Thursday, March 25, 2010

Holy Week SWAT team!

It was the week before Holy Week as I sat on the backporch of the church. I looked across the parking lot and saw the heavily armored car and men getting ready to head out in search of some individual. The police S.W.A.T. team were gearing up to do a raid somewhere in the community. About an hour later they came back and dispersed.

I got to thinking about that first Holy Week and the SWAT team involved. It was not a heavily armored vehicle but a donkey. The team that went out was a betraying friend and some soldiers. The rest of the followers ran in fear. Jesus was beaten up pretty good and then falsely tried and accused. He carried on his shoulders what would hold his lifeless crucified body.

The next SWAT team that would venture out on that Sunday sunrise was a group of women. They were in search of an individual...Jesus. They didn't find him at his last known address. He was missing...gone!!! He turned himself in to the fearful followers later at an upper room.

The SWAT team of Holy Week found their individual! A resurrected Savior!!!
You and I are now a part of that Holy Week SWAT team. We are geared up with the grace and love of Jesus searching individuals who are lost and need to meet him. We don't barge down doors but meet them where they are and show Jesus' love.

Who are you searching for who is searching for Jesus?'s time to gear up and go S.erve W.ith A.ction and T.ruth our resurrected Savior!

Till the next cup of java from the backporch...

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

How does your garden grow?

From the backporch of my house this is the view of our garden. What you see are hearty collard green plants that survived the frigid Florida winter this year! They have continued to produce inspite of a difficult and challenging environment. This proves that collards are God's choice of veggies!!!

What you don't see in the picture are zucchini, eggplant and green bean seeds that have yet to germinate and break through the soil. I am doing my part: preparing the soil by clearing it of weeds and adding "miracle grow" dirt...with sore muscles to prove it. I planted and daily I am watering. God's part: the growing!

How is your garden growing? What? You don't have a garden! I want to challenge you to at least buy a tomato plant and put it in a bucket or the ground. Gardening is a daily reminder to me of God's growing in our lives and our planting spiritual seeds in the lives of "gardens" in our daily lives.

Paul encouraged the Galatians in their "gardening of lives." Read Galatians 6:7-10.
We harvest what we plant...the Spirit reaps eternal life...don't get tired doing will reap a great good to all people! There is God's garden growing in "miracle souls!" We each are challenged to having that kind of garden.

"Mary, Mary quite contrary, how does your garden grow?"
My friend, my friend, quite extraordinary, how does your garden grow?

Until the next cup of java from the backporch...

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Two Tents of Compassion

The full bearded stranger walked in from the backporch on a cold Sunday morning for a cup of java. Someone came outside to tell me he wanted to talk to "the pastor." I refilled my cup of java and sat down at the table with Luke to hear his story.

Eight years ago he walked away from a life of drug and alcohol addiction. He sold all he had and hit the streets to minister to the homeless and addicts. He was wanting $36 to buy a tent so he could minister to the homeless west of town.

I told him I don't give out cash. I did tell him that if he was willing to stay through the service I would seek God out in what to do to help him get a tent.
He stayed...sat in the back of the balcony with his friend Dan...I prayed and listened...preached on compassion...after the message felt led to get Luke his tent... publicly held Luke accountable to bring back a receipt...he agreed...challenged the people to give $1 or whatever to the tent cause...after the service the altar had some money on it.

There was not enough raised to meet the one tent challenge. Instead, the compassionate people of the church contributed enough funds for TWO TENTS, provisions and campground fees for two weeks!!!

I was humbled: to meet a man of sacrificial compassion like Luke, to serve a church with such a compassionate heart...Compassionate Community UMC is our new name!

I am challenged to be more compassionate each day in simple ways. What act of compassion have you done for someone today?

Till the next cup of java from the backporch...

Thursday, March 4, 2010

100 Cans of Compassion!

Each year at the school where my wife, Loreen, teaches the children are required to complete a "100 Day Project." As they enter the 100th day of school the children must put together a project that incorporates 100 items.

Some of the children put 100 stickers on a poster board or put take 100 pieces of Legos to make a creation. There was one "100 Day Project" that stood out among all the others. A second grader, who was in my wife's class last year, decided that he would collect 100 cans of food! He went to his family and friends and collected 100 cans of food to give to Ms. Loreen's church's food pantry!

This second grader, accompanied by his parents came to worship last week with his "100 Cans of Compassion!" The church applauded him and after the service he was able to go to the food pantry and stock the shelves with his 100 cans of compassion.

Some of us feel we can't do anything of great significance when it comes to compassion so we don't. This 2nd grader's heart of compassion spoke so loudly the words of Mother Teresa:
"We can not do great things, only small things with great love. It is not how much you do but how much love you put into doing it!"

Go out today and start small and show compassion! Take on the challenge...the 100 day challenge to show compassion to others in small ways but with the great love of Jesus!

Till the next cup of java from the backporch...