An invitation to GO

I was a teenager in the early 90’s.

We saw the invention of the internet (although the jury is still out on the actual inventor), used pagers and drove Yugos.  We were moved to tears by Schindler’s List, were jealous of the teens in the zip code 90210 and fell in love with the voice of a young Mariah Carey. We tight-rolled our jeans, teased our hair and wore HyperColor t-shirts.

We also had some seriously lame slang.  Phrases like cool beans and home slice were common.  Seriously – don’t judge.  But one phrase I’m thinking about today, though, is going together.

23 years ago today the Mr. asked me to go with him.  I said “yes” and we started going together.  When I agreed to go with him, I was basically saying I wanted to date him.  One definition for “go together” that I found is

vb (intr, adverb)

Seeing it that way makes it seem a little less lame, doesn’t it?

The Mr. and I enjoyed a little date today and I snapped this oh-so-sappy picture

photo-31

 

I still really like to hold his hand.  And the truth is, I would go anywhere with him

That all got me thinking about the GO mandate from Mark 16:15

And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.

When we choose to submit our life to Christ and follow him, aren’t we kind of agreeing to go with him?  We’re choosing Him above everyone else and committing to a relationship with Him.

In much the same way that my heart gets all mooshy thinking of my earthly love and how I would go with him anywhere, God wants us to be so intimately in relationship with Him that we are willing to go anywhere with Him, too.  In fact, he reminds us in Matthew 28:18-20’s Great Commission that he isn’t asking us to GO without Him, but that He in fact will be with us as we go!

And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Where in the world is God asking you to go with Him?  Have you asked Him?

 

“But I don’t wanna be a mobilizer…”

I’m about the admit something that I’m not entirely proud of:

I love Seinfeld.

One quote that makes me laugh and laugh and laugh is from “The Puffy Shirt” episode.  I’ll save you all the details, but Jerry committed to wearing the “puffy shirt” on television to start a fashion trend.  The shirt is high fashion pirate.  Kramer says “You’re going to be the first pirate” to which Jerry replies “But I don’t wanna be a pirate!”

Lame?  Maybe.  But that little quote provided my soundbite for the past 6+ years.

I think I remember the first time i thought it to myself.  I was talking with a good missionary friend after a Perspectives class (seriously – TAKE PERSPECTIVES!!!) one night.  I said something about a desire to go to the ends of the earth as a missionary (it has been a dream since I was eight) and she said “maybe you are supposed to be a mobilizer from here?”

She might as well have spewed obscenities at me, because at that moment mobilizing was like a four letter word to me.  Offensive.

Insert whiney soundbite:

“But I don’t wanna be a mobilizer!”

And so it became a running joke – especially with one of my best friends.

I think it was funny until we both realized that God was actually growing and equipping us for just that: mobilizing.

What does it mean to mobilize?

I found a great article here from Mission Frontiers (a publication from the US Center for World Missions) and they define it simply as:

one who multiplies, disciples or mentors in missions

That sounds much nicer than my own personal definition, early on in my angst.  My simple definition was: the one who has to stay.

I believe that my heart has changed toward my current role, though – and I think it’s worth noting and celebrating.

I attended the first week of Perspectives on Thursday night.  Yes, I’ve taken the class before, but this time I am taking it for certificate with plans of coordinating a class at my local church for the Spring 2015 semester (!!!).  As I listened to the speaker that night, I sensed a change had happened in my own spirit.

I have heard this particular speaker several times.  Each time I hear him passionately share about the Nations and the story of God’s heart for all peoples, I am stirred to GO!  Honestly, I was a little worried that my newfound peace in mobilizing might be challenged that night – followed up by several days of restlessness and grief that I am stuck here…

But – an amazing thing happened Thursday night!

I sat thru his teaching and processed on my drive home…

I am a mobilizer.

I have peace that I am smack dab in the center of God’s plan for my life as a 38 year old married mother of 6.  God hasn’t called me to be a mobilizer to make me miserable.  God has called me to be a mobilizer because he has equipped me with a deep passion to see His name worshipped among all peoples, nations, languages and tribes!  What an incredible privilege to serve the King by way of mobilizing His people to take His gospel to those who have not heard!

Here’s a great video by OMF International and Perspectives that more fully describes not only the role of a mobilizer, but 5 more roles all Believers can share in the world Christian movement.

Adoption as a Spiritual Battle – revisited

Truth be told, I used to have a “mommy blog”.

Some might have called it an “adoption blog”.

I probably would just say it was “my blog”, because it was just me sharing my heart – and it so happened that I was an adoptive mommy.

In early February, 2009 I wrote a blog post about spiritual warfare in adoption.  So many changes and struggles with some popular international adoption programs.  Corruption.  Lack of honesty and integrity.  Painfully slow processing of immigration paperwork.  My heart was super heavy…

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.  Eph 6:12

Adoption.

It is very near to my heart – not only because we have adopted three children, but because I, myself, have been adopted by a heavenly Father that chose me before “the creation of the world”.

It is my opinion that adoption is not for the faint of heart.  It is a process that will rattle your nerves, challenge your sense of normalcy and stretch you quite a bit further than is comfortable.  That said, it sure seems to me that international adoption just keeps getting harder and harder.  When I think of the hoops we had to jump through to prove to all the governmental powers that be that we were fit to parent… well, it makes my blood pressure rise!

I just caught up on a China adoption forum for special needs children that I was glued to while we waited three times.  My heart sank as I read story after story of families sending LOI (Letter of Intent) to adopt children last summer and fall that will be waiting many more months to travel and complete the adoption.  Truthfully – it means that the child is waiting many more months for a family.

But, then – I thought of the verse above – from Ephesians.

