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Share What You Have For Huge Dividends

Last week I was reminded that my life counts. I had the special opportunity to meet a pastor into whom our non-profit and my local church have invested. He told me that our time, prayers, support, and financial aid are making a global impact among the Spanish-speaking population.  Wow.

My hope is to share this carefully so that no one thinks this is me patting myself on the back.  I’m not a millionaire, I’m not a model, and I sure as heck have room to improve as a leader. Living an amazing life of cutting back in areas that don’t count and investing all I have into what I value is what makes experiences like mine with Carlos more common (and yet always incredible!) than I can express. So no – this isn’t bragging. This is me sharing my story as a means of asking you to give it a try.

Asking myself one question over and over in life has afforded me opportunities and non-financial dividends (the kind that really count!) that I value more than almost anything.

ASK YOURSELF: WHAT DO I HAVE THAT I CAN SHARE?

Here are things that have passed through our family’s life (due to being in the place God asked us to go, or as a result of fostering relationships to expand causes we care about) which turned out to be intended for sharing:

* an extra room in our home

* a vehicle

* a spot in our family for adoption

* a financial gift (placed in our hands, meant for use by another)

* a platform

* free downloads

Look around you.  Abundance is everywhere in your life.  What do you have to share?

Everyone impacted by your generous lifestyle is paid huge dividends. Start sharing!

Dana Byers and her family are passionate about adoption and online ministry, and they sold all they owned in 2007 to live a mobile lifestyle overseas and expand online ministry practices globally.  She’s the author of “The Art of Online Ministry” and recently moved to Oklahoma to become the Community Pastor for LifeChurch.tv Church Online. All opinions shared here are expressly her own.

 

 

Inciting Incidents: Say Yes When You’re Afraid

Inciting Incidents: Say Yes When You're Afraid

Note: This post is part of the “Share Your Story” project by the lovely folks at IncitingIncidents.org.


I was 9 years old when my elementary principal in a small farming community in northern Indiana called me into his office.  “As you know, Dana, Mrs. Fleming has passed away.  I’d like you to do a reading when we hold a memorial for her later this week on the lawn.”
Mrs. Fleming had been my kindergarten teacher three years earlier.  In fact, she’d been the kindergarten teacher for nearly all the children in our community for a generation.  She’d succumbed to breast cancer and our school felt a great loss.
I was shocked by Mr. Russell’s invitation and hadn’t seen myself as a communicator until that time. My head was full of questions.
“Why had my principal asked me to read in front of a few hundred people? There would be teachers, parents, and (gasp!) kids who were three years older than me listening! I’d have to know how to pronounce all the words.  I’d need to practice.  It would be important to honor Mrs. Fleming and not mess up…”
I have no idea how it happened, but I recall shaking off the thoughts and looking into Mr. Russell’s eyes to say, “Yes. I’ll do it.”
What followed were a few days of gulping down the fear every time I thought of the upcoming memorial.  Each time I looked out my classroom window I could see the lawn where we’d soon gather as a school.  Fear struck my heart.  I imagined myself falling on my face while walking up to the podium to speak.
(I think you’ve probably been in a similar situation before.  That’s why you’re still reading.)
The big day came. Our entire school gathered outside on a sunny Spring afternoon. Our janitor, Mr. Handy, had dug a deep hole into which some of our teachers planted a new tree in Mrs. Fleming’s honor. I watched, touched and amazed by the whole experience. Then my awe turned into a cold sweat the moment I heard Mr. Russell use his booming voice to invite me to come forward.  He held a microphone out for me for what seemed many minutes as I skipped over classmates’ criss-crossed legs in the grass and veered around all those lucky kids who got to sit and watch the ceremony without a care in the world.
I took the mic from my principal’s hand.  I cleared my throat and read “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten” by Robert Fulghum, and I looked up to see the newly planted tree as I read the final words.
Then something amazing – daresay miraculous – happened.
I realized I’d not fallen in the wet grass.  No one had laughed at me.  Mr. Russell even gave me an encouraging pat me on the back. I realized I’d just done something that would’ve made Mrs. Fleming smile her big toothy grin had she still been around.
…And I’ve never been the same.  Learning to be grateful for the opportunity to honor others, to speak on behalf of others, to share my art with others – was a journey that began that day on the manicured lawn at Fowler Elementary.  Since that time, there have been many days on which I think it enviable to sit in the seats and observe, but I know true joy comes in communicating even when I feel unqualified, lacking sleep, ugly, a novice, or ill-prepared.
You have been asked to do something that scares you, and someone believes in you.  Say yes and let the miracle unfold.
What memories do you have of events that changed your life and how you live out your art?

Dana Byers and her family are passionate about adoption and online ministry, and they sold all they owned in 2007 to live a mobile lifestyle overseas and expand online ministry practices globally.  She’s the author of “The Art of Online Ministry” and recently moved to Oklahoma to become the Community Pastor for LifeChurch.tv Church Online.

London Decluttering Project Results (video)

Yesterday you saw footage of our tiny beloved home in London. Our family of four missionaries spent a few days sorting through our belongings and recycled, donated and sold items. We even sold our car!

Watch the video for more details…

No doubt you’ve had decluttering successes, too! I’d love to know how much money you brought in from a garage sale or Craigslist. Have you ever had an extra item that was of need to someone you know? Share your story!

Dana

Minimalism Overdone

Stewardship of resources is a value we should all live by. But sometimes in an effort to run a tight ship we go overboard.

  • An understaffed ministry fails to serve well those for whom it exists.
  • Being stingy with available funds means a project or team suffers due to lack of quality resources.
  • An under-decorated room is like a face without eyebrows. Don’t go so far in cutting clutter that you lose the comfort your home is meant to provide you.

