Make Disciples Of Your Own Nation

Make Disciples Of Your Own Nation

The problem with international missions trips.
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Something that is more and more common are global missions trips. Every one of us can probably name at least one person that we know who went on a missions trip out of the country. It is very common for Christians to go on these trips with their church and other believers to spread God and Christianity. If you're one of these people who went on a global missions trip, great! It takes a lot of courage to go somewhere unknown for an extended period of time and dedicate your time to God and people you don't even know. I for one, am not one of these people.

And yes, I am a Christian.

"Make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and of the Holy Spirit"
- Matthew 28:19

Most Christians recognize this verse in the Bible. Many people get tattoos of it and take it quite literally, dedicating to their lives to global missions trips. In my opinion, churches and Christian groups focus too much on international counties and missions trips.

Before you freak out and think I'm heartless for thinking there's too much emphasis on global missions trips, hear me out.

People spend thousands of dollars to attend a missions trip across the country. Though it's important to spread God's word to other countries, why aren't we instead, spreading it in our own backyards first? Many towns and cities and your state do not know Jesus, so why not start with them? Why not do a missions trip there to intercity Chicago or Detroit? Or look for the non-believers in your own town, look to take care of your town's homeless, look to take care of the poor. Then, after you spread God's word to your own surrounding towns, you expand and go to the neighboring states and eventually, neighboring countries. There are so many communities in the U.S that need to hear God's word. It's great to go out of the country and spread the word there, but why go there if you can't even go to your own neighborhood first? If you are running in line to go on a global missions trip but not a local missions trip, are you going for the right reasons? Are you really trying to make a difference? Is your heart in the right place?

It is silly to think that the only way to spread God's word or to make a difference to by going out of the country. That's not true! You can make a difference within your own community and your own friends. There are homeless in your own cities, there are poor in your own towns, yet very few of us have ever donated or volunteered your time to your local food pantry or boys and girls club. If you've never even tried to make a difference for God in your everyday life, how can you make a difference across the country?

In addition to making a difference in our own communities, we also should be making a difference in our own lives. If you are not living a Christian lifestyle in your everyday life and spreading God's love regularly, how can you do it countries away?

In no way am I condemning the people who do choose to go out of the country on these trips, that's great! And it takes a lot of courage. If Jesus was calling me to take such a huge trip, I wouldn't hesitate to go!

However, there are other places and ways to spread ministry without going global. It is important that we continue to spread God's message to our local communities too, sometimes those are where it is needed most.

Cover Image Credit: Bullandbearmcgill.com

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I Blame My Dad For My High Expectations

Dad, it's all your fault.
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I always tell my dad that no matter who I date, he's always my number one guy. Sometimes I say it as more of a routine thing. However, the meaning behind it is all too real. For as long as I can remember my dad has been my one true love, and it's going to be hard to find someone who can top him.

My dad loves me when I am difficult. He knows how to keep the perfect distance on the days when I'm in a mood, how to hold me on the days that are tough, and how to stand by me on the days that are good.

He listens to me rant for hours over people, my days at school, or the episode of 'Grey's Anatomy' I watched that night and never once loses interest.

He picks on me about my hair, outfit, shoes, and everything else after spending hours to get ready only to end by telling me, “You look good." And I know he means it.

He holds the door for me, carries my bags for me, and always buys my food. He goes out of his way to make me smile when he sees that I'm upset. He calls me randomly during the day to see how I'm doing and how my day is going and drops everything to answer the phone when I call.

When it comes to other people, my dad has a heart of gold. He will do anything for anyone, even his worst enemy. He will smile at strangers and compliment people he barely knows. He will strike up a conversation with anyone, even if it means going way out of his way, and he will always put himself last.

My dad also knows when to give tough love. He knows how to make me respect him without having to ask for it or enforce it. He knows how to make me want to be a better person just to make him proud. He has molded me into who I am today without ever pushing me too hard. He knew the exact times I needed to be reminded who I was.

Dad, you have my respect, trust, but most of all my heart. You have impacted my life most of all, and for that, I can never repay you. Without you, I wouldn't know what I to look for when I finally begin to search for who I want to spend the rest of my life with, but it might take some time to find someone who measures up to you.

