Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Mission Minded Family by Ann Dunagan



It is time to play a Wild Card! Every now and then, a book that I have chosen to read is going to pop up as a FIRST Wild Card Tour. Get dealt into the game! (Just click the button!) Wild Card Tours feature an author and his/her book's FIRST chapter!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!





Today's Wild Card author is:


and the book:


The Mission Minded Family

Authentic (July 1, 2008)


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Ann Dunagan lives with a passion for the LORD and the lost. She is a homeschooling mother of seven (ages 7 to 21), an author, and an international minister alongside her husband, Jon Dunagan. In 1986, the Dunagans founded Harvest Ministry, focusing on remote city-wide outreaches, church planting, National Evangelism Team Support (NETS), training orphans, and motivating others for missions. Ann has personally ministered in 29 nations: speaking to women, preaching in villages, training children and youth, and encouraging parents and teachers. She enjoys fervent worship, time with family and friends, and writing. The Dunagan family is based in Hood River, Oregon.


Visit the author's website.

Product Details:

List Price: $ 14.99
Paperback: 188 pages
Publisher: Authentic (July 1, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1934068438
ISBN-13: 978-1934068434

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


Releasing Your Family to God’s Destiny

God has a destiny for your family. He has an individual plan for each member, as well as a “corporate” purpose for you as a family unit. God will help you, as parents, to train each child toward God’s mission for his or her life, and He will help you to focus your family toward making a strong impact for His kingdom—in your community, in your church, in your children’s schools, and in the world.

The Bible says in Psalm 127:4, “Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one’s youth.” This verse recently “hit” me in a new way as I was attending a graduation party. During the evening, a group of church leaders, led by the graduate’s father, gathered to pray for this young man. He had been raised to have a fervent heart for God and for world missions, and we prayed for God’s purposes to be fulfilled. As I laid my hands on the graduate’s mom (my dear friend Karen), I could sympathize with her mixed feelings: happiness and pride combined with a sad realization that this season in their family’s life was coming to an end. As we prayed, I “saw” (in my mind’s eye) her eighteen-year-old son as a straight arrow in a bow. Afterward, I leaned over and whispered in my friend’s ear, “You know, Karen, it’s not enough just to aim our arrows; to hit the target we’ve got to release the string!”

As our children grow, there will be repeated times of releasing each one to God: letting go of a little hand as a baby takes that first wobbly step . . . letting go of total educational control as a child steps onto that school bus or enrolls in that first college course. Or what about that moment when we let go of the car keys and an eager teenager plops into the driver’s seat of our car and takes control of the steering wheel?

Sometimes it’s very scary.

As I write this chapter, my husband and I have a nearly twenty-year old son climbing a dangerous mountain and then the following week heading to Oxford, England for a summer-long study-abroad program. Our eighteen-year-old son just graduated from high school and will soon be moving to a university two thousand miles from home. Our nearly sixteen-year-old daughter is just about to get her driver’s license.

No matter how many times I have released my children, I continually need to rely on God’s fresh grace for today’s particular moment. Whether it’s dropping off a little one into the arms of a church nursery worker or dropping off a young adult at an international airport, I need to trust God.

Just like Hannah released her little Samuel, I have surrendered each child to the Lord; yet I still have times when God convicts me that I need to rely on Him even more. At a deeper level, I need to continue to trust Him. With faith, I need to trust that God will direct each of my kids to fulfill His purposes (without me pushing them to do what I want). I need to trust that God will bring just the right spouse for each of my sons and daughters (without me trying to make something happen). And I need to trust God that He will protect my children as they begin to step out to fulfill His destiny (without me worrying or trying to figure it out).

As I have thought about this need to totally release each of my children to God’s purposes, I have tried to imagine—in my own finite way—what our heavenly Father must have experienced when He released His Child. God never struggles, but I believe He can relate to my feelings (and yours). He too had to release His Son—His only Son—in order to fulfill His plans for this earth.

Imagine with me:

What if someday God called one of my children . . . let’s just say, for an example, to go on a summer mission trip to Calcutta, India?

Would I be able to send him or her with confidence and joy?

