True love forces human interaction! The Blog Post Few Will Read.

Category: Ministry Comments: No comments

Few will read this, even more will be offended, or perhaps, convicted? Even as I am writing this, outside my window I can see a local run down mountain motel with people sitting out front drinking, women on the porch who come and go on different nights, as if to be prostitutes,  and a homeless man making his daily walk through the valley pushing a  cart full of cans. Confronted with scenes like this on a daily basis has made me think a lot about Jesus’ call to serve the least of these. What should this look like in my life and the life of the “Last Day Church” as many pastors call congregations today?

Over the years, I have far more failures than successes when it comes reaching out to these people until 2 years ago. That’s another post. The main concern is what does this mean to the church today? It might not be easy, but our call to help the poor is a scriptural mandate that few would argue against these three most preached on passages of scripture on the matter.

Deuteronomy 15:7-8 says:  If among you, one of your brothers should become poor, in any of your towns within your land that the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart or shut your hand against your poor brother, but you shall open your hand to him and lend him sufficient for his need, whatever it may be.

I John 3:17 says- If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion–how can God’s love be in that person?

“He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the LORD; and that which he hath given will he pay him again.”    Proverbs 19:17 ”

And of some  have compassion, making a difference” ―Jude 1:22

And of course the entire chapter of Matthew 25, just to name a few.

But any person who has actually spent time serving the poor realizes that it is not for the faint of heart. I have seen many passionate, zealous Christians set out to blaze a trail and give up in weeks.

DSCN2806 Over the years I have met many types of “needy” people on the streets. I have found many to be some of the most humble and gracious people I know, but there is no getting around the fact that some are just plain mean-spirited. Many are homeless and hungry as a consequence of their own choices.  So does our biblical mandate to help the poor mean that we are we to spend our lives helping out people like this? The answer is YES and without reservation. Jesus Christ calls us to help even the unrighteous poor.

I am only sharing this because of showing contrast. I am contrasting two types of churches, both of which I have attended. Church Number One: Northland, my current home congregation.

So today, PALM SUNDAY! I was moved by Vernon Rainwater’s message today at Northland, A Church Distributed. The point of this will be: Nothing will start until the Pastor leads the people in this direction and ignites passion for lost souls.  It starts when the people start doing what they are called to do.  I was so proud about the scores and scores of ministries they do in the community and literally thousands of church members participate in these efforts, and the hundreds of thousands of dollars are spent on these things. Hence, church name “A Church Distributed.” Based on taking the church out and distributing it in communities. Now I totally get that not every church is like Northland in that they don’t have 12,000-15,000 members and probably don’t bring in $250,000 or more per service (they post what comes in each week online before the world).

When the typhoon hit the Philippines, thousands and thousands of Northland members showed up to package millions of meals that the church paid to have dropped in via airplane, not to mention the hundreds of people who go into jails and homeless shelters setting up the equipment so that Northland can broadcast inside! Not to mention the tons of house churches and online worshippers that gather online weekly to worship with the thousands at home in Longwood, FL. It started with one thing! The pastor calling a church to distribute itself in community every day outside the walls. This concept attracted the masses, and yes, Northland is considered one of the top Mega churches in America.  I am trying to make a point about the passion in various churches and how vastly different they are.

Church Number Two: I just went for my morning mountain walk and time with the Lord. I passed by a little country church and Sunday after Sunday there is one car there.  This little country church here in the valley that has one car every Sunday and it is the pastor, who Sunday after Sunday keeps to door open and attends. I attended it, but my deep burning passion for evangelism and spreading the Gospel of Love” was not popular and I was more or less not welcome.

Right across the street is a nice sized church with hundreds of cars. Common denominator is that neither of them are ever heard of or seen in the community. It’s like they are invisible with no presence in the community.  You can be a small church with not much or You can have nice church building, great worship team, great programs and events, preaching from the Bible, got the Holy Spirit, praying in the Spirit language, healing, all the gifts in the spiritual world, lot’s a money rolling in the offering plate, Sunday School packed with kids, everyone in the church FAM shows up to be fed spiritually and at church dinners and events, spending thousands on trying to get known with events and revivals. BUT…. all of this won’t mean one thing if the church doesn’t get a deep burning passion for lost and hurting people and get up out of the comforts of all of that and Go touch them.

A well balanced church will focus equally on all of the gifts and ministries and outreach. Instead of writing out a check or sending a package to an organization, find a homeless or poor individual and reach out to them personally. Most churches talk about helping others, but don’t get around to it.  They talk about using their ministry to build people, but in reality often use people to build their ministry.  What about the poor?  How often do we see church banquets, chili suppers, cookouts, barbeques, with all the trimmings; BUT, what about the homeless?

Every church should have a ministry to the homeless in their community. Give them your food, clothes, time, energy, and whatever else represents Christ love yourself—in person! Don’t pass along the responsibility to someone else. My fear, we are too busy Having Church that we forgot to be the Church!!!! Our hearts should break! Unfortunately, many churches and Christians today are acting more corporations, treating “charity” like a loan application, dispensing aid and resources only to the specific poor they deem “worth it.” Are they sober, mentally stable, spiritually healthy, and capable of work? God forbid if we have to help you more than once.  In our culture of  greed, God calls us to be less efficient and more loving and gracious, which often goes against everything we’re taught.

Vernon Rainwater spoke today about the book, The Locust Affect, and the Author. Vernon made a statement that I can’t get out of my head. You can do everything and yet it take a human vessel, a person to go out in person and touch humanity.  LISTEN… True love forces human interaction. Northland, A Church Distributed. The congregation is fed and trained to take everything they receive and go distribute it. It goes back to what is the primary message coming from the pulpit? Is the Gospel all inclusive or are Pastors just focusing on healing, gifts or money? I fear today, many are excluding portions of the Gospel message.

By doing it personally, yourself, it forces us to actually interact with humankind, with the people God wants us to be with! Christians have a notion that donating to charities and organizations simply because they don’t want to be uncomfortable or get their hands “dirty.” It’s their way of “helping” without having to actually do anything and still be pleasing God.

Once a month churches should shut the door and take the congregation for a walk through your neighborhood. Take some supplies with you. Take open arms and hugs and embrace the most dirty and smelly person you encounter.  I am talking about the highways, byways, dark alleys, crack town, hell town and every other place that no one wants to go. A dead church or a thriving church can’t use the excuse “We just don’t have the one the Lord is sending for that call to ministry yet” Every born again believer is called to do this. It only takes one person to touch another for Christ.

“Beloved, we can do great things in His name, but one day we are going to stand before Him with so much regret we will suffer with great loss and pain. If there’s one thing every believe should think about is that day. You don’t want to go there with regret” Mike Bickle

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