Adults on Mission

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.


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

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.

Missionary Spotlight Update: Antonio and LaRonda Anderson

God has been good to Antonio Anderson and his church, providing a new worship site in a more convenient location and people to serve alongside them. His core team is very helpful in serving at Hope Church Philly. David Pearson, the regional leader for the Philadelphia region’s church planting catalysts, has been instrumental in helping the church craft its ministry vision and how that would look and work in its community.

The congregation is becoming more community focused—going on prayerwalks, handing out water, and speaking to people about the church. “God has been speaking to me about having a community day, a town hall meeting, for the people to express their community desires and how Hope Church Philly can help,” Anderson shared.

God has also been good to Anderson’s family. They just returned from a vacation in Canada. Anderson said he is enjoying having weekly family devotions and watching his 2 daughters grow and mature in ministry. One day, the children’s church teacher got sick on her way to children’s church and Anderson’s oldest daughter asked if she could teach the lesson, stirring his heart.

A Ministry in Transition

The summer of 2016 brought a big transition to the life and ministry of International Mission Board missionaries James and Angela Roberts and their 3 children. They moved from northern Poland, where they spent more than 5 years, to London, England, where they will work to connect with American churches, international business professionals, and university students interested in doing missions work.

Angela Roberts said her primary responsibility at this life stage is to be a mother to her daughters who range in age from 9 years old to 25 years old. Her children are able to connect her to people she might not otherwise meet, and they open the door to having spiritual conversations with other moms.

Cross Generational Missions & Ministry: Take Sophomores to Seniors

Nursing homes and senior living centers are the last stop for many before entering eternity. We don’t always think of a nursing home as a target for evangelism, but perhaps it should bubble up to the top of our urgency list for sharing the gospel. Our presence there could ripple out to also impact family members of residents, visitors, and staff members. A nursing home is a fabulous place for doing missions!

Scripture calls us, as older men and women, to mentor and disciple the next generation. While we may feel a call to do it, we are often confounded in exactly how to make it happen. Millennials (those born after 1980) value authenticity and embrace hands-on service. What better way to mentor and disciple the next generation than to serve alongside them? Pulling in high school students to partner with us will not only bring youthful enthusiasm to a geriatric community but also provide opportunities to train the next generation for kingdom work. Here is a plan for making it happen:

Church Planting in Arizona

Debbie and Mike Bishop are experienced at listening and responding to the call of God as He has moved them many times throughout their 40-year marriage. Debbie Bishop is originally from Alabama and Mike Bishop from Illinois, but they have lived in Southern California, Canada, Texas, and Arizona.

God moved them to Florence, Arizona, in 2010 to plant Harvest Church at Anthem, where Mike Bishop is the lead pastor. “The people we minister to in our community, comprised of families and retired people, come from various religious backgrounds and places in the country. We have people in the community that are unchurched, and we live in an area where there is a large Mormon population,” Debbie Bishop said.

Her main responsibility as a church planter’s wife is to encourage her husband. Beyond that, she serves as children’s ministry director and leads a women’s Bible study in her home.

I Am Enough

I am accepted by God just as I am and I do not have to prove myself to Him or anyone else. What a freeing revelation! Like most people, I spent so much of my life trying to be the strongest, smartest, kindest, holiest, best person in the group.

I was a Christian but didn’t feel like it was enough.

A dear friend summarized it when he said most people spend their lives playing king of the mountain. They think they have to be at the top of the mountain to stand out and be counted worthy. To get to the top, though, they have to throw others down to eliminate anyone who threatens their idea of self worth.

It was a game I had played most of my life—and I was ready to retire.

Once I realized that I already am enough through Christ, I suddenly felt free to love others. I didn’t need to compare myself to them or feel threatened by them. I am accepted, and out of my confidence I could help others see that they are accepted, too.

Just As We Are

I remember the feel of the worn hymnal fabric in my hand as I held the songbook and belted out the words, “Just as I am, without one plea.” As a child I understood the heart of the song: God accepts me and loves me just as I am. What a sweet and reassuring love!

The harder lesson, though, has been to love and accept others just as they are.

I find that the more I understand God’s forgiveness and love for myself, the easier it is for me to look at those around me through His lens. Rather than seeing a hardened, bitter woman, I can see her as God sees her: a wounded daughter who feels rejected and alone. Instead of seeing a coarse, rude man, I instead see someone who has never experienced God’s love and forgiveness.

When I look at the people around me through God’s lens of love, I see their brokenness and their need rather than their failures and shortcomings. And rather than be offended at their sins, I sense God’s deep abiding love and longing for them.

We are all loved, we are all accepted, and we are all in need of God.

Hunger Destroys Families

There’s an online video that depicts a mother walking her daughter to a train station, handing her a bagged lunch, seating her on the train, and then walking away. The family had run out of food and did not have the resources to continue caring for the girl and her sister. The parents made the agonizing choice to send one daughter away.

As a parent, my heart squeezes each time I watch the video. I know the images are recreations with actors, but the story is true. According to the video’s ending, UNICEF estimated in 2007 there were 25 million orphaned children in India. Thousands of families each day face starvation and poverty. Parents make the impossible choice of who gets to eat and who starves.

I have four children and am beyond blessed to have an overflowing pantry. I cannot imagine, though, having to say goodbye to a child because of unending hunger and exhausted resources.

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