If my husband and I prayed about the particular outreach and God gave us His peace about it, I know I would. My husband and I would uphold our child in prayer, and we would trust God’s direction. And as a mom, I would rely on Him for grace.

But the sacrifice God made was far greater . . .

What if someday a child of ours decided to move to Calcutta, India, for perhaps ten months . . . or ten years . . . or even longer? Could I handle that?

That would be much harder.

Although it would be difficult to live so far apart, I would do my best to support him or her through regular prayer and communication (and I would definitely hope for e-mail access!). If my grown child had a family, I would really miss getting to know my child’s spouse and his or her family; and I can hardly imagine how much I would yearn for time with those future grandchildren. Yet, if God was calling my child, I would let my child go . . . and rely on Him for extra grace.

But God’s sacrifice was still far greater . . .

So, to take the analogy one step further, what if my husband and I, back in time about twenty years ago, were expecting our first child, and God told us that He wanted us to surrender this precious newborn—right from birth? What if God said He had chosen a poor couple in Calcutta, India, to raise our baby? What if He said our little one would grow up in some obscure squatter village . . . would live among filth and poverty . . . would spend his life helping people . . . and, in the end, would be rejected, hated, and brutally killed by the very people he was sent to help?

Would I send my son to do that? How could I?

But (perhaps) that is a glimpse of what God did for us.

If we are going to raise a generation of world changers, it is likely that we will need to surrender our children into areas that may make us uncomfortable. He could call our child to pioneer a megachurch in a crowded inner city or to raise a large, God-fearing family in a quiet rural town. He may want our child to impact a corrupt political system or to redirect a greed-motivated business. He could call our precious son to enlist in the military or our pure daughter to have an effect on the media. He could call our child to Cairo, Egypt . . . or to New York City . . . or maybe even to Calcutta, India.

As mission-minded parents, will we “let go” of those arrows and encourage each child to fulfill the Lord’s plans? Or will we be God’s greatest hindrance?

It’s a heart issue, and it’s big.

Just as God released His Son for us, we need to totally release each of our children—again and again, every day—for His eternal purposes.


Pursuing God’s Purposes

An excerpt from The Missions Addiction, by David Shibley.

We whine, “I just want to know my purpose; I’ve got to reach my destiny.” We race all over the country to attend “destiny conferences,” and we devour tapes and books on “reaching your full potential.” It would be amusing if it were not so appalling. Even cloaking our self-centeredness in Christian garb and jargon cannot cover the nakedness of this cult of self that has infested much of the church. How can we ever hope to discover our purpose in the earth with little or no interest in His purpose? How will we ever know our destiny when we have so little identification with God’s destiny for the nations? It certainly is good to pray, “Lord, what is Your will for my life?” But even this can be a self-absorbed prayer. It is far better to pray, “Lord, what is Your will for my generation? How do You want my life to fit into Your plan for my times?”

Pursuing God’s purposes, not our own, is the path to personal fulfillment.


We’ve a Story to Tell to the Nations

A missions hymn, by H. Ernest Nichol (1862–1928)

We’ve a story to tell to the nations,

That shall turn their hearts to the right,

A story of truth and mercy,

A story of peace and light,

A story of peace and light.

Chorus:

For the darkness shall turn to dawning,

And the dawning to noonday bright,

And Christ’s great kingdom shall come on earth,

The kingdom of love and light.

We’ve a song to be sung to the nations,

That shall lift their hearts to the Lord,

A song that shall conquer evil,

And shatter the spear and sword,

And shatter the spear and sword.

We’ve a message to give to the nations,

That the Lord who reigneth above

Hath sent us His Son to save us,

And show us that God is love,

And show us that God is love.

We’ve a Savior to show to the nations,

Who the path of sorrow hath trod,

That all of the world’s great peoples

May come to the truth of God,

May come to the truth of God!

Chorus:

For the darkness shall turn to dawning,

And the dawning to noonday bright,

And Christ’s great kingdom shall come on earth,

The kingdom of love and light.



“I have seen the Vision and for self I cannot live;

Life is less than worthless till my all I give.”

