Tag Archives: Missionaries

Book Review: 10 Who Changed the World

Book Review:  10 Who Changed the World by Daniel L. Akin

The Good: 

The Stars.  The stars of this book were the missionaries.  Men and women that I admire greatly.  Incredible stories of dedicated faith through hardship, persecution, and even martyrdom.  Missionaries who took the Gospel where it needed to go.

They Said It.  The author went to great lengths to provide quotes from the missionaries themselves.  From personal letters, journal entries, and other documents were used to give the reader actual missionary quotes.  Powerful does not even describe the words.  As some quotes were taken just moments before the missionaries were killed.

Biblical.  While the biographies of these missionaries were remarkable, the Biblical basis for their legacy was what held the book together.  Each missionary story was assigned a passage of Scripture that weaved through their life story.  This was a perfect touch by the author to make sure the glory is given where glory is due.

The Bad:

Read with a little excitement (audio book only).  Ok, confession time…I didn’t actually read the book.  I listened to it on audio book.  Obviously, the reader was a professional and there was never any mistakes, pauses, or interruptions.  However, there was little enthusiasm.  As a pastor, if I would have read some of these pages, I could not help but raise my voice.

The Grade:  A-

Wow.  It was a word that I would say out loud as I listened to these powerful stories of legendary missionaries of yesterday.  If you want a book that will inspire you to share the Gospel, you can start here.  I could not wait to get in my car for more stories of missionaries being faithful to their call.  What is amazing, the missionaries were often quoted as what they did as no big deal.  They each saw it as the calling of any Christian, to follow where God leads and share his precious gift of salvation with others.  To them, it was a privilege to give their life to such a call.

 

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How to Teach On Poverty…And What to Do About It

Picture1A new iPhone. How many likes did my Facebook post get since five minutes ago? How am I going to memorize the Declaration of Independence before tomorrow? I have to read how many pages for English class? These are some of the thoughts that your students have. What about global poverty? It may not even be a blip on their radar screen. It may be up to you to teach them a little global compassion. Sound like a big subject…you bet it is. But there are ways to make an impression.

Teach a Little Perspective. Take them to http://www.globalrichlist.com/. That will open up their eyes. When they see a high schooler that is working only 20 hours a week at minimum wage makes more than 85% OF THE WORLD!! Yes, if you work at Kohl’s, Kroger, or even babysitting put you in the richest in the world. Talk about perspective.

Define Poverty. Poverty is more than just lack of food, shelter, or clothing. That’s a good basic definition, but it is also powerlessness to remove oneself from these conditions. A good video to show can be found here.

Picture2Explain the Bible is Not Silent about Poverty. God has expectation of us concerning the poor. He never wanted it to be the have and have-nots. Give out passages & have students explain what God says about poverty. Here is a cheat sheet for the Bible verses you might find: Deuteronomy 15:10 – Give to the poor without regrets. Proverbs 22:2 – Money does not make one better than another – we are all God’s creation. Proverbs 29:7 – Do you care? We need to care about the poor. James 2:15-17 – Do Something!

Tackle the Excuses. Takes time…Don’t know what to do…Don’t care enough. The excuses are all over the place, but you must get them out on the table. Talk about the excuses you have and tackle each one. Give your student hope they can make a difference in global poverty.

End With 4 Ways to Make a Difference in Poverty.

  • #1 – GIVE – Give towards organizations like Compassion International. Encourage them to support a missionary that fights poverty, and help you set this up. Even if it is just a few dollars a month – what if everyone in this room did this? Give to organizations like KIVA.ORG, who lend or give money to people around the world to start a business that could literally change their life. As little as $25 could make a difference. Do your homework on companies and find ways you can make a difference.
  • #2 – Start a Movement – Here are some ways you can have your students start a movement for fighting poverty: In speech class, use you informative speeches to share about the needs of the poor, how they live from one meal to the next, and the needs of the community. Facebook posts – about the needs of the poor, missionary prayer letters – shared. Write songs, poems, and articles about poverty for the school newspaper, performances, or dramas. Talk to your employer about doing something for the poor. Start a club – does fundraisers & events for those in poverty all over the world. Participate in church activities that help the poor like the homeless shelter outreach. Write your local government officials about needs in your community
  • #3 – Care & Love the Poor – Nearly every community has those living in poverty – go out and do something about it. Start a program here at church that ministers to the poor. Encourage them to look for opportunities. Talk to them – if you serve at the shelter or you see someone in need – talk to them, look them in the eye, listen to their stories. As followers of Jesus – we MUST have compassion for those in need…who knows what may happen?!?
  • #4 – Do Something – Give your students ideas, and then make it happ’n Cap’n. Make a video to help promote a charity or organization. Start a charity that makes something to donate towards missionaries working with those in poverty. Find ways to advocate for the homeless. Research local agencies that fight poverty in the area and present them to the group.

