2 Corinthians 6:10 (nlt) --- Our hearts ache, but we always have joy. We are poor, but we give spiritual riches to others. We own nothing, and yet we have everything.
Colossians 3:16 (nlt) --- Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives...
It has taken me a while to finish putting these thoughts together and to let my mind and heart settle. I cannot say enough about how good God is. For the past 3 years my heart has been over flowing with some new things, some things I have not been able to be part of in the past and more. What we as a church do, beleive we are called to do and did through the back2school outreach may not seem like a risk but would have been some time ago.
From where I sit looking at back2school 09, I'm amazed at what God does. He shows up in some of the strangest events. Even in the chaos there is a sweet overflow of God Himself. He takes what we think may fail and makes success out of it. God moves in the places we least expect. He fills the empty places or the needed resources that we were so stressed over. Finally, when we let go seeing that we followed Him, God gets the glory, and God changes lives.
I went to a Raceway Ministries meeting this past January in Alabama where I learned about Samaritan's Feet through Ron Pegram. What I heard sent my heart and mind racing. I honestly remember tears filling my eyes when I started thinking about blessing 500 kids with brand new shoes. God put that together. Even when Ron learned that he is battling prostate cancer and would have to be in treatment far from us on the day of event, God showed up blessing us with Patrick and Chesed Berry. The Berry's were a God-send and will be great friends for a long, long time. God is using Samaritan's Feet and our partners there to help life change continue in our community.
Fact is, I believe God is raising up more partnerships so that next year thousands of kids in Henry County, Virginia will be served when they are ready to go back to school.
A few weeks ago we were unsure where all the socks would come from. Word got out. We shared with some people, yet most just heard through the grape vine. It seemed like every day someone would come by the church, catch us in the parking lot or something like that handing us a bag full of socks or maybe a check of $30 to buy them. How amazing it was to watch God orchestrate this happening.
Nicholas came through the door this past Saturday morning. He is a quiet kid and pretty shy. I noticed him coming out of the story time, and he hid behind his mom when he saw me. My job was to make kids smile and to connect with them and the people with them. In the next few minutes Nicholas and I connected. We talked. I was there when his feet were washed, even though it took some convincing to let that happen. I saw him receive his new backpack. Right before this little guy was to leave us, I asked if I could take his picture. He was beaming. Look HERE.
Lots and lots of stories came out of this weekend that I wish you could hear. Saturday have come and gone. But it is not over. We still have 20 or so kids that need shoes. These are the size shoes that we ran out of. 10 of those pairs have yet to be purchased. Want to get in on this? A new pair costs $10-15 at the local Wal-Mart. Call me or email to join in the back2school giving fun.
But it is not over. Tuesday brought us some more blessings. Yesterday we spent some time with a family that could not be here Saturday. They are from Albania and you should hear the story this family has to share. 4 kids from 1st grade through the 8th grade, 3 girls and 1 boy. We went through the process from the story to shoes, clothes to backpacks. They were excited. One of the girls touched my heart. She was giddy and funny. I told her that I was going to cut her hair. We had fun kidding about that. But the look on her face and the hug before she left put a huge mark on my heart.
There are people around us all the time, not just at the start of the school year, that need our hearts. Not always money or things tied to what we do. We need to be tied to giving people the hope that can only come from knowing Jesus. From where I sit looking at back2school 09 there are over 730 people who were offered hope, some for the first time. We must offer hope every day.
We introduced our people to SERVolution back at Easter time. back2school is a SERVolution event big time. That is an awesome word created from "revolution" and "serving". Jesus did it. We can to. We are to create a revolution by serving people. SERVolution is not a one time event. It is a way of living. Are we willing to be people who always give?
From where I sit looking at back2school 09 God not only was lifted up, but God began a work in over 100 volunteers to serve daily. My prayer is that some of those lives will never ever be the same. My prayer is also that some of our volunteers will make our leaders sick of hearing their requests to serve. Do you understand? From where I sit looking at back2school 09 it is evident that God showed up, God showed off, and God is not done yet!