Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Christmas Cookies for Haiti

Well, the Haiti trip is rapidly drawing closer.  Less than a month away now!  I've been working on fundraising, and the Lord has truly blessed me!

Psalms 27:13-14 "I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.  Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord."

This is fast becoming one of my favorite verses!  I read it over and over again whenever things seem difficult.  When I read the second part of the verse, I picture a beleaguered company fighting against overwhelming odds, battered, bruised and sinking to their knees on the brink of collapse.  Suddenly a messenger arrives with the news that help is coming, reinforcements are on the way, if the company can only hold out a little while longer.  "Be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord."

Well, I'm not really sure what that has to do with my fundraising for Haiti, except that the Lord truly has been good to me!  I've been making and selling Christmas cookies in order to raise support, and the amount of support and gifts I have received is overwhelming.  I am truly grateful to the Lord and to all those who have given!  Two weeks, 28+ dozen cookies, countless hours in the kitchen listening to Christmas music, and I am quite a bit closer to going to Haiti!

Your prayers are still appreciated.  The advance team of 3 is leaving tomorrow for Haiti.  Please pray for them as they travel and during their stay in Haiti.  And please keep praying for the nation of Haiti.  The people are still suffering beneath the cholera outbreak - so very many have died!  My heart breaks for them.  Please Father, heal the people of Haiti!

Pray for the rest of the team as we travel down in January - that each and everyone of us would go there to serve and to love.  That we would would be attentive to the Lord's leading and not bound to our own plans for the trip.  That we would truly display the love of Christ to all we meet.

~ A Servant of the King

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Operation Jacob's Well, Limbé, Haiti

As I mentioned in a previous blog post, I have been given the opportunity to travel to Haiti this coming January.  I am so very excited about this trip - I've been wanting to go for the past four years - and now at last I can!  

I am traveling down with a group of 21 from Frontier Camp (a Christian youth camp in East Texas).  For the past four years, Frontier Camp has been partnering with a Haitian paster, Gersan Valcin, to start the first Christian youth camp in Haiti, Jacob's Well.  (Click Here - Jacob's Well to read more about the camp)  In a country where 40% of the population is under the age of 14, a Christian youth camp can have a great impact.  So, over the past 4 years, Frontier Camp has been sending down teams to get Jacob's Well up and running, and to train the Haitian leaders to conduct camping ministry.  

Needless to say, I can't wait for my trip!  I will be in Haiti for 10 days, during which time we will run day camps for the Haitian children as well as a few overnight camps, and continue on construction projects on the campsite.  

After the earthquake, the northern rural portion of Haiti (where Jacob's Well is located) absorbed a large number of refugees which the already-poverty stricken area was and is ill-equipped to support.  So, the focus of this trip is to further the development of the camp infrastructure needed to provide long-term development opportunities for the local village and its people. We believe that God wants to use Jacob’s Well and its ministry to kids to continue to change the nation of Haiti with the gospel of Jesus Christ. 

There have been a great many changes in Haiti over the past year due to the earthquake, recent cholera outbreak, and now the hurricane!  Praise the Lord that the hurricane veered away from Haiti so that the island was not hit with the full impact.  However, the heavy rains caused by the hurricane may help spread the cholera, so Haiti is definitely still in need of our prayers.

Come January, I will be on a plane flying down to Haiti!  I am excited and can't wait to see what the Lord will do during our time there.  I know that at the very least I will come back changed, having drawn closer to my Savior.  

Would you like to help?  Would you pray for the trip and for Haiti?

The team of Haiti 6 would appreciate your prayers for:

~ Haiti - that the people's eyes would be opened and they would turn to the Lord in the midst of these disasters.  

~ Cholera - that the outbreak would be stopped.  The disease has already claimed hundreds of lives.  Pray for relief for the people of Haiti, for clean water, and knowledge to stop the spread of the cholera.

