:: 08/27/2015 - 10:21am ::

One of the most beautiful Scriptures I’ve read is Galatians 6:2: “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”

This short passage is like a chameleon, able to change into whatever life circumstances or ministry we find ourselves in.

The words “each other” have a personal ring to them.

Someone I love has celiac disease, caused by a severe allergy to gluten. When a woman in her women’s group became aware, she made sure that something gluten-free was on the refreshment table at meetings. This simple act of ministry makes one woman feel included, instead of always having to brown-bag her own treats.

Working alongside other women causes us to discover their weaknesses. Overlooking these or using our strengths to minimize their weaknesses exemplifies Christ, because we’re bearing their burden with His grace.

Coming alongside a new believer who needs to be discipled is more than just an encouraging role; it is bearing the burden of her unformed spiritual beliefs by taking the time to guide her toward God’s Word.

When you wake up in the morning, ask the Lord to show you some way to bear someone else’s burden. You might be surprised how different that looks from day to day.

Sheila Gosney lives in Monroe City, Missouri. She is a freelance writer whose passion is educating and inspiring believers for the daily mission of God’s will.

:: 08/24/2015 - 10:40am ::

Keeping it simple means keeping the focus on Him. A simple mission objective keeps us on task to fulfill the Great Commission. The methods may be many, but the mission is straightforward. Continually reminding ourselves to keep the goal of making Him known paramount helps ensure the main thing is indeed the main thing.

Without this goal in mind, we can become distracted by complex means and methods. What we are doing can easily overshadow why and for Whom we do it.

And often keeping it simple is what makes it happen. If the plan becomes too intricate, then the steps to completion can become a stumbling block in the missions and ministry journey.

As you plan your new missions and ministry year, consider sifting each endeavor with these questions:

  • Will it glorify Jesus?
  • Will it create an opportunity for others to know Jesus?
  • Is it unnecessarily complex?
  • Is there a way to do the same thing more simply?

A new year is when we often do personal evaluations and make resolutions. It can—and should—be the same for our missions and ministry new year!

Laura Macfarlan is seeking simplicity from northwest Arkansas. Connect with her at CrossMyHeartMinistry.com.

:: 08/20/2015 - 10:50am ::

The new year ahead beckons us to take a fresh look at our Women on Mission® groups. If you are a leader, then you likely attended training this summer. Now it’s time to flesh out ideas for the year ahead:

  • Kick off the year with a special event; include a guest speaker, fellowship meal, or collection toward a project. Create displays of various WMU® mission focuses.
  • Consider whether your meetings could be improved. Perhaps you need to devote more time to prayer.
  • Think about creating a new group. Younger women may enjoy having their own Women on Mission or myMISSIONSM group. Nurture them with your support.
  • Plan new mission action projects, while holding on to annual projects. Discuss ways to include the men and teenagers of the church in your projects. Discover what outreaches in your community are lacking; see if your group can bridge any gaps.
  • Give copies of Missions Mosaic to new women who attend your church. Donate copies to a battered women’s shelter, accompanied by the gift of a Bible.

Whatever your plans are for the year ahead, celebrate the gospel together!

Sheila Gosney lives in Monroe City, Missouri. She is a freelance writer whose passion is educating and inspiring believers for the daily mission of God’s will.

:: 08/17/2015 - 9:58am ::

Before making dinner, most of us take inventory of what ingredients we have on hand. You can’t make hamburgers without ground beef or spaghetti without pasta.

We also need to consider our available resources in ministry—not just the money but also the adults in our group. What are their ages, gifts, available time, and physical limitations?

Plans for a group of 30–40-year-old working adults differ from plans for a group of 60–80-year-old retired grandparents. But different is good. If your group includes adults from both of these—and other—demographics, you are blessed! The key is to focus on what you can—rather than what you can’t—do.

At a recent Women on Mission® meeting, we opened our local paper to scout opportunity. An article highlighting an emergency dispatcher who talked a father through delivering a baby at home prompted this note:

“We praise God for your calmness under pressure in talking this father through the delivery of his baby at home. What could have ended in a tragedy when the cord was wrapped around the baby’s neck ended in joyous celebration for dad, mom, and baby. We believe God had you on duty that day for a reason!

With love,

Your Friends at First Baptist Church”

Ministry can be done right from your kitchen table.

Laura Macfarlan is seeking simplicity from northwest Arkansas. Connect with her at CrossMyHeartMinistry.com.

:: 08/13/2015 - 8:48am ::

My mom asked me, “Did you see that homeless woman near the entrance to Walmart?” Mom said she felt the urge to stop and give her what little cash she could find in her purse. Mom chatted with the woman and asked how many children she had, where she lived, and if she was married.

Mom continued, “I wished I had a gospel tract, but I didn’t. So I told her the gift was in Jesus’ name.”

Later I wondered whether that young woman had ever heard the name of Jesus in such a spirit of love? Had anyone ever stopped long enough to ask her about her family?

We tend to overanalyze how the Lord wants to use us. We look for the huge projects, ongoing ministry, or mission trips.

Yet God still desires to use us in the simple ways—when His Spirit leads. Our interaction may be like a blip on a radar screen. But we don’t know how God can use that fraction of time in someone’s life.

In Matthew 22:34–39, a Pharisee questioned Jesus about the greatest commandment of the Law. Jesus replied that we must love the Lord supremely and love other people.

That Scripture shows me the simple, yet grand, foundation for all Christian ministry. 

