How to Love Others in 5 Not-So-Easy Ways

Sitting in the coffee shop, sipping ice tea on a hundred-degree day across from a new friend, I was reminded again of Proverbs 27:17: As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another. We talked about love. The topic of love has been on my mind lately.

Over social media, people use the Bible to try to emotionally blackmail another person to agree with or to comply with choices the other party is not in agreement with. This isn’t love. Love is determined by the motivation of the speaker. The Bible uses many examples on what loving your neighbor looks like. Then, you learn about the different Greek words that describe the different kind of loves that are mentioned in the Bible, like Agape.

Got Questions defines Agape love as that which, “…involves faithfulness, commitment, and an act of the will.” They use 1 Corinthians 13:1-13 as an example. I have even heard Agape described as sacrificial love in other articles.

 The Five Love Languages by Dr. Gary Chapman, published in 1992, on how to express love “…in your spouse’s language”, reminded me that each of us has a love language and won’t recognize love unless expressed to us in that language. It doesn’t only apply to spouses, but friends, neighbors, and even strangers. If we want to love others like Jesus, following His example is important, and understanding what the Bible says about it is necessary. It’s also important to understand who your neighbor, friend, or even the stranger is when trying to love them. Social media makes that easy (and hard) to do.

I recently read a Tweet about a man who reconciled with his friend after a four-year shut down in communication. The original argument was over politics. He wrote at the end of his tweet, “FOUR years lost.”

Loving others is not easy, and it takes sacrifice, like Jesus. When you Google “love your neighbor scripture”, this link comes up. When you read the Bible in context and you see all the love verses together, Clarity happens, and the truth confronts your spirit. Because you love the Lord, obedience is the next step. There’s nothing natural about it, either.

How do we love our neighbors, friends, and strangers when both face-to-face and online relationships are tough right now?

  1. Count Others More Significant Than Yourselves (Philippians 2:3): The relationship comes before your preferences. As a leader, I am learning John 13:1-17, when Jesus washed his disciples feet. Yes, I want to be that kind of leader, that kind of friend, and that kind of person. The word honor comes to mind. I want to honor others before myself, and this can be done without sacrificing my values or the relationship. In practical ways, some suggestions might be to ignore thoughtless online remarks, let another person know privately or publicly that you prayed for their request, be a good guest instead of a demanding one, and always give more than you receive out of the sheer joy in being generous. Look for ways online and face-to-face where you can serve a need or even a want. Everyone likes to receive that unexpected card or gift in the mail. Don’t be too proud to pick up a broom.
  2. Unity for The Gospel: In reading Philippians 4, two women had a quarrel in the church. Paul implored them to, “…be of the same mind in the Lord.” Both women needed to recall that the Gospel that they had in common was more important than the quarrel. Much work can be accomplished if our differences can be resolved. What gifts were we given to serve the Lord? How has the Lord prepared us for the work He has for us? It goes on to say in the chapter to “Show a gentle disposition to all men” (online and face-to-face).  
  3. Learn About Your Friends. Lurk on their profiles. Study your friends. Learn about how they need to be loved. For some, it is gifts. For others, acts of service. Respond accordingly. How can you use your own social media to help them rejoice? How can you practically help them? Have no agenda in the realm of friendship. Invest time in online and face-to-face conversations. Where possible, avoid phone calls, and instead use video calls so you can see each other’s facial expressions.
  4. Speak Truth if You Have the Relationship: We don’t have the right to speak into someone else’s life unless that permission is given. Build the friendship first, and you build trust. Cherish that trust. Put the Gospel first above any other “truth”. Respect the other person in your choice of words and tone. It’s advisable online to use emojis for facial expressions.
  5. Forgive. The divide and anger are so thick one could cut it and serve it on a plate. Forgiveness is essential for our souls, to be reconciled with each other, and it is also a process, depending on the sore point. But, it is worth the effort to forgive, if not for our own sakes.

This love thing is really a struggle. If we ask ourselves, “What would Jesus do?”, we must know the answer to that was: the cross.

Now, what?

