Developing Your Card Ministry - Welcome a New Baby
Looking for something to write in your card to welcome a new baby? Here are a few ideas to get you started:
“May the blessing of life await you...
may the sun of glory shine around you
and may the gates of plenty, honor and happiness
be ever open to you.” - Charles Dickens
“Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord and the fruit of the womb is His reward.” - Psalm 127:3 (KJV)
“Watch over thy child, O Lord, as his days increase; bless and guide him....Strengthen him when he stands; comfort him when discouraged or sorrowful; raise him up if he fall; and in his heart may thy peace which passeth understanding abide all the days of his life.” - Book of Common Prayer
“All thy children shall be taught of the Lord, and great shall be the peace of thy children.” - Isaiah 54:13 (KJV)
What Do I Say?
Q: My friend has been through one thing after another. We’re at the point where all we can do is laugh about it. What can I tell her?
A: Humor in midst of trials will help your friend be an overcomer, rather than be overcome by what she’s going through. You can always try to keep her laughing but also remember to remind her of the truth of the Scripture “Be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power” (Ephesians 6:10 NIV).
You can say something like this: “Jeanette, I know you’re going through a tough time, but remember that God is more interested in your growth than in your comfort! Truthfully, that’s not something I like to hear, either, but comfort is short term, and growth is for the long term. Even when God’s timing and answers are different than ours, He still has our best interests in mind because He loves us so much. I love you, too!”
Developing Your Card Ministry: Train A Child
Do you know a teenager who could use a little encouragement in their relationship with the Lord? Encourage them to walk with God now, and you’ll see results when they reach their 20s. According to the Gallup Organization, the least likely group of adults to commit to a church are young adults. Only 33 percent of 18-to-29 year olds attended a religious service in the previous week. That’s compared to 40 percent of adults aged 30-65.
While teens are often very religious, that interest falls off once they head to college.
“I think morality is individual,” said a 22-year-old student quoted in Her Way: Young Women Remake the Sexual Revolution (New York University Press). “And I think that morality is you search and delve into yourself and know what you want and what you need and what is good for you. If you do something and you don’t have a problem with it, that’s what you want to do and you know that’s right for you, then how can that be immoral?”
Without the Lord in their lives as teenagers, it’s no wonder that young people think that morality is “what is good for you.”
Know a teenager with an upcoming birthday? Send a birthday card and add a handwritten note. Don’t get preachy, or they’ll close the card before they even read it. Just share something personal from your own life about how the Lord has helped you (and how you wished you had known Him better when you were a teenager).
And once you drop the card in the mailbox, don’t forget to pray for that teen!
“Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it” - Proverbs 22:6 (NIV).
Developing Your Card Ministry: Share Hope
People all over the world are struggling with fear – fear of flying, opening their mail, sending their children to school, even going to the mall on holidays. Researchers tell us that the events of recent years have made people more apt to seek comfort in home, patriotism, and “what really matters.”
Many people deal with their fears by longing for simpler times, for “home and hearth,” and for qualities such as neighborliness, nationalism, courtesy, and graciousness.
While all those are admirable characteristics, they will never provide lasting peace and security. The only place we can turn to for true peace, joy, comfort, and the assurance of eternal life is, of course, Jesus.
As you develop your greeting card ministry, allow the Lord to bring people to your mind who need direction during these troubled times. Don’t be surprised if you think of someone you haven’t seen for a while, or even someone who appears to have everything together. That’s a “Holy Spirit nudge” – God Himself directing you.
You may know a child who needs some extra love and attention. Or maybe an older person facing the uncertainty of their final years – perhaps not knowing Jesus. Or maybe a co-worker who seems distraught and on edge.
You can send a note of encouragement that shares your own feelings. Be honest. If you struggle with fear, admit it – but share how the Lord helps you through it. Share Scripture verses that have been meaningful to you, or words of comfort the Lord has given you.
These can be the “worse of times,” but they can also be the “best of times.” People are asking questions – and you have the answers for them!
The Healing Power of Prayer
Next time you send a get-well card, don’t forget to pray after you mail it. Dr. Dale Matthews, a medical doctor, is author of The Faith Factor: Proof of the Healing Power of Prayer. He says that the partnership of prayer and medicine can be profoundly effective in the treatment of both mind and body.
Dr. Matthews did a dozen “prayer studies” drawing on case studies of his own patients, and says that prayer and medicine together can have a dramatic impact on healing arthritis, alcoholism, drug abuse, and even AIDS.
