I heard from several staff that Hope Lives offers a challenging, yet gentle introduction to the greatest issues facing Christ-followers today. Amber takes you on a five-week journey of introspection and prayer—unpacking what keeps you and me from engaging in global issues. It’s probably the best primer on what the Scripture really says about the poor and the nature of poverty and on how you and your disciples/movements can respond to God’s voice as he speaks to you about poverty.
I’ve been deeply challenged by the missiologist’s claim that the greatest divide is not linguistic or cultural or religious, but “socio-economic.” If 2-3 billion people live on less than 2 dollars a day, it’s hard to imagine we can help fulfill the Great Commission if our disciples never learn to understand the poor and learn to cross this economic divide with the words and works of the Gospel.
Consider using this book and related curriculums with your discipleship groups.
Chip recently receive the following prayer letter from B (one of our students/volunteers in a closed country). B writes:
Isaiah 58: “Share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, cover him . . . then shall your light break for like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up speedily; . . . you shall call, and the Lord will answer.”
A Dawning Light
For the past 3 months the Lord has laid this passage along with several others like it on my heart. I have realized that I don’t live a lifestyle of helping the orphans, poor, or widowed. In the passage above it says, “Then shall your light break forth.” That is what I want for this place.
We are starting a ministry campaign in our city called the “Isaiah 58 Campaign.” For the next 4 months we will attempt to establish a system that this city can use for years to come in order to care for these people. We will be doing this as part of efforts to reach the 20,000 college students here. Our prayer is that we take the Christian and non-Christian students out and share with them AS we care for the needy, that the light of Christ will break forth here, like the dawning of the sun.
This has already begun!!! Last Friday, I spent 3 hours explaining the gospel to Camaro, a freshman student, in light of the needs of 50 orphans I went to visit. Somehow, the Lord used this simple conversation and the great needs of these orphans, to pierce Camaro’s heart and lead him to starting a relationship with Him.
The Lord isn’t just laying this on the hearts of my team and I, he is also heavily speaking to the hearts of the national leaders in this country. During our national conference, I was given an opportunity to speak about Isaiah 58. I’m excited to see what the Lord will do with this country in light of our humble efforts to care for those that many people over here have forgotten about. Pleas pray for us in this!
That the World might know . . .
It’s college spring break time and of course that means “party.”
About 50 Duke University students chose New Bern as their getaway destination, and gathered this morning at the corner of North Cool Avenue and Cypress Street.
They wore hard hats, sweat shirts and jeans instead of swim suits. They hoisted hammers instead of booze.
The students are part of the 200-member Duke Campus Crusade for Christ, which is in town assisting with building a Habitat for Humanity house.
“We get to have the best of both worlds in terms of a fun spring break together and also a chance to serve the community and share some of God’s love with those around us,” said Pearce Godwin, a senior from Blowing Rock.
The foundation is in place for the fourth of 12 planned Habitat homes in the North Kool project. By midweek the students should have the flooring in place.
“It’s fulfilling to come out and use some of the gifts and abilities we feel God has given us to share with the community, like the family that will be able to live in this house,” Godwin said. “We all take a lot of joy and pride in being able to help people. And it’s fun for us, too. It’s not unwilling service because we have a good time working together for the greater good.”
Godwin has been on numerous off-campus projects, including work in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina.
“We’re not the only ones,” Godwin said. “There is another Christian fellowship that goes up to the Bronx every spring break, and even nonreligious organizations do some service. There are a lot of different people at Duke who’ve decided it would good to think about more than just our own fun for the week.”
Habitat volunteer coordinator Amanda Norwood said the student help was indicative of the volunteer backbone of the organization, which has built 42 houses in New Bern since 1989.
“We feel it is important to serve the community,” said Duke student team leader Michael Worsman, a 19-year-old sophomore from New Hampshire. “Overall, I think people appreciate that we are serving.”
Worsman’s father was a contractor, so he is familiar with construction. For many of the other students, the Habitat project becomes an outdoor classroom.
“Most of these people have absolutely no experience in what they are doing right now,” Worsman said, laughing amid the sounds of hammers and saws.
