I can't think of a better way to say "Happy Birthday" than to share a story from "Firecracker". Firecracker, as she is affectionately known to us around here, was the driving force behind the 2012 Clothing Drive a couple weeks back.
I asked her to share her thoughts from the Clothing Drive - (Enjoy some new pictures too!)
When God calls us to serve, he equips us with all we need. If we are obedient and we trust him…he will provide to the very last detail. I was particularly dancing and jumping like a 3 year old child jumps out of joy when a parent stops the ice cream truck to buy a child ice cream as I watch God at work even before the day of the Clothing Drive. I truly believe He loves the child in me because when I praise Him my joy is so uncontainable just like the one of a child.
Sometimes I think we do not praise him enough – we take things for granted or somehow think we may deserve it and forget to be thankful, when everything we have, everything we are we owe it to Him.
The folks that make up “His Feet on the Street” plan ahead, many people say that they want to help and be a part of the ministry, but somehow there is no follow through. Thankfully we serve a FAITHFUL GOD and He never fails us.
Every year we do this clothing drive God shows us that He is in control. We continue with our plans to do what he has called “His church” to do. We know we have a mission and that is to let others know about Him, to spread the Good News, to talk about repentance, about surrendering to Him, to just show His love to others and to provide a need to our community in more than one way. God prepares the provisions of the clothing, the volunteers, the food, the perfect location, the tables, the bibles, the weather, and the ears and the hearts that come to hear His message.
Wow! Do we serve and awesome God or what!? Many long hours and days go forth into the process of planning the event and we don’t necessarily know how God is going to work, but we do know He is at work. People came to us at the clothing drive because God brought them and they heard what we had to share. Some of our conversations were 20-30 minutes long and they just listened. There were people hurting who shared with us their pain with heavy hearts, who shared with us their state of being, how lost they felt, what an outcast they were, how they had no direction in life, some were unsure of were they stood with God, their hearts seemed divided.
Many got to open up their hearts and even sobbed – that my friend is the Holy Spirit at work! We give God the Praise and all the Glory for all that took place that day, but I tell you that even if only one seed was planted throughout the whole day, if only one person surrendered to Him and repented, then everything would have been worth it either way!
I thought because I speak more than one language I was there to share the Gospel with the Hispanics, and Wayne, Cam, Kris and the rest of the guys would witness, serve or be praying for or to the ones who spoke English, but suddenly I found myself witnessing to a lady name Loreen who was very burdened as well as to their daughters who spoke English.
I bagged her times and asked her if I could have a few minutes for some questions.
I proceeded… what good is it to give you a bite to eat, something to drink and even some clothing, if I do not talk to you about my Savior, if I do not share with you the Good news. There is purpose to our lives; we exist to have a relationship with God. “ Before I finished my sentences I saw her eyes swelled up and noticed she was trying to hold back her tears, as she looked around her teenage daughter, and her other daughter who held her little one in a stroller. I could not help but to feel her heaviness upon my heart.
I am a mother and I know how much I pray for my own children to know and to live a life abiding in the Lord. Before you know it, those tears were rolling down her beautiful face and I say beautiful because I guarantee you that she probably never looked more beautiful to the Lord than at that very moment when her heart was longing to be embraced by His grace and mercy, when she was surrendering to Him.
She did not care who was watching; who was around her, she just let it out. Of course I prompted her to do so, that we wanted to be there for her. She not only spoke of how lost she felt she was, but she cried for her daughters who were present and asked God for Him to intervene in their lives. She was so ready to have an encounter with the Lord. She mentioned she was struggling and was in a spiritual warfare. She said life had been rough and that at some point she had been to church, but it had been a very long time since she had been back.
I reminded her that we might forget about God, but that He never forgets about us. That He allowed U-turns and that He was there waiting for her return with opened arms. The more I spoke the more she sobbed. After exchanging a few words, I asked her is she was tired of trying to make things work. I told her she was not meant to carry her burdens and her children’s burdens, but that the Lord would gladly take them.
We spoke about God’s love for her regardless of her wandering away and you can tell that she needed to hear about His forgiveness. How wonderful to know that He will come and rescue us from the deepest and darkest pit when we realize He is our one and only Savior and Redeemer. I know God came to her rescue, I know that she had a divine appointment with the Lord and that He will carry her and her burdens with His righteous right hand and that the storm she is facing will not over take her.
