Monday, October 31, 2011

Missional Focus: {Day 25} Serving Others

Being missional is living a life that involves intentionally serving others to win more to Christ through living out and sharing the Gospel.

I always thought that serving others needed to be big and a part of something more organised. I perhaps didn't think I really had anything to offer others by serving them.

The older I get the more I realise that serving others takes on all forms and isn't so much what you do, but a position of your heart.

 "Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people, (Ephesians 6:7 NIV)

Serving others involves seeing people through Jesus eyes, something that I admittedly am not that great at. I'm praying I get better at it, and praying that He will give me a heart like His.

When Jesus was asked what the greatest commandment was He replied like this:
 “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’ ; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ ” (Luke 10:27)

Loving your neighbor as yourself goes much further than the idea of "treating others the way you would like to be treated." It is about treating people with love, respect, kindness and generosity, even when you know they can't or won't give you any in return.

Jesus knew what it was like to no be thanked or appreciated. In Luke 17:11-19 we are told of Him healing ten men with leprosy. Upon their healing only one man returned to Jesus to thank Him. If Christ wasn't thanked by everyone He gave love to we should expect that there are going to be times when our serving others goes unappreciated too.

But we don't serve because we want to be showered in praise and admiration. We serve because all are created in God's image and He calls us to love others, even the most unlovable.

Perhaps spend a little time thinking about how you might be able to serve others, even if it just seems like it is a small thing. Ask God to give you a heart for people, and eyes to see them as He does. I promise, once you start to pray that kind of prayer, you will view people differently! He will start to do a work in your heart!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Missional Focus: {Day 24} Reflecting on the Word

Isaiah 61:1-3

New International Version (NIV)
The Year of the LORD’s Favor
1 The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me,
because the LORD has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,
2 to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the LORD
for the display of his splendor.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Missional Focus: {Day 23} Intentional

Being missional is living a life that involves intentionally serving others to win more to Christ through living out and sharing the Gospel. {adjective}
Done by intention or design, done on purpose, deliberate.

Part of living a missionally focused life is being intentional. It is making choices for a purpose and a reason. It involves not just settling for life happening around us and to us, but taking daily steps to be more Christ-like to everyone we encounter in all circumstances.

It's realising that life is short and that the time we are given is something to be treasured and used purposefully.

Philippians 2:13

New International Version (NIV)
for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose


What's one thing you can do today to me more intentional in how you live?

Friday, October 28, 2011

Missional Focus: {Day 22} Defining Missional

I guess it probably seems a little weird to be defining "missional" after talking about it for more than 20 days, but hey, that's me!

Be warned, my definition isn't wordy or overly theological. It isn't refined or even complete.

I have no doubt that God will grow my definition as He grows my heart to be more like His Son.

But, I am going to give it a crack!

Being missional is living a life that involves intentionally serving others to win more to Christ through living out and sharing the Gospel.

The end.

Just kidding!

This one sentence doesn't really do justice to all that I believe living missionally means, but I think it's a good starting point.

This is a great article on defining missional by Alan Hirsch.

In fact I probably could have just done a link to that article and have not written anything myself.

I'll be back tomorrow with some more thoughts. Or maybe I'll just have some links to people who say things way better than me. You'll have to come back to find out.

So suspenseful, no?!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Missional Focus: {Day 21} Looking Forward

We have spent the last 20 days looking at a whole bunch of organisations and people who are doing life missionally. Each one of the individuals bring their own gifts and talents to whatever it is they are doing. Each organisation likewise has the area that they specialise in. I hope if you have been following along that you have been encouraged and even inspired by the individuals, families and organisations.

For the next ten days though I hope to dig a little into what it means to be missional.

I am so not an expert,far from it in fact. I'm just someone who is realising that I haven't been living my life like Jesus wants me to be. I have spent so many years just doing church, the kind of church where I go along on Sunday mornings and to my small group during the week, and then I might be involved in a ministry area like youth leading or on the music team. The kind of doing church that is all about programs and feeding those who are already full and meeting all the wants of people who should probably already be mature in the faith.

The problem was that all of this was deeply dissatisfying. So I pulled right back from serving in any ministry areas with my church home and I have spent this year really looking at myself and trying to hear God's heart for my life, my role in His greater story, and my role in the church.

I believe that I will only feel dissatisfied when I am simply trying to feed myself more and more, when I am gorging on everything the modern church programs can offer. I get so frustrated with it all! (mostly with myself!)

So please join me for the journey over the next ten days as I try to hash out a little bit more some of what I believe God has been speaking to me about. It's not anything "new," it's actually a very old way of doing things, but it is a new way of living for me.

I would love it if you wanted to join the conversation by leaving comments. It would be great to have some dialogue going where people felt they could share their thoughts too!


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Missional Focus: {Day 20} Kellyanne

Today I thought I would share a link to my friend Kellyanne who made the decision to leave Australia this year and move to Haiti to teach in a school over there for the next couple of years!


