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When Ministry Begins With a Simple Mug

A Cup of EncouragementIt needed a creative title. Or so I thought until this verse came to mind.

“But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today…” Hebrews 13:3

Suddenly, having a carefully crafted title for this mini-ministry involving mugs didn’t matter all that much.

Because at every turn, we find people in need of encouragement.

So, how do we become more intentional in observing those around us who are in need of spiritual refreshment? Here are four ideas to get us started.

Pray. We can’t be everything to every person {Whew! What a relief!} but we can pray for the Holy Spirit to expand our spiritual vision and sharpen our discerning senses.

Watch. It’s one thing to pray for the Holy Spirit to open our eyes but it’s another to remain alert to His workings. When we pray, we’re to do so in expectation that He will answer. We don’t know how or when, but why bother praying if we’re not going to believe He is at work in and through those prayers? Yes, we pray first, but then we remain alert⎯sensitive⎯to what God may doing around us each day.

Listen. We must spiritually-hone our listening skills. This may will mean talking less and listening more.

Act. As God leads, we must be willing to follow through with what He begins, whether that’s approaching a person letting them know we’re praying for them, fixing a meal for a busy mom, or simply sharing a mug filled with prayer and encouragement.

So, for the past several weeks, snippets of an idea have been forming into what I’m sharing today. I pray it will continue becoming whatever God wants it to be, but so far, it goes something like this.

   blogpurchasemug
Purchase a mug. TJ Maxx and Ross offer an array of mugs, all under 5.00 each. Ideally, I try to spot one with scripture as we know God’s Word never returns void. He alone knows how His words brimming with life will touch another.

blogpraymug

Pray over it. Who might God want to encourage through this small gesture of caring? Pray, trust, and act.

blogfillmug

Fill it. Two things will be included in my mugs. A note letting the recipient know I’m praying for them, along with a specific scripture reference, and an inexpensive but thoughtful treat to enjoy during their time with God. Practically anything can be shared in the mug {more on this next week!}. One of my mugs is filled with tea bags and another one, Hershey kisses. {Next week I’ll share ways to tie simple items to scripture.}

blogsharemugShare it. You can hand it to the person, leave it on their doorstep, or mail it. In the past, I’ve left gifts on friend’s front door stoops with a gift signed simply from Jesus, because ultimately, the glory is all His anyway for it is His love that compels us to love in return.

blogpassitonEncourage the recipient to purchase another mug and pass that mug on to another person. This could be written on the card that you’ll enclose, or you can share the idea when you hand it off.

Consider how many people in our community could be encouraged by a simple mug and a sincere gesture.

Ministry in a mugThe author of Hebrews exhorts us to encourage one another daily because he knew the weight of this world would beat heavy on our exhausted souls.

The sooner we stop believing the lie that we must offer some grand gesture to make a difference, the sooner more souls will find rest⎯the kind of rest a good, good Father desires for His children.

Cou●rage: mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty.

So, who do you know, or who will you cross paths with this week, that is need of mental or moral strength to be the spouse, parent, son, daughter, friend, or fellow God-glory seeker He has called them to be? They might need a hug, financial assistance, babysitting help, or they might simply need encouragement in the form of a Psalm 46:10 moment, with mug in hand.

What’s one simple way you encourage others?

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Friday Fave: Kelly Minter Study

We recently finished up our community Bible study, Nehemiah…A Heart That Can Break, by Kelly Minter.

Obviously when a group studies a particular book in the Bible one can’t go wrong. Every word is profitable. Not one returns void. Each syllable, exhaled by our living and active God. 

Each Bible study author, however, has their own way of bringing to light what God lays on their heart via thought provoking questions and insights shared in their unique voice. And it’s Kelly Minter’s voice/style that our group especially enjoyed. 

Favorite excerpts:

  • Sometimes the most accomplished people aren’t the ones with the most ability but with the most breakable hearts. 
  • If we view our sin as a minor infringement we will view God’s forgiveness with equal mediocrity. We can’t appreciate the great cost of forgiveness if we think our sin barely needed it in the first place. 
  • Even well-meaning people can unintentionally draw us away from God’s will in our lives.
  • We expect enemies to wound us, but wounds from a relative or loved one inflict hurt inside the private property lines of our souls. 
  • This single focus of Nehemiah simultaneously convicts and inspires me as I consider the ways I am so easily drawn away from what God has put in my heart to do. 
  • I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Nehemiah’s enemies unleashed threats, lies, and an onslaught of intimidation when he and his people were just inches from the finish line. 
  • How easily I can put the ministry of people above the people themselves. The subtle temptation to exalt the “wall” of study, returning e-mails, planning events, and even putting together a meal for a Bible study over actual people is the most counterproductive traps we can slide into.

Is it any wonder why we’re already planning to go with another Kelly Minter study later this year? Hint: Esther.

Who are some other Bible study authors you would suggest we (and other groups) give a try? 

Sunday Snippets on Monday

Summit’s series on sharing our grace stories continued this week. Jason’s voice may have faltered a bit but his message did not.

Snippets follow, but I encourage you to listen to the sermon in its entirety when it’s posted Tuesday/Wednesday.

———————

Jason began by reminding us that there are many doomsday people out there but we’re to remember that nothing thwarts God’s plans. Nothing! (Job 42:2) We are not to put our hope in the wrong kingdom. 

Luke 10:1-20

  • To follow Jesus means to be on His mission, with His message, and the right motivation. We now have a church culture focused on me, my issues, my needs.
  • Jesus says to His followers: I’ve given you a story of grace and there are needs out there that only you can meet. You’ve been sent. You’re on a mission with a message. Your grace story matters.
  • Don’t rejoice in your ministry or significance. If you rejoice in anything you do, you’ll end up disappointed. Everything we say and do should be Gospel motivated. 
  • The Gospel is the love you’ve been searching for. 

Sharing snippets from such a powerful sermon is a challenge, to say the least. I hope you’ll stop by for the entire sermon on Summit’s site. 

Prepare to be blessed!

 

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