The Ministry Mama’s Goals for 2017

The New Year is a unique time to reflect on the past and create dreams and goals for the next year. Our family was in a transitional year the past year while living with my in-laws and helping in a new church plant. Only six weeks ago we moved into our own house again. God has taught me many things this year through the journey and processes of our waiting for Him to work things out for us to be a one-family household again. After learning those lessons I am wanting to continue, Lord willing, in changing some things in my own personal life.

These are not in any particular order, just a list. Nothing to analyze too critically, I just wanted to share with you what’s been on my heart and mind.

Becoming More of a Minimalist 

We lived for one year in two bedrooms, one closet, one section of a storage shed at my in-law’s house, and the rest of our belongings in a storage unit with the large furniture in front so we could not access even our extra winter clothes last year. We learned to live with less. We regularly went through our things and rotated them into the smaller storage tubs and back around again when we needed them. I learned to have a capsule wardrobe and remained sane by sending the kids to go play outside.

The house we’re living in now is about 600 square feet smaller than our previous home and all of our boxes filled our garage to the max when we first moved in- talk about looking like a hoarder! Going through the boxes has been an overwhelming feat for me to make a decision of getting rid of things or keeping them.

(I just read this article today, what a help and motivation to keep going!)

God showed me in the past year that I do not need things to live and be happy, while they may make things convenient, all the items I had (and still have) are not necessary. Materialism has been a weight upon my shoulders and although it’s taking time and effort, including letting go, it has freed me to have a place for everything. It has given me more time to focus on the home we have without the guilt of knowing I always have unfinished business cleaning something somewhere. Our garage is still a work in progress but with dedication I believe this is a goal that can be realized within the next six months.

Focusing on Exercise and Healthy Living

Five kids later my body has given me those aches and pains and I have struggled with losing too much weight (yes, some people actually have that problem!). God is helping me learn more about a good diet and the kind of exercise I need to strengthen my body. Our family has been wanting to grow some type of garden this year of organic herbs and vegetables. You know, I believe in helping our bodies be healthy so we can serve the Lord longer!

Growing in the Lord 

They say if you’re not growing in the Lord you’re backsliding. My Bible reading and prayer life must improve and has some areas to grow. I cannot pour out to others what has not been first done in my heart. This is a necessity! It is the most important item in this list.

Reading Books to Encourage 

Reading books helps you gain wisdom and understanding about life and ministering to others. I want to read more this year than I did this past year… with our situation I’m not sure if I finished any books in 2016 but rather dabbled here and there and was highly distracted like a metal ball in a pinball machine. I’m also planning on reading books aloud with our children during our homeschooling, which always has helped us grow together in heart and experience.

Writing More Articles for The Ministry Mama

We moved into my in-law’s home in November of 2015 with a six-week old baby and our other four children. My husband began a secular job and does his ministry work in his “free” weeknights and Saturday time. The burden was on me to make sure that our kids were living and doing right in someone else’s home as well as nurturing our baby and homeschooling, cleaning and making meals, etc. My time was devoted to keep the peace so that we were still welcome at my in-laws during the duration of God’s allowing us to live there, that is why my writing articles was very slim in 2016.

Lord willing, (it seems every time I make plans for doing more here other things intervene or something crazy happens) I will be back to writing regular weekly posts in 2017.

Making Friends and Extending Hospitality

We are still in a “new” to me city, my husband grew up here, but all of our married life we lived elsewhere so besides a couple of friends we do not have a large group of people our age that we know and spend time with. All around us are ministry families in different churches in this city and the suburbs surrounding us and it’s time we make new friends and grow some relationships! Hospitality helps you grow in servitude and friendships build you up when you find faithful friends, and this is an area I need to improve upon. It may be difficult at times because my husband does not always have a lot of free time now but when we do open our home and have good theological conversations and even laugh with people then we are always doubly blessed.

I hope you’re thinking of those things you want to do, it’s good to dream and plan, have goals and want to create. If you’re not sure of what you want to do, then simply ask the Lord to help you. I believe He will show you or put a desire in your heart to accomplish some special things in 2017 if you’ll let Him.

Merry Christmas Friends!

Merry Christmas Ministry Mama followers and friends. I hope you’re able to spend some time thinking of the miracle that Christ was on the first “Christmas.”

I love thinking of the special name of Christ: Emmanuel, God WITH us! Jesus didn’t stay up in heaven, although present and actively involved in Creation, lofty and high above this world and its inhabitants. He was a gift from God the Father and then in His life He acted out the pure and wonderful plan of dying for each person every lived, past and present’s sins.

The story could not be better written as a work of fiction and is true in its entirety. The characters were real and not once ounce of its account in the books of Matthew and Luke are works of imagination. Mary was genuinely approached by the angel to tell her of the news of the miraculous overshadowing of the Holy Spirit. Joseph’s personal integrity was sincere and his own experience with the angel confirming that the baby was, in fact, the Messiah. The poor and humble birth in a stable filled with animals, dirt, and hay, a couple who may have never helped deliver a baby before. Amazing light shining down from heaven from the sky down upon the fields and shepherds below announcing “Glory to God in the Highest, Peace and goodwill toward men…” Each part of the story is a miracle, a magnificent birth announcement of Hope fulfilled in the flesh.

