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Anyone who has ever been on a mission trip will tell you that the key to having an amazing time is flexibility. My church’s mission leaders as well as the in-country personnel plan and coordinate for as many problems as possible but whenever you are operating in a third world (or for that matter outside of the US), things do not always go so smoothly. Time schedules vary. Machines break. Supplies are depleted. If one is not flexible and willing to adjust to this challenges, the mission trip can be miserable. However, even though one has knowledge that flexibility is important and even the desire to be flexible is present, the walking out of that flexibility can be difficult. In October, during HFBC’s Living Water International mission trip to Honduras, I learned how to practically take this head knowledge and heart desire and implement it into my daily life.
We were blessed to have a wonderful in-country leader, Emillio (see photo above.) He did an amazing job! As we were driving through the mountains of Honduras on the way to Saba, our home away from home for the next six days, Emillio spoke a line that I will never forget. “I am not going to let that get to my flesh.” What was so impactful about this line was that it began with the thought process. I have been on enough trips to respond with flexibility when challenges happen, at least on the outside, but have been know to pick up an offense or respond, in my mind, judgmentally.
I remember distinctly one-time things were not going correctly (at least as I saw it) and I started to grumble and complain in my mind while I still had a fake smile on my face. (To be honest, I don’t think I was fooling anyone but myself.) Immediately, Emillio’s line came to my mind and I repeated it to myself and my “pasted-on” smile became a true grin as I chose the better way.
What has been so cool since returning to Houston is that that line works here as well! I can make the decision as to whether or not I will let something get to my flesh. When I choose to be flexible, I have won the victory and the enemy and my flesh have been defeated! As always, I go on a mission trip to help others but I ALWAYS get impacted and transformed.
Last week, I was blessed to be at a breakfast that was raising funds for an amazing ministry, WorkFaith Connection. I had heard most of the testimonies before and was close to quite a few of those testifying but I was still moved to tears. WorkFaith Connection is all about helping others understand and find the wonderful gift of work. More than a job…a new life!
As I was reviewing one of The Master’s Program books, The Spirit of Disciplines, later that same day this quote by Martin Luther helped me make another connection between Work and Faith.
[Faith] is a living well-founded confidence in the grace of God, so perfectly certain that it would die a thousand times rather than surrender its conviction. Such confidence and personal knowledge of divine grace makes its possessor joyful, bold, and full of warm affection toward God and all created things – all of which the Holy Spirit works in faith. Hence, such a man becomes without constraint willing and eager to do good to everyone, to serve everyone, to suffer all manner of ills, in order to please and glorify God, who has shown toward him such grace. Because of an unwavering faith (i.e. confidence, assurance, belief, knowledge) that God’s grace covers me, it compels me to be a good worker as well as a good friend, a good family member and even a good enemy. My gratitude for having the physical ability or mental capacity (all given by God) to even have a job should motivate me to give my “utmost for His Highest.” Assurance of His grace should not spur me on to slothfulness but to doing all things as unto the Lord!
The profound thing is this…we don’t need to “work” harder but rather have more faith. This increased faith will then impact our work. Of course, our cry will always be, “Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief!”
How is your faith being demonstrated in your work – whether at the office or at home? Do we demonstrate our faith in God’s grace by the way we do “life” with those around us?
Wahoo! It is the 1st of October! A new month, a new quarter and it is on a Friday! It could only be better if it was a Sunday then it would be a new week as well. I LOVE new beginnings. Pulling out the next set of pages for my planner – they are all blank without anything on them but possibility. It is also a great responsibility – this precious commodity of time. In a flash, it will be gone and I can never reclaim it but if I am mindful and aware, stewardship will come naturally and I will hear a “well done.”
We all know that the last quarter of the year flies by because of the “push” the retail world does toward Christmas (I saw them putting up Christmas lights yesterday at Highland Village and it is not even Halloween!) as well as the busyness of our schedules. So, if we are not intentional with our time, the quarter will be gone and we will be eating black-eyed peas and turnip greens on January 1st regretting what we did not get done. I challenge you today to make a plan so that does not happen. Why not rejoice on that day by setting a few simple goals that will help you be a good steward of this commodity called time?
To give you some ideas, here is what can be done in 90 days in some key areas of our lives.
Lose 10 pounds. Ramp up the exercise, reduce your portions of food (some of us can do by half – others may only need 10-20% reduction) and do not indulge daily from the Halloween candy to the Thanksgiving turkey to the Christmas treats.
Save $250. Are you a Starbuck’s drinker? $4 a day times 5 days a week times 13 weeks. You can even make it spiritually and say you are fasting from Starbuck’s!
Save $650. Are you a family of four that eats out regularly? $50 a meal times 12 weeks…you get the picture
Memorize Psalm 32. It is only 11 verses long!
Read 3 books on significant areas of your life (i.e. marriage, faith, family, leadership, teaching, etc.) On average people read 200 words per minute and a book is on average 60,000 words. If you read only 15 minutes a day, you can read a book in 20 days. Why not skip one TV show a night (they will be doing re-runs in January) and read instead? If you are married, why not read it out loud and discuss it? You may not get as many books read but having deep conversations with your spouse is way more important.
Send 26 handwritten note cards to encourage or bless those who are in your life. Don’t be too closed minded about this….include your friends and family but why not write a note to your pastor or to your Sunday school teacher or the custodian who empties the trash in your office? Also, don’t forget to think about those whom you may never hear back from – governmental leadership that you pray for and support; a solider serving in the military or a famous pastor or Bible teacher who has really impacted your life.
Read the Bible in 90 Days or at least the New Testament.
Take your child out on 13 dates or for that matter how about your spouse. (To not throw #2 or #3 from above off, here are 21 cheap dates that you can modify to do with your child or your spouse.)
Train for a 5K (even if you are a couch potato).
These are just a few of the hundreds of things you can accomplish in just 90 days. What about you? How are you going to avoid regrets on 1/1/11? What are you going to do in the next 90 days? Would love to hear from you!