It was a routine trip to visit a city near by. I called a man I had met a few months before. His passion to serve hungry and homeless friends hit me in the heart. We met with one of my children as a place where all good meetings happen, Starbucks Coffee shop. It took a little over an hour for us to come up with something that blew most of us away.
A commitment was made for people from our church one a time a month to make the trip an hour north to provide a meal and meet some homeless people that we can encourage. The rest is what we call “history” as that next year over 100% of the people who attend our church served in this incredible ministry. In the years since then we have few thousands of people, and many people have accepted Jesus as their Savior.
What continues to run through my mind is the amount of people that served that year. I remember the meals we served, but I really remember that lives that were touched. Our people sat with folks, listened to their stories, prayed with them and served all kinds of people. That is what ministry is all about people …
Are you ever amazed like I am by what happened during the time of the early church (see Acts 2)? When there were needs, the followers of Jesus gave what they have to meet needs. When we get our hands dirty serving and when we give what we have to help others, we are doing what God called us to do. The people of Acts served in big ways.
They dedicated themselves to God and to serving others. They helped people no matter what it took. That is what the church is to be about. Serving is a choice leaders have to make. Not an easy choice, but it is one that will change who we are and where we are going as well as how effective we will be. Does that make sense?
Matthew Barnett gave us this advise that continues to rock my thinking about what I get to do:
"build the dreams of others then your dream will become bigger than you ever imagined" ... "you now have God's dream"
"reach the people nobody wants you'll start seeing the people everybody wants"
Our calling is not to those who do not need God. We are called to reach those reaching out for God. Lets find them. Lets do what we can with what we have and expect God to work in huge ways!
Proverbs 19:17 (nlt)
If you help the poor, you are lending to the Lord—and he will repay you!
Proverbs 21:13 (nlt)
Those who shut their ears to the cries of the poor will be ignored in their own time of need.
What are we willing to do to meet needs and see lives changed? One of the pieces we miss in ministry and in life is when we try to do something we are not called to do or try to be someone or something we are not.
Be careful not to turn other people's lives into the mold for your own --- Oswald Chambers
I want to pattern my life after the lives of people who have made a difference in the times they lived. That was true in the book of Acts. That has been true throughout all of history. If we are not finding ourselves seeing needs and having a desire to meet needs, maybe we are just not connecting to God.
James 1:26-27 (nlt)
If you claim to be religious but don't control your tongue, you are fooling yourself, and your religion is worthless. Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.
It is the right choice. Following the example of others we follow Jesus and serve those who are in need!
Matthew 9:36 (nlt)
When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.