Are you cutting corners anywhere in life that will end up costing you in the long run?

Dana

I was fired.

I was asked to leave, and being fired meant I could run after what was in my heart.

How do you really feel about your cause? If you don’t assess your commitment, you won’t be ready for a change in circumstances that forces you to make a choice.

I was once invited to serve in a church overseas, was then notified a person in this particular church requested that the online ministry I was involved in be investigated by a third party, and – though our online ministry was deemed appropriate by the powers that be – I was asked to choose between the local church and participating in the online outreach. In my mind, it was an “and” situation; in their minds it was a case of “or”.

I’ll never forget the phone conversation with the lovely foreign accent on the other end of the line asking, “Dana, you’re not going to give up this Internet church thing, are you?”

My answer was clear, firm, and said with all the passion I felt for reaching people online with the love of Christ. “No.”

So I was asked to leave. They didn’t want to encourage something they felt wasn’t biblical.

Since that phone call in October 2008, I’ve been lied about, mis-quoted, and misunderstood regarding my passion for getting the Gospel out globally via the Internet. Wrong assumptions have been made. Fortunes have been spent. Years have been devoted. And it’s all been worth it.

For which cause will you take arrows to the back?

Minimalist Dreams

Living on the smallest amount of money you need could change the world.

What would happen if we all began making space in our bank accounts to fund more important things?

Homes would be sold or shared.
The demand for new cars would decrease.
Shopping malls would no longer be full of roaming people searching for sexy jeans or designer bags to feel
better about themselves.
Adoptable children would be placed in forever homes.
Food and clean water would be provided in developing countries.
Pastors could leave day jobs and give more time to their church plants.
You could raise radically generous children who change the world.
That secret dream of yours could be fulfilled.

Dream with me.

The Bottom Line —> Be 1 of 60

Here are some cool details I’ll bet you don’t know about BlueDoor.tv’s 2011 efforts so far…

  • We’ve served around 2000 unique individual churches in dozens of different countries.
  • We currently operate on less than $2000/month in expenses.
  • I do not receive a salary from incoming donations for my role as President of BlueDoor.tv.
  • No other organization in the world provides the localized, online, and international church planting services we do.
  • We receive an average of 3 donations per month, but it will take 60 committed individuals to achieve our vision.
…AND, HERE’S LATE-BREAKING NEWS!!!…
  • If you are a monthly donor to BlueDoor.tv, you invest more than money…you GAIN a voice to bring about global, eternal change. In October, we’ll begin letting our donors vote on the next country we’ll provide equipment to! 

We’re in hot pursuit of the vision to plant online churches in every country by 2020.  This is your chance to help us cover the operational fees to carry out this great calling.  

WILL YOU BE 1 OF 60 PEOPLE?*

FIVE $500/month donors

TEN $100/month donors

TWENTY $50/month donors

TWENTY-FIVE $20/month donors 


*You may also make a one-time gift here.  Thank you.  Blue Door Ministries, Inc. is a licensed 501(c)3 and American donations are tax-deductible.

Dana

 

Getting Past Obstacles (Half-Marathon Training Update)

There are less than 3 training weeks remaining before I run my first half marathon to celebrate my birthday. You may never have trained to run a half marathon before, but you’re familiar with my current circumstances.

*Illness, schedule changes, and spiritual attacks abound.
*Plenty of people around me are better runners than I am.
*I’m not yet reaping any visible physical benefits (weight loss, etc.) by logging these miles every week.

Sound familiar? No doubt you could replace “half marathon training” with almost any project you have going on in your personal or professional life at the moment and nod your head in agreement with me.

Here are some counter-points to the common difficulties listed above.

*Obstacles consistently appear along worthy paths. Run anyway.
*There will always be people better at this than you. Learn from them and run your own race, at your own pace. (The term “personal best” has nothing to do with others.)
*1 Sam 16:7b “For man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.” (Translation: God’s focused on the discipline and spiritual lessons I’m learning through this process and not my dress size.)

Get back out there and run your race today, friends!

Dana

8 Ways to Cut Costs & Multiply Results

I’m always encouraged when working with churches overseas who embrace partnering together for a greater ministry outcome. Here in America, we are taught to share our toys from a young age but as adults we sometimes put fences around what we’ll allow others to do alongside us.

Here are some great ways I’ve seen churches partner together in recent years. Consider any of these as a means of spreading the cost, volunteer power, and victories!

1. Join funds and forces to run an online ministry and impact an entire nation for eternity.
2. Meet regularly with area church leaders to share what everyone’s observing and trying in your local community.
3. Receive donations for a local or global cause at the same time to pool resources and make a greater impact.
4. Share the rent and occupation of a building.
5. Combine efforts to reach one key neighborhood in the city.
6. Work together to provide a youth outreach event for the entire state.
7. Share the fees and have team members attend a conference together.
8. Support and promote another local church leading in a type of ministry your church doesn’t provide.

God didn’t call you to go it alone. How have you seen churches join forces for greater impact?

Father, help us see churches and ministries around us as team members instead of competitors. Show us who we should partner with to reach more people for your glory. Amen.

Dana

Proof

Proof of striving in our lives:

* impatience
* inability to connect personally with people (eye to eye, without a time limit)
* continually disappointing those close to us by backing out of commitments
* choosing money, accolades, or perks over the things that used to matter to us

Striving proves a lack of faith in what God is capable of doing in our lives if we’d only let Him
.

God, we need You. Please help us stop striving to be and do things that keep us from being more like Jesus. Show us where we’re missing out on opportunities to serve and mature because we’re too focused on ourselves. Cleanse us from the selfish approach we’re taking to life. Give us your perspective on the way things are today so we can change. We can’t do it without you. Amen.

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