Adults on Mission Blog

Best Challenges Better

Which door should I go through? The popular television show Let’s Make a Deal serves as a reminder that none of us know for sure what is behind the curtain or beyond the door. Often in living our lives for God, we find safety in just staying where we are. That may be in church, in a position of leadership, or simply showing up and doing what we’re asked. After all, there is nothing inherently wrong with where we are. It’s better than doing nothing.

But living in the realm of better can blind us to the best. So what can we do?

1) Open our eyes to the range of possibilities available.

2) Prayerfully and honestly assess the better option and the best choice.

3) Do not be afraid to step out of our comfort zones. The best will always carry a little more risk. It may demand more from us than we are currently giving.

4) Trust God to support us in carrying out the best when better seems good enough.

“Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9 NIV).

Networking Works

“My nephew has threatened suicide several times since returning from Afghanistan,” she said. “He seems so close to doing it. We’re constantly worried about him.” A total stranger from another town was telling me this when we were both getting our nails done. “I just wish I knew how to get him some help.”

Thanks to a group of churches (pastors and members), along with other interested community organizations in her town, I could direct her to a local pastor who was passionate about helping soldiers coming home with PTSD and suicide ideation. All over Arkansas communities and churches are coming together to be ready when the need arises.

In our state the local VA assists in forming these groups, but realistically, they can form without VA assistance. Representatives from churches, directors of non-profits, members of law enforcement, local business owners, and other interested parties meet monthly and discuss issues affecting returning veterans. They gather resources and put together guides to those resources.

Praying and Giving

Missionaries tell us that our prayers are the most important thing we can do for them. Opening my eyes to the world around me causes me to spend more time in prayer for missionaries and Christians around the world. WMU keeps us focused on them, where they minister, and the difficulties they encounter as they serve God.

As I communicate with missionaries through social media, I find myself drawn into their world by the stories and pictures of their people groups and their ministry. I am especially drawn to my brothers and sisters around the world who are being persecuted because they bear the name of Christ.

My family has designated the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering® as our “Christmas Gift for Jesus” and no gift we give others compares to this gift. You might want to consider putting your Lottie Moon Christmas Offering in an envelope this year, tie a red ribbon around it, and mark it “To: Jesus. From:_____.”

On Mission in Jerusalem

In my church we are constantly seeking ways to be involved in missions. Our Director of Missions and other church leaders work together to provide activities for each month in our schools, nursing homes, hospice, shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child, Thanksgiving and Christmas outreach to needy families, and associational missions. We also reach out to the military, veterans, police officers, and firefighters.

Our pastor selects an IMB missionary and a NAMB missionary for our focus each month. We learn about the missionaries’ work and where they are serving. Some women connect with them online and maintain lasting relationships. He also brings missionaries to speak at our church and encourages us to be missional in our community as well as around the world.

IMB and NAMB appoint and commission missionaries to serve in the United States and around the world, but God has appointed every one of us to serve in our church family and community. Are you on mission in your Jerusalem?

Seeing the World Around Us

When my husband first became a pastor, we attended a language ministries conference. I was overwhelmed with the love I witnessed
among the people in that meeting. Jesus said, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation” (Mark 16:15 NIV). God had sent the world to our doorstep, and to every nation He had given special people to love them and minister to them here in the United States.

Today we are automatically positioned to see the world around us—at grocery stores, medical offices, restaurants, the post office, theaters, and schools. Do you see them—those new to the country, struggling with the language, trying to fit into a foreign culture? They say loneliness is one of their biggest problems. They are waiting and watching for a friendly face that cares about them as a person.

The Blinders Are Off

I grew up in rural North Carolina in a small town that was similar to the fictional Mayberry. Farming and fishing were the main industries, and families working together brought a closeness and a feeling of security that you cannot find today. Everyone knew all their neighbors on a first name basis—doctors, lawyers, merchants, farmers, fishermen—it didn’t make a difference. It was a stable, comfortable life, and my husband and I were only vaguely aware of the evil all around us until we had children.

During the 1970s we became deeply concerned about the changes we saw taking place in the world our children would inherit! The cultural changes in families, the increase in divorce, the use of drugs and alcohol, and the “anything goes” attitude of the younger generation. However, our children were still young and the evils we saw and heard about on radio and TV seemed far away from us—no need to worry—or so we thought.

A Mission’s Drive

It’s that time again! Time to set aside our Christmas offering for international missions. I confess I never really paid too much attention to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering® that my church promoted every year. Sometimes I would write a check, but I didn’t always.

That changed when my husband’s brother received an appointment as an international missionary. That’s when I discovered the importance of the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering.

My brother-in-law’s family spent 10 years in Malaysia. The Lottie Moon Christmas Offering provided financial support and helped them fulfill their mission.

Missionary families depend on the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for their ministry and livelihood. For those of us who can’t go, giving is one way we can help fulfill God’s commission to make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19). 


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

 

 

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.

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.

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