Five Habits of Highly Missional People

Last week I shared how God blessed my family by answering our prayer to send help when our boat engine decided to take a nap. In the midst of catching Kokanee, these people reeled in their lines before one man dove into the lake and secured a rope between our boats. Then they towed us for an hour back to the main dock. (You may read my story here: When God Winks.)

Do you recall a time when someone blessed you through an act of kindness? Did you wonder why that person took the time to put you first?

Knowing full well how serious most fishermen around here are when they find a great spot, I couldn’t help but wonder: Why would they set aside their successful Kokanee run just to give us a personal tow back to the dock? They could have pretended they didn’t see our boys rowing and let the next boaters who happened into our cove help out. They could have saved themselves precious time by flagging down the sheriff on patrol. But no, in the middle of their cherished recreation, they set aside their agenda and favored us as though we had been lifetime friends.

What a blessing! Although we didn’t ask why they helped us out, I couldn’t help but think, that’s exactly what Jesus would have done! What a shining example of what Christian living should look like! As Christians, our task is to surprise the world in a positive light. We may not all be called to be evangelists (2 Timothy 4:5, Ephesians 4:11) or missionaries overseas, but we are all called to pray and conduct ourselves in word and deed to provoke others to question their beliefs and engage in an evangelistic conversation.

In his book, Surprise the World!, Michael Frost writes: The trick is to develop habits that unite us together as believers, while also propelling us into the lives of others. We also need habitual practices that don’t deplete our energy and burn us out, but rather reenergize us, replenishing our reserves and connecting us more deeply to Jesus. I have seen these missional habits do just that:

BELLS – Bless, Eat, Listen, Learn, Sent

What kind of living ushers in God’s reign by arousing curiosity among unbelievers, which leads to questions and faith sharing? How can we foster a set of habits that will help shape others’ beliefs and values? The first habit of highly missional people is to intentionally bless others.

Generosity Challenge

Bless three people this week, one of whom is not a member of your church. We can do this in three ways: 1) words of affirmation, 2) acts of kindness, and/or 3) giving a gift. Do this and see if you won’t be blessed by being a blessing!

When God Winks

Wafts of fried chicken wet our appetites as we back our boat away from the dock. Can’t beat this weather, I think as I determine to make the most of our last family outing before our oldest son returns to college for his summer session.

This boat might be old, but it still has kick. The wind cools our skin as we zip across the lake to our own quiet cove, tucked away from other boaters. Eric, my husband, kills the engine and we dive into the bucket of chicken while taking in the blue sky and surrounding pine covered mountains. With three teenagers, it doesn’t take long to clean out our lunch.

“Who’s up for wakeboarding?” Eric asks as he turns the key.

Silence. Not from our kids – from our boat engine!

Maybe he needs to push the button on the throttle first? He tries a second time . . . and a third . . . still nothing, not even a click from the starter.  

Handing the oars to the boys and pointing, Eric lays out the plan: “We need to get past that point so we can flag down a boater for help.” The boys are good sports as they start to row. But we’re not the only ones enjoying the water today. Persistent boat waves from many boats on the lake prove to be a daunting challenge with our heavy boat. None of us voiced what we all knew to be true. It would take at least a couple of hours before anybody would see our dilemma because the closest boat is not very close.

“Maybe we should pray,” I offer. We bow our heads. “Lord, please bring another boater and/or a sheriff soon who can help us get back to the loading dock.”

I kid you not, maybe three or four minutes pass before a fishing boat rounds the corner. I signal them with our orange flag. “They’re heading our way!”

“We see you!” A lady yells. It’s not long before the boat with two couples are within 20 feet.

“How’s the fishing?” I ask, my attempt at small talk.

“It’s been great . . . catching lots of Kokanee,” the lady answers.

“Looks like you need a tow. Do you have a rope we can use?” The dark haired man (I’ll call Nick) asks. Well aware of disrupting their fishing, none of us were about to object to receiving a tow. So Eric throws him our rope as Nick assesses our boat. He secures one end of the rope to their boat. Without hesitation, he dives into the water and ties the other end to the lower tow hook on the bow of our boat. And without much more verbal exchange aside from saying “thank you so much”, we gratefully accept their help.

Back at the main dock, Nick declines our offer to pay him something, but tells us to repay the favor to the next person who needs a helping hand. I tell him that he and his friends are a speedy answer to our prayer— which was that God would send a boater and/or a sheriff.

“Well, I am a deputy sheriff in another county” he says with a big grin.

I think God must have been smiling, perhaps winking too. Not only did He remind us that He is closer to us than our heartbeats, but He also cares about every little detail of our lives. He may not answer every prayer that quickly. But He certainly hears our prayers and savors the time and attention we give Him.

Nick and his friends could have ignored us and kept on fishing. But instead, they dropped what they were doing, and helped us out. What an example and huge blessing! My challenge to myself, my family, and to you Dear Reader, is to be watchful and intentional on how we might bless others. Have a wonderful week!

Destiny and Decision

“And we know that all that happens to us is working for our good if we love God and are fitting into his plans.” ~Romans 8:28 (TLB)

God has a destiny for your life. He knew you before you were even born. You can join Him, or resist His plan. Listen to Pastor Cliff Purcell as he shares this powerful truth: Destiny and Decision (June 2, 2019).

Conscience, Part 2

An alarm clock that doesn’t go off when it should is bad news, but one that goes off when it shouldn’t is a problem as well.”

Pastor Colin Smith
A good alarm clock does two things: It stays quiet when you should be asleep, and it makes a noise when you need to wake up! That’s how your conscience is supposed to work. Paul says, “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts” (Col. 3:15). When you are on the right path, a good conscience will be at peace. But when you are tempted towards the wrong path, a good conscience will sound the alarm.

How many times have you heard the advice, “Follow your conscience”? Sounds reasonable, but what if conscience isn’t the ultimate judge of right and wrong? Pastor Colin talks about the reasons why. You may listen to his message here: Conscience, Part 2. Have a great week! 🙂

Conscience, Part 1

"Think of conscience like an alarm clock. A good alarm clock stays quiet when you should be asleep, and it makes a noise when you need to wake up!" ~ Pastor Colin Smith

My past three posts have been about unity in diversity within the church. How we as believers need to find the balance of heeding our consciences while giving grace to those around us who differ in the gray, nonessential areas of the Gospel.

The question arises: Can we always trust our conscience? Is it possible, like a broken alarm clock, for our conscience to get off kilter? Or, as in my case too many times, the alarm clock sounds, but I snooze through it? Does it really matter when we go against or “over-rule” our own conscience?

Colin Smith is senior pastor of The Orchard Evangelical Free Church and president of Unlocking the Bible. He is the author of several books. His preaching ministry is shared around the world through Unlocking the Bible.

From his Regeneration series, Pastor Colin talks about what happens when we ignore our conscience warning. You may listen to his message here: Conscience, Part 1.

Have a wonderful week!