Thursday, July 29, 2010


This week, my workplace delivered meals for the Summer Lunch Program. The SLP delivers meals to children who are eligible for free lunches during the school year, who might otherwise not have lunch. I signed my family up to help. So Sunday night, the kids made 25 bologne sandwiches. They prayed for the kids who would receive them, and they made the same lunches to bring to camp.

On Monday, I delievered the lunches. I drove down streets I know well, and some I didn't. At most houses, I was greeted cheerfully by the kids, who were happy to see lunch arrive. I was sad, though, as most of the time there were younger siblings we hadn't packed lunch for.

There were only two houses I didn't have someone answer the door. In the first one, the person hadn't heard me knock, and we met in the stairwell as I did a take two.

The second one was at a house that had been divided into four apartments (somewhat like our house when we bought it). It was unit #4, but I didn't see a clearly marked #4, so I figured I must have the wrong door. So I called. We didn't have a good connection, so it took me a while to figure out what the mom was saying.

The family had moved. And not to another a hotel. A fleabag motel, about a block from my house. My route was on the other side of town, so I finished my deliveries, then headed there and dropped off the bag with bologne sandwiches, yogurt, apples, juice boxes and chips. There was a "do not disturb" sign on the door. It was the only "unit" with a "welcome mat" by the door and prayer candles in the window. I was greeted by a ~10 year old girl, reaching through a barely cracked open door. I could see a shelving unit just inside the door, holding all their clothes. She whispered "thank you", then closed the door.

I used to volunteer at a homeless shelter. I know that in a town like ours, the run down motels are the last stop before homelessness. The math also doesn't make sense--I inquired at the desk, and the weekly rate was $220. That's over $800 a month--way more than a regular apartment would cost (on a monthly basis).

It makes me feel angry.
It makes me feel powerless.
It brings me to my knees.

So I've been praying for the people in 217.

But James 2:15-16 asks more of me: "Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, "Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it?"

That brings me right back to my knees...what will meet their physical needs? What will meet their spiritual needs? What's the best use of our resources? How can this be used to draw them closer to God?

On Sunday we went to the Cincinnati Vineyard. (Man, that feels like a long time ago!) The sermon series was on "Perfect takes Practice" and touched on Peter stepping out of the boat. This is definitely a chance to practice, to step out in faith. To offer my meager bologne sandwiches, and ask God to do a miracle with them.

God, you fed five thousand with a few loaves and a couple of fish. I ask you to do another miracle in the hearts and stomachs of 217. I pray for release of the prisoner and feeding of the hungry---both spiritual and physical. Show us how to help and how to point them to you, their ultimate provider.

Sunday, July 18, 2010


Matthew 9:36
When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.

Matthew 14:14
When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick.

Matthew 15:32
Jesus called his disciples to him and said, "I have compassion for these people; they have already been with me three days and have nothing to eat. I do not want to send them away hungry, or they may collapse on the way."

Matthew 20:34
Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes. Immediately they received their sight and followed him.

Mark 1:41
Filled with compassion, Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. "I am willing," he said. "Be clean!"

Mark 6:34
When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things.

Mark 8:2
"I have compassion for these people; they have already been with me three days and have nothing to eat.

Luke 15:20
So he got up and went to his father. "But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.

Romans 9:15
For he says to Moses, "I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion."

2 Corinthians 1:3
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort,

Ephesians 4:32
Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

Philippians 2:1-2
If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose.

Colossians 3:12
Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.

James 5:11
As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job's perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.

1 Peter 3:8
Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble.

Wow. That's quite a call to compassion for the church and Christians. I wonder if that's a word non-Christians would use to describe us?

Friday, July 9, 2010


I confess. I'm like Inigo Montoya...I hate waiting. But I'm learning that God's timing is not my timing.

Look at Noah. Although it rained 40 days and 40 nights, he was stuck in that stinky boat for more than a year (Noah entered the ark in the 600th year of his life, on the 17th day of the 2nd month (Genesis 7:11-13). Noah left the ark on the 27th day of the 2nd month of the following year (Genesis 8:14-15)...a year and 10 days, to be exact). I'm sure he was more than happy to GET OFF THE BOAT.

And at the same time, look at Abram/Abraham. He didn't see God fulfilling his promise of an offspring from his body (Genesis 15:). He was already more than 75 years old (Genesis 12:4)...definitely not a spring chicken. So ten years later (Genesis 16:4), despite God's promises, He and Sarai took matters into their own hands, and voila, we've got Ishmael, father of the Muslims, born when Abram was 86 years old. Nothing like creating your own misery by taking matters into your own hands! But God renews his promise when Abram is 99 years old (Genesis 17:1), and gave him Isaac when he was 100 years old...twenty five years after the original promise.

So I'm not in a hurry to mess with God's promises. He spoke clearly and audibly about not settling, and Patrick's also heard a clear call to not drive. So here we are, almost 2 years later, still struggling with finding a church home. It's not easy and not what I want for my family, but until God clearly shows us where to go, we're not going.

The hardest thing is discerning what is our responsibility and what is God's, and where the line is between being faithful and taking things into our own hands. Are there things we haven't done that are blocking our paths? Are we grumbling too much, causing us to wander in the desert? It's not that we don't want to submit to a local church--I'm looking forward to the community. But until we find one that doesn't have me blinking away the tears as I hear "not this one either", we'll keep seeking God on where He wants us to be.

Lead us on, Lord. I'm weary of this journey. Help me to be patient and submit both to You and Patrick.