WMU Blog

Jesus and Jack

In late Winter, with great trepidation, I make my annual trek to a local accounting office to file my tax return. However, I know I will also spend an extra hour listening to my exuberant accountant share about his most recent mission adventures.

Jack Roach is a respected local CPA. But anyone who knows him has no doubt that his considerable energy and strongest passion is directed toward sharing the love of Jesus through ministry. Besides local work in jail ministry, Jack’s lay-led mission projects take teams of volunteers into risky corners of our globe to share the gospel, provide practical service, and encourage believers.

I know, besides my tax results, I will be inspired by how Jack perseveres in prayer for a young Muslim girl who calls him “father.” His burden and the giving of others enabled her to receive medical treatment. We join Jack in longing for the day she embraces the Light of the World and comes to know the “Everlasting Father” through the salvation of her soul.

Three Glazed Donuts

Little girl with sugar glazed face

There was something all around his mouth, spanning from one ear to the other. It looked strangely like donut glaze. I asked, “Did you eat something in preschool choir tonight?” He confirmed my suspicions by shouting, “Yes! We had donuts!” Later I found out that he had eaten not just 1, but 3 donuts. Thus the amount of donut glaze on his face. I wondered why they allowed the preschooler to eat 3 glazed donuts at 6:30 in the evening. On the previous Sunday, our preschool choir sang in the morning worship service, and this was their party or reward for singing so nicely. But 3 donuts?!

Missional Perseverance

As the communications specialist for Kentucky Woman’s Missionary Union, I hear a lot of churchy buzzwords every day I’m in the office: missional, sacrificial, authentic, discipleship.

Sometimes in my work environment, it is hard to remember what those words really mean. I can show you hundreds of examples of Christians who are living missionally, but I struggle to live missionally myself.

Ninety-nine percent of the time, I am surrounded by Christians. I have to be very intentional about interacting with people outside my normal circle in order share my faith. For an introvert like me, that is a real challenge.

Chances are that your struggle is very different from mine. Living a missional lifestyle is usually not the most popular choice. It is not an easy lifestyle in any environment.

James 1:2­­–3 (NIV) says, “Consider it pure joy . . . whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.”

The Not-So-Easy Commission

When Jesus left his disciples with the Great Commission, nowhere in his verbiage did he say or did he even hint what he was asking them to do would be easy.

Jesus knew the sins of humankind. He knew that sharing the gospel would lead to discrimination, imprisonment, and death for these bold few He called.

Of course he knew. He had just experienced a tortuous death of his flesh.

The call to share the name of Jesus to the ends of the earth will always take sacrifice. It is not a call where we can sit within our comforts and delights and be effective in reaching out. Oftentimes in our lives, when God calls us to be bold and share His love, it comes at a cost.

Changing routines. Moving communities. Giving up money. Giving of our time. And for some, moving to distant lands.

We must begin loosening our grip on our time, finances, and family, in order to allow space for the kingdom at work to move.

Babies and Bible Stories

It’s 7:30 p.m. The sun is quickly fading in the western sky. The day is drawing to a close. It’s been a long day. There have been so many tears. One child has an ear infection and the other has strep throat. It’s a busy time at work; the annual fund-raiser is just around the corner and your community has been hit hard economically, so giving is down.

After a long day, it’s tempting to rush bedtime. You’ve been counting down the minutes because a warm bath and a few moments of quiet solace would nurture your weary soul. As you're pushing your child toward bed, she turns to look at you and says, “But Mama, we have to read a Bible story first.”

You think, "Not tonight. I just want a few moments of 'me' time." Yet, as you look in her eyes, and though you know that part of her is just trying to avoid bedtime, you smile and reply, “Oh yes, dear. Let’s read a Bible story. Thank you for remembering that.” And as she curls up in your lap and tells you all about the big fish and how dark it is inside its belly, you’re reminded of God’s great love for His children and His unfailing patience.

When It’s Easier to Give Up

I can think of many situations where I’ve wanted to give up. They vary from finishing a paper to working out at the gym, or even trying to mend a relationship.

When things become tougher than we originally expected, it can be tempting to quit. However, God often uses these moments to teach us an aspect of the fruit of His Spirit: patience.

Aren’t you glad God doesn’t give up on us? Philippians 1:6 (NIV) says, “being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”

I wrote this verse on a sticky note and put it on the front of my study Bible, where it stayed for nearly two years. Every time I opened that Bible, the verse reminded me that I was a work in progress. The Holy Spirit is my teacher, and He will never give up on me.

The Testing that Produces Perseverance

Early in my walk with Christ, I had no idea how much faith is tested through the trials, heartaches, and afflictions of this life. I had thought you focused on acting out your faith through Christian service and that was the best way to express your love for Christ.

But I had lessons yet to learn, and a gracious God who would teach me.

The frailties of life would become like a “friend” who came and knocked on the door of my heart every now and then. When I accepted them and let them into my life, it also allowed my best friend, Jesus, to work in the situation.

After our son’s diagnosis of autism, the entire family dynamics would change in our house. Sometimes the struggle seemed too much to bear. But it didn’t take too long into this life journey to realize God was showing me what it meant to persevere through faith.

Affliction has refined my beliefs,

helped slough off the deadness of my fleshly nature,

and helped me effectively serve God in so many ways.

When God sends us straight into the storms of life, it’s no accident.

Trust me…he knows what He is doing.

Work Better with Church Staff

As a WMU leader, a good working relationship with church staff is vital. Whether your church has just a few staff members or many staff members, get to know them and be aware of their responsibilities.

DO

  • Respect their time. Make appointments when you need to meet with them whether for planning or discussing an item of concern.
  • Include staff in planning. Ask for staff members’ input and ideas before asking for their help.
  • Thank them for their help. No matter how seemingly small the task, your appreciation goes a long way.
  • Honor church policies and procedures. Your cooperation helps the staff do its work and will help you achieve your goals.
  • Plan ahead and keep deadlines.
  • Honor your commitments to church staff. If you have agreed to carry out a task, then do it with excellence.
  • Pray for church staff.
  • Participate fully in church activities. Be supportive of the staff in all areas.
  • Volunteer to help with a variety of church activities. Staff members appreciate those who help where needed.

DON’T

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Why Wait?

Do you wait well? Or do you give up quickly if the line is long, the results aren’t immediate, or a prayer isn’t answered? Sometimes the fulfillment of even a God-given vision takes more time than expected and tests our capacity to persevere.

I have been inspired by the perseverance of my friend Doug as I have watched him hold fast and “chase after” his God-sent dream. For several years, Doug, a local architect with a young family and church leadership role, has vigilantly pursued his vision for a children’s interactive Bible museum in our city.

He has patiently (or not!) sought support, funding, and possible locations while gathering a creative leadership team to provide counsel and a support base to brainstorm and bounce off ideas about decision making. He has also developed extensive plans and story themes while pursuing community dialogue and involvement from local citizens and churches.

A Little Recognition Never Hurts

Around this time of the year, missions education organizations begin preparing for their annual recognition services. These special services provide opportunities to recognize the accomplishments of boys and girls who have worked hard all year long. These services also provide an opportunity for family, friends, and church members to become more familiar with the church missions education program.

When considering your church’s recognition services, several key factors should be remembered:

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