Struggling with where you are in life and ministry? Consider this.

Struggling with where you are in life and ministry? Consider this.

Are you content? I mean, really content with your life, your calling, your relationship with God?

Sometimes I'm not.

I wish I was. But sometimes it's so easy to start focusing on the things that aren't going the way I'd like. To look at others who seem super-successful or effective in life or ministry. To compare the blooper reel that often is my life to the picture-perfect Instagram feeds of those around me. And to feel like my life and what I'm doing doesn't matter.

And maybe that kind of dissatisfaction sometimes affects you, too.

Overcoming the dissatisfaction

It's in those times that I remember what Curt Bryson shared after he returned from Kenya the first time. It was fairly early on in the show and I was just happy to get some time to talk with my friend about his experiences and to see what God had done in his life.

As we were sharing, he dropped a couple of bombshells that really impacted me and have helped me to reset my thinking.

I can tell you about Christ but if you don't see it in my actions, it means nothing.

– Curt Bryson

That first one helps me remember that our places in life are a matter of God's calling and leading. At least they are if we're actually following Him. And the idea of stepping outside of His calling to pursue “greatness,” while common, is silly

But the second one really hit me because it can be an indictment. Maybe there are times when I'm dissatisfied because my actions are misaligned with what I believe or say. And maybe those times are stealing my joy.

But also, maybe there are times that I don't see what I'm doing as valuable because I've forgotten that I'm an Ambassador for the Kingdom. That I have the high and holy calling of bringing God's presence with me wherever I go. That I am called to bring light into places of darkness.

Maybe I need to remember that God made me for His purpose, not mine. And that it's at His pleasure I serve. And that my service to Him is valuable, whether I see it as noble or common. It's His choice, not mine (Romans [9:20]-21).

And while I might not get the places I would choose, I do get the light that comes from Christ living in me. And that's pretty powerful.

While I might not be “doing” missions in the traditional sense, I am living the life of Christ when I bring His light with me.

It's in realigning and remembering

It's in being aligned with God's calling and remembering that it's in His presence we find our joy that we also see our calling as it is. That what we say and do has eternal value.

And it's then that we find contentment.

What about you?

Are you content?

  • If you know you’re not doing what God’s directed you to do or if your actions are not aligned to what you believe, ask Him to forgive you and help you to align with His will.
  • If you’re dissatisfied, examine your expectations and what you have your eyes on rather than Him.
  • And if you’re all good but you know someone who’s struggling, gently encourage them. Your encouragement may make all the difference to them.

 

I can tell you about Christ but if you don't see it in my actions, it means nothing.

Our Fundraiser!

We're raising funds to help Global Initiative equip the Church to share God's love with Muslims. Visit our fundraiser page for more information about Global Initiative and how YOU can be involved.

How Bryan Thompson Got Started in Missions

How Bryan Thompson got started in Missions

Bryan Thompson trains people to reach people who can't (or prefer not to) read with the Gospel. By focusing on personal interactions and telling stories rather than pointing to books, he's able to to share God's love in ways that people understand.

Name: Bryan Thompson
Website: http://story4all.com
Where do you serve? Globally

Who are the primary people you serve?
Currently, there is no focused people group, though I have served several in the past

What do you do to serve those people?
Currently teaching all people with whom I come in contact about oral Bible storytelling/study

When did you start doing this?
Started the training side full-time in 2007

When did you realize you had a heart for missions? How did that develop?
I never had a heart for missions (as indicative of influencing my call!). 2 weeks before being saved I knew that if I was to believe this Gospel that I would need to give the rest of my life to proclaiming it. I was thus called to missions 2 weeks before I was saved! 🙂

What were you doing when God called you this direction?
I was in school (16 years old)

How did God call you? How did you recognize His call?
See 7 above. I had just a clear idea in my head that if following Christ was of worth it would mean I had to give my life to sharing the Message! I do have a specific UPG geographical calling that has not been recognised yet, but I will not be able to talk about that group by name or the country on radio or Internet

Did you have a clear and measurable goal for your ministry?
At 16, yes, it was simple. Give my life to Jesus, go where I could learn more about Him and then go where He was not known

What would you do differently if you were starting today?
I would have started with Bible storytelling in 1977!