~ Team - a safe trip down and health in Haiti.  That we would be willing servants of the Lord, bold to proclaim His name, humble to serve, loving all we meet with the love of Christ.  

Jesus answered and said to her, "Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again;  but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life." John 4:13-14  

~ A Servant of the King
To the praise of His glory.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Reflections in Psalms - Post 2

The story of my life: God is merciful!

I'm still reading through the Psalms.  A few days ago, I reached Psalms 78, written by Asaph, about the wonderful things God has done throughout the history of Israel, talking especially about the Exodus and the Israelites journeying in the desert.

It starts off in verse 12, "He did miracles in the sight of their fathers in the land of Egypt, in the region of Zoan."

Then Asaph goes on to list the miracles:
He guided them with a cloud by day, and a fire by night (v. 14)
He gave them water in the desert (v. 15-16)
He rained down manna from heaven (v. 24)
He sent them quail (v. 27)


"In spite of all this, they kept on sinning; in spite of His wonders, they did not believe.  So He ended their days in futility and their years in terror.  
Whenever God slew them, they would seek Him; they eagerly turned to Him again.  They remembered that God was their Rock, that God Most High was their Redeemer.  
But then they would flatter Him with their mouths, lying to Him with their tongues; their hearts were not loyal to Him, they were not faithful to His covenant.  
Yet He was mercifiul; He forgave their iniquities and did not destroy them.  Time after time He restrained His anger and did not stir up His full wrath.  He remembered that they were but flesh, a passing breeze that does not return."  (v. 32-38)

It is easy to blame the Israelites, but when I sit down and think about it, this section reads like the story of my own life.  Perhaps it sounds very familiar to you as well.  It struck me as I read that I am guilty of the very same sins as the Israelites.

How many times, in spite of all that God has done, do I continue sinning?  How many times do I worship Him with my tongue, when my heart is far from Him?  The verse calls this "flattery" and "lying" to God.  How many times are my heart and focus drawn to other things, distracted, when my whole life should be totally devoted to God?

Yet... God is merciful.

How wonderful!  God is merciful to me!

The book of Nehemiah chapter 9 also chronicles this pattern of sin-repentance-forgiveness-sin-repentance etc. among the Israelites.  

v. 16-17 "But they, our forefathers, became arrogant and stiff-necked, and did not obey Your commands.  They refused to listen and failed to remember the miracles You performed among them.  They became stiff-necked and in their rebellion appointed a leader in order to return to their slavery.  But You are a forgiving God, gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love.

It struck me that the wanderings of the Israelites from God are exactly the same as our individual wanderings from God.  They forgot what God had done and wanted to return to their slavery.  What?  Why in the world would they want to go back?  But if you think about it, how many times do we seek to go back to the chains of our former life?  Back into sin, back into darkness.

But God is forgiving, gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love.  

We rest in His mercy and grace.  Without them, we would be totally and completely lost.  I am in need of God's grace every single day.  

If you think about it, we have evidence of far greater wonders than the Israelites had back then.  Yes, God rescued them from Egypt, but since then He has done a far greater thing through the blood of His Son.  When Jesus Christ died on the cross and then rose again three days later, He rescued us from the power of sin and death.

We have evidence of God's power and mercy, of His justice and love before us every day in the blood of Jesus Christ that cleanses us from sin.  And yet, like the Israelites, in the face of all that God has done for us, we keep on sinning, we do not believe, our hearts are not faithful to Him.

Yet He is merciful.

1 John 1:9 is a very well known verse, but I'll put it up here again:  "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness."

Also, we know that we do not face temptation and sin on our own.  God does not abandon us.  I Corinthians 10:13 "No temptation has seized you except what is common to man.  And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.  But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it."

I want to post a couple of verses from the song Amazing Grace:

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.

T'was Grace that taught my heart to fear.
And Grace, my fears relieved.
How precious did that Grace appear
The hour I first believed.

Through many dangers, toils and snares
I have already come;
'Tis Grace that brought me safe thus far
and Grace will lead me home.