Sheila Gosney lives in Monroe City, Missouri. She is a freelance writer whose passion is educating and inspiring believers for the daily mission of God’s will.

:: 08/10/2015 - 11:20am ::

On the simple-to-complex continuum, how would you rate your missions and ministry efforts? Does our culture dictate our work must be complex to be meaningful? Is grand a prerequisite for excellence?

Jesus is our model for all things, and reading through the Gospels, we see His focus was often on an individual rather than a crowd. He devoted Himself to the one before Him—loving each by meeting his or her individual need.

Consider the deaf and mute man in Mark 7. Verse 33 says Jesus “took him aside, away from the crowd.” Jesus touched this man, He prayed, and the man was healed. The man could hear and speak. Jesus’ focus was on meeting the need of the man—not on drawing attention to Himself. (He even told the man not to tell anyone.)

How about us? Do we do what we do to make much of Him . . . or get the credit for what we do for Him? Does grand ministry to the masses win out over simple ministry to the one?

Our God is grand and complex, but living on mission for Him can be simple. Following Jesus’ example means we love the one He brings into our path today.

Lord, bring me someONE to love on today.

Laura Macfarlan is seeking simplicity from northwest Arkansas. Connect with her at CrossMyHeartMinistry.com.

:: 08/06/2015 - 10:55am ::

Years ago, I had the idea that prayer was just a push-button activity as a “perk” of Christianity. If you needed a job, then you would put yourself on the prayer chain. If you had sick children, then you would tag your Christian friends with prayer requests.

In my mind, prayer was solely for the purpose of asking God to reverse the negative.

As God began drawing me closer to Him, I learned how much prayer was a thriving part of a daily walk with Christ!

God showed me that I am literally serving Him through my prayers. When I worship and praise Him, I know God desires my adoration.

When I look around at the lost world and then pray for His will, I am serving God. When I take the time to lift others up for healing, I am encountering God in intercession.

When my petitions become less about me and more about the kingdom, my prayers become servant prayers.

And when I don’t just tell someone, “I’ll be praying for you,” but I meet her or call her to pray over her, prayer becomes a living, breathing ministry in which God flows through me.

“She [Anna] did not leave the temple complex, serving God night and day with fasting and prayers” (Luke 2:37 HCSB). 

Sheila Gosney lives in Monroe City, Missouri. She is a freelance writer whose passion is educating and inspiring believers for the daily mission of God’s will.

:: 08/03/2015 - 11:06am ::

Not only is the word “committee” not found in the Bible, but it also is doubtful a committee could be found in heaven.

But assuming you and I were on a committee planning the Incarnation of Jesus, what input would we offer? Would the plan be complex or simple?

You can imagine the major concerns voiced on the proposed place: Israel.

“Wouldn’t powerful Rome be a better choice?” one committee member might suggest.

“We could rent out the Colosseum—the perfect venue for a large crowd,” another might add.

Jesus didn’t choose Rome and He didn’t target powerful leaders for His team. Perhaps His method was intended to communicate much about His message: they are both simple.

Aren’t we grateful for the gospel’s simplicity? A child can understand it. Perhaps John Newton, who wrote the words to “Amazing Grace,” said it best: “I am a great sinner and Christ is a great Savior.”

But simple does not mean easy. There was nothing easy about the cross. And turning our lives over to Christ may be simple but may also bring difficulty. A wise pastor once said, “The Christian life is not the easiest life, but it is the best life.”

How do our missions and ministry model the simple, but life-changing, message of the gospel?

Laura Macfarlan is seeking simplicity from northwest Arkansas. Connect with her at CrossMyHeartMinistry.com.

:: 07/30/2015 - 8:56am ::

Somehow our house has shrunk. I’m not sure how it happened. When we moved in, it seemed more spacious. It was almost quiet. Each child had his or her own room, bed, and bedtime. Fourteen years, 2 more children, a dog, and a cat later and this house has definitely grown smaller.

“Important” things are stuffed in every nook and cranny, and it is almost always loud. If God allows, we will trade this shrunken house for one without such problems. Yet I can’t shake the feeling that we’re always exactly where God wants us.

My home is my mission command center. My neighborhood is part of my mission field. What ministries have I left undone right where I am? Once I’m gone, will my neighbors be able to say I showed the love of Christ to them? Unclutter me, Lord. Focus my strained eyes on what You see. Use me right where I am until You move me.

Kimberly Hart is a wife, mom, teacher, and financial secretary in Florida. She wears too many hats and is perfectionistically disorganized yet so blessed by God and honored to be used at all.

:: 07/27/2015 - 10:38am ::

Small group, worship, missions committee, praise team/choir, business meeting, student ministry, children’s choir, prayer group. Church activities often eat up every minute of our free time.

Being a part of a Christian community is so vital to our health and growth in Christ. But there is such a thing as taking too many vitamins. After awhile, it does not make you healthier; it just wastes your money.

After leaving a small dying church that seemed to suck the life out of our family, we decided to join a larger church in our community. At the same time, we made the intentional decision to be less involved in church and leave time for school and community activities. We felt God leading us this way, though we were not sure why.

Although we started leading small groups and serving in other ways, we left time to become involved in PTO, scouts, youth sports, and even a garden club. In other words, we took our Christian influence out into the community. And God blessed us with non-Christian and nominally Christian friends whom we would never have been able to influence. Sometimes less church is truly more.

God has led Anna Kathryn Hardin back to the Birmingham area, where she is living in Hoover, Alabama.

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