It’s with great disappointment that I announce the hiatus of Intentional Stewardship.

Due to many wonderful twists and turns in the lives of myself and the contributing writers, Intentional Stewardship will momentarily take a break. Since life is so uncertain, I am not sure if this is a brief or permanent pause. But in order to be good stewards of the amazing opportunities God has placed before us, we all need to step away from writing Intentional Stewardship posts for now.

In the meantime, you are invited to visit my other site, Accidentally Green.

Blessings to you,

Serving God By Serving Others

When it comes to serving God, there’s an excellent chance you won’t be serving Him in solitude. Often serving others – and meeting the needs of both believers and unbelievers – is the best way to model a Christ-like life.

Serving God By Serving Others {Intentional Stewardship}

Image courtesy of adamr/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

If you’re searching for people to help, typically widows, orphans, the unemployed, the elderly, unwed mothers, and single parents can use support. Sometimes they may just need someone to listen. Other times they might need help – anything from a meal to babysitting to simple yardwork or a trip to the doctor.

As Proverbs 28:27 encourages, “Whoever gives to the poor will not want, but he who hides his eyes will get many a curse.”

A biblical example

Acts 4:32-35 paints a beautiful picture of how the early Church handled community and service matters:

“Now the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things that belonged to him was his own, but they had everything in common. And with great power the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. There was not a needy person among them, for as many as were owners of lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold and laid it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need” (ESV).

What would today’s world look like if believers stepped out in faith – and action – and lived in such a way? What if each day you and I searched for ways to do justice, love kindness and walk humbly with our God?

If you see a need, please act on it. Don’t wait for someone else to help out – God might be placing you in the certain situation and relationship to use you in a mighty and effective way.

Embracing Your God-Given Talents

Embracing Your God Given Talents {Intentional Stewardship}

Image courtesy of KROMKRATHOG/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Have you ever stopped to ponder the truth that God created you with your specific abilities and talents for a reason?

No one else on this earth is like you. There never has been anyone and there never will be anyone like you. You are here for a reason.

But what is that reason? And how are you using your talents for God’s glory in day to day life?

Different talents

As 1 Corinthians 12:4-6 tells us,

“There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.”

What are the gifts that God has given you? How are you using them to serve God? How is God working through you and your gifts?

As I explained in the Worldwide Challenge article “Tending Our Talents,”

As a loving Father, God created us with natural abilities and strengths and then, on top of that, bestowed spiritual gifts as well. Why has He done this? God granted us gifts and abilities so we can serve others, as well as give part of ourselves back to Him.

“And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ” (Ephesians 4:11,12).

In receiving these gifts and abilities, we have several choices: We can set them aside in disappointment and pursue something that looks better in our own eyes; we can develop them for personal gain; or we can cultivate and practice them as our own gifts back to God. When it comes to long-term fulfillment, however, we find greatest satisfaction when our gifts and abilities are used as intended, with grateful glances toward the Giver.

Between you and your Father

Take an honest look at your life. Have you set your gifts aside in disappointment? Are you envying someone else for their talents? If so, ask God to help you become a grateful steward of the abilities He’s given to you.

Then pray for ways that you can develop your abilities. Once you’re given an opportunity to use your God-given talent, please serve. And enjoy the peace, joy and satisfaction that comes with developing gifts from our Father.


Being a Steward of Product Choices

Throughout this month, Intentional Stewardship has focused on how you can be a good steward of your body – by how you take care of your health, how you exercise, and what you eat.

Have you ever considered that stewardship can be as simple as the products you use?

Being a Steward of Product ChoicesImage courtesy of photoexplorer/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Currently in the U.S., manufacturers dictate what ingredients are included in personal care products and cosmetics – and these ingredients aren’t governed. Most aren’t even tested for safety. In fact, only one in every one-hundred personal care products have been tested to make sure it’s safe to use.

This reality has everything to do with stewardship.

In 1 Corinthians 6:19 and 20 (quoted often in Intentional Stewardship this month):

“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.”

Do you honor God with your body if you willingly apply toxins to it every day?

