Tag Archives: missionary

How Should Christians Celebrate Valentine’s Day?

Standard

vday1Valentine’s Day… dare I say it’s probably a more loathed holiday versus a loved holiday, contrary to its theme and modern intent?  Christians have been very bold in their disgrace towards the commercialization of Easter and Christmas; why are we not as vocal about Valentine’s Day?  And should we?  Although it is a holiday aimed at sharing love with those closest to us, is it a secular celebration?  What are the origins of Valentine’s Day and are there really Christian foundations in this holiday? Is there any harm in cupid, red hearts, candy, flowers, and romantic dinners?

At one time, a pre-Roman pastoral festival known as Lupercalia was observed from February 13th through the 15th.  This three-day festival time of celebration was acclaimed to refine the city, deter evil spirits, and increase health and fertility.  As Christianity continued to grow, the festival was adapted over time by different cultures and people began to add their own customs.

The patron St. was a priest and physician in ancient Rome and was well-known for his kindness and generosity towards others.  He spent much of his time caring for the poor, performing good deeds, and healing the sick and afflicting.  He was arrested by the Roman emperor Claudius Gothicus (268-270 AD) during the time of Christian persecution.  During his time under arrest he healed his attending officer’s blind, adopted daughter which led to the officers’ family’s conversion to Christianity.  Gothicus heard of these “deeds” and ordered St. Valentine to be beheaded on February 14th.

While the Lupercalia festival was still highly respected, it was Pope Gelasius who officially added February 14th as a holiday on the church list in 496 AD, known as St. Valentine’s Day.  From that point forward, this day was honored and celebrated in memory of St. Valentine for his life of service.  The new name of the Lupercalia festival was easily adapted and new elements to the holiday were quickly added into the fold.  The emphasis on the holiday was never meant to reflect romantic love but to honor St. Valentine and mirror agape love and goodwill towards all people.  It was never about cards, flowers, and chocolate candy.  But somehow the commercialization has managed to taint the holiday and steer our focus away from loving others in need.

God is not opposed to us loving others; it’s quite the opposite.  He commands us to love others unconditionally.  God wants us to show love to others through words and actions, Let us not love in word or talk bur in deed and in truth,” 1 John 3:18.  While God wants romantic love shared between a husband and wife, He wants us to show love to others as well.  We should be doing both year-round, not just on a single day when an overly-commercialized holiday says we should be showing love to our significant other.  It should be our mission to love others at all times and make sure our actions show God’s love.

Romans 15:13 says this, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”  This is the highest and most respected form of love.  As Christians, we certainly need to love and honor the spouse God blessed us with, but we need to do away with our love for “things”.  Let’s celebrate the holiday in memory of Saint Valentine – by doing something special and anonymously for someone in need.  Spend the day and your money modestly on others.

Click HERE for some Valentine family games that celebrate God’s love and HERE for Valentine devotionals.

———-

You might also like:
1. A Jesus Lover’s New Year’s Resolution
2. Christians and Biblical Marriage
3. Does Santa Belong in Our Christmas Celebrations?
4. Christian Focus on Thanksgiving
5. Should Christians Celebrate Halloween?

Furious Love Review and Giveaway

Standard

Furious-Love-Home-Page-Design

Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked
with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it. -Mark 16:20

While God also bore witness by signs and wonders and various miracles and by gifts
of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will. -Hebrews 2:4

So they remained for a long time, speaking boldly for the Lord, who bore witness
to the word of his grace, granting signs and wonders to be done by their hands. -Acts 14:3

The amazingly raw and incredible films, Finger of God and Furious Love, both created by Wanderlust Productions, set out to reveal modern day miracles through God’s mighty power.  But more than just miraculous events happen; God’s heart for His people is exposed as well as the war between good and evil.  The films prove the hand of God in everyday action and the amazing love He has for each of His children.

The Furious Love Event Collection is a documentary response to these two films with the sole purpose to inspire churches worldwide to spread the Gospel through the amazing wonders and love of God.  The speakers from the hit films came together in April 2011 with the intent to inspire and charge the church to “love radically, love excessively, and, above all, go and be the hands of God.”

