Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The Discipline of Love

An excerpt from...

The Discipline of Love

Learning to reflect Christ’s character
By Rachel Elwood, Support Staff
July-September 2013

Most of us sane people would admit that something as strenuous as running 26.2 miles takes a certain measure of training. The body is just not naturally inclined to produce that kind of endurance quickly.

It’s the same with practicing the kind of sacrificial love modeled by Christ. There’s no question that we are called to love others, too. A gander through Matthew 25 reveals that distinguishing marks of believers include feeding the hungry, clothing the needy, and visiting the vulnerable. In Mark 21:31, Jesus emphasized the importance of loving and serving our neighbors as much as we would want the same for ourselves. Acts of service are not emphasized for their own sake, but they are to be done out of an attitude of love.

But our fallen nature means we are naturally inclined to be selfish. Without regularly committing to love others, we can easily fall into patterns of behavior toward others that are not Christ-honoring. Loving others as Christ intended takes practice and training.

Luke 2:52 gives us a great “training plan” as a place to start in the discipline of love: “Jesus grew in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and all the people” (NLT).
We have those four areas in which we can show love: by sharing wisdom and by meeting physical, spiritual, and social needs. But who are we supposed to reach out to? Think about the three primary social circles we all live in: our families, our church or other fellow believers, and non-Christian “neighbors.” Plotted out on a matrix, this creates a nifty guide we can use to brainstorm small expressions of service and love we can do for each of these three groups of people in these four different ways.
The Discipline of Love
Growing in the discipline of love takes commitment, willingness to be guided by the Holy Spirit, and creativity. But the repercussions of us becoming more intentional in loving others are huge! Think of how this world could change if we actually lived what we preached. So what are you waiting for?

Flex your service muscles!Do you need to flex your service muscles? Fill out the Discipline of Love matrix with ideas to show your family, your friends, and your neighbors Christ’s sacrificial love.

Learn more about Disciple Nations Alliance!Visit to learn more about what God is doing through people who are committed to whole-person discipleship and reconciliation around the world.

Prayer Calendar: July 28 - August 3

Here is a missions prayer point to add to your personal reflection this week:

ASK God to help you take practical steps in loving those around you.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Don't Miss the And

An excerpt from...

Don’t Miss the And

By Hubert Harriman, President
July-September 2013

Don't Miss the And
Sometimes I will hear or read something that grabs me and drives my thinking for long periods of time. Such was the case when I heard a reference to a statement by Jim Collins, speaking to what he called “The genius of the and.” The word and is a common word, yet a critical word. Without it, we can miss the whole. As I studied its use in Scripture, I began to see this as “The Power of the and.”

There are many such connections, and I encourage you to read the Bible looking for them, but let me speak to one that is deeply troubling in our day. It’s the disconnect between “faith and works” (James 2:14-26). Dallas Willard speaks of this as a disjunction between faith and life, where “transformation of life and character is no part of the redemptive message.” Troubled over this disjunction, he asks, “Can we seriously believe that God would establish a plan for us that essentially bypasses the awesome needs of present human life and leaves human character untouched?” (The Divine Conspiracy, pages 38-41).

Our aim in missions is to send those who go in response to the prayer Jesus taught us to pray: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed [holy] be your name….” The word hallowed is in the active voice, meaning this is more than honoring Him with words. This is honoring Him with actions—serving Him “in holiness and righteousness [justice]…all our days” (Luke 1:75 NIV). This is Christian character that works. Is this what Jesus meant when He said, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven”? Yes! And we can ill afford to send anyone with less. The world has seen enough sinners with their self-seeking, self-satisfying, and self-centered ways. Why send them another one? It’s “The Power of the and!”

ACT: Demonstrate the power of and around the world. To learn more about WGM’s current ministry opportunities, visit

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

I Love God's Word

 An Excerpt from...

I Love God’s Word

By Dr. Roy Lauter, WGM Partner
July-September 2013

I Love God's Word
The morning air was filled with sounds of the Maasai community of Olderkesi, Kenya. The friendly conversations of men and women moving toward the Africa Gospel Church mixed with the other rhythms of Sunday morning in Maasailand.

Jon and Vera Steury, WGM missionaries in Olderkesi (at the time), led us toward the church amid warm greetings and salutations from the Maasai people. 

This was a special day for Jon and Vera. Under their instruction, several women had learned to read. This called for a time of celebration and special recognition. As Jon called the names of the women, they stepped to the front of the church to the applause of the congregation. Vera presented each lady a new Bible in the Maasai language. The proceedings were interrupted by an older lady. She stood before the group clutching her Bible close to her chest. In her mother tongue, she spoke, “Kanyor ororei le Nkai. Kanyor ororei le Nkai!” Translated, it means, “I love God’s Word!” The translator told us what she was saying. “This book is my most precious possession. I sleep with it by my side for safety. I carry it as my shield for protection. I keep it close to me all the time. And someday I hope I’ll be able to read it. Kanyor ororei le Nkai!

