Posts tagged church

What if?

At our Free Sale, my eyes were opened to some of the hardships around us. Hardships that aren’t being talked about in mainstream media. 

One guy shared with me how he was preserving everything he could grow in preparation for great economic hardship. He also shared how he was living with his girlfriend or “common law wife”. He told me how he would never ever get married again.

I drove by a church billboard this last summer that read, “Come to church now…beat the Christmas rush.” I got a little chuckle, and then it got me thinking.

So often, as a church member, we wait in our churches for someone like that guy I mentioned to come to church. We wait for him to come to us needing a handout. We wait so that we can tell him how he is living in sin. Once they enter into church, we are all smiles and love. But once they leave, they are forgotten or at best “prayed for”.

We long to minister to the poor. We long to share our wisdom. But we really need to be longing to share our fellowship.

What if we hung out and interacted with “others” on a regular basis? What if we laughed together, ate together, helped each other?…Not because we had to, but because we wanted to. What if our hanging out naturally flowed to worshipping God together? What if there was no division between the two?

What if?

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Showers of Blessings

Most people when they think of Oregon think of rain, rain, rain. They also think of lush-ness and greenery. Well, there is another part of Oregon that most people don’t even realize exists. And it is actually larger than the more popular rainy, lush area otherwise known as “The Valley”.

This other area is Eastern and Central Oregon. Since I am more familiar with Central Oregon, I am going to share a few tidbits maybe you didn’t know. Central Oregon is a high desert. It is rugged and dry. There are flat plateaus, canyons, and rocky outcroppings.

 The annual rainfall is only around 12 inches a year. This makes for a very dry climate. Since we arrived on August 1st, it has only rained 2 times.

Instead of receiving rain of the liquid variety, we have been receiving showers of blessings. At our first visit to our church, we said a prayer. I don’t really remember all the words, but it basically was a prayer for provisions. We prayed for job opportunities, checks in the mail, rebates, inheritances, etc. While I was hopeful for some of the things listed, others, I thought, weren’t even a possibility.

Over the next 3 weeks, we received one rebate, 8 checks in the mail, and one job opportunity. All of the checks were completely unexpected like a refund for overpayment on our property taxes on our old property. The money always came when we most needed it.

With the job opportunity, Joe had an interview for a coaching position, and then had to wait a week to find out if he got the position. They called and told him that he did not get the job. We were very disappointed but held on to faith that God would provide.

Yesterday, Joe got a call that they had too many kids on the team and were forming two and asked if Joe would coach the second team. And…he would get the same pay as previously told.

I have also been worrying about clothes for this winter for the kids. So I decided that I should pray about it. We have since then received two bags of boys’ clothes and one bag of girls’ clothes. I also prayed for food. We received a ton of food that someone didn’t have need for and we also have received some surplus garden bounty. I could go on about the gifts we have been given. Daily I am amazed. It still boggles my mind as to how good God is. I don’t think I will ever grasp how great God is.

So we might not have had a lot of rain here, but we have definitely been showered with blessings.

Now, I don’t write this to boast. No, I write this to remind myself. If I had been with the Israelites on the exodus from Egypt, I am sure that I would be of the golden calf making crowd. I, all too quickly, forget of God’s provisions. I, all too quickly, become filled with worry and doubt. I, all too quickly, complain.

I wrote this to encourage you in your own life as well as to be a reminder to myself of God’s provisions and blessings. Put your trust in Him and he will provide all you need.

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Free Sale

Many years ago, my husband and I had our vehicle broken into while at a church picnic. The thief stole my husband’s bag which contained a special Bible and other “religious” stuff. Our friends and ourselves gathered together and prayed that the thief would somehow be blessed by this gain. We prayed that he might open up that Bible and read it. We prayed that God would be glorified in our loss.

This Friday, we had a free sale at our house. Everything in the house was free. We talked beforehand that someone might use our loss for their gain. But isn’t that what Christ died for? His loss is our gain. So that is what we prayed for…that our loss would be someone’s gain. And it wasn’t up to us to choose who got the gain.

Early on in our Free Sale, a man stopped who happened to be driving by. He was quite shocked that everything was free. Now, we didn’t have a lot of junk. Most of our stuff was our higher ticket items that hadn’t sold (like a barely used weight bench and 2 computer cabinets that were fairly new), as well as stuff we couldn’t use in the trailer (like all our dishes and unopened soaps and shampoos that had been stocked up).

Well, this man was quite amazed that everything was free. He took the things he needed or wanted like canning jars, but nothing more. Later he came back looking very sheepish. He said he had something for us and hoped we wouldn’t be offended. He then opened his truck and gave us a box of vegetables and canned goods.

He was grinning from ear to ear. He said, “You see, this is why I wanted your jars. I can.” He went on to share how he didn’t have much, but wanted to give something in return for our generosity. He said how he was worried about the economy and had decided he would use what he had…his land…to grow as much food as he could. He told me about building their home in a barn left to them by family. He said he was doing everything he could just to get by.

I told him Jesus loves him. He almost started crying, but instead gave me a hug.

Another family came by and were also blown away that everything was free. They really needed a bed for their 13-year-old (which we had). The father exclaimed about how awful things were going financially for them. They had also been hit hard by this economy. They were so grateful.

Another man popped his head in the door (he thought it was a garage sale) and asked if we had a twin box spring for sale. I said, “No, it’s free!” He was delighted!

I think the greatest blessing of the day was for me though. I was so blessed by being able to give. I was also blessed by my friends stopping by just to say hello and see how we are. What a blessing that was! Being that we are so removed from town, it is not easy for others to stop by, so I am very, very thankful for that!

I wish I could have a Free Sale every day. I think that more resembles how we are to live. It should be our mindset. We are so concerned about being swindle and bamboozled that we don’t give freely. Yes, we have been cheated out of money in our adventure, but so what? God can give it all back in a heartbeat. Maybe, just maybe, God wanted to use us to show His love. I know I’ve tried. I hope those who we have interacted with see God’s love.

And I also know that I have seen Christ in them.

‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’ Matthew 25:40

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