The inspirational speakers include:
Heidi Baker
Rolland Baker
Shampa (Shanti) Rice
Robby Dawkins
Philip Mantofa
Angela Greenig
Mattheus van der Steen
Greg Boyd
Will Hart

Who doesn’t want to be inspired by God?  And who doesn’t want to be the hands and feet of Jesus Christ?  Within just minutes of hearing their testimonies, you too will be completely inspired to set out within your own community and travel throughout the world to preach the good news of Jesus Christ.  Your heart will be forever changed and empowered to prove God’s love for all of humanity time and time again.  Your mind will be transformed as you take a deeper look into the realms of good and evil.  Your mission for Christ will become so stimulated that you will ache to spread the word of God immediately!

You can order each individual event separately or you can order the complete 11 box set online for just $114.89.  Other products from Wanderlust Productions include the original films Finger of God, Furious Love, and the most recent Father of Lights.  Additional products include books, music, and video downloads.

The good news….

The Judgmental Christian has been blessed with the opportunity to offer this COMPLETE 11 box Furious Love Event Collection to one of our readers for FREE.  What a blessing to be able to share these inspirational and spiritual films to one of our readers!  Thank you Wanderlust Productions for this unique occasion.

To enter the giveaway, click HERE to learn how you can enter for a chance to have this box set.

Waterproof Bible Review and Giveaway

Standard

I admit, when I first heard about the Waterproof Bible published by Bardin and Marsee Publishing, I was not only intrigued but skeptical as well.  I couldn’t quite grasp the concept of an entire Bible, inside and out, being fully waterproof and not being bulky and awkward to handle.  But the publishing company has succeeded in fashion!  The *new* Waterproof Bible fits perfectly in your hand and holds up to its name as both waterproof and durable!

559191

Now you can take the Word with you everywhere you go and know your Bible will withstand any climate or environment, whether you travel as a missionary, tour in the military, swim all summer, relax outdoors, or unwind in the bathtub.  The pages and binding, both made of synthetic paper, doesn’t crinkle when wet.  And the water just wipes off leaving the pages completely dry.  You can write and highlight in your Bible (a must for me) and it doesn’t bleed through or smudge.  The Bible is definitely sturdy and durable enough for years of travel, just as described.  But then again, that’s why it’s been created, to travel all of God’s creation!

559192

The Bibles are available in English Standard Translation, King James Version, New International Bible, New King James Version, and New Living Translation.  The Bibles are $44.95 and the New Testament Bibles with Psalms and Proverbs are just $24.95.  They come in varying styles and trendy colors as well; any adult, child, and teen will be pleased with their cover options.  Bible accessories also available through the publishing company include waterproof Bible jackets, highlighters, index tabs, and book mark magnifiers.  You may also print or foil stamp your name or logo on the Bible cover or heat burnish your name or logo on a synthetic leather cover.

I definitely recommend this Bible to anyone!  I’m completely impressed with the resilience of the Waterproof Bible and the simple fact that all things that would generally ruin a Bible, simply wipe right off.  It’s definitely worth the investment.

Click HERE to enter for a chance to win your very own Waterproof Bible!

I received this Bible for a review and giveaway on this blog.  I was not compensated for my Review or hosting the giveaway.  These opinions are my honest, personal opinions. 

Nefarious and TShirt GIVEAWAY

Standard

I am so excited to announce we are giving away Nefarious: Merchant of Souls produced by Exodus Cry.  The documentary is an inspiring film about the global problem of sex trafficking and the quest to combat sex slavery and the sex trade industry.  The dark secrets of this terrible crime are exposed and the film sheds light on the increasing problem of lust and sex in every nation.  The documentary serves as a testimony to the enslaved victims of this modern-day slavery and offers hope for every victim being rescued and redeemed from the evil darkness this crime entangles.

merchant_of_souls_poster

We are also giving away a FREE tshirt.  This shirt supports a missionary overseas in Kenya, Africa who is fighting sex trafficking in a small community.  She is working with a team to pull young girls from the streets and moving them into a safe home.  They are providing information to families, feeding the community, offering school and extra activities, and educating the young ladies about their bodies.  They will also be reaching out to the johns and pimps in the area and providing education to them as well.

156505_4165559569691_19912928_n (1)

To enter the contest:

  1. LIKE our Facebook page
  2. Share the blog post on your personal Facebook page
  3. Leave a comment on this blog as your contest entry

Please complete all three steps to ensure your contest entry.  The contest begins April 1, 2013 and will run through April 15, 2013 at midnight.  A winner will be announced the following day on April 16, 2013.  One winner will be announced and tagged on our Facebook page and will receive both the copy of Nefarious: Merchant of Souls and the tshirt.  The winner must reside inside the US and must respond within 72 hours or a new winner will be contacted.