4 Ways Harriet Tubman Inspired Me

A Commentary on Harriet Tubman: The Road to Freedom by Catherine Clinton

“’The Lord told me to do this. I said, ‘Oh Lord, I can’t—don’t ask me—take somebody else.’ But Tubman also reported that God spoke directly to her: ‘It’s you I want, Harriet Tubman.’” (pg. 82)

Harriet Tubman was a missionary, and not your typical missionary. Harriet was a fugitive slave with the Underground Railroad who later served as a spy with the Union Army. She didn’t choose to become a “missionary”, rather she was chosen. In fact, many who knew her would say God chose her for that role. Through her lifetime, she encountered many of the same issues and situations missionaries face when answering a calling.

Harriet Tubman oftentimes raised her own funding. Even in her later years, William Seward (United States Secretary of State, 1861-1869) was visited by Harriet many times for donations to her various projects. Harriet was generous to a fault so much so that William Seward said, “You have worked for others long enough…If you ask for a donation for yourself I will give it to you, but I will not help you to rob yourself for others.” During her time as an Abductor for the Underground Railroad, she often spent the summers working at a resort to save up money for her trips into slave territory to bring more slaves to freedom. Between this and her later years of championing the causes of women and the elderly, four things occurred to me:

  • Our support is dependent upon churches and individuals. We raise up capital to serve in the role we feel God has chosen for us. Like Harriet, our roles may involve public speaking or other influential people advocating for our cause to get more funding. Perhaps, we may even publish books or writings to build up awareness of our causes with this act helping us to raise further funds.
  • False narrative was a problem back then, too. In some of the accounts in the book, enthusiastic abolitionists wanted to showcase what was happening in a way that would emotionally tug at people’s souls, causing them to give more. Near the end of Harriet’s life, when she needed more money, an author wrote a biography of her which was an exaggerated work. It sold and provided some extra cash for Harriet.
  • Other lessons from Harriet’s life, such as her adoration of John Brown, remind me to stay obedient to the Lord. John Brown was an extreme and charismatic abolitionist. He even made his own manifesto to create his own country and planned a battle in which he died. Harriet wanted to join him in that battle, but she reported that God didn’t want to her to go. Harriet’s work might have been compromised and her life prematurely ended had she joined John Brown in that battle.  
  • When Harriet discovered John Tubman’s remarriage, the rage became a more practical anger. John refused to see her. “She did not give way to rage or grief, but collected a party of fugitives and brought them safely to Philadelphia.” (pgs. 82-83). Right now, we live in an age of rage. Instead, we ought to look at practical ways to process our emotions during this time of history. Harriet didn’t spend her time complaining about John or wallowing in self-pity. She did something whether through service or donation.

As Supported Staff with WorldVenture in Digital Disciple-Making, I’m finding ministry a practical outlet for the uncomfortable time we are living through. I can’t change the circumstances we are living in (social unrest, worldwide shut downs, etc), but I can change how I act, how I serve, and instead process that grief and discomfort through helping and encouraging others online. Even my financial partners have taught me about generosity in that I hope to live a generous life myself no matter the circumstances.

Thank you, Harriet Tubman, for living a courageous, selfless life and for loving others well.

How Books and Movies Inspire Me

Everyone is talking about 2020—what books they will read, what 2019 did (or didn’t) do, and making resolutions they will break by January 31. We’re all seeking meaning and purpose. Books help us find it.

I read books from authors I may not 100% agree with and books of authors that I can trust and count on. Everyone should read books that help us become better thinkers.

My books and Movies from 2019:

My Life by Sevasti Kyrias Dako: An autobiography of a woman who pioneered female education in Albania. She fought hard to retain the Albanian language. She believed in her work and suffered for it. As I read her words, I wondered,

  • What am I willing to suffer to see this vision come to fruition? How far am I willing to go? When you get into missionary work, you think raising support would come easy. For pioneering work, it is the true act of trailblazing. When I think of trailblazing, I think of brambles with thorns, fighting through the wilderness, and wild animals. For Sevasti, female education was a lifelong passion and work.
  • Sevasti was helped by wise people to see her potential and direct her passions. I am grateful that God is providing those wise people around me.