Without the Lord's mercy and grace, we are lost!

Thank You Lord for Your amazing grace, for Your mercy, Your forgiveness for a sinful people!  We stand in need of Your mercy and grace, in need of forgiveness!  Thank You Lord, for the blood of Your Son, shed so that we might have life.

~ A Servant of the King

Nehemiah 9:5b-6 "Blessed be your glorious name, and may it be exalted above all blessing and praise.  You alone are the Lord.  You made the heavens, even the highest heavens, and all their starry host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them.  You give life to everything, and the multitudes of heaven worship you."

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

I will go!

"I Will Go!"
as sung by Starfield

To the desperate eyes and reaching hands
To the suffering and the lean
To the ones the world has cast aside
Where you want me I will be

I will go, I will go,
I will go, Lord send me
To the world, To the lost
To the poor and hungry
Take everything I am
I'm clay within your hands
I will go, I will go, send me

Let me not be blind with privilege
Give me eyes to see the pain
Let the blessing You've poured out on me
Not be spent on me in vain
Let this life be used for change

I will go, I will go, 
I will go, Lord send me
To the world, To the lost
To the poor and hungry
Take everything I am
I'm clay within your hands
I will go, I will go, send me

I wanna live for you
Go where you lead me
I wanna follow you
[repeat 3x]

I will go, I will go, 
I will go, Lord send me
To the world, To the lost
To the poor and hungry
Take everything I am
I'm clay within your hands
I will go, I will go, send me

Send me! 

[repeat 4x]

This song has really been running through my head lately... especially since I have recently been granted the opportunity to go on a mission's trip to Haiti this coming January!  I'm so excited about this opportunity!  I will a part of a team of 21 heading down to Haiti to continue work on Jacob's Well - a Christian youth camp, actually the first Christian youth camp in all of Haiti.  We will run both day and overnight camps for the village children and continue on construction projects.  I'll post more on the trip later, but for now, a few verses that the song makes me think of:

Isaiah 6:8 "Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying 'Whom shall I send?  And who will go for us?'  And I said, 'Here I am.  Send me!'"

Romans 10:13-15 "for, 'Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.'  How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in?  And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard?  And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?  And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written 'How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!'"

I John 3:18 "Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth."

I will post details about my Haiti trip later on... as well as about my fund raising efforts!

~ A Servant of the King

Friday, October 22, 2010

Reflections in Psalms

Psalms 73 - A psalm of Asaph
"Surely God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart.  But as for me, my feet had almost slipped; I had nearly lost my foothold.  For I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.  They have no struggles; their bodies are healthy and strong.  They are free from the burdens common to man; they are not plagued by human ills... 
"This is what the wicked are like - always carefree, they increase in wealth.  Surely in vain have I kept my heart pure; in vain have I washed my hands in innocence.  All day long I have been plagued; I have been punished every morning." (v. 1-5 and 12-14)
Have you ever felt like this?  Sometimes it seems like the wicked prosper, like nothing ever goes wrong for them.  They seem happy, healthy, wealthy... they have fame and glory.  Meanwhile, we're over here desiring to follow God and do the right thing, yet everything seems to work against us.  Perhaps we are poor, perhaps our health is declining, or life is just plain difficult.  Sometimes like Asaph, we wonder if perhaps we have "kept our hearts pure" in vain.

