7 Financial Decisions that Will Help You Live Missionally

I know, it’s hard enough to take care of your own needs much less put any thought into what other people need. And yes we are entering that time of year where you get hit up by everyone from everywhere—school age kids selling chocolate bars you really love but don’t want lying around your home; mailers from some charity you gave to five years ago; phone call solicitors asking you to support a local organization; and now social media!

Some of us respond out of guilt or end up feeling a little resentful. How can anyone pursue the American Dream and give to every opportunity that presents itself?

I suggest you can’t nor should you.

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How to Live Life as Mission

Whether you visit my blog regularly or only occasionally, you might wonder what I blog about. My tagline says missional lifestyle. But what does that really mean?

Missional lifestyle— a life lived with intentionality; with a purpose.

A missional lifestyle doesn’t happen without intentionality. We tend to seek a comfortable, self-consumed life. Without intentionality we spend our time with people only like ourselves, in places we find the most convenient and the least stressful. We naturally gravitate to our “comfort zone”.

Many cringe when they think about “living on mission”. It sounds like adding something with an uncomfortable hidden agenda to their already busy life.

Instead, a missional lifestyle is simply one lived with an intentional focus on others with the desire they meet and know Jesus Christ. No need to add more to your schedule. Just refocus the intention of your schedule.

Caesar Kalinowski from Soma Communities puts it like this,

We need to move from a mindset of additional to intentional. What if God has actually given us this amazing way of seeing life that would make all of life one big, huge opportunity for discipleship and mission? Like everything we’re already doing, what if it’s already an opportunity, perfectly for discipleship and mission? He has. It’s the rhythm of life that he’s placed us in.

Here is a two drawings comparing the two mindsets:

Verge-rhythm

From Verge Netowrk

 

Notice the difference of life and mission and life as mission. Life as mission is living life in your natural rhythm with intentionality.

That’s what I blog about. The intentional approach to living life as a mission.

But the question remains how exactly do we do that?

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Do You See Them?

When thinking about living a missional lifestyle, it is not that we don’t have the time or money or desire to live a life sent with the intention of sharing Jesus with others—His love, His life.

The question is do we see them? See who you ask. Them.

Jesus saw them. He didn’t look past them. He noticed them. Had compassion on them. Lived life with them.

Especially because we have a young child, I think about a Bible story told a lot to children. The story of Zaccheus the tax collector. If you aren’t familiar with the story, you can find it in the Gospel of Luke Chapter 19:1ff.

And when Jesus came to the place, He looked up and said to him, “Zaccheus, hurry and come down, for today I must stay at your house.”Luke 19:5 NASB

Jesus noticed Zaccheus. Even though he was not in His line of sight. Those with Jesus preferred to not notice this small, disliked man. Yet, Jesus not only saw this man in a tree, He insisted to eat dinner with him. He wanted to do life with him.

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How Safe Are Your Investments?

Do you invest? Are you like many that have no idea where to begin? Do you spend all or even more than you have?

 

 

You might be wondering if I decided to broaden the scope of what I blog about. Not really. I do though enjoy investing and learning about investment strategies.

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7 Warning Signs that You Are Not Living in the Present

by Kenneth A Camp

This picture is one I took when Danielle and I were touring the Forum in Rome. I pondered the fact that I was walking among the ruins of a civilization that existed over 2000 years ago. This picture captured for me the way the distant past can stay for years, and the way the immediate present is often fleeting.

One of my biggest struggles is living in the present, or Staying in the Moment as I write about in my book, Adopting the Father’s Heart. I am much better at it today than I was in the past, but I still struggle.

Why live in the present one may ask? Jesus referred to it as abiding. He said, “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me.”

When we live in the present or stay in the moment, we are more fruitful and productive. We enjoy life and relationships. We are at peace.

God uses different ways to teach me how to live in the present.