Bill Major, a River Bend retiree, has been Habitat’s materials coordinator since 1998. He has seen 26 houses built, and is always impressed by the youthful turnout.
“I think it’s wonderful. They’ve dedicated themselves to helping somebody out and I admire that,” he said. “It shows they have something on their minds other than a party.”
Source: Charlie Hall
March 10, 2008 – 3:49PM
This past year a friend of the ministry donated 1000 multicolored evangelistic soccer balls. One of our teams found a creative way to use the soccer balls.
We asked five of our Christian students if they would like to go give out soccer balls to some migrant worker families that live near campus. We also invited six non Christian students we met at another campus to go with us just to expose them to a mercy project and hopefully open their hearts to the ideas of mercy, kindness and grace.
Our team of seven, with five Christian students and six non Christian students met up to walk to the migrant housing area. When we arrived it was rainy and very, very muddy. We had to walk through lots of mud which was humbling and caused us all to have even more pity on these people who lived outside in tents and in mud every day. Even as the Christian and non Christian students took their first steps into the area they were shocked at the conditions and many of them said they couldn’t believe people lived this way.
We split up and tried to pair a Christian student from one school with a non-Christian from an- other. As the believing students went out with the non Christian students they demonstrated love and compassion to the migrant families and loved them.
They went up to random people living in tents and asked them if they had any kids that we could give a soccer ball to. That was a good method because when the people saw that we wanted to “bless” their kids they were very receptive to us. We stayed and talked with many people. We found a few Christians and mostly non Christians and were able to give away the soccer balls to the kids.
The non Christian students were amazed at the love that was expressed by us and our students. As the morning went on we saw our Christian students begin to naturally share the gospel and God’s love with the non Christian students as they explained why they wanted to love and care for these people. Those two hours on a Saturday morning were more memorable and impacting for our students than months of Bible Studies and prayer meetings.
source: CCC staff prayer letter
At Steve Sjogren’s Serve site, I found the following helpful skills to tuning in on other’s lives in the context of “good deeds” from a Dr. Savant(?). Savant begins with a typical question asked by our volunteers, students or faculty–though of course we might want to see our friends drawn by the Spirt to repent and believe.
Dr. Savant, I have wanted God to use me in connecting with those far from God but have had little success. I have paid for coffee, done Valentine candy give aways, business blasts, etc. asking God to open doors but have few conversations with those far from God. I am not trying to convert anyone but I am looking for ways to connect with lost people in my community. What do you suggest? Joe
I often teach by asking questions. Will you ponder some simple questions with me?
1. Are you able to ‘notice’ your way into people’s lives?
In other words, my guess is that as you show them kindness, the ball drops right there. People you show kindness to are surprised, maybe even flabbergasted. Most of the time they are not extroverted enough to engage you. My guess is you are not yet able to connect with them easily by catching on to the initial act of noticing your way forward.
2. Are you clearly describing to people you engage what is going on?
These are not stand alone projects. People need a bit of an explanation. “I pay for people’s coffees – to show them the kindness of God…”
There are dozens of ways to explain the kindness / generosity thing. I recommend you relax. Flow. Say what comes to mind at the moment. Be succinct. Most of all smile – and don’t try to be one bit clever. Trying to be too clever is the greatest impediment to God’s presence touching others.
3. Are you then verbally engaging people in a memorable way?
I do all you have described and after practicing at this have had discovered it is fairly doable to connect with most people. Here’s what I do:
Keep it safe / positive…Keep it focused upon them…Keep it away from closed ended matters… I rarely ask what they do for a living. It is fine to ask what they are studying though.
“Memorable” is simply what comes natural to you in your context. For me or anyone else to tell you exactly what to say, word for word is a bit odd. You do need a jumpstart, but from there you can remove your training wheels lest your bicycling is impeded.
Here are some starting points to ponder.
