“Yes, you will be enriched in every way so that you can always be generous. And when we take your gifts to those who need them, they will thank God. So two good things will result from this ministry of giving—the needs of the believers in Jerusalem will be met, and they will joyfully express their thanks to God. As a result of your ministry, they will give glory to God. For your generosity to them and to all believers will prove that you are obedient to the Good News of Christ. And they will pray for you with deep affection because of the overflowing grace God has given to you. Thank God for this gift too wonderful for words!”
2 Corinthians 9:11-15
So many things I want to share about watching the Lord work in the simplest but most awesome ways today! I’m going to do my best to focus in on the biggest eye opening moment from today but we’ll see how many rabbit trails I go on. Like I mentioned yesterday, we are currently in Baltimore on a short mission trip. The church I’m here with has been going the last 4 or 5 years to help out a pastor here in the downtown Baltimore area with the church he’s put right in the middle of the roughest area. I didn’t know this but Baltimore ranks as the #1 area in the US for crime right now so if that gives you any idea of how much Ministry opportunity there is here. Our main focus for the trip was to put a huge cross on top of the church to be a beacon for the surrounding community so they could be reminded of the One True King and Savior! After meeting the Pastor and hearing about the struggle he goes through to meet so many needs and minister in a place where there isn’t a lot of good to be seen. It was supposed to rain all day so putting the cross up was going to be quite a battle. This is so cool! He prayed over us last night and asked the Lord to hold off the rain just long enough for us to be able to put the cross up safely. WOOO!!! Guess what? We got the cross up and the only rain we faced was a light drizzle. We got in the van to leave and it was pouring rain. Wanted to share how the Lord answered that prayer and the power of Him at work when His people are on a mission to spread His glory! Stinkin amazing!!!
Wanted to give you the background to where we’re at and what we’re doing so you could understand a little better the coolness of these moments. Getting on the ground today in downtown Baltimore. We were about 2 blocks down from where all the protests and riots happened a couple years ago. The church and surrounding community is still facing major effects from that. Parents are scared to let their kids out so it’s harder to set up events and Ministry for the kids. Drugs and violence are constant throughout the neighborhood and instead of people setting up things to stop it, the “big money” politicians and community leaders have just put that area to the side because in their minds it’s too big of a problem to fix. I had the chance to see some deals being made on the corner, a girl walking by dropped a little bag of drugs in front of us, and I maybe saw one or two kids the whole time there. It was heart breaking. How could there be places like this in America? The home of the brave and land of the free, where dreams are there to be taken and abundance is running rampant. How could we let areas like this get so bad? How can people live right down the road in their nice, comfortable, big money houses and jobs and be okay with other people going through this? How can there be so many churches on every corner of that neighborhood and the only signs of Jesus being an occasional cross on a church?
I say all that not to cast judgement or make you feel guilty, it’s just the truths that I’m trying to wrap my head around. I know Baltimore has certain predetermined thoughts after what’s happened here recently, but race isn’t even in the equation. Jesus didn’t care if a person was black, blue, or white, rich or poor, sinful or good. People are people. These people are people just like me and you. They sin and we sin. They breathe and we breathe. What broke my heart was seeing and feeling the hopelessness around me. People who saw no other option and no other or better way of living because what the world told them, what the people and setting surrounding them told them, I can’t judge or feel scared of them because a couple of bad decisions. Growing up in similar circumstances and listening to those lies. I could easily be sitting on one of those street corners living that broken lifestyle. I made my fair share of bad decisions and still do but by God’s grace He gave me another chance, a new life. When I saw these people, I don’t sit here and feel guilty for the blessings I have but I feel guilty for the blessings I take fore granted. It’s not something we can sit and burden ourselves over thinking we can change it either because it’s not up to us. If I let the guilt of the thought “that should be me, or why do I deserve what I have” then I’d worry myself to death. That God’s grace, it could be me and I don’t deserve the blessings I have but God led me in a different direction and continues to bless me so now I get the chance to share God’s grace and abundant love with people who are in need.
Listening to the Pastor talk about the only way for their to be real, lasting change in these people’s lives and this community, is Jesus. The reason Jesus isn’t being taken to them is simply because of “Sunday religion.” Once again, I’m not trying to cast stones or be judgmental. It’s the truth I face in my own life and unfortunately it’s the truth surrounding Christians in this country. Just going to church on Sunday, living comfortable lives, just doing the minimum so we can feel good about ourselves. I hate this so much because I live this. As a follower of Jesus Christ, being brought into a relationship with Him, living under God’s grace, it’s not just a one day event we dress up for. He’s so much more than that. His presence in our lives lead to a lifestyle, day in and day out of walking in thankfulness for the blessings we have and the grace He’s given us. Because of the new life He brought us into, we have hope for tomorrow and for eternity, we have a Savior to lean on, to renew our strength and minds everyday bringing us farther from the ways of the world and into the truth of His Word. He’s given us freedom from living in defeat, victory over sin and death so now we have life, life abundantly.
I’m not saying you have to go on mission trips or give away all your belongings and money. There is so many different ways and opportunities to share Jesus with the people around us in desperate need every day. We have been blessed with what we have whether money, gifts, or resources so we can give more. Besides nothing we have in this life is ours to start with, it’s given by God for God’s glory. Man it’s scary typing some of this because I know how easily people’s feelings and pride gets hurt when the talk about money, giving, and people that are in need. I’m just excited to share the truth of what I’m experiencing and how the lessons learned through this are opening me up to see it’s not about how you and I feel. It’s about Jesus Christ and giving Him all the glory! The truth is in Baltimore and every area on this earth, there are people in physical need and most of all a desperate need of Jesus. The truth is Jesus gave us this new life of freedom, hope, and victory, a life we don’t deserve but we have it. The truth is Jesus gave us a mission to take the gospel to all nations meaning every place and every person, even the people you see everyday. He gave us this life and this mission, the question is what will we do with what we’ve been given.
It breaks my heart seeing people in such a desperate need of Jesus and the life He offers. What breaks my heart even more is knowing their need and not doing anything about it. I’m talking to myself, I’m talking to you. If Jesus is never taken outside the walls of the “church” how will all these hurting, hopeless and evil people ever change and see that there is more to life than those pills, the hurt and hate they put on others to the point of killing. They don’t see any other way to live because they haven’t seen Jesus. The question I ask myself as part of the church, not just a building but the hands and feet of Christ, given the mission to share the life transforming and powerful Gospel, am I going to sit by comfortably, saying it’s not my problem, bad mouth others because of the way they live, or am I going to take the gift of life and Christ I’ve been given and share it through my words, my actions, the way I do everything I do, the way I love. He’s the only way change will ever happen anywhere. Doesn’t matter who it is or how deep their need, Christ loved all and His love can bring anyone out of the pit they’re in.
Shall we love others as Christ loved us?
The need is there, we have Christ, everything we need to meet the need, will we give ourselves to the spread of Christ?
Hey, I’m just as scared and clueless as you are but it’s bigger than us, He’s too awesome not to share, the mission to spread His glory through our lives is to meet the needs around us is too big not to ignore. I don’t know how or what or when but I know why! Jesus. The King of Kings. Let’s do it!!! Let’s break the chains of Sunday religion and embrace the mission before us!! Let’s love as He loved us, give as He gave Himself for us!!! LET’S GET IT!!!!! HANDS AND FEET!!!!