11 Surprising Reasons Why Missional People Need To Have Fun!

11 reasons why it’s really important to have fun and to laugh

Missional Me

I love people watching!  I don’t do it very often, but when I do it’s fascinating.  The people I find myself most drawn towards when I’m observing them are those that are having fun.  Whether it’s a couple who are flirting with each other, a group of friends who are sharing a joke, or children who are laughing, there’s something so appealing about fun – it literally makes you smile!

laughter medicine
Sometimes, Christians are very earnest and love the ‘deep and meaningful’.  The serious and thoughtful moments are very necessary, but it is equally important to know and enjoy the lighter side of life too.

So, here are 11 reasons why it’s really important to have fun and to laugh:

  1. It is refreshing, physically and emotionally.
  2. It improves your mood and makes you nicer to be with!
  3. It’s good for your existing relationships. It binds people together creating happiness and intimacy.
  4. It…

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Die to self and live for Christ

Die to Self  Wherever You Go 

Matthew 7:12, In everything, therefore, treat people in the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets (Golden Rule)

 

Philippians 2:3-4 Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.

 

Romans 12:9-14Let love be  without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good.  Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor;  not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord;  rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer,  contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.

 

James 1:22, But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.

 

{the way a believer deals with personal words, thoughts, and actionsthrough the transition points of each day. we are not to delay serving others until we reach our destination but, instead, we are to serve both before and during the journey.   J     **being a blessing to others**

Pray daily that the Lord would help you recognize situations in which you can die to self in order to bless others.                                        These situations can be as simple as opening a door for others, helping lift a heavy load, picking up and returning a fallen or lost item, allowing others to board transportation ahead of you, greeting others cheerfully, or handing a Gospel tract

 

Better planning and time management can enhance one’s dying to self and being a blessing to others. Yet, without a servant’s heart and perspective, a believer will not die to self as a way of life}

** wordtruth.orgImage

 

Sticky Notes!

The very fact that you are still breathing is a good indication that God has good stuff for you to be involved with that He is doing in and around you….to welcome you into this I want to encourage you to remember the people who are & have shaped you to be the person you are today. Imagine if you would who each person is by name & put their name on a sticky note and post on your body….My professor Bob at Harvest Bible University encouraged us to list those who have influenced us in our walk with God and what did they inspire us to do.  As I am considering who these people are, at first it was difficult as I was hitting a wall….I then realized that there were people I needed to forgive as some not so good influencers came to mind and blocked the good stuff…I then had the great opportunity to choose forgiveness over bitterness. So that broke down the wall for me to consider the great men and women of faith who make me who I am today.One sticky note would have to go to Dawn Bovenmyer as she was the first leader in my college days at MSU that spoke confidence in me in a very simple way…she showed me I had value even before I knew Christ…It is interesting that her sister-in law Virginia Biang is another key leader to inspire me up to pursue a strong faith in God rather than what the world has to offer. In her circumstances Virginia was determined to honor God and build into the body of Christ. So who had built you up and inspired you? What have they inspired in you that you could teach others? Hebrews 13:7 says “Remember those who led you, who spoke the word of God to you; and considering the result of their conduct, imitate their faith.” I plan to affirm & remember those by way of a simple hand written note as a spiritual discipline on my Sunday nights as I am thankful for them {Proverbs 25:25}….and also live out their faith & teach others what they have taught me…come and join in the journey of building the body as YOU are a valuable part of what God is doing!!!! You have the potential of being a “sticky note name”Image on many people’s heart (Picture from Media4.picsea)

Spiritual needs among the Spanish speaking communities Part 1

So I come to Los Angeles, CA after living most of my life in the Midwest states. When I found that at least half of my new friends were going to be internationals, I put my heart and hands to work in researching the spiritual needs of these communities In this blog post I am going to list the needs I read about from a book by Neil Anderson “The Bondage Breaker The Next Step”. After I list them I will comment and tell of how I have thus far addressed these needs.

1) We need to experience God’s grace & love in our families & churches in order to overcome the legalistic tendencies of  our religious backgrounds.