I could not hold back my tears. I felt a sense of shame as I thought how many of us do not read God’s Word when we have every opportunity. Our Bibles often lay on a table or shelf and gather dust. Oh, God, please give us the love for your Word like this beautiful lady! Help us to read it daily and treasure its divinely inspired message. Teach us to use it as a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path. May we truly say, “I love God’s Word.”

Learn His Word!It’s hard to share God’s love through word and deed if you are lacking in the area of Word. Recommit time to the Lord daily for learning through His Word and listening for His direction.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Prayer Calendar: July 21-27, 2013

Your missions prayer point from The Call magazine this week is...

ASK God to help you remain focused in the discipline of regularly reading the Word of God.

It’s hard to share God’s love through word and deed if you are lacking in the area of Word. Recommit time to the Lord daily for learning through His Word and listening for His direction.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Just a Bowl of Cereal

An excerpt from...

Just a Bowl of Cereal

By Chrissy GreenwellMexico
July-September 2013

Just a Bowl of Cereal
Three years ago, Francisco moved to another town for work because, as a truck driver, he had found that no job was available for him in the city. His wife, Betty, and two daughters remained behind. Betty picked up odd jobs here and there, but making ends meet was difficult.

As the weeks went on, things took a turn for the worse. Francisco, a diabetic, started losing his vision. His truck flipped over and he was wounded; he ended up having an amputation. Betty was no longer able to work outside the home as she had to take care of her husband.

God placed it on my heart to send them a care package to help with some of their needs. I prayed over what I should get them. Over and over again, “cereal” came to mind. Whatever else would be included in that care package, a huge bag of cereal would be there! I gathered the items and left them at the church the following day. I had no idea of the impact this box of items would have on the family.

Weeks later, I chatted with Betty and asked how her daughter Rebeca was. Betty started to cry as she shared about their struggle. Rebeca had been angry, questioning God’s love. She asked her mom why God wouldn’t even allow her a bowl of cereal. Betty told her to pray about it and ask God for the cereal. That was the night I went shopping. The following day when they received the care package, Rebeca realized how much God loved her and that He always hears our prayers.

It’s those little things that make a difference; those seemingly insignificant acts that have a huge impact for the kingdom of God.

Complete an act of love!Is the Holy Spirit leading you to complete an act of love to make a huge impact for His kingdom? Ask the Lord to show you what you can do to help someone’s faith grow deeper.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Community Health Evangelism Progress in Honduras

An excerpt from...

Community Health Evangelism Progress in Honduras

By Larry OverholtHonduras
July-September 2013

CHE Progress in HondurasOur goal as missionaries is to serve God as ambassadors in helping restore broken relationships, which are often manifested in various forms of spiritual, physical, social, and emotional needs.

When we arrived in the city of Choluteca, Honduras, in 2000, we encountered a sense of depression in the region. Hurricane Mitch had devastated the area two years earlier. Many young people were still not attending school. Adults were still underemployed. People suffered from increased illnesses such as asthma. Houses were still in ruins. Substance addictions were widespread.

We praise God that a vibrant church is beginning to take hold. Much of our ministry investment has been based on the Community Health Evangelism model. CHE “seamlessly integrates evangelism and discipleship with disease prevention and community-based development. The work is wholistic, seeking to meet the whole need of individuals and communities through complete obedience to everything that Jesus commanded” (Global CHE Network).

Progress is not always as fast as we would like. In July 2012, five years after starting the CHE ministry, the Shalom Church finally held its first evangelistic service in the local soccer field. The service was a great success with 12 new converts. It was also the last sermon that Reinaldo, one of our Shalom pastors, preached before dying and going to be with the Lord. Reinaldo’s legacy in “7 de Mayo” was the beginning of a new discipleship group that developed with those who were converted. One of the most recent converts is Elvira, a midwife whom Angie had been teaching. We anticipate having a WGM work team help rebuild her house later this year.

Recently one of the women from the newly formed discipleship group had been in the hospital and was sent home with no prospects of recovery. Her family was called to her bedside to say goodbye. Some of our CHE team members were called in to pray for her. Since then, she has not only recovered, but she now plans to get married to her long-term partner and wants to be baptized so that she can better serve in the church.
We now have six CHE leaders from the Shalom Church working in the village throughout the week.

