WMU Blog

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.

Share Who You Are

jar of clay

Sharing who we are can be a daunting task. For some, it may come naturally, but for most, it poses a challenge. After all, we are a mix of both God’s image by creation and the fallen reality of sin. Through the grace of God, Christ’s work on the Cross, the power of the Resurrection, and life in the Spirit, we have the potential to shine God’s love in amazing ways. But most of us feel hesitant somehow, perhaps as if the world might judge us as unworthy.

Mission Friends Restaurant

The little 3-year-old waitress at our exclusive Mission Friends restaurant asked me, “Would you like the mac and cheese, tacos, or veggables?” I chose the mac and cheese, and she scribbled my order on a toy magnetic writing board that was in the classroom. She instantly served my imaginary mac and cheese on an imaginary plate, and told me it would be $3.00. I paid my imaginary money and pretended to eat my food. There were squeals of laughter as the 4-year-old cook joined in to bring me more food that I had not even ordered!

Tender Care for the Hurting

Six hundred forty miles separated me from my parents. It’s hard to get an accurate picture of the real situation from that far away. The winter before, my father had been put on life support but made a miraculous recovery. Each day was a gift. I listened carefully to the description of symptoms. After the phone call with my mother ended, I immediately dialed a nurse friend. She said, “I believe you should drop what you are doing and make a trip to Illinois to be with your family.” I will always be grateful for that timely advice.

My father was immediately put on hospice. Nurse friends from the local hospital sent him a care basket. How blessed we were by the ministry of nurses who came in and out of the home to care for him. A few days after Christmas, I remember dialing a phone with trembling hands late one night. I whispered, “My father cannot breathe because of the pain. What should we do?” The nurse calmly walked us through the medicine to administer. She stayed on the phone until I was confident in what to do. His pain became manageable and his breathing steadied.

Authentically Honest Relationships

three young women

Recently, one of my friends reached out to me after a few months of us not really contacting each other. Nothing bad had happened between us, but a period of change had come upon us in the form of moving homes, towns, and churches. It’s easy to lose touch with someone we don’t see on a regular basis. We like to convince ourselves that the smartphones ever attached to our hands keep us connected with others. But truthfully, it becomes so much easier to give a person a passing thought (“Oh, I should text her soon.”) and then go about our days until a few months have passed and we wonder what could have happened to the time.

My friend was a bit offended that she hadn’t heard from me since the “Big Move,” and I didn’t blame her. Promises of keeping in touch and hanging out were made but not kept, as they should have been. Instead, I told myself that she was really busy moving and acclimating to a new time in her life so I should give her a little breathing room. And honestly, I had several not-always-pleasant changes going on in my life as well.

Summer Sun, Family Fun: How to Be a Family on Mission This Summer

Summer is imminent — and so are opportunities for your family to serve others and share the love of Jesus together! Whether you can’t wait for the sun, heat and beach-weather clothing or you’re just biding your time until it cools off again (me), summer is too important to waste. With most schools on break until the fall, your kids are probably ripe with excitement to be out of the classroom for an extended amount of time. Rather than let your family fall prey to the apathy of sitting around your house, brainstorm together to decide on a missions project (or projects) that fits your family’s interests and strengths while sharing the love of Jesus with those who desperately need to know Him.

A little inspiration goes a long way. If your family brainstorming session needs a little kick-start, here are some fresh ideas to help your thoughts flow:

Tell Me about Your Country: 4 Ways to Help Refugees Feel Loved and Welcomed

Asian boy at laptop

Kelsey Smith has met a lot of refugees, but she remembers 1 boy in particular. “He was 14, fresh off the plane from his country of asylum, spoke almost no English, and no one else in the program spoke his language,” said Kelsey, who works with a nonprofit organization that helps refugees begin to build a life in the United States. “He appeared tired, dispirited, and completely uninterested in participating in our activities.” She couldn’t figure out how to connect with him.

Then 1 day, Kelsey walked by the computer lab and saw that he was using Google Earth to look at his home country. “I sat down beside him and used gestures and simple words to ask him questions about his country, and that was the happiest I’d ever seen him,” she said. “His face lit up as he used what few words he had to tell me about his home.”

Reaching out to refugees is important—and making them feel at home is vital, Kelsey said. She offered several ways to interact with refugees to make them feel loved and welcomed in their new country:

“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

Invest in Gospel-Centered Relationships

South Asian women

I got out of my taxi and walked down the street, stopping at Rajani’s* gate. Rajani, a neighbor named Swetha*, and their friend Lukshmi* were talking. I said hello, but what Rajani said next caught me off guard.

“Emily, tell Lukshmi about Jesus!”

My neighbors Rajani and Swetha aren’t followers of Jesus, so this was the last thing I expected to be asked.

“Well, what do you want to know?” I replied.

It turned out that Lukshmi was writing a report for school on Jesus and needed some facts. About an hour later, the girls gathered in my apartment and they drew henna tattoos on me while I shared the gospel.

I gave Lukshmi a Bible and prayed for the girls. I haven’t seen Lukshmi again, but I see Rajani and Swetha whenever I’m out in my neighborhood.

I make it a point to stop at Rajani’s gate and talk with her anytime she’s outside to build my relationship with her. Before that night, I had told her about Jesus many times but was never sure if she understood. The fact that Rajani recognized me as someone who knew about Jesus was a step in the right direction.

Top 5 Tips for Telling a Great Story

Storytelling

Don’t you sometimes wish that the missionaries you are highlighting in Mission Friends could just stop by and visit with your preschoolers? Well, the next best thing is for you as a Mission Friends teacher to introduce those missionaries to your preschoolers through stories.

Here are 5 top tips for taking the words off the printed page and turning them into fun and enjoyable times of learning.

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