Sunday

10 Myths People Believe about Vacation Bible School, Part 2

Last week we looked at five of the ten myths people believe about Vacation Bible School. If you missed the post, click HERE to read 10 Myths about Vacation Bible School, Part 1. 

Today, we'll look at five more myths:


Myth #6 It’s not just for kids. 

“VBS is also an opportunity to engage young adults in service,” says Clint Jenkin, PhD., vice president of research at Barna Group

“So many young adults lose their connection with a local church because they feel underutilized. Churches can give key VBS volunteer roles to young adults and college kids in their congregations. 

Colleges (or even large churches) could sponsor teams to travel the country and host VBS for churches that cannot afford or staff their own. Using young people as servants and not just consumers is an important way of establishing a faith that lasts.” 

My small church, for example, struggles to recruit enough adult workers because many members are elderly or work during the day. For several years a team of summer evangelists from Child Evangelism Fellowship has come alongside us and made it possible for us to offer a week-long program in our neighborhood. We couldn’t have done it without them. 

Some churches even offer VBS for teens and adults. Melita Thomas, in the article, “6 Things You Need to Know About Working with Adults During VBS,” says, “When we host VBS for kids only we are missing a tremendous opportunity to share God's Word and the Gospel with older siblings and parents. If the truths being taught during VBS are important for kids then they are just as important for teens and adults. LifeWay (the leading producer of VBS materials) creates VBS resources for the entire family - babies through adults - because we believe VBS remains one of the most successful ways to evangelistically reach families and not just kids.” 

The Covington Baptist Association agrees. Listen to the logic in its article, “Reasons for Conducting Adult VBS.” “Parents consistently show they are interested in participating in the activities of their children. Just spend a morning at a little league ball field and you will see dozens of parents actively and enthusiastically participating in their children’s activities. If given the luxury of time and resources today’s parents often desire to take an active role in their children’s extra-curricular activities. Why should VBS be any different? Given the choice, many parents will choose to attend an Adult VBS in order to stay close to their children and know what is being taught and the people doing the teaching.”

Myth #7 To be successful, it has to be big, loud, and high tech. 

My children have attended VBS at a 6,000-member mega church and a tiny, 25-member church. Both experiences were significant and life-changing. One daughter, an extrovert, loved the excitement of 800 kids crowding the sanctuary of the big church we attended. The high tech sound, lighting, and drama engaged her imagination and provided oomph to the message. The sheer number of adults volunteering their time to share the story of Jesus added a weight and credibility to the faith stories she heard that week. 

My other daughter is an introvert. VBS at a large church would have been overwhelming and intimidating for her. She thrived in a small environment where everyone knew her name, and she had a chance to shine. She eagerly memorized Scripture verses every day because she knew she’d be asked to quote them one on one to her teacher. Being selected as VBS Camper of the Week was an honor she’s never forgotten and probably wouldn’t have experienced if we’d taken her to a larger program. 

The key to a successful VBS program isn’t money, facilities, or manpower, it’s dedicated believers who love God and love children.

Myth #8 VBS is just a babysitting service. 

For every church member who’s excited about VBS, there’s usually be one who isn’t. “People use VBS as a babysitting service,” they say. “Parents don’t care about spiritual things. They just bring their kids to get them out of their hair. And they’ll probably never come to church here, anyway.” 

These statements may be true, but this shouldn’t stop you. That unsaved or uninterested parents would entrust their children to you and allow you to share your faith with them? What an opportunity! The chance to pour spiritual truth into a culture suffocated by spiritual darkness? Priceless! The privilege of loving a child in Jesus’ name? A privilege! 

“The King will reply, 'Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me’” (Mat. 25:40). 

Myth #9 VBS isn’t effective any more. 

A national VBS statistics study from Lifeway, “VBS, a Most Effective Evangelism,” shares these impressive stats: 

• 25 percent of baptisms reported by the SBC (Southern Baptist Convention) come from VBS 
• Every one person trained in VBS results in 1.1 salvation decisions. 
• 10 percent of people enrolled in VBS are unchurched. 
• 2.7 million people enroll in VBS each year. 
• 72,925 people each year accept Christ as Lord and Savior. 
• 2,666 people commit their lives to church-related vocations through VBS. 
• 56,386 people enroll in Sunday School/Small Group Bible Study as a result of attending VBS. 

