Time to Stop Talking & Take Action!

Harassed & helpless! Boy, do I know that feeling! I watch the news & read the paper & begin to wonder if there IS any hope. I read the posts on Facebook from other moms, other women & I know I’m not alone. So many women seem frightened, hopeless, helpless. We all begin to wonder if there is ANYTHING we can do to make things better.

Things seem to be getting worse everyday. I get angry and resolved to take action. Unfortunately, I let other things get in my way. I knew God was calling me & instead, I let trivial matter distract me. Not anymore!

I’m not here to discuss political issues or constitutional rights. I believe this goes deeper than any of that. No, I’m want to look at this from my expert perspective. And my area of expertise is Theology. When I was a kid, people said, “Everyone always talks about the weather but no one ever does anything about it!” Well, there isn’t much we can do about the weather. And while many of us TALK about conditions in our nation, our cities, our neighborhoods, there IS something we can do about it.

In the verse above from the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus felt compassion for the people because there were lost & afraid “like sheep without a shepherd.” We act like frighten sheep. We run around in a panic. Fortunately, we HAVE a Shepherd. Jesus is watching over us, protecting us whether we realize it or not. So the first thing we can do it put our faith in Him.

The second thing we can do is find strength, hope & comfort in Scripture. When life seems overwhelming, when we are unable to find answers, I know we can ALWAYS find the answers we need in the Bible.

The third thing we can do is PRAY! There is power in prayer. I also believe there is incredible power when WOMEN pray. More important, powerful things happen when women come together to pray. Jesus told us when 2 or more are gathered in my name, I will be there. Oh, He’s always there with us as individuals but when 2 or more of us come together to pray, Jesus is right there with us, praying beside us & personally taking our concerns to His Father.

In light of these three things, I came to the realization there is even more we can do. For a very long time now, I have felt God filling me with a vision. God has been calling me to create a ministry for women. A ministry made up of small groups of women, meeting in homes across the country, sharing faith, studying Scripture, praying, strengthening & supporting one another & having fun! The problem I had was how to do this?

I have dragged my feet long enough. I can’t worry anymore about the right way to begin, the right time to start, the right pice of the puzzle to fall into my lap. I’m just going to begin.

If you look at the top of the page in the menu, you’ll see Sisters of Simple Joy. This is the name I have given to our small group women’s ministry. Beneath that, I am adding information to help you launch your own group. There is no charge for any of this. I have created a workbook for group leaders. Anyway, you can find information at the top.

For now, pray. God is calling a small group of women to be the first small group leaders in this ministry. I’m not naming any names. That’s not for me to decide. I’m not saying anyone should do anything right now. Just pray. If you are one of the women God has chosen, He’ll let you know. All I ask is that you open your heart, mind & spirit to His leading!

And should you decide to join this adventure, let me know. I want to create a network of praying faithful women that uphold & support one another, their families, their communities & our nation.

Hugs & blessings!

Jean Ann

Mentoring Leaders Part 1: Talk

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It’s important for new leaders to see the desired behavior modeled for them. It’s always easy to TELL someone what you expect. It’s powerful to show them. It’s even MORE powerful to have them watch tame after time after time.

Before I served as President for a local chapter of Business & Professional Women’s Clubs, I was elected 1st Vice President. My whole job for that term was to shadow the President, learning all I could before following her into office. Yes, there was material for me to read. There were workshops & training for me to attend. Yet the best lessons I learned were from watching our chapter President. Jesus used this very same technique with His disciples with great results.

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Jesus always took the disciples with Him when He spoke before crowds. The disciples had the opportunity to see Jesus interact with people, watch His speaking techniques. They even had a chance to study acoustics. When a large crowd showed up to hear Jesus one time, He went out in a boat away from the shore a bit. The sound traveled better over the water, enabling the crowd to hear everything He had to say.

The disciples also watched Jesus when He talked with individuals. A large part of ministry is listening. Jesus always gave His time & attention to people when He was in conversation with them. The disciples had a chance to watch this interaction time & again.

So today’s lesson is simple: book learning is great. Training is wonderful. However, the best way to mentor leaders is to let them watch other leaders, like you, in action!

A Little More Action, Please!

In my previous post, I talked about Jesus focusing on His ministry & the work His Father wanted Him to do. Jesus didn’t get caught up in government issues. I would think He cared about the things going on around Him. He just didn’t waste His time or energy on it. Instead, He took care of the people & developed leaders that would carry on when He was gone. And carry on they did!

As the verse above shows, the early, very early church did many good works in the community. They took care of the people that needed their help & they didn’t care if they were followers of Jesus or not. In fact, when the church leaders decided to install deacons to minister to the needs of the people, one requirement they had was that some of them needed to speak Greek. This enabled deacons to minister to Gentiles. They ministered to ANYONE THAT NEEDED HELP!

The Apostles got busy right away providing services to those in need. They didn’t sit around talking it to death.  When they saw a need, they found a way to take care of it. AND THEIR NUMBERS GREW! The actions of the early church led to tremendous church growth. Yes, the teachings were powerful too. However, those teaching weren’t just empty words. They backed the words up with action, with good works. 

As Jesus ascended, He instructed His followers to “Teach them all I have SHOWN you!” He wanted them to know that His teachings, His words were important but His ACTIONS were the most important thing for them to remember & share. The way He healed the sick. The way He fed the hungry. The way He treated people of other nations & beliefs. The respect He showed to women. Love God. Love your neighbor. Very simple. 

And remember, charity was not an accepted practice in the days of the early church. Providing for those in need was unheard of. The Roman government provided no services yet they collected a lot of tax dollars from the people. People in need just suffered until Jesus changed all that. And then He told His disciples to continue His work. 

So, perhaps these days we need a little less conversation & a little more action. Time to quit bickering. Time to quit discussing things. Time to quit complaining. Let’s get busy doing the very thing Jesus asked of us & let God take care of the rest. 

Little Less Conversation

When Jesus was born, Rome was in charge of Israel. Israel had asked Rome for protection from their enemies & Rome agreed. In exchange, Rome would collect taxes. The census would give Rome an idea how many people there were & how much to tax. Yes, this is a very simplified version of the story. Just want you to get the idea.

Israel didn’t really like Rome being in their country but there wasn’t much they could do about it. They prayed for a deliverer like Moses or a warrior like David, someone that would return control of the Holy Land to God’s people. Some people thought this was what Jesus was going to do for them. They thought Jesus would raise up an army & drive Rome out of their land. He didn’t. He had other work to do. 

In the Gospels, Jesus doesn’t talk about the Romans. Oh,  a year once or twice but He had other things to do. Jesus focused on doing the work Hid Father wanted Him to do. He healed people. He fed people. He taught people. He developed leaders. He showed tremendous respect to women in a society where women had no voice, no rights. Jesus focused on loving God with all His heart & loving His neighbor as Himself.

Here’s the thing: Jesus didn’t waste time complaining about what the Romans did or didn’t do for the people. Jesus didn’t waste time talking about how SOMEONE should do something. Instead, He did things to make life better for others AND He taught His followers how to care for the people when He was no longer around to do it Himself, in person!

Now, I wonder what we can take from this?