So, when you send a get-well card to someone, be sure to pray for the person receiving it! Your prayers are powerful!
Developing Your Card Ministry: Welcome A New Neighbor
This is a quick idea for growing your card ministry. Say “Welcome” to a new neighbor by sending them a FairHope Notes card including a map of your neighborhood with all your favorite spots already marked on it. Include your favorite dry-cleaner, doctor, dentist, vet, park, even the local Chinese carry-out. Don’t forget to mark the nearest post office, library, and driver’s license bureau. You can even show the location of your church, and add an invitation for your new neighbor to join you at an upcoming service.
Need a map of your neighborhood? Look no further than than the internet. Just use a website like Google Maps, type in your address, and print out a map of your neighborhood.
Sharing God's love can be as simple as just saying "Hello" to a new friend.
Burden Bearer or Buried by Burdens?
How to avoid being overwhelmed by the needs of others
Are you a burden bearer, or do the burdens of others threaten to bury you alive? When you have a ministry of encouragement, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the burdens of others. Instead of helping a friend or family member, you end up needing encouragement yourself!
Remember the simple truth of these four little words: “Our part, God’s part.” Our part is to plant seeds, but as 1 Corinthians 3:7-9 says, we can’t make them grow; only God can do that. He will take the seeds we plant – whether offering a shoulder, sending a note, or sharing wise counsel – and cause them to grow and bear fruit in others’ lives.
Perhaps you feel as if you’ve sown enough seeds for a large farm – yet you haven’t seen any results. Don’t let the devil tell you that you haven’t made a difference. The Word of God says otherwise:
As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:10-11 NIV).
Just keep planting seeds, and let the Holy Spirit water them.
Encouragement for the Caregiver
When someone is sick or enduring a long convalescence, they usually receive many cards. But often their caregivers don’t get any encouragement -- and they really need it! Being a caregiver is a 24/7 job filled with stress and unending responsibilities.
You can encourage a caregiver by sending a card such as “As you go through this.” Resist the urge to offer advice. People going through difficult times sometimes dread opening the mailbox for fear it contains a flood of unsolicited suggestions from well-meaning friends – advice on the latest nutritional supplement, counsel on what helped their third cousin living in another state, or exhaustive sermons on how there must be hidden sin in their lives.
Enough already! Unless you are one of Job’s friends, who offered more hurt than help, concentrate your efforts on providing a pat on the back and a word of encouragement.
You can say something such as, “I know you’re going through a difficult time right now. I’m so touched to see how well you’re caring for Uncle Henry, and I believe the Lord is pleased. I’m praying that the words of Psalm 34:19 are very real to you.”
Other Scriptures that promise the Lord’s unfailing presence and support during times of trial and loneliness are Isaiah 41:17, Psalm 102:17, John 16:33, Psalm 22:24, Exodus 3:7, Psalm 34:19, and Psalm 126:5-6.
If you live near the caregiver, you could also offer to pick up groceries, drop off dinner, or run an errand that would be a blessing. Don’t write, “Let me know if you need help,” but be specific: “Next Saturday we’re making lasagna, and I’d like to drop off some for you.” Finally, don’t forget to pray for the caregiver.
Know someone who needs to lean on the Rock?
Rocks are solid, sure, unmovable. Whether they are part of a strong formation like the Rockies, the awesome depth of the Grand Canyon, or the rugged beauty of the Badlands, we somehow know that they are here to stay.
David celebrated that reality by picturing his God as a Rock—offering a certain salvation, strength, hope, and yes, even inspiration. David spent many years running from a wicked king and hiding in the rock formations of Israel that provided fortress-like protection. Those rocks would prove to be his salvation. For those who feared wild beasts or beast-like robbers, a well-placed chunk of limestone could be a lifesaver.
As we face life’s difficult circumstances, God is our Rock. In Him we hide. We trust in Him, knowing that He is immovable, unshakable, standing forever. As the mountains provided safety for David, so God helps us in our time of need, providing a safe place. Nothing can hurt us when we are standing on our Rock of sure salvation.
“The Lord lives! Praise be to my Rock! Exalted be God, the Rock, my Savior!” (2 Samuel 22:47 NIV).
Excerpted from Give Thanks With a Grateful Heart: Daily Devotions From the Greatest Praise and Worship Songs of All Time, Songs 4 Worship series (Integrity Publishers, www.integritypublishers.com). Reprinted with permission.