|Posted on December 10, 2013 at 3:05 PM||comments (14)|
It was Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving 2013. Several folks were gathered in the basement kitchen of the church - as in recent years past - chopping onions and celery, mixing herb dressing, baking pumpkin pies and the sorts.
It was our calling this time of year to prepare cooked Thanksgiving meals packed with freshly cooked turkey, stuffing, hot mashed potatoes and gravy, pumkin pie with whipped topping and more...
We had so much to be thankful for!!!
As freshly cooked turkeys, cooked by local ladies in the church and the community, were being delivered you could hear the clanging of can openers opening cans of green beans and mushroom soup fill the room. The aroma of sizzling onions, celery and butter in the pan for herb turkey stuffing filling not just in the small basement kitchen, but the whole church had been filled with that warm comfort of the holiday season..
Foam trays were being packed full of warm dripping turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, corn, green bean casserole, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie and more. The trays were packed into boxes for delivery to local folks unable to cook Thanksgiving dinner for themselves for various reasons.
As the cooking and packing started to wind down and the delivery stage was gearing up, Pastor Craig pulled everyone together to pray for the food and the people receiving it and they bowed their heads and prayed as a group.
Just before they began to pray, there was the familiar clang of a closing steel door upstairs and we heard foot steps coming down the stairs. There, standing at the bottom of the stairs and through the door, was a young man, maybe in his late thirties, looking in at us. He had on a tan canvas coat, no gloves, a back pack over his shoulders, a knitted hat on his head and a ripped paper bag in his hand.
Walking over to him, excited, thinking he was a volunteer wanting to help, we asked "Hi can we help you?".
In walking to him he said something, but I couldn't hear what he was saying. He was timid coming in, so walking over to meet him in the small basement foyer alone, again I asked "What can we do for you?".
He replied," Do you guys have some sort of food pantry or a clothing store here?"
He was a very soft spoken man, naturally humble and meak in nature. When first walking over to him we were expecting him to say, "I am here to help, what can I do?", but that didn't happen - there was a pause - what do I do?
I stood there looking at him totally stunned - not expecting to hear something like this from him. Knowing full well what he had asked the first time and fumbling around in my head - for what felt like the longest minute - I asked, "I'm sorry I didn't hear - what do you need?". As he repeated himself, a million thoughts ran through my head. What should I do, how could we help him. In my head, I tried to visualize each and every room in the church. What could we get him. I thought about what I might have in my van - was there anything there? Nothing - what do I do?
When he finish repeating himself, I remembered we had some food in our little pantry. Looking at him, we offered "You know we do have some food in our pantry you're more than welcome to." At that moment I remembered the ladies saying we had extra turkey with all the trimmings with pie and all from the prepared meals we were doing. "You know, we have freshly cooked turkey here. Would you like a hot Thanksgiving Dinner?" With a slight hesitation he said, "You know I think I would".
Yelling into the kitchen and interrupting the prayer Craig was praying, "Hey we have a man here looking for one of those famous turkey dinners." . Craig, looking at me strangely, but catching on quickly, reached his hand out to shake his and said "Hey come on in - whats your name?". "Chris" he replied.
All of the workers in the kitchen were staring and stunned as I was in the beginning. One of the ladies quickly caught on and,"I have a dinner on the way let me heat it up!" Taking Chris to the little food pantry in the other room, "Chris let me show you what we have." Opening up the two cabinets, "Chris you're welcome to anything in here. What do you like?"
Chris was very meek and was very humble.There was no sign of any greed in him to grab as much as he could for tomorrow. I handed him a can of Progresso Tomato Soup. I then picked up a can of Progresso Cream of Mushroom Soup - "Do you like this?". A pause, "Let me see that," he said, he grabed it and handed the tomato soup back. "You can have both". Chris replied, "No this will be good - thank you."