Financial / Deputation

How are your financial needs taken care of?
God has promised to provide for me/us out of a “hidden treasury”. He has done for 40 years

How do you stay connected with your partners or supporters?
I have a monthly prayer letter (email only), a weekly brief email prayer/praise update, an almost daily email 1-prayer or praise point update, a WhatsApp prayer group where I write at least once daily. I also have a [Facebook] page that highlights what we are doing as a family and a few other things (but always avoids politics and controversial issues that would alienate some of my prayer supporters and friends – I see [Facebook] as a way to influence people to Jesus and to storytelling the Message. I use other social media to reach other prayer supporters.

How do you find new partners or supporters?
I meet them on my travels usually or people approach me through social media and occasional blogging and audio blogging (via Soundcloud)

Is there a book, tool, resource that has changed the way you stay connected?
Lots! Yikes! Tech books/screencasts on the use of tech, various titles that are missionary bios like George Müller of Bristol, etc.

Ministry / Administrative Tools

Name 2-3 tools that you couldn't live without.
Bible is what I couldn’t live without. If I think of being in prison or having everything lost in a fire, I would be sad but nothing else could be categorised as “I cannot live without”

Is there a book, tool, or resource
Tools are my Mac desktop, an iPad, and iPhone. I use various pieces of software to automate and run regular tasks and my ‘workflow’. A bit too detailed to mention here, but I would be happy to chat about how I manage life.

What do you do to be

Spiritually Healthy
3 times a day: Morning Watch, Noon Watch and Evening Watch. Bible meditation at night is a vital, healthy tool as well

Emotionally Healthy
Keeping short accounts. Don’t let sun go down on wrath. Investing in family as much as possible

Vision Driven
I don’t like “driven”, but the secret to vision is found by following #1 above under this paragraph. Also PTMTO – a series of five words the Lord gave me in the 70s. In everything I must have a life of Praise, Thanksgiving, Meditation (on the Word!), Trust & Obedience
Fully Funded Matthew vi 33. Nothing more. I obey; He supplies. Step out in obedience not when the funding allows you to! You can serve God or Mammon but not both!

Knowing what you know now, would you go again?
Duh! 🙂

  • How could your partners better serve you?
  • Spiritually: Prayer, prayer, prayer
  • Financially: Give sacrificially or hilariously
  • Otherwise: When I am out in the boonies, check to see if I would like stuff from home

What’s your advice for people just getting started?

What are some first or initial steps they could take?
Learn a life of PTMTO. Trust that God can be trusted (even if He kills you!). Don’t neglect the prayer closet and unhurried time in the Word DAILY (at least once)

What missions training did you take or could recommend before going?
The best training is the School of the Holy Spirit – trusting and obeying Him always and being in a place where you can follow that pattern and be encouraged in it. I went out for 4 years (doing a lot of kamikaze type outreach – and got arrested while at it several times) with Operation Mobilisation (OM) in Communist Europe. A friend of mine said if he had been God he would have two entry requirements for Heaven (salvation in Jesus and getting a passport). There is nothing like a good short-term missions trip as far from home as possible and outside your homeland to get you prepared for the long-term. If young, the rougher the better! The rest of my training I have continued as I go.

What do you do for ongoing training and coaching?
I take courses on the Internet, listen to podcasts, study books, attend conferences, webinars, watch screencasts and sign up for whatever I feel will help me in my missions focus and obeying Jesus better

What was/is your mindset?

A good listener (A KEY)?
Essential – listen to God/Holy Spirit. Listen to the Word. Listen to audience before preaching or telling the Message

Legalistic?
Dangerous on the field and destructive, but every missionary needs to be entirely ruthless with themselves in obeying to the detail what God has called them to do. If He says, “Don’t drink coffee!”, and then sends you to a coffee-drinking nation you need to obey Him first and foremost: don’t drink coffee – ever!

Flexible?
More than flexible. You need to die to yourself. If you are used to an individualistic society of “your space” and you go to some relational culture where “your space” is not understood, guess who has to learn to adapt. I learned through a simple choice in 1989 how to rest with people all around me, even though my rest preference was to get alone and have ‘me time’. I can do both since 1989. I’m happy with crowds in my home all the time and I am happy alone on a deserted island for weeks alone. It was a choice in 1989, and just stepping out in belief. In YWAM they used to say that you had to be “fluid” (because flexible was not good enough). Follow the Cloud and that will make you fluid!

Are you a good example of what you are presenting?
I hope so

My thanks to Bryan Thompson for taking the time to do this. To learn more about Bryan, check out his website or listen to his powerfully engaging interview.

Bryan Thompson

Bryan Thompson

Website: story4all.com

Our Fundraiser!

