WMU Blog

Are You Keeping Score?

It is safe to say that on any given topic not everyone will agree with you. Even as moms there are plenty of topics that can stir up mixed emotions, but as children of God we should not let these differences cause divisiveness among us. When we allow our flesh and focus to be of the world we can become so obsessed with “fixing it” and “having that person see our side” that before we know it our eyes are off of God and we are in dangerous territory. We are now the one “calling the shots” and essentially telling God, “I’ve got this covered.” I have been guilty of this before and the outcome was “no bueno” (not good).

Not too long ago my heart was deeply saddened and frustrated by another person close to me. At first, I was so focused on the issue I had no room to forgive or extend love to that person. God convicted my heart of this selfish, self-righteous attitude.  He made it very clear to me that He loved that individual and me just the same. Whether or not that person would ever rectify the hurts was not for me to keep track of. What I was called to do involved praying for that person and forgiving her even when she had not asked for forgiveness.

Enemy Feels Like a Strong Word

Love your enemy. A phrase heard so often in the church, yet one producing a wrestling match in our souls.

Who is our enemy?

And maybe we don’t use traditional words, like, “Oh, John Smith, he is my enemy.”

But it slips into our lives more subtly. The people who annoy us, so we dodge them when we pass them in the office hallway. Or the conversations you avoid because you are tired of the same conversation, where the same debate comes up—because you two will never see eye to eye.

Or sometimes it’s deeper. The people who have hurt us. Physically, emotionally, or spiritually. People who to society are justified in receiving our distrust and disengagement.

70 x 7 times. 

He had hurt me.

He had hurt people I loved.

And I felt justified in my anger, hurt, and frustration.

Until God told me it was time to start praying and let this go. It was time to loosen my rights and my view of justice and surrender it to the Almighty. 

Honestly, the prayers started out as “please fix him in this way” kind of prayers. You know the kind I am talking about . . . because you have probably prayed them before too.

Bonding Together

Our church is a collection of people from various backgrounds. Several people have no biblical background or come from a different belief system. Others have attended traditional churches but are willing to help grow a young church. What is amazing about this small group is the older women.

Our women have bonded and gracefully share love and acceptance with everyone else. Newcomers are quickly adopted into the group. Each new woman is embraced (literally and figuratively) and taken under the wings of the group.

These women are neighbors who desire to reach out and love even more neighbors.

Sick beds are visited, funerals attended, meals offered, and outings embraced. The women thrive on helping others’ projects like collecting food, sharing hobbies, hosting baby showers, and knitting and crocheting for nursing home residents.

Christian fellowship causes these women to rely on and support each other. They adore having a missions project and the chance to work together. Common life experiences and age group cement them together and provide understanding, compassion, and support.

Growing Through Hands-On Missions

In a conversation with a friend not too long ago, she shared that her Women on Mission group had been collecting items for a local ministry. Once all the donations had been collected, the facilitator said she would drop the items off on behalf of the women. Some of the younger women spoke up to say they wanted to assist in taking the items because they wanted to see and experience the ministry themselves.

Seeing the benefit of people becoming part of a ministry is key to promoting missions and growing a missions organization. With daytimes that are filled to the brim, women are no longer excited to attend a missions meeting to just “read a part” in a missions magazine.

Selflessness: The One-Size-Fits-All Key to Ministry

For years, I had a common misconception—I thought ministry was all about abilities, spiritual gifts, schedules, etc.

Although these things are definite parts of ministry, I’ve discovered a more important one-size-fits-all key to ministry: selflessness.

Philippians 2:5–7 tells us that Jesus, Who came to be our salvation, accomplished all this within His selfless, perfect character. Jesus “made himself nothing,” coming not to be served but to serve our most desperate need. Therefore we also must become selfless in order to carry out the gospel mission.

So how do we do that?

Be willing to be used by God. He equips those who say yes when they are called. God uses gifts and talents, but He also uses the most ordinary things for His purposes.
Set aside your wants and needs so you can focus on God’s agenda. After all, your schedule belongs to Him.
Focus on God’s abilities to help you face your fears while doing something new.

Today take some time in prayer to seek God, asking Him to make you into the selfless servant He wants you to be!

Feed Your Neighbors, Next Door and around the World

Global Hunger Relief

October 11 is Global Hunger Sunday. What has our group done to focus on the needs of the hungry?

We are a small group. Averaging 30–35 in attendance any given Sunday, we realize huge projects may be beyond our means. But we don’t let that stop us. For the past several years, we have taken steps to help the hungry in our community—our closest neighbors.

October is the month we begin planning and collecting food for our annual Thanksgiving baskets. These baskets contain the makings of a generous Thanksgiving dinner. Our goal this year is to prepare 15 baskets, which will be given to families in need in our community.

But it is not enough.

What can we do to focus on the needs of the hungry—the ones who live in the global neighborhood?

I think it may be time for a hunger experience, one designed to heighten awareness of the severity of world hunger and inspire us to reach out and help.

Brokenness: The Seed of Compassion

Compassion isn’t something we possess on our own. It is often born of deep brokenness in which we experience the unspeakable comfort of God.

When our son was diagnosed with severe autism before age 2, I had only a surface grasp of God. He was a feel-good God to me. He was the God we begged to remove our problems, the God whose job it was to make us comfortable.

But my relationship with God became intimate, soothing, and more precious in the years that followed. I learned Who God really is through His Word. As I trusted Him more, God revealed His sovereignty over all of life. While I walked through the dark valley of suffering alongside our son, I experienced sides of God not visible to the naked eye:

  • God showed me such love that it overshadowed the heartache of the hour.
  • God showed me He was for me, not against me.
  • God took my prayers and answered them according to His will.

The time of suffering would prepare me to minister to people. Because of God’s compassion, I now feel compassion for others and it has been woven into nearly every act of ministry or missions I’ve been a part of.

Working Together to Make Missions Successful

The most beautiful thing about missions is not simply that it exists but how God gets His work done and invites us to join in His mission. Using His people, God instills in us a desire to serve Him, different talents, and passions and a focus on the gospel.

One of my favorite missions projects is Operation Christmas Child, a project of Samaritan’s Purse. I love watching how many different types of people it takes to get thousands of shoe boxes packed each fall:

Connecting with the World around You

I was blessed to be part of a volunteer team that ministered at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. I enjoyed the international setting and the nations coming together in one place.

The Olympic missions experience taught me much about families.

Regardless of ethnicity, religion, income level, and country of origin, people desire some of the same things for their families. They seek

  • love
  • food and water
  • truth
  • kindness
  • security
  • relationships
  • things to do together

Believe it or not, the 2 things I did most as a volunteer along the River Thames were take photos of visitors and paint faces of young excited travelers. Visiting and connecting while helping with such simple tasks was a fantastic experience. I met many global neighbors I could love and help.

Missions engagement requires a willingness to connect—through everyday life activities—and build relationships with others. Proximity is a main ingredient for missions. Who is physically close to you? At work? At play? At home?

Look around. Whom can you connect with today?

Pastor/Church Staff Appreciation

 “So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ” Ephesians 4:11–13 (NIV).

October is traditionally Pastor/Staff Appreciation Month. It’s not too late to honor your church’s pastor and staff. As you do, there are a few things to keep in mind. Never forget that serving as a pastor or church staff member is a remarkable and awesome blessing and privilege. But, sometimes, church staff members are the most misunderstood people in the church. Often their hours are long, their pay minimal, the criticism considerable and constant. Despite the joys of serving God, feelings of disappointment and discouragement can plague the best of them.

However, there are several ways that God can use you to become a blessing in their lives:

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