One Simple Truth that Will Help Us Live a Missional Life

You probably have heard the saying, “Love is a choice, not a feeling.” I am not sure I have always understood what that meant. And maybe you have heard this, “Greater love no one has than this, to lay down their life for a friend.”

I think I can intellectually wrap my mind around that, but only because I am a Christian who has heard most of my life that Jesus laid down his life for us. But what does that look like in real life? How does a selfish person like I am choose to love, or even more difficult, sacrifice the things of my life for another?

If I am not “feeling that loving feeling” I struggle with showing love to others, even those closest to me. Now before you go and start thinking I am some really bad person, I love my wife and son more than anything. And yes, I do think that I will lay my life down for either one if the situation warranted it. And I do that now in some ways by giving up things that I want to do or love for their benefit. I even have some friends that make it on that list even though admittedly it’s a short list.

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5 Reasons Foster Parents Need to Attach to their Foster Child

You bring a child or sibling group into your home for who knows how long. You don’t know very much about them. You work at creating as much calm as you can in the midst of a new normal for everyone. Parent visits, school work, possibly counselor visits, and behavioral challenges make the transition challenging.

You focus on providing as much as care and support as you can for your new foster child. Yet at the same time you guard your heart. If you have had much training, you know that your new foster child will come with some attachment struggles. But you logically reason that you need to tread carefully since your foster child will probably live with you for only a few months.

Some foster parents allow themselves to attach to a child knowing that it will hurt when the child leaves. But many caregivers keep a wall between the child and their heart. They feel that it doesn’t help anyone for the attachment to grow because it really will hurt when the child goes back home or to another family.

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What Do Our Missionaries Need? [Podcast 41]

We send missionaries all over the world, many into locations that involve danger or at least extreme isolation. Even missionaries in places they can serve openly face challenges that we might not understand. The truth is those of us who “send” missionaries don’t always do a good job of it.

We act as if we don’t understand that we all are commissioned to be a part of going to the nations.

When we don’t send our missionaries well, the work of going to the nations with the Good News of salvation through Jesus Christ suffers. It reveals our true hearts.

This reality became clear to me a few years ago while working with a missionary in Macau. At the time, her and her husband had been on the field for over 25 years. I asked her who her home church in America was. Her reply stunned me. She said that since they had been gone for so long, they really didn’t have one anymore.

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A Review of “God and Money” by John Cortines and Gregory Baumer

I recently read, God and Money: How We Discovered True Riches at Harvard Business School by Gregory Baumer and John Cortines – Paperback, given to me by a good friend.

The authors, John Cortines and Gregory Baumer, both graduates from Harvard Business School, met in a men’s Bible study group where they were confronted with a question, “As young Christians with sky-high earnings potential, what should they plant to do with their money?”

Before you think that this book isn’t for you, think with me for a minute. God promises to meet all of our physical needs. God also is the One who gives any person the ability to create wealth. God intends for you to have every need met and to have more than you need.

If you believe those statements, the question is how will you handle the “more” that comes your way.

I think Cortines and Baumer do a good job of addressing how to view wealth in their book.

Here are some highlights and some of my thoughts from the book:

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We All Need a Family [Podcast 40]

I know that children shelters and orphanages serve a purpose, but we all need a family to help us heal and be the best we can be.

In today’s episode I refer to a story a friend told me about their daughter that they adopted from Ethiopia. My friend’s daughter didn’t cry when she hurt herself.

Listen to what they did to help their daughter cry. I also share some simple reminders for foster and adoptive parents. You are doing a great work!

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This One Thing Is Necessary to Live a Missional Life

We see the world through a limited lens. We only know what we know. And if we always look at things from the same viewpoint, what we know and understand probably has no chance of changing.

In today’s western culture, individuals have more ways of expressing their worldview than in any other time in history. I get to do that every day with my blog, podcast, and social media posts. I guess that’s all a good thing, but I wonder if we have lost our ability, or maybe it’s patience, to listen.

In case you didn’t already know these things about me, here are some facts that shape the way I see the world:

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Warning: You Might Be Dancing the Wrong Dance

Danielle and I took dance lessons several years ago which we both enjoyed. But let me tell you learning how to dance with a partner is very challenging unless you’re just a natural.

I am one of those guys who can’t dance very well. I have okay rhythm, but my challenge is sustaining it. So I usually end up doing my own dance which gets me “the look” from Danielle.

