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I'm just a girl trying to keep an eternal perspective on life, and live it to the fullest :)

Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year and Missional Living

With a New Year approaching, like many others, I like to take a step back and look at where I’ve been, where I am and where I am currently going. I then like to come up with some “resolutions”, goals, to improve myself and my family.
The first step in doing this is to put my priorities in order. Then figure out how to implement living a prioritized life. 
Numero Uno isn’t me- It’s God. He has to be number one for everything else to line up right. Then my husband- kids- the rest of our family- friends- church- work-etc... It's so easy to get our priorities out of alignment.

So how do we make Jesus first? Spend time with Him everyday! Don’t exclude Him from any aspect of your life. Allow Him to guide our every step.  (Click Here to learn how to become a Christ Follower).
In putting God first, I really want to be disciplined, and figure out practical ways to do so. For instance, to spend quite time with Him each morning, I need to go to bed earlier, so I am not so exhausted. 
I also want to be more disciplined when it comes to keeping up my house, teaching my girls their preschool lessons, exercising and eating healthier. I have to remember that my body is a temple for God's Holy Spirit and treat it with that respect. Each day I want to wake up and say to myself: This is the day that the Lord has made- I will rejoice and be glad in it (Psalm 118:24)!  
As a family, we need to be more disciplined with sticking to a budget. I want to learn to live on less. I want us all to more appreciate the little things. To consume less resources and give more. One way I think we can more consciously do this is instead of directly depositing our money to the church, with my husband's variable income, we want to make sure we give at-least 10% in tithing by hand writing a check each month. 
I also desire for us all to live passionately, to live like we're dying (since no one knows the exact moment they will take their last breath). I want to live with no regrets. Show Jesus' love and serve others more. 
On that note, here are some practical ways to shine Jesus' love. First, starting with children (we are all God's children :)
SPECIAL DAYS- Bring the kids of your community together. All ages will enjoy these days.
• Art Day -- Invite a local artist to teach cartooning, color and line, and perspective. Have kids make masks or learn how to mix colors.
• Gym Day -- Rent or borrow a gym if you don't have one on your church campus. Invite a local sports figure to offer a clinic for your kids. Ask a local grocery for free drinks and give a sponsor's award in return with your thanks.
• Game Day -- Have kids bring their favorite table games. Hold a tournament and give prizes in each age category. Or make your own games. How about a huge Twister using various colored paper plates taped to the floor?
• Sidewalk Circus -- Have children make puppets and create a puppet show. Take your puppet ministry to the city park and hold a sidewalk circus. You can also have circus-type acts, clowns, and balloons. Invite visiting children to come to your church on Sunday.
• Music Day -- Have kids bring their own instruments for a band. Or have a kazoo marching band.
• Ecology Day -- Teach about reuse, reduce, and recycle. Have kids plant trees in your community or coordinate a paper drive. Communicate the ecology message from the standpoint that God created the world and gave us authority over it.
• Kite Day -- Fly high in the spring. After morning worship, supply kite-making materials. Serve families pizza or hot dogs for lunch. After everyone has eaten and made a kite, enjoy flying the kites.
• Celebrate Friend Day -- Encourage each child to bring a friend to Sunday school. Honor friends by having children give their guests a special name tag and a helium balloon.
• Cookie Bake-Off -- With plenty of adult supervision, have children bake cookies. Use simple, pictorial recipes and premeasure all ingredients. After the cookie party, have kids seal the extra cookies in plastic bags. Take children to give the cookies to a shut-in, nursing home resident, or sick child.
• Animal Crackers -- How about a petting zoo or a parade of your favorite stuffed animals? Maybe a live pet show? Kids could pretend to be animals in the zoo. Or you could re-enact Noah's collection of animals. Set up in a neighborhood on Saturday morning and watch kids flock to you.
• Children's Day -- Use this special day to recognize children. Focus all the music and events around children. Decorate with helium balloon bouquets. Have children assist adult ushers and lead in prayer. Invite parents so they can be ministered to as they see how much your church values their children.
• S.O.K. (Summer Outing for Kids) -- This is a special day in the summer. Charge a nominal fee for these days and encourage kids to invite friends. You can do any of the following:
  • Go to the zoo, a children's museum, or a farm.
  • Have a cooking day where kids prepare and cook their own lunch.
  • Hold a day camp with planned activities such as crafts, cooking, games, and stories.
