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The Best-Laid Plans

to-do list with cup of coffee and muffin

God has a plan and a purpose for each of His followers. We each have a mission while here on earth. In Acts 20:24, Paul said, “My only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.” We are to tell others the good news about the saving grace of Jesus Christ. And God puts people in our path every day.

I had a plan for my flight home from Russia after a vision trip to gather information for the International Mission Study 2017 on Central Asian Muslims living in Russia. I was going to get a lot of work done on the longer second leg of my flight. I had speaking engagements to prepare for, cards to write, emails to read and respond to, etc. But God had other plans.

Unshakable Pursuit: Read All about It

Unshakable Pursuit devotional

We pursue many things in life: Friendships and acceptance. Freedom in the form of a driver’s license or a high school diploma. Higher education or technical training. Financial security with a job that pays well and provides benefits. Hobbies that feed our passions. Love and maybe a family of our own. The comforts of our dream home. Recognition for a job well done. Retirement goals. Items on a bucket list. Happiness. Purpose.

And we even get pursued. By the university we’ve always wanted to go to. By the company we’d like to work for. By the person we are interested in getting to know better. By God.

God has pursued us in love since He created the world. The new 30-day devotional Unshakable Pursuit: Chasing the God Who Chases Us by Grace Thornton explores this truth and helps readers understand that life finds its rhythm when we pursue Him wholeheartedly.

“Siri, What Is an Association?”

AME 2018 clipart

During my 18 years as director of missions, the world of handheld technology has exploded. On my cell phone or newest tablet, I can talk to this pleasant person named Siri or Alexa and get a fast response to the question, what is a Baptist association? Siri’s response quickly reveals an article saying a Baptist association is “a self-governing fellowship of churches on mission.”

Thank you, Siri! It is hard to believe that in the palm of my hand, I hold a device that has more computer capacity and memory than the computers on the first lunar module. I am truly amazed at the amount of information that is available right at our fingertips. I am even more amazed that after more than 300 years, so many in Baptist life do not know the power contained in the association.

The association is

Volunteer and Let God Work through You

group of volunteers

I have spent many hours volunteering at local ministries, but it wasn’t until I was a program director at a ministry that I fully understood the impact of volunteers. I could do everything I needed to prepare for Monday night classes for those in my program, but without volunteers, the classes we offered would not have taken place. Each volunteer brought a unique set of skills and gifts and impacted the lives of the women in the program, perhaps in ways he or she will never know. And for some of the women, it was through the life and testimony of a volunteer that they came to know Jesus and His love for them.

Have you ever wondered how your church might serve your community? Have you considered volunteering in your community as an individual or a family? What impact might volunteering for a local ministry have on your life and the lives of others? Here are a few tips to consider as you seek ways to serve:

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Unshakable Pursuit: The Devotional

There’s an eternal momentum coursing through our veins.

There’s a God pursuing us in love, tapping our shoulders and telling us life will only find its rhythm when we chase Him back with everything we’ve got.

There’s a world walking the paths God has orchestrated, just waiting for someone to be fully engaged in His story — and share it with them.

It’s the story we see in Acts 17:16-28, the story this book focuses on for 30 days of devotionals. It’s the story that gives us the unshakable foundation to the chase of our lives, the one that leads us to Him.

We’ve been invited on the chase, and if we say yes, life will never be the same.

Unshakable Pursuit, a 30-day devotional, is the companion book to the new WMU churchwide emphasis for 2018-2020. It will quicken your heart to see God’s steadfast pursuit of His people. Award-winning journalist Grace Thornton shares stories from around the world as she calls you to engage the eternal momentum coursing through your veins. God wants you to live fully engaged in His story — and share it with others.

Doing More Together through the CP

Offering plate with open Bible

Call me an overgrown toddler. I still like to think, “I can do it myself!” even though I know I can’t. Jesus said so. See John 15:4 about the vine and the branches.

Southern Baptists figured out long ago that we could do more together than we could alone. In 1925, we created the Cooperative Program (CP), a unified method of giving to fund the missions and ministries of the Southern Baptist Convention, along with every state convention and every local church.

Nobody Tells Me Anything!

How did you learn to use makeup? Did you wake up one morning knowing how to make a quilt? What about playing a musical instrument? Did that come to you out of nowhere? Aside from the rigors of consistent practice, most of us learn new skills when someone shows us how to hold the guitar or violin, stitch fabric together, or apply eye shadow. In other words, someone models the skill for us.

There are many components involved in becoming a leader who communicates well. Let’s consider 4 of them, but remember that communication can be verbal or written, making clear communication just that much more difficult!

Pay attention to your attitude. Your attitude, positive or negative, will show as you speak or write. Our influence as leaders is often more widespread than we realize. As you carry out your responsibilities, craft your verbal and written communications carefully, making certain you are encouraging and enthusiastic. Working with others can be very rewarding, and everyone will be more willing and generous with his or her time when the atmosphere is a positive one.

On Mission: Here and Now in North America

Each year, your gifts to the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering help support more than 5,000 missionaries and more than 3,800 chaplains throughout the United States and Canada who are sharing the gospel in some very tough places.

This year’s theme is On Mission: Here and Now. For North American missionaries, “here and now” is their missions field. For each of us, “here and now” is a challenge to live a missional life wherever God has planted us.

This year’s official date for the Week of Prayer and Mission Study for North American Missions is March 4–11. However, the prayer guide and other materials are not dated, so your church can choose any week during the Easter season to participate.

Promote the offering and the week of prayer this year by using the promotion ideas guide or one of these suggestions:

CMD 2018: Go Serve

Children's Missions Day (CMD) 2018 is coming soon! In fact, this annual February event will celebrate its 11th year this Saturday, February 17. It's not too late to join other children's missions groups nationwide in a great day of service to share God's love with people right in your own community. So, lace up your sneakers and get ready to hit the road and go serve!

Appropriately, the theme for this year's event is Go Serve. As you prepare your group for this special day, help children identify people in your area who are hurting — whether it's physically, spiritually or emotionally. Remember that a successful CMD project gives children the opportunity to tell someone what they know to be true about God while also meeting a physical need or offering words of encouragement. Ask children, What would you do for these people to share the love of Jesus with them?

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