Day 31: What’s next?

As it rains and the wind blows outside this morning, I cannot help but think of how beautiful this month has been. Not only have we had unseasonably warm fall weather here in Michigan for the greater part of October, but this month-long series on spreading God’s love locally and globally through compassion has been especially beautiful. We have been challenged, and our hearts are filled. We do not want this spirit of compassion to end, and we pray you want it to continue as well.

 

So, what’s next?

 

Today, your challenge is simple yet life changing. Will you join us in seeking the Lord for what he would have you do in response to 31 days of compassion? Might he be calling you to minister in your local community? Are you being led to share the ministry of Compassion International with your sphere of influence? You can fast and/or pray, whatever you are most comfortable doing. No matter how you approach this final challenge, we pray it is not the final step in your journey of showing compassion. On the contrary, we pray this is just the beginning of a beautiful, courageous, and bold walk of faith that we each take to spread God’s love locally and around the globe.

 

Share your story or next steps!

 

If you have a testimony of how God used this series to draw you closer to his heart, or if you want to share how God is calling you to continue walking in compassion, we would love to hear from you! Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments, and thank you for joining us in October for our 31 days of compassion. Please stay tuned for more posts and series in the days to come!

 

31 Days of Compassion

Day 29: Is your radio ready?

 

Considering how much Andy and I love music, it should be no surprise that we love the radio. Whether your radio is in your car, on your stereo at home, or like us on your iPhone, I would imagine you enjoy the radio too, or you most likely would not be reading this post. If my assumption is correct, I have a question for you. Is your radio ready? You may be wondering, “Is my radio ready? Ready for what?” Is your radio ready to spread God’s love locally and globally through compassion?

 

10 ways to make sure your radio is ready:

 

  1. Find out if your favorite radio station(s) participates in campaigns to spread God’s love locally
  2. Find out if your favorite radio station(s) is involved in helping those living in poverty around the world
  3. Find out if your favorite radio station(s) would be willing to share with listeners about Malaria or HIV/AIDS
  4. Find out if your favorite radio station(s) would do a Christmas card drive
  5. Find out if your favorite radio station(s) plays music from your chosen Compassion artist
  6. Find out if your favorite radio station(s) airs “Speak Up”
  7. Think of other ways to get your radio ready, whether from this series or beyond these 31 days.
  8. Thank them for all they do to spread God’s love locally and globally
  9. Ask if they would be willing to prayerfully consider any of the ideas mentioned above.
  10. Pray for your favorite radio station as they continue spreading God’s love to a hurting world.

 

Is your radio ready? If so, please share with us the ways your favorite radio station(s) are spreading God’s love locally and globally through compassion. If not, what will you do to make sure your radio is ready?

 

31 Days of Compassion

Day 28: Host a day or night of Compassion

We are just four short days away from the end of this series. It does not seem like it has been 31 days. Instead, it seems like just yesterday when we introduced “31 days of compassion: Spreading God’s love locally and globally”. As we have said before, this has been an incredible month. We have been challenged in ways we could have never imagined, and we will share more about that in a few days. However, today we want to encourage you to share something you have learned from the Lord this month.

 

(To the tune of “If you’re happy and you know it): If you like free food and fellowship, say “Amen”!

 

We invited you to join us for dinner on October 16, and we would like you to pass that invitation along. You can either gather some friends and participate in the $2.00 dinner challenge together, do a poverty cultural night, or make some tasty international cuisine from a country where Compassion works.

 

Ideas for your time of Compassion

 

share your favorite Scripture or something you learned from your Bible reading plan about compassion, justice, or poverty.

• Please pray for the countries and/or regions where Compassion serves, and specific children in need.

• Remember to invite your friends to join you on November 6 for One Meal One Day.

• If your friends are creative or crafty, have supplies available for everyone to make Christmas cards for unsponsored children.

• If your friends want to get involved beyond your time together, invite them to sponsor or correspond with a child.

 

You can make this time as elaborate (or not) as you wish. No matter how or when you host your night (or day) of Compassion, we encourage you to share about this series and the message and ministry of Compassion International. Invite your guest(s) to ask questions, and do not be ashamed or afraid to say, “I don’t know”. If you do not have the answers, feel free to ask. You are welcome to refer them to Compassion directly, or we would love to help in any way we can.

 

Possible recipes

 

If you are wondering where to find recipes from countries where Compassion works, you have come to the right place. Compassion has a Pinterest board where they pin recipes, and there is a series on their official blog called, “Cook with Compassion”. If you need more ideas, choose a recipe from your favorite Compassion country.

 

Our experience and a special video presentation

 

I just completed a college course in speech communication, and as part of this course, I was required to present a persuasive speech. While we were unable to make tasty treats due to time constraints, we thoroughly enjoyed meeting with a new friend who very graciously recorded this video for us. Feel free to share this video if you would like.

