Echo

I would recommend Robert Benson’s The Echo Within: Finding Your True Calling. I was fortunate to receive a few free copies as part of a special pre-release promotion (which I passed along to a couple of my interns). The book can be purchased at Goldengatebookstore.com for under $10 (http://www.goldengatebookstore.com/rel/v2_viewupc.php?storenr=333&upc=1400074347&affnr=-2610).

The book is a profoundly affecting, honest look at the myriad ways we are drawn into our life’s best work. Written out of his own lifelong search for and response to the calling voice of God, Robert Benson recounts his discovery of the meaning of vocation, work, and purpose through the ups and downs inherent in family life, professional choice, and spiritual experience. With clarity and insight, and in the elegant prose for which he is known, he gently invites and encourages readers to find such deep truths for their lives as well. In particular, he illuminates the way for readers to explore:

  • Ways to sense the Holy in our pursuits, both in the pursuits themselves and within ourselves.·
  • How to fall into our vocation and chart a course toward it at the same time.
  • How to love the work we do, and the process of doing it.

For anyone beginning a new career or sensing a needed change in their life or wrestling with a transition suddenly thrust upon them, Robert Benson delivers wisdom, humor, and heart in what he’s learned about listening for The Echo Within—and how it can help us discover our calling.

My two pieces of caution, and they are not a small ones, are that he writes the entire book without (to my knowledge) mentioning the name of Jesus Christ or the study of Scripture. Though he is a gifted writer and talended storyteller, he is no theologian. Any spiritual discernment must be centered upon our repentance, reconcilation, and restoration through Christ and our submission to the bible. That being said, My favorite chapter was titled “Hearing.” The author spent a great time reflecting upon all of the people who God used to shape and sharpen the man who he would become. I recalled the Apostle Paul’s words to the Corinthian church which read, “For when one says, ‘I follow Paul,’ and another, ‘I follow Apollos,’ are you not mere men? What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe–as the Lord has assigned to each his task. I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The man who plants and the man who waters have one purpose, and each will be rewarded according to his own labor” (1 Corinthians 3:4-8).

I am eternally indebted to the diverse group of people who Christ used to speak to me at different points in my life. There is not enough room on my blog to list the people who I have been loved and lead by. I also am leary of writing specific names in fear that I will not be able to list everyone and possibly offend them – but I will do so anyways. Some of these people have come and gone . . . some I have even drifted apart from . . . but they were influential for a season nonetheless . . . and most are lifelong friends. My father taught me to love God even when no one was looking – and to be a man of my word. My mother prayed for me as a child. Jana Farley shows me true beauty each and every day. My brother has reminded me to dream. My sister has showed me how to learn. My stepmother has always protected me (even when it was from myself). My Grandfather Farley showed me that there is life after death. My Granfather Buller listens. Darrell Elliott encouaraged me to forgive. Rob Bennett challenged me to follow Christ. Neil King encouraged me to love the bible even more. Mr. Deathridge taught me how to write (sorry that I am not better than this). Dr. Stallman allowed me to heal. Paul Dron played games with me when I needed it the most. Randy Beal remindes me to be dependent upon the empowerment of the Holy Spirit. Skip Bennett gave me shot when others would not. Brad Fox reminded me that I was not alone. Jeffery Portmann shows me what a leader worth following actually looks like. Ryan Smith is loyal. Darrin Cavnar is comitted. David Brakke is obedient to God regardless of the cost. These are just a small fraction of my mentors and friends from the past and the present. There are many more who I am forever grateful to. There are those that I partner alongside today. I am constantly learning from the most unlikely of people . . . especially the ones who I am supposed to be teaching and leading (such as my children, my student ministry, and leadership team). I hope that I can engage, enable, entrust, and encourage those around me in just half the capacity that they have done so for me.

Robert Benson has written more than a dozen books about the discovery of the sacred in the midst of our ordinary lives, including Between the Dreaming and the Coming True, Home By Another Way, and Digging In. His work has been critically acclaimed in a wide range of publications from The New York Times and USA Today to Spirituality & Health and The Benedictine Review. He is an alumnus of The Upper Room’s Academy for Spiritual Formation and was recently named a Living Spiritual Teacher by SpiritualityandPractice.com. He lives in Nashville, Tennessee.