• Kinder Kamp -- Get an address list of unchurched preschoolers by asking young mothers for names of unchurched mothers of preschoolers they know. On the Saturday before preschoolers are promoted to their new Sunday school class, invite churched and unchurched preschoolers and their parents to Kinder Kamp. Have them come to their new Sunday school departments, meet their new teachers, and see what they'll be doing. Serve refreshments and give each child a school box and pencil. Children and parents will be more excited about Sunday school after Kinder Kamp.
You won't have to coerce kids to invite their friends to these fun events.
• Design a T-Shirt Party -- Do this activity at the beginning of the summer and have kids design a theme shirt for the summer. Provide fabric paint and have kids bring T-shirts to decorate. Then set kids free to create.
• Pizza Party -- Set up a topping bar and have kids make their own pizzas on English muffins. Combine this food-fest with a Frisbee golf tournament on the lawn. You could call this one "Par Wars and the Pepperoni Strikes Back"!
• Movie Party -- Rent a movie with permission to show the movie to a group. Pop plenty of popcorn. Have kids make this a "drive-in movie" by making cars out of boxes before the movie starts. Kids can sit in their "cars" and watch the show.
• Make-a-Movie Extravaganza -- Use Bible themes and re-enact biblical stories, or create your own theme. Give plastic "Oscar" awards after the screening.
• Game Shows -- Run your own game show. It's fun! Game versions of shows such as Double Dare are available at toy outlets. Or you can make your own Wheel of Fortune game.
• Gong Show -- This is an amateur program based on TV's The Gong Show. Kids can show off their talents and have a great time. Plan silly adult talent acts for gonging. Use a hanging metal trash can lid for gonging.
During longer events, there are greater opportunities for churched kids to share their faith with their unchurched friends.
• Snow J-A-M (Jesus and Me) -- You can call this retreat for third- through sixth-graders anything you want-as long as you keep the J-A-M for "Jesus and Me." It's Snow J-A-M in our church because it's held in January and there's snow on the ground!
Plan this retreat away from the church on a Friday night or an all-day Saturday. And encourage kids to invite other kids. Invite a speaker to address topics such as friendship, self-image, and relationship with Jesus.
• Rainbow River Camp -- This four-day camp has recreation, Bible stories, games, and worship for kids. Provide enough adult supervision for quality one-on-one time for each child at some time during the camp. You'll have best outreach results if you have this in a city park.
*Getting kids involved in the ministry of helping others is the best way to teach them about how we are to serve others and follow the example that Jesus gave us. These ideas are fun and rewarding. They can be adapted as a Children's Ministry program or ways for families to work together.
Service Project Ideas
  • Clean and organize give-away clothing closets.
  • Sort through and organize donations given to agencies.
  • Help prepare and serve the food at a soup kitchen or hospice.
  • Clean up, set-up, or tear down at a soup kitchen.
  • Help move small furniture for shelters.
  • Perform puppet shows, musicals, concerts or choir performances at shelters, soup kitchens, or hospices.
  • Do yard work or general cleanup of any facility-from weed pulling to vacuuming.
  • Help prepare bulk mailings to benefit an agency.
  • Promote fund-raisers on behalf of the service agency.
  • Paint furniture, walls, or items that don't need to be "perfect."
  • Paint over graffiti.
  • Gather and deliver items for people in need. This is a great way to get involved with inmates' families.
  • Play with homeless children on day visits or by sponsoring a trip for children in homeless shelters.
  • Visit and serve people in an elderly community.
  • Work at the Special Olympics.
  • Plant trees and shrubs at a location in dire need of environmental care.
  • Organize the canned and boxed goods in a food pantry.
Community Outreach Ideas for Kids
Art Day. Invite kids of the community to come and paint pictures and then display them in your church as a gallery. Offer 15-minute workshops on how to mix colors, how to draw shapes to make pictures, and perhaps even on cartooning.
Gym Day. Open your church gym or rent a place where kids can come and learn how to play sports. Have an instructor to teach basic skills for basketball, soccer, gymnastics, and other sports. Promote it as a sports clinic day. Ask a local grocery to donate free drinks and give them a token in return for their generosity.
Game Day. Have kids bring their favorite table games. Hold a tournament and give prizes in each age category. Or make your own games. How about a huge Twister using various colored paper plates taped to the floor?
Sidewalk Circus. Get kids involved in making puppets, unless you have a puppet ministry in your church already. Perform shows and skits at a local park. Bring along a clown who can make balloon animals or do face painting.
Read more at Suite101: Service Projects for Kids: Ideas for Children's Ministry Outreach Programs 

