Adults on Mission

Surrender Brings Blessings Multiplied

Surrendering to Jesus may require giving up something extremely important to do the unexpected.

Brenna Stull experienced that when she and her husband, Chris, felt God prompting them to relocate to plant Wellspring Church in Goodyear, Arizona.

Leaving McKinney, Texas, meant uprooting—in particular—one of their teenagers who had influence and promising opportunities at his high school.

“My thought was, ‘How could we do this to Derek—moving right before his senior year?’” Brenna Stull recalled.

The next day, she heard in a sermon that whatever a person is unwilling to lay down to obey Christ has become an idol.

“My heart was pierced,” she said. “I confessed . . . and surrendered myself to His will.”

The day before school started in August 2013, the couple and their 5 children arrived in the Litchfield Park/Goodyear area west of Phoenix. The Phoenix metropolitan area is home to nearly 5.4 million people. Only 12.6% affiliates with an evangelical congregation; 62% has no religious association.

Pack Your Shoe Box before Your Beach Bag

School is out and summer has officially arrived!

It’s the time for sleeping in, diving in, sun-scorched days at the ball field, and long trips in the family minivan. So gear up, and get ready to head out!

But wait! Before building that sand castle, what about building God’s kingdom? Rather than rushing to pack your beach bag, why not first pack a shoe box?

Each year, Samaritan’s Purse sponsors Operation Christmas Child, a project that collects gift-filled shoe boxes for children in need. Download a promotional video or create your own to share with your group or church.

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.

Serve Others

Missionaries are some of the most selfless people in the world. Many leave their comfort zone, their homes, and families to serve God and others. Missionaries give selflessly of themselves.

Their happiness is truly lasting. A selfless person will attract takers and sometimes will be unappreciated. Boundaries must clearly be set. The world may seek the advice of a selfless person and then ignore it. In order to be selfless, whole-hearted and genuine, we must take care of ourselves first in order to give our best self to others.

However, being selfless does not have to mean being a doormat. Stand on the Word of God. The Christian life is not about self-promotion; it is about self-denial.

God didn’t add another day in our life because we needed it, He added it because someone out there needs us.        

 

 

Minister

The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.

There are many ways to be a selfless servant in our communities and around the world. People are hurting and are in need of a loving Savior. Disaster relief is a good way to be the hands and feet of Jesus as we approach the season of storms, tornadoes and hurricanes. Perhaps your church could serve as a shelter or feeding center.

Hunger is another prevalent problem in our society. Try keeping food packets (granola bars, beef jerky, etc.) in the glove compartment of your car to give to someone in need. Provide a meal to school teachers during teacher preparation week. Provide a meal and/or hold a special service to recognize local fire, police and EMT personnel.

The challenge is to develop a strategic plan to spread the Gospel while we are ministering in our communities.

**Photo credit: Joseph Sohm / Shutterstock.com  

 

Surrender

The first step to selflessness is to surrender your life to Jesus and become one of His disciples. Selflessness requires the stopping, quitting, halting of anything and everything that might impede our fellowship with God.

We must seek to follow the will of God and refuse to do our own will. Selflessness requires rejecting desires of the flesh and leading a holy path. We receive the greatness of God first then we are made aware of our nothingness.

Christian belief of selflessness comes from Jesus not only implying it through words but from action. Just as He sacrificed Himself, we should sacrifice our life for Him. We must renounce ungodly and worldly passions that come from our own desires. Jesus demands in our heavenly hope, for behold, our reward is great in heaven.

When we realize God’s purpose for our lives isn’t just about us, He will use us in a mighty way.

 

 

Full of Ourselves

As humans, it is our very nature to be selfish. We want everything done our way and on our time schedule.

We become wrapped up in “my world” that we don’t think of others. Our schedules are busy running hither and yon, we don’t have time to be bothered or inconvenienced. The world teaches to do whatever feels good, no matter who it hurts.

Pride keeps us from becoming a humble servant. We pursue everlasting joy in earthly things. We tend to place our hope in the things of this world. We were born with a sinful, selfish nature.

We are constantly searching for worldly pleasures. We are obsessed with getting more and having more than our neighbor. We are so busy “keeping up with the Joneses,” that we leave God out. God can’t fill us when we are already full of ourselves.

 

LaNita Mitchell lives and serves in Princeton, KY. She has a Master’s Degree in Christian Ministry.

 

 

 

 

 

Doing Less Brings Peace

Missionary, wife, and mother of 4 Heidi Sivonen is learning that doing less brings peace to her home.

“As a big family, we have learned as parents and as a couple that we need to prioritize life in such a way as to not be busy-bodies. Protecting the family from ‘busy-ness’ and learning to say no to the plethora of opportunities has helped us to create more peace in the home. Our ministry is full and we need to know our limits as we take up our cross and follow Jesus.”

Heidi and her husband, Mikko, serve as church planters in Finland. Mikko is the church-planting pastor of Espoon Kotikirkko and cofounder and coleader of Agricola Theological Institute, where he helps train local church members, elders, and pastors in church planting. Heidi helps a national crisis pregnancy group (her husband’s church houses 1 of 10 trained crisis pregnancy centers in Finland) and blogs at HousewifeUniversity.blogspot.com.

Missionary Spotlight Update: Nathan and Andi Knight

Restoration Church continues to reach a global population in the nation’s capital. One such example is a young Chinese girl who began attending the church more than a year ago. She could be found at many of the fellowship gatherings but continued to only “consider Jesus.” Recently, after a sermon addressing the meaning and importance of the Lord’s Supper, she came to copastor Nathan Knight and, in broken English, said, “I have decided to follow Jesus. What must I do now?” The church celebrated her conversion as she was baptized. This young girl gave an incredibly God-glorifying, Christ-exalting testimony in front of many people. Today she continues to be mentored and discipled by another girl from China in the church.

Loving Different People

Cissy McNickle; her husband, “Buff;” and their 3 children moved to Atlantic City, New Jersey, almost 3 years ago to plant a church. They believed God had equipped them, but it was still a scary move.

In the Northeast, only 5.9% of the population is affiliated with an evangelical church. Cissy had to learn to love people different from her genuinely. That includes girls working in strip clubs.

Cissy oversees a ministry to these girls called Love’s Way Out AC. The ministry is affiliated with Grace Falls Church, which Cissy and Buff planted.

“I love the ministry of church planting God has called my family to, and I will continue to allow God to use my circumstances to conform me more and more into the likeness of Jesus,” Cissy said.

She has witnessed the power of prayer in their ministry and requested prayer for the protection of her marriage and children as well as for boldness to do the work God has called her family to do.

LaNita Mitchell writes and serves from Princeton, Kentucky. She has a master’s degree in Christian ministry.

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