Adult Team Blog

Follow to Lead

While it may be popular to talk about leadership and to dream about being in charge, the Bible paints a different picture of leadership. Christians who lead because a still, small voice* calls them to do so know the difference.

Why follow God’s leadership? Following God’s leadership works differently than planning our own future. It requires us to hear His voice. While some hear His voice daily, others have not positioned themselves to listen. Sometimes God has to get our attention so that we can hear Him. God often uses circumstances to bring us to a position to lead, and getting to that position may require a strange and unexpected journey.

On a journey, we usually experience some discomfort. Our muscles get tired. Our bodies ache. Our habits may change. We may find ourselves sleeping on uncomfortable pillows or eating foods that don’t taste quite the same as our home-cooked meals. These are small discomforts compared to what our Bible heroes experienced.

Tags: 

Refocus Every Day

Has God ever had to refocus your life?

When I first got married I went through a period of massive insecurity. I was more concerned about my appearance than when we were dating. The more gentle and loving my husband was, the more terrible I felt. Every mistake I made bothered me twice as much, and every good thing I did only counted half as much. I had big dreams of being an “excellent wife.” I tried, but I couldn’t seem to get it right. I berated and belittled myself for not being good enough. I pleaded for God to show me what to do.

God didn’t turn me into the excellent wife I wanted to be.

Instead, He reminded me that my identity had not changed. I am still His daughter first of all. My situation had changed, but I hadn’t changed in the most fundamental way. I was so concerned with being a good wife that I took my eyes off my real goal. With the wrong goal in sight, nothing goes right.

Prone To Wander

I like to take pictures of my children. Since I have a smartphone, this task has become easier than ever before. Whenever my children are doing something funny or cute, I quickly whip out my phone, open the camera app and snap. In fact, at the time of this writing, I have 2,622 pictures on my camera roll in my phone. Clearly, I like pictures of my children. And since I like to capture these moments, nothing is more frustrating than when I aim my camera, ready to snap, only for the image to soften and lose focus. Suddenly, I’m tapping the screen, trying to refocus the image. Inevitably, by the time I get the camera refocused, the moment is gone. I’ve missed an opportunity.

Sometimes, this happens in our spiritual lives as well. We can lose focus on God’s purpose for our lives through distraction or waywardness, and we can miss out on divine opportunities if we don’t refocus. Let me give an example from my life to demonstrate.

In the Stillness

“Be still and know that I am God,” seems to be a common verse from Psalms that Christians say or hang on their walls within their homes.

We try to remind our hearts to be still and know He is God.

But do we do it?

I don’t know about you, but this does not come natural to my Type-A, constantly creating to-do lists personality. Now maybe you are a natural at it and easily find time of aloneness (and if so, please tell me your ways).

I imagine for the majority of us, stillness is not something we try to attain often in our lives. It seems like days, weeks, and months can go by within the routine and demands and then one day we wake up and realize we haven’t been still before God in quite some time. In fact, when was the last time we stopped to hear His voice?

In different seasons, I have had the privilege to have a slower schedule and bask in stillness before God. So my heart has tasted and knows the sweetness of listening to His still, small voice.

New Doors

Plans made? Check. Finances arranged? Check. Several weeks each year earmarked for international missions? Check. I was all set and ready to go.

Then life happened. Family health issues halted all mission trips.

Nevertheless, God led in ways I could never have imagined. I had written for church services, mission trips, and a couple of devotions for a bulletin service. Yet, I never considered myself a writer.

Slowly but surely that began to change. I studied the craft, and opportunities increased.

A writer’s conference speaker introduced me to a ministry that translates radio drama and Bible studies for broadcast around the world, including countries closed to the gospel.

Imagine that. Now I reach more people in Jesus’ name than I did in all my mission trips combined. Isn’t God amazing?

Gather around the Campfire

Judy grew up in a large family. Her parents had 7 daughters, adopted 2 sons, and provided a home for 53 foster children over the years, 5 of whom stayed with them until high school graduation. Judy remembers that they all had chores to do and claims she was an amazing dishwasher, partly due to lots of practice since the counters were often full of dirty dishes. She mostly wore hand-me-downs that were often the wrong size or worn out or both. She often felt awkward in group settings, but she also says life was good in that large Christian family where love abounded.

