• Today, I’m launching a new series – Making Christmas Meaningful – to give you some new and fun ideas for sharing Christ’s love this holiday season. As the celebration of Christ’s birth, Christmas is already full of meaning. But sometimes we have a tendency to dim the light and love of this special time of… [Continue Reading]

    Sharing His Light with the Lighten Up Challenge
  • Today, I’m missing a meal…on purpose. I’m joining the International Mission Board’s “Miss A Meal” campaign to help spread the gospel to all nations. So, instead of that PB&J I usually eat for Monday lunch, I’m leaving my plate empty and donating 10 bucks to #ForTheMission. Here’s how it works: The Miss A Meal campaign… [Continue Reading]

    Miss a Meal for global missions
  • Sometimes our life stories take dark and unexpected twists – unwelcome moments when circumstances or decisions seem to stop us in our tracks. Last week, we talked about our biggest story stopper. The second plot move of the story of the Scriptures – the Fall – reveals that sin separates us from God and corrupts… [Continue Reading]

    Plot move 3 in God’s story (How God rewrites our stories)
  • In their book, Organic Mentoring: A Mentor’s Guide to Relationships with Next Generation Women, Dallas Theological Seminary professors Sue Edwards and Barbara Neumann encourage older women in Christ to continue to pursue and invest in “postmodern” women despite the generation gulf between them. Based on Neumann’s dissertation research on the mentoring needs of postermodern women,… [Continue Reading]

    Organic Mentoring (& new women’s ministry resources)

Sharing His Light with the Lighten Up Challenge

Making Christmas Meaningful {A Christmas Series at Hive Resources}

Today, I’m launching a new series – Making Christmas Meaningful – to give you some new and fun ideas for sharing Christ’s love this holiday season. As the celebration of Christ’s birth, Christmas is already full of meaning.

But sometimes we have a tendency to dim the light and love of this special time of year as we cast the spotlight on lesser realities  – presents, parties, and more. This year, take some time to be intentional to enjoy and share the true meaning of Christmas. Make it meaningful.

The Lighten Up Challenge

Take the Lighten Up Challenge this Christmas {Hive Resources}

Last month, I had the honor of meeting Rachel Lovingood, women’s ministry speaker and the author of numerous resources to train women in evangelism and discipleship. I fell in love with her great sense of humor and passion to see women mobilized to share the gospel.

Rachel Lovingood, author of the Lighten Up Christmas Challenge {Hive Resources}

Rachel’s resource, Lighten Up: Reclaiming the Holidays, is a 25-day challenge to talk about Jesus to those around you – all in a flipbook format you can put by your kitchen sink, bathroom vanity, or even your mantle.

Each day includes a key Scripture verse centered around the “He is the light” theme, a short devotional thought, and a daily challenge to share a specific message with a friend.

Challenges include:

–reminding friends of their value in Christ

–sharing Jesus with specific people in your sphere of influence

–confessing sin to a friend you’ve wronged

–inviting your neighbor to take a walk with you

–serving the unloved

–speaking kindness

–ideas for blessing others

–seeking opportunities to live as His light

Share Christ with someone for 25 days this Christmas {Hive Resources}

Also included in each day is a note of accountability with a place to write in the name of the person you shared Christ’s love with that day. Do this challenge by yourself, but for even more accountability, try it with a friend or your ladies small group. You can check in with each other on your social media and post instagram pics of Christmas lights (with your favorite verse) to encourage each other along the way.

Throughout the flipbook, Rachel shares helpful hints for telling others about Christ, tips for sharing your personal story, and even fun holiday recipes to help you savor the Joy of Christ this Christmas.

Make Christmas Meaningful - a tool for women's evangelism {Hive Resources}

Want to challenge yourself to share the light of Christ this Christmas? Order a copy of the “Lighten Up Challenge” Flipbook at Rachel’s site. Just look for the Paypal button in the left column! Or you can email her directly at rachel@rachellovingood.com.

For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” 2 Cor. 4:5-6

Miss a Meal for global missions

Ministry Monday Women's Ministry {Hive Resources}

Today, I’m missing a meal…on purpose.

I’m joining the International Mission Board’s “Miss A Meal” campaign to help spread the gospel to all nations. So, instead of that PB&J I usually eat for Monday lunch, I’m leaving my plate empty and donating 10 bucks to #ForTheMission.

Miss A Meal #forthemission - donate to global missions {Hive Resources}Here’s how it works:

The Miss A Meal campaign is: “a simple and practical way for individuals and families to join the yearly Christmas offering IMB receives primarily through local churches—100% supports missionaries and their work in spreading the gospel around the world, particularly among unreached peoples.”