He uses my mistakes to teach me. I lived for years with regrets of my past or fear of my future. The result was that I hardly ever lived in the present. All that accomplished was a lot of mistakes which only pushed me to live more like this. However, He grabbed my attention because of my failures. He used counselors to guide me. He used my broken state to speak truth to my heart.

He uses life experiences to teach me. One experience was when Danielle and I decided to quit our jobs and move to Thailand. We decided to serve as volunteer missionaries for at least 6 months. I had no idea what I would do after we returned to the states. But God taught me how to live each day while we lived in Thailand trusting that He had my future under control. And, He proved faithful.

Another life experience that has taught me how to live in the present is fostering. When our son was our foster child, for months I did not know if any given day would be his last with us. Once again, God proved to me that He was worthy of trusting and abiding in.

So, what are 7 warning signs that you are not living in the present?

  1. Anxiety – For years I struggled with anxiety. Some call it worry. Philippians 4:6
  2. Regret – Regret focuses on the past. Intellectually we know that we cannot change the past, but many live there.
  3. Fear – Similar to the first two, but this one focuses on the future. Anytime we focus on our past, future or both, we are not living in the present. 1 John 4:18
  4. Difficulty Listening – When our mind is not in the present, it is almost impossible to listen to someone speaking to us. If others ask if you are listening, that is a warning sign that you are not living in the present.
  5. Avoidance – These next three involve the desire to avoid pain. If you are avoiding certain conversations, tasks, people, etc. you are not willing to face your present reality.
  6. Obsession – Avoidance easily turns into obsession. People become obsessed with anything. A big one today is our digital devices. How many times did you check social media or email today?
  7. Addiction – Addiction is one step further away from living in the present. It is probably the most destructive. Warning signs include losing track of time or money, lying about your actions or whereabouts, and ignoring responsibilities.

Question for you – What are some other warning signs that you notice?

 

 

Am I Safe with God?

KLBeach2012

by Danielle Camp

I recently spoke with a friend who is planting a church in the Midwest. In the conversation, I asked him to describe his personality. One way he described himself was, “guarded until I feel safe in the relationship.” He then observed – “If I am truly safe with God, then why am I guarded in my other relationships?”

I thought out loud how that was such a true and profound question. I realized that I often responded to relationships in the same way. I began to wonder how common that is with other people.

What does it mean to feel safe with God? I know that for most people, their perception of God is all over the map. That is if they even believe He exists.

It is hard to grasp that any of us can have a relationship with any being, mortal or deity, in which we are completely safe. A relationship in which we are ourselves completely unhinged, good and bad.

Can we relate to God like this? I believe so. At least intellectually I do. The challenge is believing it in a practical way that translates into how I relate to others.

We all know people who seem to live life unguarded. Usually it is because they do not care what others think about them. But I do care. Yet, do I care so much to the point that I reserve my real self for only myself and maybe a choice few? If so, what are others missing out on?

This conversation with my friend is challenging me to press into my relationship with God so that I feel completely safe with Him. I believe this kind of relationship with my heavenly Father will allow me to relate to others with my whole being, not just a guarded part of it.

Why should this matter to me?

  1. It matters because I want others to know Him. What a concept. Others knowing Him because they know me.
  2. It matters because I can live freely and with joy knowing that I have a strong foundation in my relationship with God. I have lived life too long with regrets, in fear of what others think, and with hesitation.
  3. It matters because I can live a sacrificial life, giving away instead of holding back. I am thankful for God who held nothing back. He gave away His life instead of holding onto His position. If He had not done this, none of us would know Him.

Question for you: How are you guarded in your relationships? Do you feel safe with God?

 

Want to hear about a non-profit doing great things in a local community?

This blog is not only about orphan care or the latest update about my writing.  In fact, the main purpose is to encourage believers to live a missional lifestyle.  That is a lifestyle that is sent and spent.  A non-profit that I have the privilege to serve as a board member, Partners in Hope Lake Travis, is a great opportunity to live such a lifestyle.

