a request

(Warning: This is not a normal blog post!) Dear readers, as many of you know, I’m living now on the west side of Chicago, where Dave and I feel God has specifically led our family. Dave is teaching at a high school here that serves under-resourced students, and in early January I went on staff with Greenhouse Movement, a church-planting and partnering organization. I was specifically brought on staff to work with Bible Telling here on the west side of Chicago (I’m SO excited about this! I get to write and teach and connect with people–and all of it’s related to the story of God!).

Greenhouse is a missionary organization, so I am in the very faith-stretching process of finding my team of supporters. I know God already knows who they are, and He’s the one who will prompt them to join the team; my job is simply to share the vision of Greenhouse and the specifics of my ministry with as many people as possible! I decided to put this on my blog because I thought there might be some readers who would want to know more and who might, after talking with me, want to join my team. So if you’re reading this, and you would like to hear more about Greenhouse and what I will be doing, PLEASE email me at jenunderwood0629@gmail.com

I would love to talk with you!

Thanks!

~Jen~

 

 

Not-random-at-all acts of Gospel

Dave and the boys with Papa, Dave's dad. What a cute bunch of guys!

Dave and the boys with Papa, Dave’s dad. What a cute bunch of guys!

When we were together with my husband’s side of the family over Christmas, my father-in-law made an announcement: “For my birthday this year I don’t want you to buy me presents. Instead, I want you to do random acts of kindness during the week leading up to my birthday.”

His birthday is February 1, so last Monday we received our instruction letter, which included suggestions and the number of RAKs (Random Acts of Kindness) for each of us. Each adult was asked to do six RAKs and each child/teen three. The total added up to his age (which I’m not revealing).

I left my house most mornings last week thinking about those RAKs. I prayed about them. I created extra time in my morning routines so that I wouldn’t feel rushed, so I could see opportunities and then engage in them. At night our kids shared their ideas for RAKs with each other and us. They were excited about telling them to Papa at the end of the week. There was something a little different about how we approached each day.

We had a shared mission for the week, and it drove us.

Why is it so hard for us to remember that we are “on mission” as followers of Christ? And not just any mission; we are on the greatest mission of ALL.

When I was a kid, I loved watching shows like Charlie’s Angels, The A-Team, and—my favorite—Scarecrow and Mrs. King. The common element of these was a sense of mission. The heroes in each show were given jobs by a wise boss who knew more than they did, and they pursued them with purpose and a trust in the one who planned them.

We have been told that “good works have been planned in advance for us to do” by the wisest “boss” of all, and these good works are not simply “random” or merely “kind.” They are part of an intricate, grand plan that incorporates even the ones we see as “small” done by the “smallest” of us. They are all part of God’s Gospel plan.

We can begin each day knowing we are agents of God and our days are not random at all. This requires LISTENING. We have a huge advantage over Charlie’s Angels and the Scarecrow. They lived back in the days of landlines and snail mail. Spiritually we are equipped with Bluetooth headgear so advanced it is invisible. We have the Holy Spirit within us. If we LISTEN to Him, we can hear the promptings to draw near (to God and others), to speak (Scripture says we’ll even be given the words to say), to befriend, to let go our agenda for the moment or day, to listen to others, to act, and even (perhaps the hardest work of all) to see mundane tasks as Gospel work.

Not-random-at-all acts of Gospel—all throughout our days.

For further study: Psalm 73:28 (one of OUR good works can be simply telling of the works of God), Matthew 5:16, John 10:32 (Jesus talks of his good works as being “from the Father”), Acts 9:36, Ephesians 2:10, Philippians 2:13, I Timothy 5:25, 6:18, Titus 2:7, 2:14, 3:14, Hebrews 10:24, James 2:14 and 3:13.

This picture actually relates to a piece I posted last week: Crimson Berries, White Snow. A couple days after I wrote that post, we had a fresh snowfall, and I noticed the white snow covering the crimson berries. I couldn't resist--such a beautiful picture of Christ covering us with His righteousness!

This picture actually relates to a piece I posted last week: Crimson Berries, White Snow . A couple days after I wrote that post, we had a fresh snowfall, and I noticed the white snow covering the crimson berries. I couldn’t resist–such a beautiful picture of Christ covering us with His righteousness!