts, and even the thoughts that come across our mind that generations before us would never have dreamed of sharing!

Intentionally Present

I recently returned to my current home after spending a week in an extremely large and diverse city. I noticed this pattern of distracting oneself while I was there. Most people did not talk to anyone they did not know. In fact, probably about 75 percent of the people I encountered had on some type of headphones or were absorbed in their electronic devices.

They may have thought that having headphones on or staring at a device in their hands would deter people from talking with them, and for most people, that may have been the case. But I took it as a challenge: how many people can I get to talk with me?

The result was great. When I started to talk with people, nearly all of them at least appeared to enjoy making a connection with someone. And even more than that, every day I was able to share at least once the full gospel—Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection—with someone on public transportation!

Reach Out and Get Connected

I am technologically illiterate. I watch with envy as my daughters save money using their cell phones to find bargains and digital coupons while shopping. With social media, they stay in touch with childhood friends living hundreds of miles away. Even my grandchildren text and talk with each other face to face on their parent’s cell phones.

I’m trying to learn how to be “connected” like everybody else. I’ve learned I can be intentionally present through social media. People ask for prayer. Sometimes they even share problems.

We can respond by promising to pray and by sharing words of encouragement. We can text or message them a prayer or a Bible verse.

We can send notes of encouragement. Even in this technological age, people still love to receive handwritten notes. Taking time to write and mail a note communicates concern and lets them know we care.

Not all of our internet friends know the Lord. So, let’s use our connections to share our testimony whenever and wherever we can.

 

Catch the Vision

Have you ever tried reading your Bible with a magnifying glass? It’s challenging. Your field of vision is limited to that little round circle of glass. I’ve done that when I absent-mindedly misplaced my reading glasses.

Instead of being absent-minded, my goal is to be intentionally present in things I do. What does that mean? It means I have a plan, a purpose, and a goal. I’m not just present physically, but I’m alert and paying attention to everything around me.           

Are you getting ready for a mission trip or a mission action project? The goal of any missions activity is sharing God’s word and, hopefully, leading people to faith in Christ. To reach that goal, we must be aware of the people around us, and be ready when they ask spiritual questions.

Let’s not limit our vision by being absent-minded. Let’s be intentionally present so we can see the big picture. When we look at what’s happening from God’s perspective, we won’t miss any opportunity to share God’s love.

Just Being Present

During my freshman year, I went on a missions trip with my church over spring break to Haiti. As I prepared, my team leader, Matt, called me to discuss the logistics and clarify any of my questions. I remember immediately asking, “What does the schedule during the trip look like?” Matt casually replied that we didn’t have a schedule because our main job was to be with the children at the orphanage.

No schedule, no to-do lists, just being.

Uh, excuse me? I signed up for a missions trip. In my mind, this should involve a lot of doing. I was ready to be the hands and feet of Jesus and do some serious serving in Haiti. I didn’t understand how being present with the children equated to the missions part of a missions trip. I wanted to be doing. And just being present did not feel like missions to me.

A few weeks later, my team finally arrived in Haiti. As I surveyed my surroundings at the orphanage, my first impulse was to look around and see what I could do. I saw so many needs and things that could be done. But then I remembered—be intentionally present.

Enter Another’s Story

Being a leader isn’t easy. But then again, being a follower isn’t always easy either. Maybe “easy” isn’t what we should be going for.

I work at WMU and it’s a huge blessing. My team recently had the opportunity to visit a ministry site where I made a new friend. God gave us a moment together on a bench outside. “Easy” wasn’t in her vocabulary, if you know what I mean. What she shared was more like a journey. She is trusting God in new ways and taking one step at a time. I look forward to going back and seeing her again. But what if I had missed the opportunity to make a new friend, to enter into another’s story?

It isn’t easy to slow down, to listen, to act, to love, and to find the time. As leaders, we sometimes feel the pressure to be a few steps ahead, setting the pace, being responsible. What if we could learn to be more intentional in our presence with people? What would it look like to lead others to do the same?

Valued

On a daily basis I deal with individuals who have committed some type of crime. It could be speeding, a DUI, drug possession, or an alleged murder. I work in a county jail as an administrative assistant. People come from all walks of life, different races and from around the world. Then I interact with their families and friends. For a person who is an introvert, I’ve been moved out of my comfort zone.

For years I’ve struggled with my worth as a person, my value to others, and why was I created. Then came the day when I finally understood the depth of God’s love for me and how He sent His only begotten Son to pay the price for my sin (John 3:16). Psalm 139:14 (NIV) states we are all "fearfully and wonderfully made” and the book of Colossians tells me who I am in Christ.

Studying and knowing God’s Word shows me every person is valued by God. Christ died for everyone, and only He can forgive and transform hearts. So as I interact with others, I am more aware of the need everyone has to be valued. It is my responsibility to show them Christ!

Called

Last month I broached the topic of my calling. This is one of those topics that remains popular in the Christian world.

But what happens when you have no clue what your “calling” is? As I mentioned last month, we as Christians are all called to share the love of God with all people, but what about you specifically? How will that calling take shape in your life, especially as a mom?

I was recently at our Arkansas WMU Annual Meeting and heard a missionary say, “God gave you the talents and hobbies that you have so that He could use them to share His love.” That’s something I think I sort of knew in the back of my mind but never really took to heart. Are you a baker? Do you absolutely love fitness? What about reading? How can you use those fun things about yourself to glorify God? (Can somebody say book club?!)

One thing we know about Jesus is that whatever He was doing, He knew what His calling, or mission, was. He even told His own mother as a preteen, “I must be about my Father’s business.” (That’s not exactly what I was telling my parents at that age, but He has always been pretty special.) He didn’t make a move without God’s guidance.

I Am Enough

I am accepted by God just as I am and I do not have to prove myself to Him or anyone else. What a freeing revelation! Like most people, I spent so much of my life trying to be the strongest, smartest, kindest, holiest, best person in the group.

I was a Christian but didn’t feel like it was enough.

A dear friend summarized it when he said most people spend their lives playing king of the mountain. They think they have to be at the top of the mountain to stand out and be counted worthy. To get to the top, though, they have to throw others down to eliminate anyone who threatens their idea of self worth.

It was a game I had played most of my life—and I was ready to retire.

Once I realized that I already am enough through Christ, I suddenly felt free to love others. I didn’t need to compare myself to them or feel threatened by them. I am accepted, and out of my confidence I could help others see that they are accepted, too.

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