We are looking for ways to get involved with the men in the village. One of the greatest opportunities to reach the men is through agricultural projects. The Ohio State University is sending a team of engineering students to install a pilot aquaponics project in the community. Aquaponics combines the cultivation of plants (hydroponics) with the growing of fish (aquaculture). We hope that this will be the beginning of additional projects that will develop into small businesses as well as help develop social capital in the community. At the same time, we are excited to have the opportunity to share transforming community development ideas with university students from a secular university in the United States. We are grateful to be a part of the planting and watering process while God gives the increase. (1 Corinthians 3:7)

Form your own CHE team!
An aquaponics kit enables a family to raise fish and vegetables in a small backyard plot. That means substantially improved nutrition, extra income, and meaningful family time as parents and children work together. Christ performed miracles with fish on more than one occasion—and you can work a miracle with fish right now! Time to form your own CHE team! Gather your friends, neighbors, and family and share this article with them. Set a goal to raise $180, the cost of an aquaponics kit. Check donation should be made payable to World Gospel Mission with account #25492-CALL written in the memo line. Send your donation to: World Gospel Mission, P.O. Box 948 Marion, Indiana 46952-0948. All donors will receive a receipt from WGM with thank you for their support.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Prayer Calendar: July 14-20, 2013

Here is a reminder to pray for this week's missions prayer point from The Call magazine:

PRAISE God for the way lives have been changed in Choluteca, Honduras, because of Community Health Evangelism.

"We are grateful to be a part of the planting and watering process while God gives the increase. (1 Corinthians 3:7)" 
~Larry Overholt from Community Health Evangelism Progress in Honduras

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Country Gal + City Kids = Love

An excerpt from...

Country Gal + City Kids = Love

By Peggy Bushong, Support Staff
July-September 2013

The Problem:
Country Gal + City Kids = LoveAt a small church in my town, children were attending Thursday night services that the church depended heavily on help from college student volunteers. Most of those volunteers would soon be leaving for the summer. If the children’s activities on Thursday nights were suspended, these children probably wouldn’t hear much about Jesus over the summer. An appeal went out to other local churches for volunteers who would help keep the children’s ministry going.

The Response:
I work with Christians, go to church with Christians, and most of my friends and close family are Christians. I wanted to be able to share about Jesus with people who did not have a personal relationship with Christ. Here was my chance.

The Beginning:
I showed up at the church to volunteer. I was put with the younger children (pre-K through first grade), which suited me quite well. But having grown up in a pastor’s home in small towns and country settings, I had absolutely no “street smarts.” These kids had plenty.

The Battle:
As I got to know the children better, it was like we were living in parallel universes. In my world, the norm is three meals a day, a family unit of two parents and two to four children, boys and girls who sit quietly (mostly) in class, and parents who carefully monitor their children’s TV viewing and homework.
In their world, children may go hungry, may have as many as 10 or more siblings from various parents, are often starved for attention, may see pornography on TV in their home, and probably know someone in jail. 

The Inspiration:
Not long ago, I was discouraged about the ministry. The evil seemed so great, and I didn’t seem to be making an impact. Then I read a statement by a missionary woman. She wrote that while she was grieving the loss of a child, God had spoken to her, telling her He had not brought the children in her care to her to heal; He had brought them to her to love. And it was as if God was saying to me, “I did not bring these children to you to save; I brought them to you to love.”

I was encouraged, and I am grateful to be able to love these precious children and to point them to the One who can save them.

The Word and Deed:
Loving children in the name of Christ is loving God the Son and God the Father. Jesus models the way for us when He took the children in His arms and blessed them. This is best shared with us through Mark 10:14-16. Prayerfully read the Word. Now put your faith into action. Serve the children in your neighborhood this year. Whether you get involved with an organization like Youth for Christ or volunteer in the nursery at your church, share God’s love with a little one.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Prayer Calendar: July 7-13, 2013

Here is this week's missions prayer reminder from The Call magazine:

PRAY for underprivileged or at-risk kids in your community.

From Country Gal + City Kids = Love...Loving children in the name of Christ is loving God the Son and God the Father. Jesus models the way for us when He took the children in His arms and blessed them. This is best shared with us through Mark 10:14-16.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Prayer Calendar: July 1-6, 2013

The Call's prayer calendar reminder for this week is...

PRAISE God for the freedom we have to worship Him.

Have a safe and happy Fourth of July!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Now Available: Uniting Word & Deed

Faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. (James 2:17 NIV)

Dead. None of us would want this word used to describe our ministry. Faith accompanied by action is the heartbeat of the July/August/September 2013 issue. If you want to be more missions-active, pay close attention to the ACT sections in these articles. These are great ways to unite word and deed in your sphere of influence.

Start reading this issue now at