First of all, before I even begin “blogging” I feel the need to confess that I’ve never done anything like this, in fact, I had to look up what “blogging” was and what needs to be communicated when you “blog.” Which, from what I can tell it’s wide open so here goes nothing, I guess.
I’m going to talk about ConnectKIDS because most of you know it’s a ministry close to my heart. I know a little about it (which they suggested you should have a little bit of knowledge about what you’re writing about - seems legit to me).
For those of you that don’t know, I’m the director of Charity’s Bus Ministry and, I need to confess that, in addition to having never blogged before, I’m not a big social media fan (AT ALL) I don’t like putting myself out there AT ALL.
But, since this has to do with Charity and you are all my church family, I’m honored to be able to communicate in this new and hip (is this hip or am I aging myself with that word) way?
Here’s the meat of my message. My heart has been touched by the outpouring of support and love our congregation has shown for those less fortunate and our ministry. On Sunday, Jan. 27, our amazing group of volunteers, along with the amazing vision and organizational skills of Nancy Jensen and Brenda Whitman, presented our ministry to the Charity congregation. We poured out our hearts, and the congregation received, loved on, and poured back into us.
And for the love I feel from our church and the family we have in the members that do so much for so many, I am forever thankful. You know the crazy thing is it’s not just the ConnectKIDS ministry you guys love-on and support, it’s a whole bunch of other ministries and people whose lives you have touched that makes you so special.
You are so loving and generous, and you are such beautiful people! I feel your love every time I walk through the doors of Charity. Sometimes the love comes out in stories and observations and sometimes it comes out in questions and concerns for how the kids we bring on Sundays and Wednesdays are behaving. Please know I appreciate all of it and I know your hearts are all about loving others and sharing God’s word with others.
If you have questions about how or why we are doing this, please know that it’s okay to question this ministry. We care about what you think and how you feel about what we’re doing. We welcome all of it, the good, the bad, and the ugly. This ministry has been around for just a couple years, and it seems like each week we’re tweaking and trying to make it better. We don’t have all the answers, and we certainly don’t know everything there is to know about sharing God’s word with others. I believe that God speaks to and through EVERYONE so please, If God has laid something on your heart that I or someone else involved with ConnectKIDS needs to hear, please contact me at Melissa.firstname.lastname@example.org or call/text me at (605)545-3161.
If you’re more comfortable with another staff person, feel free to contact them instead. Keep in mind that we’d prefer to have a name associated with your questions/concerns so we can connect and converse.
Everyone matters and everyone’s happiness is important to the Charity family and the ConnectKIDS volunteers. Please share your wisdom with us. Thank you for your support and for reading my first-ever “blog.”
By Andrew Hershey
High School Director Charity Lutheran
That is a question of my heart since I was so little. Why does he get that? Why don't I get that? He gets more one day, I get more a different day.
What about others around me who are super rich? Who have a bigger house? Who get to be in the starting lineup?
Why can't life be fair? Because if it were fair, maybe I would have more, perhaps I wouldn't be jealous, maybe I wouldn’t have to worry about others.
NOT TRUE AT ALL.
If everything was fair, I'm pretty sure that I would have less than I have right now. If life were fair I would get what I deserve. I would be in charge of the punishment for my sin and no one could take that away from me. What is fair is for me to be punished for every foolish word and action I have spoken and done.
How thankful I am for life not being fair. For when life isn't fair then I can receive grace and mercy I don't deserve. I can show compassion and give forgiveness. I have offer hope when all else seems hopeless.
Oh, our foolish mentality that we look at others and think, “that isn't fair?” For we are one of the most blessed in the world. We live in America where there is constant abundance. When was the last time we haven’t had three meals a day? When is the last time you haven't had a place to stay? With around 7.5 billion people in this world 325.7 million people live in the United States. Want a percentage on that? Well, it's 4.34 percent. So what does that mean? It means only 4.34 percent of people have the liberties that America provides; and that includes the ability to pursue wealth. That means 95.7 percent are most likely on a lower class than you. So, if everything were fair others would need to increase, and we would need to decrease our status.
It is said to be around 80 trillion dollars floating around in the world right now. If you evenly divided that between every person in the world everyone would be given $1,142.85. If life were fair anyone who had more money than that would have to give up all that they had. And everyone that had less than that would be given more.
I’m sorry but catch this statistic by the Credit Suisse Survey in 2014. American's average net worth is around $301,000. Wow! Talk about fair? We would love a lot, we deserve a lot less. We don't deserve the wealth, yet it is God’s grace to us.
In the Kingdom “to those who use well what they are given, even more will be given, and they will have an abundance. But from those who do nothing, even what little they have will be taken away.” - Matthew 25:29
We have a responsibility here because life isn’t fair. We have the ability to give generously because we have abundance. So what about spiritually? Have we received that grace, that forgiveness, that love that is so overly abundant that we are able to generously give it to others.
Who cares who is first? What matters is that they get in. If the last shall be first and the first shall be last, what a great reward we get to look forward to the longer we wait.