There are countless ways your family can volunteer in your local community. This area highlights some successful projects. 
MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers)
*Call or e-mail someone in your group once a week just to check in, see how she is doing and offer to pray for her.
*Exchange babysitting.
*Remind DGLs to call moms once a month to connect one on one.
*Host an event outside of MOPS meetings for moms to get to know each other better.
*Clean, restock and organize the church nursery and classrooms.
*Be aware of the needs of the moms in your group and support, encourage or help any mom in need.
*Organize a clothing or toy swap to help moms share resources with each other.
*Bring meals to a new mom in your group.
*There are groups and organizations around your community that need help. Become part of a larger, coordinated effort.
*Donate gently used toys to a women’s shelter.
*Support Locks of Love (grow your hair and get it cut together)! 
*Organize a neighborhood clean-up day. 
*Donate gently used books to a local library. 
*Organize a blood drive or go and donate blood together.
*Visit a nursing home with your children and pass out hugs and happiness!
Community projects may push moms outside their “comfort zone.” Be willing to try something new and commit yourself to being personally involved in a project rather than simply donating money or a gift.
*Make no-sew or tie blankets as a creative activity (donate to a hospital or women’s care center).
*Make and distribute emergency homeless bags (band aids, non-perishable food, water bottles, toilet paper, travel toiletries, etc) to distribute to homeless people.
*Support a local Teen MOPS group by providing a speaker, mentoring or providing a meal for their meeting.
*Make sack lunches for distributing at a homeless shelter.
*Organize a food drive to stock a local food bank.
*Participate in a charity fundraiser like a walk or community fair that supports a specific cause your MOPS group cares about.
*Arrange a schedule for MOPS moms to volunteer at a homeless shelter or soup kitchen.
Our world is full of needs, sometimes too great for us to even imagine but we can make a difference. Hold fast to the idea that you can make a difference one step at a time.
*Commit to praying for a specific area of the world or a group of people.
*Reach out to moms in other parts of the world through the internet.
*Read books to your children about children in other parts of the world and talk about similarities and differences.
*Look at maps or a globe in your house to help your family realize they are one piece of the puzzle and that God does have the whole world in his hands.
*Create gift boxes for Operation Christmas Child.
*Donate to a child in need through Compassion International. (www.compassion.org)
*Donate materials or fundraise for a mission team. 
*Send care packages once a month to a mom in the military.
Find an organization you would like to work with and commit to them for two years. This relationship with give depth to the experience of serving for all involved. Your group will have a vested, focused interest and the organization will value your commitment and your loyalty.
If there is a mom in your group who needs support, serve her. If there is a mom in your group who needs help, share with her. If there is a mom in your group who needs hope, love her.
Ideas for Mission Projects that families can do together all year round. 
List provided by: Sandy Creek Baptist Association, Sanford, North Carolina

Family Missions 
Doing missions with those you love is an exciting concept. And when your family includes children, it 
provides a model of Christian love and compassion that they will never forget. 

I. Children 
1) Outgrown clothes. Go through family clothes and take items that your children have outgrown to a clothes 
closet in time for needy children to get them before school starts. Try spending some time at the clothes closet 
helping to sort the clothing. 
2) Outfit newborns. Shop for baby items and donate them to the county health department or other agencies 
for needy mothers-to-be. 
3) Visit the sick. Deliver homemade cards, Sunday School leaflets, children’s books or puzzles to patients on 
the children’s ward of a hospital. 
4) Camp for children of prisoners. During the summer, NCBM and WMU sponsor Camp Angel Tree, Camps for boys and girls who have a parent in prison. Offer to provide funds for a boy or girl to come to camp, provide transportation for a child from your area to Camp Caraway or Mundo Vista where the special camps are held or purchase a new outfit for the camper before he comes. (Call the NCBM office for more information 1-800-395-5102). 
5) Adopt-a-child. “Adopt” a child in your area who has a parent in prison. Invite this child to family outings 
and church activities. 
6) Clean up a playground. Find an inner city playground or another place where children play on a regular basis, 
and pick up trash. 
7) Host a field day. Host a game day in your neighborhood. Plan fun games, relay races and refreshments. Invite 
parents to serve as judges or helpers. Invite some of your church friends so that your neighborhood friends can get 
to know them. 
8) Outfit for school. Provide school supplies for a needy child. 
9) Backyard Bible Club. Lead a Backyard Bible Club in an apartment complex or a mobile home park. Preschoolers 
and children can tell the Bible stories or sing some of the songs as well as help distribute promotion about the club. 

