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Be the Change DECEMBER 14

* Wh e n wa s t h e l a s t t i m e y o u w ere

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d eep ly moved

by someone else’s need?


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p a u s e

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and hear God speak

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Be the Change

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We Can Give Romans 15:23-28

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But now I no longer have any work to do in

these provinces, and I have strongly desired for many years to come to you

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whenever I travel

to Spain. For I do hope to see you when I pass through, and to be sent on my way there by you, once I have first enjoyed your company for a while.

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Now, however, I am traveling to

Jerusalem to serve the saints;

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for Macedonia and

Achaia were pleased to make a contribution to the poor among the saints in Jerusalem.

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Yes, they

were pleased, and they are indebted to them. For if the Gentiles have shared in their spiritual benefits,

Most of

then they are obligated to minister to Jews in

us don’t

material needs.

like to

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So when I have finished this

and safely delivered the funds to them, I will go by way of you to Spain. –Romans 15:23-28

talk about money. Maybe can’t believe how much our son’s football

Every time I read in the church bulletin about an upcoming mission trip, my heartstrings get tugged a little. But then it stops when I realize it would be impossible to go away from my family for a week. How would Carson get to baseball practice or Allie to swim? Who would cook dinner or get the kids off to school?

—Susie, Nashville, TN

uniform is going to cost. Or

The Seven Dollar Challenge

$7 will buy …

medical bills are piling up. Maybe we’ve already been stretched to our limit. The truth is that giv-

lunch and an apple pie at McDonald’s.

one matinee movie ticket.

a strand of lights for your Christmas tree.

clean water for seven Africans for a year, through MochaClub.*

ing is a part of missions. 13

W ee k o f D ecember 1 4

seven meals for an impoverished widow as IMB missionaries* help her learn to read and write.

20 New Testaments through Sparrow Ministries.*

* www.mochaclub.org, www.imb.org, www.holmanbibleoutreach.org

it’s because we


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2 Are you prepared to be the answer to your own prayer?

c o n n e c t

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with the Word and other parents during class

We Can Pray Matthew 9:35-38 35

Then Jesus went to all the towns and villages,

teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and every sickness.

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When He saw the crowds,

He felt compassion for them, because they were weary and worn out, like sheep without a shepherd.

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Then He said to His disciples, “The

harvest is abundant, but the workers are few.

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Therefore, pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.” –Matthew 9:35-38

“Like Sheep Without a Shepherd” Because of Jesus’ loving heart for the people, He looked on them as sheep abandoned by their shepherd. God had directed the leaders of Israel to care for the people. But instead of caring for them, the religious leaders neglected and abused them. They imposed heavy religious obligations on the people, who already carried heavy spiritual and physical burdens. Israel’s shepherds neglected God’s people (Ezekiel 34); nobody seemed to care for them. But Jesus, the Shepherd of the sheep, had come. He cared and even gave His life on the cross for the sheep. Today He sends out Christians to join in and to continue His work.

According to oneverse.org, there are …

H OVER

2,200 people groups still waiting to

hear the Bible in a language they can understand.

H 1.6 billion people* with virtually no access to H

the gospel message. Those who do hear are left trying to figure out what it all means on their own.

*1.6 billion = the population of America 5-1/3 times over.

W ee k o f D ecember 1 4

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c o n n e c t

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We Can Go Matthew 28:18-20

I would love

mission trip, especially one where the whole family could go. But we barely have time to eat dinner together, much less go on a mission trip. Saying ‘I can’t find the time to go help the poor and the unsaved,’ I feel like I’m slapping God in the face. I manage to find the time for sports, vacation, and other leisure activities. But somehow, missions has never been put on the front burner for me.

—Mike, Denver, CO

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to Me in heaven and on earth.

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Go,

therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,

teaching them to observe

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everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

“As you go…” Take a look at Matthew 28:19-20—The Great Commission. Most believers think that the main verb in these familiar verses is “Go.” But actually, in the Greek this isn’t a verb at all. It’s a participle, which implies a continual, ongoing action. A better translation is “As you go…” So Jesus doesn’t command us to go; He assumes we are already going! However, there is a command in the Great Commission. Can you find what it is?

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Then Jesus came near and said to

them, “All authority has been given

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As You G o ...

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to go on a

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Where will you go this week?


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d e e p e n

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your understanding R o mans 1 5 : 2 3 - 2 8

FOR FURTHER STUDY...