But the Psalm continues:
"If I had said, "I will speak thus," I would have betrayed your children.  When I tried to understand all this, it was oppressive to me till I entered the sanctuary of God; then I understood their final destiny.  
Surely you place them on slippery ground; you cast them down to ruin.  How suddenly are they destroyed, completely swept away by terrors!  As a dream when one awakes, so when you arise, O Lord, you will despise them as fantasies." (v. 18-20)
Asaph realized that the easy life of the wicked only lasted a short while.  Judgment was coming, the judgment of God.  And the comfort of the righteous did not rest in a pleasant life here on earth, or wealth, fame, or health.  The comfort of the righteous rests in the following verses:
"Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand.  You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory.  Whom have I in heaven but you?  And earth has nothing I desire besides you.  My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.  
"Those who are far from you will perish; you destroy all who are unfaithful to you.  But as for me, it is good to be near God.  I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge; I will tell of all your deeds."  (v. 23-28)
The comfort of the righteous while enduring the trials and difficulties of life rests on the knowledge that no matter what happens, the Lord is with us, "holding our hand," guiding us with His counsel.  That when the feeble tribulations of this life have ceased, we will be taken into glory to be with Him.  Our comfort is in knowing that everything in this world is "a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord..."  (Philippians 3:8)  All else may fail, but we can have peace knowing that God is our strength and portion forever!

Like Asaph, may we simply say "It is good to be near God."  To think how blessed we are... what a privilege we have been given, that we may approach the living God with freedom and confidence! (Ephesians 3:12)  That we have been forgiven of our sins and now can have a right relationship with God, that one day we will live eternally with Him.  That each and every moment of the day, we can approach the Almighty Creator of the world with our prayers and petitions.  

Oh, it is good to be near God.  Let us continually seek after Him.  He is our hope and our strength, our refuge, our salvation.

~ A Servant of the King
To the praise of His glory.   

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Now is the time to live!

I Timothy 4:12 "Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity."

They are all around us.  I daresay you know some of them: young men and women who have bought into the lie that now is the time to live for yourself, now is the time to enjoy your life, to reject responsibility, and to party before the weight of adulthood is thrust upon you.  While I entirely disagree with this view, I do agree upon one point: now is the time to live!

Now is the time to live for something more.

Too often, we also buy into the lie that some future day far down the road of life after we "grow up," we'll start doing the things we should be doing, start living for Christ, start talking about him.  But I ask you to reconsider.  Habits once begun are difficult and dangerous to stop.  If you build into yourself the habit of waiting, delaying, procrastinating, you will never get around to doing it, never start living for Christ, never start boldly proclaiming his words.

I find that each time I ignore an opportunity to speak for Christ, it becomes easier and easier to be completely blind to such opportunities, to miss them entirely until it is too late.  Don't let that happen.  Don't build the habit of silence into your soul.

Ephesians 5:15-16 "Be very careful, then, how you live - not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil."

Colossians 4:5-6 "Be wise in the way you act towards outsiders; make the most of every opportunity.  Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone."

Today, in church, our pastor mentioned Jeremiah 20:9.  Read it and reflect upon the words a moment. "But if I say, 'I will not mention him or speak any more in his name,' his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones.  I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot."  

Oh this is my prayer.  That God's word would fill me like a fire shut up inside, so that I cannot keep silent.  It is far too easy for me to make excuses, far too easy for me to simply pretend not to see the opportunity, or try to deaden myself to the holy spirit's leadings.  But that is not how it should be!  Oh Father, that your words but burned like a fire within, like a well filled to overflowing, pouring out of me, so that I could not help to proclaim your truth!  Let me be like Jeremiah who could not hold it in.  Like David who had to speak out, who could not conceal God's truth in his heart, but had to proclaim it to the assembly.  (Psalms 40:10)

I Timothy 4:12 "Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity."

You are never to young to live for God.  Don't buy into the lie that you are.  Don't buy into the lie that now is the time to live for self, to forsake responsibility, to deny all but your own desires.  Now is the time to live, yes, but to live for Christ!  To live so that others might live, seeing Christ in your life.  

Even though you are young, you can exemplify Christ.  You are never too young to shine Christ's glory in the midst of an evil world.  Though you are young, you are called to set an example for the other believers.  In your speech - speech that reflects God, voices that speak for Him - in your life - live for something more that yourself, live for Christ - in love - true love in action, love that is willing to die to self for others - and in purity. As temples of the Holy Spirit, we are called to be pure.  

