Activist Faith

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Are you tired of the negative news in our culture? An increasing number of people are turning off the news and prefer to avoid it rather than to deal with the daily headlines of natural disasters, political controversies, and sexual scandals.

But I’m convinced there’s a better way to make a difference in the coming year. It won’t be easy, but it’s a positive alternative to tuning out information we don’t like.

Maybe you’re familiar with Gandhi’s quote “be the change you wish to see.” I’d like to add a twist to this and encourage you to “be the news you wish to see” in 2018.

Ready to make the world a better place? Here are three areas of focus for the the new year.

Focus 1: Start Where You Are

You don’t have to travel to the other side of the planet to help end poverty or war. Just begin where you are now. You can help a veteran in your own town or sponsor a child in another nation without leaving your own community.

My 15-year old son recently had the opportunity to help shop for items to send in care packages to soldiers overseas. Despite being too young to vote or serve in the military, he helped make a difference in the life of someone on the other side of the planet.

My mother-in-law is very involved as a volunteer with the Christmas Child shoe box project by Samaritan’s Purse. People fill a shoe box with items for a child in another country who would otherwise have nothing for Christmas. These children experience the joy of new gifts and the kindness of someone from another part of the world.

Focus 2: Do What You Can

It’s easy to say to list the reasons why we cannot do something. I don’t know the language. I can’t get the time off of work to serve. I don’t have the money. It’s too far away.

Rather than focusing on what you cannot do, invest in what you can do. Only able to help from you home? Send encouraging notes to people in prison or a nursing home.

Can’t travel due to a health concern? Collect food for a local food bank.

Too broke to send money to someone in need? Donate some of your unneeded items to a thrift store that helps the homeless.

There is almost always something you can do–if you are motivated to find it.

Focus 3: Partner with Others

Many of the examples above involve working together with other people or groups to make a difference. You don’t need to start a non-profit or business. Instead, you can volunteer with an existing organization or donate to a church or non-profit already active in the areas where you want to help.

It has often been said we are better together. This is certainly true when we want to make a difference in our community or our world.

I would challenge you to take 60 seconds and list as many places as you can think of where you could partner to help others. In one minute you will probably list more ways to serve that you could accomplish in a year.

Making a difference isn’t easy, but it is possible. Make 2018 the year you become part of solution instead of part of the problem. By starting where you are, doing what you can, and partnering with others, you’ll change lives in ways beyond what you thought were possible.


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Dr. Dillon Burroughs is one of America’s top communicators on today’s Christian issues. He serves as senior writer of The John Ankerberg Show and is author or coauthor of nearly 40 books. You can follow him on Facebook and Twitter. He lives with his wife and three children in Tennessee.

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