The Cost of Being a Disciple

Standard

dare-to-be-a-discipleLuke 14:27 says, “And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.”  Ask yourself…

What does this mean?  What is the cost of being a disciple?

It shouldn’t be surface level.  It isn’t just about smiling to someone, tithing, going to church, or even praying before meals.  It means carrying your cross.  Can we carry our cross full of our sins, no matter the weight, and still have faith in God?  Are we willing to accept Christ in our lives fully, knowing that Satan is going to challenge us at all costs?  Are we willing to accept life-altering circumstances (a death in the family, loss of our homes or jobs, cancer, or perhaps even our own death) and still be faithful to Him?

I certainly hope so!  We should be searching for Christ in all circumstances – the good, the bad, and the ugly.  We should be very real with Him – real about our pain, anger, frustrations, joy, thankfulness, love.  We need to come to Him in everything, bearing all of our emotions knowing that He will continue to love us even after we’ve shed tears in frustrations.  But we rest in knowing that afterwards, He will speak to us and lead us through our next steps.  Our Heavenly Father will listen and then be obedient to us, never leaving our side.  He allows me to talk so candidly with Him and I love that He also speaks to us without reserve.

For me, being a disciple is being prepared as a follower of Christ to do the hard things and still put my faith in Him.  It’s about listening to Him with open ears to His plans for my life.  He may call us to do big things such as taking a stance for a controversial agenda, becoming a missionary and leaving behind everything we know, enduring cancer or a tragic death in the family.  It may be staying home and raising your children, standing alongside your spouse, or working in the church nursery.  Whatever the mission field, we must be prepared to follow Him and continue to spread His word.   We must be a disciple and know that in all things, Christ is with us.

2 Timothy 4:7 says this, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”

Being a good disciple is accepting Christ in our life and being faithful in ALL circumstances, even in the midst of trouble or feeling the weight of my cross.  For me, being a disciple is being able to say I fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept up my faith.

But we are still here, we haven’t finished our race.  Are we keeping the faith?

———-

You might also like:

1. How to Write a Testimony
2. Missionaries
3. No Other Gods
4. Why Go to Church?
5. Christians and Biblical Marriage

Missionary Q&A

Standard

1. Why would you want to live with the poor and sick and risk getting sick yourself?  The poor are often pushed aside and thought of as demented, mentally challenged, or simply lazy.  We don’t know how they became homeless or sick.  We don’t know their circumstances and it isn’t our place to judge.  It is our place to love and serve.  Everybody needs a chance to hear of Jesus’ love and redemption.  We are all called to serve the poor, the destitute, and the sick.  Paul says in the bible “All they asked was that we should continue to remember the poor, the very thing I was eager to do.”  The sick need help, they need medical intervention and they need someone to pray with them and offer hope.  The poor have basic needs that need to be met.  Any missionary will say, “Why not me?  Why shouldn’t that person be me?”

2. Why would you want to leave your family behind and what if a family emergency happens, how would you afford to get home?  Missionaries serve individually, serve as a group, or together as a family unit.  Either way, they often leave their extended families behind.  It’s important for missionaries to have their family support back home, knowing there is someone always praying for their safety and well-being and even for God’s will to be done through their family member.  Communication back home is oftentimes hard to maintain but through modern technology and with the help of social media, families can stay in touch.  If an emergency happens, everyone must remain faithful that God will provide, whether it be timing that communication can be made, a plane ticket home, or support from a nearby friend to offer comfort.

3. Why can’t you just help the sick and poor in America?  It is definitely true there are still poor and sick people right here in America and right here in our own cities.  Missionaries are called all over the place – local and overseas.  There are many organizations that provide help locally for the poor and needy and many times church groups will volunteer time to serve daily or short-term mission work.  It is far more time-consuming and costly to serve overseas and because of this,  serving locally may be your only option.  Missionaries who travel abroad want to serve where there is less help with less fortunate circumstances and God has provided them with the means to do so.

