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Who was Lottie Moon? 

The question has come up, why has Lottie Moon become the centerpiece of the Southern Baptist’s Christmas mission offering?  Each year, this same season, if you visit or attend a Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) church, you can count on hearing about the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering (LMCO).  But what makes Lottie Moon so special that she became the namesake of the annual missions offering?  

Several books have been written about Lottie Moon, so in an attempt to give you the condensed version I went to the International Mission Board web site and discovered lots of information about Lottie Moon. 

Martin Van Buren was President of the United States when Lottie was born in Albemarle County, Virginia on December 12, 1840.  Growing up in the pre-Civil War south, she was not interested in going to church, or following Jesus, but when she went off to Albemarle Female Institute, the female counterpart to the University of Virginia, she listened, and heard Jesus calling.  In 1858 she dedicated her life to the Lord at the First Baptist Church, Charlottesville, Virgina. After completing college Lottie taught school in Kentucky, Georgia, and Virginia.   

In 1872, Lottie’s sister, Edmonia Moonwent to Tengchow, China. The following year, Lottie was appointed to the mission field, and joined her sister there. When she set sail for China, Lottie was 32 years old. She had turned down a marriage proposal and left her job, home and family to follow God’s lead. Her path wasn’t typical for an educated woman from a wealthy Southern family. God had gripped her with the Chinese peoples’ need for a Savior. 

Lottie served 39 years as a missionary, mostly in China’s Shantung province. She taught in a girls’ school and often made trips into China’s interior to share the good news with women and girls.    

Initially, people feared and rejected her, but she refused to leave. The aroma of fresh-baked cookies drew people to her house. She adopted traditional Chinese dress, and she learned China’s language and customs. Lottie didn’t just serve the people of China; she identified with them. Many eventually accepted her. And some accepted her Savior. 

Lottie Moon was passionate about people knowing Christ. She didn’t hesitate to speak her mind. 

She died at age 72 in Japan aboard a ship returning to the United States.  

In 1918 the Woman’s Missionary Union (WMU) named the annual Christmas offering for international missions after the woman who had urged them to start it. 

Today’s China is a world of rapid change. It’s home to 1.4 billion individuals – one-fifth of the world’s population. Village dwellers flock to trendy megacities with exploding populations. And China holds its own in the world’s economy. It’s very different from the vast farmland Lottie Moon entered in the 1800s. But one thing hasn’t changed: China’s need for a Savior. 

Posted by Glen Locklear with
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What’s on your schedule for the day?  I don’t know about you, but when I wake up in the morning, my mind is instantly flooded with the day’s to-do list.  It’s easy to roll out of bed and jump right in with both feet running, checking items off that list.  Some days, the temptation to put off my time with God until later in the day is pretty high.  I think to myself, “I’ll read my Bible at lunch.”  Then at lunch, I’m already way behind schedule, so I put it off until after dinner.  By then, I’m so exhausted all I want to do is crash my head into the pillow and sleep.  If I’m not careful and before I know it, I can find myself several days into this routine before I realize I’ve spent no time with God.

Maybe you’re like me? 

Throughout the day, my mind is racing from one thing to the next…one thought to another even before I’ve had time to process the original thought.  I’m so focused on the “next thing.”  All. The. Time.  “Where do I need to be next?  What’s the next item on the list?”  Even when I’m in the middle of one thing, my mind is at least 2-3 steps ahead, trying to stay on schedule and get to where I need to be for the next activity.  Gotta go, go, go…places to be and things to do.

So much so, that I rarely take time to enjoy the moment I’m in.

In my mid-40’s now, it seems my memory is fading more and more every day.  I can remember certain days in the lives of my kids when they were younger.  The first time I met my daughter in the hospital.  Seven months later, the life in her eyes after surviving open-heart surgery.  The day my boys were born. The day I first heard them say “dad.”  Various “hallmark” days between then and now.  I think that’s not simply because my memory is fading with age, but more likely because I don’t enjoy the moment for what it is sometimes.  I’ve usually got my phone in my hand and am distracted with something else…mentally someplace else rather than in the moment.

Can you relate to any of this?

I can remember going through various stages with my kids.  When they were in diapers, I was thinking, “Man, I can’t wait until we’re out of diapers…I can’t wait until he says his first word…until he starts walking…until school starts so we can have our day back and actually get something done around the house.”  Always looking for what’s next and not enjoying the moment.

Have you ever found yourself doing that?

I attended my 5th grade son’s DARE graduation last night and came face-to-face with the realization that my time is much shorter than I know.  Afterward, I was looking through some pictures and found several of my daughter when she was four years old.  On the verge of her graduating high school in a few short months, I find myself wondering how many moments I missed because I was too busy to enjoy them…too distracted to be with her in the moment.

And, here I find myself thinking, “Man I sure do miss those simpler days…I miss the days when the biggest responsibility was making sure their diaper was changed and that they were fed.

Let’s face it…the distractions of this world are many—tools used by the devil to rob us of our joy.  Especially during this time of year, the distractions pull our focus away from the reason we celebrate Christmas. We’ve got decorations to put up, lights to hang, trees to trim, presents to buy and wrap, parties to attend and host…all on top of our normal everyday schedules!

It can be overwhelming, can’t it?

I think our challenge this particular season should be to enjoy the moment for what it is…the celebration of the birth of a Savior.  It’s the time we celebrate the life that ultimately conquered death.  Our life is spared, because His life was given.  For me personally, I think my biggest challenge this season is to put away the distractions…to let that call go to voicemail…to not check emails from my phone when I can be engaging my family…and to recognize that the details of our work (and our ministry) should not be given priority over the time we spend with our family.  And, that the time we spend with our family should not be given priority over the time we spend with our Savior.

Instead of being robbed of our joy this joyous season, let’s find our joy through a renewed relationship with the King.

It’s interesting that the Spanish word for “more” is “más.” Christmas - Christ more.  More than what?  EVERYTHING.  More Christ, less me.  I don’t know what’s on your schedule today or how you’ve prioritized it.  I know what’s on mine, and everything else can wait…because right now, I’m gonna go spend some time with my Jesus…followed by some time with my family…and I hope you can make time to do the same.

Let this be our prayer this season of Christmas.

God, create a clean heart for me

and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

Do not banish me from Your presence

or take Your Holy Spirit from me.

Restore the joy of Your salvation to me,

and give me a willing spirit.

Then I will teach the rebellious Your ways,

and sinners will return to You. - Psalm 51:10-13


Merry CHRISTmas! Christ more.

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