Echo

Paralyzed

When was a time that I felt betrayed by someone that I trusted?
Some of my best memories took place on the playground of Lincoln Elementary School in Kennewick, WA . . . and some of the worst of times. My friend, Danny, and I were obsessed with the Karate Kid. We spent a lot of time practicing “the Crane” during recess. We would spend hours refining our skills in case we ever had to use those abilities against our arch-nemesis, Adam the School-Bully. The kid was huge. GiNormous. Danny had my back and I had his . . . that was until Josh came to our school. Josh could eat Adam for lunch. Josh was a man-child (I swear he must have had a beard as he came out of the womb). Danny’s loyalty to me was only as good as one bully . . . he quickly chose to join the Axis of Evil – completing the Trinity of Destruction – Josh, Adam, and now Danny. He was nothing more than a yes-man . . . but leaving me high and dry nonetheless. I remember shortly after my abandonment, during a friendly game of foursquare, that Josh and Adam cut in line. I would have nothing of the sort. I stood up to them . . . pushing Josh against the wall and showing off my surprising second grade strength. Everything was going so well . . . all the girls were chanting my name . . . until Danny came from behind to hold me . . . let’s just say that I still have scars from that encounter. Things only got worse . . . in third grade I was minding my own business, tying my shoes, when I looked up just in time to be kicked in the face by Danny (I guess he was proving that he was no longer my friend). I even taught him that move! The chip in my two front teeth reminded me often of his betrayal.

How do we typically respond when we feel all alone? Why?
One only has to look at the top ten downloads on iTunes to see artists who are crying out for acceptance and significance. Even with all the fame, money, and glory . . . their loneliness often manifests itself as lust. People are full of anger, arrogance, or self-consciousness. We are looking for someone we can look to in times of trouble. One of my children’s favorite books is Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears the Who. The heroic elephant would always say, “I meant what I said and I said what I meant – an elephant is faithful one hundred percent!” The world needs more of that – they just don’t know where to find it.

This problem is nothing new . . . just ask the Hebrews of the first century. Israel was left wondering if they had been forever abandoned – God had left them to the consequences of their own rebellion. The people had now suffered five hundred years of political oppression (Assyria, Babylon, Persia, Greece, and then Rome) and four hundred years of prophetic silence (between the two testaments). However, there seemed to be whispers of hope. They began to hear rumors of a man who could very well be the Chosen One (the Messiah, the Christ, the King). Jesus was One who was embracing the untouchables, the unlovables, and the unlikelies. Some claimed that he was even giving sight to the blind, legs to the lame, and life to the corpses. Could he be the friend that everyone was longing for? Could he be the one to remind others to be the friend they were originally designed to be?

God is calling his followers to use what they have to reach who they are with.
A few individuals were using what little they had. One Gospel reads, “When Jesus returned to Capernaum several days later, the news spread quickly that he was back home. Soon the house where he was staying was so packed with visitors that there was no more room, even outside the door. While he was preaching God’s word to them, four men arrived carrying a paralyzed man on a mat. They couldn’t bring him to Jesus because of the crowd, so they dug a hole through the roof above his head. Then they lowered the man on his mat, right down in front of Jesus. Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralyzed man, ‘My child, your sins are forgiven'” (Mark 2:1-5, NLT).

Jesus had no privacy (not even in the home of a close friend). I wonder if we value our privacy too much? If we would be willing to give up our convenience and comfort for someone who needs it? The overflow was so great that even the front door was completely blocked by onlookers. Would our churches be the same way – packed with people – if Christ’s power and presence was manifest during the gatherings? The crowds obviously were looking to witness miracles . . . but this time Jesus gave them a sermon – communicating truth with love. Often people are searching for just another magic show . . . but the church can offer them authentic spirituality.

It was in this very setting that four men brought their paraplegic friend to the house – to meet and be healed by the Master. To fully understand the story we must first better understand the architecture of the day. A typical Palestinian peasant’s home was nothing more than a small one-room structure with a flat roof (sort of puts our current economic crisis in perspective – doesn’t it?). The roof could be accessed through an outside stairway. The top of the house was made up of a series of wooden beams filled with thatch and dirt that hardened in the heat. The group quickly realized that there was no entrance into the house (the crowd was just too great). That obstacles would not stop them. They chose to carry the man up the staircase. If that was not enough . . . they proceeded to dig up the compacted roof (a difficult task – especially with the tools of the day). What were the people in the house thinking as they were being showered with falling dirt? What was Jesus thinking as his message was so rudely interrupted? The men then lowered the man down below – right at the feet of Jesus. Mark says that Jesus recognized their persistent faith (their patience with a purpose).