With a big smile (yes, practice your smile – non-smilers look like they are up to something – if it is not natural that’s okay – you can get over that…I should know – I did! Ask my mom! I spent my first 18 years being pretty darn serious… ) ask them their name. EVERYONE loves to hear their name! They can’t hear their name often enough. Once you’ve spoken it, repeat it. Upon leaving, use their name again, and say, “See you again before long (their name here).”
On the topic of their name, comment on the meaning of their name if you are familiar with that. Or how your favorite aunt has the same name – that reminds you of her gentleness… I do this very often. People love to hear this.
Ask where they got their tattoos. A fairly large percentage of people under age 35 have visible tatts now. By engaging with people about them, the meaning of them, you are showing them personal attention. This is good!
Comment on their great haircut – then ask where they get their hair cut – that you have been looking for a great place / your child / spouse has been looking for a place to get a great cut.
Lastly, sometimes we cannot see in ourselves how we come across to others well. As you can see in the cartoon image of me I have fuzzy hair and a walrus mustache. Some think I look smart (ask Mrs. Savant to get the real story on that!) I can intimidate people apparently though I wasn’t aware of that for years. For each of us we need friends who love us enough they will tell us the true truth about us – how others see us – that we can walk free from the things that ensnare us and keep us stuck.
The folks at Micah Challenge US put together an excellent set of bible studies. Use them to help your students/disciples to develop a heart of compassion.
When someone comes to faith in Christ, it is vital to establish them in their new-found faith. Campus Crusade for Christ has a series of “follow-up” materials for this purpose. They are: 1. Christian Certainty; 2. Confession of Sin; 3. The Ministry of the Holy Spirit; 4. Growth; 5. Bible Study; 6. Prayer; 7. Godly Relationships
The material for download below (or at this page) was developed by Andy Swanson when he was on Stint in East Asia and was burdened to teach believers the privilege and responsibility of walking in “the good works prepared in advance for us to do.” (Eph 2:10)
Andy suggests the following as “Follow Up” #8.
— Andy Swanson
Several weeks ago, Marrty Dormish (Staff STINT–Barcelona) suggested a different way of thinking. He encouraged missional team leaders (staff, faculty, volunteers) to experiment with brainstorming about ways the university (community college, etc. ) could to be a blessing, to extend the rule and reign of God on their campus and in their surrounding communities.
Marrty suggests that we start believing that “resources exist on every college campus to help transform, restore and heal the cities and towns in which these institutions of higher learning exist.”
I was reading Scot McKnight’s excellent book, “The Jesus Creed: Loving God, Loving Others” in which he mentioned the Anglican churches in Singapore who have developed an integrated ministry of reaching into their surrounding community. Trying to avoid the so-frequent “division of labor” into evangelism or social action, these churches are dirtying their hands in help. Their outreach ministry is called SHOW: Softening Hearts and Opening Windows where everyone learns that a broad and integrated ministry is the heart of following Jesus.
I think their four step strategy (to which I’ve added one) might serve as a model for some experimental thinking on the part of our missional teams. What if missional teams approach a campus (either staffed or non-staffed) and initiated the following?
- Pray for the community corporately and privately
- Profile the surrounding community to discover real needs
- Prepare leaders/volunteers to share the story verbally
- Pursue projects of both kindness and penetration
- Partner with others –Christians or non-Christian–to maximize impact for the kingdom
Andy McCullough sent the following letter to ministry partners and friends. We thought it was a great idea on many fronts — relationship with partners, getting partners engaged in planting movements, balancing good news and good deeds, etc.
Soon you should be receiving our January letter either by snail mail or email. In the letter, I share briefly about my trip last month to South Africa and about going back next summer.
Even before I went I started dreaming about returning this coming July and inviting you all to join me. Sort of a Ministry Partners Missions project. This summer marks the twentieth anniversary of my first international project. That summer I went to Kenya and the experience changed my life. I couldn’t think of who I’d love to go back to Africa with that those of who partner with Robin and I through your prayers and gifts.
Here’s some basic info of this opportunity…
· Tentatively, we would leave July 18th (a Friday) and return on the morning of July 28th (a Monday).
