Sacrificial Giving and Lottie Moon

I grew up in Southern California, the third in a family of four girls; only six years separated the oldest and the youngest. Dad worked for the federal government and Mom stayed home and supplemented his income doing in-home daycare and decorating cakes. We lived in the town that my parents grew up in. Until I was nine years old we lived in a 2-bedroom house; in 1968 we moved into what I thought at the time was a mansion, four bedrooms on a cul-de-sac. It was the California Dream.

That cul-de-sac housed nine families, including about 23 children. Gosh, the memories… playing softball until zero dark thirty, using the manhole cover in the middle of the street as home plate, watching the family of teenaged boys two doors down race around the sidewalk on their roller skates, it was our own personal roller derby. But the family we played with the most lived across the street. Nine children were in that family, and I remember looking at my mom and saying, “why do they have a new car, how do they have brand new clothes in the latest fashion?” I’ll never forget her answer, which by the way was a stock answer for many things my sisters and I asked for, she’d say “I have other things to do with our money.” Not a very satisfying answer as far as I was concerned, but later, years later, it made sense.

We were the family that was at church all the time. Dad was Chairman of the Deacons, he was Sunday School Director for several years and always taught a Sunday School class. Mom taught a Sunday school class, Women’s Bible Study, G.A.s and she was in the choir. We were at every Sunday service, morning and night and never missed a Wednesday.

As I grew up into my middle school and high school years, I started to understand what Mom meant when she said “I have other things to do with my money.” Sending four girls to GA Camp, Youth Camp and all the school activities wasn’t easy. But Mom had a plan. In her room in the dresser drawer where she kept jewelry, handkerchiefs and scarves, there were lots of envelopes and all those envelopes had words on them. They would say things like Vacation, Camp, Shoes… some even said Roseanne, Stephanie, Penny or Pam. Those envelopes were filled with $1 bills, $5 bills, $10 bills and occasionally a $20 bill, just waiting to be needed. It may not have been every bit needed, but it was a start and it was planned.

Another envelope was there as well, this one was titled Offerings, not Tithe… Offerings. This was money set aside for the Annie Armstrong and Lottie Moon offerings. And when those special times rolled around each year at Easter and Christmas, it wasn’t a surprise and it wasn’t a burden. The money was there to support those ministries. Yes, there were other things we could have done with our money, but my parents made the choice to give to missions. So yes, it was a sacrificial gift, but it wasn’t a burden, because it was planned and budgeted for. It was a gift freely given (an offering) because it was given to a ministry that we believed in and wanted to support.

Partnership in the Gospel

In the beginning of the letter of Philippians, Paul thanks God for the saints in Philippi, and in particular for their “partnership in the gospel from the first day until now.” Paul is thankful that the church of Philippi has partnered with him in order to advance the gospel to the nations (The Great Commission). Their partnership probably included a multitude of things but we can narrow it down to prayer and financial giving.

When I was going through seminary, my wife and I were able to pray for particular missionaries that our church had partnered with, but we found it difficult to give directly to that cause. We had been giving joyfully a portion of our income to our local church, but we wanted to come up with a plan to give directly to brothers and sisters on the ground that were doing the hard work of advancing the gospel in difficult places.

We were limited in income and I was limited in time, working part-time ministry and doing full-time school. However, I had a background in landscape design and installation and was fairly handy with doing odd jobs. With that background, I was able to take small landscaping jobs that I could start and complete on Friday’s and Saturday’s in order to bring in income that could go directly to the Lottie Moon offering. I was able to find some other random jobs to give to this effort as well. This extra income was not to make ends meet or to start a savings account or to get the best new product on the market. The goal for doing these jobs was so that I could directly partner with others to advance the gospel to the nations.

The exciting thing about this was that I was able to help some other college students from my church to think outside the box in how they could also take odd jobs to join in on this partnership in the gospel. A few guys helped me do the landscaping jobs, others started picking up extra shifts and over time to give directly to the gospel. Some picked up house sitting and pet sitting jobs to partner in the gospel. By God’s grace in the year of 2016, 30 college students gave over $10,000 to the Lottie Moon offering. This offering is what I prefer to give money to because it goes directly to the men and women on the ground doing the difficult work of advancing the gospel in difficult places.