Want to join in? Miss your next meal and donate what you would have spent for food at imb.org/meal or by texting 4mission to 80888.  Then post a picture of you & and your empty plate with #ForTheMission to help spread the word. Find out more about text messaging rates here.

Miss a meal for global missions {Hive Resources}

Want to enlist others? Here are some more ways you can help get the good news across the oceans.

Enlist your small group to take the Miss a Meal challenge. Instead of offering refreshments at your next gathering, power up your laptop and let people donate on site.

Utilize the Miss a Meal campaign as a family missions moment. Pull out a globe or use this fantastic map online to introduce your kids to God’s heart for the nations. Ask your kids if they would be willing to forgo lunch (or a snack if your children are younger). If your children are too young to skip a meal, you can still donate as a family.

Make family meal prep missional. Let your children earn money this week preparing dinner, setting the table, or washing dishes.  Help them donate the funds they’ve earned during your “Missional Meal Week” to #ForTheMission. Then take them out for ice cream to celebrate their involvement and heart for missions.

Get your women’s ministries involved by issuing a church-wide challenge. The Miss a Meal campaign is an easy global mission project that encourages missional living and missions awareness with absolutely ZERO set up! As the leader, set a goal for the total number of meals missed and a projected completion date. Issue the challenge and see how many donations you can collect! Be sure to retweet and share your church members’ photos on your church’s social media sites to snowball your efforts.

Ready? Set! Go Miss a Meal!

But be sure to come back, because starting this week I’ll be serving up some fresh ideas to help you make Christmas meaningful for your whole family!

Making Christmas Meaningful {A Christmas Series at Hive Resources}

Plot move 3 in God’s story (How God rewrites our stories)

Seeing the Story of the Scriptures {A Hive Resources Series}

Sometimes our life stories take dark and unexpected twists – unwelcome moments when circumstances or decisions seem to stop us in our tracks.

Last week, we talked about our biggest story stopper. The second plot move of the story of the Scriptures – the Fall – reveals that sin separates us from God and corrupts his image within us.

But thankfully, our stories don’t end there.

A NEW PLOT LINE

In the third plot move of the Bible, God rewrites our stories. By redeeming us through his Son, he gives our stories a new plot line with a new cast of characters and a totally new ending.

Genesis 3:15 outlines how this script change came to be.

In this passage, the King is speaking to his number one archenemy – the serpent – who tricked his sub-rulers into forming a rebellion. This is what he says:

Gen. 3:15: “And I will put enmity
Between you and the woman,
And between your seed and her Seed;
He shall bruise your head,
And you shall bruise His heel.”

There is much at stake in this third plot move. Ultimately, our redemption involves more than a few edits to our life story; the plot move of redemption includes a cosmic battle for the kingdom God created.

How the plot move of Redemption changes your story {Hive Resources}Gen. 3:15 outlines the hope of this dramatic plot twist: sin doesn’t have the final say in the story of the world. The King does.

Here’s how it plays out: the seed of the serpent will wound the Seed of the woman (“bruise his heel”).  But here’s the good news: Eve’s offspring will deliver a fatal blow to conquer the serpent and all his offspring (evil) forever. He will “bruise his head.”

The writer does not give us many details, leaving us to wonder about the identity of this Seed who will redeem us from evil and Satan’s power. But the rest of the Scriptures look forward to his arrival.

A little later in the text, however, we’re given a hint of what that redemption will look like.

Shortly after Adam and Eve broke the King’s law, they sewed together fig leaves as an attempt to cover their nakedness (Gen. 3:7-8). Their man-made attempt to cover their shame was inadequate, demonstrating that mankind is incapable of covering his own sins; only God can cover our sins.

In Gen. 3:21, we notice that God made tunics of skin, and clothed” Adam and Eve. Some scholars believe this is the first animal sacrifice. If so, we see an early hint at the coming pattern of redemption. This is what redemption looks like – the gracious King Himself providing redemption for his rebellious sub-regents at the cost of a life.

WHAT ‘REDEMPTION’ MEANS FOR MY STORY:

The King will not leave his kingdom in rebellion. He promises to redeem it and cover the sin of its subjects.

But this is the twist in our story: the King himself becomes the perfect sacrifice and covering for our sins. He deals with sin and its effects by covering our sin at a very high price – his own life.

1 John 2:2 tells us: And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.”

No matter what darkness creeps into our stories, we know they have a good end because our King rewrites our stories to more closely align with his.

Next week, we’ll look at the final plot move in God’s story for the world, and discover exactly how our stories align with God’s story.

Did you miss a post in this series?

Plot move 1 – CREATION – A good King created a good world

Plot move 2 – FALL – it became corrupted by sin ….