Visioneering by Andy Stanley: I stumbled upon this book when my husband was reading it for his group. Some of the quotes snagged my interest and I am reading it again. What I learned,

  • Nehemiah is a great book in the Bible when you are building something. It is still very relevant today.
  • Persist in the vision and sift through criticism. Take what is helpful and discard what is not helpful.

Kon Tiki: A man discovers new research about how Polynesians didn’t come from Asia but came from Peru. He builds a raft and takes a group of men to drift in the currents to Polynesia to prove his theory correct.

  • Missionaries, especially trailblazers, face a steep climb to 100% funding. Watching this movie and reading this book, showed persistence to get the funding he needed to build the raft.
  • The lingering glance in the movie of the gap between the cement pier and the raft with the water in between showed second thoughts. As the tug boat started to bring the raft out to sea, I saw his courage as he faced his fears and the uncertainty of dangers and of being wrong.
  • People said it couldn’t be done. He proved them wrong by showing up. We don’t have to prove anything as Christian leaders. We just need to show up when God calls and participate. He does the work. We just need to have faith in the journey and pray.
  • The joy of feet on dry land, of proving his theory, was evident. His actions inspired his crew and others in generations to come to trailblaze new theories and try new things. I know I trailblaze a path for people to come behind me. Therefore, my story will be God’s story. He will get the glory.

Image by Dariusz Sankowski from Pixabay

Pipeline: A Review

At times, Pipeline: Engaging the Church in Missionary Mobilization felt like a morning devotional rich in Scripture. Other moments, the book became a how-to manual on how to engage your church in the Great Commission, ending in pages of written essays from representatives of different missionary agencies. If you are indecisive where to sign up, this book is quite helpful.

Of course, I knew where I wanted to sign up.

It wasn’t because a church mentored me into missions. God called me to WorldVenture to serve in an area very few recognized as a mission field—social media. It’s important to invite me to a committee to answer questions as most people get it wrong when they try to present what I do. Some think I mentor other missionaries. Others think I play online. Why should I support someone to play on social media, right?

Marketers understand. They’ve used social media for years to manipulate us to buy cereals we shouldn’t eat, cars we can’t afford, and books we end up not reading again. An unknown number of books exist online on how to use story, algorithms, and bots to get our product or services in front of people using social media. Churches also use these tools to market their church. Even your favorite speakers have a social media communicator on staff which is how you find their publications online.  

In Pipeline: Engaging the Church in Missionary Mobilization, they suggested the church mentor a future generation of missionaries through training, prayer, and coaching. What they left out was social media. We can use all the same tools as a marketer to get God’s story of missions into our church, through meaningful and authentic interaction, videos that come alive (like Movingworks.org), and help foster emotional involvement. Social Media allows missionaries to talk to their partners, to the people they serve in their areas, and to church congregations. For the first time, we don’t have to wait for a missionary to mail a letter. Social media can be used to coach others and build relationships through online connections.

Some notable quotes from the book include,

  • “The call to minister cross-culturally is a call to suffer for the sake of a message and the glory of Jesus’ name.” (Pg. 11)
  • “Was I going to allow God to interrupt my life with his purpose and push mine aside? Or was I going to cling to the life I had always wanted?” (Pg. 13)
  • “The warning here is that the institutional church, just like the humans who inhabit it, will always take the path of least resistance unless its leaders fully surrender to the hard work of obedience to the call of God and the Great Commission.” (Pg. 62)

After spending almost 11-years as a church secretary, I knew we needed to tell a better story of what God is doing in the world so the congregation not only gets emotionally involved, but is on fire in their own communities to share the Gospel (on and offline) with the unchurched, the unloved, and the unreached even at great sacrifice and much discomfort. Pipeline gives a thorough understanding of missionary mobilization from the perspectives of missionaries, churches, and mission organizations.

And even better, the work God has called me into involves mobilization. Social media touches nearly every ministry in WorldVenture. My work will be multi-faceted because we use social media to make disciples.

