Adult Team Blog

Missions for Advent

I love Christmas, especially now that I’ve learned to pull back and focus more on the eternal gift of Christmas. Incorporating Advent practices into our family’s celebration was the turning point.

This year, I added an international missions emphasis. Our weekly Advent prayers included 2 of the missionaries featured in the Week of Prayer for International Missions prayer brochure.

Prayers flow into action. Invite your friends and neighbors to a WorldCrafts party. Consider hosting the Intriguing Indonesia party since Indonesia is the focus of this year’s International Mission Study. VisitWorldCrafts.org/parties.asp for everything you need to introduce your friends and neighbors to this country and this WMU ministry that develops sustainable, fair-trade businesses among impoverished people around the world.

Prayers, action, and joyful giving draw the season to a close. A bountiful Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions is the result. The heavens sing, and God multiplies it all for good.

Lucretia Mobbs loves this season of light.

Missions Matters!

Sometimes it “pays” to look down. This is one way our family finds extra funds for the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering.

When our children were young, we began the tradition of depositing any money found throughout the year into our Mission Jar. This included money discovered in the pockets of clothing to be washed, in vehicle seats, between couch cushions, and especially lying on sidewalks—I once stumbled across $7 this way! In December, we would take our money to a coin changer and include the total in our missions offering.

While our Mission Jar was a family project, it is always interesting to discover the creative ways churches publicize the international missions emphasis. My friend Sue’s church makes Lottie Moon come alive for young children by displaying a life-size cutout of Ms. Lottie and allowing the youngsters to compare their own size to this diminutive missionary to China.

Truly Humble

T. W. Hunt’s discipleship class changed my life. He told the class about a growing awareness that he spent more time reading about God than he did reading God’s Word. Hunt explained that this conviction led him to read only the Bible for the next 5 years. Amazing! Not 1 newspaper, magazine, or book, only the Bible. His face was lit from within as he taught, and I sensed the powerful presence of God in him. Oh, how I wanted to experience God like that.

Hunt taught us with humility and gentleness, and he made me realize that what you feed grows. I left that conference knowing that I had to narrow what I allowed into my life through media.

Philippians 4:8 became the test. Is it true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, or morally excellent? Is it worthy of praise? These questions became my guide.

It’s been 20 years since that conference. I’m still narrowing and learning from great spiritual teachers.

Lucretia Mobbs loves quiet time in the Psalms.

Impact

What do you truly value? Today’s culture applauds success, beauty, power, wealth, and status. Being considered “humble” is certainly not a label to be envied. Yet a large group of Christian writers can point to the encouragement and mentoring of a couple greatly characterized by their humility.

David and Joanne Sloan, both respected and successful writers, responded more than 20 years ago to God’s call to equip Christian writers for fruitful ministry. They founded the Southern Christian Writers Conference, which convenes annually in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

As conference directors, their organizational work and personal contributions were never referenced nor were their own impressive credentials. Even serious health issues were hidden. Their goal was to teach writers to pursue their dreams of writing to honor God. Additionally, twice a year, the Sloans opened their home to provide small groups a day of more intense training.

Humbly Surrendering

What comes to mind when you think about surrender? Failure? Giving up? Raising the white flag? Do you think about submitting to the authority of another? The first step of humility is surrendering to Christ’s authority over you. I’ve found that it’s much easier said than done.

Humility says, “I know I am totally dependent upon God, and I need the body of Christ.” Knowing this and allowing this to guide my actions are 2 very different things. I’m quite competent after all.

My pastor teaches us to be prayerfully dependent upon God for everything and trust Him for the outcome. Prayer is the key to humbly surrendering, and God is faithful to show me when I step out of surrender into prideful actions.

Prayerfully surrendering is a lifelong journey full of promise. “Well done, good and faithful servant” is the prize.

Lucretia Mobbs is learning to be prayerfully dependent.

All Wrapped Up?

Two wrapped packages are set before you. You can choose only one. The labels tell you one contains opportunities to increase your strength and have greater independence, while the other will result in weakness of some kind and a greater dependence.

