WMU Blog

Why It's Important to Get Together

This week, Baptists from all over the country are getting together to share family news, tell stories, and even share each other’s burdens. They look differently, speak differently, and even have polite disagreements about who has the best barbeque. But still they come. They have a diverse collection of opinions, passions, and dreams for the future. But still there is something that continues to draw them together. What could bring so many different kinds of people together? Despite all the differences, they all share one thing in common: Jesus.

WMU’s Missions Celebration and Annual Meeting and the Southern Baptist Convention are both testaments to this fact. Jesus has a way of bringing us together. Through collective worship, prayer, and service, the love of Jesus binds us together in a common purpose and mission. He loves us, we love Him, and we are committed to sharing that love with the rest of the world. If this love were ever forgotten, there would be no reason to get together. We would let our differences divide us and our own desires drive us far away from one another.

Saving Your Children through Life Stories

My daughter sat across the table from me, her forehead crinkling with confusion. “What do I do, Mom?”

Quiet hovered throughout the house this Sunday afternoon, with everyone else napping. I propped my elbows on the table. My thoughts twisted in every direction. How do I answer her? She’s 18, an adult now. I can’t say no, and I certainly can’t encourage her. She had been asked out on a date by someone she doesn’t really know, and she was conflicted on how to answer him.

Just as God passed along stories, the bad with the good, I’ve passed along my stories to my daughter—the bad with the good. She knows my teenage prodigal moments. She knows my story.

I touched her hand. “You don’t have to go.”

She saw right through to my heart, knowing my concern for her—my concern for her to learn from my bad and be the wiser. “What if I tell him that I’d like to get to know him better before I go on a date with him?”

“That would be wise.”

“Mom, I’m so glad I can talk to you.”

My Story

I came to know the Lord when I was 7 years old. Many people in my life were getting baptized, including my mom, and I had questions. The more I learned about that public profession of faith, the more I desired to have faith of my own. I began to understand what trusting Jesus meant, and knowing Him at such an early age changed my life. I am not perfect, but I am graciously forgiven for my sins and able to wake up every morning knowing that Jesus’ mercy to me is new each day.

I love my story, as simple as it is, because it is my story. A nonbeliever can argue all she wants about her hesitancy to believe in God, but no one can tell me my story isn’t true. No one can tell me the Lord didn’t change my life. Every day is proof that He did. It’s why our stories are important.

Feed the Hungry

Rather than just a once-a-year emphasis like Global Hunger Sunday, some churches maintain a year-round global hunger missions plan that involves all age groups and missions organizations. Some events are churchwide, some specific to a particular age or life stage, and some sponsored by one organization but open to all. Events might include the following:

CHRUCHWIDE

• Host a community Thanksgiving meal. Invite participants to bring nonperishable items for the church or community food pantry or an offering for Global Hunger Relief

• Schedule regular offerings for global hunger, the local food pantry, or the church benevolence fund—after Lord’s Supper services, one Sunday per quarter, or other times the church chooses.

• Invite a North American Mission Board or International Mission Board missionary to share how funds given to the offering for Global Hunger Relief have been used to meet physical as well as spiritual needs.

SENIOR ADULTS

His Schedule

Reading the church newsletter, Brenda sighed. In addition to the usual activities, a baby shower, a workday, a preview of the upcoming Easter music, and a new ladies’ Bible study were scheduled.

“Lord, with work and family responsibilities, how can I do all this?” she moaned. Gently, she sensed the Lord saying, “Let me, not the church calendar, plan your schedule.”

Brenda had been considering a local service project that could use her skills and provide interaction with unbelievers. Realizing God was leading her to revamp her schedule, she decided to bow out of choir, skip the workday, and forgo the Bible study.

When she received some critical remarks for lessening her church involvement, she lovingly explained her actions. With freed-up time, she began kingdom-building relationships in her community.