At this very moment I looked at this man and I realized - oh my word - I am looking right into the eyes of Jesus. At this very moment I realized I am standing on HOLY GROUND. At this moment I realized as I am holding the can of soup that Jesus held. I didn't know what to do... I was in total awe... I touched the hand of Jesus... I am standing next to Jesus.
There is a song "I Can Only Imagine" - what will I do on that day when I see Him, I can only imagine. I always thought I would fall to my knees face to the ground unworthy to look at Him. Now... on this day...Jesus is in front of me - I could only stand there paralyized, unable to move, unable to speak trembling with awe wanting to speak out to Chris and call out to him - Jesus to see if he would respond - nothing would come out of my mouth.
"Chris are you sure you don't want more - there are stews, vegetables, oatmeal and more. You are welcome to it". "No this is good - Thank You." Chris replied.
As I walked Chris out to the kitchen for the hot dinner, he turned to the foyer and very politly took his coat off and hung it on a hanger, politely removed his hat and placed it into his coat pocket. He gently walked over to the counter with the chair and sat down and proceeded to eat. Ever so gentle and ever so polite, he ate his dinner and pumpkin pie. He was quiet and didn't speak much. He didn't look around much, he politely answered any questions we asked. When he finished, he got up and said thank you. When we asked if he wanted to take a turkey dinner with him he politely said, "No, that's ok. Thank you".
He walked into the foyer and put his coat on and we asked if he wanted to take some small bottles of water with him in his back pack. He said, "No, I should be good" and he then pulled out a small old crumpled plastic Pepsi bottle 2/3rds filled with water. We had to force him to take a couple of the bottles we offered. When he put the bottles in his back pack there were only two packs of Ramin soup and the can of soup he agreed to take from the pantry. He place his hat on his head, said thank you for everything and went on his way.
The next day Pastor Craig and I were talking, "You know Craig I kept looking at his hands the whole time and he didn't have any gloves, It didn't click in then, but he didn't have any gloves and it was cold." Craig said, " Shoot! I wished I noticed we could of given him one of ours".
At that moment we both knew we need to do something. Craig said, "We should fill a room with important needs and call it Chris' Closet".
I sit here and wonder how often we go through our every day lives and just walk past Jesus not reconizing him in our element - at work.. in the grocery store.. in the mall.. or just out to dinner. How many times have I done it just in the last week or two?
During this Thankgiving week God honored us with the privlage of serving well over 60 Thanksgiving dinners. During this week we met many awesome, deserving families. There are many needs right here in our own community.
There is one mother of three children living in the back of a two family home. The home is in forclosure, the front is vacant and locked up by the bank. The heat is controled by the front apartment and the gas is shut off. The young mother with her three kids are in the back with space heaters and no stove keeping warm waiting till the banks come in and pull them out. She had been paying rent prior.
This is only one of many families that we didn't know about - this could be right next door to each and everyone of us.
"Chris' Closet" is looking for donations not just to fill the food pantry, but also collect gently used, clean or new gloves, scarfs, sweat shirts, hoodies, socks and sweaters to help keep warm.
A drop off point is the Hazel Park Community Center at 620 W. Woodward Hgts, MI 48030. Folks needing a bit more to keep warm can choose from the items or they can call CityEdge Church at (248 ) 765-4361. To make an on-line donation click here: http://www.thecityedge.org/visitus.htm
"For the least you do unto my breatren you have also done unto me." -JC
|Posted on October 16, 2013 at 9:00 AM||comments (0)|
by Joyce Meyer - posted October 16, 2013
Consider it wholly joyful, my brethren, whenever you are
enveloped in or encounter trials of any sort or fall into various
I’m sure you know people with amazing stories of the way God has worked in their lives. I always love to hear a great testimony, but I also know that behind every extraordinary account of someone’s life lies some kind of challenge or difficulty. No one ever has a testimony without a test.
We must pass all kinds of tests as we go through our lives, and passing them is part of never giving up. It’s vital for us to understand the important role that tests and trials play in our lives, because understanding them helps us endure them and actually be strengthened by them. Everything God permits us to go through will ultimately be good for us—no matter how much it hurts, how unfair it is, or how difficult it is.
