Adult Team Blog

Giving Up My Life

“We aren’t sure what’s wrong,” said the emergency room doctor.

I’d been experiencing four days of abdominal pain accompanied by a low-grade temperature.

“Your doctor said it could be your appendix leaking infection.” He paused. “But we aren’t sure what that soft mass is.”

Observe the Need, Meet the Need

The phone rings.

My grandmother is on the other end. I’m always happy to hear from her even though I see her and my grandfather several times a month. My mother is working at a new job following her college graduation. I’m proud of my mom; I’m saddened by my parent’s divorce; and I’m confused by the current situation in which we find ourselves.

My grandmother tells me to go to the kitchen, look in the refrigerator and kitchen cabinets, and tell her exactly what I see. I immediately do as she instructs. I tell her the contents of the refrigerator and cabinets. This task takes me less than 3 minutes.

I remember this situation and conversation with my grandmother as if it were yesterday. But this conversation occurred more than 30 years ago. That same day, while my mother was still working, my grandparents delivered sacks and sacks of groceries. My brothers, sister, and I were elated! We had not seen that many groceries in our house in a very long time.

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Rice for Christmas

Mrs. Susan captivated the VBS children with the huge Christmas package. But they were crestfallen when the contents were revealed. Rice, dried beans, flour?

Having made innumerable medical mission trips and also dispensing staple food items to families, Mrs. Susan explained that children in other countries are elated when they receive a bag of rice. Whereas, “unfortunately we all have so much that we are ungrateful.”

Summer Plans

Summer . . . plans. Really? Isn’t that an oxymoron? Summer is not supposed to be about plans. It’s about not having to have a plan! Or at least I used to think so. I guess summer as a grown-up isn’t always quite that free. I remember the feeling of getting out of the last day of school without a care in the world. I had nothing to do and no expectations—just rest, TV, making up games in the yard, or spending time with my grandparents. It was awesome, for a while. It didn’t take long to find out that there were still household chores to do, some expectations of others, and, in the South, a humid heat that drains your energy. Oh, and boredom, sunburns, and mosquitos.

I didn’t make plans back then but I’m pretty sure someone was making them. Summers are pretty awesome, but maybe having a plan isn’t such a bad idea after all.

Shining Through Summer Missions

Even though we strive to let our light shine throughout the year, the summer months provide unique opportunities to creatively bless others and share the gospel.

Sometimes summer missions involves reaching out to children in our community through Backyard Bible Clubs and Vacation Bible School. Sometimes it means traveling to another country to tackle a specific project to help a ministry spread the gospel.

I love summer at my church. From VBS to short-term trips, there are a variety of missions opportunities available for families and individuals of all ages.

I am most excited about a project our myMISSION group is doing—providing food for a staff appreciation event at Cedar Lake Lodge, a local facility for intellectually disabled adults.

Letting Go

“The next ten years, at least,” was always my answer when people asked me how long I wanted to live in the Middle East. Following the greats before me like Annie Armstrong and Lottie Moon, I admired the kind of faith and sacrifice they possessed.

My whole life geared toward that moment of stepping on the plane and beginning this adventure I had prayed for, researched, and anticipated.

In that moment, I thought that was the final surrender, to leave behind my family, my friends, my comforts, and my ability to communicate within my culture. I really did think I had reached my one big free fall and everything after was going to be a continuum based off of that jump.

Little did I know the true surrender would happen 2 years later, when God told me my one-way-ticket plan was not His and it was time to go back.

What?

Did I hear this all wrong?

Big Potential from a Simple Invitation

If you’ve grown up in a family that regularly attended church, that’s amazing. It’s also not the norm for many children across America.

I live in the Bible Belt of the South, where it’s easy to assume that everyone goes to church and knows about Jesus. However, this is so not true!

I have been babysitting for a sweet family for about a year. The more I babysat, the more I realized that I didn’t see any biblical-based items around the house—no children’s books with Bible stories, no cross decorations, and no Noah’s ark toy sets.

However, one day in December, I noticed a candy cane with a piece of paper tied to it. The paper explained how the candy cane represented the shepherd’s staff from the Christmas story, and it also looked like the letter “J” for Jesus.

“Where did you get this?” I asked one of the children.

“From the after school Bible club,” he replied. “I go once a week.”

Let Go and Let God

Recently, we learned we needed to take our 15-month-old son to an ear specialist. He’s had nonstop double ear infections for the past several months, and after multiple rounds of antibiotics, it’s time to think about next steps in his treatment. Some of our options include placing tubes in his ears or removing certain parts of his ears, nose, and throat in order to prevent infection. Though the process is painful and unpleasant, it will be a necessary procedure to protect his body from a hostile takeover from toxic organisms.

God-Pleasing Sacrifice

“Sacrifice” is not a word frequently heard in our postmodern culture.

In a society that strives for more, bigger, and better, the idea of sacrificing anything is almost unthinkable. However, the concept of sacrifice may be widely misunderstood, even for Christians.

We recall the Old Testament stories of sacrifice involving the slaughter of animals for the redemption of sin. And we accept that Jesus became the Lamb slaughtered—sacrificed—for our personal sin so that we have been redeemed by His blood shed on the cross.

Under the New Covenant—in other words, after Christ’s sacrifice on the cross as a substitute for our sin offering—we are told to “offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship” (Rom. 12:1). Our bodies—our entire lives—are to be living sacrifices instead of dead sacrifices. What we have to offer as worship is not a dead substitution but, instead, a life that is “holy and pleasing to God.”

An Unexpected Platform

Microphone on stage

Recently, while walking through a subway station, I was approached by a stranger. I assumed he was a lost tourist, but he was a photographer taking photos of New Yorkers for a blog. I quickly realized he writes for a very popular photo blog that has millions of followers. He asked if he could take my photo and share my story. I’d never thought much about what I would say if approached by this guy (as I’m a big fan of his work), but here I was standing there with a great opportunity to share my story.

I said yes, and his first question was something along the lines of “What are you most passionate about?” So I started talking about Christ, the gospel, and church planting. I stammered through several things and really don’t remember all of what I said. I honestly didn’t say anything profound; I just rambled on about my life and the things I do.

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