These stats testify to VBS’s success on many fronts. 

Would your church like to connect with more unsaved people? Host a VBS. Is it struggling to lead people to Christ? Host a VBS. Would it like to encourage people to consider full-time Christian service? Host a VBS. In whatever way your church is struggling to fulfill its mission, Vacation Bible School can be a valuable tool in its arsenal. 

Myth #10 VBS is a failure if no one gets saved. 

I often wonder what conversation took place at the close of VBS in the little Primitive Methodist Church I attended so long ago. Did the men and women who volunteered that week wonder if they’d wasted their time? After all, no one had accepted Jesus as their Savior. And if success is measured by whether a participant eventually became a church member, the time they invested in me was a failure. 

Isaiah 55:11, however, promises us God’s Word never returns empty, but “will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” Any time we speak the Word of God, whether it’s to ten children or to a thousand, he promises to use it for his good purposes. This was certainly true in my life. 

As your church decides whether to have Vacation Bible School this year, and you choose whether to volunteer, Jesus, our example for life and godliness, exhorts us, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these" (Mat. 19:14). 

I can’t think of a better, more effective way to teach children about the kingdom of heaven than Vacation Bible School. 

Now it's your turn. How has Vacation Bible School impacted your, your children, or your grandchildren's lives? Leave a comment below and share your story.

This article originally appeared on Crosswalk.com and is shared with their permission.

Here's a fun photo from our 2016 time together.

Next month, I'll be leading a one day seminar at Good Shepherd UM Parish in northwestern Pennsylvania on Saturday, July 14, 2018. 


I'd love, love, LOVE for you to join us if you're anywhere nearby. Two years ago I met readers from Delaware, Ohio, and Pennsylvania in this same location -- how fun is that? We got to learn, worship, and pray together. It was a day-long glimpse of what heaven's going to be like when we're all together. If you're too far away, I'd love to work with your church's women's ministry to put together a one-day or weekend retreat or special women's event. Click on the Speaking Ministry tab to contact me.

Here are all the details about Today You Have Two Choices:

What: One-Day Ladies Seminar
Where:  Brookville, Pennsylvania
When: July 14, 2018
Cost: $35, which includes lunch and a prayer journal
Cost Saver deadline: June 15
How to Register: Contact Kathy Shaffer (814-328-2034)
klshaffer63@windstream.net
gsumc@windstream.net

Three Fantastic Sessions:

Session 1 - Today You Have Two Choices: 
Grumbling or Gratitude
In this hilarious session, Lori shares a story from her life that demonstrates how life can go from cruising to crashing in an instant. We'll examine the two options that usually accompany a crash and see what God's Word (and modern-day research) have to say about them.

Session 2 - Today You Have Two Choices:
Bitterness or Forgiveness
Bitterness, it's said, is like taking poison and waiting for the other person to die. We know it's destructive, yet we often struggle to overcome it. Sometimes we're not even sure we want to. In this powerful session, we'll study two women who made two very different choices, learn from their examples (good and bad), and discover what God can do when we surrender our bitterness to Him.

Session 3 - Today You Have Two Choices:
Fear or Faith
Hebrews 11:6 says, "Without faith it's impossible to please God," yet it's often easier said than done. When the circumstances of life hit us hard, fear often becomes our default setting. How can we resist fear and choose faith instead? Practical and personal, this workshop will lift your eyes beyond your circumstances to see what God can do if you commit your life to wholly trusting Him. This session includes a simple yet profound method to make your Bible reading come alive.
Melissa Sylvis will lead us in worship. 

When you register, please let me know so I can look forward to meeting you!




If you enjoyed this post, why not subscribe? I'll send you twice-weekly 5-minute devotions to help nourish your soul. 
Because women need to connect with God in the craziness of life. 