Mimosa: A Commentary

Some books leave me in awe, like Mimosa by Amy Carmichael. The poetic language is peaceful, worshipful, and her story inspires patience. None of us can really imagine living the life Mimosa lived with a husband who didn’t love her nearly as much as she deserved, hardships that we won’t ever experience, and a caste that was unbending and cold.

As I flew back from Denver and reflected on Mimosa, I thought of my lack of funding. Mimosa reminded me to turn my focus on obedience. The way she put out her blanket when she lacked food and money, expecting, anticipating the Lord to provide (which He did) made me want to be more like her. Mimosa persevered though she couldn’t read. Because she couldn’t read, the Bible came to her only through verbal messages, and she drank it in, borrowing strength for another day.

The powerful words at the end of the chapter say, “For God has other Mimosas.” The other Mimosas are people of all beliefs and languages that God is pursuing. He doesn’t require our help, but eagerly, He invites us to join Him.

Other quotes hit me powerfully throughout the book like,

“Are there those for whom we have long prayed for, who seem beyond our reach now? Love will find a way. Are we discouraged because we do not see our expected signs, and the solid rocks seem to be sinking under shifting sands? It is not so. Love is mighty and must prevail. Terrible in judgments, marvelous in loving kindness, love will find a way.”

“And now she is back in her bigoted Hindu world, and she writes that some wonder, some scoff, and some are listening a little. Her husband, whom she has set her heart on winning, feels her a disgrace, but the amazing thing is that he still owns as his wife one who has so shamed his caste (which is not one of the more tolerant which allow a woman to remain within the fold even after baptism). Her life cannot be easy. But then, she has not asked for ease; she has asked for the shield of patience so that she may overcome.”

“Then with a warm glow of joy she knew what He had been to her all through the bitter years. ‘You know Him by learning,’ she later said to Star, ‘but I know Him by suffering.'”

“And gradually it returned, and his eyes became less darkened. ‘We had no help. No medicine did I know of, nor had I money to buy it. It was only our God’s healing.’ And she sent a thank offering to the Christian church which knew nothing of her.”

The second quote down, “…and now she is back in her bigoted Hindu world,” reminded me how we aren’t to flee our difficult situations. Examples like Paul remind us to walk towards difficulty, not away. It’s easier to hold a job, Monday through Friday, go to church twice a week or twice a month and not do the emotional labor of reaching out, but I am reminded of another quote from another book,

“We need to remind ourselves that the primary purpose of the church is evangelization, or in the broad sense, missions. Every other activity in the church–worship, preaching, education, music, fellowship–should result in making us better witnesses, better missionaries…The Great Commission is for all Christians, not just a few.” (Living Stones of the Himalayas by Thomas Hale).

Each day I am reminded of why God has me doing what I do for WorldVenture. So, you settle in, pray it out, and wait for God’s next move. Like Mimosa, I am putting out my blanket each day and praying, “God, you asked me to go this way. Please tell me how to get there.”

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Where Are The Good Followers? #SocialMedia #Christian

Image result for letters to the church francis chan

According to “Cairnway,” 1,246 paperback books with leadership in the title were published in 2017. “Counting all formats, Amazon offers 57,136 books with the word leadership in the title.” In a Google search, I found only a few articles or books on being good followers. Most of the time, leadership takes precedent. It’s what you hear in church. Based on a 4-day devotional from the Youversion app on Francis Chan’s “Letters to The Church,” I bought the book, hungry for being in awe of my position as a member of the Body of Christ. And this chapter set me down on my knees.

In fact, I posted on my Facebook, “I love this book, but I am not reading it from a spirit of trying to find someone else to blame; I am learning to be in awe of being a member of the body of Christ and to help bring about a spirit of unity by supporting, leading, and doing away with my own sense of ego, pride, and competition.” Too often, we hit the share button because we want someone else to see it. The lesson is for them, not for us. I want to learn Jesus’ version of leadership. (John 13:1-17).

Francis Chan says,

“Imagine how difficult it would be to coach a team where each player refuses to follow because he or she has a better plan than the coach. Welcome to the American Church in the twenty-first century. Let’s exercise some humility.”