Imagine how the paraplegic felt . . . he must have been just overwhelmed with the love showed to him by his friends. Remember what it meant to be a paralytic in that day. He was completely dependant upon those around them . . . and most did not want to be around him. He was a hindrance. Someone had to wash him. Feed him. Clothe him. Care for him. He was perceived as unclean. The only time he even got near to the temple was if someone carried him . . . and then only to be left on the outside looking in . . . left to beg so that he could support himself (or at least those who cared for him). However, here were these four friends who loved him enough that they would do just about anything to get him to Jesus – because they actually believed that he was the Answer. He might just be healed. Imagine their confusion when Jesus said, “Your sins are forgiven.” That is not what they expected. That was not what he needed – or so they thought.

These four individuals were shining examples of people determined to reach those who they were with. The story goes on to say, “But some of the teachers of religious law who were sitting there thought to themselves, ‘What is he saying? This is blasphemy! Only God can forgive sins!’ Jesus knew immediately what they were thinking, so he asked them, ‘Why do you question this in your hearts? Is it easier to say to the paralyzed man `Your sins are forgiven,’ or `Stand up, pick up your mat, and walk’? So I will prove to you that the Son of Man has the authority on earth to forgive sins.’ Then Jesus turned to the paralyzed man and said, ‘Stand up, pick up your mat, and go home!’ And the man jumped up, grabbed his mat, and walked out through the stunned onlookers. They were all amazed and praised God, exclaiming, ‘We’ve never seen anything like this before!’ (Mark 2:6-12, NLT).

The teachers of law had come from surrounding villages to see if the rumors were true. They were more than just curious – they were hoping to ensnare and silence the threat to their influence. How dare he claim to offer forgiveness! No one but God can forgive sins (he had thus just committed blasphemy). Of course, they did not comprehend who Jesus really was -the very Son of God – all authority had thus been given to him. The teachers did not have the courage to openly express their anger (but were thinking these things in their hearts). Jesus could read their minds (or at least their faces) and publicly challenged them. Which is easier to say and do – forgiveness or healing? Both are equally impossible. Yet, healings are visible and thus can be verified. Forgiveness is personal thus cannot be confirmed. So that the bystanders would know who he really was – Jesus looked to the lame man and said, “Get up and walk!” The sign pointed to the greater work – that they would see his power and position. To the teachers’ dismay, the man responded immediately (an instantaneous restoration). He got up from the dusty and worn mat in full view of them all. All of the crowd responded in amazement. The crowd gave praise to God for Jesus’ actions. His kingdom had arrived (broken bodies would now be made whole – and so would the broken lives).

Who in your life is currently disconnected from Jesus Christ?
Everyone is dealing with different symptoms. One Old Testament prophet once said, “All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the Lord laid on him the sins of us all” (Isaiah 53:6, NLT). Jessica might have an eating disorder. Christopher hates his father for what he did (or never did). Ashley just was laid off. Matthew can never get enough to drink. Emily was just beaten by her husband. Jacob’s parents just divorced. All these people are looking for the same solution (whether they know it or not). The previously mentioned prophecy begins with, “Yet it was our weaknesses he carried; it was our sorrows that weighed him down. And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God, a punishment for his own sins! But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed (Isaiah 53:4-5, NLT).

You and I are the messengers and participants of this hope and healing. We must begin to pray daily for them, care intentionally for them, invite them constantly to our church, and share honestly with them our stories and struggles. Carry them to the foot of the cross. Lower their broken lives down through the roof. That they might join us in admitting their rebellion, believing in their salvation, and committing to follow the leadership of Christ!

What can we use to connect our generation to Jesus Christ? How?
I think of the talents in our own youth ministry. So many tools that we can use on the mission. Derrick Lovatt works on cars. Allie Pelham loves art. Tanner Howard skateboards. Catherine Brakke plays softball. Brandon Schuck jams on the trumpet. Taylor Troost is a natural comedian. Josh Nelson is gifted in media. What would our church look like if we truly used what we had to reach who we were with? How about your church? The paralyzed are waiting . . . .