We're raising funds to help Global Initiative equip the Church to share God's love with Muslims. Visit our fundraiser page for more information about Global Initiative and how YOU can be involved.

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

The Power of Just One

The Power of Just One

I don't know about you, but sometimes things can get overwhelming. There are so many needs – so many people need food or clothing. So many need Christ. Even that parts I'm called to seem so much bigger than my ability.

It was one of those kinds of moments that led Pebbles Thompson to bring some questions to God. And his answer – no surprise – is a good one.

Pebbles and her team provide bags of hope for children who have been victims of significant child abuse. They are supported by donations and there are times when the donations are down but the needs are up. And in those times, it can start to feel like it will be impossible to make a difference.

One of those times, God answered the question Pebbles asked with a question of His own:

If you could only help one child a day for the rest of your life, would it be worth it?

Of course, her answer was “YES.” And it turned out that was exactly what God was doing at that time in her ministry.

However, the same question applies to us.

  • If only one person comes to know Christ, is it enough?
  • If only one person is encouraged, equipped, challenged, or inspired, is it enough?
  • If only one person is clothed or has food or water, is enough?
  • If only one person is protected, is it enough?

Yes. It is. Because God honors obedience more than our view of success.

That's not to say that we should squander resources or stop at only one. But it does help us answer the question: is it enough?

 

if you could help just one child a day for the rest of your life, would that be enough?

Our Fundraiser!

We're raising funds to help Global Initiative equip the Church to share God's love with Muslims. Visit our fundraiser page for more information about Global Initiative and how YOU can be involved.
It’s Not About Success in Ministry

It’s Not About Success in Ministry

It's not about success in ministry.

It's about my worship to Him!

Sean Steckbeck

Have you ever thought about why you do what you do in work, life, or ministry?

I have. I sometimes struggle with it because it so often seems like I'm caught in this tension between trying to achieve a specific goal or number as an outcome. Or when I start to feel burned out, I want to focus on feelings: “Do I feel like I'm making a difference?” And I'm sure I'm not alone.

In a culture like ours that's divided in so many ways, it's easy to assume that there are only two paths to take: metrics vs. relationships. Or outcomes vs. feelings. Or any number of other false dichotomies.

But relationships aren't actually opposed to metrics – especially if we track things like what we're doing to build relationships. Though I will say that we've been taught to set goals that aren't always aligned with how the Kingdom works. After all, Scripture says that one plants and another waters, but God gives the increase (1 Corinthians 3:7).

However, I think that what Sean Steckbeck shared helps cut through the noise to the actual issue.

It's not about success in ministry.
It's about my worship to Him!

Sean Steckbeck

Now, you might be asking “What about obedience? Isn't obedience better than sacrifice?”

I'm glad you asked. And yes, obedience is better than sacrifice. But obeying Christ is how we worship Him. And what has He called us to do?

  • Love Him
  • Love our neighbors
  • Be generous
  • Declare good news to the poor, the widow, the alien, the foreigner
  • Make disciples of all nations
  • (this is not a complete list)

All of those are worship. 

Well, they're worship if we'll let them be worship. If we'll let them come from a place of love and intimacy with God.

We can “perform” them out of duty or selfish ambition. Or we can partner with God out of love for Him and for our neighbor.

One of those will refill you and draw you closer to Christ. So, which one will you choose?

 

it's not about success in ministry. it's about my worship to him

Our Fundraiser!

We're raising funds to help Global Initiative equip the Church to share God's love with Muslims. Visit our fundraiser page for more information about Global Initiative and how YOU can be involved.

“If you think you are too important to help someone, you are only fooling yourself. You are not that important.”
‭‭Galatians‬ ‭6:3‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Read more

[tis] Guatemala 🛫 – 21/2016 – @bt4jc

b668a3d6-10f7-4bbc-8ff4-89a7439767e8Bryan Thompson of Simply the Story is going strong with travels and training. Read this short excerpt from his newsletter. And if you like this, you'll definitely want to subscribe, connect, and partner with him.

It's hard to believe that we are almost at the end of our time in Hemet, California. Well … for me anyway. Ami is due to stay here for another couple of weeks.
 
Where am I going? To lead an advanced Simply the Story training over two weekends and another training during the days between.
 
Prayers appreciated for Ami's recovery and treatment, and for special times in the Word of God in the Guatemala trainings, the presence of Jesus and rich encounters with God for all traveling in from four countries to these events.

Source: [tis] Guatemala 🛫 – 21/2016

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