When I have received a gift I often want to savor it because I know when it is open that is it. It's no longer a gift anymore when we open it. When we get into the kingdom of God and finally receive our crown what an amazing time that will be because of how long we have been waiting in expectation to receive it.
So here is the challenge: When life isn't fair, don't question “why me?” Why not me?” Believe the truth and celebrate for our brother or sister. The Bible talks about it in Romans 12:15, “Rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep.” Think about those people who finally come to repentance at the edge of death - will we question and say, “why do they get to experience heaven when they didn’t care anything about God during their whole life?” Or will we celebrate praising God saying, “Glory to Jesus this person doesn’t have to experience eternity apart from you.”
It's time to have a kingdom perspective and get rid our selfish desires and let the love of the Lord change us to celebrate with those around us.
Praise the Lord that life isn't fair.
Welcome to our Charity blog that will take you deeper than just the Sunday and Wednesday sermons. We have heard your requests that you want more information that you take home and study throughout the week - and are going to make that possible.
Wednesday at WOW we discussed the fact that God can use our daily habits to grow our faith. The scripture verse was Titus 2:7-8. Some daily habits that are important to establish are prayer, bible reading, bible studies, and devotions (both personal and family).
If we want to cultivate our friendships, we hang around with our friends. We spend time in conversation and eventually it will bring us to enjoy each other's presence. When we choose to allow prayer to become a part of our daily habit, our relationship with God begins to grow. As that relationship develops, you will find that you aren’t just going to God in the hard times - you go to him in the good times too. 1 Thessalonians 5:17 is an excellent reminder that we should pray always.
Read Colossians 4:2-4, what does Paul tell the Colossians about prayer? How does this apply to you in your walk? Are you steadfast in prayer? If you aren't steadfast, it’s ok! What are some action steps that you could take to become steadfast?
It can be overwhelming to a new believer who chooses to start reading the Bible. Where do I start? What am I looking for? Why is this important? One thing that goes hand in hand with reading the Bible is to make the conscious decision to obey what the Bible says. Reading/Hearing the word but not doing or believing in the validity are contrary to each other. When you read, you will find that God uses our habit of reading to not only comfort us in our time of need but will convict us of truth’s that we need to obey. It can be gratifying and hard at the same time. If you are beginning to open God’s word, here are some things that can help you get on a plan that works for your day. There is no one size fits all strategy for everyone. With the internet at our fingertips, you can google anything and find some great ideas.
Devotions are a great thing to help you and your family to look at God’s word. If I were to answer the question of Bible reading or devotional? I will always say Bible reading. (Matthew 7:24) God’s word is sufficient, and the way he works through his word to reveal things to us is amazing. If you want to add something to your Bible reading, then I would say add a devotional. Devotionals can help us pull different parts of the Bible together, offer insight, or even apply the word in a way we hadn’t previously thought of before. I like to use a mix of personal and family devotions. As one of the kids is finishing up a devotional, I’ll pray over what is going on in their life and ask God to reveal qualities or characteristics that may need some focus. Then, I’ll go to the Rainbow Shop or start to look online for something that works. If you send your older kids to Crystal Springs Camp in the summer, they will get signed up for a free year of devotionals that the church sends. I believe one a quarter. They have been great.
One of my favorite resources to find great free devotionals is the YouVersion app on my phone. This free app has many resources at your fingertips. What it is - a Bible, a daily bible verse (delivered to your phone each day), devotions, and much more. You can find a devotional or bible study plan to meet you where you are. They range from topical, to gender, vary in the number of days, and age range.
Spend some time at the Rainbow shop; they have a great range of devotionals that vary as much as the YouVersion app. I have found a few great devotional books that my family is currently using. Here are a few of them:
Me (the mom): “Awaken” by Priscilla Shirer. This devotional is 90 days long. I love how much scripture Priscilla has for each day. She is a talented writer (you should check out her Bible Studies). Some days, when time is a bit tight, I just read the devotional and ponder her questions at the end. On other days, I look up all of the Bible verses and reflect on them, trying to discern what God is telling me.
Children (ages 9-12): Jim and Elizabeth George - “A Young Woman After God’s Own Heart,” and “A Boy After God’s Own Heart.” They also have others available. “Unseen” by Priscilla Shirer is a great devotional for tween boys who like action/adventure. “Between You and God: Devotions for Girls” by Tyndale has a good devotional for my 9-year-old daughter.
Children (age 4-6): “Bible Devotions for BedTime” by Daniel Partner is good for those smaller children. Sarah Young has a “Jesus Calling” for children that is very beneficial.
Blessings to you and your family! As we begin this new year, I encourage you to pray and ask God to reveal what he is asking you to start adding to your daily routine. As we talked about at WOW, we desire every single person at Charity to wake up every day proclaiming “GIVE ME JESUS.” We want you to have a personal relationship with Jesus so that when those storms come - the waters will rise, the winds will blow, and floods will flow - you will persevere because of your relationship with Christ. You won’t come through unscathed, but will come through as he walks with you! Our God is so good.
Jessica Toman - Charity Youth and Children’s Coordinator