A Report From A Reluctant Missionary

A few thoughts from a short trip to Nicaragua to dedicate a medical clinic:

  • You don’t have to love to travel to be an effective foreign missionary. You know the guy that wakes up every morning excited about the next missions trip? Yeah – that’s not me. My life revolves around a six block area. I live there. I work there. I go to church there. I buy my coffee there. I’m very comfortable there. Really comfortable. God uses even reluctant guys like me to do some pretty cool things occasionally.

Leftovers from the weekend – Strengthening your financial core

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As promised, here are some of the leftovers from this past weekends message – Strengthening your financial core. You can watch the message here.

  • The opening illustration about the nine decisions you make when getting a cup of coffee came from this article.
  • This article has some simple but practical steps for attacking the mountain of debt that comes from large student loans and easy credit card availability.
  • Here is an article with a creative take on savings. It talks about treating your dollars like employees.
  • This article talks about how important it is to have a financial backup plan and how to make one.

Merry Christmas

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“Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel, which means ‘God is with us.’” (Matthew 1:23 NLT)

That last phrase – “God is with us” – has been both comforting and empowering on our journey through 2013. I’ll give you a brief update on what that looked like.

Why do I feel this way on the day after Easter?

As a pastor, you have a variety of emotions on the day after Easter. Since this is my 25th Easter (we’ll celebrate that later this year), I’ve experienced all of them at one time or another – sometimes all on the same Monday.

Sometimes you feel…

  • Delirious – The service went great, or your neighbor came for the first time, or you broke through a growth barrier and you feel like you’re walking on air. We’ve had a few of those in our time. I can remember being dog tired on Sunday afternoon but wanting to take a walk in the neighborhood just to talk to God about my feelings. I couldn’t believe that he would use us like this. I couldn’t believe how many people came to church on Easter. We broke through a growth barrier on this our 25th year. It never gets old.

Breakthrough Devotional: Day 21

Scripture:

If we are “out of our mind,” as some say, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.  2 Corinthians 5:13-15

Devotional:

Last week, my son came down with the stomach bug at 3 in the morning.  After multiple episodes, changing his sheets, clothes and cleaning him up, I found myself lying in his bed attempting to help him go to sleep.  I was in a bed too small, lying on the side of the bed that still had residue from one of the episodes (we ran out of sheets) and my son was kicking me thinking he was playing a game. Did I mention it was 3am?

As I was laying there, I began to think that all I was experiencing, mainly the lack of sleep, was well worth it to show my son how much I love him.  I love him enough to do the unthinkable.  I love him enough to do the undesirable.  I love him enough to do the uncomfortable.

It’s easy, however, to do what I did for my son. The question is, “Am I willing to do whatever is needed to show others that I love them?” Will I share my faith with those who don’t know Christ? Will I give up my time, money, and other resources to help those in need because of love? Will I do that which makes me uncomfortable to show love to those God places in my life?

I hope that I am never woken up by the cries of my son again.  I hope I am never cleaning up the stomach bug at 4am.  I hope I never have to sleep in my son’s bed again.  But, if it does happen again…I will do it all over again, because… Love Compels.             – Ernest Smith, Mount Pleasant Campus

Soul Tattoo:

Love compels us to do the unthinkable, the undesirable, the uncomfortable!

Action Steps:

  1. Show love to someone today that may be out of the norm for you?
  2. Read 1 John 4:7-21

Breakthrough Devotional: Day 20

Scripture: 

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Colossians 3:12

Devotional:

Having compassion is an integral part of being a Christian.  A follower of Jesus that lacks time to be compassionate towards others is like a fireman that hasn’t the time to put out fires.  In Matthew 25:34-46, Jesus further defines compassion as more than a feeling.  One must not “feel sorry” for a family that is hungry.  A Christian must act on meeting the needs of people around them.  As Jesus’ disciples, we are commanded to have our eyes set on the things of the eternal, (Colossians 3:2) this resulting in a selfless approach to life.  In the scope of eternity, one realizes that his life on earth is too short to be self-centered.

Jesus’ whole purpose for coming to earth stemmed from his compassion for humanity, wanting all men and women to have a restored relationship with God and the opportunity to live in His presence forever.   When you take a close look at how Jesus lived His life on earth, he also touched people that no one else would dare touch, healed outcasts that no one paid attention to, and ate dinner with the scum of the earth.  Jesus didn’t even send a hungry crowd home without being properly fed (if you consider raw fish and bread proper).  Our savior and leader manifested compassion perfectly.  As His followers, we have no choice but to do the same.  “Clothe yourselves with compassion.”  This means nothing less than a lifestyle of caring for others.       – Joey Svendsen, James Island Campus

Soul tattoo:

Ask God to reveal potential obstacles in your lifestyle or perhaps some sin in your heart that prevents you from living a compassionate life towards others.

Action Steps:

1. Reflect on Philippians 4:13 and through prayer, commit to being more compassionate.

2. Brainstorm a list of ways in which you can show compassion to others.  You may be surprised of the opportunities you’ve been overlooking right under your nose.

3. Evaluate adjustments that may be needed in your life, in order to be more compassionate.  This may include adjustments in your budget, leisure time, and regular commitments.

4. Be compassionate.