SUMMER CONNECTIONS: Make a difference

Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.  If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God.  If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ.     1 Peter 4:10-11

I love the passion I see in youth and young adults these days to make a difference in the world.  In High School, my son joined a group of friends who organized a Fair Trade market to make a difference.  A friend’s daughter spent her summer at an orphanage in Africa to make a difference.  I get regular invitations from young adults regarding fighting human trafficking and abuse, caring for the hurting and hungry, and partnering with the vulnerable through loans, business and education.  All around me, I see women and men taking action to make a difference in our beautiful, yet broken, world.

Along with this positive engagement often comes a challenge to others to get out of the comfortable safety of the church and “do something.”  Sometimes I receive the challenge with enthusiasm and other times with the defensive reply, “I am doing something!”

This ministry year, our focus is on Making Connections with the World–reaching out beyond ourselves through service and evangelism.  We are challenged to examine who God has made us, what he has given us and what he has brought us through, then out of that awareness to engage in Kingdom work to make a difference.  Yet as we do so, we remember that it’s not enough to just get out there and “do something.”

I was reminded of that important truth in July when I attended a seminar called “Mission Spirituality After 125 Years.”  Since it was given by my husband, the historian, of course it had a historical focus.  He looked back at the history of the Christian and Missionary Alliance and reminded us that our dual emphases on personal holiness and missions are intrinsically connected.  All we do in service and evangelism, here and around the world, flows out of and is fueled by a deep relationship with God.  We need both.  If we only receive from God without giving, we become stagnant.  If we only give without continually receiving and living in the love of God, we become depleted.  And God designed us to do both giving and receiving within the community of other loving and gifted ones.

So as you move into the new schedules, projects, and relationships this fall brings, remember the full picture.  Living and growing in Jesus’ love enables you to reach out beyond yourself.  Serving flows from that place of being loved and draws you back to that place as you depend on him.  And in all of this, God gifts you with the company of others on a similar journey.  Find places and spaces to be nurtured and drawn closer to your God.  Discover how he has uniquely called and prepared you to make a difference.  And don’t forget to share the journey.  Women’s Ministries at Foothills offers you many opportunities to do all of this.  You might want to learn and grow at DayBreak or womenconnect, pray with other women on Friday mornings, meet new moms and build relationships at Tiny Blessings, find or become a mentor to share the journey with another woman, or attend our women’s event Treasures Uncovered” (September 30).  Join us this fall as we Make Connections . . . with God, each other and the world.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, I thank you that you made each of us to live in loving relationship with you.  Please show us how we can let your love and grace flow through us into this broken world.  And as we love and serve in your name, enable us to do so in your way, through your strength, and for your glory.  May your Holy Spirit draw us into deeper relationship with you as we live for you each day.  For we ask in the name of Jesus, Amen.

 Contributed by Carla Olsen Draper

Photo: LicenseAttribution Some rights reserved by asenat29