David wrote in Psalms 8:1-2b "O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!  You have set your glory above the heavens.  From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise..."

If infants are not too young to praise God, then you are not too young to start living for Him now.  I challenge you!  Don't waste your time.  Remember, every single breath you breathe, every second that you remain upon this earth is a gift!  Don't waste it.  And don't ever believe the lie that you are too young.  Don't fall into the snare.

Now is the time to live.  Not when you are twenty five... not when you're thirty... not when you're forty, fifty, sixty, seventy and so on up.  Start living now and the habits will continue throughout all of those years.  But don't waste these the freest days of your life where you have less responsibility and more time to spend serving Christ, living for Him.

~ A Servant of the King
To the praise of his glory.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Do Something this Christmas...

James 1:27 “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” 

Look after widows and orphans in their distress.  Amazing that this was once the job of Christians and the church, not the government.  The fact that the government has taken charge of this role shows that the church must have been lacking in this very area.  

So, let's start to live up to the task to which we have been called. 

Here's an opportunity for this Christmas:

I'm sure many of you know about Operation Christmas Child.  An offshoot of Samaritan's Purse, Operation Christmas Child is a ministry that seeks to "demonstrate God's love in a tangible way to needy children around the world, and together with the local church worldwide, to share the Good News of Jesus Christ."  You can find their website here - Samaritan's Purse/Operation Christmas Child.

How can you help?  Well, Operation Christmas Child seeks volunteers to assist in carrying out their mission statement.  Each year, volunteers pack shoe boxes with gifts for needy children around the world.  These boxes are collected in November (National Collection week this year is November 15-22) and sent out to the children.

If you would like to participate, Operation Christmas Child provides information on what to pack in a shoe box, what not to pack, where to send it, etc on their website - click here: How to Pack a Shoe Box.  Along with each box that you give, they ask that you also donate $7 dollars to help cover shipping costs.  

Think about it, for only a few dollars this Christmas, you can give a gift to a child who has almost nothing!  What a wonderful use of your (the Lord's actually) money.  

Here's something cool: this Christmas, Operation Christmas Child is partnering with the new Narnia movie "The Voyage of the Dawn Treader" in Operation Narnia.  Read about it and watch the video clip here: Operation Narnia  I thought this was pretty awesome!

Just remember, that everything you have has been given to you, use it to give back!  

~ A Servant of the King
To the praise of His glory! 

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Operation Hands and Feet

The title of this blog "Stars in the Universe" came from Philippians 2:14-16a "Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe, as you hold out the word of life..."

This blog's goal is to be a place of encouragement and accountability for young Christians who desire to love and serve the Lord and others.  Our mission: Operation Hands and Feet - to serve Christ and live for Him, serving and loving those around us and across the world, to shine like stars in the midst of the dark world around us.

I wrote a post a little while back on my other blog Of Battles, Dragons, and Swords of Adamant  called “And they’ll know we are Christians by our love…”  (You can read it here)  This is a sort of sequel to that post.  It’s taking the next step forward – not merely a call to love, but a call to love in action.   

1 John 3:16-18 “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.  And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.  If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?  Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.” 

It is easy to read this verse and nod your head, and then go away without thinking any more about it.  But first, please just sit still a moment and let the words sink in.  Think about the world we live in.

Right now, millions of people are starving.  There are an estimated 143 million orphans living in the world today.  In many countries, people live in conditions that we cannot even imagine, without the commonest necessities that we take for granted.  

Haiti has recently come to the forefront of many minds due to the recent devastating earthquake.  Many people are aghast at the living conditions in post-earthquake Haiti.  What I find interesting, is that the living conditions in Haiti were an issue long before the earthquake, but nobody knew or cared to know, or even think about doing anything about it.

Why is that? 