Partners in Hope Lake Travis is a young organization–2 years old– that helps families in the Lake Travis, Texas community.  The point of connection is a family’s home or property that is in need of repair.  Each month Partners in Hope selects one family that is in need.

Volunteers from all across the community, of all ages and backgrounds, and a range of skill level, gather on usually the 3rd Saturday of the month.  Yards mowed, gardens cleaned, fences repaired, clutter removed, exterior walls replaced, and roofs fixed.

Another cool thing about the volunteers is that they are from different churches and from the business community.  The common bond?  Helping others in need.  And, many families helped return the favor by volunteering their time at later projects.

What is Partners in Hope all about?  The executive director, Matt Peacock, found that many families in the Lake Travis community fell through the cracks.  They owned their property, but they did not have enough income or support to keep it in good shape.  For many, their structures were close to unlivable.  Matt also discovered that people desired to help others in their own community.

Here are four principles that Partners in Hope is built upon:

  • Improve physical needs of the family’s dwelling–safe and stable
  • Connect the family to the faith community for ongoing relationship
  • Connect them with needed resources: counseling, health, financial/employment, social, etc.
  • Identify ways for the family to give to the community

This past Saturday, January 19th, over 25 volunteers showed up to help a single mother of two young children that live in the Hudson Bend area.  Here are some pictures from the project:

IMG_7707 IMG_7704 IMG_7623 IMG_7619

 

Question for you: How are you living a missional lifestyle?  Do you live a life sent and spent or do you just talk about it?

Missional Lifestyle – Not for the Fainthearted

Missional Lifestyle.  This term has become popular in some circles in the past few decades. Many well-known authors and preachers have written, blogged and preached about this way of living.  Francis Chan, Matt Chandler, Mark Driscoll, Alan Hirsch are just a few who have.

I will leave it to guys like these to discuss the theological validity of this lifestyle.  Instead, I want to discuss some practical aspects of living missionally.  To begin, my simple definition for Missional Lifestyle is living a life that is sent.

Usually, when a person thinks of a missionary, they think about a person who is sent from their home country to live in a foreign country for sharing God with those living in the foreign country.

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But what about Christians who live in their own country?  Is it possible to live a sent life when you stay in your own country?  I think so.  It has been said before, “You do not have to move to the other side of the world to be a missionary.”

I am going to share some traits that I believe are important for someone to live a missional lifestyle.  These traits apply no matter what context you live in.  Warning – this lifestyle is not for the fainthearted!

  • Remember that this world is not our home.  No matter where we live, we are foreigners.  We are simply traveling through to our destination.  So, we should live like we are here temporarily.  One practical thing that comes to mind is avoid accumulating stuff.  We all know that we can not take it with us.  Why not invest in things that will last for eternity?
  • Live a life of integrity.  Now this is a tough one.  About ten years ago, I decided that I was tired of juggling a double life.  I want others to know me, good and bad.  I want to be the same person no matter who I am around.  So many Christians have what I call a “stage presence”.  We turn it on when we are supposed to be righteous.  Regardless of where we do life, let’s be the same person.  Allow people to know us, and the Person who is in us.
  • Live life with a sense of urgency.  We all live as if we have forever to live.  We know it is not true.  A missionary realizes that they may only be in a certain country for a short period.  So, they do not waste a lot of time on useless activities.  Also, when we are in a foreign context, our senses become sensitive to the needs of that culture.  We need a renewed awareness of the needs around us.
  • Recognize the different sub-cultures.  It is easy to see our culture as all the same.  If we look closely, we can see many cultures.  I am not talking only about ethnicity.  Missiologists refer to this as the different domains within a culture.  Government, Education, Entertainment to name a few.  Think about how the culture is different within each of these domains.  Is God sending you into one of these domains to be a missionary?

I plan to blog later on each of these points.  But, for now, I have some questions.

If you call yourself a Christian, how are you living a missional lifestyle?

If you are not a Christian, what traits do you wish to see in a Christian’s lifestyle?

Please leave comments.  I want to have more dialogue about this topic.