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Thursday

10 Myths People Believe about VBS, Part 1

When I was six, a friend invited me to Vacation Bible School at a tiny Primitive Methodist church in our neighborhood. I’m not sure why my mother said yes to the invitation. In those days Methodists and Catholics rarely crossed each other’s liturgical thresholds. Perhaps she thought since the gathering didn’t occur on a Sunday morning, it wouldn’t count against us. 

What I remember most about the experience was drinking orange Kool-Aid out of Dixie Cups, eating flower-shaped butter cookies during snack time, and memorizing Bible verses for candy. Oh, and the end-of-the-week program. I had a speaking part – two lines – which I’d learned backward and forward. Unfortunately, when my moment in the spotlight came, that’s how I delivered them – backward. 


VBS remains one of the greatest evangelistic tools for churches, reaching an estimated 3,000,000 children in 2009. At least 10 percent of those were unchurched. As you and your church look ahead toward VBS 2018, let’s take a look at ten myths about this beloved summer outreach. 

Myth # 1 It’s a Southern Baptist Thing. 

Christianity Today, in the article, “From Beer, to Bibles, to VBS,” tells us, “It's possible to trace the roots of VBS as far back as the 1870s, when the Methodist Episcopal Church offered summer Sunday school institutes to the general public near Lake Chautauqua, New York. 

“In 1873, Bishop John H. Vincent proposed the movement should include educational and cultural programs, and soon other Christian groups across the country followed suit with their own summer retreats, many of them offering services for children.” 

In contrast to today’s VBS, which usually lasts for five days, early gatherings often lasted all summer. While Southern Baptist churches are among VBS’s greatest supporters, it’s safe to say they happily share the fun with many other denominations. 

Myth #2 It began in the church. 

Vacation Bible School as we know it today began in the 1890s. Initially, it was a plan of a compassionate doctor’s wife who sensed a need to get children off the streets of New York during the summertime. “VBS – An Historical Perspective,” tells the story: “Mrs. Walker Aylett Hawes went to New York City from Charlottesville, Virginia, with her husband who was specializing in a medical ministry to children. 

She noted that many of the children attended to at her husband’s clinic received injuries as they played in the streets of New York City. She surmised that they needed something safe and fruitful to occupy their time. “In 1898 and 1899, Mrs. Hawes rented a beer hall in the city’s East Side to conduct her Everyday Bible School. Thus, Bible School began with an evangelistic thrust of taking the study to where the people were.” 

Myth #3 VBS is old-fashioned and out dated. 

While some equate VBS with days gone by, Vacation Bible School has transitioned nicely into the 21st century and continues to be immensely popular. “According to a Barna study commissioned by Gospel Light, more than two out of three churches in America (68%) offered VBS in 2012, and 91% of Southern Baptist Churches sponsored the annual event. 

In recent years, this level of involvement has remained fairly stable.” Two-thirds of the churches in America offer VBS programs. The pastors most likely to champion VBS for their churches are the Boomers, people aged 30-48. Perhaps they remember their own VBS experiences or are more likely to have VBS-aged children. 

Myth #4 Children are too young to make lasting decisions for Christ. 

Many express doubts about the authenticity of children’s faith decisions, saying that peer pressure or a desire to please their teachers prompt many children to “walk an aisle” or pray to receive Christ. Researchers who surveyed adults who identify themselves as born again believers, however discovered a strong link to their childhood VBS experiences. 

A Barna research study indicates “nearly half of all Americans who accept Jesus Christ as their savior do so before reaching the age of 13 (43%), and that two out of three born again Christians (64%) made that commitment to Christ before their 18th birthday. “Additionally, the trajectory for a person’s lifetime habits and behaviors—including spiritual behaviors—are often set in childhood, an idea explored in George Barna’s book, Transforming Children into Spiritual Champions.” 

Myth #5 VBS is for big churches. 

While it is true that large churches (more than 250 in attendance and an operating budget of $500K or more) are 91% more likely to sponsor a summer program, 56% of smaller churches do also. These statistics give a nod to the very real cost of hosting VBS. Curriculum, craft materials, and snacks all cost money, especially since the programs are usually offered free of charge to participants. 