By Ann Maniscalco

 

 

 

 

Making the Most of Your Students' Time

In some parts of the country we are finally beginning to see the first light of spring. Winter hasn’t been easy for many folks as record-breaking snow falls have blanketed the country. In the last few days I’ve had friends posting pictures on Facebook of their bare feet walking in the sand and of daffodils that have finally popped up above the ground. It’s nice to know warmer days are on their way.

With the coming of warmer days spring break is already on the minds of many—teachers and students alike. It’s the first real break since Christmas. And sometimes by the time it arrives we are limping along in desperate need of some down time.

For some folks, spring break is a time for family vacations to tropical places or maybe the last effort to enjoy the winter weather by going snow skiing. However, for most, it’s a few days to sleep late, read a book, hang out with friends, etc.

As leaders in student ministry and missions, how can you help your students make the most of the time they have on spring break?

God Speaks to Us in the Quiet

Have you ever noticed that you hear a lot of sounds at night that you don’t usually hear during the day? Maybe it’s a dog barking, a quiet clock ticking, or even the wood in your home making clicks and pops as it settles. The Bible tells us that when Samuel was a young boy, God spoke to him one night as he was lying in bed. Samuel did not know it was God at first, but once he figured it out, he responded, “Speak. I’m listening.” Then God gave him a message. For the rest of Samuel’s life, God continued to speak to him in this way.

God speaks to us, too, but we often have to settle down and listen so that we can understand His message. This is one reason it is so important to make time to spend in prayer with God. When nothing else can distract us and we can listen carefully, God can speak to us the best. Samuel knew this well.

Do you want to find out what God has in store for you? Just start listening!

Have children practice these exercises with a friend to see just how much they can hear when they are focused. Give these instructions:

Impressions from Guatemala

Joye with kids

The people and place of Guatemala have a special place in my heart after going to Guatemala on a missions trip several years ago. I served with Orphan’s Heart at the Child Malnutrition Center in central Guatemala. Orphan’s Heart is a ministry of Florida Baptist Children’s Homes. Our missions team was made up of WMU members from across Florida, and I was so blessed to join this team for an incredible week of giving care to about 100 preschoolers under the age of 5 years. We served alongside their caregivers in playing, singing, feeding, bathing, and dressing the preschoolers throughout the day. During the week, I spent most of my days with the preschoolers who were just learning to walk. I spent part of a day with the infants, and another part day with the 3–4 year olds.

Ukuleles, Gratitude, and the Presence of God

There are certainly typical Thanksgiving week activities—traveling to visit family members, making pies ahead of time and putting them in the freezer, cleaning the house in preparation for company, and making gratitude trees, jars, leaves, banners, and so on—as a way to visibly express our thankfulness. And then there are the not-so-typical Thanksgiving-week activities. Like the ukulele concert I attended last night, for instance.

A friend of mine plays the ukulele and has taken group lessons the past couple of years. Each November the group has offered a concert. Several of us have gone to support our ukulele-playing friend, and to enjoy the concert of a group of 10–12 ukulele players. Not only do they play in concert, but they play fun, popular songs, including some oldies. Audience members are given lyrics sheets and invited to sing along. And to my surprise, the audience has enthusiastically participated in these concert experiences.

Be Real!

Genuine, bona fide, true. . . all key ingredients to relationships that matter. Being real with people can help us earn the opportunity to share the Gospel. So, how do we cultivate authenticity with those around us?

*Start with honesty. Find common ground without pretending to be something you’re not. Share strengths and struggles with humility, at appropriate times.

*Accept others. Refrain from judging people when they share things happening in their lives. Even if it’s not something you’ve encountered, try to acknowledge their feelings. When you need to share a differing opinion, respect their right to make their own decisions.

*Be trustworthy. Do what you say you’ll do. Make every effort to align your words with your actions. Keep confidences! Let others know if they confide in you, you will not share the information with others without permission (even disguised as a well-meaning prayer request.)

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