 

 

Tell us about your night of Compassion!

 

Did you host a night of Compassion, either in conjunction with this post or in the past? If so, we would love to hear about it! What did you incorporate into your time together? Did you make any special meal or treat? If so, are you willing to share the recipe? What did you and your guests gain from this experience? Please share your feedback in the comments, and enjoy sharing Compassion with your family and friends!

 

31 Days of Compassion

Day 21: Spread the word

As we learn about poverty, it can be easy to become overwhelmed by the need and feel inadequate. You may feel as though you do not have influence to make a difference. However, we can each speak up on behalf of children living in poverty. We can each spread God’s love locally and globally through compassion. For day 21 of our 31 days of compassion, we want to help you begin to broaden your influence and encourage you to use your voice to release children from poverty in Jesus’ name. Whether you are a student, pastor, or simply someone with a desire to serve children living in poverty, we pray you are motivated to act in response to this post.

 

Three simple steps to spreading the word

 

Step 1: Pray

 

• Ask God where he would have you strategically placed to share the message and ministry of Compassion International

• Pray about exactly what the Lord would have you download in light of his response to the first prayer

• Ask God for wisdom, strength, and peace as you download and share these materials

 

Step 2: Download

 

Compassion gives you a plethora of downloadable materials to share the message of this ministry. From bulletin inserts and sermon outlines, to letters, email templates, posters, and brochures, there is no limit as you partner with the heart and people of God to release children from poverty in Jesus’ name. Once you have sought God’s direction and downloaded your materials, you are ready for the third step.

 

Step 3: Share

 

Find creative ways to share these materials in your sphere of influence. Whether on-campus, at your church, or in your local community, anything is possible with prayer, flexibility, and a ready and willing heart to serve the Lord. This is just the beginning. Later next week, we will encourage you to continue finding ways to share Compassion’s ministry in your sphere of influence. Until then, begin taking these three simple steps to spreading the word, and tell us about your experience!

 

As you prayed, what did the Lord show you he wanted you to do? What materials did he direct you to download? How did you share, or how are you sharing these materials in your sphere of influence? How are you encouraging others to join you in speaking up on behalf of children living in poverty? What is the overall reaction you receive? How can we pray for you as you share the message and ministry of Compassion this week and in the days ahead?

 

31 Days of Compassion

Day 20: Share a Youtube video

While the challenge for day 20 of our 31 days of compassion may seem simple, it may have a greater impact than you could ever imagine. Today, we want to share videos from Youtube that relate to the global problem of poverty and how we can show compassion and spread God’s love around the world. We chose a Youtube video from Compassion International’s Youtube channel, but you can find any video you wish to share.

 

Questions to consider when choosing your video:

 

• What caught your attention and prompted you to watch this video?

• How does this video inspire you to show compassion and spread God’s love?

• Would you be motivated to share this video? If so, please do so.

• What would you say to encourage someone to watch this video when you share it?

 

Our chosen video: “Grace finds hope”

 

 

Confession: No matter how many times I watch this video, I cry. The contrast of emotions and lies waging war in the precious hearts of the people is beautifully heartbreaking. I have seen this video many times since it was first placed online, and each time I am reminded of the blessing of sponsorship, not just for the sponsored child and their family, but for the sponsor as well. I am reminded that we all need grace and hope each day, and we need to give grace and hope through acting in compassion to spread God’s love. Please, watch this video and ask the Lord how he would have you give grace and hope to someone today.

 

Share your chosen video with us!

 

What video did you choose to share? How did you share it? What did the Lord teach you through watching and sharing your chosen video? What inspired you to share this video, and why should someone watch it? After watching your chosen video, what would you pray others would take away from this shared experience? How might your chosen video inspire others to spread God’s love through compassion?

 

31 Days of Compassion

Day 10: A reading challenge and our first-ever blog giveaway!

Yesterday for day 9 of our 31 days of compassion, we spent some time watching a movie or documentary highlighting issues of poverty or another culture from around the world. We would love to read your thoughts and experiences, and we will post our reflections soon as well. Today’s post is for those of us who love to read. We are also very excited to have our first-ever blog giveaway available. Please read on for further details on how you could win!

 

Today, we are choosing to read and review a book about issues of poverty, God’s heart for children, and spreading the love of Christ through kindness and compassion. I will be reading “Too Small to Ignore” by Dr. Wess Stafford, President Emeritus of Compassion International. I look forward to reviewing this wonderful book here on the blog when I am finished reading it.

 

Join us by taking the reading challenge!

 

Will you join us to read a book about compassion, poverty, and/or spreading God’s love around the world? After reading your chosen book, will you take some time to review it and let everyone know your thoughts and reactions? How did the book you chose to read impact you and encourage you to show compassion to others? What will you do in response to reading this book to spread the love of Christ locally or around the globe?