Larger congregations also provide a greater pool of volunteers from which to draw, a significant factor in the success of such an endeavor. Smaller churches, like the one I attend, can still successfully host a VBS. 

During the year we keep an eye out for craft material sales, and have sometimes borrowed VBS curriculum from a larger church in our city. Older members who are physically unable to volunteer contribute by providing snacks and doing prep work. A special offering allows members to supplement what the church budget has allotted.

I don't know how many people can look back at their spiritual lives and point to Vacation Bible School as an invaluable step in their faith walk. Only heaven will reveal it, but I know I can. If you're involved in VBS this summer, may God richly bless you! 

Tune in Monday to read Part 2 and learn five more myths people believe about VBS. You might be surprised :)

This article originally appeared on Crosswalk.com and is shared with permission.

Here's a fun photo from our 2016 time together.

Next month, I'll be leading a one day seminar at Good Shepherd UM Parish in northwestern Pennsylvania on Saturday, July 14, 2018. 


I'd love, love, LOVE for you to join us if you're anywhere nearby. Two years ago I met readers from Delaware, Ohio, and Pennsylvania in this same location -- how fun is that? We got to learn, worship, and pray together. It was a day-long glimpse of what heaven's going to be like when we're all together. If you're too far away, I'd love to work with your church's women's ministry to put together a one-day or weekend retreat or special women's event. Click on the Speaking Ministry tab to contact me.

Here are all the details about Today You Have Two Choices:

What: One-Day Ladies Seminar
Where:  Brookville, Pennsylvania
When: July 14, 2018
Cost: $35, which includes lunch and a prayer journal
Cost Saver deadline: June 15
How to Register: Contact Kathy Shaffer (814-328-2034)
klshaffer63@windstream.net
gsumc@windstream.net

Three Fantastic Sessions:

Session 1 - Today You Have Two Choices: 
Grumbling or Gratitude
In this hilarious session, Lori shares a story from her life that demonstrates how life can go from cruising to crashing in an instant. We'll examine the two options that usually accompany a crash and see what God's Word (and modern-day research) have to say about them.

Session 2 - Today You Have Two Choices:
Bitterness or Forgiveness
Bitterness, it's said, is like taking poison and waiting for the other person to die. We know it's destructive, yet we often struggle to overcome it. Sometimes we're not even sure we want to. In this powerful session, we'll study two women who made two very different choices, learn from their examples (good and bad), and discover what God can do when we surrender our bitterness to Him.

Session 3 - Today You Have Two Choices:
Fear or Faith
Hebrews 11:6 says, "Without faith it's impossible to please God," yet it's often easier said than done. When the circumstances of life hit us hard, fear often becomes our default setting. How can we resist fear and choose faith instead? Practical and personal, this workshop will lift your eyes beyond your circumstances to see what God can do if you commit your life to wholly trusting Him. This session includes a simple yet profound method to make your Bible reading come alive.
Melissa Sylvis will lead us in worship. 

When you register, please let me know so I can look forward to meeting you!




If you enjoyed this post, why not subscribe? I'll send you twice-weekly 5-minute devotions to help nourish your soul. 
Because women need to connect with God in the craziness of life. 

Enter your email address and VALIDATE the Feedburner email sent to your inbox.



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Sunday

When Your Situation Seems Hopeless

Life is hard, but sometimes it seems impossible. If this is the perspective from your window, perhaps you can identify King Abijah and the army of Judah.

In his corner of the world, it was ugly.

And scary.
Photo credit Kristen Hatcher

You’d think a force of 400,000 valiant warriors would be enough to guarantee a victory, but the enemy had 800,000. Outnumbered two to one by a superior fighting force, things weren’t looking good for the army of Judah.

But instead of raising the white flag, Abijah, the army’s king, took a bold stand.

“Don’t you know that the Lord God of Israel gave us this land?” (2 Chr. 13:15) he shouted across no-man’s land to Jeroboam and his army. “You turned your back on him, but as for us, the Lord is our God, and we have not forsaken him.”