Paralyzed

Remains

I would recommend Gary Chapman and Elisa Stanford’s The Love as a Way of Life Devotional: A 90-Day Adventure that Makes Love a Daily Habit. I was fortunate to receive a free copy as part of a Valentine’s Day promotion (which our church might use in some capacity in the future). The devotional can be purchased at Buy.com for under $12 (http://www.buy.com/retail/product.asp?sku=208000839&listingid=30702461&dcaid=17902).

Paul once encouraged the church to “Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying” (Romans 12:12). Patience is not a natural Farley trait . . . which means that this is a prime area that God can transform within me (and that I have a responsibility to develop along with him). Chapman told the story of a French artist by the name of Pierre Auguste Renoir (a influential painter in the nineteenth century). Towards the end of his life he developed a painful sort of rheumatoid arthritis which made his work troublesome (nearly impossible really). One of his closest friends finally asked him why he insisted on continuing his work when the pain was nearly unbearable. Renoir’s reason was, “The beauty remains; the pain passes” (Chapman, 43-44). Life is full of difficulty and discouragement. Much of life hurts (whether self-inflicted or brought upon from outside sources). Only he gives us the patience to endure under the hardship. Even the godless can love their friends . . . followers of Christ are called to love the unlovables . . . the ones who want to take what is most important to us. The agony will not last forever. We must trust that the creativity and compassion of Christ will last a lifetime . . . both in us and through us . . . .
In his book, Love As a Way of Life, best-selling author Gary Chapman shows readers how to cultivate a new lifestyle built around the seven characteristics of authentic love. Now in a companion devotional, he provides ninety inspirational readings to help Christians consistently live out the characteristics of love in every relationship. Each devotional entry showcases biblical truths that guide a life of love, offering fresh insight and practical guidance in how to make love a lasting habit. Over the course of three months, readers will learn to follow God’s lead as they practice the characteristics of a loving person: kindness, patience, forgiveness, courtesy, humility, generosity, and honesty. The devotional makes an ideal gift for the holidays or for any special occasion. Couples, parents, new graduates, and anyone celebrating a milestone in life will welcome this inspiring daily guide to richer, more satisfying relationships.
Gary Chapman, PhD, is the author of twenty-six books, including the New York Times bestseller The Five Love Languages. An internationally respected marriage and family-life expert, he hosts the daily radio program A Love Language Minute. He and his wife, Karolyn, live in North Carolina where he serves on a church staff. Elisa Stanford is the author of Ordinary Losers: Naming the Graces that Shape Us. She lives in Colorado with her husband and two daughters.
Remains

Inside

I would recomend Shaunti and Jeff Feldhahn’s For Couples Only Box Set. I was fortunate to receive a free set as part of a Valentine’s Day promotion (which our church might use in some capacity in the future). The set can be purchased at Christianbook.com for under $15 (http://www.christianbook.com/Christian/Books/product?item_no=422484&kw=422484&en=froogle&p=1013824&cm_mmc=CBDfeeds-_-froogle-_-books-_-422484).

One of the most incredible portions of Scripture reads, “This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one” (Genesis 2:24). Marriage has the possibility of being the church’s greatest witness to the world around it. Imagine if only the husband would love his wife as Christ loves the church and the wife would return that love to him as the church is called to do towards Christ? Every man was asked in his survey “the one thing that [he] wish[ed] [his] wife knew” . . . and the overwhelming response was, “How much I love her” (For Women Only, 178-179). The women’s response to the same question was equally suprising . . . they would say, “You are my hero” (For Men Only, p. 178). The problem with most relationships . . . both genders do a miserable job of showing it. Maybe Paul was correct when he called us to live in partnership with each other?

Since their debut, these revolutionary guides have sold well over a million copies, been translated into fifteen languages, and sparked much fascinating water-cooler conversation around the country. Combining two books (For Women Only and For Men Only), the box set provides the perfect resource to help you understand what you never knew about the woman or man in your life. Each volume is based on input from more than a thousand members of the opposite sex — including an unprecedented nationwide survey and hundreds of personal interviews. This innovative approach yields candid and surprising answers about everything you don’t “get” about your significant other — even what that person deeply wishes you knew. It also produces simple but groundbreaking awareness of how you can best love and support the one who is most important to you. So whether you are newly dating or have been married fifty years, get ready to know each other in a whole new way. The adventure is just beginning!

