Tuesday, November 24, 2009

There's a lot to be said for 'Going 4th'

Several months ago a small band of missional believers in Iuka, Mississippi got a burden for the "left outs" of their city. They felt God call them to be a friend to folks without one, to bring a smile to a lonely person's face, to well, live out the person of Jesus who lived in them...

And boy have they. They have had regular outreaches into the subsidized apt complexes, have met and made many new friends, have assisted as they could, loved often and deeply from their hearts. And once again we're hearing the story. A story of fulfillment , of really living out their Christian experience, of almost "feeling like Jesus out there."

You know how it happened? They just went for it... or to use their name, they went 4th. They named their ministry after Jesus' call to us to Go 4th. Simple isn't it? Everything changes when you do. Nothing when you don't. Thank you Go4th for going 4 it!

You inspire us and 'stir us up to love and good works'.

CLICK HERE and then on "Personal Stories/Go4th"


Thursday, November 19, 2009

More than a meal

Last night a wonderful thing happened at the warehouse. A bunch of friends got together
for a meal...

We didn't grow up together, some on one side of the track some on the other and we don't share similar backgrounds or jobs or religious roots. We don't live in the same neighborhoods or attend the same social events. We aren't all well to do (some of us don't even have jobs)... so how is it that we've all become friends? It's simple...

He broke down the wall of hostility that separated us. Eph 2:14

One of the deep joys of the Crosswind story is the new sense of community we have found. Just this week, some people from the apartments (people who on the average have about $700 a month), made homemade soup and delivered it to all the residents over 50. And they reported on the smiles and the tears as people received this simple yet profound gift from their neighbors. There's something about being included, about feeling like you're 'one of them', you know, the insiders.... and little things matter.

A Crosswinder took a friend to a football game. He had been his whole life. His friend, never. Just Monday a Crosswinder took a friend to Cracker Barrel in Tupelo. She had never been to a Cracker Barrel. She is 40. A friend was invited to have a birthday lunch at Dinner Bell. He'd never had one, not with doctors and bankers. He's 53. And what these friends keep telling other friends is that for the first time in their lives, they feel like a part of the community they grew up in.

So now you are no longer strangers and foreigners. You are citizens along with all of God's holy people. You are members of God's family. Eph 2:19-20

I don't know how we got so divided. Black and white, rich and poor, Methodist, Baptist, Presbyterian and Pentecostal... the proverbial 'us and them' at every turn and in every way we can think of. But Jesus broke down the walls of seperation and made us all one family. And friends our great joy is to get to experience it... all God's children, living and loving in practical love and unity, choosing to be together and live life together.

Last night we had a meal together, but it was more than a meal...

It was community.


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Once you start looking... they're everywhere

I'm sure this has happened to you, you hardly were aware that something existed, then it's everywhere.

I remember the first time I actually had a personal relationship with a boy who had autism and his family. Typical story, perfectly fine until just after two year vaccines, then he's autistic. Wow, I thought, surely not. But just because I had that encounter my antennae went up and sure enough, this story is repeated year after year by thousands of parents. Wow!

It's like that with missionary life. Crosswind is overtly trying to start a missionary movement in Corinth. We are trying to walk the walk (be missionaries ourselves) and alos provide practical strategies (gameplans) for other believers who have taken up the missionary call on their lives ("even as my Father sent me, so send I you" - Jesus). And sure enough -they're everywhere!

There's Becky and her team who are missionaries to Alzheimer patients; Tommy and Tuesdae and their teams, missionaries to recovering addicts; Gary and his team, missionaries to inner city kids; the team at Bishop's House, missionaries to the elderly; Ernestine and Vicky and Linda and their teams, missionaries to the poor. There are foster care missionaries, missioaries to girls with crisis pregnancies, food missionaries and clothes missionaries. Well... there are missionaries all around.

One of my favorite stories is a small team who are missionaries to families struggling with life's issues. This team of five have led over 100 people to faith in Christ... every year for the past fourteen years! Unbelievable! How many churches do you know that can say that?

There is something about being focused, intentionally shifting your energies to missionary life, getting out there and making a difference that changes everything. I am thankful that God is calling so many to missionary life.

Look around, they're everywhere. Then join 'em.


Monday, November 9, 2009

Some people know... and other people really know.

I've been learning the Bible by experience more now than ever.

I grew up in a Bible saturated environment. Devotions in the morning and evening, no TV or radio (except two Christians radio shows), in church every time the doors.. you know. I knew the Bible. When I went to camp I won the memory award easily. I already knew the verses before I went. But, even though I knew the Bible I didn't know it's author and that makes all the difference in the world. Now that I know the author, it seems I'm having to get to know the Bible all over again.

Outreach is fertile ground for knowing. I remember a situation recently where I learned what Jesus means when he says "Lend, expecting nothing in return." It makes for a fun Bible study doesn't it? Sounds counter intuitive. Lend means "expect it back". After all if you don't expect it back.. isn't that giving? Until I saw it in real life. A woman lent to another lady (in great need) expecting nothing in return. She really did! Just drove away free as a bird. Didn't expect anything in return even though she had lent. Just like Jesus said.

Last night we heard a precious young lady tell her story about her rape, being stabbed in the neck and being left to die. I want you to watch her story. There is a startling part. And it's not what you just read. It's only three minutes. And you really need to see it... you'll see what I mean about learning the Bible by experience.

Here's the verse Danielle knows by experience: "Mark 11:25 ...if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses." Some people know... and other people know.

CLICK HERE and then on "Danielle's story"