4. Why in the world would you want to give up money year after year and never earn a dime in return?  I would think all missionaries lean on scripture and faith knowing their God knows their needs and will provide.  Matthew 6: 31-34 says, “So do not worry saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’  For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.  But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.  Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.  Each day has enough trouble of its own.”  Missionaries have such incredible faith, knowing God will always provide, even for their basic needs.

5. How do you really know that God is calling you to missions and you secretly don’t just want to travel around the world?  I don’t think the mission field looks anything like a tourist vacation spot!  Missionaries do not have the funds to travel the world.  They raise the money needed for their plane tickets and once they are at their destination, any traveling they do is by foot.  A vacation to a missionary resembles a hot shower, any food other than rice and beans, and electricity.  You can tell in a missionaries eyes the passion they have and the desire they have to live just like those they are helping.  Who really wakes up and WANTS to live not knowing if they’ll eat that day, if they’ll get a foreign disease, or even if they’ll get to bathe?  Only those serving God truly desire to sacrifice those necessities and live faithfully that God will provide.

6. How do you live without money?  The Bible says in Hebrews 13:5 “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”  God provides basic needs through various means.  Churches and nonprofit organizations support missionaries and there are people who commit to supporting an individual person or family while they serve long-term.  Short-term missionaries often host fundraisers for their trips.  If you ever get the opportunity to support a missionary, do so.  The Bible says in Matthew 25:40 “‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'”  When you support a missionary, you too are caring for the poor and needy, you too are bringing people to Christ.

How will you serve?

Missionaries

Standard

The purpose of a missionary is to be God’s servant, to be the hands and feet of Jesus Christ.  We are all called to “The Great Commission” –

Matthew 28:16-20 – “Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted.  Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

There are missionaries in your local community, some who serve nationally, and even those who commit to serving overseas.   There are missionaries who serve short-term missions and those who dedicate their entire lives to serving God.  Those in the mission field can be found taking donations for their local food pantry or crossing geographical boundaries to live in jungles or with tribes.

Isaiah 6:8 says, “Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “’Whom shall I send?  And who will go for us?’ And I said, ‘Here am I. Send me!’”

Missionaries give their time and energy, their heart and soul, and often times their entire life expecting nothing in return, other than the fact that they can stand and say there were obedient to God’s call.  They literally become the hands and feet of Christ with every breath they take.  They do not receive a paycheck for any service they provide whether it is food, medical care, or the life-saving gospel of Jesus Christ.  They rely solely on God’s word that says He will provide for all their needs according to the riches of His glory (Philippians 4:19-20).  Long term, life long, overseas Missionaries are often the most misunderstood Christians.  The outsider looking in doesn’t get it, they literally cannot grasp why someone would give up everything they own, move to the other side of the world from their families, and rely on “others” to support them.  When God said He would use the least of these, He was and is literal.  He doesn’t call the equipped, He equips the called.  And let me back this up by saying I have been a witness to this first hand on more than one occasion now.

God wants the Good News of His word told to everyone and missionaries make this happen.  The Bible says in Matthew 24:14, “And this Gospel of the Kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.” We are not all called to serve as a long-term missionary but I do believe we are all called to do mission work.  Our mission may be to love and show Christ through our actions at work or school, it may be to support a local organization, you may be called to become an advocate for a national charity, or you may very well be called across borders to a lifelong journey of spreading the gospel.  In addition, we are also called to support our missionaries.  You can do so by donating money to the youth going on a Spring Break mission trip, providing items needed for your local non-profit organization, committing to supporting missionaries who are serving fulltime, or simply give your time and energy to a cause.  For many of us, the “mission field” we are called to is right in our own back yards.

If we all work together with our personal abilities, if we all actually answered with a resounding YES to what He has called us to, just imagine the amount of work we can all accomplish for His glory!  We all have different gifts and qualities that make us unique and together we are ALL the body of Christ.  We are the hands and feet and it’s up to us to share His good news.

“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” Matthew 28: 19-20

What is He calling you to do?  Have you answered YES?  Keep in mind, when we don’t answer or we wait too long to answer, He will move on.  He will find someone else who says YES and then we lose – we miss out on the blessing that He had planned for us!

Read our Missionary Q&A blog.

———-

You might also like:
1. Christians and Modesty
2. Modesty and Swimwear
3. Christian Faith and Homeschooling
4. The Cost of Being a Disciple
5. Honor Your Parents