 

Are you looking for a book to read and review?

 

Go here to explore some recommended books. Please also share your book recommendations in the comments. We look forward to adding more books to our reading list.

 

Enter to win “Just a Minute” by Dr. Wess Stafford

 

As our first-ever giveaway here on this blog, we are excited to offer “Just a Minute”, the second book written by Dr. Wess Stafford. In light of international shipping costs, we ask that only readers from the United States participate. To enter, simply leave a comment on this post sharing a time in your life when someone took a moment to show compassion and the love of Christ to you. Please also mention that you wish to win this book, so we can distinguish between those entering the giveaway and those simply sharing their stories with us. If you are under 18 years of age, please obtain your parents’ permission before entering to win. We will pick someone to win a copy of this wonderful book, and all entries must be in by no later than Sunday, October 13, 2013 to be considered. We look forward to reading everyone’s inspirational testimonies of compassion!

 

 

31 Days of Compassion

Day 8: Praying for children in poverty

“For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them” (Mat 18:20).

 

If you have prayed for another person or had someone pray for you, then you would agree with me that prayer is very powerful. Whether the need is related to health, finances, relationships, ministry, salvation, or employment, prayer is a driving force in the body of Christ. Without that intimate conversation with our creator, we have a breakdown in our vital relationship with him.

 

Today, as we begin day eight of our 31 days of compassion, we want to gather to pray for children in poverty around the world. While we could simply pray for the Lord to bless and be near to all children in poverty, and we should pray for this, we have a unique opportunity to pray for children by name. We may not see their faces, but God sure does. He knows their needs, and we have the privilege of joining hearts across the globe and lifting our voices on their behalf.

 

Will you join us in prayer?

 

Through a free monthly prayer calendar delivered right to your email inbox, Compassion International gives you a unique way to pray specifically for children and staff involved in their ministry. Andy and I receive the prayer partner newsletter, and it has challenged us in our relationships with the Lord. As we intercede on behalf of children in poverty who are so very close to the heart of God, we feel a deeper connection with the creator of life.

 

Let us take a deeper look inside the prayer calendar

 

When I open the prayer calendar email each month, I am challenged by an overall message to take away. The message for this month reminded me that children observe and imitate those around them. Not only am I challenged to pray for the children and staff in Compassion’s ministry, but also I am reminded that the children in my life observe me and imitate what they see.

 

Highlighting needs around the world

 

Each month, the prayer calendar highlights specific needs around the world. These needs could include:

 

• Children and staff suffering loss because of natural disasters

• Safety and protection for those in vulnerable situations

• Children who are victims of abuse and other violation

• Children at-risk for or suffering from health concerns

• Family, friends, and sponsors grieving the loss of a precious child’s life

• Children grieving the loss of family members

• Family members suffering from health concerns

• Highlighting specific ministry partners and programs

• The ministry of sponsors and Compassion advocates

 

Scripture tells us repeatedly that the Lord hears the cries of his children. What prayers has God answered for you lately? Can you share a time when you have been blessed by someone praying for you? Will you join us and become a prayer partner with Compassion?

 

 

31 Days of Compassion

Day 7: Seaking answers on this treasure hunt

We have hit the one week mark of our 31 days of compassion. Did you join us yesterday to quiz yourself about global poverty? If not, you can still participate here.

Now that we have gotten our feet wet with a 10-question quiz, you may have more questions or want to dive into the facts even further. Today is your chance to do just that. Ask those tough and nagging questions. See the statistics for yourself. Share the statistics with others, and commit to act in response to what you discover.

 

Who doesn’t enjoy a treasure hunt?

 

We want to take you on a treasure hunt. Find the answers to the questions shown below, and challenge your friends to help you! Choose or invite friends to each find the answers to 1-2 questions, or think of your own creative way to get others involved. As you complete the treasure hunt, remember that beyond the many numbers, there are people—real people with faces and names. In fact, the Lord knows the number of hairs on their heads (Luke 12:7). As you learn more about global poverty today, please do not close your eyes to the reality of these beautiful people and do not let the statistics overwhelm you. These statistics show despair, but you can show the hope and love of Christ. The first step to showing compassion is to learn the facts.

 

Treasure hunt questions

 

• Approximately how many children die each day as a result of diseases caused by unclean water and poor sanitation?

•  Diarrheal diseases can be reduced by more than _____ percent through _____.

•  _______ are the second biggest killer of children worldwide

•  How many people worldwide are infected with HIV each day?

•  If all the world’s water could fit in an average bucket, how much would be drinkable?

•  How many people are born worldwide every second, and in that time how many deaths occur?

•  True/false: The average person in the developed world uses 13 gallons of water per day for toilet flushing.

