Holy Week thoughts on Luke 22:19

Early Christians we’re accused of being cannibalistic, eating of Jesus body. Jesus calls us to walk this road of suffering with Him. Friday his body will break and he will die. The earth will shake. We remember there’s no resurrection without suffering. He suffered because of what we have done. We take communion or The Lord’s Supper to remember. His body was broken for us. This is obedience.

In seminary I helped with a church plant in a poor neighborhood. We advertised The Lord’s supper for the first time. One person called asking what they should bring to this supper. Obviously we hadn’t prepared them enough! We explained they should eat before they come and just bring themselves.

To communion we bring ourselves, our suffering, our pain, our sin.

We also bring our commitment, our obedience, our loyalty and anything else. Jesus wants it all.

Last night I took communion with my church family to remember. Let us never forget!

Signing Up to Get Your Heart Broken, This is Ministry

Some of our kids are dead:  gang shootings, domestic violence, a hit and run at night where he was left for dead like he was trash.

Some of our kids are in jail:  gangs, violence, drugs, theft, fraud.

Some of our kids are in foster care: Mom chose her sex offender boyfriend over her children, domestic violence, addiction.

Some of our kids we’ve lost contact with, they moved away out from under our wing.

Some of our kids had a baby while they too were just a baby.

One 5 year old told me he has 5 daddies and is getting a new Mexican daddy.  “Aren’t I lucky?”

 

ALL of our kids heard the Gospel from us.

It is our greatest gift to them: The Gospel Message.

The Greatest Hope of all.

The one thing we know we can stand on, trust, hang our lives upon: The Gospel.

 

God is good all the time.

Unwavering,

Solid,

Overwhelming Love, the kind that loves even when we fail.

 

Humans are unfaithful.

Humans are sinful.

Humans are selfish.

Humans want to be God.

 

How can dirty mankind come together with a Holy, unblemished God?

This seems impossible, but God did it!

God provided a way.  Why?   He loves.

He sacrificed Himself, He died, He arose on the third day, He heals, He restores, He guides and directs.   He can set us FREE.

 

The Gospel is alive and will never die.

May we never keep it to ourselves!

May the seeds we share grow into beauty that will spread out other seeds that will grow too.

To God be the glory!

 

Our children pray for the salvation of their parents.

Our children pray their families will go back to the way they were before all the bad things happened.

Our children pray for a parent in jail.

Our children pray they can save their mom from killing herself.

Our children pray for us, they thank God for us.  They thank God for all He has done for them.

 

Some of our kids graduated high school!

Some of our kids are working and supporting themselves.

Some of our kids are in college.

One did his senior project on how to share the Gospel.

One plays football for a well-known college campus on full scholarship.

One is married, has children and attends church regularly.

One is headed to Hawaii in the Marines and asked for prayer to live out his faith in the military.

One wrote us a note thanking us for laying the foundation for him to find Jesus Christ.  He expressed his faith has brought him great joy.

Signing up to get your heart broken:  It’s what Jesus did. Ministry does this to us too.

All experiences cited in this poem are fruits of Multi-Housing Ministries of Asheboro that was birthed in 1997.

 

 

 

 

Guidelines for Helping Others: Being Approached by a Beggar Part 1

“Do I know you?”  “What church do you go to?”  “Maybe that’s where I know you from?”  My friend responded saying she attended First Baptist and the conversation ensued in the aisle of a dollar store. The man then told her his car needed repair and asked her to buy him a certain belt for his car that he needed.  It only cost $17.99.

These situations are uncomfortable for us.  Random people in our communities reach out to us for money.  Of course Christians who take their faith seriously genuinely care about people in need, so how do we make the best decisions in these situations?  If we say no, we worry we might be putting our personal safety at risk.  We also worry we might be contributing to an addiction.  If my friend purchased a belt for this man he could easily return it and use the money for something else.  How he will pay for his vehicle to be repaired if he cannot afford $17.99 for a belt?  Or maybe, this isn’t really about a belt at all? How are we to trust what a stranger that we just met tells us?  How do we avoid being scammed as scamming is all over the place in our society today?  What’s the best thing to do in these situations?  We all want to obey God by caring for people.  What’s the best course of action?  These situations require us to think fast on our feet as we don’t ever feel prepared for something like this.

Here are some principles I seem to operate from in these situations:

  1. I never give cash. I never give cash because I don’t want to be a part of enabling someone in an addiction.  Many people who approach others for money struggle with substance abuse and I don’t believe it’s the best choice to hand cash.  We cannot truly know what the situation is in just one encounter with someone.
  2. Listen with compassion. Jesus had compassion and we need to learn to be compassionate and less judgmental in these situations.  Listen and find something they are sharing that you can apply in number 3 below.
  3. Offer to pray for this person right then and there. Most people appreciate a prayer and praying over someone in the moment they are reaching out for a need can open the door the Holy Spirit to work in someone’s life.  Many people are brought to tears when I pray for them in the moment.  Anyone reaching out for money has needs and  generally will share them.
  4. Feed someone and share a conversation together. If the person indicates they need money for food, sometimes I offer to go to a nearby restaurant and share a meal with them over conversation where you have the opportunity to get more deeply involved. Many people have declined my offer.  In that situation I know they’re not really hungry and they just want cash.  I never offer food without building a relationship with that person.  See # 6 for more on this.
  5. Assess needs and refer accordingly. I’m glad to assess the situation and refer someone to a local agency to help with their needs.  These agencies deal with this all the time and have records of needs and can assess much better than I can in a cold turkey situation. We have a tremendous amount of organizations that meet many kinds of needs in our community.  Know these organizations well and refer people as you have conversations and learn about needs.
  6. Offer transportation help to a local agency where they can get the help they need. As a woman I never do this if I’m alone.  If I’m with someone I ask them if it would be ok to transport someone to an organization where they can get help and we proceed from there.  I certainly am dependent on discernment for this one.  If I’m feeling led to do this I do it.  If not, I don’t.

My friend did not buy this man a belt and I’m glad she didn’t.  The way he approached her asking personal questions trying to make a connection probably indicates he has done this many times before.    Asking for cash is an art form and a craft that can be perfected.  Genuinely help people, but let’s not get scammed into contributing to someone’s addiction.  When we’re able to engage someone we cannot stop there.  Be on the lookout for part 2 and 3 about how to take these relationships into a positive healing community experience.  Let’s not grow weary of doing good and press on together!

 

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