Kellyanne is working at Quisqueya Christian School teaching grade 3 students and as she herself says:

"I want to partner with God and His purpose for Haiti. God is in the business of restoring people to Himself and bringing Hope to all nations. I want to be a part of His plan to rebuild the nation of Haiti. I want to live life on purpose by being intentional about what I do each day; by showing God's love to the people I meet. I want to encourage and motivate others to live their life for God's purpose and to use their unique talents to make a difference to the world around them."

Beautiful. Inside and out!

Check out her blog to see more of her adventures and her heart for Haiti and God!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

MIssional Focus: {Day 19} Give Every Day

Today I thought I would share about the Sheaffer family.
The family, Tim, wife Stephanie and their two young daughters, set out on a journey (in more ways than one) back in February. Their journey involved driving all over the USA for one year in an RV and finding ways to give every day.

They are giving of their time, their finances and their stuff. They are giving in large ways and smaller ways. They are giving by being involved with non-profits and churches as well as finding every day ways to give to those around them.

So far they have travelled through 26 states, gone over 17,000 miles, and volunteered with 40 non-profit organisations.

Their website has a blog about all their travels, and heaps of ideas on how people can incorporate giving into their everyday lives.

The Give Every Day website is a really fun and interesting read. I encourage you to check it out!

Monday, October 24, 2011

MIssional Focus: {Day 18} Ordinary Hero

Today's post is brought to you by the letter "O," as in Ordinary Hero!

Ordinary Hero is a child advocacy organisation founded by Kelly Putty. Kelly has quite an amazing story of grace, forgiveness, overcoming trauma and God's ability to use pain for a purpose. Go here to read all about Kelly's story and how Ordinary Hero came about.

Kelly writes a blog for Ordinary Hero where she shares what is happening with the organisation, and there is also the official website that contains all the information about Ordinary Hero - what they do, how you can support them, ways you can be an "ordinary hero" in your own community.


Sunday, October 23, 2011

Missional Focus: {Day 17} Kisses from Katie

Hello again! Over the last few days I have spent more time asleep than awake. What I thought was just a little bit of sickness, turned into an illness that knocked me out for days! I am back on my feet, although in a somewhat less than 100% capacity!

So for the next few days these 31 Day posts will continue to just be links to the blogs of some fantastically normal, ordinary people who are doing some fantastically extraordinary things because they are following in Christ's footsteps!

Today's link will so bless you if you take the time to check it out. (Well, check them out. It's a two for one deal today!)

Katie Davis is a courageous and inspiring young woman who at the age of just 18 travelled to Uganda, and was so touched by what she experienced there she returned and has since started her own ministry there - Amazima Ministries.

Do yourself a huge favour and check out her blog as well as the Amazima website!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Missional Focus: {Day 16} The Dunlap Family

Well, we have had two days of beautiful weather here (finally!), but unfortunately I think I am coming down with something, or I have really bad hay fever so I am simply going to post a link today.

I had the very great pleasure of meeting the lovely Katie Dunlap (and her family) in July when Dave and I were in Nashville. We were incredibly blessed to be able to join them for church, and then to have dinner with them the following night!

God is doing some wonderful things through this family, and Dave and I have been so encouraged and inspired by the way that Brad and Katie are living out the Gospel.

You can find out more about their story at Katie's blog A Bigger Story and also at Brad's blog Planting the Gospel.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Missional Focus: {Day 15} The Hendrick Family

Over the last few weeks I have posted about a whole lot of missional organisations, so this week I thought I would start doing some posts about people who are living missionally and are inspiring me to do the same.

I thought I would start off today with the Hendrick family who are missionaries working in Haiti with Heartline Ministries. Heather and her husband Aaron moved to Haiti from Texas in August 2010, taking their four boys with them. Heather is the lactation specialist with Heartline!

I LOVE reading the Hendrick's blog - Sit a Spell. Heather is so passionate about justice (and injustice!) and that spills out of everything she writes. This family has such an incredible story and they have shared so much of their journey, thoughts and beliefs on their blog. I am encouraged and inspired every time I read Heather's writing. Coming across her blog has played a major role in where my head and my heart are at in terms of being missionally minded. She makes me want to up and move to Haiti!

So if you want to be inspired, stop past Sit a Spell. Just make sure you have several hours to spare!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Missional Focus: {Day 14} Reflecting on the Word

2 Corinthians 8:13-15

New International Version (NIV)
13 Our desire is not that others might be relieved while you are hard pressed, but that there might be equality. 14 At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need. The goal is equality, 15 as it is written: “The one who gathered much did not have too much, and the one who gathered little did not have too little.”

God created ALL of us equal. His desire for those born into slums in Africa and India is exactly the same as His desire for those of us born in Australia and America - that all of our needs be met.