Shaunti Feldhahn is a nationally syndicated newspaper coumnist, public speaker, and bestselling author. Jeff Feldhahn is the cofounder and CEO of tech company World2one and also an attorney sepcializing in coprorate and nonprofit law. Jeff and Shanti each hold graduate degrees from Harvard University, are active small group leaders in their Atlanta-area church, and are slightly sleep-deprived parents of two cute little kids.

Inside

Compassion

When was a time that I did not help someone in need? How did that make me feel?
I spent the majority of my eight grade year playing football with my friends. We would play pick-up games in a large field behind an old Baptist church in Longview, WA. The rain always ensured a great mud-fest. My brother, being six years younger, was often forced to watch the game from the sidelines. He so badly wanted to play. One day, following a great game of pigskin, we spent some time playing catch with him. Troy had a pretty good arm for only being in second grade (“pretty good” meaning that he had distance – just not the accuracy). He threw the football right past the receiver and straight into a window of the church. You should have seen the look on his face – completely petrified. I did what any good big brother would do in that situation . . . I laughed. Then, as opportunity would present itself, a siren was heard from faraway (a common occurrence in Kelso, WA). My friends and I took advantage of the situation by convincing my brother that the police were on their way and that he would likely be arrested. We encouraged him to run home and hide. We ran alongside him the whole way . . . bringing the poor child to tears.

Compassion was not one of my strong suits. I commonly define compassion as a feeling of sympathy which causes us to act immediately. As you can all see, I did not truly consider my brother’s predicament. My response was to taunt him endlessly – to make matters so much worse for him!

In what ways do we lack compassion? Why do we fail to act on behalf of someone else?
Think of the new movie based on being a “mall cop.” Paul Blart was not the prettiest. He was not the strongest. He was not the wealthiest. Yet, he was available. Mr. Blart was willing to sacrifice everything he was and everything that he had for a cause that was so much bigger than him . . . to save a shopping mall that he loved. Mark Batterson defines success as “Doing the best you can with what you have where you are.”[2] Paul Blart, a security guard, was a huge success.

We are committed to connecting our generation to the love of Christ (wherever we are and however we can do it). Why have we lacked much success? This problem is nothing new. The first followers of Jesus struggled with the mission, too. Imagine being a first-century Hebrew. Your people have waited for the extraordinary for so long (five hundred years of political oppression and 400 year of prophetic silence). This man comes along who calls them to follow him. They spent three years of their life with the untouchables, the unlovables, and the unlikelies. They watched as Jesus gave sight to the blind, legs to the lame, and life to the corpses. He confronted the religious elite and embraces the cultural outsiders. He boldly declared that his mission on earth was to “Seek and save the lost” – calling crowds to “Love God and love others.” As his popularity points skyrocketed so did the opposition. Their Master began warning about an inevitable suffering that must take place. He eventually was publicly executed upon a cross for crimes that he did not commit. His closest friends scattered – worrying about their own arrests and confused about what just took place.

If that is not strange enough, three days later he was raised from the dead (conquering death, hell, and the grave). He reinstated all of his “followers” into the movement of making more disciples . . . of turning the world upside down. Before returning to heaven, he promised to send a Helper – his Holy Spirit. Believe it or not, Jesus entrusted his mission to this group . . . our group. He empowered them and sent them out. What now? Where do we go from here? Being on the mission begins with having compassion for others. Will we have feelings of sympathy for the world around us which then propels us to act immediately on Christ’s behalf?

God calls his followers to “love someone who does not deserve it”
The first Christ followers were on their way to church. The bible says, “Peter and John went to the Temple one afternoon to take part in the three o’clock prayer service. As they approached the Temple, a man lame from birth was being carried in. Each day he was put beside the Temple gate, the one called the Beautiful Gate, so he could beg from the people going into the Temple. When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for some money” (Acts 3:1-3, NLT). The beggar is labeled as “the guy who has been a cripple since birth.” He was forced to rely upon everyone else for his basic necessities. He was completely dependent. People had to cart him from one location to the next. Every day of his life was spent at the gates looking for a pitiful donation. This is how he survived. This is how he existed. The crippled man was an outcast. How did it feel to be dropped off at the gate but never allowed to go in? He was so close to God’s visible presence . . . but never invited inside (he was considered unclean and unworthy).