If God the Father’s efforts of showing how wonderful it was that His Son was born, then we must compelled to make room in our hearts for Him too. We should kneel in adoration that the tiny baby’s hands that held the finger of a sweet mother were outstretched and held him on that cross. This story itself proves God loves life in the womb, sweet babies, young parents, and has a plan for each and every one of us. There’s no doubt about it!

If we are in low places and the only glimmer of hopes are miniature dots of lights from our perspective, God the Father is still at work. It took  Christ is still abiding in and through the believer, and the Holy Spirit is present doing His part to help us keep our hearts and lives right with God. You don’t have to love the life you’re living, just love the Lord of life. Praise Him. Worship Him. Make His deeds known among the people (Psalm 105:1).

Just typing that all out gives me chills of excitement! It was real. Christ is real, He is really sitting on the right side of the Father waiting to come for us who are believers, and it could be at any moment! Let’s bow in thankful adoration that He came that day long ago and love the remembrance of His birth as a fulfilled promise that is confirmation of future promises yet to be fulfilled.

Merry Christmas to you from my family and I!

Ministry Principles from Boaz – Part 2

Ministry Principles from Boaz Part 2

Ministry leadership principles can be learned from Boaz’s life and his character.  The presentation of his life is found in the book of Ruth, continuing in chapter 3 we can learn some other aspects of ministry that can make a difference in those we minister to.

You can read Part 1 about his example to ministry workers: learning about how to greet people, take care of the natural needs of your workers, learning about people, and inviting others to be included here.

More Ministry Principles from Boaz

Be trustworthy.

In Ruth 3:6-13 Boaz is surprised in the night when Ruth is lying at his feet. His reaction to Ruth coming in where he was sleeping was with concern and confidentiality. He was not angry with her for being there nor did he take advantage of her in a wrong way. He demonstrated his trustworthiness by listening to Ruth’s request as she asked him to be the kinsman redeemer of Naomi’s family. Within his ability he agreed to help her and instructed her that she go out secretly in the morning.

Boaz was not wrongfully hiding a secret sin, but protecting her virtuous reputation among the other people. This reminds me of when Joseph was of a mind to put Mary away privily because she was with child before they were married. I believe Boaz built trust with Ruth by taking care of a sensitive matter (to her) in a right way.

Trustworthy people find special blessings when they do not jump to conclusions or share private information with other people through gossip or publicly (in a sermon, lesson, announcement, or prayer request). Ministry is a place where we can easily find out about sins or pasts of people we work with, but the honorable thing to do is build trust by being trustworthy.

Embrace the spirit of adoption.

Boaz raises his own son, Obed, in the name of Elimelech and Mahlon so that their land would stay in the family. Moreover Ruth the Moabitess, the wife of Mahlon, have I purchased to be my wife, to raise up the name of the dead (Mahlon) upon his inheritance, that the name of the dead be not cut off from among his brethren, and from the gate of his place: ye are witnesses this day.” Ruth 4:10 While it is his own son, his actions were in the spirit of adoption, raising him for another man’s sake, even though that man was already dead. (You can read more about the laws of redeeming in Leviticus 25 and 27.)

By salvation we receive adoption “…but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:” Romans 8:15b,16  We can help the members of our church be included (as mentioned in the first article) by demonstrating our love and kindness to them as brothers and sisters in Christ.

The best “church family” stories I have ever heard revolve around stories of Christian church members taking in a single person or another family and treating them like family. They may include them in their family meals, help them in special circumstances, spend time together outside of church, encourage and disciple them. The spirit of adoption brings outsiders into your  church family and creates a special bond at times that is greater than the relationship many people will have with their family members who may not be saved. It is a beautiful thing!

Keep in mind the spirit of adoption will never replace another person’s relationship with Christ. As ministers at times people can become too dependent upon their relationship with you, substituting your advice and counsel for building their own relationship with God or finding out what His will for their life is for themselves.  Point Christian people to God their Father, remind them as they struggle you may not know all the answers to their needs but to rely upon Him as their source of wisdom and strength.

Emulate Christ through your life

Character distinguishes Boaz from many other Biblical examples because nothing sinful or questionable was written about him. Boaz is regularly compared to Jesus Christ, as the kinsman redeemer of Naomi’s land. Christ is the Redeemer of our souls. Boaz in all of his positive attributes is often considered a “type” of Christ pictured in the Old Testament. It would be a worth striving to be like Boaz  to deal with every situation properly so that if a testimony were to be written about your life that no sinful thing could be mentioned.

Jesus Christ is the ultimate ministry leader. Boaz is a great example to us but he was only a man who loved and lived for God. We may use these specific examples in Boaz’s life to be able to help us emulate what Jesus Christ would want us to do in our ministry. God used Boaz in His plan to bring Ruth into the lineage of the family of David,  where Christ would, in the fullness of time, be born. He was able to be used because of his godliness.

Conclusion

We may not always be able to strive to be a Boaz with no sinful thing ever mentioned about us. We mess up! We’re not always friendly, trustworthy, aware of the needs of those we minister to but God has a plan for us to continue in our work for Him. God knows that people will frustrate us and we won’t feel like embracing the spirit of adoption or including other people especially after we have been hurt. When those times come in your life, then go to the Bible and glean from its pages and learn from the Master of ministry. Keep building your relationship with Him so your service and leadership can continue to make a difference!