Adults

A Vision? A Vision!

My husband and I have been blessed with 5 grandchildren who range in age from 5 to 13. When each child was still in the womb, my vision was for him or her to be born with a healthy little body. Now that our grandchildren are getting older, my vision is changing.

For 3 of them, my vision is that they will continue to pursue the dreams the Lord has begun to put in their hearts and live for Him. My role is to love and encourage them as well as support the spiritual foundation their parents provide.

For 2 of them, my vision is that they will make it through a hard family situation with as little damage to their tender hearts as possible. My role is to love them and be a safe haven for them. And I help their mother build a spiritual base from which they can come to know the Lord.

We can have a vision for family members, for ourselves, for our churches. Listen, ponder, and seek the Lord and He will give you a vision and reveal your role in making that vision a reality. 

Sharon R. Neff lives in Arcola, Mississippi, and never had a vision that she would be a pastor’s wife.

Next Generation Vision

As a parent, I’ve always strived to teach my children about missions and involve them in mission action whenever possible. My children are now 16 and 13 and grew up in Girls in Action and Royal Ambassadors. They know what it means to be on mission.

My vision for them is to continue being on mission every day of their lives. There are many opportunities with our church and their school to continue to develop this mind-set.

I plan to encourage them to be involved in missions by having them participate with me, helping them find ways they can do missions, and educating them about current events so they can brainstorm ways they can be on mission.

It’s up to us to cultivate a vision to encourage and teach the next generation to live a missions lifestyle that honors God.

Jennifer Booth writes from her home in Little Rock, Arkansas. Connect with her on her blog at JenniferBooth.com.

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.

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