Have them Present Their Solutions. Put together some brainstorming groups and allow the students to come up with solutions. Encourage them to follow through with their solutions. In the words of Bob Goff, don’t just have a Bible study, have a Bible doing. Push them to make a difference.

Don’t Underestimate. A goal of mine is to see students become world-changers. Don’t underestimate what students can do with just a little encouragement. Allow them to change the world, and fight global poverty one step at a time.

 

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7 Lessons from my Mission Trip to Nicaragua

God’s Peace. When you are doing something that brings glory to the Father, He will give you the peace you need. Leaving your family and kids for a week is not easy. Leaving your wife and kids for a week to leave out of the country is a whole new level. I’ll be honest, it was a struggle to say goodbye as my little girls gave me their final hugs to their daddy. But, as soon as I entered the airport terminal, and immediate feeling of peace and security overwhelmed my spirit. God gave me His peace right when I needed it.

Sometimes Things Get Dirty. The low-light of my trip taught me a great lesson. I was having so much fun playing soccer with the kids after our gospel kid’s program. One of the kids kicked the ball to me, and as I attempted to head it into the “goal” (two tree branches in the ground), my back foot slipped out from under me and I landed head first in a huge mud puddle. I was covered in mud from head to toe. But it was in that moment that God taught me. The pastor’s son began to take off his shirt to give to me to wear…a young man, who I later saw wearing that same shirt (probably one of the few he owned) was willing to give up something for me, whom he just met. Talk about being humbled.  Not because I was full of mud, but by this young man’s willingness to give.  Lesson learned. Be willing to give, even when you have little to give.

Gratefulness. No running water for 4 days. Houses made of plastic and tin metal. Toilets flushed with a bucket. House walkways covered in trash ankle-deep. Kids abused and neglected. If I can’t have gratefulness after this experience…shame on me. And shame on me for any covetousness I will have for the rest of my life.

Significance of the Program. In America, a puppet program may be boring or even weird for the kids. After all, it’s tough to compete with Pixar, Dreamworks, and Sesame Street. But where we were, these kids had very little. It made our program more significant. Not because we wanted to the focus of the attention, but because we wanted to bring these kids something very special. It really put things in perspective.1966743_10152986984257345_1638882985323562529_n

Minister Like a Mission Trip. Oftentimes we go all out for mission trips and pour our hearts into these trips. There is no reason this should not happen here. Do I have the same passion for the kids in VBS, AWANA, and Sunday School? I hope so. But reality is, there are times when I become complacent. Lord, help me ministry everyday with a passion for sharing Jesus and his love with kids, in Central America, in Africa, and in America.

God’s Grace. When you see little kids bringing their toddler siblings to these programs, often feeding them with a bottle and putting them to sleep, you can’t help but see God’s grace. I saw God’s grace in how a little girl brought her twin baby brothers to a feeding center and the little boys did not make a peep. I saw God’s grace in a 5-year-old boy who brought a one year old to the children’s center and never heard the little girl cry. “Let the little children come to me”…well, I saw this happen right in front of me. I saw how God allowed these children to come, by His grace.

Be in the Moment. If I was transparent, there were times where I could have mailed it in, and just taken a rest from a full trip. One such moment was after teaching an adult Sunday school class in a small rural church. Instead, a little girl caught the corner of my eye. She was three, and as cute as could be. I reached my hands out during the final songs of the service, and she jumped in my arms. Her grandmother in front of me, with a big smile on her face. I asked where her mother was, and I recognized the Spanish word that came next…muerta. Her mother was dead, and the grandmother was taking care of her, and 3 other siblings. My heart broke as I held this little girl in my arms. If I would have mailed it in, I would have missed these hugs, I would have missed this story, I would have missed the opportunity to tell the grandmother I would be praying for her. Lord, help me be in the moment more in my life. I don’t want to miss these moments.

Thank you for all your prayers this past week. God truly blessed, and my life will never be the same. I’ve always said that mission trips are life-changing. And after this trip, I’ll say it with an even louder voice.

 

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