When we encounter tests and trials, if we will embrace them and refuse to run from them, we will learn some lessons that will help us in the future and make us stronger.
One reason we must go through trials is to test our quality (1 Pet. 4:12). Often, we find ourselves wishing we had the faith of Sister so-and- so or Brother so-and-so. I can assure you, if they have a strong and vibrant faith, they did not develop it easily. Just as muscles are strengthened through exercise, firm faith comes from the furnace of affliction.
Sometimes people say to me, “Oh, I wish I had the kind of ministry you have, Joyce.” Well, I did not get it by wishing. These people didn’t see when I was feeling I couldn’t hold on one more second, begging God to help me to not quit or give up. They don’t know the tests and trials I’ve faced along the way.
No one who does anything worthwhile for God has traveled an easy road. Doing great things for God requires character, and character is developed by passing life’s tests and staying faithful to Him through the trials.
Trust in Him: God has a unique plan for your life. Trust Him when you go through tests, knowing that they are strengthening and preparing you for the great things He has planned specifically for you.
|Posted on February 13, 2013 at 10:35 AM||comments (0)|
Do you like yourself?
After years of trying to help people emotionally, mentally, spiritually and socially, it was a major breakthrough when I discovered that most people really don't like themselves. Some of them know it, while others don't even have a clue that this is probably the root of so many other problems in their lives.
God wants us to have great relationships, but self-rejection and even self-hatred are the roots of many relationship problems. In fact, I've found the Bible to be a book about relationships, providing valuable advice about my relationship with God, other people and even myself.
How are the relationships with other people in your life? What about your relationship with God…and even with yourself?
Did it ever occur to you that you have a relationship with yourself? While I've never given it much thought, I spend more time with myself than with anyone, and it's vital to get along well with me. Remember, you are the one person you never get away from.
We all know how agonizing it is to work day after day with someone we don't get along with, but at least that person doesn't come home with us at night. We can't get away from ourselves, not even for one second, so it's of the utmost importance that we have peace with ourselves.
Many of us fall prey to self-rejection because we feel that nobody really loves us or accepts us. We figure that if nobody else loves us, then why should we love ourselves? Because we think others don't love us, we feel that we must not be worth loving. But that's a LIE we've believed for way too long!
We should love ourselves—not in a selfish, self-centered way that produces a lifestyle of self-indulgence, but in a balanced, godly way that affirms God's creation as essentially good and right. We may be flawed by unfortunate experiences we've gone through, but that doesn't mean we're worthless and good-for-nothing.
We must have the kind of love for ourselves that says, "I know God loves me, so I can love what God chooses to love. I don't love everything I do, but I accept myself because God accepts me." We must develop the kind of mature love that says, "I know I need to change, and I want to change. In fact, I believe God is changing me daily, but during this process, I will not reject what God accepts. I'll accept myself as I am right now, knowing that I will not always remain this way."
Many times people who reject themselves do so because they can't see themselves as good, proper, or right. They fail to see themselves the way God sees them—as precious children He dearly loves.
As you begin to see yourself through God's eyes—someone who's loved and cherished—your view of yourself will begin to change. You'll begin to see yourself not as rejected, but as loved and accepted…unique and beautiful in His sight.
by Joyce Meyer
|Posted on October 8, 2012 at 7:20 AM||comments (2)|
There was a young woman sitting in a dark parking lot in the corner at night preparing to take her life.
She was listening to music on her car radio preparing for the feat, in reality she was listening to her death song – her pain was too much to carry any further. All of a sudden …. the radio became silent! She clicked the radio on and off and on again several times frantically until finally the radio came on permanently; the problem was she could only get one station.
Pushing the seek button back and forth she still could only get that one station; it was a Christian station. As Amanda sat there listening in that dark corner of that parking lot words kept pouring into her song after song for hours.
