Archive for the ‘help’ tag
“Invite me in … please!”
I don’t know about you, but I’ve invited several folks to share in a special Sunday this week at our church, Southern Hills. And when I invite folks, I’m always a little bit nervous because I notice everything that happens in the worship assembly, I hear the things that are said that are full of insider language that my guests don’t understand, I worry that no one will speak to them, and I worry that they won’t feel welcomed into our circle.
Why all this worry? I mean, didn’t Jesus say not to worry? Well yes, he did say not to worry about stuff, but …
Paul worried about his new churches and new followers of Jesus and the lost people who had never heard of Jesus and his fellow Jewish people who did not accept Jesus. So if the apostle Paul could worry about those things, I think I can have a little holy concern — in cornbread English, that’s “loving worry” — for those folks I hope will come share some time with Jesus and His people. I just hope we will be Jesus’ people. I want my church family to invite them — those who are our guests, those who are searching, those who are yearning, those who seem disinterested or least likely — but not just invite them to come, but to also invite them in.
So while I do worry about how folks will be this Sunday, I know what I’ve committed to be. Why not join me and let’s invite folks in!
May the grace of Jesus be real to us and through us. Amen.
In my Heartlight.org article this week, “Woman Behold Your Son,” I continue my series on the 7 sayings of Jesus from the Cross. In a couple of days, I will share a little insight on some of John’s terminology that adds some depth and meaning to the meaning of Jesus’ words to Mary and the Beloved Disciple.Today, however, I would really love to get some feedback from you on a couple of questions that I hope help us make this story not only touching, but also the motivation for us to do some things in our church families to live out Jesus’ example.
How do the events of the Cross create a new community of care?
Why is it important for us to care for the least, the last, and the lonely?
What are some practical ways that Jesus’ community, our church families, can care for those who are older or in need of protection and friendship?
I’d love to get your input on this in the comments section below.
To you, LORD, I call;
you are my Rock,
do not turn a deaf ear to me.
For if you remain silent,
I will be like those who go down to the pit.
Hear my cry for mercy
as I call to you for help,
as I lift up my hands
toward your Most Holy Place.
Do not drag me away with the wicked,
with those who do evil,
who speak cordially with their neighbors
but harbor malice in their hearts.
Repay them for their deeds
and for their evil work;
repay them for what their hands have done
and bring back on them what they deserve.
Because they have no regard for the deeds of the LORD
and what his hands have done,
he will tear them down
and never build them up again.
Praise be to the LORD,
for he has heard my cry for mercy.
The LORD is my strength and my shield;
my heart trusts in him, and he helps me.
My heart leaps for joy,
and with my song I praise him.
The LORD is the strength of his people,
a fortress of salvation for his anointed one.
Save your people and bless your inheritance;
be their shepherd and carry them forever.
\o/ — Comments Psalm 28: Be our shepherd and carry us forever! — \o/
In Psalm 23, David speaks of the LORD as his shepherd. I love that imagery. Even more, I love that reality. God shepherds his people. One of the great passages of comfort for God’s people is found in Isaiah:
He tends his flock like a shepherd:
He gathers the lambs in his arms
and carries them close to his heart;
he gently leads those that have young. (Isaiah 40:11)
The image of God carrying us, of holding us close to His heart in His strong arms is comforting. Even more than just comforting, this assurance of His constant and tender care should inspire us to trust in Him and move our hearts to leap for joy.
Two convictions spring out of this that are important for me. First, my request for the LORD’s care and help are not vain wishes; they are cries for help based on what God has done in the past. Second, knowing God’s demonstrated love and care for us, I should praise Him in anticipation of His action and not simply wait till I see things happen the way I want them to happen.
Well, it’s way too late to be posting this. I should have done it much earlier today, but then we all know how plans some days. But since I have to take one of my last anti-malarial pills tonight, I was going to at least enjoy the precious memories of the recent Uganda trip with Compassion International to encourage people to sponsor a child.
God blessed all of us on this trip in so many ways. We had safe travel with few connection difficulties and little or no luggage problems. Health problems were pretty minimal, as well. Remarkably, God took a bunch of very different people and poured us together and blended us into a remarkable cocktail of grace. I personally treasure the folks with whom I spent this time and consider meeting them a great gift.