R a c kin g Up th e Frequent B o ate r M i l e s Imagine you are planning your next business trip-- a fifteen hundred mile journey from Atlanta to El Paso. But as you are making your plans, you get word that your sister in New York has roof damage to her house and needs your help. So you take an eight hundred mile detour to help her. From there, you hear that your uncle in Oklahoma City is in the hospital, so you travel from the fourteen hundred miles from New York to Oklahoma City to see him. After visiting with him for a few hours, you finally take off to get to your original destination—El Paso, seven hundred miles away. Total miles: 2,600. In today’s world, that adds up to a hard day of airport travel, and a lot of expensive airport food. But imagine if all those miles had to be covered in a leaky ship, driven by the wind, where storms and shipwreck were a constant threat. How likely would you still be to help out your sister and your uncle? Chances are, your uncle would get flowers and your sister would get the name of a good carpenter in Brooklyn. However, when you add up the distance between all the cities Paul writes about, 2,600 miles is about right. We don’t always think about the distance involved when the cities are unfamiliar, such as Corinth, (where Paul wrote Romans); Rome (where the people to whom he was writing lived); Spain (his ultimate destination); and Jerusalem (where he detoured to deliver the offering he had collected). We don’t think about the sacrifice involved in what Paul describes in Romans 15:23-28. But for Paul, human needs and relationships trumped personal inconvenience. And even when it meant doubling the distance and eventually getting shipwrecked on his way to Rome (see Acts 27-28) it wasn’t too great a sacrifice for him to make. When was the last time you went out of your way to meet a need or invest in a relationship? Even if it costs you time, money, or even your comfort zone, what are the potential rewards?

A lot more than just frequent flyer points! W ee k o f D ecember 1 4

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{ l i v e } your faith every day

It seems that there are opportunities to be missional every day by responding to what God is doing around us, but I’m challenged to obey in a consistent way. One friend began carrying some cash in a hidden spot in his wallet and would pray that God would show him a need he could meet. I was moved by this and began doing the same thing. —Chad, Austin, TX

A r e Yo u Re a d y t o B e t h e C h a n ge ? We talk a lot about being “relevant” these days, but relevance is about so much more than style. It’s about substance. It’s about connecting with people at the core of who they are. It goes beyond surface interests and reaches into the depth of others’ stories. It means engaging—really engaging—in people’s lives in order to help connect them to the living God. The focus of relevance is other people, not ourselves. Relevance always ties back to mission.

H How do we get beyond “hanging out” with people to pointing them to God through Jesus?

You Can Make Missio ns a Part of Your Family Life 1 Sponsor an orphaned child through Shaohannah’s Hope.

Money, its a crime. Share it fairly but don’t

(www.shaohannahshope.org)

2 Fill a few sacks with bottled water, crackers, granola bars, and a New Testament. Keep these in your car to offer homeless people on your way to work or as you’re toting the kids to their activities.

3 Help your children pack an Operation Christmas Child shoebox. (www.samaritanspurse.org)

4 Fund a Heifer Project through your Sunday School class. (www.heifer.org)

5 Call some other parents and organize a prayer walk at your

take a slice of my pie. Money, so they say Is the root of all evil today. But if you ask for a raise

child’s school.

6 C reate greeting cards with your kids to give out at a hospital. 7 As a family, bake a casserole and cookies to serve at a homeless shelter. Or collect canned goods for your local soup kitchen.

its no surprise that they’re Giving none away.

8 Contact your Habitat for Humanity affiliate and find a way to get involved through hands-on volunteering, providing materials or refreshments for the workers, making welcome baskets, or praying for the families who need homes. (www.habitat.org) 17

W ee k o f D ecember 1 4

—“Money,” Pink Floyd


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Sur f the Wor ld l Let your children “Surf the

World” at kidsonmission.org. Kids On Mission is a video series for ages 5-12 that takes kids to exotic locations and shows them all the ways that God is working. l Discover FUGE, life-changing camps for your teen. Go to www.fuge.com to learn how you can open their eyes to missions and the relevance of the Great Commission. l Visit www.imb.org and click “Give,” “Pray,” or “Go” to learn more about how your family can get involved in missions around the world. l Go to www.namb.net to learn more about missions opportunities within the United States. l Through Compassion International, share your love, prayers, and support with a boy or girl who lives in poverty. Visit www.compassion.com.

BY THE NUMBERS:

H The average American household with teens spends

$1,700 per year on electronics alone, according to a

H H H H H

recent study by the Consumer Electronics Association.  he average American family will spend $859 on T Christmas gifts over the holiday season. 5  ,359 missionaries are supported by the International Mission Board as of 5/12/08. E  very 18 seconds another child becomes an orphan, without a mother or father. $32 The amount your student could give to missions by giving up one movie per month and one fast food meal per week. If only 7% of the 2 billion Christians in the world would show hope to a single orphan, looking after the child in their distress, there would effectively be no more orphans.

“Unless we understand a person’s pain, we will never understand a person’s soul.”

Co nv ersat io n St art ers How can you keep this conversation going at home? Try bouncing some of these questions around at the dinner table, as you’re driving your kids to school or an activity, or even while you’re shopping together:

For younger children: g How do you feel about talking to your friends about Jesus? g Who are some people at school we could pray for as a family? What are their needs? g How can we show love to people we don’t even know?

For older children and teens: g Do you believe it’s possible to change the world? Where would you begin and why? g How can you help someone who might not want to be helped? g If you could go anywhere in the world to tell someone about Jesus, where would you go and why?

For graduates: g Have you felt a desire to give, pray, or go to a particular group of people? Where is your heart leading you?

Ravi Zacharias W ee k o f D ecember 1 4

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Life Truths Redesign Learner Guide