All of these–require a key thing to do things right. It’s what Jesus came for. It’s what He died for. And it’s a single word.
It seems like every time I open my computer, Facebook or whatever–there’s another article being circulated how we, the church and it’s people are screwing everything up. How we are hurting more than helping by giving and going. How to take apart a ministry to see if they are serving right. 5 things you should be looking for. Missional community being desired but it doesn’t work because everyone is too busy. Mission trips are bad. Mission trips are good. The church has orphan care all wrong. Organizations plan conferences to discuss, discuss and discuss some more…and it makes me think of that boy who went fishing.
Because y’all. There are people fishing–but they are too busy to share. Too busy to tell. Too busy to shine the light on themselves to say LOOK and see what the Lord is doing–and it is GOOD.
So there was this boy who wanted to fish. He LOVED fish. He talked about fish. He dreamed about catching fish. So he decided to invite people who were professional fish catchers to a building to talk about fishing. To learn how to fish. To talk about how not to fish. Others who loved fish came. LOTS came. It was such good banter that they decided to get together more and invite more to talk about fish…how to bait the hook…how to cast the pole–how to find the deep holes…and catch A LOT OF FISH. Their ideas were good. And they were right on some of their strategies–like an empty hook rarely catches fish. There are right and wrong ways. They were so excited about their ideas–they came home and wrote articles to tell others how to catch fish and how not to catch fish. The only problem was though–no one caught a fish that weekend. And maybe next week they could–but there is another meeting about catching fish–so it will have to…wait.
Orphan and Widow Care.
Y’all. I think we are talking more about the fish. More about the bait. More about how the ones fishing are doing it all wrong–than actually fishing ourselves. BECAUSE. Because if you have time to talk about the wrongs–if your hands are deeply in the buckets…full…you have no time…NO TIME…to talk about the methods. YES. Yes, there is wisdom in taking things apart and in learning from others–“when helping hurts”. But if we leave out the good–if we fail to delight and celebrate where and how He is working–then just maybe…we are the ones who have it backwards. The Lord IS doing AMAZING things in His church, through His people, through community, in missions, in orphan care, through the poor and in the world. I believe the enemy works MORE in us writing articles about how everything is wrong rather than shining light on what Jesus is doing and what is working and running right.
When you choose to write publicly about everything that is wrong–are you also writing about what is right? Because when I look around–y’all–I just don’t see all the failure. Yes, I see where man fails (because we’ve kinda had that figured out since the beginning)–but more than that–I do see where things are happening in all of these areas that are true miracles (where He works through even our failures for His glory and good–and oh my…it’s AMAZING!). There is absolutely no way you could have your hands in these and NOT see it…or not share it.
And God is good. He is alive. And oh my glory–is He ever working in these areas. You might be discouraged every where you look seeing articles of people taking everything apart. It brings fear. You feel like you don’t know enough to know how to help the poor or you just got majorly intimidated if you try to do orphan care you will do it wrong–SO…you decide not to do it at all. But y’all. That is the enemy. And this one–he will not win. (Okay. So now I sound crazy and I’ll get a few comments and unkind remarks for that boldness;). I’ll take it though.:).
Tonight. I just wanted to say a few amazing things that I see happening RIGHT here…right here around me.
The church. I ran into a homeless lady not too long ago. We had a sweet conversation. We spent some time together–I called my church. They acted. They looked after her. They did more than I could with 5 littles ones in my home. Later I ran into a couple needing help–I led them to my church–and without anyone seeing…with the world taking them apart…the church quietly found this family a place to live, provided for them until they could get on their feet–so they would not lose their dignity. No big screen story. No testimony to pat the church on the back. And I only discovered the helper to this family–the church–through running into them. Wow. We can go to this church…and complain that it’s programs don’t meet our needs. But when the needs of others are desperate–they are there. Unseen. Unblogged about. Over and over, it’s taken apart. This church. The church and it’s people–Jesus came for and died for. It will never meet our needs because it is not Jesus. But if we knew what the church was up to–we might be surprised. It’s good. I’m amazed. And I’m thankful.
