Monday, April 28, 2008

The harvest is plentiful...

Hey everyone! I apologize for the lack of updates in the past month. It's been a busy four weeks. I'd like to share with you a burden that has been laid on the heart of our church leadership team. A few weeks ago Ronnie and I were in Chicago for a conference at Willow Creek Community Church. We came back from Willow with the conviction that we needed to be serving more, and not just serving for the sake of serving, but really making a difference by meeting the greatest needs in our city. So in the recent weeks we've begun praying that God would reveal what the greatest needs are in our community and what we can do to meet those needs. Yesterday our Sunday service was focused around this theme of serving our city. Ronnie preached about the following passage from Matthew 9:

Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, "The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field."

Ronnie talked about 3 important principles from this passage: 1) Jesus WENT – He didn't wait for the lost and hurting to come to Him, He met them where they were. 2) Jesus did 3 things: taught, preached, and HEALED – so often we only concern ourselves with teaching and preaching and we neglect the third part of what Jesus did: meeting people's physical needs. 3) The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few – pretty simple: the need is great, but the number of people to meet that need is not. Sometimes we focus too much on talking when trying to spread the Gospel, but when we love people through our actions, we gain credibility with our words. This is what we have felt convicted of not doing as a church. And this is something we're striving to change.

While making a video for yesterday's service I came across some astonishing statistics about our city. There are thousands upon thousands of disabled, widowed, shut-in, and poverty-stricken people in our community. I know it probably shouldn't come as a surprise that there are people in need no matter where you live, but when I don't come in contact with these people, I tend to forget. So Pelham, Alabama is our harvest, and the harvest is plentiful. Please join us and pray that God would lead us in really loving the people in Pelham, Alabama by meeting their greatest physical needs. Pray that God would show us the greatest needs in our city and what we can do to meet those needs. Pray that He lights a fire in the hearts of our congregation and that the harvest workers increase. And pray that by meeting physical needs, God opens the door to meet spiritual needs.

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