II. Missionaries & their families 
10) Visit missionaries. If there are missionaries on furlough in your neighborhood, call and ask if you might visit with them. Ask all kinds of questions about their work and field of service. Consider giving them a gift to take back to the field with them. 
11) Visit missionaries. If there are missionaries on furlough in your neighborhood, call and ask if you might visit with them. Ask all kinds of questions about their work and field of service. Consider giving them a gift to take back to the field with them. 

III. Service Providers 
12) Bus drivers, Put together some type of care package for the bus drivers of your school. Let them know how much you appreciate the important but many times thankless job they do. Also, let them know you will be praying for them as they drive the bus each day. 
13) Sanitation workers. Leave cold drinks and a note of thanks to the men and women who pick up your garbage 
or recyclables. 
14) Mail carriers. Leave a bag of homemade goodies for your mail carrier with a note of thanks. 

IV. Senior Adults 
15) Grocery shopping. Grocery shop for an elderly person who cannot drive to the store. 
16) Adopt-a-grandparent. Go to an area nursing home and ask the director what resident would be a good one for 
your family to adopt. Consider choosing a resident who rarely has visitor. Spend time with this person monthly and 
remember this person on special days such as birthdays, Christmas, etc. Offer to take them to church on a regular 
basis or for special services. 
17) Tape a program. Audio or videotape a special program for homebound persons in your community and take it 
to them. The program might be a special service at your church or it might be one your family creates. 
18) Family work day. Lead your family to have a work day for an elderly person in your neighborhood who may 
need help with yard work or other chores. 
19) Bring outdoor beauty. Plant flowers in the yard of an elderly neighbor or build a birdhouse to hang outside 
their window. 
20) Reading club. Start a reading club with the latest books published on missions. Take turns giving book reviews. 
21) Write to your parents or grandparents. Send a family picture and write just to tell them that you love them. 

V. Vacations 
22) Vacation Bible School. Plan to use vacation time to lead a VBS or just gather folks for Bible Stories & songs. 

VI. Single Parent Families 
23) Parent’s night out. Provide child care to a single parent in your neighborhood. Start a once-a-month parent’s night out. 
24) Singles ministry. Begin a Bible Study on Saturday afternoons for singles in your neighborhood or apartment complex. 

VII. Victims of tragedy/crisis 
25) Provide comfort and hope. Read the local newspaper to discover people who have had a tragic loss due to fire, 
flooding, death, etc. Determine with our family ways that you can provide comfort and hope as you minister to these people. 
26) Help the homeless. Volunteer one day at a homeless shelter, managing a clothes closet, serving meals, or just offering conversation. 
27) Cook for the hungry. Check out the feeding locations in your city or town to see if you can help buy supplies, prepare meals, or do cleanup. 
28) Food distribution. Volunteer to assist with Meals on Wheels in your community. 
29) Grocery shopping. When you shop for groceries, but at least one extra nonperishable food item per family member. Then, at the end of the month, take your donations to your church food closet or a local food pantry. 
30) Build houses. Check in your neighborhood to see if Habitat for Humanity is building some houses. Adults might help with the construction. Children might help with clearing the land. Or check with your church to see if there’s a home in the neighborhood that needs some repair which the owners can’t do. 

VIII. New Neighbors 
31) New students. Find out from your school names of all the new students in the area. Make a home visit and offer to meet them on the first day of school. Escort them and show them around, introduce them to teachers and other students. 
32) Family cookout. Invite a new family in your neighborhood to a family cookout. Then ask them to come to church with you. 
33) International neighbors, Invite a family from another country who lives in your neighborhood t a meal or family outing. See if they need anything to help them get settled in the US. Invite them to attend church with you. 

IX. Other 
34) Prayer list. As a family, compile a prayer list of all those people that you are going to be interacting with during the next school year – teachers, coaches, students, etc. Choose a time when the family will gather specifically to pray for them. Begin in August. 
35) Missions Weekend. With August being the last month of the summer, dedicate one weekend as a family weekend. Plan one missions activity to do during that weekend as a family. 
36) Sacrifice for missions. Lead your family to give up a certain item (soft drinks, video’s, etc.) for the entire month of August and give the money you would have spent on it to local mission needs.