Plot move 3 – REDEMPTION – the King is at work to redeem his kingdom.  In his rich grace, the King covers our sin when we didn’t deserve it. The price is costly – his own life and blood.

 

Organic Mentoring (& new women’s ministry resources)

Ministry Monday Women's Ministry {Hive Resources}

Organic Mentoring {Womens Ministry Resources at Hive Resources}In their book, Organic Mentoring: A Mentor’s Guide to Relationships with Next Generation Women, Dallas Theological Seminary professors Sue Edwards and Barbara Neumann encourage older women in Christ to continue to pursue and invest in “postmodern” women despite the generation gulf between them.

Based on Neumann’s dissertation research on the mentoring needs of postermodern women, the book outlines how existing women’s ministries can incorporate a new and more “organic” model of discipleship through mentoring.

In her research, Barbara uncovered that nearly 80% of young women abandon their mentoring relationships in the first six months. Yet, despite busy schedules and unfettered access to information, the authors believe younger women today (Gen Xers and Millennials) are crying out for mentors.

What is Organic Mentoring {Hive Resources Womens Ministry Resources}But with fewer churches seeing success in their traditional mentoring models, the author believes the problem lies in church’s “worn-out” mentoring models. Instead of teacher or role model, younger women want a mentor who is simply “an honest woman with whom they can process life.”

Here’s what I liked about the book:

–The authors sound the call for the church to return to the Titus 2 mandate and intentionally cultivate inter-generational communities.

–The book offers positive helps for women of the “modern” generation (born before 1965) to better reach younger women by looking at the cultural disconnects between generations in the pew.

–Based on Barbara’s research, the book offers a clear breakdown of postmodern values and what kind of ministry they respond to.

–The book offers practical ideas for tweaking existing mentoring models such as putting the mentee in the driver’s seat and having the mentor act as a life guide instead of wisdom dispenser.

–The book emphasizes building life-on-life relationships through sharing stories as a means for discipleship. That means mentors must strive to be more than a role model who seems to have it all together, but transparent, authentic pictures of God’s grace.

–The book gives ideas for ensuring time spent together is more than simply “hang-out” time by listening with a purpose and developing deeper conversations.

Here’s what I didn’t like about the book:

–Call me a modern woman in a postmodern body, but I though the book over-advocated accommodating to the postermodern generation. Simply put, the book didn’t call postmodern women to the same cost of discipleship as their disciplers.

If women’s ministries are ever going to successfully create fully-formed, replicating disciples, we must shake postmodern women out of this ‘me-centered’ funk that often dominates my generation and our approach to faith.

–By the book’s end, I wasn’t fully convinced that organic mentoring model is intentional enough for developing a fully formed, replicating disciple. Although, if I had a mentor, I’d want her to be all the things Sue and Barbara advocate in their book.

Overall, this book is a must-read for any women’s ministry leader who is trying to incorporate a Titus 2 model of mentoring into her women’s ministry strategy. The practical insight and wealth of research on ministering to the postermodern woman is worth the purchase price alone.

Organic Mentoring is a book to navigate the do’s and don’ts of ministry to postmodern women.

New resources for women's ministry leaders {Hive Resources}

Also, I’ve very excited to announce that I recently teamed up with a new group of ladies who share my desire to equip women leaders in the church!

The brains behind this resource are author and blogger Gina Duke and Cyndee Ownbey of Women’s Ministry Toolbox. Be sure to follow our collaborative Pinterest Board for access to helpful ideas for discipling and engaging the women in your church.

Must Follow Women's Ministry Leaders {Hive Resources}

This post contains affiliate links. For more info, click here.

Plot move 2 in God’s story (how evil came to be)

Seeing the Story of the Scriptures {A Hive Resources Series}

This post is part of the series Seeing the Story of the Scriptures outlining the four basic plot moves in the Bible, God’s story for the world.

The first plot move in God’s story for the world is creation, which reveals that a good King created a good world.

But in plot move 2, something is going to happen in the story to change all that.

In Gen. 2:16-17, we are told that there was a law in the kingdom.

“And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”

The author is making an important point: God alone knows what is good for man and what is not good for him.[i] What is best for him and what will be disastrous. The good King who created this good world knows what is good for his subjects.

What are the four plot moves of the Bible? {Hive Resources}Some might wonder why God gave this law in the first place. If the Garden was such a great place, why was a law needed? Is God some cosmic-kill joy?

Gen. 2:16-17 gives us the answer: the law of the kingdom is set up to enable man to stay in the kingdom and enjoy and serve the King.

A little further in the story, we have what history calls the Fall – the moment when sin and evil entered into God’s good world. This is the second plot move in God’s story; Adam and Eve choose to break the King’s law.