•  In the least developed countries, _____ percent of all children are engaged in child labor.

•  How many people die of AIDS each day?

•  True/false: 1 person in 10 battles hunger every day.

•  Annually, how many children worldwide begin life with no identity?

•  Approximately how many children ages 5-14 are involved in child labor in developing countries?

• How many children under age 5 die each year? How many of these deaths are preventable?

• What is one of the major public health challenges undermining development in the poorest countries in the world?

 

To find the answers to your treasure hunt questions, go here. Once you have completed the treasure hunt, please leave the question and answer that impacted you the most in the comments. We would also love to know how you invited your friends to join you! May this activity prompt each of us to desire change, and in response to that desire we will do our part to make a difference. Tomorrow, we will learn how we can pray with a clear focus for the needs of children living in poverty.

 

 

31 Days of Compassion

Day 5: Showing compassion in our local community

Welcome to day 5 of our 31 days of Compassion. So far, we have defined and shown compassion, shared Scriptures and dug deep to hear God’s heart for the poor, and talked about caring for the littlest but not least among us. Today, we want to talk about how we can each show compassion within our local community.

 

Do you witness any form of poverty in your community? This could include physical, educational, economic, social, emotional, or spiritual poverty. Each of these forms of poverty could impose various hardships and difficult life circumstances on its victims. Those victims currently gripped in the tight fist of poverty need to know the love and compassion of Christ, and you may be the one to open their eyes, ears, and hearts to him. If you witness poverty in your local community, how can or how do you make a difference?

 

15 ways to show compassion in your local community

 

• Connect with ministries in your church and join them in serving the community

• Serve at a local homeless shelter

• Donate to a local food pantry

• Donate to or serve at a local pregnancy center that supports and values the gift of life

• Mentor through Big Brothers Big Sisters or another local children’s or youth program

• Volunteer with local ministries such as Young Life, Youth for Christ, Campus Crusade for Christ (Cru), or Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA)

• Use your God-given talents and skills to volunteer in a local school

• Donate used books to your local library to promote and encourage literacy

• Volunteer at a local after-school program

• Donate toys to Toys for Tots to bless children in need this holiday season

• Provide Christmas gifts through the Angel Tree Project to children whose parent is in prison

• Donate or volunteer your time to a local non-profit for which you are passionate, to help move their cause forward

• Visit residents in a nursing or assisted living home, veterans in a VA hospital, or patients in a children’s hospital

• Find a family in need and bless them this upcoming holiday season, or any time of the year

• Find ways to support local orphan care initiatives

 

Andy and I have had the honor to lead worship during chapel services at our local homeless shelter, I have been blessed to be involved in Big Brothers Big Sisters, and I am involved in Cru at the local community college. Andy volunteers for a non-profit involved in disability advocacy, and we have been involved in children’s ministry as well. We are in no way telling you these things to give credit to ourselves; rather we want you to know the possibility and unfathomable joy of sharing the compassion and love of Christ right where you are. The blessings we have received through these opportunities are numerous, and connections made will never be forgotten.

 

Do you have any experiences you would like to share to encourage others desiring to show compassion in their local community? Can you think of any ideas or opportunities we failed to mention here? We look forward to sharing your stories and experiences. Be sure to join us here tomorrow as we learn about the effects of poverty.

 

31 Days of Compassion

Day 4: Caring for the littlest but not least among us

Today, as we begin day 4 of our 31 days of compassion, we want you to know that it is not too late to join us and invite others to participate as well. Please subscribe to our RSS feed, follow us on Twitter, or connect with us on Facebook. You can also receive our blog posts right in your email inbox by filling out the form on the left-hand side of this page. We are very blessed and encouraged by your comments and participation, and it warms our hearts to know that you care so deeply and want to engage in finding ways to show compassion right where you are and around the globe.

 

“Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him” (Psalms 127:3).

 

Here in the United States and even around the world, children are not valued as they should be. These precious gifts from God are violated through such means of abortion, abuse, and child prostitution. When we talk about speaking up for those who cannot speak for themselves, children are part of that group who have been silenced and too often forgotten.

 

“Then he said to them, “Whoever welcomes this little child in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. For it is the one who is least among you all who is the greatest” (Luke 9:48).

 

While the littlest among us are considered the least in the eyes of the world, they are certainly not the least in the eyes and kingdom of God. What’s more is that God is not the only one to value and love little children. Throughout history, many prominent voices have spoken up on behalf of the littlest in our world. Today, let us search the Scriptures and beyond to renew our commitment to love and care for children.

 

Do you have a favorite Scripture or famous quote about children and their value, importance, and worth? Do you have an inspiring story or experience to share that connects compassion and children together? Please share your thoughts in the comments, and be sure to join us tomorrow as we discuss showing compassion in our local community.

 

31 Days of Compassion