My biggest struggle is getting rid of my sense of competition, especially when you are raising support to only have to work one full-time job. I’ve encountered people who believe they are the only ones doing it right. That attitude is in the name of their ministries, their words, and even in their defensiveness. To maintain a sense of unity, I seek to work with what is established and help others succeed in their ministry goals. In some situations, I become a leader; in others, I become a follower. Once upon a time, I hated how teachers would force me into group work. Now, I see value in collaboration, but don’t hold too tightly to your ideas as a leader. God is such a creative God. He dreams bigger than we do.

A good follower of Christ and a good leader is aware that people are always watching. With social media, this is acutely true. The more notoriety you get (like Francis Chan), the more critical and the more encouraging the comments. Chan struggled with so much criticism and flattery. As a Digital Engagement and Disciple-Making Coordinator with WorldVenture, I can understand that pressure, but not to his level. On an individual level, a person must show their faith and life online and treat their social media as an extension of their face-to-face life. They should be one and the same. You can, with social media, be both a leader and a follower. The church needs good followers.

It became quickly clear to me in 2014 how social media will play a big role in missions, but only if we can mobilize the congregation to follow. Francis Chan pastored a megachurch before God took him out of the country. In this first chapter, he talked about wanting people to live holy lives. Too many people had no interest in applying the Bible to their lives at his megachurch. They would come to church every week and go home without appearing to show the fruit of belief in their lives. He wanted his church to become groups of people who challenged each other to action (and they did!).

In 2014, I saw more than half of the church on social media platforms like Facebook, and I asked God, “What if we trained those people to reach unbelievers, the unreached, and to learn another culture, even a language, to become digital workers? What if each church had a digital team that grew every year that supported the mission and vision of their church and likewise, supported missionary organizations? Missionary organizations that also help to provide training material to support a church’s mission goals and their own?” I also saw over-worked pastors and missionaries and communications staff that didn’t just do communications, but a hundred other jobs. Most churches and missionary organizations do not have the budget to support someone trained in communications. Sometimes, churches and missionary organizations only see their social media as a marketing tool, rather than a tool that can be used for digital discipleship. Francis Chan said, “Another issue we saw was how everything had grown to be very dependent on one person.”

Right now, I am training a non-profit on social media and digital discipleship. A ministry is only as good as the heart and drive of its people. If all leadership has to do is provide relevant content and lead, the digital teams become a powerful tool to saturate the world with the Gospel. This alleviates the pressure of having to do everything. Lastly, Francis Chan says this,

“After giving a very strong rebuke to the church of Laodicea for being lukewarm, Jesus simply asked them to open the door. Before you get overwhelmed by all tht is wrong with the Church, rememeber that He is not placing an insurmountable burden on your shoulders. He is asking you to fellowship with Him and join Him in what He is doing. We should be filled with faith and anticipation…”

You are the church.

You are also online.

New Book: Digital Diasporas

Reading: Digital Diasporas by Jennifer M. Brinkerhoff

“Conventional wisdom holds that IT (information technologies), especially as it is applied transnationally, poses a threat to nation-states, sovereignty and capacity to govern. IT has “exposed the porosity of geographic and political borders and limited extent of any national jurisdiction” (Montgomery 2002, 26), Wilson’s (1998) literature review found a significant degree of agreement that state sovereignty–and, arguably, capacity–eroded by IT, as a result of state’s increasing inability to control information both within their borders, as well as at the supranational level. (pg. 5-6)” 

Social media is like its own nation-state, populated by multiple diasporas and cultures. The internet is a threat, but only because it is a free state allowing for the exchange of cultures and ideas. Depending upon how a person uses this tool, it can bring either peace or conflict. I pulled this quote from The Atlantic when I wrote “How Facebook’s Big Announcement Can Help Missions“:

