Families & Missions . . . in FEBRUARY

February’s MISSION-MINDED FAMILY holiday focus includes: Valentines Day, President’s Day, and Black History Month. Our emphasis is God’s LOVE for the WORLD, the PASSION of JESUS as He died on the cross for the world, and our need to PRAY for Christians who are being PERSECUTED for their faith.

588ruggedheart

TEACHING OPPORTUNITY:

Update Your February Calendar: Throughout the year, acknowledging international holidays and using these days as focus-points for prayer, can give our families an insight into our world’s need for Jesus. These vibrant festivities are filled with colorful expression, yet often these traditions are rooted in false religion and fear. Get out your family calendar, and take a moment to write down the names of these holidays on their respective dates.

Throughout the year, you can come back to the chapter, “Enjoying Missions Throughout the Year” in The Mission-Minded Family, to read about each holiday and pray accordingly.

Valentine’s Day

(February 14th) – This holiday, also known as Saint Valentine’s Day, was named after two early Christian martyrs named Valentine and is observed by Western and Western-influenced cultures. In the United States and some other countries, cards and gifts are given to friends, sweethearts, and family members to express love.

  • A STARTLING MISSION FACT: From Neal Pirolo’s 1991 book, Serving as Senders – On just one day, February 14, Americans spend over 700 million dollars to say “I love you” with Valentine’s Day cards. Less than that is spent in the whole month of February (and in each of the other months) to tell a lost and dying world that God loves them!
  • NEIGHBORHOOD VALENTINE OUTREACH: Encourage your kids to make Valentine’s Day cards to thank the special people in their lives. You could also use these cards as a witnessing tool – to share “Jesus LOVES You!” with unsaved family members, young friends, or adult neighbors who need the Lord.
  • HELPFUL LINK: Click here for FREE Valentine’s Day cards and envelopes.
  • PRAYER FOCUS – Voice of the Martyrs & the Persecuted Church: Pray for contemporary Christians who are being persecuted for their faith in Jesus Christ. See persecution.org, or read a selection from the great book, Jesus Freaks, by dc Talk. Also, here’s an excellent article about St. Valentine the Martyr from Christian Persecution blog (The Voice of the Martyrs).

President’s Day – USA

(3rd Monday of the month – February 20, 2012)

Pray for government leaders and for the president of the United States. A good source for help:

The Presidential Prayer Team

Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men,  for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.  For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior,  who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth (I Timothy 2:1-4).


Black History Month – February

70ruggedheartDid you know? Did you know that the first missionary from America was of African/American descent?  George Liele, a Baptist Minister, left America in 1782 to start a church in Jamaica. This was twenty years before Adoniram & Nancy Judson left from America to Burma.

(And did you know? There’s a GEORGE LEILE “Missionary Monologue” featured in THE MISSION-MINDED CHILD!!!)

The world needs Jesus . . . all year long!

livetohilt

Let’s share God’s LOVE!!!

  • “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” (John 15:13).
  • “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).

Loving the LOST


Give me a PASSION FOR SOULS dear Lord.

A passion to save the lost.

Oh that Thy love were by all adored,

and welcomed at any cost . . .


Over one hundred years ago, a man named Herbert G. Tovey earnestly poured out his heart to God, asking for more of His perspective and passion for the lost.

It’s really quite remarkable. Through the prayers of one man, way-back in 1888, a fervency for the lost can actually penetrate into our thoughts and prayers TODAY (right now in February, 2012). One man’s prayer can impact our focus. Do you know how this can happen?

It’s because God’s perspective is timeless; and His passion is eternal.

We need more of God’s eternal perspective about life and the lost . . . and more of His heart for people who need His salvation? We need God’s outlook to see beyond ourselves.

God loves people so much and He has already provided for their salvation through His ultimate love — His passion — on the cross. We care too . . . but we need to care more.

Hudson Taylor, a missionary to China once said, “I feel I cannot go on living unless I do something for China.” Taylor knew that his life-purpose on earth reached far beyond his own desires. He was focused on eternity . . . and God’s love for SOULS.


Photo: Jon Dunagan preaching the Gospel in East Africa

A PASSION FOR SOULS

A missions poem and hymn – By Herbert G. Tovey, 1888

Give me a passion for souls, dear Lord,

A passion to save the lost;

O that Thy love were by all adored,

And welcomed at any cost.


Jesus I long, I long to be winning

Men who are lost, and constantly sinning;

O may this hour become of beginning

The story of pardon to tell . . .


How shall this passion for souls be mine?

