I remember the year when my whole life crashed. I was in the height of ministry; leading small groups, having foster kids, and writing fervently.
I thought nothing could stop me. I was wrong.
Much of life stopped. Yet shockingly, my heart to serve Him missionally became more determined than ever.
As a result, I found Him revealing His faithfulness, and in retrospect, that was my best year yet.
Scripturally, Jesus and His disciple's mission wasn't easy. Yet they accomplished much for the Kingdom. How did they resolve to live missionally, and how can we too this year?
1)Love Radically – The incredible thing about Jesus is that He loved un-apologetically. He loved when it was difficult, and kept on loving, when they hung Him on a cross. Scripture warns that in the last days, people's love will grow cold. (Matt 24:12) Let's resolve to not let that happen and instead intentionally pursue love in every aspect of our ministry this year.
2)Cultivate Connection - What I love about Jesus is that He engaged people, constantly. He befriended, asked questions, and truly valued connection with not only people...But with God. As a result, Jesus only said and did what He saw and heard the Father doing. (John 5:19) How might our ministry look differently this year if we only moved, did, worked, and made decisions based from a place of intentional connection with Him?
3)Carry An Unoffended Heart – During my season when life crashed, the human thing to do was to embrace offense, bitterness, anger, or self-pity. But God called me to love the unthinkable, forgive those who didn't deserve it, and get my heart aligned with His, letting go on my own rights and entitlements. After all, He hung on a cross after being crucified and asked the Father, “Lord, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”(Luke 23:34)
If Jesus can forgive those who pierced Him, how much more should we forgive others?
4)Faith is Not Optional – When we look throughout scripture, we see a common theme, faith. What marks us from other religions is not our good works, but that we are people of faith. And yet how easy can it be to get into ministry and in time, rely on ourselves instead of God? If we are going to have a year that is our best missional year yet, we have to intentionally walk like Paul says, by faith and not by sight. (2 Cor 5:7) How can you trust God more this year?
5)Less is More – Paul says it like this, “He must become greater, I must become less”. (John 3:30) His power is made perfect in our weakness. Letting go of self has no guaranteed of “big” ministry, but the satisfaction from surrendered service will likely lead you to your best year yet. Won't you test Him by laying yourself at His feet this year, seeing what great things He can and will do through your selfless service to Him?
6)Daily Praise and Thanksgiving – Long ago, my prayer life radically changed when I started writing a list of prayers on one page, and a list of thanks on the other. Truth is, before I did this, my heart was always wanting, and never thanking Him or seeing His goodness. Scripture talks exhaustively about Thanksgiving and Praise. If it was important to God, shouldn't it be a priority for us?
7)His scale is not ours – In the midst of my crisis things appeared hopeless. Jesus death on the cross however reminds us, death often seems to come before the resurrection. We see the battle, but He stands in a place of victory. We know in part, but He sees fully. (1 Cor 13:12) We can trust Him when things don't appear to go our way. Let's stop looking at crisis, set-backs, and appeared failed attempts like defeat.
Let's start praising Him with an un-offendable heart, loving radically, dying to self, living from faith, and staying connected to the One that counts. Then, we can resolve to have the best Missional year yet!
Though born, raised, and still living only miles from where she grew up, Jen's heart lies in the nations. Jen loves the beautiful tapestry found in the wide diversity of people, different cultures, and all nations. Jen and her husband have been married twenty years, and have parented fifteen kids and counting; twelve foster, one adopted, and two bios. Her multi-racial family reflects her passion for unity, desire for faith without walls, and missional mindset to share both the gospel and the power of redemption to a world desperately needing the hope found in Jesus Christ. Jen and her husband have led in a variety of ministries; including prayer, small groups, children's, and women’s. Jen advocates for the orphan as a board member for the non-profit, A New Song; and loves doing missions work internationally, along with her family. You can find Jen writing about faith, while challenging her readers at her blog, Rich Faith Rising, as well as at tweeting faith-filled messages @Jen_Avellaneda . Jen is also on facebook.
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