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Blog writing, much of the time, feels like an avenue for confession and that can be hard and humbling.  That is this post for me, hard and humbling, but I’m hoping I’m not alone in these thoughts and possibly my journey may help a struggling sister or brother.  I’m writing on the illusiveness of happiness because often I struggle to maintain it!  In the past, on several occasions, Chad has asked, “what makes you happy?”  I want to give the Bible loving answer but I find myself saying “order” . . . “order” makes me happy.  Sigh . . . maybe because much of life is chaotic, out of my control and often doesn’t go as planned.  I will sometimes say in the serious moments of life that if you’re having a bad day, go clean a bathroom!  Back to that order thing again; that’s my go to, my comfort, and my control.   I believe there is something more to happiness than what I’m doing.   I know my JOY comes from the Lord – and that abiding in Him gives me the fullness of JOY despite my circumstances but my humanness longs for more!  Gasp!  I know, I said it – my heart wants more!!   But why would I dare want more?

Why would I dare want more . . . because we are designed for more, but more of what?  I will start here because many times my unhappiness is due to an over fixation on God’s gifts instead of the Giver Himself.    Other times my unhappiness stems from the knowledge that this earth is not my home and I feel done with it!  But let me be frank, more often than not, it’s simply sin.  John Piper, the author of  “When I Don’t Desire God” poignantly states it this way, 

“Preferring anything above Christ is the very essence of sin.  It must be fought.”

I’m in a daily battle over my preferences.  Anyone else?  When my preferences are wrong my happiness is at stake.  So happiness must be fought for in a battle, a battle over sin in the form of desiring order, control, focus and purpose. 

We must ask ourselves what do we prefer more than Christ?

Self? Husband? Wife? Family? Career? Well-behaved Children? Beautiful Home?  Associations? Material Possessions? Comfort? Social Media?  What is it that keeps our attention more than Christ?  Whatever it is . . . it is sin and the very robber of happiness.   So, lets square that one truth away and purpose to desire God over all things.  Psalm 37:4 demands that we “Take delight in the Lord.” It is a command and a promise.  I want to focus on our part - to take God’s command for delighting in Him with seriousness, asking for His guidance and confessing our weaknesses daily when we prefer anything above Him.

I recently picked up a book written by David Dunn entitled “Try Giving Yourself Away” and the title had me intrigued!  I thought, what does that mean “try giving yourself away” – I thought I was giving myself away but I’ve discovered I can do better.   A couple of areas of intention are challenging my self-absorption and they may challenge you as well.

Are you a “noticer”?

David Dunn encourages the habit of appreciation by being a noticer.  Being a noticer of others immediately takes your focus off of yourself – because you are busy building the habit of praise through noticing the little things others are doing or have done.  Once you begin to notice other’s actions – speak to them words of affirmation.  God shows us this in Proverbs 15:23 

An appropriate answer brings joy to a person,

and a well-timed word is a good thing.

Obey your warm-hearted impulses

Creating the habit of giving on the impulse is hard for us because we are too busy and we literally leave little to no white space on our calendars for the Holy Spirit to prompt us to acts of kindness.  We’ve even resorted to blessing people in the drive thru by paying for the people’s food behind us in line.  I’m not knocking this act of kindness – I’m just saying we’re in the drive thru!! We’re actually in the drive thru of life with little time to act on impulse.  When I’m spending time in God’s Word and He prompts me to make zucchini bread for my neighbor – I must obey this warm-hearted impulse or the opportunity to bless will be lost.  Dunn states it this way . . . “You have to train yourself to obey given impulses on the instant – before they get a chance to cool.”

For when my impulses to obey the Holy Spirit cools my happiness is at stake.

The more I give myself away in obedience to the Holy Spirit the more God fills my life with JOY.  That is where the promise comes in play from the later part of Psalm 37:4

and He will give you the desires of your heart.

Preferring God to all the distractions of life will prompt my sensitivities to His calling of obedience in my every day moments.  Obeying those impulses will lead me to finding fulfillment in right desires of my heart.    

Posted by Tracy Smith with
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“We’re on an adventure and we’re having fun; reaching the world with Jesus’ love.  We’re Kids on Mission.”  These are the opening lines to the Kids on Mission video series.  Each Wednesday night during the summer at 6:30 p.m. we host Mission Zone.  Mission Zone is a hands on mission experience for children ages 3 to completed 5th grade.  This is a small weekly mission’s meeting for children at First Baptist Wentzville.  We rotate through three rooms during each evening.

The Food and Culture room

Over the past few summers we have made and tasted food like almond Jell-O from China and Adobo from the Philippines.  Some weeks it is great, and some weeks even the adults dislike the food, but in Mission Zone, “You don’t have to like it, but you do have to try it” (unless you are allergic).  We then quickly go into the culture of the country we are studying.  We ask questions like—What is the primary religion?  What does a typical day look like for a child in that country?  We often color the country’s flag and pray for the people and missionaries in that location to spread the word of Jesus.  The children are also encouraged to use this information to determine how they can be missionaries here.

Missionary DVD room

Each week we travel to distant lands and meet Southern Baptist missionaries who have given their life to serve Jesus.  Most have left their homes and family in the United States, so seeing the faces and hearing the voices helps the children better pray for our missionaries.  We, as Southern Baptists, support these missionaries with housing, transportation, paychecks, retirement and insurance through the Cooperative Program and the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering.  Our International Mission Board is one of the best mission organizations in the world in how they support the missionaries.  It is only through our gifts that this part of our mission can succeed. 

This past week we learned about Niger, the frying pan of the world.  It gets so hot in the summer there that by the time the laundry is hung up to dry, the first item is already dry.  This West African country has its own language and culture.  This week we got to meet one of the missionary children by video and she showed us the kind of store she goes to, to get food and supplies.  It is much different than our Wal-Mart.  Then we were taught many phrases in the language of a Niger family.  Foo Foo is hello.  It is pronounced much like “foo” in foosball.  It is not hard to figure out that learning a language takes a lot of time, and if you are learning a language to help translate the Bible, it will take even longer.  How can we learn the language and advance in our communication? 

Story Telling room

The story cloth is one of the best methods of sharing with others the love of Jesus.  This simple cloth has 42 Bible pictures on it in block form.  It begins with creation and ends with Jesus‘s ascension.  If you do not have the written language for Bible translation, the picture cloth will help the people see the whole story of the Bible.

The summer is almost over, now what?

Royal Ambassadors, Girls in Action and Mission Friends will begin again in the fall.  This is our club based missions program during the school year.  We meet Sunday nights from 5:00 to 6:00p.m.  This is where we not only learn about missions, but the children are actively being missionaries.  Each month they will have a chance to earn patches for their vest while serving others in their projects.  The summer patch is making and racing RA racers.  We will be racing them August 30 during Mission Zone, so don’t miss it.  The program is free and you will want to invite your friends.

Posted by Jason Hoke with

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