Thursday, June 25, 2009

Food baskets and gospel tracts

In the church I was raised in the preacher railed against 'them liberals' and their 'social gospel'. He went on to brag how we (the 'right' group) give a cup of cold water like they do, but we do it in "Jesus name".

Here's how it looks:

Never give out a water bottle without a verse on it.
Never give out a food basket without a gospel tract in it.
Never have a block party without preaching.
Never feed anyone who is hungry without making them listen to a sermon first.
And on and on....

I spend a lot of time thinking about what's behind all the flawed thinking we've grown up with. I've concluded that for the most part we meant well. We meant that just giving out stuff is social work not Christian ministry. Okay... the part I have a problem with is how we have decided "in Jesus name" equals the list above.

When Jesus fed the five thousand it was because they were hungry, when he healed the lepers it was because they had leprosy, when he made the blind man see it was because he was blind... He just loved people and helped them. Don't you think if you do something "in Jesus' name" it at least means to do it like he did it, with the same motives, with the same heart?

Having said that, if we relieve all the poverty and suffering in our city and then they go to hell, we would be totally unloving and unChristlike.

For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? So then, "we exist to relieve all suffering, especially eternal suffering" (Piper). Love demands as much, "in Jesus name" demands as much.

It really is okay to help someone without a sermon or a gospel tract. God says, "do good to all..." even Samaritans, even sinners, even the ones who won't thank you, even the ones who follow you only for food, even the ones who don't get saved or even care about God... yep, all of 'em.

That's just love...


Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Our Week

He gets to raise his son.
We found him not to long ago in a park.

Her daughter is coming back next week.
She's doesn't know how she'll make it.

He fed 75 neighborhood kids last week.

She got a job after McDonalds shut down.
Made the rounds every day till someone said 'Yes'.

He may get a job after trying for a long time.

This was the anniversary of his wife's death.
He made it through.
Last year he didn't.

That's what we do... and we love it.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Monday, June 8, 2009

Be Careful When You Think You're Standing

Powerful Pastor who baptized 100 people in the last three weeks had to resign this Sunday after an affair with one of his staff.

I don't know how many times it has to happen before we are finally convinced that we are vulnerable and susceptible and weak and may be next.

Here's my tips after 26 years of marriage and 20 years of ministry:

1. My wife is a 10 and the rest of you are a 1/2. Sorry!

2. I don't have best friends that are girls. Not fair... tough!

3. I don't get my emotional needs met by women... if I need to be 'stroked', it's gonna be by a man.

4. I am next! If I really believe that... I won't be.

God said, "Be careful when you think you're standing, lest you fall."

He wasn't joking.