Helping the Poor (for G.F. Church)

feeding the poor

The Bible is very clear about helping those who are less fortunate.  One source I looked at suggested there are over 2,000 verses about this topic (I haven’t verified that myself).

Jesus gave many admonitions about reaching out to the poor, even at the cost of everything we own!

Even if we don’t give everything we possess, it is clear that our only motivation for helping others is to show the love of Christ and to expect  nothing in return.  See his words…

12 Then He also said to him who invited Him, “When you give a dinner or a supper, do not ask your friends, your brothers, your relatives, nor rich neighbors, lest they also invite you back, and you be repaid.
13 “But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind. (Luk 14:12-13 NKJ)

In the past we’ve done some significant things to help the poor. We have…

  • Ran a food pantry
  • Done school supply drives for less-fortunate  children
  • Given coats to the community
  • Mowed lawns throughout the community (86 one summer)

I believe we need to revisit our efforts, pray what the Lord would have us to do, and step up our efforts.  Thus, at our church meeting this Sunday, we will have some “table discussions” at our meal to brainstorm about what we can do in 2020.  While we can’t do everything, we can do something.

Here are some ideas to think about as we plan projects and ministries …

  1. What are some of the greatest human needs on the east side of the Metro area?
  2. What ministries could involve the most amount of people in our church?
  3. Something to stretch us; but not burn everyone out.
  4. Activities  in which people could donate in a variety of ways…time, money, donations.

Let’s pray for direction and wisdom.  I’m excited to hear your thoughts and how the Lord will lead!

A Walk to Remember…

Certain “walks” in life are impossible to forget – walking your child to school on the first day; a walk down an aisle for a wedding; a walk to a new job.

I had such a walk last night.  It was a walk through our church building during the hustle and bustle of our first Wednesday night for the fall.  I realized the significance of this night as I walked past the nursery and heard our Puggle’s leaders enthusiastically sharing a Bible verse with our little ones.  It dawned on me at that pause before the door that this was happening all throughout our building.   The thing people had prayed for even before we started the church were happening.  People from our sponsoring church had prayed for a year before our first service for God to start a new work in this part of town. We at Grace Fellowship had prayed for the Lord to do a work; and on this night prayers were being answered.

From that stop by the nursery I walked to the registration table where our leaders were still trying to catch up from all the new sign-ups (Praise the Lord!)  While standing there visiting with the leaders, I poked my head in the adult class where “The Story” was being taught.  Pastor Jake was teaching from Genesis about “the fall.”  There were brand new people in the class as well as many regular GF friends.

Next was a walk to the fellowship hall for AWANA game time.  Kids were running, laughing, pulling ropes, and tossing bean bags.  Who says ministry can’t be fun!  The leaders were doing a great job and my heart was further gladdened.

On the way up the stairs I stopped by the Financial Peace University class.  There were a dozen people crammed in my office watching the FPU videos and learning how to be better stewards of the money God has given them.  Harold Herr was leading them.

Next stop was the youth room.  It was full of 20+, highly energetic teenagers.  Shane and Monique were getting the year started off and going to introduce a study of “The Life of Christ.”  Oh…and there were some furious air hockey and ping pong games going on (I’m going to get in one of those soon)!

The walk also included a stop by the Cubbies, T&T, and Spark’s rooms where similar activities and learning were going on.  In each place leaders were leading; learners were learning; there was a mixture of fun, fellowship, and absorbing the Word of God.

Of course, the walk originally began in the kitchen where a crew of four or five led by Peggy Myers fixing food for the GF “Dollar Value Meal” – which tasted great.  The stroll to the eating area showed tables full of people getting ready for the night of ministry.

It is a rare privilege to be a part of something new God is doing to spread the message of His Son to a new area.  I am so thankful to know of and be a part of a group of people so committed to following Him and doing his will.

To Christ be the credit and glory!

 

tnt

 

Blog Moved to new Site

I’ve moved my blog to a new domain… http://www.shawnbarr.com.  Check it out for the new content.

Thanks for stopping by!

Shawn

It is a Prayer

A Lukewarm coffee sits beside my computer in the bagel shop.

Cars pass by the window, driven by people I only glimpse.

A smell of burnt toast wafts through the air.

A running man passes the shop window.

There’s a quick bang of a pan or two behind me in the kitchen.

A customer in nursing attire stirs creamer into her coffee at the counter. She has a black headband.

The coffee equipment is making an electrical, rattling noise.

An elderly couple graze over their food. They have careful hair; she with thick make up, and him with a shirt buttoned to his neck.

The workers are bantering at the end of their shift.

I have a message and a mandate of which to tell them.  Where do I begin?

It is a prayer.

Dueling Jesuses

pic for dueling jesuses2

“My God is a God of love; My God would not send anyone to hell!” –Oprah Winfrey

Okay Oprah lovers, forgive me in advance, but Oprah could not be more wrong with this opinion.