“… [O]n a pure population count [Facebook is] bigger than many countries, including the U.S. (323.1 million people as of 2016) Also like a country… [M]any web-watchers do detect country-like features in Facebook. “[It] is a device that allows people to get together and control their own destiny, much like a nation-state,” says David Post, a law professor at Temple University. If that sounds like a flattering description of Facebook’s “groups” (often rallying people with whimsical fads and aversions), then it is worth recalling a classic definition of the modern nation-state. As Benedict Anderson, a political scientist, put it, such polities are “imagined communities” in which each person feels a bond with millions of anonymous fellow-citizens. In centuries past, people looked up to kings or bishops; but in an age of mass literacy and printing in vernacular languages, so Mr Anderson argued, horizontal ties matter more.” From Here

Likewise, we will need people who understand language demographics, provide training to local churches on cross-cultural communication, people in the church willing to use their social media to reach across social media borders, and technology people to help those that struggle with it to grasp simple concepts. This means it will take all of us to work together to accomplish the Great Commission from the church level to the mission organization level.

**Learn more about what I do with WorldVenture by clicking here**

 

Book Review: A Song Unheard

Reviewing books is a great way to begin conversations and build relationships. While I’ve cut back on my book reviewing, I am still registered with a few sites to review books to refill my creative tank. 

A Song Unheard by Roxanne White is part of a series called Shadows Over England. It begins with an unlikely heroine, Willa Forsythe–a thief with an innate ability to hear music and play by memory.

The era is World War I. A mysterious man only known as V pays her to give him information. Until near the end of the book, no one knows if V is with England or Germany. For Wila, it’s another dangerous job that pays well so she can survive on the streets, cashing in on her abilities as the best thief in England. She justifies lying and thievery because she doesn’t steal from children or those in need; only from those with enough money to spare. She’s not as bad as other thieves, or so she keeps telling herself.

When she meets her mark, a refugee Belgium violinist named Lukas, to steal his fathers cypher, she encounters other interested parties; namely, a German spy who threatens her life and a man whose loyalties can be bought. Things aren’t black and white anymore. Complicating things is how her heart begins to soften towards Lukas as he shares himself with her and brings out a better version of herself. Discovery of the cypher will challenge Willa’s morality and strip away everything she thought was right.

A Song Unheard is an excellent story.

*Book given by publisher to review. 

Business Versus Missions: Is There a Division? #Christian

WorldVenture hosted two Hackathons with Code For The Kingdom during the past couple of years. I participated in both and mingled with business people, missionaries, churches and regular working people. During those weekends, we worked together in creative endeavors to solve world challenges with technology.

In the last Hackathon, I assisted a businessman with his idea, helping to expand it. While I didn’t quite have the time I thought to fully review his manuscript for the ministry, his idea had merit. These are just two of many examples where not all the church is against business as missions or work having merit. So, when I began reading, “Called to Create: A Biblical Invitation to Create, Innovate, and Risk,” I felt the divide between business and missions.

“Over the course of my career, I have thought a lot about this issue and discussed this topic at length with friends inside and outside of the world of entrepreneurship. It seems clear to me that the church has bought into a false storyline about work that says work is inherently bad and meaningless unless it is “full-time ministry.” Before we discern the calling of entrepreneurs specifically, we must first combat this thinking with biblical truths that give us a much more hopeful and meaningful storyline for all work.”
― from “Called to Create: A Biblical Invitation to Create, Innovate, and Risk”

One of my leaders who recommended this book said she felt encouraged by it. The ministry God has me doing empowers creatives and entrepreneurs to partner with the church to serve in outreach to their global communities in line with or in addition to their daily jobs or business responsibilities. Most of what I do involves entrepreneurs and creatives. In fact, WorldVenture is such a fantastic organization that their vision includes creative people and ideas that are non-traditional in their paths.

In light of that leader’s response, I was inspired to think how I can encourage the church to embrace the creatives in their congregation. Because Social Media is a creative environment, it is ideal for photographers, artists, musicians, writers, etc to embrace this communication tool to share the Gospel through the relationships they build online and the stories they tell.

You might have noticed how marketers are embracing the idea of story telling to sell more products or services. Some religions other than Christianity are embracing story telling and marketing to attract the indecisive to their belief system. It seems a lot of Christians are hesitant about using this communication tool. Maybe some are wary of it or afraid? Maybe it just feels so big that it is like looking at a blank piece of paper and wondering where to start?

