Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Book Review: Plastic Donuts by Jeff Anderson

Plastic Donuts by Jeff Anderson was given to me by my friend and mentor, Paul Taylor. Paul actually setup a meeting between Jeff and my pastor’s accountability group where he showed up and told us about his book, his work, and the ministry God has called him too. While Jeff Anderson is not a household name, he does have a great heart and a great story.

This book was based on a true story where his daughter came and gave him a little plastic donut, along with some other plastic foods. The gifts, albeit unnecessary, brought his daughter great joy to give him and also put a smile on his face. This little exchange gave the author an insight into how he believes God receives gifts from us. While God does not need anything from us, it brings Him pleasure to see His children giving their things to Him. It is a fresh perspective for this reader, and one I appreciated as well.

Throughout this book, there are many insights and challenges into giving. Personally, I was challenged greatly by Jeff’s story and testimony throughout the book. He challenges the reader to pray about what they give and to allow God to guide the amount and destination of one’s gifts. For me this was a challenging read spiritually, and a book I would recommend to anyone wanting or needing to be challenged in the area of stewardship.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Prime Your Spiritual Pump

Today I had the privilege to preach a sermon called "Prime Your Spiritual Pump" based out of 1 Thessalonians 5:12-24. The message focused on addressing our actions, attitudes, and acceptance of God's truth. The main illustration was based upon one of my mentor's talks, "Prime The Pump." It was a great Sunday, and always good to reminisce about time spent with Mr. Ziglar! Click here to listen to the sermon.

Monday, May 14, 2012

11 Helpful Tips for Mission Trips

I read this article today and found it helpful and interesting, so I am sharing an abbreviated form of it here. For the full article from the original source, click here for Jeremy Parks post.
1. Know the difference between Missions vs. Ministry: Ministry is about loving people. Missions is about loving people so that His kingdom might expand into the hearts and minds of people. Mission teams usually need to be about missions, not ministry.  

2. When in Rome, Eat as the Romans Eat: Eat what you are given, when you are given it. Never refuse, make faces, joke about, or make a big deal of what’s offered, it is typically their very best they have to offer. Eat like your grandmother was serving you your meal.  

3. Flexibility: You’ve go to go with the flow in regards to your schedule, job changes, tasks, and inconveniences… go along and get along.  

4. Just accept it: Don’t critique the choices that the missionaries make: food, shopping, clothing, schooling, driving, how they spend their money, how they educate their children.

 5. Don’t be high maintenance: Consider not going if you are diabetic or hypoglycemic, an extremely picky eater, if you must have air conditioning, or if you are a vegans, vegetarians, and gluten-free eater… leave your diet at home too!  

6. Minister to the missionary: Financially, personally and vocationally, do whatever you can to encourage others. Remember that you could very well be the only American Christian they see and spend time with all year, always be a source of encouragement to them.  

7. Practice your testimony. Be able to share your story in 3-4 minutes.  

8. Learn the Language: Make an attempt to learn the basic of communication with nationals, whether through gestures common to the people or through some basics words, but do it without constantly asking the missionary.  

9. Partner: Unless you possess a special set of skills that is needed in a variety of locations, find a missionary, a strategy, and a people group with whom you can partner for a few years.  

10. Think: Show a willingness to use creativity and the wealth of resources we have in the United States in order to present high quality work and projects.  

11. Learn: Most missionaries are forced to use out of the box techniques for reaching people for Christ, pay attention to what they do and apply it to your work back home. Go with your cup empty, not full!