2) We need to understand God’s sovereign love & our identity in Christ to overcome a sense of fatalism & rejection that plagues our people. Most Latinos struggle with a negative self image.

3) We need to proclaim God’s truth & the authority of the scriptures in order to overcome the many lies & superstitions of our culture.

4) We need to forgive, especially those of us from dysfunctional and broken families.

5) We need freedom from sexual strongholds. Adultery and fornication are ripping the very fabric of the Latino family.

6) We need to be free from fear. Drug lords and cartels have terrorized and paralyzed many of our communities.

7) We need to overcome addictions to drugs and alcohol.

8) We need to discover God’s love & provision so we can be free from the mind set of despair & poverty.

9) We need to learn to take personal responsibility for our lives.

10) We need to discover God as a loving Father who longs for an intimate relationship with His children. This will help us overcome a mind-set dominated by machismo.

11) We need to adopt the lifestyle of a true disciple so all believers are personally connected to Jesus Christ as their only source of life.

12) We need spiritual accountability in local churches.

13)We need to look to Jesus Christ as our only mediator in our relationship with the Father. No one else can take this place of prominence in our lives.

So this ends the list of needs in the Spanish speaking communities(written by a Latino, I might add). What do you think of this list? Do you see and attend to these needs in the community you serve? Are there any additional  needs you see and have met?  I will be holding back additional comments on how these impact the LA communities and how these needs are being addressed in the communities I serve….please take time to comment on this so far ….thanks for your input and discussion! Photo from http://www.treklens.comImage!

Godly Sincerity….No wax please!!

“For our proud confidence is this: the testimony of our holiness and godly sincerity, not in fleshly wisdom but in the grace of God, we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially toward you” 2 Corinthians 1:12

 I was reading an autobiography of Eric Liddell’s , a missionary to China in the early 1900’s. He shared a story with the boys he was building his life into. Here it is : “Eric had the knack for making his talks simple yet interesting. One day, for example, Eric explained the origins of the English word sincere. He told the boys that it was made up of 2 words, “sine” meaning without, and “cere” meaning wax. He  explained that in the past when a sculptor made a statue, he would sign the bottom of it and add the phrase “Sine cere”. In doing so, he was guaranteeing that the work he did on the sculpture had no mistakes that had been covered over with wax to disguise them. Eric told the boys that living the Christian life meant that they did not cover up their character weaknesses and mistakes but instead lived sincere lives.”

I was thinking of this as it applies to my life. I have had many challenges here in LA but by the grace of God I have tried to be  true to the pattern of living set forth in the Bible. Integrity means a lot when representing God and what I have seen in LA is that a lot of people are tired of the fake Christians. I was even told when I first got here that please don’t tell me you are a Christian. People are tired of the image of God they are seeing in American Christians….. It’s beyond the differences we might have between “family” members to how we treat each other in the family….This goes to the heart of God. Let’s be followers who take the time to examine our lives. Are we going to have a worldly standard of how we do life or a biblical one?…I read of the Christians who loved God and had a simple faith to lay solid foundations for their disciples….Let’s be those kind of Christ Followers!! I read of people who simply went out to bring God to people in reconciliation…whether their initial salvation through Jesus Christ and/ or resolving relational conflicts among believers ….again, let’s follow!!26537-pick-2-chocolate-fruit-boxes
To end with an Arlene funny:Why do I love Harry & David fruit covered chocolates? They have no wax!!!

Working on our knees by J O Fraser

Solid lasting missionary work is done on our knees. “I cannot insist too strongly on my own helplessness among these people apart from the grace of God. I find myself able to do little or nothing apart from God’s going before me & working among men. Without this I feel like a man who has his boat grounded in shallow water….let the tide come in & lift his boat off the bottom-then he will be able to move it as far as he pleases, quite easily & without fiction….the amount of progress made thereby depends almost entirely on the state of the Spiritual tide in the village-a condition which you can control upon your knees as well as I can”…this is a entry in Fraser’s journal as he worked among the Lisu people. He got people in his homeland{England} to offer prayer support for the work he was involved with among an unreached people group….Who is your prayer support?….people who come alongside your work, to “enhance” your prayers and labor on the field…