As a worker with WorldVenture, I want to mobilize the church to serve online as well as face-to-face, recognizing that social media is global and the world is different now. Whatever you feel about technology, the church needs to embrace it and train their congregations to use it in godly ways.

Don’t you train an army before you send them out into the battlefield?

When I read this chapter, I was less than thrilled, because the churches I have met or know do see that sharing the Gospel at work in honoring ways is part of being a Christian, and using your creativity in the arts can also bring about interesting conversation. If the church is going to share the Gospel in their communities, entrepreneurs, missionaries, church staff and regular workers (even ones less than thrilled about their employment) need to be unified in their causes. But then I focused on the last few words of that quote, “…meaningful storyline for all work.” All work, including the people who serve in churches and in mission organizations that depend upon the generosity of others to do their work.

Meanwhile, I will continue to read this book. Stay tuned for future blog posts. My leader’s response reminded me that I need to make sure my volunteers, group leaders, and those participating in ministry are encouraged in all their efforts and feel supported.

Ralph Winter: Outspoken, Focused, and Fearless

The Ralph D. Winter Story by Harold Fickett (Kindle Version)

While the book tended to enthusiastically go long on Winter’s theories towards the end, I closed the last page inspired to persevere in my own field. The Ralph D Winter Story was written by a friend of his who lovingly shared about Winter’s life. How did it inspire me?

  • “He had to grow into his own identity, see its usefulness, and then embrace it despite what others might think. This took a long period of acting on what he did without seeing the big picture.” As I raise support to serve in this new field, I am stepping into the unknown and wondering what this will all look like when I am at 100% support. Right now, God is moving the pieces in place, and while I wait, I am serving at a day job where God has placed me. It is my intent to serve them honorably so they succeed. I am learning a lot in my day job. While working the day job, I am talking to numerous people about what I do with WorldVenture. This often gets a variety of responses. The reason it takes so long to raise support is because of people who need help seeing the vision more clearly on what a social media ministry may look like and how it can help the church.
  • “That was who Ralph was. After a lifetime of zeroing in on this elusive identity, he used virtually every moment of his last years to live it out without compromise, and without regard for the consequences.” A ministry that compromises on total obedience doesn’t succeed. Keeping the vision ever in front of me, I intend to get to 100% support so I can put myself fully into this work. My husband says, I am catching up on wasted years. This is true. I want the rest of my life to reflect the growing faith in the Lord and to share the hope and joy we have in Jesus with others. This will be done on a variety of media and in the face-to-face world.
  • “Ralph’s sense of life as a spiritual battle deepened.” Winter pursued the theory of evil intelligent design following his wife’s death to open up conversation with those who believe in intelligent design. What he meant by this was to pray against the evil of disease. If an intelligent designer like God created the world, what if Satan uses “intelligent design” to create the viruses, diseases, and death in the world to fight God? In my own journey, I could share stories on what I felt was evil targeting us as we worked to serve with WorldVenture more strategically and whole-heartedly. This new direction in my life is different from any other program or act of service.
  • Conflict and disagreement will happen, even in the best of organizations. Winter had his conflicts. He was outspoken. His theories weren’t always welcome, and his mannerisms were said in the book to offend people. In Guatemala, a nurse didn’t welcome his ideas on cross-cultural communication. She followed closely with traditional approaches. What if the church explored the creative side of evangelism and missions and supported this financially, prayerfully, and actively through implementation? We can support solid truths by simply changing how we share those truths.

No matter what obstacles I face, I am praying Matthew 4:19 (CEB) for the Lord to continue to show me HOW to reach those with no hope, no joy, and no future with the Good News of the Gospel. A former pastor once said that a person coming to love the Lord is a “supernatural miracle.” We must first serve on our knees, before we serve with our hands.

Support this vision by clicking here. Or to schedule an appointment with me, leave a comment or use the comment form here to connect with me. It would give me joy to share the full vision with you.