Then he issued a final warning: “Do not fight against the Lord God of your fathers, for you shall not prosper.”

You’d think, after making such a declaration of trust in God, things would have gotten better. But they didn’t. Battle conditions went South faster than a college kid on Spring Break.

While Abijah was telling the front half of the army what he thought of it, the back half was sneaking around behind him to set up an ambush.

“When Judah looked around, to their surprise, the battle line was at both front and rear.” Like a bowl of M&Ms in a room full of toddlers, they were not only surrounded, but about to be consumed.

But if brave Abijah and his army were going down, they were going down with God’s name on their lips.

“They cried out to the Lord, and the priests sounded the trumpets. Then the men of Judah gave a shout.”

Guess what happened next?

“God struck Jeroboam and all Israel before Abijah and Judah. And the children of Israel fled before Judah, and God delivered them into their hand.”

Five hundred thousand choice men of Israel fell slain . . . “and the children of Judah prevailed, because they relied on the Lord God of their fathers.

I don’t know about you, but some days I feel like Abijah and his army. Surrounded by things that seem too powerful to overcome in my own strength, I have two choices: surrender or stand.

You face the same decision. Will you surrender to the emotions and circumstances that threaten your peace, safety, and well being? Or will you stand on the promises of God’s Word and trust his power to meet your needs, defend your cause, and deliver your soul?

When the battle grows fierce around us and the enemy squeezes hard on all sides, there’s only one true option for the children of God. We must stand our ground, cry out to the Lord, and watch for his deliverance.

Are you facing a challenge that seems impossible? I pray God will give you the faith to stand, cry out to him, and wait for the victory.


To help Abijah's message stay with you today, here's a musical reminder. If you're reading by email, click here to hear Petra's "The Battle Belongs to the Lord."







Here's a fun photo from our 2016 time together.

Next month, I'll be leading a one day seminar at Good Shepherd UM Parish in northwestern Pennsylvania on Saturday, July 14, 2018. 


I'd love, love, LOVE for you to join us if you're anywhere nearby. Two years ago I met readers from Delaware, Ohio, and Pennsylvania in this same location -- how fun is that? We got to learn, worship, and pray together. It was a day-long glimpse of what heaven's going to be like when we're all together. If you're too far away, I'd love to work with your church's women's ministry to put together a one-day or weekend retreat or special women's event. Click on the Speaking Ministry tab to contact me.

Here are all the details about Today You Have Two Choices:

What: One-Day Ladies Seminar
Where:  Brookville, Pennsylvania
When: July 14, 2018
Cost: $35, which includes lunch and a prayer journal
Cost Saver deadline: June 15
How to Register: Contact Kathy Shaffer (814-328-2034)
klshaffer63@windstream.net
gsumc@windstream.net

Three Fantastic Sessions:

Session 1 - Today You Have Two Choices: 
Grumbling or Gratitude
In this hilarious session, Lori shares a story from her life that demonstrates how life can go from cruising to crashing in an instant. We'll examine the two options that usually accompany a crash and see what God's Word (and modern-day research) have to say about them.

Session 2 - Today You Have Two Choices:
Bitterness or Forgiveness
Bitterness, it's said, is like taking poison and waiting for the other person to die. We know it's destructive, yet we often struggle to overcome it. Sometimes we're not even sure we want to. In this powerful session, we'll study two women who made two very different choices, learn from their examples (good and bad), and discover what God can do when we surrender our bitterness to Him.

Session 3 - Today You Have Two Choices:
Fear or Faith
Hebrews 11:6 says, "Without faith it's impossible to please God," yet it's often easier said than done. When the circumstances of life hit us hard, fear often becomes our default setting. How can we resist fear and choose faith instead? Practical and personal, this workshop will lift your eyes beyond your circumstances to see what God can do if you commit your life to wholly trusting Him. This session includes a simple yet profound method to make your Bible reading come alive.
Melissa Sylvis will lead us in worship. 

When you register, please let me know so I can look forward to meeting you!




If you enjoyed this post, why not subscribe? I'll send you twice-weekly 5-minute devotions to help nourish your soul. 
Because women need to connect with God in the craziness of life. 

