WMU Blog

Hot Fudge Cake and the Gospel (Part 1 of 3)

For me, it was really just about the hot fudge cake. After sitting through classes all afternoon and studying in the library well into the evening, my brain was tired. I slumped in the booth at my favorite diner, finishing my pasta bowl while dreaming of a hard-earned hot fudge cake topped with a scoop of vanilla, when all of a sudden God started interrupting my thoughts.

“God, You want me to witness to my waiter? That can’t be right. He’s a teenage boy; how could he possibly relate to anything I would say? And the other customers—dare I be so rude to tie up too much of his time and risk getting him in trouble with his manager?” Of course, there was also the little matter of having absolutely nothing intelligent to say. But God kept pressing.

I made an agreement with God. Since I had no idea how to start this conversation, I acknowledged God could put His words into my mouth (Jer. 1:9). “God, when the waiter comes back, I’m going to open my mouth, and whatever comes out has to come from You.” Then I waited and prayed. And nibbled on hot fudge cake.

Start Something New

I love wandering through bookstores when I have free time. While I have a Kindle and a tablet for reading when I fly on airplanes, I really prefer a real book. I love the feel and smell of a new book and the comfort it brings as my mind is transported wherever the book takes me.

I especially love missionary biographies like Both Feet In by Bud Fray and A Thousand Times Yes by Wana Ann Fort. Books like these provide deeper insight into the life and calling of missionaries and inspire us to lead and participate in missions with passion as well as knowledge. Their stories challenge us to commit our very best to the calling God has given us to live a missional life.

Sharing Among Differences

While my husband was in seminary, I taught fourth grade and the Lord began to show me that I wasn't there simply for the children. He brought a woman into my life that needed to hear of His love. I can remember thinking how easy it would be to build a relationship with her and just tell her everything I knew about Jesus. I envisioned her accepting Christ and coming to church with me for the rest of the year.

However, it didn't quite turn out that way. I didn't realize it at first but quickly came to the conclusion that I had never shared my faith with an adult before. I shared with children as a child and as an adult but never someone older than me. As I listened to her life story and started to learn of her struggles, it became very apparent to me that I had nothing to offer her. We had grown up differently, our marriages were worlds apart, and she had “heard the whole Jesus thing” before.

Doing Versus Being

Leaders are busy people. That is certainly true for myMISSION leaders who feel like they are performing a juggling act of responsibilities. However, as leaders it is easy to substitute or confuse serving God with loving God.

Serving God focuses on what we do. We may mistakenly begin to think that the more we do or the better we do it, the more we please God. We work tirelessly, often neglecting our bodies, our families, or other responsibilities, all the while convincing ourselves we are being a great leader in God’s kingdom.

However, throughout the Bible God tells us that His greatest goal for us is to live fully and freely in His love and respond to His love by loving Him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. Loving God focuses on being. Being God’s child, fully loved and free to enjoy a loving relationship with Him, is what God desires for you. The goal is to live fully in God’s love.

Christian leaders need to intentionally engage in a process of spiritual formation in order to more fully understand and live in this love relationship with God. Spiritual formation is:

Show and Tell

Do you remember being in preschool/kindergarten and having “show and tell” day? I can recall Friday mornings being an exciting day to take my special “item” to school to share with my classmates.

Each week though it never failed, right before my turn to stand in front of the class and share I would get butterflies in my stomach. I would get nervous, afraid I would stumble over my words or that my classmates would think my item wasn’t “cool” enough. When that happened, I forgot all about my motivation for choosing that special item because I was consumed by fear and failure.

Sharing Christ with someone can be much like “show and tell.” The thought of an opportunity to share the impact of Jesus in our life can be very exciting. We begin recalling those “ah-ha” moments when certain pieces of our journey to accept salvation became very real and “clicked”: when we accepted that the only way to God the Father was through His Son, Jesus Christ. We get excited thinking about how our lives are changed when we embrace grace, accept forgiveness, and pursue a life that brings honor and glory to God.

The Gospel and Cigarettes

Carrying coffee, my heart pounding out of my chest, I knew the conversation we were about to have. Discussing pleasantries of our week, we sat down on a bench in the park and watched the ocean.

Joy and I had been friends for a while, we met at a wedding and grew a friendship from there. She knew about my life and I had heard all about hers. Joy knew I was a Christian, but we had commonalities in our views of global politics and the beauty found in diversity.

As she lit her cigarette, I began to tell her how excited for Easter I was because it’s one of my favorite holidays. Having never really heard the meaning behind Easter, Joy asked me to explain more. With my heart fluttering, I sensed from the Holy Spirit this was the moment to share about Jesus.

#CMD2016 Project Ideas

Children’s Ministry Day is just around the corner (February 13). If you don’t yet have an activity planned for the children of your church, don’t fret. Consider one of these easy-to-incorporate ideas:

Courageous and Faithful

“My favourite verse is Psalm 63:3 ‘Because your love is better than life, my lips will always praise you.’ The last 4 years, I’ve gone through two bouts of cancer. God has been teaching me that His love for me is greater than even living on earth. This helps me as for the last 12 years I’ve lived in areas of great poverty and social challenges, with folks who have very broken lives. I get the privilege of sharing with them how great God’s love is.”

Gena Wilson’s life truly is a testimony of courage and faith. She describes the area that her team focuses on as the area where tour buses do not go in Glasgow, Scotland. In the midst of this urban deprived center, she reaches out intentionally to the outcasts and those who have been marginalized, bringing to them a message of faith and hope and love. Miss Wilson feels especially drawn to those who live with addictions and violence and abuse. She knows that the love of Jesus Christ is the only answer to their issues and fears. 

A Childlike Faith

This past week in GA, as we learned about missionaries serving in Miami, Florida, I asked girls to think about their own personal testimony and how they could share it with a friend. Children, being concrete learners, need examples, so I shared my story with them:

I was born into a loving, Christian home in the heart of the Bible belt. My parents took me to church every Sunday (not once, but twice) and every Wednesday night. I was blessed with wonderful Sunday School teachers, missions leaders (Mission Friends, GA, and Acteens), and ministers (children, youth, and music) who taught me Bible stories, engrained biblical principles into my daily living, and demonstrated God’s love through missional lifestyles. At the age of seven, I asked Jesus into my heart and made a personal commitment to follow Him as my Savior through baptism. From that moment on, God gave me a desire to serve people and a heart for missions.

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Time for Missions

Our fast-paced society leaves us with little time to devote to missions. If we are not careful, then we schedule all our time doing “good” things and often overlook the “best” things God has for us.

Here are a few tips to help you make room on your calendar for missions:

  • Look at responsibilities for which you have volunteered. Decide which ones are in line with what you believe God has called you to do in your life.
  • Determine the time frames for these current responsibilities. If there is a specific end date to fulfill a responsibility, do your best to make it through that time so you can complete your commitment. If it is an activity that has no specific end time and is not aligned with what you believe God has called you to do, eliminate it from your schedule.
  • When asked to take on another commitment, spend a lot of time in prayer and consideration so that you do not automatically take on something else that will distract you from God’s purposes for your life.

With just a little planning and a lot of prayer, you can make time to be involved in missions.

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