Oswald J. Smith


Q&A with Ann Dunagan, author of The Mission Minded Family

Q: How would you describe a mission-minded family?

In a mission-minded family, there’s a God-infused energy. There’s a focus on God’s worldwide purposes, and there’s a passion for the lost. There’s a spiritual depth and hunger that reaches beyond the maintenance mode of cultural Christianity. A mission-minded family emphasizes leadership, calling, and destiny. There’s a prevailing attitude of self-sacrifice and an emphasis on total surrender to God’s will. And there’s an unmistakable and contagious joy.

As you focus on God and His Great Commission, everything will be radically altered—including your thoughts about the world and those in need, your prayer life, your eating habits (including what things you’re willing to “try”), your disciplines in health and fitness, your family’s stewardship of faith and finances, and your decisions regarding your children’s education. A missions mindset will impact—for eternity—your focus on the future.

Q: What led to your writing of The Mission Minded Family?

In writing The Mission-Minded Family, my heart is to help families to discover God’s potential. God doesn’t want our families to be self-absorbed. He created us to glorify Him. All of us want happy families, lasting marriages, and good kids; but what I propose in The Mission-Minded Family is that in order for our families to truly be successful in God’s eyes, we’ve got to focus on God’s purposes. It’s not enough to merely “look good” in our yearly Christmas photo, or to raise super-smart, scholarship-winning kids. It’s not enough to just make money or to live in a cute clean house.

For over 20 years, our family’s been active in international missions. Although we’ve always lived in the United States, we’ve ministered around the world; and we’ve seen – with our own eyes – some heart-wrenching situations, as well as some thrilling opportunities for outreach. All along the way, we’ve been raising our seven kids... loving babies, training toddlers and teens, and sending big-kids to college. Having a missions perspective has impacted all of us; and for my husband and me, this viewpoint has definitely influenced our parenting.

Q: Do you think every Christian family is called to be mission-minded?

Every Christian, and every Bible-believing Christian family, is called to participate in God’s Great Commission to “Go into all the world and preach the Gospel” (Mark 16:15). Obviously, we won’t all be called to live overseas as long-term foreign missionaries; but we’re all called – 24-7, 365-days-a-year, to be fulltime mission-minded believers. Regardless of our current location or occupation, we are all called to be ambassadors for Jesus Christ (II Cor. 5:20) and God’s light in a dark world. Our next generation will need godly leaders in every realm of society: in the media, education, government, business, and in ministry – both locally and internationally.

Hudson Taylor, the great missionary to China, once said, “The Great Commission is not an option to consider, but a command to be obeyed.”

Q: As mission-minded families, how can we balance our passion for missions with our hearts for our homes? Do we have to choose between “raising our kids” and “reaching the lost”—or is it possible to do both?

As parents, we’re called to raise our kids; and as Christians, we’re called to reach the lost. We really can’t fulfill one of these callings, if we choose to neglect the other.

As I was writing The Mission-Minded Family, I felt especially led to evaluate the homes and family-lives of well-known missionaries. Unfortunately, it didn’t take long to realize that many missionary heroes with families were not heroes of the family. Some of the most prominent names in mission history had horrible problems at home; while other leaders (such as William and Catherine Booth of the Salvation Army or Hudson and Maria Taylor) found a powerful ministry-family balance.

As I began to delve deeper into these examples, I searched for clues and common-denominators for those godly world-changing leaders who had God-glorifying homes. And I believe I found the key. It’s PRAYER. The men and women of God who focused primarily on seeking the Lord and their personal devotion to Him (rather than focusing on a merely a successful ministry) seemed to find God’s divine balance for each day. As a result, not only did their ministries glorify God, but their families did as well.




Here is my review of this inspirational and educational book:


“The Mission Minded Family” by Ann Dunagan is the coolest book! It has everything: hymns, stories of missions, mini biographies of missionaries, skits, a calendar of international holidays and suggestions for how to pray on those days, tools for teaching mission-mindedness, and even practical tips for missionary travel. This is an educational and informative book whether you’re planning to be a foreign missionary, a local missionary, or just learn about the field.


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