Why are we so content to live in our own little world - for the world in which we live in here in the west is so completely different from the world that many know in different countries – why are we content to live out our comfortable lives in our rich mansions (palaces, to many… we call them houses), stuffing our faces with an overabundance of food - whatever we want, whenever we want - buying, spending, amassing, living solely for ourselves without giving more than a passing thought to the outside world?  Our society is truly materialistic to the enth degree.  We have so much that we do not need, yet we constantly want more.  And not only that, we want more and we want it now. 

But while we live our plentifully abundant lives, thousands die from starvation, and no one cares enough to do anything about it. 

I did not care enough.

It is so easy to be comfortable in your own life and forget about “the rest of the world.”  It is so easy to read this (or write this) nod your head and say “yes, something must be done,” and then continue on in the same old ways and forget entirely about it.

But I don’t want to forget. 

I want something more.  So, what can we do?  I have been wondering that myself.  What can I do?  I don’t have much - not by our standards - but I have more than plenty.  All my needs are provided for and more than enough of my wants.  But what have I given to those who have nothing?

Unfortunately, I've been looking at everything all the wrong way.

I'm sure you have all read the story of the widow's gift in the Bible.  It's a very short passage, only a few verses, yet the truth enclosed in those verses is powerful.

Luke 21: 1-4 “As he looked up, Jesus saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury.  He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins.  “I tell you the truth,” he said, “this widow has put in more than all the others.  All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.” 

I have been giving Christ out of my “wealth,” my extra.  And the worst of it is: I knew it.  I have looked upon my money as my own.  Can I really spare it right now?  Naw, I’ll give some other time…  But the truth is, it is not my own.  I have only been loaned it for a while, and one day, I will be called to account for how I have used what I have been given.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to stand there and have to say, “Well, Lord, you see… I kept it all for myself.  I gave you the little bit of the extra I had… that extra stuff that I earned that one time and figured I could spare…”

No.  Don’t give out of your wealth, give your all, remembering that it is not yours in the first place!

Jesus, in His famous Sermon on the Mount, tells us that we can always see where our hearts are, by where we put our treasure.  Matthew 6:19-20 "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.  But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."

Where is your treasure going?  Are you storing up treasure on earth, amassing things for yourself?  Or are you giving your earthly treasure to Christ, and gaining a far great treasure in heaven?

This is not only about your money, it's the same with your time.  Every single breath you draw upon this planet is a gift from God.  You did nothing whatsoever to give yourself life… you can do nothing whatsoever to keep yourself breathing… each second is a gift, and since it is a gift, you must use it wisely.  Every second of time that passes, is a second gone from your life.  Don’t waste it.  Remember, it is not your time, it is Christ’s.  Be ready to serve.
So anyway, back to the question.  What can we do?  The first step is realizing that there is a problem; the second, wanting to do something about it.  The third, and the most difficult, is figuring out what to do and actually doing it. 

So, here is a call to action.  Our mission in Operation Hands and Feet is two fold.

The first objective: is to do something.  To use our time and money and abilities for something more than ourselves and our own entertainment and pleasure.  To live for Christ, for others; serving Christ, serving others; changing us, others, the world.

James 2:16-17 “Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food.  If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it?  In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

James 1:27 “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” 

It sounds like a pretty tall order… especially when you’re just a teenager and your bank account, time, and opportunities are limited to say the least.  But as we saw with the widow, Christ does not want our wealth, he wants our all, however little it may be.  And in the Kingdom of God – however, upside down and backwards it may sound - a little given with a pure heart is far more than a lot given begrudgingly or with the wrong motives. 

So, here’s my challenge.  This year, this month, this week – today, do something!  

