Disqualifier

One year ago today, I was in Africa for the first time.  I say first, because it won’t be the last!  It was my first international mission trip and the first time I led a mission trip.  I find it exciting to just get everything out of the way all at once.  I’m brave like that.

Actually, brave was the last thing I was.  I was terrified to be away from my family and my life in Cottage Grove.  I was sure I was going to do something as the leader that would tick everyone off. I thought I would offend the people of Uganda by doing something stupid.  Fear, insecurity and generally thinking too much about myself almost had me talked out of going on this life changing trip. Thankfully, God is bigger than my junk and He continued to show me that I was supposed to go.

I hear from people all the time that they feel like they are supposed to do something, but they don’t know what. That they want to go on a trip, but they don’t feel qualified. They want to serve and volunteer, but just don’t have the time. Or know where to start.

Maybe that’s you.  And if it is, I want to encourage you.  I want to tell you that for every question, concern, or hurdle placed in front of you, God still wants you.  In fact, he wants nothing more than for you to love Him and others.

And if you are still feeling unqualified or unsure, let me tell you about some Bible passages that came alive to me in a new way while I was in Africa. I want to remind you of a man named Moses. I know you remember him floating down the Nile in a basket, telling Pharaoh about the plagues, and the small thing of parting the Red Sea. But I want you to remember that time that he heard God’s voice coming from a burning bush.

Here are some of Moses’ responses:

×           Exodus 3:11 “Who am I to appear before Pharaoh?”

×           Exodus 3:13 “Then what should I tell them?”

×           Exodus 4:1 “What if they won’t believe me or listen to me?”

×           Exodus 4:10  “O Lord, I’m not very good with words.”

×           Exodus 4:13 “Lord, please! Send anyone else.”

It’s a burning bush.   And God is actually speaking to him.  And Moses is disqualifying himself at every turn.  How often do you respond like Moses?   How often do you question how God made you and what He wants you to do?   While it might take some convincing, the most amazing things happen when you do what God asks you to do.

So let’s go be brave.  Let’s learn from Moses and get going on the mission that God has called us to!  If you have no idea where to start, let’s get coffee and talk about what sea you need to part.

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Lisa Adams
Director of Missions and Care 

Encore

One of the things that I love about working at Crossroads is the way that our staff strengthen and challenge me.  I don’t know if any of you are introverts, but my guess is that some of you might be. And if you are, you know how terrifying and exhausting something like this is:

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Getting up on stage and acting silly is super hard for this introvert!  But getting to laugh until your cheeks hurt is simply one of my favorite things.  We got to take something funny (and challenging for some of us) and turn it into something that reminded each us that we need to shoot for remarkable performances that leave people with wanting an encore.  Our work and what we do needs to be done with excellence and passion.

One of our staff did just that this past weekend.  Pastor Tina led a group of families on a mission trip to Growing Hope Farm in Wisconsin. I usually take this time to tell you about what they did or why we serve there, but this blog post, I want to share something different.   One of the men who work on the farm spent a lot of time with the families over the weekend and asked Tina this question:  “Are you all related?” Pastor Tina laughed and told him that they were not…it was a group of individual families from Crossroads that were serving together!  The group just went to church together.  He was surprised by her response and then said “ You can usually tell when you have groups of people who aren’t related and who are related.The families act like your group. Kind and helping each other.”

And I think that’s exactly what Jesus wants people to see in those of us who love and serve Him.   Not only a performance worthy of an encore, but a performance where we are known by our love.

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Lisa Adams
Director of Missions and Care 

“By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:35

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Over the River

Over the last couple of weeks, our Middle School and High School students have led the way in serving and volunteering during their mission trips to Minneapolis and Osceola!  Such a fantastic way to live out the Bible’s instructions to care for those who live in fear of violence and poverty. Our youth learned about the importance of food (by helping on the farm and providing produce for the Mobile Market) and the importance of relationships, fun, and education (by spending time at Urban Ventures).

Sometimes we need to step out of our comfort zone or our neighborhood to experience something new or something different. It’s where we can see God moving in new ways, learn how we can be used by Him and the mission he has for us. Each time I volunteer and get outside of my neighborhood (suburban Minnesota living) I’m grateful. Grateful for my home. Grateful for my family. Grateful for the opportunity to meet people who challenge my prejudices and ways of thinking.   Grateful that God’s grace is abundant and every day His mercies are new.

There are many opportunities for you to get out of your neighborhood this summer and fall!

There’s the family mission trip to the farm that starts on Friday. Pray for these families and their time serving!

Crave is going to the farm on Saturday, July 26th.  You can join HERE.

Serve His Kids is hosting their next mission trip to Reynosa, Mexico, October 11-19th.

Grab your Bible and your sense of adventure and join us over the river, through the woods or over the border!

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Lisa Adams
Director of Missions and Care 

“Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions.” 1 John 3:18 NLT

Freedom

I’ve always loved fireworks. The big twinkling white weeping willow ones.  They are my favorite every year.  I also love a big smoke bomb, a sparkler and a good old fire cracker.  I don’t even mind when my neighbors are shooting them starting in June! It reminds me of my grandparents and life on their farm; of family and warm summer evenings. Of wild uncles whose capacity for thrill and danger were bigger than anyone’s I’ve ever met.  Fireworks also remind me of the freedoms that I enjoy having been born in America. It’s beautiful. It’s dangerous, and it’s awe inducing.

The Fourth of July is a time of reflection and appreciation of our freedom in this country.   For me, it’s also a time where I consider what it would be like if I wasn’t born in the United States. If I was a girl, born in India, I could have been sold into a brothel and forced into prostitution.  Or a boy, born in Ghana and held in slavery and forced to work on boats.  It’s never easy to consider the “what if’s” or the “why me.” In fact, it’s so much easier to turn away from these kind of thoughts and just focus on the fireworks, food and fun.

But Jesus compels me not to. He reminds me that because he loves ALL of us, those of who can do something to change the world, should indeed, change the world.  I truly believe that there could come a day when those girls in India and those boys in Ghana get to see a firework and be reminded that they are indeed free and that Jesus loves them.

Some of the best ways to do this, from our homes in Minnesota is to partner with others who are close to this type of work/mission.  I choose to pray for and financially support International Justice Mission and their work across the world.  IJM is also one of Crossroads Missions Partners. On a local level, one of my friends volunteers with Breaking Free which works with victims and survivors of sex trafficking and prostitution. You can also purchase items or host a party through organizations like Global Avenue Ministries helps support women at risk by providing sustainable income for them.  There are so many ways to get involved!

If you’re looking for a place to start or want to learn more, I’d encourage you to pick up the book“The Locust Effect: Why the End of Poverty Requires the End of Violence” by Gary Haugen or watch the movie Nefarious: Merchant of Souls.  (These are both recommendations for adults.)

My prayer this weekend is that we all celebrate and enjoy our freedom.  And that those who are not free encounter Jesus and rescue soon.

Let’s go change the world!

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Lisa Adams
Director of Missions and Care 

Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.  Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically.  Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality.  Romans 12:9-13