Mission Service Activity of the Month
December 2018: Sharing Jesus’ Love in Action – Resolving to Act!
Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. But that is not the way you learned Christ! - assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness (Ephesians 4:17-24).
What a wonderful reminder from Saint Paul that we have been taught to put off our old selves and to be renewed in the spirit of our minds. That’s why we make those New Year’s resolutions isn’t it – to try to put on our new self. Research reveals that New Year’s resolutions go back four thousand years to the ancient Babylonians. But, in modern times, we know what most resolutions amount to – losing weight, stopping smoking or other addictive habits, etc. What if we stopped focusing on the bad habits and worked on developing good habits? Of course, healthy eating is a good habit. But what about increased Bible reading/study, more daily prayer time, and working on memorization of key Bible passages? Likewise, we can vow to increase our time “out of the pew” by serving in our communities and professing our faith to those who don’t know about Jesus.
Do we need to wait until January 1 to do this? Of course not! But, we do need to be mindful about the goals we set. Who better to help us with that than the Holy Spirit? Before you make a list of resolutions for 2019, take plenty of time to pray about what God’s will is for you in the coming year. Invite the Holy Spirit to guide you toward what’s most important. While you’re at it, take some time for self-examination to identify any “time wasters” that can be replaced with “faith sharing” activities. Consider the magnitude of Paul’s commitment in the passage below where, in the NIV version, the word “resolved” is used instead of “decided”. That’s some resolution!
And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, (1 Corinthians 2:1-3).
There is an abundance of resources available through the LWML and other LCMS organizations to help you find ideas for your resolutions. Some are categorized below. Perhaps begin your new year by selecting a different resource to review from each category.
LWML Christian Life Resources for Spiritual Growth:
- Gather your LWML sisters together and start the New Year with this LWML Bible study on Resolutions.
- Sign up for Mustard Seed Devotions and Two Minute Tuesday emails – click HERE
LWML Gospel Outreach Resources for Mission Service:
- Read the stories on the I Love to Tell the Story page, and then resolve to write a story of your own!
- Review the Paint the Planet Purple page to see what other groups are up to and then let the Gospel Outreach committee know what your group is up to!
- Check out other opportunities for service by browsing the list of Gospel Outreach Resources outside of the LWML. Here you’ll find links to LCMS ministries (for example, the Lutheran Hour and the Lutheran Heritage Foundation) and LCMS recognized service organizations (RSO) (for example, Lutheran Bible Translators).
Keep Up with What’s Happening:
- Subscribe to the LWML Blog.
- Put the LWML App on your phone or tablet.
- Stay in touch with LWML social media outlets such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, and Instagram.
- Subscribe to the Lutheran Reporter and get the latest news plus movie reviews and upcoming events.
- Visit the LWML (LWML.org) and LCMS (LCMS.org) web sites at least once a month.
- Visit your district LWML (list here) and LCMS (list here) web sites at least once a month.
- Create a “year at a glance” calendar for your group which shows monthly deadlines, events, and opportunities for mission service. Be sure to get those on your congregational calendar as well so they appear in announcements, etc.
- Review the LWML Leader Development resources available for help with mentoring, leader training, and event planning.
Take it to the Community:
- Organize a home-based Christian book club. You can start your reading list with some offerings from Concordia Publishing House. Suggestions include Loving Isaac by Heather Kaufman and the Anthems of Zion series by Katie Schuermann.
- Challenge your group to tackle a new mission service activity each quarter (or month!). You can review current and archived monthly activity suggestions HERE.
Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes (James 4:13-14).
A Prayer as You Plan:
Dear Father in Heaven, as we once again come to the end of one year and look toward the beginning of another, remind us that our plans are not always Your plans. Help us remember to always look to You for guidance. Help us to seek Your wisdom whenever we are making plans. Please Father, help us to know Your will and to pursue only what is pleasing to you. And, more than anything, Dear Father, help us to focus on our eternal life and to help others realize the same hope that we have in Your saving grace. In Jesus precious name we pray. Amen.
The Gospel Outreach Committee would love to hear what you resolved for 2019! Please contact us through the LWML email at email@example.com. Thank you!
Looking for more Winter devotional and service project resources? Check out the Winter Resources webpage here!