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Monthly Archives: August 2014

Remembering John (Operation God is Love)

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Picture credit: Pinterest

Whatever you’ve done to the least of these, you’ve done unto Me,~Jesus.

Operation God is Love is a street ministry I started this Spring. The objectives are to take the Gospel into the city, to pray for people, to share Jesus, and be instruments of love. I am drawn to people no one loves. They are too dirty, broken, messed up, and outcasts of society. I look into their eyes and my heart cries out, “I see you. You are loved.

This ministry is small. It’s me and two other women who pack up supplies and hit the city month after month. We never know who we will see or what God will do. What we do know is that God is good. God is all powerful. God is love. God has empowered us to go into all the world and make disciples! The Great Commission was given to all…

John (not his real name) was a beggar and homeless man we met our first time out. He was young, maybe early thirties. He was hungry and sad. John captured my attention the moment we saw him, and we took him to get pizza.

I’ve never seen someone so undone by what I would consider reasonable kindness…a meal. The Bible says, “If your enemy is hungry, feed him.” John wasn’t an enemy. He was a hurting person who was invisible to many people who walked by.

He told us many people ignored him or looked down on him. He carried tremendous emotional pain and shame.

We asked about his life. We gave him a Bible and literature. We gave him food and supplies. We told him about Jesus. We prayed with John and his friend who showed up later. We prayed for healing of his leg. We spent an afternoon with John. Doing all we knew to do to express God’s heart.

John met his Maker a few weeks ago. He overdosed on some drug. We don’t know if it was an accident or on purpose. I do know the level of pain and shame he carried was heavy. I can’t imagine living his life story. I do remember his tears as we informed him of God’s love and redemption. I don’t know if John finally gave his life to Christ. He didn’t when we were with him.

Here’s what I do know…

It pays to stop for the one. I run into so many hurting or homeless people and sometimes it’s impossible to get to everyone. I can’t help everyone. I can help one person. I can share the Gospel with one. I can feed one. I can love one.

I don’t think I will ever forget John’s face. It’s etched in my memory. He wasn’t too dirty for me to touch. He wasn’t so lost I didn’t want to reach out. He wasn’t invisible. He was seen and loved. I was honored to share a meal with him. Honored God allowed our paths to cross. Honored to love him as a person God loves.

My encouragement to you is this…you have the ability to change someone’s life and enlarge heaven. Don’t waste it. Yes, it’s unsettling at first to reach out to strangers, but it’s worth it. I’ve found people on the street more welcoming and appreciative than people who gather in churches on Sundays. It’s far easier for me to minister to the hurting than people who think they have it all together and don’t need or want love.

Please pray for us as we continue to go out! We want to see God’s Kingdom come and His will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Heaven full! Hell empty. We can’t do everything. We can do something….

Love in Christ,

Erin

 
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Posted by on August 14, 2014 in From the Author, God's Heart

 

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Finding JOY in Giving

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Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you,~Luke 6:38.

Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too,~Phil 2:4.

One of the major causes of depression is selfishness. You might think, “No way!” Yes way. When our focus is always ourselves we will not be happy or have joy. Why? Because God did not create us to be self centered.

We were created to connect first to God, then others. The God sized void can only be filled by Him. Once He fills us up, He intends for us to pour out. If we don’t, we implode.

Have you ever had a plant that grew wildly? I have. I have a set of plants that once they grow to a certain size they stop because they are root bound. They need split or repotted to keep growing. If I over water or over feed them, they die.

God intends for us to grow, to help others grow, & to enlarge His Kingdom.

We don’t give to earn God’s favor. We don’t give to primarily get from God-though He rewards givers with pure motives. We don’t give so people think well of us. We give because God’s love causes us to become generous. We give for His glory, His fame, and His goodness to be shed abroad.

It’s not about us or them. It’s about Him. It’s about the world encountering Christ in us. He’s what the world needs.

There’s joy in seeing other people encounter God. There’s always someone in a worse situation. That’s not to say God ignores where we are. He doesn’t. I do think at times He whispers to us, “Go help this other person. I will handle your problem.

Introspection, self pity, self focus, what about me?, look how bad it is for me, poor me,…has never solved anything. Jesus is the one we focus our eyes on and entrust with our burdens.

I can say this because I used to have pity parties. I’d even invite Jesus to come. “Jesus, don’t you see how bad this is…why me?” I love how God handles His children. His response, “Do you want my help? Or do you want to have a tantrum or pout? I will let you choose. I love you. I will be here when you are done.

God has brought great comfort in dark seasons of my life. In loss, tragedy, betrayal, sickness, etc…He never refuses comfort. He does not, however, enter into pity with me. He brings hope. Do you want help? If not, then I still love you, but I can’t force help on you.

Which leads to my last point. It’s incredible to help other people and love them. It’s a trap to aimlessly pour out. Some people don’t want help. Some people are in the situation they are in because they created it and trying to get them out will hurt them-they won’t learn from their choices. Some people want others to do for them what they need to get directly from God or for themselves. Some people are users and look for anyone they can drain dry. Some people will take what you give and throw it in the garbage. Giving, like anything else, requires wisdom.

When we do street ministry, we feed people, provide necessities, etc…we do not give cash. Many of the people, through their own confessions, have substance abuse problems. We love them. We don’t enable them. If your enemy is hungry, feed him. If he’s naked, clothe him. Unless God prompts you to, I wouldn’t empty my bank account to some random person and say I’m generous. God intends for seeds sown to produce a harvest for Him. God is generous and wise. Just read about the parable of the talents (Matthew 25). God intends for us to do something with what He gives. Freely you receive, freely give,~Jesus.

If you have a million dollars and you give 1 dollar to a million people, have you helped them? Versus splitting it between 10 people. God knows where you should sow to yield the greatest harvest for His Kingdom.

I’ve spent years pouring into people and situations that yielded nothing but frustration. Why? It wasn’t my field of harvest. The people I targeted to love and pour into were chosen by me, not God. And since I was raised to be a giver, I chose to give 100% to everyone. That dear friends leads to burnout and being used and abused.

Jesus had 12 disciples and chose 3 of them to be closest to Him. We think God is out fixing everyone’s messes, but He’s not. That’s not good parenting. He allows us sometimes to face the earthly consequences of what we’ve done. If we repent we are forgiven in heaven, yet there are some consequences on earth.

Where’s the joy in giving?

You see heaven invade earth!

You see God move radically in the lives of others.

You invest in a Kingdom that cannot be shaken.

You imitate Jesus who came to serve, not just be served. You re-present Him to the world.

You demonstrate to the world who God is: generous, kind, compassionate, and loving.

When you partner with God there’s joy.

What we do primarily for ourselves dies with us. What we do for His Kingdom remains eternal. What can we do to partner with Jesus so He gets the greatest reward? Where does God want us to sow? How can we fix our eyes on Him and eternity not the temporary things of this world? There is joy in being a blessing to Jesus by investing in His Kingdom.

May our eyes be upward then outward. Someone needs what we carry. May we be led by the Spirit to bring Jesus the greatest reward!!!

Love in Christ,

Erin

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Posted by on August 2, 2014 in Devotions, From the Author, God's Heart

 

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