Unity and open communication

Unity among believers is very much at the heart of our heavenly Father. Here is one story of victory from the book The Bondage Breaker-The Next Step by Neil T. Anderson”As the Lord opened the doors for ministry there(In Cuba), we introduced the pastors of an indigenous denomination to the Steps to Freedom in Christ. For several hours we taught and practiced the Steps in a group setting. When we got to the step of forgiveness, the pastors mentioned a splinter group that had left the denomination with 12 churches and their buildings. With tears in their eyes, the pastors forgave the group and the Lord healed the pain caused by the division. The Spirit of joy permeated our gathering and as they closed the meeting they collected a love offering for the splinter group! The Holy Spirit’s work that day was remarkable because it brought healing to pastors who had bitterness against each other. After this day of genuine repentance, the denomination began to experience incredible growth. They were able to have a greater impact on unbelievers because they had dealt with their sin of division. Unity among believers is at the very core of Jesus’ heart.”
Dave Ping and Anne Clippard in their book Quick to Listen Leaders share other good stories of how listening also helps people enter into repentence and forgiveness with one another. Bill Lowrey Director of Peacemaking and Reconciliation for the World Vision International tells of an opportunity to aide in peacemaking among two African tribes after years of war. The primary means of transmission of important ideas was elaborate storytelling for this culture so they staged an event where both tribe leaders were allowed to sit and hear each other’s stories, one at a time. When allowed to talk as long as they needed without being interrupted or arguing….just sharing of stories of the pain, their suffering and the sacrifices made because of the war…eventually there was a willingness to forgive and work together for peace

Praying in Times of Crisis

Praying in Times of Crisis Created by GMI

We are seeing global crises happening all around us. Never has there been a more important time to be in prayer for our world. But have you noticed that it can be very challenging to pray in a crisis?

I have found this to be true. In those moments of crisis our minds get distracted, we are lost in the horrors of what we see on television and in the news. Our hearts break for the people, but we struggle to relate to them unless we have been through something similar.

In the moments that we have recently watched at a distance in far off places, it is hard to know where to start. Our understanding of the situation is so limited and our grasp of the tremendous suffering is so shallow. We tend to see these limitations as insurmountable odds and go back to our regular routines.

But what if we were to push through these challenges to pray intentionally for these troubled places? Here are some thoughts to help you break through and follow Christ in obedience through prayer

When you feel overwhelmed by the tragedy, pick one detail of the events unfolding and focus your prayer on that one thing.

Dive into resources like the new Operation World to understand the country or region that is struggling. Get some insight and then apply that insight deliberately in prayer.

Ask God to give you a verse that speaks to the tragedy. Memorize it and then use that verse to help lead you into prayer. 

Identify someone you know or someone within your network of connections that has been impacted by the tragedy. Talk with them if you can and allow them to give you perspective for your prayers. 

Ask your prayer partners or other close friends how they are praying for the situation and ask for accountability as you pray.

Walking in the ways of Jesus-Romans 12:2

Romans 12:2 exhorts us as Christians to not be conformed to this world but to let the truth in the Word of God transform us. In my series here I want to help you follow a trend I am seeing in LA and well let’s face it…world wide I am guessing. To set the framework I will start the conversation with  views on Alcoholism then move on to other bigger stuff. I found a good pamphlet on this topic from the Free Tract Society. Here it is: Is  Alcoholism  A  Disease?  By  Bill Inman

You can call alcoholism a disease, a habit, a crutch, a weakness, or whatever you wish to call it- but there is only one thing that causes alcoholism-and that is the drinking of intoxicating liquors.

But some people think alcoholism is a disease-the other day at the SRP where I have worked for the past 31 years I received a DuPont newspaper that had an article on alcoholism by Dr. C.W. Colpepper-he said DuPont recognized alcoholism as a disease 12 years before the American Medical Association designated it as such. 

Now the real question-is alcoholism really a disease? If alcoholism is a disease- 

1.It is the only disease that requires a license to propagate it. 