Lord, make Thou the answer clear;

Help me to throw out the old life line

To those who are struggling near.

Learn more about loving the LOST . . .

Learn more about how Harvest Ministry is Loving the LOST

Learn more about Current Mission News & Evangelism

Learn more about NETS National Evangelism Team Support:
(equipping national ministers for remote missions and church planting)

Balancing Missions & Family

familyboxHow can we balance our passion for missions with our hearts for our homes? Do we have to choose between “raising our kids” and “reaching the lost”—or is it possible to do both?

As parents, we’re called to raise our kids; and as Christians, we’re called to reach the lost. We really can’t fulfill one of these callings, if we choose to neglect the other.

As I was writing The Mission-Minded Family, I felt especially led to evaluate the homes and family-lives of well-known missionaries. Unfortunately, it didn’t take long to realize that many missionary heroes with families were not heroes of the family. Some of the most prominent names in mission history had horrible problems at home; while other leaders (such as William and Catherine Booth of the Salvation Army or Hudson and Maria Taylor) found a powerful ministry-family balance.

As I began to delve deeper into these examples, I searched for clues and common-denominators for those godly world-changing leaders who had God-glorifying homes. And I believe I found the key. It’s PRAYER. The men and women of God who focused primarily on seeking the Lord and their personal devotion to Him (rather than focusing on a merely a successful ministry) seemed to find God’s divine balance for each day. As a result, not only did their ministries glorify God, but their families did as well.

Author and international minister Dr. David Shibley says, “The normal Christian life is anything but balanced, as popularly defined . . . The normal Christian life is high risk and high joy. The normal Christian life releases the temporal to embrace the eternal . . . God is not calling us to win the world and, in the process, lose our families. But I have known those who so enshrined family life and were so protective of “quality time” that the children never saw the kind of consuming love that made their parents’ faith attractive to them. Some have lost their children, not because they weren’t at their soccer games or didn’t take family vacations, but because they never transmitted a loyalty to Jesus that went deep enough to interrupt personal preferences.”

I want my family to have that kind of consuming love, with high risk and high joy. I want to live out my faith in a way that is not only attractive, but also compelling and irresistible! I want to be moved by the passions of God’s heart—and for my kids to take these godly passions to a deeper level. I want to hand off the baton to my descendants, and have them run faster and farther than I ever did.

Let’s raise our kids; let’s reach the lost; and let’s challenge the next generation to live for God with even greater boldness, wisdom, and effectiveness. Through Christ, all things are possible.

What is a Mission-Minded Family?

In a mission-minded family, there’s a God-infused energy. There’s a focus on God’s worldwide purpose, and there’s a passion for the lost. There’s a spiritual depth and hunger that reaches beyond the maintenance mode of cultural Christianity.

A mission-minded family emphasizes leadership, calling, and destiny. There’s a prevailing attitude of self-sacrifice and an emphasis on total submission to God’s will. And there’s an unmistakable and contagious joy.

A mission-minded family . . .

  • loves to make God smile!
  • learns to be diligent, because there’s work to be done and many needs in this world
  • brings a stack of well-worn Bibles to church!
  • enjoys presents at Christmastime, but never forgets all the poor little children in Cambodia who have nothing.
  • is focused on eternity.
  • knows how to look up Afghanistan, Bolivia, Singapore, and Tibet, and imagines more than what they see on a map.
  • eats rice!
  • learns how to share the “gospel colors” and is excited about the miniature EvangeCube that can hook to a kid’s backpack.
  • dreams of traveling around the world and makes sure each person has an updated passport–just in case!
  • thinks about the Irish on St. Patrick’s Day–and all the people wearing green who don’t have a clue that Patrick was a missionary.
  • lives in SUB-mission!
  • shakes missionaries’ hands after church and invites their family over for dinner.
  • knows that when the Lord guides, He also provides.
  • keeps the lawn mowed, as a good Christian witness to the neighbors.
  • is strategically aimed for God’s purpose.
  • anticipates the excitement of the teenage years and looks forward to youth group mission trips.
  • keeps active and healthy in order to be physically able to do whatever God requires.
  • gives generously–even when it hurts!
  • enjoys carryon luggage with wheels, final boarding calls, and airline peanuts.
  • thinks beyond the box of what’s merely expected and hope to do something big (or something little) for God.
  • lives for Jesus!

t682047469_1919124_89151This article by Ann Dunagan, is an excerpt from her book, The Mission-Minded Family – Releasing Your Family to God’s Destiny (InterVarsity Press).