December 18 2015
By Kathleen Thompson Howarth, Mother of OMS Missionary Aimee Howarth, Mozambique
Christmas 2015 is different. Part of me is still in Africa in some sense. One doesn't make the transition after three months, in sharp order. I find many nights I am still having dreams about life there, and concerned about getting this or that ready, not having the right tools or availabilities to get something done, thinking about supplies, and getting up early to go somewhere all day. But then I wake up and here I am in Malibu, bright and slightly cool temperatures, sustained electricity and water, plenty of food, different agendas for the day, driving on streets twinkling with Christmas lights on my way to and from my house.
Christmas lights already are 30 percent off as if the season was over ... People, like myself, living in neighborhoods with little thought of a world outside our own. Unless one specifically tries to watch the world news, most of the news coverage is local or national about charitable toy giveaways, the newest Christmas gadgets, Arnold Schwartzenegger becoming vegetarian, and fractious debates about Muslims.
In this season, which bespeaks peace, we have wars and rumors of wars, and yet it seems faraway to most of us. So important to get a grasp on what real peace is. Not necessarily quietness on my own street, nor inactivity, nor just getting along with the people I know, nor peace at any price … nor for a season.
Isn't the peace that Jesus promises an order above all these superficial signs of peace? If it isn't, than I am just waiting for the other shoe to drop, and my perfect world will be shattered in an instant. It may very well be shattered, but from the dust, my heart will still beat with an enduring peace that only the Prince of Peace can give.
Thank You, Father, for giving me that peace that surpasses understanding. The peace that says, You and I are all right, we are reconciled, I am forgiven, You are sovereign, I am Your child, and You love me forever and always.
May peace on earth pierce to our very hearts where true peace can reign despite world chaos.
December 17 2015
In Deuteronomy 6:5, we read, “You shall
love the Lord your God with all your heart and with
all your soul and with all your might.” These are beautiful words any time of
the year, but at Christmastime, they tend to ring more loudly and clearly.
After all, God’s most precious gift of his Son was given to us. Why wouldn’t we
love him with all of our heart, soul, and might? Receiving the most wonderful present
of Christ prompts us to give back to him with overflowing hearts.
At One Mission Society, we are taking the
time to “rethink Christmas.” And we want to invite you on a journey to do the
same. As we refocus on what and to whom we give, we may just remember that
giving sacrificially on behalf of someone else may indeed be the godliest way
to give. Giving generously in this manner is apt to prompt humbleness, joy, and
a sense of awe.
Christina Rossetti, in her poem, In the Bleak Midwinter, gloriously
writes the following as her last stanza:
What can I give Him, poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;
If I were a Wise Man, I would do my part;
Yet what I can I give Him: give my heart.
What can I give Him, poor as I am?
When we give from the heart, many
people can be affected. Take, for example, the scores of vulnerable people
worldwide who have been involved in human trafficking, children and youth
exposed to the harsh streets of Mexico City, or the growing population of
illiterate people in African countries, including the Democratic Republic of
the Congo and Burundi.
Aiding the country of India with Bibles
would greatly help those in areas of deep poverty. Imagine your donation of $100
providing 150 New Testaments or 40 complete Bibles in that nation. If you have
a vision for ordinary people doing extraordinary things, consider giving $100,
which will provide Train & Multiply materials for 10 new church planters. And
Colombian children will certainly be glad to receive a soccer uniform and ball
for a $27 gift.
We at OMS hope you will not only
rethink Christmas but that you will give sacrificially to support people,
ministries, and God’s kingdom work around the globe. Every continent could be
touched if we unite together to give out of the fullness in our hearts. Let’s
prove together that anything can happen “in the bleak midwinter!”
~Angela Chandler, OMS Communications
December 15 2015
Gary Chapman’s book entitled The 5 Love Languages has inspired many
people (10 million copies of the book have sold) and has transformed a myriad
of relationships. At One Mission Society, we are encouraging people to reTHINK
CHRISTmas. Two of Dr. Chapman’s love languages mentioned in his book have to do
with the subject of giving and receiving: acts of service and receiving gifts.
you see yourself as one who believes actions speak louder than words, please
consider giving to one or more of the eight projects OMS is highlighting this
Christmas. Many other people feel loved when they receive a gift. Imagine the
smile on the face of someone in India who receives a Bible, a Colombian child or youth who receives a new soccer uniform or ball, or a Ukrainian university student who can attend a summer English camp.
act of service can be big or small. If the Lord has blessed you abundantly,
consider providing $300 to put a Mexican street child into a rehab program.
Picture your gift of $250 putting a disabled Mozambican into an all-terrain
wheelchair. Do you have a passion for human trafficking prevention? A gift of $150
will provide training materials for 100 people. Thinking of giving something on
the smaller side? A donation of $10 will buy a set of knee pads for someone who cannot use a wheelchair. To help Mexican
youth get off the street and stay off, $48 will provide a set of schoolbooks.
are additional opportunities to bless others too, including blessing one of our Evangelical Church of India pastors affected by the recent flooding. Your gift
will not only transform others’ lives, but will change you and your family as
gifted us with unique love languages, so as you consider the way the Lord
created you, also consider the reality of men, women, boys, and girls receiving
blessings because you took the time to rethink Christmas. Thank you for participating
with OMS to give generously during this season of joy, memories, and
celebrating the birth of Christ. Donate to one of our featured Rethink Christmas projects here.
~By Angela Chandler, OMS Communications Team
December 9 2015
“It is more blessed to give than to receive,” writes Dr. Luke in the book of Acts 20:35. He was quoting Jesus, the One who gave us God’s love in extraordinary ways. I like the way The Message paraphrases this quote when it says, “You’re far happier giving than getting.” Of course, many of us are looking to receive. We make Christmas lists to let people know what we want. After all, Santa is coming, and he needs to know! Besides, turn on your television or pick up a magazine and the message is clear. “Buy this” and “get that” so that you can have the best Christmas ever … and a happy life. For those of us who like to shop (yes, some men do enjoy it, but just won’t admit it!), there is a nice buzz that comes over us when we get what we want. Personally, I like eBay. The bidding only adds to the thrill! Unfortunately it is not long before we are looking to buy something else we need!
Maybe we should consider the words of Jesus more carefully. Does he know something that we need to pay attention to? Could his wisdom actually lead us to a happier life? The answer is “Yes” and “Yes!” We are designed by our maker to give. When we do so, we imitate and tap into the very heart of God. The challenge is to re-program our thinking so that giving becomes a way of life. It is fun to shop for others at Christmastime and surprise them with a nice gift. However, it is even better to look for ways to give every day.
Let me challenge you as I will myself. Make these days leading to Christmas an opportunity to test what Jesus said. Look for a way to give to at least one person every day. Don’t lie down to sleep at night until you have given something to someone else. Be intentional and specific and ask God to show you how and to whom to give. You don’t have to spend a lot of money. In fact, often the most precious things, money cannot buy! Be creative and the Lord will guide you and help you. Let it become a journey of faith as you partner with the Savior born in Bethlehem.
Finally, take note of the joy meter in your heart right now, and then again after you establish regular giving each day. Will God’s Word prove true? Will you discover that giving = happiness and spread that same joy to others? That would truly make for a joyful Christmas and a blessed New Year!
By Roger Kruse, OMS Missionary