It’s people. I shared a need a few months ago. There was a little boy in Zambia who attends our school. We needed to raise $5,000 for his chemotherapy. On a recent mission trip (YIKES! Those things I’ve read aren’t done well recently) a trip goer spotted a lump on one of our boys legs. We are Zambian run–so this isn’t something they see often. We had it evaluated. It was cancer. And how does an orphan get his his cancer treated? Hmmm. Oh my heart. I shared the need. Next day–I received a phone call. From a couple in California. A busy couple with a new baby–who wanted to pay $5,000 for cancer treatment for a boy named Shadrach they would never meet. This, y’all, is orphan care done right. Take it apart left and right–but this boy will live. He has a chance of life now–and so far his treatments are successful, and we are seeing improvements. A busy newlywed couple across the country who have never laid eyes on this boy…the church…it’s people…the body…they are rising up and doing something. It may not be perfect. But it’s the best we can do. And we are doing what we can–the best we can. God is working. And it is good.
Community. I’m in a small town in north Atlanta. Big city. But it feels like little community. My husband has lots of single friends. (Ladies–if you are in Atlanta–you totally need to come hang out with us;). But seriously–we decide to go to this little community group full of single folks. Believers. Meeting weekly. And I’m amazed. About 75 folks are getting together in a house–bringing potluck every week. Now we are a part of that sweet 75. We might be the only married couple there–but it’s community and it is sweet. We huddle together as we sing worship on Monday night. We dig through God’s Word. We encourage one another. And it doesn’t matter that we are in a different place than all these folks–because it is community…missional community…and it is sweet. A couple of people felt led to try for a heart dream of missional community–which now results in shoulder to shoulder Monday nights…with lots of laughter, a house full of prayers and I have like 75 babysitters now for my crew too;). These community groups, missional community groups, are happening all over. No they are perfect. No–your community might not have one. BUT if this is your desire–y’all there is sweetness in them–so don’t be afraid to start one. Don’t worry about what it needs or doesn’t need or how folks might not come or how someone might take it apart. If missional community is the desire of your heart, instead of complaining–pray about stepping out in faith–finding others to join you and trying one in your home no matter how big or small it might be.
Orphan care and widows. I watch my friends down town caring for social orphans. They sold their home. They live in the city–in the heart of Atlanta. Caring for kids. Taking risks. And loving big. Every day. Their 3 year old’s bike is stolen off their front porch and crazy things happen. But they are doing their calling well–and it’s amazing to me. I watch the Jones’s. A family in their late 40’s here in Atlanta serving with Wiphan. Tirelessly they serve. Running a ministry across the world. Employing widows to foster and care for orphans—teaching widows to run small houses as house moms…orphans now cared for–someone to watch over them–and widows who had nothing now with a job and purpose. Developing a skills training program for these widows–100% of the widows have received employment in their community after graduation. AMAZING. Unheard of right? Not really. This stuff is happening all over the world–just no one is blogging or writing about THIS part. Why? When your hands are full–you have little time to document–and certainly no time to take it or every other ministry apart. You see what is wrong when your hands are in it…so you don’t need anyone to write online to tell you how it’s all wrong. I promise you that those aren’t the people reading those articles–but instead folks who might want to jump in–but who are now discouraged. There are amazing, amazing, AMAZING things happening. I believe too many, TOO MANY, for those with their hands in it to even stop to write about. It’s exciting–truly exciting–to watch and be apart of! Recently we had an orphan taken away by an aunt from the school–it was a sketchy, scary situation–and when she found freedom–she had a safe place to run. She knew exactly what city, what school to go to–where to find safely…where she would be cared for without expectation. Monthly, our sponsors, give–and they miss out…because they don’t get to see WHERE their money is going to. Oh my–but if they could…how blessed they would be! Yet monthly, they give with faith and with joy. There are 450 orphans off the street in a very imperfect school–but daily they are safe and off the streets. And God is good.
The church y’all–is alive and well–shining light in the darkness. Serving Him–running with Him–following Him–it’s such an exciting place to be! He is alive and well–more than well–overflowing in His goodness…healing the sick (I am one of them!)…empowering the weak…watching over the poor…being a Father to the fatherless! Truly–so much good is happening–and if we read the articles instead of jumping in…we might just miss it! If we let their pessimism of how the church and it’s people don’t know how to serve and how they are screwing it all up–then we might be frozen and scared to serve…and the enemy gets just what he wants–a bunch of His people with so much potential and gifts filled with fear to live out their calling to allow Jesus to work big and mightily through them. There are so many following the Lord–building and investing in relationship here and across the world–people slowing down–listening–hearing–acting–loving. It’s such an exciting thing to watch. I believe the Lord is working more–right now–in our day–than ever in history. Just open your eyes and see–look for Him and you, too, will see. And it is GOOD!
Be encouraged. Get excited. Step out in faith! He will provide! He is with you. And He is so good!!
Thankful to be a small part of His great big plans!