As God kept speaking to her threw the music; “I am there for you, just come to me, it’s not that bad that I can’t handle it.” That night, Amanda, in that parking lot didn’t take her life, but instead she gave her life. …This is a true story.
This kind of thing is happening all the time today – his shoulders are still there and large enough to carry your pain.
|Posted on September 29, 2012 at 7:15 AM||comments (1)|
A friend of ours had passed away last week her name was Ann. Ann was 61, mentally challenged and had a brother, Raymond, who was also challenged as well.
Sitting in the funeral service listening of the stories people told of Ann and mentioning how shy she was several times; I sat there wondering who is this shy person people kept talking about.
Ann and Raymond, whenever my wife and I came in, would always look at us frantically waving away with the brightest smiles from across the foyer in church with words of encouragement and excitement. Ann would always at a drop of a dime and out of nowhere start singing "Jesus loves me this I know", during church service she would be behind us with smiles beaming singing at the top of her lungs and out of key swaying back and fourth, but didn't care what others were thinking - she loved Jesus.
The warm heart felt stories can go on endlessly about Ann, as I sat there in the service listening I started thinking "she has a new body and mind now! - she really does". Usually this is just a cliche' people say because they don't know what else to say, but it clicked in - she really does; she has a new body!
As I sit here typing with pain in my joints starting to envy Ann I'm thinking - this will be all gone one day.
Because of Anns disabilities Ann had a simple mind of a child, she would blurt out singing to Jesus and didn't care who was around, she didn't worry about where her next meal was coming from or where she was going to sleep that night - Ann got it!!! She understood.
|Posted on March 6, 2012 at 7:35 PM||comments (0)|
|Posted on February 23, 2012 at 11:40 AM||comments (3)|
"I will bend Judah as I bend my bow and fill it with Ephraim. I will rouse your sons, O Zion, against your sons, O Greece, and make you like a warrior's sword.”- (Zech 9:13).
In the early church there was an emphasis on developing a heart toward God. This was the Hebraic way. The scriptures were not accessible like they are for us. So, the relationship with God was the key focus. God related to his people on a personal and intimate level. And obedience was the key to a healthy relationship with God. Decisions were not made based on reason and analysis, but by obedience. "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom" (Ps. 111:10).
This is why many of the miracles performed in the Bible went against natural reason, (i.e. feeding five thousand, crossing the Red Sea, retrieving a coin from a fish's mouth, walking around Jericho to win a battle, etc.) God constantly wanted to check the leader's obedience, not his knowledge. Knowledge and reason came into the early Church with the Greek scholars in subsequent centuries. This is when the church began to affirm oratory skills among Church leaders. Gradually, over many centuries the focus on knowledge and reason has become more accepted in the Church.
Loss of intimacy with God has been the fallout as a result of the influence of the Greek spirit. The primary focus has been teaching and discipleship instead of the development of a personal and intimate relationship with God. This has resulted in a form of religion, but one without power.
In the early church, the rabbi was there primarily for quality control, not as the primary teacher and speaker. He did not even address the people from an elevated platform. The whole congregation was in a more circular format, each sharing what they believed God was saying. The focus was on the power of God working through each individual, not one individual (1 Cor. 14:26).
Is your focus on gaining more knowledge or growing in intimacy and power with Jesus? He desires to know you intimately.
|Posted on February 12, 2012 at 11:50 AM||comments (1)|
When Moses led the people out of Egypt he had several crisis moments during those forty years. His greatest crisis was when he came back from the mountain and discovered the people had made a golden calf. It was after this he came to a profound conclusion.
"Then Moses said to him, 'If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here.' What else will distinguish me and your people from all the other people on the face of the earth?" (Ex 33:15,16).
I never realized Moses asked God this, I wonder if this is why they wandered in the desert for so long. I'm asking myself now these days, "Is your Presence within me?".
Maybe this might be a reason why we get stagnated in our lives - I wonder.