She said she was so ready to turn around her life, that her whole family needed Jesus. I did tell the daughters that the mom could not attain salvation for them that they had to come to Christ them selves. I probably went overboard as the firecracker that I am and I did put them on the spot, but see this business of Jesus is no game. He is coming! I may never see them again and I needed to let them know to take God seriously.
Sometimes it is through suffering we draw near to Him, so we need to understand that He is the source of all we need. I remember seeing Cam praying while we spoke… the power of prayer is a wonderful thing. Can you imagine what else God will do if we prayed fervently for one another?! It was a privilege to let God use us to provide her more than clothing and a bite of food.
We shared Christ with her and her family.
We were church on the street.
We embraced her, her family and each other while others were praying and God was there in the midst of us, healing, justifying, sanctifying and already at work with his transformation and Loreen knew this was as real as it gets. I bet she had no idea she will meet with Jesus at something so simple like a clothing drive. We may not necessarily see the finished work of God, but we know He will bring it to completion and that is all we need to know.
To see this many people come through the clothing drive is telling us that our community needs the church to step up to be a church!
This is not about numbers or religion; this is about our duty as Christians to serve our community and spread the Gospel. Many people just needed prayer, others had other needs… regardless, we as the church keep tripping over our actions and all we need is to have our hearts see and speak and be lead by mercy, by a mercy that will open a door, maybe a window, but something will open – if not the whole heart! John 15:13 says “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” I know this is referring to Christ, but we can also apply this to us. Does this mean that we have to die to show our love for our friends? Is only to our friends?
Well… we at His Feet on the Street lay down our lives every time we put someone else's needs before our own through service, through meeting a need, though planting seeds, handing Bibles, sharing His Word and through loving lost cause, the outcast because not long ago we were there ourselves.
As a church we have many opportunities to serve the body of Christ, and the church does not necessarily mean the structure of a building. Christ made it clear in Matthew 28:19-20 when he said “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit and teaching them everything I have commanded you to do.” We have a responsibility to reach the people in our community.
On April 28 we probably saw over two hundred people come through the Clothing Drive, you could see some who were indifferent, some with many hurts, doubts, and questions. Some seemed to be in a desperate condition – they needed clothes, food, but they needed something much more essential, they needed love; they needed to know someone care to give them something without expecting anything in return, they needed a savior, a relationship with Christ; they needed HIM, they needed to know that we attain life only through Him.
Our mission is to reach out to the people, to accept them and joyfully receive all who surrender to Him no matter their state of being.
After all… didn’t Christ died for ALL? What is happening in our churches today? Are we getting too complacent that we are growing stagnant? Have we gotten too comfortable under the air conditioning and too preoccupied with our needs that we can’t see the ones of our neighbors? Folks, our community needs us to truly care about them, when we can prove we care, only then they will be willing to listen to what we have to share. Until they know we care we are just blabbing away.
Actions speak louder than words. James 2: 15-17 says “What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? 15 Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
We need to live our lives understanding that we need to tie our actions with our words. People are watching us and they know if we are real!!! More importantly Christ knows. James 1:22 “ Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.
John 21: 15-16Jesus said Do you love me more than these?”“Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.” 16 Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep
The church exist not to serve itself, but to serve God and to help further His Kingdom. We are to do the work of Christ and be His Feet on the Street daily, at work, during sports, at the store, driving, wherever we are,,, are we ready for His coming? Are we not worried that some folks are walking near a cliff that leads to eternal doom and they don’t even know it? Can we love like He did? Can we care?
God designed the church to function like a body with every member ministering in the power of the Holy Spirit to others, helping one another and pointing others towards him. There is work to be done right here, there are missions right here! Let’s Get it Done! Praise God for His faithfulness and all His provisions!
May He richly bless those who encountered His Grace and Mercy and may he bless all the volunteers, all who donated clothes, tables, the location, Bibles, food, and all of those who prayed! You are a valuable tool for the kindgdom of God! It is an honor and a privilige serving with you!
In His Mighty Love,
May God be praised and all glory be given unto Him -