Give your time and your service:
Here are some ides -
~ Join a ministry - don't waste your time; do something worthwhile with it.  Spend at least some part of your day for others.
~ Help in Awana - God's word changes lives and memorizing God's word is one of the best ways to get it in your head where it can affect your life and actions.
~ Help teach a Sunday school class - it's often said that the best way to learn anything is to try to teach it to someone.  You will grow while teaching others.
~ Work at a Christian youth camp - that's what I do all summer!  It's really fun and rewarding too.
~ Go on a mission's trip
~ Serve your family - yes this is a legitimate way to serve.  Our service should always start at home.  That is where God has placed you - it's your immediate mission field.
~ Pray - become a true prayer warrior for Christ.  Prayer is a very powerful thing.
~ Serve an elderly neighbor
~ Use the gifts and abilities that God has given you to serve Him, to serve others.

Give your money:
~ To church
~ Support a missionary
~ Sponsor an orphan or child in a third world country
~ Give to Christian charities designed to help those in need and spread the Gospel
Here are a few good ones that I know of - there are many many more;
Samaritan's Purse
Angel Tree
Gospel for Asia

Look for ways to help others with your money, rather than always spending or saving it for yourself.

Obviously don’t limit yourself to what I've put here, there are millions of options, millions of ways you can give and serve!  The point is just to do something here and now.  It doesn’t have to be huge.  Start off small.  be faithful in the little things and then in time, you will be able to do bigger things.

Here's where the purpose of this blog/group comes in.  After you have found a way to give and serve, comment here and share with us.  This is not to glorify yourself through announcing to the whole world what you've done, rather for accountability - to keep yourself accountable by letting others know what you are committing to.  And it's also for encouragement, so that we can all see that we do not stand alone, that others are committing to serving as well.  If you have decided to give your money, don't list any amounts or anything like that - again, we're not doing this to get a pat on the back - just tell where you gave and why you chose that place.

Matthew 6:2-3 "So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men.  I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full.  But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you."

Now, to the second part of our two-fold mission.  Now, this second objective really should have been listed as the first - it must always be first, I just listed it second sort of on accident. (So really this is the first objective of Operation: Hands and Feet, the other is the second objective)  By the same token that we cannot simply sit around comfortable with our prosperity while others suffer, we cannot simply sit around comfortable knowing that we are saved while others perish  because they have not been told.  Let us stop pretending and live as true Christians, live like we believe the word of God to be true, live like we believe that it is imperative that the Gospel be preached!  In short, we must tell others the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Proverbs 24:11-12 “Rescue those being led away to death; hold back those staggering towards slaughter.  If you say, “But we knew nothing about this,” does not he who weighs the heart perceive it?  Does not he who guards your life know it?  Will he not repay each person according to what he has done?

Our belief in Christ must define our lives.  Our belief that He is the only way to reconciliation with God and forgiveness from sins, must affect the way we live.  We cannot simply sit around and keep the word of God secret.  His word was meant to be proclaimed, shouted from the rooftops.  My excuse is a lame one: I am  not good at speaking and sharing with others, I don't know enough, or I can't explain it well enough... someone else could do it better.  Like Moses, I'm an expert at inventing excuses.  I don't know about you, but who wants to have to state those excuses when standing before the seat of Christ.

The problem with those excuses is that you only get better with practice, not by sitting around waiting until you feel comfortable sharing the gospel.  A rusty tool won't get sharp from sitting on a bench.  But how incredibly selfish to keep eternal life hidden within, not to share it with those who will perish for eternity.  Why?

Psalms 40: 10 "I do not hide your righteousness in my heart; I speak of your faithfulness and salvation.  I do not conceal your love and your truth from the great assembly."

So, this must be the foremost part of our mission.  It is not enough to simply provide starving people with food, if they will be separated from God for eternity when they die.  However, it is not enough to simply throw gospel tracks to starving people and hope that they are saved before they starve to death.  There must be a balance.  That's why our mission is two-fold.  The feet that bring the gospel shall also bring the love of Christ, and the hands that meet the spiritual needs shall also meet the physical. 

Paul wrote to Timothy in I Timothy 4:12 “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.”  No matter how young you are, you are not too young to live for Christ and to serve Him!

~ A Servant of the King
To the praise of His glory!