Enter your email address and VALIDATE the Feedburner email sent to your inbox.



Delivered by FeedBurner

Wednesday

The Cactus and the Petunia


There’s a spot in my yard I refer to as The Desert. An unfortunate corner on the eastern side of my house, this flower bed sits under both the eaves and a section of gutter that protects my yard from too much water flowing off the roof. Trust me when I say that no rain falls on this patch of earth. 

To add to the barrenness of this cubic yard of dirt, my neighbors tell me the previous owner’s basset hound used to nap there. Regularly. Not surprisingly, everything I’ve planted in this spot dies, usually a slow, painful death. 

In the first year of our home ownership, I planted one of my favorite summer annuals, hot pink, striped petunias. In less than two weeks, despite conscientious hand-watering, they became crunchier than potato chips. 

Then I tried my second-favorite summer flower, impatiens. After three weeks, all that was left were crispy brown clumps that looked more like fire starters than landscaping plants. 

One day a friend visited from Colorado. “I brought some cactus plants from my yard. Would you like them? I’d be glad to plant them if you’ll tell me where.” 

“Sure,” I said doubtfully, “Put them in The Desert.” 

Since I’d given up on that corner of my landscape, I hadn’t given the cactus sprigs much thought until recently, when I happened to glance that way. Imagine my delight when I discovered that not only were the cactus plants still alive, they were flush with new growth. 

What was a dying wasteland to some plants was a glorious sahara to others. Instead of wasting away from lack of water like the tender petunias, the cactus grew tougher and more resistant. Instead of withering in the intense eastern sunlight like the impatiens, the sunnier it got, the more they thrived. At long last, The Desert was no longer barren. 

I learned a lesson from that challenging patch of earth. Instead of accepting that spot for what it was, I tried to make it something it was never meant be. Not only that, I forced my preferences upon it, ignoring (and despising) its unique nature. 

I do this with people sometimes, too. I get impatient with those who don’t act, think, or move as fast as I do. I struggle with people who approach decision-making differently than I. And I can’t imagine why everyone doesn’t see life through my perspective. 

If I’m not careful, I miss the beauty and value of different approaches, perspectives, and methods. I forget that behind the differences that separate us is God’s creative hand making each person unique for his glory and our good. 

What about you? Do you struggle with realizing that different isn’t wrong, just different? Why not join me today in celebrating the marvelous diversity God has placed in our world? Look long and hard at the person in your life whose differences most challenge you. Instead of complaining, ask God to show you the positive side of their differing qualities. 

“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Eph. 2:10). 

Now it’s your turn. When have you discovered that what you saw as a negative quality actually turned out to be a positive one? Leave a comment below and share your thoughts. If you’re reading by email, CLICK HERE to visit Hungry for God online and comment there.

Here's a fun photo from our 2016 time together.

Next month, I'll be leading a one day seminar at Good Shepherd UM Parish in northwestern Pennsylvania on Saturday, July 14, 2018. 


I'd love, love, LOVE for you to join us if you're anywhere nearby. Two years ago I met readers from Delaware, Ohio, and Pennsylvania in this same location -- how fun was that? We got to learn, worship, and pray together. It was a day-long glimpse of what heaven's going to be like when we're all together. If you're too far away, I'd love to work with your church's women's ministry to put together a one-day or weekend retreat or special women's event. Click on the Speaking Ministry tab to contact me.

Here are all the details about Today You Have Two Choices:

What: One-Day Ladies Seminar
Where:  Brookville, Pennsylvania
When: July 14, 2018
Cost: $35, which includes lunch and a prayer journal
Cost Saver deadline: June 15
How to Register: Contact Kathy Shaffer (814-328-2034)
klshaffer63@windstream.net
gsumc@windstream.net

Three Fantastic Sessions:

Session 1 - Today You Have Two Choices: 
Grumbling or Gratitude
In this hilarious session, Lori shares a story from her life that demonstrates how life can go from cruising to crashing in an instant. We'll examine the two options that usually accompany a crash and see what God's Word (and modern-day research) have to say about them.