Angel Tree at Foothills

We are once again partnering with Angel Tree to provide gifts to children who have a mom or dad in prison. Through Angel Tree, Foothills has the opportunity to help a child strengthen his/her relationship with a parent by providing a present on behalf of the prisoner.

When a parent is in prison, their children often suffer in silence, unseen by many. Through Angel Tree, we are able to answer the requests and prayers of an incarcerated parent for the sake of their children, in our community and beyond. We are also privileged to deliver those gifts to the family, and have the opportunity to show and share the love of Christ with them!

Beginning November 26, you can select a tag from the Foothills trees located in the Lobby or Fellowship Hall. Once you’ve selected a tag, purchase the gift listed and return it to the church no later than December 10. All gifts should be returned unwrapped and should cost no more than $25.

To volunteer to deliver gifts, call the church office, 480-759-2118, as there is a little training involved. To volunteer to wrap gifts, please come to the Wrapping Party on Thursday, December 14 from 7-9pm in the Fellowship Hall. Wrappers, please bring your own scissors.

If you have any questions, please email Penny Wilson.

Leading Your Family and Remembering the Lost

It doesn’t matter your season of life to feel the truth of the statement “life is busy.” At times that busyness clouds my perception of truths or pursuits that really matter. One such truth is the reality of lostness around the world. One such pursuit is getting the good news of Jesus to people around the world that don’t have access to it.

Around Christmastime at Foothills, we hear the name Lottie Moon a lot as her name marks the annual International Mission Board offering that goes towards funding the pursuit of taking the good news to the world. But that pursuit and truth shouldn’t just enter into our minds around December—it should be a detail that we think about regularly. But with the busyness of life it often doesn’t get the “face-time” in the Millican family as it should. So here are several ways I’m trying to lead my family to be more aware of international missions:

  1. We pray. As a family we pray for missionaries by thanking God for their obedience and praying for their families and ministries. On our fridge are magnets and pictures highlighting friends that serve around the world.
  2. We budget. As a family we start planning for the December international missions offering 12 months out by setting aside an amount of money each month.
  3. We read. As a family we read resources that point our hearts to Jesus. Resources such as the Jesus Storybook Bible, Big Picture Story Bible and Long Story Short, remind us of the world’s need for Jesus and our need too.

Happening at Foothills

Growth in any relationship is a challenge and God has given us His church as a community through which we all grow together. Through prioritizing relationships with a church family, you experience the community that God meant for you to enjoy all along. You will see that when you are part of a church community, amazing things can happen. This is what we mean when we say, “We Are Better Together.”

We encourage you to get plugged into our church and here are a few ways you can do that.

 


Angel Tree
November 26 – December 10

We participate in Angel Tree through Prison Fellowship to care for these children on behalf of their parent. On November 26, we will have two Angel Trees in the foyer with 50 tags for 50 families – that’s representing about 125 children! Each tag will have a requested gift that is due on December 10.

There are two opportunities you can sign up for: the Wrapping Party on December 14 and Gift Delivery December 20-24. Sign up to participate at Guest Services.


Snowy Night
December 9

This will be the Ahwatukee Christmas event that you will not want to miss. It’s free, open to the public and will be a truly one-of-a-kind evening. We may live in a desert but that doesn’t mean we can’t have snow! This year Foothills Baptist Church is bringing the snow to you at our Snowy Night at Foothills.

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Lottie Moon
December 10

Lottie Moon is the name given to the international missions offering we participate in every Christmas. Lottie was just like today’s missionaries, laboring tirelessly to tell people about Jesus.

Your contribution to the Lottie Moon Offering will provide direct funding to real people who are doing the physical work of delivering the gift of Jesus to people who don’t know him. This is a gift that changes the world… literally.

Our Goal for 2017 = $50,000

The Impact of the Rio Vista Center

This September Foothills kicked off our month-long Food Drive for the Rio Vista Center. The goal that Rio Vista passionately pursues is to build a stronger, more stable community, and we are proud to be able to help them accomplish this. The center offers many programs that greatly benefit our city and community, programs such as emergency food boxes, clothes, a job center and New Life Pregnancy Center.

Many lives have been changed thanks to this amazing organization. In this video, we see this transformation as Brian shares his story of drug addiction, alcoholism, and how he met God.