We learned different dance steps like the Country Two Step and the Triple Two Step. We learned the Waltz and the Jitterbug. When I danced with Danielle (she is a natural by the way), I struggled to relax because I was busy counting under my breath. “One-two-three One-two-three”…or “step, step, triple step, triple step, step, step.”

When we dance Danielle looks into my eyes and smiles enjoying the sweet moment of connection. Until I mutter and squeeze her hand. Then Danielle’s smile turns into a frown. We stop; get the rhythm back in our heads and take off again until I mess up and squeeze her hand again. If this continues, we both end up frustrated ready to give up dancing.

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Does God Speak Your Language? An interview with Brian Smith about Davar [Podcast 039]

Do you like to hear a good story? Does your family tell the same stories over and over even passing some down from generation to generation?

Since the beginning of time, people have learned by hearing stories. Although many people groups formed an alphabet and a written language, to this day around 80% of the people in the world are oral preference learners. This is why it is important that we make audio recordings of God’s Word in as many languages as possible.

In today’s episode, I interview Brian Smith, chairman of the board of directors for Davar Partners International.

What you will hear on the podcast:

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What’s Happening at Missional Lifestyle and His Hands His Feet in 2018

Happy New Year! I enjoyed our holiday season, but I am ready to get back into a groove. It seemed like I was in the holi-daze from Thanksgiving through New Years. We did our annual beach week during Thanksgiving with my side of the family. Then Danielle, my son, and I took a 5-day cruise out of Galveston the second week of December. Then of course Christmas and New Years followed on the heels of that.

During the downtime and trips, I had time to think through what I hope 2018 to look like for me here at Missional Lifestyle and His Hands His Feet. (that is the blog and podcast for those who didn’t know) I am excited about this year. I hope you are too!

Here is what I am working on for 2018:

  • I will continue to create free written content that covers foster care/adoption and other missional topics like local ministry opportunities, foreign missions, mentoring/discipleship, generosity, and so on.
  • His Hands His Feet podcast enters its second year. I have more Dad to Dad episodes, interviews with foreign missionaries, interviews with non profit leaders, updates from Danielle and I about our adoption journey, and much more.

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My Motivation for 2018

You won’t find things like bringing a child into your family as your own, spending time with a lonely widow or homeless man, or visiting someone in prison on too many 2018 resolution or goal lists.

I don’t know many people who wake up in the morning saying, “Today, I am going to leave my comfort zone and hang out with someone who looks, thinks, or acts differently than I do”.

Loving our neighbor as we love ourselves just isn’t how we are hard-wired. Instead we think of ourselves and our own family and close friends.

We need a motivation that prompts us to do things outside of ourselves. For many that is a sense of justice. Maybe some do it out of obligation or guilt. For others it is for the recognition that it brings.

So what is my motivation for 2018?

I am like many of you, I set some business goals for my writing, blogging, podcasting, and a couple of new things for this year.

I also set a couple of personal goals too. They are quite simple. One is to avoid complaining and criticizing. I do this in my mind more than I vocalize it, except around home. The flip side to that is to use words of kindness and encouragement.

My wife is doing the happy dance about that goal.

The other is one that I know will impact every area of my life, especially when it comes to successfully living a life sent. It doesn’t have anything to do with the external motivations listed above.

My one other goal is to spend scheduled, intimate time with God.

On our property, down the hill from our house we have a large oak tree with two benches under it. I have spent a lot of time clearing cedar and brush on our property, and I will often take a break sitting on one of those benches. I find peace in the beauty, and it directs my thoughts and heart toward God.

But what happens far too often is that I don’t prioritize times to spend with God. Yes, I will read some scripture in the morning. Some days I will journal some thoughts or prayers.

So I decided that I will spend 2-3 mornings by going down the hill without my phone. Just my Bible, journal, and a pen. And spend time with God in what has become a sacred place for me.

Our church called us to a time of prayer and fasting this week. That is how I am beginning 2018. Praying and fasting as I seek God. He is who makes it a priority to place a child into a family, who cares for the widow and the one who doesn’t have a place to call home. God doesn’t forget the one who is in prison, and yes, He set the example of leaving His place of comfort, not just comfort, perfection, and entering our world.

As I spend time with Him…as we spend time with Him, His nature becomes our nature.

If that is the one and only goal that I accomplish this year, it will be the best year ever.