Adults

Natural Conversations

I love my electric pressure cooker. It allows me to have the “set it and forget it” aspect of a slow cooker, but the food gets cooked in 1/3 of the time. And, the truth is, it doesn’t take much for me to want to tell you about it. That’s because I use it all the time and I think the results are miraculous. I can tie it into almost any conversation and I’ve been convicted recently about not doing the same with my relationship with Christ.

Why on earth would a pressure cooker be easier for me to discuss with people than the God Who saved me? I could give many reasons, but the most honest answer is that I spend more time focused on the trivial day-to-day things than I do my relationship with Christ.

Extraordinary Blessings in Ordinary Places

I like to consider myself a person who delights in the simple pleasures of life. A cup of coffee in the morning, a hug from a friend, or an afternoon spent driving with my windows down can lift my spirits more than an expensive trip to a spa or any sort of “retail therapy.”

Recently the Lord has been teaching me to see these small comforts as they are meant to be seen: as blessings from Him. Second Corinthians 1:3 says God is the “God of all comfort” and James 1:17 says, “Every good and perfect gift is from above.” So it is obvious that any happiness we derive from the little things, as long as they are free from sin, comes as a gift from the Lord.

Prayerwalking: Uncover Clues to Needs in Your Church Neighborhood

Week after week, I wheel into our church parking lot, pull in my favorite space, and hustle inside through the usual entrance. Seldom do I notice the neighboring landscape in the shadow of our steeple, much less the latest changes to the half-mile block surrounding our campus.

Call it routine, but perhaps I’m not alone in my traditional way of “doing church.” Have I become too comfortable within the walls of our sacred abode? Suddenly that powerful mandate known as the Great Commission saturates my heart like an unexpected summer rain. Jesus is calling us to go, to take His case well beyond the walls of His church into a lost and dying world.

Prayerwalking is a key step in answering His call.

Keep on Truckin’

Life on the road with an 18-wheeler in the United States can be hard. But there are relaxing truck stops along the way and comfortable berths and even satellite TVs in many trucks. Life on the road in West Africa is very different.

Truckers face long delays at border crossings with no facilities. They may sleep on mats by their trucks, cooking over open fires. They sit in the shade of their rigs for hours or days . . . waiting . . . talking . . . waiting. “They are sitting there with nothing to do except hear the gospel,” said Katee Sheppard*, an International Mission Board missionary in Burkina Faso.

So she began sharing oral stories from God’s Word, targeting truck drivers, and from there, training more and more nationals to do the same thing. As trucking routes connect all of Africa, the vision was for those West African truckers who became believers to share the gospel all along their routes. Ordinary truckers have become carriers of the divine message.

Connect with Others

Everyone has a story—good times or bad, sorrow or joy, boring or exciting. And just as we are all unique, our stories are unique.

In the past few years, Danielle Gonzalez’s story has been one of “wearing many hats” as she serves on staff of New City Church in New York City. (New City is a part of the North American Mission Board’s Send North America strategy to plant churches in major urban areas.) Presently Gonzalez is director of ministry administration, handling everything from logistics for Sunday mornings to helping in the accounting department to helping implement new ministry projects.

Since her story includes God’s story, she looks for places where the gospel is not present and discovers ways to take her story to the people there. Gonzalez has taken her story to local hangout places and workplaces.

Missionary Spotlight Update: David and Chris Cole

This summer was an exciting time at David and Chris Cole’s church, Oak Tree Church in Lee’s Summit, Missouri. The church hosted a youth camp, a holiday fireworks display, and a craft day for women. The craft day was the first one put on by the church and connected women for Christ over a special, one-sitting project.

As kids go back to school during the month of August, family schedules become busier. Pray for the Coles, their 5 sons, and their church, as they, too, must manage busier schedules and work to continually point people to Jesus. Of the more than 20,000 people within a 3-mile radius of the church, 91% does not attend church. Pray for Oak Tree to be able to reach many families for the Lord.

Art as Outreach

I am not an artist, but I recently discovered a way to explore painting and accomplish a project I am not afraid to display. The popularity of social painting is increasing as a way to get together with friends, have a good time, and come away with something uniquely yours.

Our church hosted several painting parties recently as missions offering fund-raisers and outreach events. Men and women, teenagers to senior citizens, novice to experienced artists gathered together to pray, paint, and fellowship. We invited unchurched friends, family, and co-workers to join the fun and demonstrated Christ to them.

Search your area for social painting venues that offer group classes or order kits online and plan your own party. Then grab a friend, some canvases, acrylic paint, and brushes and paint for the love of Christ together.

Lynn Durham is a Kentucky pastor’s wife with a heart for teaching women how to increase their faith.

Summer Opportunities Abound

How’s your summer going? Have you been busy? What kinds of opportunities have you had? Have you served in a ministry? Participated in a missions project of some kind? Maybe Vacation Bible School or a community event? Is your schedule full? Are you running ragged? Or perhaps you’re at the beach—finally resting—feet propped up, sun block on, and cold lemonade in hand. Mmm, I can almost taste it. . . . Rest is a good thing, too! Wherever we find ourselves this summer, opportunities abound.

I love the summertime. It has a different feel. Feet in the sand, sun on our faces; even if we’re working, running errands, or taking care of others, we can sometimes sense an energy with more hours of daylight and time to take a few breaks.

The good news is that God created summers. They were His idea! He also made us in His image, which means that we can get creative, too. In the summer, we sometimes have a different schedule that lends itself to drawing out our creative side. We may have many different opportunities to choose from, or we can create some of our own! What have you been thinking about this summer?

Henna Storying

Knowing hundreds of Southern Baptists would pray for me on my birthday, I decided to share the gospel on that day with as many Muslim women as possible. I invited six co-workers to join me in a visit to an outlying park in our Central Asian city. We took henna paste and a sign saying, “Free henna tattoo with a story.”

Many women stopped to sit for the tattoo and listen to the story. One woman announced, “They’re doing henna tattoos and telling Bible stories, and it’s like they are worshipping God.”

One middle-aged woman named Zeynap* stopped with her sister and baby. As she sat for the tattoo, I began the story, “In the beginning, God created the world and it was a perfect place.” I shared the story of the Fall and the story of the Savior. Zeynap was touched and wanted a Bible. She said, “I’ve been visiting old Orthodox churches looking for someone to ask about Jesus and trying to get a Bible.”

Mary-like Hospitality in a Martha World

“Have you had dinner yet?” our neighbor asked.

“No,” we replied.

The next thing I knew, my roommate and I were eating a dinner of fried egg and a South Asian sweet in the home of our Muslim neighbors.

We had talked with them only as we passed by on the street, but a simple dinner invitation got us into their home and gave us a chance to get to know them better.

The hospitality in South Asia rivals that of the southern United States, any day, anytime. Whenever I’m invited into a home, I can expect to enjoy a cup of hot tea and warm cookies or even a full meal.

My roommate and I have been able to return the hospitality, having friends over for holiday parties and having curious neighbors over to see our apartment. Regardless of the why, we take these opportunities to share our faith with whoever enters our home.

Hosting someone in your home is a big deal to South Asians, and they show their appreciation for the person visiting them by being gracious hosts and serving lots of food.

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