I would reserve tickets for our group and we would all meet up at Dulles Intl Airport in DC and fly together. (Those of us from CO we would fly to Dulles from Denver together.)
For the week of 21st we would serve Beam ministry as they ministry to orphans and the poor. I’d love to have…
1. People from medical community so we could set up either a medical clinic or dental clinic or both.
2. Anyone with computer skills that could teach basic skills in their computer lab.
3. Someone with small business skills to train some adults how to start up their own business.
4. Anyone who could help minister to kids whether through a program like VBS or just loving on them. So teachers or anyone who just loves kids.
5. Anyone willing to serve in any way. We will
We would spend some time too encouraging the Campus Crusade project that will be there that month.
We also would go on a safari one day and visit an African church too.
I am still working on the actual costs. I have found that plane tickets in July are rather expensive so it may cost somewhere between $2500 and 3000. Our Church here in Boulder is setting this up as one our mission trips so you can raise support and people can get a tax deduction.
So… would prayerfully consider going with me this summer for 10 days to South Africa? If I did this right, there should be voting options on the email. If you are at all interested please let me know.
Associate WSN Director
Great Plains Int’l
A Few Minutes with Andy <http://andymccullough.blogspot.com/>
STINT Leaders <http://stintleaders.blogspot.com/>
Here I am Send Me! <http://isaiahsixeight.blogspot.com/>
Facebook profile <http://www.facebook.com/p/Andy_McCullough/500699312>
“God’s part is to put forth power; our part is to put forth faith.”– Andrew Bonar, missionary to Palestine, 1810-1892.
Jesus said, “Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” (Matt. 5:16) Anytime believers engage in good deeds in the Name of Christ, the goal is always that people would see something of the glory of God and be stirred within to praise Him. But almost without exception, when believers do good things in Jesus’ Name, their motives, their source of strength and power, or the significance of the deeds are misunderstood, and observers do not praise the God of the Bible.
Therefore, when believers help the needy in the Name of Christ, their good deeds require an explanation that leads people to glorify God. Usually, the best way to explain our good deeds is to share the Gospel or some portion of Gospel truth.
For example, in Acts 3, Peter and John heal a man who had been lame from birth. When people who knew him saw him walking, they were amazed. But they misunderstood the good deed Peter had done. They thought that Peter and John had healed the lame man by their own power. So Peter responds, “…why do you gaze at us, as if by our own power or piety we had made him walk?” Peter immediately explains the healing by explaining the Gospel. The flow of Peter’s explanation is, Jesus Christ is God’s Son and Servant, He died unjustly on a cross, He was raised from the dead, and it is faith in the resurrected Jesus that has healed this man. Peter’s explanation climaxes in an awesome invitation: “Repent therefore and return, that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord; and that He may send Jesus, the Christ appointed for you …”
In Acts 14, the same thing happens. When Paul and Barnabus heal a lame man in Lystra, the crowds who saw what Paul did for this man totally misinterpreted the event and assumed that Paul and Barnabus must be gods. They actually thought Paul was Hermes and that Barnabus was Zeus, and the priest of Zeus brought oxen and garlands to sacrifice to them! Paul and Barnabus are understandably alarmed and begin shouting to the crowd that they are not gods but simply men who preach the gospel so that they may turn from the worship of false gods to the living God.
Good deeds are often misinterpreted in our time as well. While helping a Thai villager rebuild his home after the tsunami last year, he said to me, “Your god is going to give you a lot of merit.” Because he naturally interpreted my good deeds through his Buddhist world view, he assumed that my motive for helping him was to make merit with my god and build good karma. This opened a door of opportunity. I explained that God does not give merit but something better. The Thai villager was shocked – so shocked that he was primed to listen to me talk about the awesome grace of God in Christ Jesus.
So, as we engage in good deeds of any kind in the Name of Christ, we have to explain our motives, the source of our strength, and make connections to the life and ministry of our Lord Jesus. The best way to do this is to talk about Jesus and the Gospel of our salvation. Our prayer as we engage in good deeds is always that people see what a glorious Savior Jesus is, and glorify the Father who sent Him.
— Chip Scivicque