This Fall at Foothills

You are not meant to live life alone. God has a much bigger purpose for you. The God of the entire universe knows you and the desire of His heart is to be in a growing relationship with you. How do we grow a relationship with a God whom we can’t see? Through His Word.

Growth in any relationship is a challenge and God has given us His church as a community through which we all grow together. Through prioritizing relationships with a church family, you experience the community that God meant for you to enjoy all along. When we come together to worship, amazing things can happen. This is what we mean when we say, “We Are Better Together.”

Summer is coming to an end and Fall is upon us. That means that our mid-week services are returning!

We encourage you to get plugged into our church this Fall and here are a few ways you can do that.


Foothills Group
Starts August 20

Foothills Groups are smaller communities of individuals from a variety of backgrounds and different ages coming together to know, love and share the life of Jesus with each other and the world. Groups meet at various locations.


Men’s Bible Study
Mondays, 5:00-6:30pm
August 21-November 13

Men, join us for a bible study starting on Monday, August 21 at 5pm.


Women’s Bible Study – Tuesday Mornings
Tuesdays, 9:00-11:00am
August 22-November 14

Ladies, we invite you to join us for an 11-week discovery of Genesis chapters 1-11. You will come to know your Creator in a deeper way and grow in your worship of Him. You will gain insights into who you are in relationship to Him, and a more complete understanding of your own purpose and how to live.

Our Tuesday Morning Women’s Groups begin on August 22 @ 9am in the Foothills Baptist Church Fellowship Hall.

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Women’s Bible Study – Thursday Evenings
Thursdays, 6:30-8:00pm
August 24-November 16

Ladies, we invite you to join us for an 11-week bible study. Our Thursday Evening Women’s Groups begin on August 24 @ 6:30pm in the Foothills Baptist Church Fellowship Hall.

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The Kitchen
Wednesdays, 5:45-6:30pm
August 23-November 15

Wednesday nights are busy at Foothills – choir, youth group, Awana and Growth Groups all meet at on site. Gathering together is a value for us and with the creation of The Kitchen we gather for dinner at 5:45pm to 6:30pm every Wednesday during the school year for dinner together.

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AWANA
Wednesdays, 6:30-8pm
August 23-November 15

You have a strong desire for your child to know and understand who Jesus is. Often we are still figuring out, as adults, how what Jesus did impacts our lives; giving our children a head start is how we do what’s best for them.

Parents have different conversations with their children about Christ but there is a feeling and desire to build upon those conversations with age appropriate activities done in groups of other kids. Awana is that group.

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Student Ministry
Wednesdays, 6:30-8pm
August 23-November 15

The relationships that students build during middle and high school go a long way to shape how they view themselves, the world and their faith. You, as a parent, want your child to have a foundational understanding of Christ before they grow up and graduate and Student Ministry at Foothills is here to partner with you.

Our midweek gathering is a central part of our ministry. This is a great opportunity to meet friends, share in the journey of faith and have adult leaders available to provide appropriate spiritual growth opportunities.

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MOPS
Every other Thursday, 9:00-11:00am
August 24-November 16

This journey of motherhood is best traveled with others. Here at MOPS, we want to do just that – provide you with a tribe of supportive women as you navigate the world of motherhood, faith and life together. MOPS, which stands for “Mothers of Preschoolers,” is for moms with one or more children ages birth through kindergarten. Our local MOPS program is part of an international movement to locally connect moms, no matter their personal or faith background, who share this common bond of raising little ones. Whether you are a working, stay-at-home, rural, urban, adoptive, single or married mom, MOPS is for you.

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Vacation Bible School Recap

Vacation Bible School is officially a wrap! After five days full of fun activities and sharing the Gospel, VBS is one for the books. Many families were blessed as we were able to introduce Jesus to children and families who do not yet know and trust him.

Our Children’s Minister, Jeanne Nation, is here to give you a rundown of the impact this annual tradition has made at Foothills.


What a great time we had at Vacation Bible School this last week! Our theme was Galactic Starveyors: Discovering the God of the Universe.

We had an average of 251 kids each day (Babies-5th grade). I want to say a huge “Thank You!” to the 100+ volunteers who helped make VBS a success.