One of those remarkable people we all met was not a blogger when we arrived in Uganda– but he does now blog regularly and I encourage you to check out his message. In fact, he didn’t travel to Uganda with us. He was waiting for us at the Entebbe airport, and from that first meeting till the end of the trip, he made sure every detail of our time there was well utilized and enhanced. He covered our tardiness, helped make new plans on the fly, and arranged every facet of our time down the most precise detail. (If you have never led an international trip like this with so many different kinds of people, then you will only have to imagine how incredible his work proved to be!)
Dennis is a precious soul, whose soft and mellow voice is deep and rich, but full of passion and emotion. Dennis has a broad smile and a great laugh. Spend some time in conversation with him and you will find out that he has at least three great passions: 1) Jesus; 2) children; and 3) statistics. Dennis’ recent post on malaria as a sniper in Uganda gives you a taste of each of these three interests. He knows Scripture, the country of Uganda, and the issues at stake in the lives of the children we came to see.
One of my favorite pictures of Dennis shows him in the doorway almost portrayed in silhouette, with happy children in the background. I will carry this image of Dennis with me, because I see him as one standing near the door of hope for many children in Uganda. Most of those blessed by his efforts will never know him personally, because he is not going to call attention to himself, but their lives will be forever blessed.
While I know Dennis was sad in many ways to say goodbye to us and put us on a plane back home, I also know he was worn out and needed a break by the time we left. We can’t thank you enough, Dennis, for the great job you and the folks from Compassion in Uganda did. We will not forget you.
I ask all who read this to please pray for Dennis and the Ugandan team. Pray for peace for this country so surrounded by tribal strife on a continent that is dangerously “twitchy” with religious conflict. And most of all, if you have not prayerfully decided to sponsor a child, the greatest blessing you could give to these committed and dedicated servants of children is to prayerfully decide to sponsor a child, today — just click on this link and it will take you to the page to sponsor a child from Uganda.
If you would like to know a little more about Dennis and the children he loves, take a minute or two and enjoy the slide show below.
How long, LORD? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I wrestle with my thoughts
and day after day have sorrow in my heart?
How long will my enemy triumph over me?
Look on me and answer, LORD my God.
Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death,
and my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,”
and my foes will rejoice when I fall.
But I trust in your unfailing love;
my heart rejoices in your salvation.
I will sing the LORD’s praise,
for he has been good to me.
\o/ — Comments Psalm 13: I trust in Your unfailing love! — \o/
The last enemy to be destroyed is death (1 Corinthians 15:26). Those were the apostle Paul’s words and they resonate in my heart today as I read this Psalm.
You see, today my heart is on a dear friend wrestling with terminal cancer. I say this Psalm for this friend. I cry out to God for a miracle. I pray for deliverance. Whether the psalmist’s original intentions were to speak of physical, military, or political enemies, my heart is drawn to our last, powerful, vicious enemy — death. I don’t want death to triumph in this case … not now … not with my friend.
I know there are times when death is welcome — when death is the doorway to God’s presence and God’s peace and escape from suffering and sickness. But, in a world of decay and mortality, where each of us is held by a fragile thread to life and family and friends, death is still an enemy. The Holy Spirit declares that Jesus came to liberate us from our fear of death’s tyrannical rule (Hebrews 2:14). So today, dear God, I pray this Psalm and ask for your deliverance of my friend.
Yet, dear God, I do trust in your unfailing love and I know the salvation that you have already lavished down on my friend. I know, dear Abba, that you have done so many great things for me and those that I love. I trust in Your goodness and Your care. I rest my heart in the assurance that Your deliverance will come — whether from death to good health or through death into Your presence (Philippians 1:19-23).
So as I listen to the birds of morning sing their songs, my heart wells up with joy and a song stirs in my heart, too. I praise you, O LORD, for You are good … You are my God … and Your goodness overflows and blesses me.
For today’s post, please see the article in Heartlight.com. The post can be found here.
This morning we heard about the Compassion CSP or Child Survival Program that is a primary force in rescuing pre-born to three year old children by intervening and equipping mothers. This is the program that Phil talked about having saved Doreen, the child the Wares sponsor in Uganda. Below, Phil and a Compassion worker hold the file of the immunizations and medical treatment provided by CSP for Doreen for the time she was between her first birthday and her third birthday.