• Topic > Evangelism & Missions

    Servant’s Heart

    Cook. Event Planner. Nutritionist. Nurse. These are just some of the responsibilities regularly performed by modern moms. In 2016, research estimated that moms likely worked between fifty-nine and ninety-six hours per week doing child-related tasks.

    No wonder moms are always exhausted! Being a mom means giving a lot of time and energy to care for children, who need so much help as they learn to navigate the world.

    When my days feel long and I need a reminder that caring for others is a worthy pursuit, I find great hope when I see Jesus affirming those who serve.

    In the gospel of Mark,…

    Jesus in Disguise

    My son Geoff recently participated in a “homeless simulation.” He spent three days and two nights living on the streets of his city, sleeping outside in below freezing temperatures. Without food, money, or shelter, he relied on the kindness of strangers for his basic needs. On one of those days his only food was a sandwich, bought by a man who heard him asking for stale bread at a fast-food restaurant.

    Geoff told me later it was one of the hardest things he’d ever done, yet it profoundly impacted his outlook on others. He spent the day after his “simulation” seeking…

    Celebrating God’s Creativity

    As music filled the church auditorium, colorblind artist Lance Brown stepped onstage. He stood in front of a large white canvas, with his back to the congregation and dipped his brush into black paint. With smooth swipes, he completed a cross. Stroke after stroke with brushes and his hands, this visual storyteller created images of Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection. He covered the large patches of the canvas with black paint and added blue and white to finish a now abstract painting in less than six minutes. He picked up the canvas, turned it upside down, and revealed a hidden image—a…

    Ask the Man Who Owns One

    In the early 1900s, the Packard Motor Car Company generated a slogan to entice buyers. “Ask the man who owns one” became a powerful tagline, one that contributed to the company’s reputation as manufacturing the dominant luxury vehicle in that era. What Packard seemed to understand is that personal testimony is compelling to the hearer: a friend’s satisfaction with a product is a powerful endorsement.

    Sharing with others our personal experiences of God’s goodness to us also makes an impact. God invites us to not only declare our gratitude and joy not only to Him but also to those around us…

    Plodding for God

    Those raised in the English village with William Carey (1761–1834) probably thought he wouldn’t accomplish much, but today he’s known as the father of modern missions. Born to parents who were weavers, he became a not-too successful teacher and cobbler while teaching himself Greek, Hebrew, and Latin. After many years, he realized his dream of becoming a missionary to India. But he faced hardship, including his child’s death, his wife’s mental-health problems, and for many years the lack of response from those he served.

    What kept him serving amid difficulties so that he could go on to translate the entire Bible…

    Who Is He?

    On our way home from our honeymoon, my husband and I waited to check in our luggage at the airport. I nudged him and pointed to a man standing a few feet away.

    My spouse squinted. “Who is he?”

    I excitedly rattled off the actor’s most notable roles, then walked up and asked him to take a photo with us. Twenty-four years later I still enjoy sharing the story of the day I met a movie star.

    Recognizing a famous actor is one thing, but there’s Someone more important I’m thankful to know personally. “Who is this King of glory?” (Psalm 24:8). The…

    Starting Now

    When my oldest sister’s biopsy revealed cancer in late February 2017, I remarked to friends, “I need to spend as much time with Carolyn as possible—starting now.” Some told me my feelings were an overreaction to the news. But she died within ten months, and even though I had spent hours with her, when we love someone there’s never enough time for our hearts to love enough.

    The apostle Peter called Jesus’s followers in the early church to “love each other deeply” (1 Peter 4:8). They were suffering under persecution and needed the love of their brothers and sisters in their…

    Are You Hungry Now?

    Thomas knew what he needed to do. Having been born to a poor family in India and adopted by Americans, upon a return trip to India he witnessed the dire needs of the children in his hometown. So he knew he had to help. He began making plans to return to the US, finish his education, make a lot of money, and come back in the future.

    Then, after reading James 2:14–18 in which the apostle asks, “What good is it . . . if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds?,” Thomas heard a little girl in his…

    The Empty Bed

    I was eager to return to St. James Infirmary in Montego Bay, Jamaica, and reconnect with Rendell, who two years earlier had learned about Jesus’s love for him. Evie, a teenager in the high school choir I travel with each spring, had read Scripture with Rendell and explained the gospel, and he personally received Jesus as his Savior.

    When I entered the men’s section of the home and looked toward Rendell’s bed, however, I found it was empty. I went to the nurse’s station, and was told what I didn’t want to hear. He had passed away—just five days before we…

    God’s Retirement Plan

    Archaeologist Dr. Warwick Rodwell was preparing to retire when he made an extraordinary discovery at Lichfield Cathedral in England. As builders carefully excavated part of the floor of the church to make way for a retractable base, they discovered a sculpture of the Archangel Gabriel, thought to be 1200 years old. Dr. Rodwell’s retirement plans were put on hold as his find launched him into an exciting and busy new season.

    Moses was eighty years old when he made a fiery discovery that would forever alter his life. As the adopted son of an Egyptian princess, he never forgot his Hebrew…

    Serving the Smallest

    The video showed a man kneeling beside a busy freeway during an out of control brush fire. He was clapping his hands and pleading with something to come. What was it? A dog? Moments later a bunny hopped into the picture. The man scooped up the scared rabbit and scampered to safety.

    How did the rescue of such a small thing make national news? That is why. There is something endearing about compassion shown to the least of these. It takes a big heart to make room for the smallest creature.

    Jesus said the kingdom of God is like a man who…

    Good News to Tell

    “What’s your name?” asked Arman, an Iranian student. After telling him my name is Estera, he lit up and exclaimed, “We have a similar name in Farsi, it’s Setare!” That small connection opened up an amazing conversation. I told him I was named after a Bible character, “Esther,” a Jewish queen in Persia (present-day Iran). Starting with her story, I shared with him the good news of Jesus. As a result of our conversation, Arman started attending a weekly Bible study to learn more about Jesus. 

    One of Jesus’s disciples, Philip, guided by the Holy Spirit, asked a question that opened…

    The Greatest Gift

    Over the years, my friend Barbara has given me countless encouraging cards and thoughtful presents. After I told her I’d accepted Jesus as my Savior, she handed me the greatest gift she’d ever given me‒my first Bible. She said, “You can grow closer to God and mature spiritually by meeting with Him daily, reading Scripture, praying, and trusting and obeying Him.” My life changed when Barbara invited me to get to know God better.

    Barbara reminds me of the apostle Philip. After Jesus invited Philip to follow Him (John 1:43), the apostle immediately told his friend Nathanael that Jesus was “the…

    Bright Lights

    In the summer of 2015, a group from our church was sobered by what we saw in Mathare, one of the slums in Nairobi, Kenya. We visited a school with dirt floors, rusting metal walls, and wooden benches. But against the backdrop of extremely humble surroundings, one person stood out.

    Her name was Brilliant and the name couldn’t have fit her better. She was an elementary school teacher who possessed joy and determination that matched her mission. Colorfully dressed, her appearance and the joy with which she instructed and encouraged the children were stunning.

    The bright light Brilliant brought to her surroundings…

    The Blessing Is Coming

    A friend and I went for a walk with her grandkids. While pushing the stroller, she commented that her steps were being wasted—they weren’t being counted on the activity tracker she wore on her wrist because she wasn’t swinging her arm. I reminded her that those steps were still helping her physical health. “Yeah,” she laughed. “But I really want that electronic gold star!”

    I understand how she feels! Working toward something without immediate results is disheartening. But rewards aren’t always immediate or immediately visible.

    When that’s the case, it’s easy to feel that the good things we do are useless, even…

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