Here is a list from the WFC website for local serve ideas:
Urban Scholastic Center
Kansas City, Kansas. The Urban Scholastic Center (USC) is a Christian ministry located in the heart of urban Kansas City, Kansas that is dedicated to sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ and making disciples who will become socially responsible Christian leaders. Westside serves Wednesday night meals, twice a month, to students before their Worship/Bible study program. Sign up using myIMPACT
Kansas City, Kansas. Hillcrest offers a transitional housing program providing a Christian environment that helps homeless families become self-supportive, self reliant contributors to society. In exchange for rent/utility-free housing, residents are required by written agreement to work full time, obey the program guidelines, and attend volunteer taught classes in life skills, employment, community living, and budgeting. In addition to housing and life-skills counseling Hillcrest provides the following through a network of community support: auto repair/donation, food pantry, medical assistance, dental work, GED classes, haircuts, glasses, school clothes, work uniforms, etc.
Hillcrest’s accomplishments are best seen through our 95% success rate of transitioning graduate families to self sufficiency. However, Hillcrest has also been recognized for “best practices” in transitional housing with the National Alliance to End Homelessness.
Mission Adelante is an urban mission to Hispanic Immigrants, and Bhutanese refugees, that seeks to win them to Christ through serving them at the point of their felt needs, discipling them relationally, mobilizing them to serve, and equipping them to lead, toward the end of growing community - impacting, leader-reproducing bilingual churches.
mission house was built from an idea asking the question, “What would happen if we put young people together who wanted nothing more than to serve their maker?” These will be young people who have the desire to not be timid, to be BOLD for Christ, and people who are attracted to discipline and accountability. Beginning in September 2010 Mission House will be home to 6-12 young adults who will live in and serve in the urban core of Kansas City, Kansas, by becoming full-time volunteers with Westside’s strategic ministry partners.
Westside Family Church in cooperation with the InnerChange Freedom Initiative (IFI), a values-based, Christ-centered reentry program developed by and affiliated with Prison Fellowship Ministries at Lansing Correctional Facility offers worship services, inmate and family mentoring, teaching opportunities, as well as resources and support upon an inmates’ release.
Kansas City Rescue Mission 
Kansas City, Missouri. KCRM is a Christ-centered community offering freedom and hope to the poor and homeless, empowering them to reach their full potential. Westside teams serve hot meals and have the option to serve in multiple other capacities on other days. 

Hope Center of Kansas City 
Kansas City, Missouri. The mission of Hope Center is to honor God by developing healthy communities where the vulnerable flourish. There are opportunities for long term service in after-school discipleship programs, or practical service in cleaning lots and facility maintenance. 

Advice and Aid Pregnancy Centers
Shawnee, Kansas. The purpose of Advice and Aid is to make abortion unthinkable, one life at a time, by reaching out to women and families who are looking for options for their unplanned pregnancies. Our volunteers are trained in counseling and leading groups. Other opportunities are also available. 

International Students, Inc.
Kansas City, Missouri. ISI is a Christian outreach to International students studying in the U.S. It assists International students and scholars adjust to life in the U.S. and promotes cross-cultural friendships between students, scholars and American volunteers. Individuals, couples, and families are needed to befriend an International student for an academic year. The student does NOT live with you. 

Micah Ministry
Kansas City, Missouri. Micah provides nutritious meals and basic necessities in a Christ-centered community setting for those less fortunate. Our volunteers serve meals on a Monday night, every other month, and hand out clothing and basic necessities. 

Feed the People
Kansas City, Missouri. FTP cooks and serves hot meals to the homeless and impoverished in their living environments; under bridges, in low-income housing, etc. Our volunteers prepare the meal and then spend the day delivering them and sharing their love. This is the 2nd Saturday of each month.
Finally, a prayer for 2011 via Everyday Christian:
As we enter a new year, this prayer drawn from the collection of Puritan prayers in The Valley of Vision  provides perspective.   
O Lord, 
I launch my bark on the unknown waters of this year, with Thee, O Father as my harbour,
Thee, O Son, at my helm, Thee O Holy Spirit, filling my sails.
Guide me to heaven with my loins girt, my lamp burning, my ear open to Thy calls, my heart full of love, my soul free. 
Give me Thy grace to sanctify me, Thy comforts to cheer, Thy wisdom to teach, Thy right hand to guide, Thy counsel to instruct, Thy law to judge, Thy presence to stabilize.
May Thy fear be my awe, Thy triumphs my joy. 
Length of days does not profit me except the days are passed in Thy presence, in Thy service, to Thy glory.
Give me a grace that precedes, follows, guides, sustains, sanctifies, aids every hour, that I may not be one moment apart from Thee, but may rely on Thy Spirit to supply every thought, speak in every word, direct every step, prosper every work, build up every mote of faith, and give me a desire to show forth Thy praise; testify Thy love, and advance Thy kingdom.


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