God is Truth: Our Lifeline on the Support-Raising Journey

“Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” Matt. 14:29-30 (NIV)

Do you truly believe, like Mary, that nothing is impossible with God? I am actually more like Peter in the fact that the thought of God’s miraculous power over the impossibility normally lasts for about a second—long enough to get out of the boat, but not long enough for me to walk all the way to Jesus. As soon as I recognize the storm I just hopped into, I flounder and whine, leaving Jesus to say, “You of little of faith. Why do you doubt?”

Raising support requires us to jump out of the boat, and staying on the journey requires us to maintain our focus on Jesus the entire way. The unfortunate irony of the support-raising journey is that we’re often conditioned to keep our focus on the money aspect. However, this is like telling someone to stare at the impossibility of the waves, instead of trusting that God is the One who called you into the storm and has power over our circumstances. One of the things we learn from Peter is that we sink when we take our eyes off Jesus.

The way I keep truth in the forefront of my thoughts is through a practice of praying back God’s attributes when Satan lies to me. When I doubt that God is listening to my plea, I pray back verses like 1 Jn. 5:14 or Ps. 116:2. When Satan tells me that I’m abandoned or alone, I pray back the truth of Deut. 31:8 and Heb. 13:5-6. Whatever storm comes your way, the truth of God’s character is found in Scripture. Declare that over the situation.

God asks us to not only to get out of the boat but to also keep walking on the water. In order to do that, we can’t let anything take our focus off of Him. Trust in His truths today, and allow Him to make the impossible happen.

  1. What lies are you believing? Look up verses that tell the truth of God’s character.
  2. Allow God to strip away the areas of your life that take your focus off God.

God is Our Healer: The Story of Glory on Our Support-Raising Journey

“As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, ‘Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?’ ‘Neither this man nor his parents sinned,’ said Jesus, ‘but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.’ John 9:1-3 (NIV)

The Pharisees were focused on the wrong thing. They saw a blind man through their own eyes, and with this human perspective, they clung to a false narrative. It was one that spoke of pity for lack of sight and blame for the punishment of being born blind. Their own sight was clouded and kept them in ignorance to seeing a greater picture. For you see, the world needed healing from their blindness, and God chose a blind man to be an instrument for His glory. What irony!

This picture of healing is not necessarily hard for me to understand on the surface, but actually a little uncomfortable when I have to put it into practice. On the surface I say, “Praise God for His miraculous healing!” While putting it into practice, I say, “Poor blind man, he grew up without sight. Think of all the things he missed seeing for all those years. Why did God have to do that?” The truth is, God often has us walk hard paths in order for His glory to be revealed.

The world doesn’t understand the support-raising journey. Sure, we give to charities, we help people out for the betterment of living, and some people even tithe to churches—sadly, the world often uses giving to make them feel better about themselves. But when it comes to people asking them for money to do ministry, it is increasingly becoming a foreign concept.

The support-raising journey is not a punishment from God because we couldn’t get a better job or even a sad burden for us to bear. Sure, it’s a hard path to have to walk, and we can take a woe-is-me attitude; however, the world is blind to missions and the work God is doing right among us. Have you ever thought of it as an instrument to display God’s glory?

  1. What false narrative are you walking on the support-raising journey?
  2. What ways can you display God’s glory on the support-raising journey?

God is Creative: With Each Individual on the Support-Raising Journey

 

“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Eph. 2:10 (NIV)

Comparison to others can destroy how we see God’s beautiful creativity in us. One of the biggest struggles I’ve had most of my life is with low self-esteem. Regardless of the circumstances of why, having the wrong sight to who I was in Christ held me captive to not seeing how God could fully use me. I saw the creative workmanship of God in other people with their gifts and talents, but would personally have a woe-is-me attitude, feeling as though God had forgotten me. That is obviously Satan’s lie, but it doesn’t mean that it wasn’t destructive and hard to overcome.

When you are on the support-raising journey, it means you are working toward the goal of being used by God for the works He has prepared in advance for you to do. This is an amazing thought. God has known all along where and how you are going to be used by Him in particular ministries and is equipping you to do them. We may have to fully rely on Him, but He doesn’t leave us unprepared. Think about the passions and the gifts you have that led you to do what you are doing. Even for spouses, who may not have an official title, God gave them special gifts and talents to glorify Him. God never forgets even the smallest details.

This is an important truth to reflect on, because the support-raising journey is a great avenue to worship for how He has created you. Conversations and speaking engagements give perfect opportunities to share with others the handiwork of God and how He is using the gifts He has given you. This attitude helps to combat the feelings that Satan throws our way of “maybe I’m not good enough” or “look at how God is using someone else.” This allows you to truly discover beauty in the details of His craftsmanship and give Him praise.