We are not struggling against people or governments (although it certainly feels like it sometimes).

We battle a very real enemy.

He hates us.

He hates these waiting children.

He hates families.

He hates God’s heart for orphans.

It sure does seem that international adoption is hard.  But when you remember that we are in a war against a very real enemy – for the hearts and minds of “the least of these” – difficulty shouldn’t surprise us.  So – if we are going to war – don’t we want to win?  Don’t we want to be victorious?!

That passage from Ephesians goes on to read:

Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.

So – as an encouragement to all my friends that are somewhere in the process of adoption – whether from China or Ethiopia or Liberia…  Remember…

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.  Ephesians 6:10-11

I am praying for you.  One step at a time.

Unfortunately, I can’t say things have gotten better.

In fact, they seem to be getting worse…

Country programs are FILLED with corruption (just a FEW examples here, here and here).  Agencies have hidden the corruption – even so called “Christian” adoption agencies are not above reproach.

Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world. James 1:27

Of course.

The enemy.

“Religion that is pure and undefiled”.  That is where we see God; where we commune and have intimate relationship with him.  It puts skin on everything we say we believe.  To give without expectation of anything in return?  That is religion.  To do that and “keep oneself unstained from the world”?  That is apparently more difficult.

The world stains us every time we take our eyes off the One who has called us and focus on ourselves and our own story – our own distress or affliction.

Pure and undefiled religion?  It’s about God being glorified.  It’s His story.  It’s His heart.  It’s His desire that we make much of Him and that He is glorified and worshipped among the Nations.  We don’t do that very well when we are making much of ourselves…

 

 

 

 

A Fancy-Schmancy Plan for Local Outreach

Ok.

Actually, it won’t sell any books and it’s far from fancy or schmancy.

4 simple steps that we could even teach to children:

– Look

– Pray

– Engage

– Invite

(In reality, it could be simplified even more to a 3 step plan for outreach.  You know, if we could really mobilize Believers as the “ministers of reconciliation”* that we actually are!  But for now, we will go with the 4 step approach.  Baby steps…)

Why do we make outreach so complicated?

I’ve been working on some plans for a local outreach and I’ve done some googling and reading and researching.  I keep finding that a lot of the “big” ideas that cost money and require little actual engagement don’t actually have a lot of results.  Of course, they’re easy and tidy.  Put on an event.  Put a sign in a yard.  Actual engagement?  Usually costs us a lot.  Our time.  Our heart.  Our agenda.

I keep coming back to this scripture in John where Jesus is talking with his disciples right after his conversation with the Samaritan woman at the well.  She went back into town to proclaim the Gospel!  It was time to get busy and work!  Bless them.  They just didn’t get it…

Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, then comes the harvest’? Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest. Already the one who reaps is receiving wages and gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together. John 4:35-36 (ESV)

Bless us.  I don’t think we get it, either.

 

*2 Corinthians 5:16-6:2

Loving our city into the Kingdom

I think that at least those who know me well would be surprised to read a post about loving our city.  After all, my city isn’t somewhere in Asia (where I have longed to be), but settled nicely in the midwest.  My heart explodes when I talk about the country where part of my heart resides!  I long to be there…

But, God.

He shakes up our plans, doesn’t He?

Back in July, the Mr. and I escaped for an overnight 19th wedding anniversary trip.  It wasn’t a long getaway, but just enough to discuss our “5 year plan”.  We both believed that our discussion would involve how we would end up in Asia by the time we celebrated our 24th anniversary.  We weren’t 5 miles down the road before God made it clear that He was changing our plans.  As we started talking, we started speaking the words that were in neither of our hearts: we are HERE for 5 years.  We are at our local church and in our community for the next 5 years – learning and doing and growing and mobilizing and ministering.

What?!

As we talked, God granted peace in the vision that He was giving (even if I was stubbornly saying “5 years and 1 day from now, we are on a plane to Asia!”).  If we are here, then we are ALL here and ALL in.  We are mobilizing for the nations while learning to love the place God has us and the people that live here.

Yesterday was a collision of both of those worlds…

I was busy preparing and decorating for a reception to celebrate the commissioning of a friend to GO to Asia!  Such a “great day” of celebrating and sending!  I was in my element and totally loving every minute!  And then God shook up my day a bit.  He sent an opportunity to minister to a couple in my own community – right in the middle of celebrating GOing to the unreached – right in front of my face.  I could have been a minister of reconciliation and provided a warm drink and pressed into their need huddled around the fireplace I was busy decorating.  But, I didn’t.  I kept working.  I overheard, but ignored…

I had an opportunity yesterday; an opportunity to love people in my city.  And I missed it.

I wept bitter tears this morning when the Spirit showed me an opportunity lost; i wept many more tears as I counted hundreds of opportunities lost…

‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ – Matthew 25:44-45 (ESV)

It was a sin of omission yesterday.  There was good to be ministered and I chose myself over the Kingdom.

All that is left in my heart today is the sight of Jesus driving out of the parking lot in an old Chrysler…

Not your average “mommy blog”

By means of introduction, I am Tami.  I am the Mrs. of Chris (almost 20 years!) and mother of a multitude (six, to be exact).  I have been a stay at home “mommy” for the better part of eighteen years and I have a great chocolate chip cookie recipe!  I can mod podge pretty well and have a few tricks to clean stubborn stains.

But, you won’t be reading about those things here.

This is not a “mommy blog.”

This is a blog about:
– missions
– church planting
– kindgom building
– Great Commission obedience
– outreach
– adoption
– a plethora of other “missional” living subjects

My passion is mobilization!  My desire is that this blog be a regular place where I can share the thoughts rolling around in the corridors of my own heart and mind and in some way, encourage the Body of Christ to mobilize for the good of the Kingdom.