The book of James is famous for its reminder that "faith without works is dead."
I listened to an interview recently where the guest speaker spoke about the idea of "Is there dust on my shoes?" In other words, we can walk around in our good clothes and enjoy the 'tour', or we can step off the groomed path and get our shoes dirty as we experience life close-up.
How about you? How are you planning to put your faith into action in 2010? It may be a missions trip or maybe it's helping a neighbor clean their garage. Let's share our ideas.
I'll start: My 20-year-old daughter and I just booked plane tickets to Mozambique for a month-long mission's trip. We're going to visit a mission station where my niece is a nurse and just help where we can.
I've no doubt that you already do, Bruce. If we are living the life in Christ that we should, we should always have muddy feet...God bless you, brother.
I'm just throwing this out there to see if people have some specific plans for the upcoming months. Or maybe to spur some of us on to giving it some serious thought. And it doesn't have to be a big thing that costs a lot...maybe it's playing music at a senior's home, or visiting the extended care unit, or serving soup next month at the local mission.
Yea, my wife and I do the senior nursing home every month. We like to bring in fun stuff for them, always have a theme like "pajama party", "Saint's month" (we New Orleans Saints fans), "bake a cake", etc. but we encorporate a message with the theme. They think we're putting on a show. They love it. My wife also does hair once a week there so we're well known and liked by the senior community.
I would say that my wife and I have always had the gift of "hospitality". We taken in so many people to live in our house, I've lost count. No kidding. There's pretty much an open door policy at home. I don't know that too many people knock anymore.
This one got me thinking, few twinges of guilt really, don't seem to have much dust on my feet.
Kinda like Bruce really, the Lord works through me that way too... I tend not to plan.... but then it lead to me thinking about my family circumstances. work and all that, and I realised that I have always had to keep the balance right within my marriage etc. (my husband is a lovely, good man, but not a believer as such - it is me who has changed) so therefore I have learned just to trust in what God puts my way......... and the Lord has always paved the way for me........ or is this just an excuse for me not to plan something.?.......I better go now and do some more thinking!
I wish you every blessing with your trip Rick, and hope that you will share with us.
We're starting our first project today. It's called "Gather at the Lot". We are feeding the needy at an old Supermarket lot in our community. Our hope is that it turns in to an opportunity to not only to offer a meal but also to hang out for a while with the needy and homeless in our community. We're going to start doing it every Saturday evening. We really hope to get to know these folks better and to understand there needs. It's a big step for our folks. We've found that many folks who have started coming to our church but having gotten really involved yet are really excited about this opportunity to put their faith in action.
I'm pumped that our praise team is going to be a major player in this ministry.
As I write this I have just gotten home from an event at our church called "Love Loud". The event is an outreach designed to help needy families by having a free yard sale (everything is free). We were tremendoulsy blessed with donations of everything you can imagine with over sixty large items (refrigerators, stoves, washer & dryers, sofas, dining room tables, beds and tv's). And also several grocery voucher for $50 and $100 power bill vouchers. Each family was given 10 tickets to put in the hat to draw for what large items they needed. The yard sale started at 11:00 at which time people were allowed to get as many small items as they wanted. They were fed lunch and given a small bag of groceries. Our worship band did worship while the people "shopped". And at 1:00 we had a short service of a few worship songs and a short message presenting the gospel. We then gave people the opportunity for people to receive Christ or recommit to Christ. Then we had the drawings for the large items. We also had teams to deliver the large items to homes without a way to transport them. Our church is a small church of about 150 out in the country. We had a huge turnout and were able to be a great blessing to those there. We got the idea of doing this at a ministry team meeting one Sunday afternoon where God gave us a vision to love in practical ways. To help without asking for anything in return. Everything for the event was donated by not only our church people but also by others who heard of the event. The undertaking of this event took an enormous amount of hard work, dedication and prayer. It was well worth it! The Spirit of God was so real throughout the event. I was so blessed I can hardly keep from crying as I think about it. Our church has found the true joy of giving and being thankful for what we have been blessed with. I am in no way bragging about what we did today because we were honored to be used by God in this way. He alone is worthy of all the glory and we take great pleasure in giving it all to Him. If you want to be used by God, you can. You can love. Be encouraged that you play a very important part in the body of Christ. Only you can fill your shoes. And be blessed!
Wow, thanks for sharing this, Steve. Far from bragging, you are giving us ideas that we can use in our own communities. My heart is filled just thinking about how much you have blessed your neighbors. This is the kind of stuff that will tell the world that we are different, and will give us the opportunity to say why we're different. It's all about Jesus loving his creation through us.
More blessed to give than to receive, Steve. I guess your church will NEVER be the same again. This experience will burn in the backs of the minds of those who got involved. And even if they ever became self-centred again, there will always be this voice within that says "Hey, you're better than that!" :)
I'm on the worship team, but my 'main' ministry in the church is as an elder. Last summer we were convicted as a board of not ministering outside the church and have dedicated this year (and beyond) to that purpose. We've met with several community organizations and have agreed to get people involved in these areas.
school mentoring program, homework tutoring program, nursing home ministries (the biggest need one facility has is getting people to the weekly bingo game, so we've committed 4-8 people per week to wheel them in, help them play, and generally make it an enjoyable experience for them), community youth night--every friday night at local center, meals on wheels and other programs for shut-ins, and a few others.
We need all the prayer we can get with this as it's a struggling church of about 120 or so people without a regular pastor that meets in a school. Most of the congregation seems excited about this, but many need to see the value of service. It's a 100% grace church and to some this looks like works. The amazing thing is how God is giving 'service' messages to the guest speakers who have no idea beforehand of our vision for the church. It's a great encouragement to us.
That's the struggle with preaching grace. The problem is that some people end up more interested in receiving grace rather than extending it and letting it labour through them (1 Cor 15:10). If you read up on church history, that is one of the problems that arose after the Protestant Reformation. People were so anti-works that they ended up fearful of anything that even vaguely looked like works. And because people were so afraid of it, you could easily get them to shut their minds in panic and reject anything just by calling it the works of the flesh, quenching the Spirit...
God bless you, Michael! May he give you the wisdom to nagivate these waters with love and compassion! :)