Romans 15:6 NLT
Then all of you can join together with one voice, giving praise and glory to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
This has been a great week of dreams coming true, new friends gathering, leaders leading and God answering prayers. It really is hard to put all of this in to words, but I would like to share some of it with you.
One night this week I was sitting with a group of people who had come together to open a winter homeless shelter. The conversation the first three nights of this week was all over the place, but it was the second night that pushed me over the proverbial edge.
Around the small room were people that have a common goal. They share a heart to serve the people of our community. There were five of us. One was a man from the Methodist church uptown. Another was from one of the Disciples of Christ churches. With us was the pastor and leader of the Salvation Army where the shelter was opened. Across from me was a pastor friend from a Presbyterian church in our town. And then there was me, the Baptist guy trying to make a difference in our community. We are all trying to make a difference in our community through doing what Jesus did … serve people and share His love.
What a huge reminder I got as we talked about so many things that night. For several years I have planned, pushed and dreamed about opening a homeless shelter in our community as men and families don't have a place when there is a need. The people in the room weren’t all from our church. There were several from our church helping with this project and meeting needs. But this is the picture of THE church. Not your church or mine. This is a picture of Jesus’ church when people from different backgrounds and vocations come together to do something.
We came together to impact our community. It was kind of like a group of people lining up along a short cliff to jump into a river or a lake. The bigger the group, the bigger the splash. We had been meeting for several weeks to open a winter shelter to help people stay warm, but our planning was a bit behind when we came in to this week. Yet there was a cold front with single digit temperatures heading our way.
Monday morning the phone began to ring, emails were coming in and questions were flying about the need of a shelter opening that night. It really didn't seem possible to me, but within 2 hours it seemed the planets were all aligned. The Salvation Army made the decision to allow an emergency shelter to open in their facility. Our local city officials approved our request. Meals were being prepared. Press releases and TV interviews were in the works as an Emergency Winter Shelter was going to open that night and the next three nights.
What is next? There will be training for volunteers, and in the next few days we will be able to offer a winter shelter when the local temperatures are under 40 degrees. We really are only days away from this being a reality.
Remember the people around the room? They all, plus more, made this a reality. Through prayer and hard work the shelter was open. But there is something even bigger. Plans are being made and meetings are happening to make a permanent homeless shelter for men in our area a reality. Dreams, my dreams and the dreams of our church and more people, are coming true right before our eyes.
We are stronger together. It takes all of us to get involved, to pray together and to work for a common goal. When God is in the middle and the people of God join Him, the impact will be even greater. I cannot wait for what is next and how we will serve together.
What is God asked you to be part of? Maybe he is calling you to be ALL IN. That means that you and I will do what he asks and go where He leads when His call comes in. I am ready, and I am ALL IN. How about you?
Acts 1:8 NLT
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.
Titus 3:14 NLT
Our people must learn to do good by meeting the urgent needs of others; then they will not be unproductive.
As we move forward with the winter shelter and then a permanent shelter, there is a need of volunteers, money and other resources to make this happen. If you would like to join us and serve the homeless in Martinsville and Henry County, please let me know by writing me an email to email@example.com or call our church at 276-647-8231.
Here are two blog posts about this week’s shelter and the need around us:
Pastor Bradley Long’s blog post yesterday --- http://www.foresthillspc.com/1/post/2014/01/3-things-i-learned-about-homelessness.html
My blog this past Tuesday --- http://e-devotion.blogspot.com/2014/01/the-first-night-of-homeless-shelter.html
Our 2nd Saturday FREE Community Meal & Clothes Closet is this Saturday from 9am until noon (volunteers arrive at 8:30am). Pray for people to be helped and to hear about Jesus. Finally, pray for the informational meeting happening at our church tonight at 7pm about a mission trip to Nicaragua in September. Please join us if you would like.