Even the man had lost hope. He had adapted to the difficult world around him. This was all life had to offer . . . a hand-out. The story goes on to say, “Peter and John looked at him intently, and Peter said, ‘Look at us!’ The lame man looked at them eagerly, expecting some money. But Peter said, “I don’t have any silver or gold for you. But I’ll give you what I have. In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, ‘Get up and walk!'” (Acts 3:4-6, NLT). Peter did something unbelievable. He stopped. How many people had walked past this man each and every day? How many, even when they gave him a coin or two, never would look him in the eyes? You have to respect someone in order to look at them face to face. Peter did not look down on him – he looked right at him. The man was shocked. He was probably pretty hopeful – I will get to eat tonight! He expected that Peter and John were going to give him money. Instead of a hand-out he received a hand-up. You can envision his complete surprise when he heard Peter say, “In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” Peter was not using some magical mumbo-jumbo to heal the man – he was relying upon the power and presence of Christ to do something supernatural. He actually believed that Jesus heals each and every day, believing enough to lift the man up, and that the miracle would be a sign and a wonder that would direct the man to a reconnected relationship with God. Peter had enough compassion for the man to give him everything that he had – which was not that much – but merely faith where the man had none.[3]

Something incredible took place – instant and inconceivable. The account ends by saying, “Then Peter took the lame man by the right hand and helped him up. And as he did, the man’s feet and ankles were instantly healed and strengthened. He jumped up, stood on his feet, and began to walk! Then, walking, leaping, and praising God, he went into the Temple with them. All the people saw him walking and heard him praising God. When they realized he was the lame beggar they had seen so often at the Beautiful Gate, they were absolutely astounded!” (Acts 3:7-10). What would you do if you had spent your entire life never able to walk? Finally, you had feet. What was the man’s response to being given what he did not deserve? To being shown love for the very first time? He ran, he jumped, and he screamed God’s praises! Maybe one reason some of us struggle to worship God with everything we have is because we have forgotten what we have been given? Today was the day of firsts. Peter and John invited him to join them in the Temple. He was pure. He was accepted. He was a part of Christ’s plan. He was a part of his community. He believed and belonged.

Who in your life is helpless or hurting? What can you do about it?
Remember, God calls his followers to “love someone who does not deserve it.” I wonder what I would have done if put in Peter’s place? I don’t have to think very hard. How many homeless people have I walked by after a Seattle Mariner’s game at Safeco Field? Someone else will help him. How many times have I ignored the guy sitting at the corner, while I was stopped at a red light? He will just use my money to buy liquor or cigarettes. How many Speed-the-Light offerings have I allowed to go by without giving? I gave last week – this week I need my money for dinner-out.

The good news is that my heart is changing. My priorities are changing because of leaders and students that I partner with on a daily basis. I will never be the same after my trips with them to the Los Angeles Dream Center. I will never be the same after seeing one of our own interns, David Brakke, go to downtown Monroe every Saturday, for the past two years, just to sit and eat with the homeless. I now attempt to always have something in my car, whether it be water or granola bars, so that I can give them something out of love. I will never forget hearing about how Charlee McVay shoveled enough snow to pay for Winter Retreat registration . . . for her and her best friend. What if you did something like that in order to bring a long a friend for summer camp? You not only invite them . . . but you have the compassion to pay for them as well.

What can we do as a student ministry in order to purposely show compassion? How?
Cast vision to the students (such as): Peter did not have any silver and gold. He was poor. Yet, he gave all that he had. You and I do have silver and gold (and plenty of it). Do we give ALL that we have for Christ and his mission? First, we must stay committed to the global mission by giving to Speed-the-Light. We have sent our missionaries to places where we are unable to go and to do ministry that we are unable to do. We now have the shared responsibility to equip them with the necessary technology and transportation that will propel the message of Christ. Give something every week.

Second, we must stay committed to our church’s monthly ServeSaturday (the fourth one of each month). Sometimes we will pass out water, rake leaves, shovel snow, buy coffee, clean parks, deliver teachers baskets, etc. The method changes but the message stays the same: Practical acts of kindness – no strings attached. Likewise, I am looking for a few students willing to go down to the local skate parks a few Wednesdays out of the month in order to pass out sports and energy drinks. Have compassion. Be strategic. Build relationships. Invite to Merge.

[1] Batterson, Mark, In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day. Colorado Springs: Multnomah Books, 2006.
[3] Merrill C. Tenney, Richard N. Longenecker, and Frank E. Gaebelein. The Expositor’s Commentary (Volume 9). Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1984.

Compassion