To my future husband, I'm sorry. You have some huge shoes to fill, and most of all, I hope you can cook.

Cover Image Credit: Logan Photography

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If God Didn’t Intend For Women To Be Equals, Why Did She Make Us So Incredible?

Yeah, I said She.

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An article that absolutely infuriates me has gone viral. As a feminist, as a writer, and simply as a woman, it drives me up a wall to see another woman proclaiming that God's plan for women was to "submit to their husbands."

I don't know where to start with all the issues I found in reading the piece, so I'll start with what a feminist is. It's a subjective term and its connotation varies from person to person.

But to me, feminism is being empowered and expressive individuals with open minds and open hearts. They are activists for change and equality. They have concerns about the environment and global warming. They acknowledge issues within sexism and racism and then try to figure out how to solve them. They see that the world isn't perfect.

Feminists are the reason we can vote. They're the reason birth control is an option for us. They're why we're allowed to wear pants. They're why we have careers. The female pioneers paved the way for anything we're allowed to do, and they are why we celebrate the power of women every March.

But instead, the woman who wrote "I'm A Christian And I'm Not A Feminist, Because God Did Not Intend For Women To Be Equals," used our month of pride for clout. And took justification from The Bible to do it.

The Bible is not an instruction manual. It was written over many, many years by hordes of sexist men whose existence we have minimal proof of. And over the last thousand years, it's been translated and reinterpreted more times than anyone could ever keep track of. That's not to say it doesn't have some good lessons, but lessons are all they are.

Thinking your worth and capabilities were planned for you thousands of years in advance is ignorant. Religion and The Bible and God are as subjective as feminism. Everything is open-ended. One person's view of who or what God is not going to be the same as the last.

Commonly, God is seen as a man at the center of the universe who holds all existence in his hands. He is the reason why anyone does anything. He is the rule maker. And He is judging us and waiting for our every mistake.

But as a proud feminist, I've chosen to have my own idea of this holy being. I wasn't brought up in church, but I decided to believe in something much greater than myself or anything I've ever seen just because I wanted to. I want to believe that faith has to come from somewhere, and I didn't want a book making the rules for me.

Just by watching life move through time, I happen to believe God is the good in all of us. Not one being, but he beginning and the end of everything. The push and the pull. The conscious and subconscious. And considering that God is the creator, I've concluded God must be a woman because women are the creators.

And in my experience, women have proved themselves to be much stronger and more capable than any man.

As for what She creates, I think She makes no mistakes. I think She tests our patience and beliefs by giving us what we don't expect. There's intent and love in everything She gives us. I think every woman was made to be relentless, imperfect, fearless, and even a little rebellious.

And if we're saying Adam and Eve were the start of it all, then God proved that right off the bat. God saved the best for last, and then made her a badass. Yes, the first woman came into this world as a rule breaker. She questioned authority. And since the beginning of time, authority has been a snake. The world is our forbidden fruit to bite.

The sole purpose of a woman isn't to submit to anyone. A woman can do whatever she damn well pleases, just as any man. A woman's worth isn't tied to what kind of wife or mother she is and how closely she follows the rules. I was raised by the most incredible mom and wife. She did happen to stay at home with me and be the traditional woman. But while she was home, she taught me how great it is to be a woman. She made sure I knew I could be whoever I wanted and would pay no consequences for that.

My parents didn't raise me in a church. And I never saw that as a flaw or lack of judgment. My southern home was like a church; full of faith and love. But on Sundays, we would sleep in and have a big breakfast at noon because we had too much fun staying up late Saturday night dancing around our living room to music. Whitney Houston, Dolly Parton, Shania Twain, and Madonna led the choir — singing about independence and the power of being empowered as women.

As a feminist, I will not judge those who haven't accepted all the honors of being female. I can just tell everyone how wonderful it is to stand for something. I can set an example so that more women will go forward.

And despite what anyone thinks of feminism, there's nothing exclusive about it. Feminists don't think they're any better than men, they just want the chance to prove their capabilities. It's so much bigger than thinking men suck. The truth is, we should have men at our side, not in front of or behind us. And not for romantic partnerships, but as allies. The best men are feminists too. We can make this walk alone, but there's power in numbers and in diversity.

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