One of the main reasons we do VBS is to reach the un-churched. We had 283 kids registered for VBS, and 64 of those kids did not list a church that they regularly attend. We will follow up with those families to invite them to Awana and engage them in other activities.

Our leaders were able to have Gospel conversations with 46 kids during the week; 9 of the kids prayed to trust Christ for forgiveness of their sins! That’s what VBS is all about!

During the week, we took up a missions offering to raise money to buy water filters for Southeast Asia. During the week, the kids collected a total of $1,030. We had an anonymous donor who graciously agreed to match the kids’ donations. With that money, we will be able to purchase 135 water filters for a village in Southeast Asia. A team from our church will be able to distribute those in their upcoming trip in April 2018. As a result of the kids reaching their goal, Cody Bishop (our new young adult pastor) and I covered each other with slime to celebrate the money raised.

Thank you to all the leaders who served in VBS, especially those who took vacation time or rearranged their work schedules. Thank you to the students – without your help, VBS would not be possible. Thank you to those who could not be here during the week but supported us in prayer!

Better Together Marriage Conference in Ahwatukee

On April 22 & 23 Foothills Baptist Church in Ahwatukee is hosting the Better Together Marriage Conference. Our city is known for its high capacity leaders and achievers and these leaders all understanding how to move from point A to point B in just about anything.

Click here to register now for the Better Together Marriage Conferenceclick here for more details

The Better Together Marriage Conference is an event meant to help equip couples with the same type of plan for marriage growth that those living in Ahwatukee are accustomed to having when it comes to their businesses and achievements.

In this conversation, Pastor Nate Millican of Foothills Baptist Church in Ahwatukee, Phoenix, Arizona and his wife, Lauren, talk about the need for ongoing growth and development of the marriage commitment and how the Better Together Marriage Conference at Foothills Baptist Church is an extension of that investment.

Audio not working? Click here to listen on SoundCloud

Gaining a healthy understanding of what God has to say about marriage is the first step to creating a relationship that is full of love, grace and truth – and the Better Together Marriage Conference is an opportunity to step into that understanding.

Like many other locations in the US married couples who know how to grow and develop their individual careers, their children or their financial portfolios have very little plan on how to grow and cultivate a healthy marriage.

Have I Met with God Today?

I want to provide some tools to equip you and my own heart about how to better answer the question, “Have I met with God today?”

One of our measures at Foothills is, “Have I met with God today?” What we mean by that is, “Have I spent time reading God’s word and have I spent time in conversation with God, what we call prayer?”

Two Questions to Ask Yourself As You Read Scripture

What I want to do is try and model how you can do that with a bit more confidence. I’m going to read Exodus 20:1-2 and I am going to ask two questions. The first question is this, “Is there any thought about God, himself?” Is there any truth about God? Is there any characteristic about God that we see in the scriptures?

The second question is this, “How does God do the same for us, only better, in the person and the work of Christ?”

So let’s read Exodus 20:1-2.

And God spoke all these words, saying: “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.”

Answering, “Is there any thought about God, himself?”

So, first question, “Is there any thought about God, himself?” We certainly see and understand that God was attentive and heard the cries and prayers of his people. He saw their anguish and saw their suffering and because God is compassionate, loving, merciful and gracious, he powerfully and sovereignly goes and rescues them. So there are many truths that we see about God.

I try to have a journal and pen close by to write things down that I want to remember about who God is.

Answering, “How does God do the same for us through Jesus?”

The second question, “How does God do the same for us, only better, in the person and the work of Christ?” If you fast forward to the New Testament, you see throughout the Gospels and Paul’s epistles that Christ has come to set us free. Not from physical bondage or physical slavery but from the spiritually oppressive weight and authority of sin.

Romans 6 tells us that we had a task master, sin, but we have been redeemed, rescued, forgiven and now we have a benevolent, gracious, kind master, who is Jesus.

So how does God do the same for us, only better in Christ? He has redeemed us, purchased us, saved us, rescued us from the oppressive rule and penalty of sin.

In Conclusion

When you’re asking and answering the question, “Have I met with God today?” one of the ways you can answer that question is by spending time talking about, “Is there a thought I’ve seen about God in the scriptures?” as well as, “Is there a truth about what God has done for us, only better, in the person and the work of Christ?

I hope that encourages you.