I think that most of us could admit that our needs are well and truly met - and then most  of our wants are too. God's desire is that His people would look after each other, that His family would look after each other. How many of us would turn our back if one of our siblings was without food or clothing or shelter - we just wouldn't would we? We would give them what they needed.

That is what God is asking of us, to take care of our family, His family if we claim to be a part of it, and to perhaps take a little of our wants, and turn them into someone else's needs. Let's not have too much at the expense of someone else's little.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Missional Focus: {Day 13} Heartline Ministries

Heartline is a ministry located in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. As they say "they work to provide the women and children in our community with a safe place to learn about Jesus and to adopt life-skills."
Heartline was founded by John & Beth McHoul who have been working in Haiti for over 20 years.

Heartline has a number of ministries aimed at supporting and empowering women and children. They have a student sponsorship program, a program where women can learn life skills to hopefully help lift their families out of poverty, a home for teen mothers and an incredible maternity centre.

The staff at Heartline are passionate about more than just serving the Haitian women's physical needs. They work hard alongside them to help meet their emotional and spiritual needs too.

Aussie, Aussie, Aussie. Oi, Oi, Oi!

At almost any international sporting event if there are some Aussies in the crowd you will hear them chanting "Aussie, Aussie, Aussie. Oi, Oi, Oi!"

What does it mean? I have absolutely no idea, but we chant it because we are passionate, we are sports fanatics and maybe a little bit crazy!

Australia is the 6th largest country in the world in terms of land size, but we only the 54th largest in terms of our population, with around 22 million people living here.

Similar to America we have a wide range of climates and landscapes. We have some spectacular coastlines, dry and dusty deserts, tropical rainforest's and plenty of bush.

Allow me to take a few moments to correct some myths about Australia.
1. We don't all act like 'Crocodile Dundee.'
2. We don't have kangaroo's as pets.
3. Koalas, while cute to look at are really, really stinky!
4. We don't ever - "Throw a shrimp on the barbie, mate."
5. We don't all eat Vegemite
6. We were colonised as a place for England to send criminals. That may explain a lot.

A few random bits of information
1. We have a national sport - Australian Rules Football. However it is really only massively popular in Victoria. Half of the national league is made up of teams from Victoria! New South Wales and Queensland prefer rugby (We don't care so much for rugby in Victoria).
2. We put tomato sauce on our meat pies. We say it's "un-Australian" when shops charge for sauce. Lots of them do. Un Australian!
3. Most Australians believe that we should have more public holidays. We don't care what it would be for, we just would like more of them!

Where I live in Victoria (the most southern, mainland state on the east coast of Australia) we have some incredible coastline with beautiful beaches as well as spectacular cliffs. We also some lots of bushland that is incredibly dry due to the fact that Victoria has been in a drought for most of the 21st century. Victoria is known as the state that experiences four seasons in one day, and it is completely true. Yesterday was 26 degrees C, sunny and beautiful. Today, 19, overcast and really windy. Any given day might start out sunny, by 10am be overcast, be sunny again by lunchtime, and then rain at 3:30pm, just in time for school to let out! We tend to not pay too much attention to what the forecasts say. Light layers is the dressing motto, that way we can take layers off when it gets warm and put them back on when it gets cold again, which it always does!

We are also a land that experiences some severe bushfires and flooding in the last 3 years. Images of those fires raging through Victorian towns (known as Black Saturday) and, at the complete other end of the spectrum, the water raging through Queensland towns less than two years later are some that many Australians will never forget.

We are a young nation, but we have a rich history, and while we may not be a particularly patriotic peoples, we tend to be extremely loyal and proud of our sporting achievements. We are particularly fond of beating New Zealand and England at any sport, and have a distinct dislike for the 'Barmy Army,' England's cricket cheersquad.

I have travelled to five of our eight states, but since some of travel happened prior to digital cameras I am going to introduce you to this man.

Ken Duncan. Christian guy, INCREDIBLE photographer. He spoke at our church a few years ago. I'm borrowing some of his images to show off this nation of the great south land!

Gunyah Beach, SA

Turimetta Beach, NSW

Twelve Apostles, Vic

Sliding Rock, NT

Cape Tribulation, Qld

Uluru, NT

Kimberley Falls, WA

Ormiston Gorge, NT

Kata Tjuta, NT

Russell Falls, Tas

Wanggoolba Creek, Qld

Snowy Mountains Shelter, Vic

Melbourne, Vic

Sydney, NSW
 I hope you've enjoyed this little tour of Australia. It is by no means a complete tour. Australia is such a vast land that there is really no way to capture it all, unless I did the biggest post ever, but then you wouldn't have gotten through it all! I will leave you with a video of one of the most well known and loved Australian songs - Waltzing Matilda (sung by one of Australia's most beloved singers, Slim Dusty).


P.S. I've been doing a series of posts on being Missionally Focused, click here if you're interested in reading along with those.