The choice seems easy . . . unless your goal is to be like Christ. You see, in God’s upside-down economy,

weakness is strength (2 Cor. 12:10b);
wisdom is foolishness (1 Cor. 3:19);
humility is honored (Prov. 22:4);
death produces life (John 12:24);
surrender is victory (1 John 5:4–5);
loss is gain (2 Cor. 4:17).

We can often observe this paradox of reversal in the lives of Christ followers. My daughter had a wasting muscle disease resulting in extreme weakness. She never weighed more than 55 pounds. Yet her contagious smile, perky disposition, and bold faith made a strong impact for Jesus. God’s power was reflected in her weakness.

Jackie Leggett’s husband, Chris, was murdered in Mauritania in 2009. He was targeted because of his faith. But today his bold witness and sacrifice continue to live and bear much fruit among the people he served. His death produced life.

Accept No Glory

What is true humility? That’s a question I have struggled with most of my life. The more I sought humility, the more self-absorbed I became. That surely wasn’t humility.

I’m learning now that there’s a life lesson every day in humility if you are open to receive it. Learning to ask for and accept help is the first step. “I can do it myself” is the toddler’s phrase.

Swinging to the other extreme of self-deprecation is false humility that doesn’t honor God. He gives every good thing, and He deserves the credit.

My mother’s dementia is a humbling experience for both of us: she in accepting care for her most basic and private needs and me to give it and allow her dignity. God is teaching me to prayerfully absorb today’s lesson and give Him the glory for all of it. 

Lucretia Mobbs is learning to accept no glory.

Who? Me?

How has God called and gifted you to contribute in the body of Christ? For me, it has been as a writer and sometimes reluctant speaker. Often those who serve in a communications calling like mine struggle with the divide between self-promotion and God’s clear directives toward humility.

One of my best lessons in humility came when I was given the opportunity to write for a well-loved women’s monthly devotional publication. I had visions of the acclaim and admiration my work could receive—until my editor indicated the writers were never acknowledged by name.

I soon recognized God was giving me an opportunity to humbly serve Him “incognito.” My unrecognized devotional writing would allow me to learn a sweet lesson in decreasing for His increase and to experience the presence of His affirmation alone.

Bringing the Jump Rope

“Would you and your family like to come play with the Bhutanese children in Dallas with me Friday night?” Ms. Fran asked.

“Yes, we would,” I responded.

We girls loaded into the van that Friday evening, making our way to the Dallas apartment complex. As we unloaded, Bhutanese children met us and followed us to the safe alleyway between apartment buildings.

Ms. Fran set down a clothes basket loaded with jump ropes, sidewalk chalk, bouncy balls, and candy. And in a matter of minutes, the children were licking lollipops, jumping rope, drawing with sidewalk chalk.

I played with those beautiful children, held hands with them, was complimented by them, and received hugs from them and their mothers.

As my beloved Canadian friend Jennifer said, “Sometimes showing people Jesus is bringing a skipping rope and having fun.”

Shelli Littleton lives in Royse City, Texas, and blogs atShelliLittleton.blogspot.com.

Reaching out to the Lonely This Thanksgiving

I look forward to Thanksgiving, a time for family and really good food! We enjoy meals with my father’s side of the family, my mother’s side of the family, and my husband’s family. It’s a lot of calories but a lot of fun.

While I do not yet host a family gathering myself, my aunt and mother-in-law have taught me something very important over the years: how to show thankfulness by giving to those who may not have a family to celebrate with. At both of their homes, you never know who may be showing up for dinner. My aunt often invites friends or co-workers who do not have a family to celebrate with. My mother-in-law lives in a retirement community and often invites older neighbors who are alone.

It is not just a gift of food but also a gift of companionship. Who do you know who may be facing loneliness over the holidays? Is there someone you could minister to by inviting him or her to Thanksgiving dinner? There is no better way to show God’s love this holiday season.           

Laci Post writes articles and historical fiction from Dallas, Georgia, where she lives with her husband, Jason, and sons, Avery and Eli.

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