Changing your product choices

Might I encourage you that it’s never too late to start making healthy choices in your daily life? It’s entirely possible to change from using hazardous products to safe ones. I know, because I’ve done it in my own life – and I’ve detailed the process in my blog Accidentally Green.

Honor God with the way you take care of your body – and the bodies of the loved ones in your care.

A Big Change Comes to Intentional Stewardship!

A Big Change Comes to Intentional Stewardship!

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Life is busy for everyone. And the contributors of Intentional Stewardship are no different. Because the men and women wish to be good stewards of other commitments, Intentional Stewardship’s posting schedule will change.

Effective immediately, you can expect a new post each Saturday – consider it a Stewardship Saturday!

Thank you for reading
Intentional Stewardship!

Being a Good Steward of Your Body

If you’ve been reading the Bible for any length of time, you’re probably familiar with 1 Corinthians 6:19-20:

“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.”

It’s important to put the verse in context with 1 Corinthians 6:18 – “Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body.”

It’s also important to apply these verses to all aspects of your body. Remember, honor God with your bodies.

Speaking from experience

Being a Good Steward of Your Body {Intentional Stewardship}

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Is it easy to honor God with your bodies? Not always. In fact, it’s my experience that unless I make a conscious effort to honor God with my body, it probably won’t happen. There are just too many tempting, unhealthy treats to eat – or my days fly by without any attempts at exercising. Honoring God with my body takes self control. Often it’s not the most convenient.

But a lack of convenience or comfort doesn’t excuse behavior that doesn’t honor God.

For the rest of January, you can expect
Intentional Stewardship posts that will challenge you to become a better steward of your body in ways you might not expect.

Your turn

What areas do you find to be difficult when it comes to being a good steward of your body?

Today I’m linking up with Time Warp Wife.

3 Secrets to Successful Resolutions

Sometimes New Year’s resolutions get a bad rap. People often think they’re impossible – or forgotten – by Feb. 1.

But I’ve found New Year’s resolutions to be very beneficial in my life. As long as I sit down and think about them, they act as a guide throughout my year.

In making resolutions, though, I’ve found three secrets to success.

3 Secrets to Successful Resolutions {Intentional Stewardship}

Image courtesy of adamr/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

1. First of all, pray! If you’d like to make goals or resolutions, pray about what God would like to do in and through you. As Proverbs 16:9 says, “The mind of man plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps (NASB).”

To be completely honest, I’ve been without any concrete goals for a couple years. But I began praying for the Lord’s direction – and much to my pleasant surprise, on New Year’s Day my mind was flooded with ideas and goals. The fantastic thing was that they were specific and attainable.

2. The second secret is to compile a list of concrete, attainable goals. Avoid vague dreams like, “I want to get in shape” or “I want to get out of debt.” Instead, specify the details. Think about how you will get in shape or out of debt and when you will do it.

3. The third secret is to get busy. Once you’ve prayed about your resolutions and made reasonable plans, then get moving. Do what you’ve planned. Some resolutions may change along the course of a year, but others will stick – and you’ll be amazed at how you can better your life.

Today I’m linking up with Time Warp Wife.

Reflecting On Your 2013

Another year has come and gone!

New Year’s Eve is a perfect day to reflect on the past year. It doesn’t matter if you made a list of resolutions last January or none at all – simply think back about your 2013.

Reflecting On Your 2013 {Intentional Stewardship}Image courtesy of Feelart/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

If possible, grab your calendar – the one where you’ve recorded your commitments – and think about the following questions:

  • What were my highlights in each month?
  • What were my low points?
  • How did I use my time?
  • How did I use my money?
  • What relationships did I invest in?
  • What was added to my life this year?
  • What was taken away from my life this year?
  • For the matters that I could control, what would I do differently?
  • What would I not want to change?
  • What have I learned over the past 12 months?
  • When I think of 2013, what am I most thankful for?

