Friday, September 19, 2014

"People are only impressive from a distance"

I was watching a video from the Desiring God conference and it struck me that for a long time, people living in Minneapolis could wake up and decide on a whim to go to church... and have JOHN PIPER as their pastor.

You might be thinking I'm an idiot for stating something so obvious but here's the thing: I remember the first time I read a John Piper book. It was on a missions trip my freshman year of college and it helped me appreciate aspects of God's character that I had never considered before. For better or worse, I've always thought of John Piper the same way I think of most authors throughout history: they're disembodied voices who somehow float outside every day life.

But the truth is, these celebrity preachers/authors are as human as you and me. I bet there are congregants going to Matt Chandler's church, or Ed Stetson's, etc., who leave every week underwhelmed, unimpressed, and grumbly.

No matter how faithful the leader, the congregation is going to grumble. We can't help it. I was reading in Exodus earlier this week and got to the part describing manna, "The people of Israel called the bread manna. It was white like coriander seed and tasted like wafers made with honey."

Manna sounds amazing! It was a food that tasted like cake and God supplied a new batch every morning while they wandered through the desert. That's pretty awesome. But of course, the human heart is sick, and the Israelites got used to this miraculous provision. They blamed their leader Moses every step of the way and begged to return to Egyptian slavery. The book of Exodus is full of their grumbling.

So cut some slack to those who are trying to serve you this week. Instead of complaining about their imperfection, try to be inspired by God's grace. For when we are weak, God is strong.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Packaging 69,400 Meals for Haiti

I still can't figure it out.

We did the math countless times. We took the average pace of a packing station, we looked at how many volunteers had signed up, and it should have taken us... all day.

Instead, we were taping up the last box of food before our contemporary worship service let out. It's a God thing: we packaged 69,400 meals which we're sending down to an orphanage in Haiti. Then, later this year, we'll send a missions team to Haiti to spend time with these orphans and share the love of Christ.

It was one of those mornings when each of us knew, for a fact, that we were making a real difference. These orphans had been rescued off the streets and were desperate for food. Missionaries responded to that need. And now we are one of the churches who supports the missionaries. Praise God for that chain of compassion -- for every volunteer who responds faithfully to God's call.

Already the missions committee is gearing up for our next focus (local needs), praying to be aligned with God's desire for the upcoming season.

What kind of charity gets you excited?
Have you taken part in the ice bucket challenge, or what was the last fundraiser you were a part of?
In your opinion, what are the best aspects of charity and what are the biggest challenges?