2. It is the only disease that is bottled and sold in our stores and restaurants. 

3.It is the only disease that produces a revenue for our State and Federal Government. 

4. It is the only disease that is spread by advertising thru our newspapers, TV 

5. It is the only disease that big business with government contracts gives to their employees at company parties that is paid for by American taxpayers. 

6. It is the only disease for which we are fined and put in prison for contracting. 

7. It is the only disease without a germ or virus cause and for which the American Medical Association has found no known cure. 

8. It is the only disease that bars the patient from Heaven-The Bible says that no drunkard shall inherit the kingdom of God- 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 

I was glad to hear that most of my fellow workers at SRP disagree with Dr. Colpepper and the American Medical Association. Personally, I disagree-how about you? Is alcoholism really a disease? 

I believe that Jesus Christ is the answer to alcoholism. The Golden Text of the Bible says ”For  God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16 I believe that Jesus hates alcoholism-but PTL-He loves the alcoholic. He died on the old rugged cross that who-so-ever will-may be born again. Jesus can heal the alcoholic-Jesus can give you a new life, free from the bondage of alcoholism-all you have to do is come to Him as a little child-repent of your sins-and He will give you a new life-in Him. 

The Bible in 2 Corinthians 5:17 says-“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are becoming new.”

Friends, remember this-“Only Jesus can satisfy a hungry soul.”

This concludes the tract contents but it is a simple way to show you how the world views this area and how God views this area. I believe that a lot of Christians who are in bondage to alcoholism conclude that they have a disease and this is their cross to bear OR/and  their lives literally revolve around sinning, confessing, sinning, confessing …regular meetings with AA or another program…some I am told attend more than daily. I believe the church as a whole has bought into this thinking and it has greatly stunted our growth. Neil Anderson and the Equipping Ministries International have brought to light some of the mishaps of AA for a Christian. Here is what Freedom in Christ says:

What’s not covered in the 12 steps that is essential to freedom? by Mike and Julia ~ Grace Walk Recovery Ministry

What’s Wrong With The 12 Steps?  Absolutely Nothing!  Everything they cover is helpful and good. The problem is what they don’t cover.  They don’t cover what is necessary for a person to be free. This is a list of what’s not covered.

1. The Person of Christ – Christ is our life

2. The Work of Christ – God’s only answer is in the cross

3. Forgiveness – God’s only answer for anger

4.  Our identity in Christ

5. Grace – God’s method of dealing with us

6. Faith -The only way we receive all that God has for us

7. God’s unconditional love and acceptance

8. The part and work of the Holy Spirit

9. An answer for guilt and condemnation

10. That the battle is in the mind

11. Our position in Christ gives us victory over Satan

12. Spiritual warfare – How to win the battle

13. Our co-crucifixion frees us from power of sin

14. Dying to the law frees us from performing

15. Dying to the world frees us from demands of others

16. The part of the flesh (our learned independence)

17. Prayer

18. The Word of God

So in response to this I wonder if anyone considered testimonies of freedom like this one:http://www.setfreeministries.com/BiblicalDiscipleship/Testimonies/JaneAlcoholAbuse.aspx. I truly believe that there are people who are “children” in their walk with God, not living the full life God ment for them as mature adults due to  sin …it seems to be a revolving door…when it should be more of a freedom to leaving that identity behind and embracing their identity in Christ. I hope to accurately write of the extent of the abuse that happens in people’s lives…abuse from the lies we embrace rather than the freedom we live out. THIS I believe is the key to the many baby Christians filling our pews and possibly filling the role of spiritual authority in our lives. Yes, I do believe that a lot of kids in our congregations are just following the lead of those who lead and thus multiplying disfunction…alcoholism is just one area. I hope to help the church as a whole grow up….to become healthy….to be all that God intended us to be…so what do you think? Do you embrace the worldly view of encouraging your friends to attend recovery programs like AA or have you considered getting deeper to the root problem and pulling out  lies and replacing them with truth? “Do not be conformed to this world….” {This is only one of the areas I plan to talk about…stay tuned}

Take our everyday, ordinary life…Romans 12:1-2

So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.