You may have had a very hard year – a year you’d never want to repeat. Maybe your year was filled with joyful memories. Or, maybe you’ve had a mixture of both. Thank the Lord for whatever you’ve experienced and learned – good and bad. And contemplate the truth found in Ecclesiastes 7:14:

When times are good, be happy;
    but when times are bad, consider this:
God has made the one
    as well as the other.
Therefore, no one can discover
    anything about their future.

Stewarding the Gift of Christmas

This Christmas season, have you stopped to contemplate the magnificent yet humble birth of our Savior?

God in flesh. God with us.

Something so radical deserves a celebration! But instead of spending your entire Christmas with a noisy hustle and bustle, try celebrating just by yourself – even if it’s for a few quiet minutes away from festivities.

Read the biblical account of the Christmas story. Meditate on the miracle. Thank God for his undeserved gift. Rejoice! And tell someone else about the hope you have in Jesus – it may be just what they’ve always wanted.

Merry Christmas!

Stewarding the Gift of Christmas {Intentional Stewardship}

 Image courtesy of digidreamgrafix/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Loving Your Neighbors

My husband, children and I love our neighbors. And it’s not just in a philosophical or biblical “love your neighbors as yourself” way – I mean we really cherish our neighbors.

The funny thing is, they’ve been our neighbors for less than two years. But in the 20 months we’ve spent in our neighborhood, God has knit our hearts together in a surprising way. It shouldn’t be so surprising – we had been praying for them for years.

Loving Your Neighbors {Intentional Stewardship}

Image courtesy of photostock/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Early in our marriage, my husband and I lived in an apartment and didn’t know any of our neighbors. Oh, we knew that the neighbors on one side of our apartment had three small children who loved to beat on a drum set every night. And neighbors on the other side cooked very odorous food. But we never met them – and never even put faces to their voices.

Once we moved into our first house, I baked cookies and we went door-to-door, meeting our new neighbors. We grew to love many of them, after trying hard to get to know them through Christmas teas and summertime ice cream socials.

When we had to sell our house and relocate due to a job change, we stood in our kitchen on moving day, hugged our neighbors and cried and cried. I doubted we’d have such great neighbors again.

And, for a while, we didn’t. We moved into a small apartment, and once again we didn’t know anyone. Throughout our entire time in that location, I prayed for our new neighbors, whenever we would move into a new home.

When we finally did relocate again and eventually bought a house, we looked forward to settling in and being neighborly again. This time around, many of our neighbors welcomed us with freshly baked goods and visits. And once we had unpacked, we hosted our entire neighborhood for a dessert.

Since then, we’ve been intentional about being a part of our neighbors’ lives. From the spring to the fall, we look forward to time spent working in our gardens or lawn, because we can enjoy unexpected visits. We host cookouts, share freshly grown vegetables from our gardens, sit on each other’s decks for visits, and let our older neighbors treat our young children like grandchildren (or great-grandchildren).

Even though we’ve experienced our share of joys, we’ve also supported each other in difficult times. When one of our neighbors was hospitalized and later passed away, we were able to deliver hot meals late at night, once the family returned from hospital visiting hours. When another family lost their home to foreclosure, we could offer moving boxes. When one of our neighbors was experiencing heart problems, I was called to come over and wait until their family members could arrive – it was a late night filled with uncertainty, tears, and lots of prayers as I was able to intercede for my dear neighbor and friend.

The funny thing was, as much as I cherish the good, happy times spent together – hours spent visiting, laughing and learning from each other – I am grateful that God has placed our family in our particular home so we can help our aging neighbors in times of crisis. (As Proverbs 27:10 advises, “Do not forsake your friend or a friend of your family, and do not go to your relative’s house when disaster strikes you— better a neighbor nearby than a relative far away.”)

We wouldn’t enjoy the happy and sad times together, though, if we didn’t go out of our way to engage with others. I know this firsthand, because of the way my family kept to ourselves while we lived in apartments.

Because of the pure joy my family has experienced through the relationships with our neighbors, I encourage you to go out of your way to pray for your neighbors, get to know them, love them with a biblical love, and thank God when special relationships develop.

Today I’m linking up with Time Warp Wife.