Sunday, November 4, 2007

To the ends of the earth...

My heart is a little tender today. For the past couple weeks our pastor has been delivering some powerful messages about serving others. The stage in front of our auditorium is set as an old time gas station and there are even old cars parked outside our church to set this tone of an old time Full Service gas station. Full service in a self-service world. At the core of this message is how do we serve others in such a self-serving world? Good question!

Last week really was BIG. AMAZING. WOW. UNBELIEVABLE. Our pastor talked about money, but this was not just any talk about tithing. It was reverse tithing. He suggested we find something to do with our money to impact the community. Then they passed out $35,000 divided by bills of $10's, $20's, $50's, $100's and even $500 in one envelope. The buzz among the congregation was cool. I was most amazed that our church trusts us so much to do the right thing with this money that they handed it out. My husband and I each got a $10 bill as did many of the 4000 people that attend our church on a weekend. This is called the "Mina Project" based on the parable of the Ten Mina's.

So, our pastor challenged us to take this money and invest it or grow it somehow, to be creative and then do the following:

  • 1. Give it to someone who needs it in our community
  • 2. Do it by Christmas time
  • 3. Then tell the story of what we did so we can celebrate it.
There are already some great stories on our website at Hope.

We have not yet decided what we will do with our money, although, we have talked with a couple others about combining the money, growing it somehow and finding a worthy cause locally. I will keep you posted on this because I am so excited about this opportunity!

This week he followed up with an amazing message about global missions. They showed two videos that moved me beyond words. The first video shows all of these children in impoverished areas and they say their own names. The language is different but the sweet voice of a child is the same. I could almost hear my own children say their names. We have all seen the similar photos of these kids at one time in our life, but to give names to those faces!?!?!? That was huge for me. They are not just "them" and "us". We are all named by God and God's heart beats for the world (John 3:16). How much do you think his heart breaks to see these children in such poverty when there are so many resources in the world to care for them?

The second was the most devastating to my heart. I saw it earlier this summer and could not get it out of my head. Believe it or not, I never want to forget it and today I was reminded why. It is a video of a girl, maybe 3 or 4 wondering the streets of a city in India where she finds a corner in an alley to roll out this dirty blanket she has, then she lays a little pillow down and then she lies on the pillow and blanket to fall asleep. People are just walking by like she is not even there. It ends. This video is raw footage, uncut. I was sobbing as you can imagine.

I wish I could find these videos to link here, but I can't. I wish every single person could see them.

Acts 1:8 (NIV)
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."

Our pastor ended today with a few questions to ask ourselves.
  • What obligation to I have to bring God's kingdom to earth?

  • Am I going to focus on myself or am I going to focus on the world around me?

  • Am I a self-serving Christian or a full service Christian? (Luke 9:23)
I am not a political person. In all honesty, politics just frustrate me. So, I don't even to attempt to understand these countries governments and the role of the USA in helping them. But I am a Christ follower and Jesus says for His church to take care of the poor, the hungry, the underprivileged. It is the only area that he says we will be judged. (Matthew 25:34-36) He does not say this is government's responsibility, but the church. I am the church.

After this service today, I helped my friend with a Compassion booth. Compassion is an organization that helps folks like you and me to sponsor children in these impoverished countries. It was awesome to see all 45 kids sponsored today in about 30 minutes.

I have posted a link to Compassion to the side. Check it out and reach out to the ends of the earth.

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