Session 2 - Today You Have Two Choices:
Bitterness or Forgiveness
Bitterness, it's said, is like taking poison and waiting for the other person to die. We know it's destructive, yet we often struggle to overcome it. Sometimes we're not even sure we want to. In this powerful session, we'll study two women who made two very different choices, learn from their examples (good and bad), and discover what God can do when we surrender our bitterness to Him.

Session 3 - Today You Have Two Choices:
Fear or Faith
Hebrews 11:6 says, "Without faith it's impossible to please God," yet it's often easier said than done. When the circumstances of life hit us hard, fear often becomes our default setting. How can we resist fear and choose faith instead? Practical and personal, this workshop will lift your eyes beyond your circumstances to see what God can do if you commit your life to wholly trusting Him. This session includes a simple yet profound method to make your Bible reading come alive.
Melissa Sylvis will lead us in worship. 

When you register, please let me know so I can look forward to meeting you!




If you enjoyed this post, why not subscribe? I'll send you twice-weekly 5-minute devotions to help nourish your soul. 
Because women need to connect with God in the craziness of life. 

Enter your email address and VALIDATE the Feedburner email sent to your inbox.



Delivered by FeedBurner


Sunday

9 Words to Bring Simplicity to Our Complicated World



In a complicated world, simplicity stands out. Micah 6:8 is one of those verses that brings clarity to our world. 

“He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” 

We often wonder what the Lord requires of us. We debate complicated theology and complex life plans, but God spells it out in nine words 

To act justly. To love mercy. To walk humbly. 

To act justly 

To act justly means to treat people fairly, equally, impartially, and honestly. It means pulling our weight in the work place. Going beyond what is expected of us. Looking for ways to bless and serve our coworkers and employers. It means paying our bills on time, before we spend our money on non-essential purchases. 

It means never pilfering – not a stamp, an envelope, or our employer’s time. If we’re on the clock, we should be working. The Golden Rule sums up what it looks like to act justly. 

“So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you,” (Mat. 7:12). 

To love mercy 

Mercy has its basis in Christ’s work on the cross. Although we deserve to spend eternity separated from God in a place called hell, God extends mercy to us. He sacrificed his Son, Jesus, on a cruel Roman cross to make a way for us to live with him forever in Heaven. 

What undeserved favor. What grace. What mercy. 

Because God extended the greatest act of mercy toward us – giving us what we didn’t deserve and could never earn – we, too, can freely extend mercy to others. We respond kindly to obnoxious and rude people. We leave a generous tip despite poor service. (Don’t worry about reinforcing a bad work ethic. There will be plenty of other customers who will point it out. Be different and extend mercy.) We look for ways to demonstrate kindness and respect to the most difficult among us. Mercy is compassionate, and tenderhearted. 

To walk humbly 

James 4:6 tells us God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Can you think of a more frightening thing than having the God of the universe oppose us? 

And who doesn’t need more grace? 

God promises his unmerited favor – grace – when we walk humbly before him. Walking humbly with God doesn’t mean thinking poorly of ourselves. It means not thinking of ourselves at all. A humble life is other-focused. It serves, gives, and builds others up. 

Instead of responding defensively to a rebuke, correction, or criticism, humble people listen. They look for truth and make necessary changes, regardless of how the correction was delivered. The humble never forget where they came from. They remember their spiritual beginnings and respond with patience and grace to others’ youth, immaturity, or blind spots. 

Instead of pridefully holding on to bitterness and anger when others wrong them, they forgive. They know God has forgiven a great sin-debt on their behalf. To fully embrace their freedom in Christ, they forgive as he forgave.

To act justly. To love mercy. To walk humbly with your God. Three simple instructions for a complicated world. Consider for a moment how different our lives would be if we kept these three in mind. 

Now it’s your turn. Can you think of an example of someone who has acted justly, loved mercy, or walked humbly? I’d love to hear your story. Leave a comment below to share your thoughts. If you’re reading by email, click HERE to visit Hungry for God online and leave a comment at the bottom.



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