Casual New Year Friday

Jan 6, 2017 | Casual Friday, Suffering

It’s a magical day here in SE Indiana. Light snow has been dancing down from the gray flannel skies most of the day. There is little that can match the calming sensation of watching thousands of unique flakes drifting toward the ground. I feel like I’m drifting with them.

Tranquility is sorely lacking in our day and age. For many of us these past couple of weeks have been a time to examine our lives. To dream about what we’d like 2017 to be, and what of 2016 we’d love to leave behind. Missionaries are no different. They could use some encouragement from you to slow down, step back, and invite God to review their lives and ministries. Here are some great resources that you can use to do just that.


The importance of silence

David Thoreau once said that the mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. Perhaps. But these days it seems that most people’s lives are far too noisy. Science is now telling us that silence may be one of the most important contributors to mental health and dexterity. Your missionary friends need to know about this…and it won’t hurt you, either.


Speaking of silence…

The folks at Leadership Transformations invite you to “come away and experience the joy of quiet.” Perhaps this is something you should take advantage of. Or perhaps you would like to sponsor your missionary friend to attend. Better yet—go together!


The trouble with expectations

Missionaries usually have high expectations of themselves. Sometimes their sending partners have even higher ones. They (and you) should probably read this before setting goals for this new year.


TCKs…from their own mouths

Marilyn Gardner, an adult TCK, has pulled together a series of quotes that will help you understand their world a little better.


Speaking of TCKs…

Marilyn again. This time she reveals a part of her story as an adult TCK that she has never publicly mentioned before. Read this one carefully. If you know any TCKs in their teens or older, you probably know someone who is wrestling with the same problem.


The unforced rhythms of grace

I have like Eugene Peterson’s rendering of Matthew 11:28-29 ever since I first read it. The unforced rhythms he mentions are the exact opposite of what many missionaries will burden themselves with this next year. Pass this one around; I doubt you know anyone who would not benefit from Aliza’s advice.


The promise of all things new

While many of us are heartened by the prospect of a better year ahead than the one we leave behind, the realities of our broken world (and our broken selves) will remain intact. Marilyn suggests how we all might cope with that.


Scattered hearts

Cindy Wright does an excellent job describing what so many missionaries experience around holiday times or after visiting their passport country. If you love a missionary, you need to understand as best you can what their life is like. Cindy’s post will help.


The sound and the fury

Timothy Willard is fast becoming one of my favorite authors. In this post he talks about the absolute necessity of suffering in God’s plan. See if you don’t agree.


Honor and shame

Many missionaries work within what is known as an honor-shame culture. Since that is not the culture of most of us who support them, it behooves us to learn as much as we can about what they have to cope with. This first post explains why it is important to learn. Then this post offers a list of books that will provide you with a good education on the subject. Then finally there is this list of further resources to help you equip yourself to help others.


That’s it for this week. I’m going to take a time-out and let the snowflakes mesmerize me. See you next week.


What I’m reading this week:

  • You Are What You Love, by James Smith
  • Moments With the Master, by Ken Gire
  • Called to be Saints, by Gordon Smith
  • (About a dozen Christmas books)

Just finished:

  • An Age of Barns, by Eric Sloane
  • Creek Mary’s Blood, by Dee Brown

Up next:

  • Seven Days That Divide the World, by John Lennox
  • Delighting in the Trinity, by Michael Reeves


  1. Marilyn Gardner

    Just a note to say thank you so much for linking my articles! I actually have a new book out – Passages Through Pakistan –
    All royalties go toward refugees from Syria and Iraq. Thanks again.

  2. David Lewis

    You are quite welcome, Marilyn! I read all of your stuff with great interest, including your first book. I have also linked to your new book. Can’t wait to get my hands on it. Thank you for representing our Father’s heart in print.