  1. List the specifics gifts, talents, and desires God has given to you.
  2. Prayerfully offer them to God to be used for His glory.

God Exists in Community: Our Example on the Support-Raising Journey

“I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” John 17:22 (NIV).

 There is a pain in my heart over the friends we have lost while on the support-raising journey. It’s the awkward avoidance of our phone calls or never returned emails because they think we’ll be asking for money. Sadly, most of time we’re contacting our friends just to get together, but they’ve become so fearful that we’re going to put them on the spot that it’s easier to avoid us than to continue the friendship. Although Jason and I have never made high-money demands in conversations and have only let our need be known, we still wish we had a different mindset when we first started fundraising—one that was more concerned about creating an environment of worship than one set on the philosophy of speed. Since we changed our way of thinking, it has made our conversations more glorifying to God, and He has still brought us the money needed to do the ministries He has called us to do—with our relationships intact!

Since we’ve been on this journey for over nineteen years, we have realized that the real focus of raising support isn’t about our needs being met. This statement probably makes you think, “Um, Heather, the whole reason why we raise support is because we need money in order to be used in a particular ministry.” Of course you have monetary needs, and they should be made known and goals worked toward. The error comes when whole philosophies are written with the premise that we build relationships and make high-money demands in order to be fully funded and make it to our ministries as quickly as possible. Therefore, raising support becomes all about us, and as I’ve experienced, this can have a devastating impact on relationships—the opposite of what God intended.

In John 17:22 Jesus declares through His prayer that the reason for being in complete unity with one another is “to let the whole world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” Obviously, believers are to unite as one in our spiritual communities and in our church families so that others can see Christ’s love in us; however, there is no asterisk by this verse with a footnote that suggests that the support-raising journey is supposed to be any different. In fact, I find it fascinating that this entire journey is set up as a team effort where we are to work together for the purpose of letting God’s love be known here and around the world. This means that our needs should not be what drive this journey. They are only a secondary purpose that God holds in His hands. A greater purpose is for us to grow as one in order for His glory to be known in the world. We accomplish this by leading people into worship and providing opportunities for them to join God in His work.

God exists in community, and wants that for us as well. He has provided everything we need for this to happen—His glory. Therefore, instead of making our needs the primary focus, let’s not miss the opportunity to let Jesus’ prayer be ours during this time. Let’s be one, a reflection of who God is, in order for others to know the truth of Jesus’ love.

  1. How can using this prayer as your own change the dynamic of your support?
  2. Pray for God to take your focus off yourself during the support-raising journey, and look to Him to accomplish His work through your team.

 

God is Our Provider: Our Source of Contentment on the Support-Raising Journey

 

“And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19 (NIV)

Contentment is the foundation for understanding the truth that God is our provider. One day I was watching Fixer Upper, and when the show got to the “big reveal”, I actually found myself tearing up—not out of joy, but out of jealousy. We live in a home that’s almost a hundred years old and is in need of some fixing up. I imagined what an additional $50,000 dollars could do—money we don’t have—and the more my mind wandered down that path, the more discontent I became. In that moment I wanted to trade places with that couple and understand what it was like to have all my house dreams fulfilled. Needless to say I have to greatly limit my HGTV consumption in order to combat house envy!

By no means do I think people shouldn’t fix up their houses. That’s between them and God. However, I do know that contentment can be hard on the support-raising journey and our perspective on God’s provision can often become skewed. On the surface this journey seems pretty black and white—when you get money quickly, God provided for your needs. When you don’t get the money, you probably did something wrong; therefore God isn’t going to provide the money until you get it right. Well, maybe people don’t say it quite that bluntly, but when someone works hard and the money still doesn’t come, then you can only imagine how a black-and-white formula can rattle that person’s trust in God as the Provider.

So, how do you stay content on the support-raising journey with the demands of dollar figures and deadlines? During the difficult times my husband and I have had while working hard raising support, God provided in ways we never expected. We just had to look past the traditional thought of how God provides for our needs, which taught us to look past the dollar figures, in order to see what God was really doing in our lives.

As you work hard to meet an overwhelming schedule, take the time to recognize God’s true provision. Maybe it comes in the form of lots of money quickly—I hope so! However, it may come as food and shelter provided by in-laws (that’s what happened to us) or a free car or even a deep conversation from a friend at the exact needed moment. God shows up and takes delight in giving His children gifts. We just have to notice them for what they are. Instead of setting our minds on what we think we need, allow God to provide for our true spiritual needs. You can’t help but to be transformed when you recognize His goodness!

  1. What are some non-traditional ways you’ve seen God provide on your journey? Praise Him for those things.
  2. Pray for contentment no matter what circumstances He is taking you through.