Proverbs 8:32 NLT
And so, my children, listen to me, for all who follow my ways are joyful.
The smiles, the incredible smiles. Do you see the pictures on the chalkboard above? I am overwhelmed as I look through all the pictures people have posted on Facebook from back2school 2013. To watch the wrap up video is too much because the tears won’t stop rolling (go here https://vimeo.com/71656451 to see it). If you were part of the event, any part of it in giving, serving, praying or anything, you are going to be blessed because God showed up and showed us His glory.
Better yet, God showed lots of kids how much He loves them. It makes my day to watch a quiet little one walk in the door to what seems like a huge place with all the fast stuff going on only to see them a half hour later with a smile on their face, new shoes on their and for them to be excited. We saw that over and over and over and over.
We also enjoyed the sweetness of watching our friends and family at church go the 2nd and 3rd mile to make this event happen. Everyone is important from the students we serve and their families, to the church leaders who began and did the planning, to the volunteer teams who worked long hours this past week. It would not have happened without each one doing their part. God used everyone and every piece to point all to His best, His glory and to the potential that He has build in to our lives. There is more to come.
I never dreamed we would be where we are today. My favorite part of the registration days and the big event is traveling to all of the locations and interacting with the 1,000’s of people taking part in the event. I saw kids at all six churches that were being served. I was blessed by that. I saw workers at all six churches who were amazed at all that took place. I was so blessed by that. I listened to stories. I even heard about some problems with the process and even a few with some people who weren’t happy, but there weren’t many of those.
As I sit here writing or downloading my back2school 2013 thoughts I am grateful that God allows me, and us, to be part of what He is doing in so many people’s lives. Over the past week I have several times taken off one my stinky shoes and said, “this is a tool”. The backpack with school supplies is a tool. The clothes and the haircuts are tools. They are tools that God put in our hands to bless others with, and by sharing those tools we win the right to talk about Jesus with the people we are serving.
There is no telling how many of those students we will get interact with again. Maybe that will be at the school where we go to a ball game or event. Maybe we will see them at the store or at an eating-place. Maybe we will see them in heaven. Those smiles again are incredible. Those smiles and the hope we shared make the hard work and long days worth it all. Would you agree?
The years to come are going to be big for back2school, and I am looking for some people who are willing to step up and be used by God to impact many lives for His good. Maybe you know of some people who will provide resources. Maybe you know of a church, maybe your church, that would like to be part of the event. Even if you aren’t in Southside Virginia you can pull off an event like this, and we will help you do it.
You cannot imagine all the stories I have heard this past weekend of how God used back2school in the lives of the many people I have spent time with. These are stories of passion for people, love for God and lives being touched in very simple ways. God wants to do this more and more.
I leave you with a thought I cannot get rid of. What would happen if more churches would partner together with a common goal, put down our labels and personal agendas, and serve the people right around us? What would happen who be more unity in the church, more passion to help people and more glory to our God. I’m for that. How about you?
1 John 3:17 NLT
If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion—how can God’s love be in that person?
Matthew 5:16 NASB
Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.
Let me know if you would like to help with next year’s back2school outreach by sending me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. I will share more stories as well as the numbers of people involved in the event in the coming days.
3 John 1:4 NLT
I could have no greater joy than to hear that my children are following the truth.