When she was 9 years old, Judy, who by then was a tomboy nicknamed “Bugs” because of her fascination with insects, went to missions camp for the first time. She considered it a great privilege to be there and a life-changing experience. Some of the camp highlights for Judy were singing silly camp songs, learning new ways to pray, developing friendships (some that have lasted a lifetime), growing spiritually, and being enthralled with the missionaries who shared their stories. As a result, Judy developed a love for missions that she now instills in others.

Changing Focus to Receive God’s Strength

My husband was rushed to the hospital December 4, 2015. He was vomiting “old blood.” Each time the doctor cleared Darrell’s stomach then fed him through his peg tube, Darrell aspirated. The surgeon couldn’t replace the peg with a J-tube due to gastric problems, aspiration, and chronic vomiting. Nourishment to sustain life was impossible.

I watched my husband transition to eternity with the Lord. I worried about Darrell, his fears, and how I would live without him. With each worry, I asked God to strengthen and help me live in the present, to be thankful for the current moment we had together.

I never questioned God when Darrell slipped away December 29, 2015. Some days the pain is more difficult than others; however, I choose to seek God’s love and comfort. I’ve learned resilience and purpose in God’s promise: “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned, the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior” (Isaiah 43:2–3 NIV).


By Audrey Hector

Ministry, Russian Style

A simple man, long past middle age entered the room. Well-worn clothes and shoes that had traveled too many miles failed to dampen his spirit. He spoke of torture at the hands of the communist government. With a hint of a smile, he said churches now meet where his torture occurred—in the building where we sat. He captured our mission team’s attention and hearts.

We served with Brother Edward shortly after the Soviet Union’s fall. He arranged the first ever women’s prison visit. Through his passionate preaching, the women turned to Jesus, tears flowing. Our tears mingled with theirs.

Although Brother Edward’s wife neared death, their fervor for ministry continued. They knew their temporary suffering would soon lead to eternal comfort in the presence of their Savior. Until then, they continued to invite others to join them there.

They accomplished so much with so little. What are we doing with what we have?

“But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:44 NIV).

If the Shoe Fits

Have you ever considered using shoes to help your friends discover their niche in missions by finding “what fits” their interests, lifestyles, and abilities?

God intends for each of us to find a place of service. Plan a gathering that focuses on learning about local missions opportunities as well as overseas missions efforts.

Step-by-Step To-Do List for an “If the Shoe Fits” Affair

• Publicize your event; ask women to wear a pair of shoes that best match their personality.

• Decide on a take-home gift or door prize that’s shoe related.

• Set up displays featuring local ministries or outreach events and create a display of shoes to match each. (Example: Display white tennis shoes for a healthcare ministry, children’s shoes for ministry to schools, or boots for a disaster relief ministry.)

• If your church has a missions trip planned, create a display with a map and a list of items the team will need.

• Preselect three women to briefly share about their involvement in various local ministries or missions efforts.

 

Tags: 

UNEXPECTED CALL TO MISSIONS

“You’re a dutiful wife,” one nursing home resident said, noting that I visited Darrell daily. Her comment increased my awareness of the other residents. I started encouraging and loving each resident, winking at some, and promising to take care of the nurses if any of them were mistreated. Their smiles and repeated stories comforted me, giving me the strength to be there for my husband.

One resident was in a coma, unable to respond to his family when they visited. I thought about the joy I felt when my husband recognized and talked with me. He returned my kisses and gazed into my eyes. I began to pray for the resident and his family.

I went to the nursing home after my husband’s death in December but was overwhelmed with grief because Darrell wasn’t there. However, with God’s help, I will start visiting the residents whose love sustained me as I reached out to love them.

I thank God for the opportunity to share Christ’s love with the residents. Not only did my marriage demonstrate to the world the relationship between Christ and the church, but God turned our tragedy into a nursing home mission experience.


By Audrey Hector

Pages

Back to Top