Gen. 3:6 summarizes what happened: “So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate….”

There’s that word “good” again. The author is pulling our attention to the goodness of creation.

Only, instead of God defining what is “good,” now we see Eve is determining the “good” on her own.

Eve put herself in God’s position when she ate the forbidden fruit, acting as the judge of what is “good” and how she would enjoy that “good” apart from the King’s provision. And as the King’s sub-regent, this is the mightiest act of rebellion. The sub-regent is casting off the authority of the King and acting in her own name instead.[ii]

Ironically, the first couple’s quest to determine what constituted both good and evil apart from their King left them unable to enjoy the ‘good’ at all!

CONSEQUENCES OF the Fall

In the rest of Gen. 3, we see some major consequences of sin. Spiritually, all of the King’s warnings come true. The first couple experiences a death in all the major areas of their lives.

Adam and Eve’s sin means they are exiled from the kingdom. Not only are they driven from the land, but they are also driven from God’s presence. This separation from God is a spiritual death.

Gen. 3:23-24 says: “Therefore the LORD God sent him out of the garden of Eden to till the ground from which he was taken. So He drove out the man; and He placed cherubim at the east of the garden of Eden, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life.”

Evil entered the world through Adam and Eve. The result? God’s sub-regents are no longer able to dwell in this good kingdom and dwell in the presence of their King.

WHAT THE FALL MEANS FOR MY STORY

Sin tarnishes every area of our life. It makes it impossible to love God perfectly, love each other perfectly, and love and serve God’s kingdom perfectly.

It’s why terrible things happen around us despite our attempts to “be” good or “do” good. It’s why betrayal exists in our marriages, family relationships are broken, and our world is full of hurting people.

So, what does the fall mean for my story? Our Good King designed us to enjoy the good gifts He provides by mirroring His goodness in our daily lives. Internally, however, sin corrupts the image of God in us. And although we still bear it and are still tasked with being God’s sub-regents, this corrupted image within us now makes it impossible to obey God perfectly and reflect His goodness to the rest of creation.

We all can, in some sense, identify with Eve who wanted to discern the good in life apart from her Good Provider. As Christian women, we must be careful to ensure that our hearts affections center solely on the King and not the good gifts He gives. We must dwell with the reminder that because He is our Good Creator, He alone knows what is best for us, including how God’s good gifts are best enjoyed.

But thankfully, sin is not the end of our story – or of God’s story. Because in the next plot move, we’ll see that our Good Creator has an answer to the evil that has corrupted His creation.

[i] John Sailhamer, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Vol. 2 (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1990), 45.

[ii] Ibid., 51.

Operation World: how to give your kids global eyes

Ministry Monday MISSIONAL MOTHERHOOD {Hive Resources} #missionalmotherhood

Looking for a way to give your kids global-gospel eyes? Then check out this massive resource – Operation World: The Definitive Prayer Guide to Every Nation.

How to introduce your kids to world cultures {Hive Resources}

A RESEARCH TOOL

Operation World is a reference book containing information about each of the world’s countries. Each country is profiled outlining geography, people, economy, politics, and a breakdown of religions.

How to give your kids global-gospel eyes {Missional Motherhood at Hive Resource}

A PRAYER BOOK

Far from being a dry database of facts about the world, Operation World chronicles the evangelization of the world, noting missions emphasis and victories among peoplegroups considered unreached – with little to no access to the gospel.

Nearly 2.84 billion of the world’s population are still considered unreached or among the world’s least reached.

Teaching your kids to pray for world missions {Hive Resources}

The book opens with a great challenge for prayer in Christians to complete this task and includes specific prayer points for world missions. Each country includes answers to prayer as well as challenges to prayer including the physical needs specific that country, how to pray for the population, and missionary personnel on the ground.

Although this could be a great reference book to keep on hand for research papers or missions projects, it is best used as a prayer guide.

Here are some ideas for using this book in your home:

–Pick a country during family devotions and take turns reading about it.

–Bring a globe into your reading time for fun. Let smaller children spin the globe to pick the country you learn about or let older children find the country on a globe after it’s been selected.

–Spend a week praying for a specific country during meal time, following the prayer points outlined in the book.

–Let your children make a poster about your country with facts from the book.

–Have your child write notes to missionary personnel living and working among people they’ve read about and prayed for.

–Turn your reading into a hands-on missions project.  Look for refugees from countries you’ve read about who have relocated to your area. As a family, pray about ways to minister to them. Let your kids lead the way as God calls ideas to their minds and hearts.

For more information about Operation World, check out their website. From their Facebook page, you can receive daily prayer reminders in your newsfeed about pressing concerns in specifics countries. You can also follow them on twitter.

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