A few years ago I heard her make this comment after I had momentarily stopped on her show while channel surfing.  The topic of the show is irrelevant; but her comment is.

While I appreciate her sentiment of wanting a loving God (which He is) and her best desires for people (which God shares), the God she is talking about simply doesn’t exist.  While God is loving as she suggests; he is also perfectly just.

The God she holds to is a God fabricated in her own mind.  She may as well have taken a piece of wood and carved her ideal image of God and worshipped it, because this is what she has done in her  imagination.

We hear similar quotes and opinions about God, Jesus, and religion from the media and celebrities.

Specifically, everybody has an opinion of Jesus. Just do a quick Google search and you will find a plethora of ideas about Jesus. Everybody wants a Jesus who matches with their views and sentiments.  They want a “user-friendly Jesus.” There are hundreds of “dueling” Jesuses out there.

A question – does Jesus give us the liberty to define who he is and what he is like? I don’t think so.

Do we get to do this with other personalities?

Can we fabricate a fictional image of, say:

  • Abraham Lincoln?
  • Mother Teresa?
  • Ronald Reagan?
  • Barbara Walters?
  • Princess Kate Middleton?

No.

Well, I guess we do have the vampire-slaying Abraham Lincoln.  But you get the idea.  We can’t just make up what we think these very real people were or are like.

Although people might disagree about their legacy and their personalities, we have to take what they’ve said about themselves and what they’ve done to determine who they are and what they are like.  Then we can like them, hate them, or dismiss them; but we can’t make them into something they aren’t.

Jesus is no different. We do not have the liberty to “make Jesus in our own image.”  The absolutely only place we know about him is from the New Testament.  It is the only place that has any record about who he is, what is important to him, what his teachings are, what his personality is like, what his instructions are for his followers, etc.

To be honest about what Jesus is really like, we must look seriously at the source.  And once we get a picture about him from the source, a decision has to be made about whether we will believe it or not – or believe in him or not.  He can be accepted or he can be rejected.  He can also be marginalized.  The one thing that can’t be done, at least honestly, is to make him into something He is not – which is what Oprah has done.

If you want to find out who Jesus really is, jump into the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John).

And yes, Oprah, Jesus does love us and he is also the coming King and Judge.

Pastors – A Lesson on Enthusiasm from Jim Harbaugh

Image

Jim Harbaugh, upon being selected as the new head coach for Stanford in 2006 (now with the 49’ers), made this statement:

“I vow I will attack this endeavor with enthusiasm unknown to mankind.”

I love it!  At heart I love the enthusiasm of successful coaches, teams, and individual athletes.  Their determination and dedication are infectious.

It goes without saying, that what we do as pastors is infinitely more important than what any coach or athlete will accomplish.  With that in mind, are you and I “attacking” our responsibilities with “enthusiasm unknown to mankind?”

Don’t get me wrong – I’m not talking about ministering in our flesh or outside the direction of the Holy Spirit.  In fact, I’m suggesting exactly the opposite – to be so full of the Holy Spirit, of God-derived courage, and of motivation from an anointed calling that our enthusiasm is God instilled and just as infectious.

Pastors, I hear the same whispers you do.  Around every corner there is always a naysayer telling you to “calm down” or to “to take it slow.”  They say things like:

  • Don’t be too ambitious.
  • Don’t get ahead of God.
  • Don’t try to be the Holy Spirit to someone.
  • Don’t dream too large.
  • You can’t change the world.
  • We’re just a little neighborhood church.

I say, “Get thee behind me Satan!”  There is always going to be someone wanting to throw water on every spark of God-ordained enthusiasm in your church and life.  Rebuke them in the name of the Lord! God did not call you or me to be timid, passive, or to think small. We serve the King of Kings who has called us to serve in His Kingdom!

Consider these thoughts …

1)      You are a servant-leader in the one thing Jesus said he would build – the Church.

2)      DL Moody said, “The world has yet to see what God can do through one man fully consecrated to Him.” You can be that man!

3)      God promised, “My Word will not return void.”

4)      You have the words of life for the walking dead.

5)      You may not have earthly cheers; but you have a “cloud of witnesses.”

6)      You stamp eternity with your work.

7)      Your prayers enter the ears of One “who does not slumber nor sleep.”

8)      Size is relative, you’re work is “Mega” in the eyes of God.

9)      That little boy or girl, man or woman saved this week will be the cause of a celestial party.

10)   You are on the team of the eternal God of the universe.

For those who say, “how sappy and over-enthusiastic”.  I say, “I hope so.”

I pray that you and I will take Harbaugh’s example and:

“attack our Godly endeavor with an enthusiasm unknown to Heaven.”

Hmmm…I wonder if they know?

piperyancey2

John Piper and Philip Yancey. They must have a common great, great, great relative somewhere.