For a few years, we spent every Monday afternoon with a group of compassionate people feeding and loving on some friends and neighbors who were less fortunate than we were. We provided a hot meal, companionship and sometimes a ride to homeless and hungry people in the small town of Hernando in Citrus County.
When we began commuting each week to Tallahassee to serve at City Church on Sundays and lead a community group on Monday evenings, one of our biggest disappointments was not being able to serve those people on Monday afternoons.
Saturday, my wife Cyndi, my daughter Meghan and I stopped for a hamburger on the east side of Tallahassee. We were hot and dirty from moving Ethan into a house for school that starts in a few weeks. I had stuffed some cash in my pocket earlier and as we finished eating, I took it out to fold it neatly and put it back in my pocket. As I did there was a man standing at the counter watching me. The man was neatly dressed – old, dirty clothes but neatly dressed. He took his 78 cent hamburger to his table, spread the wrapper out and slowly ate his dinner.
As Cyndi and I looked at each other, we knew that God once again had provided us a divine opportunity. I walked over to the man and asked him if I could buy him a beverage for his meal. His eyes lit up and he very graciously told me that would be fine. I purchased the man a beverage and some more food and placed it in front of him. He thanked me and smiled and said something to th effect of how nice we were to think of him and hoped that God would bless me.
This man didn’t know that he was my blessing. I never believe in coincidences. I believe God has ordained our paths each day. Some days we refuse to open our eyes and see what He has for us that day. Other days we are more willing to listen to what He has to say and to see what He has in store for us.
I haven’t had a full-time job in 20 months. But I have enough to provide something for someone who has nothing. Because of Jesus.
That interaction caused me to think a lot more about how we view our stuff. On Sunday, Stuart Owens said in his sermon something to the effect of whether we have $10 or $10 million in our bank account and if we obsess over it, it’s still greed.
I pray that God will always allow me to give back to him and to those He places in my path.
A few random thoughts as Friday nears: (edited post – previous title was way too long!)
We have some great friends! I won’t go into detail but we love the support friends provide us – both emotionally and physically!
A local pastor wants to talk about a church he is starting in nearby Ocala – this is the second time he has asked me to talk with him about playing a role in its startup and development – I won’t lie, I’m flattered.
Excited about the growth of our community group – six new attendees in the past four weeks!
My wife is amazing – she has not let up in her massage therapy business – despite the travelling we do each week! It could grow if we were in town more!
FSU men’s basketball has been fun to watch this year – ESPN quote: FSU has made Tobacco Road its own personal driveway!
This sunset on St. Joe Bay in the Florida panhandle is one of our favorites:
Random thoughts about life today – some of these could be blog entries, but I don’t have the time right now!
We have received an offer to buy our house! This is good but the downside is I don’t really know where we will live when we sell it! We have options – which is always a great thing! In fact another set of friends told us this week we could move in with them for a while if we need to/want to/need a change of scenery! Now if I could only secure that “job”!
Christ followers are not the same as “Christians”. This explanation will take a long time so I won’t write here but will leave the thought out there that one requires ongoing action while the other somehow has only implied an action.
My wife is amazing! She has continually worked while being less than 100% since January 2, 2012! Her massage therapy business can be hard on her physically but she has been determined to work through this. I am lucky she chose me!
We had two neat desserts this week! Cyndi made individual apple cobblers one night that were amazing! Last night we had fresh strawberries with whipped cream on fresh cake! Again, I am one lucky man!
Looking for work is not as easy as it seems – even with internet job boards. I would love to find a way to make the job search more meaningful for people and make the search more responsive.
Knowing we won’t be at our next community group meeting has me already feeling a little blue. I really enjoy the opportunity to experience life with our small group! Preparing for that group each weed has been a good outlet for me!
What has been on your mind this week?
Monday nights are community group nights for us and last night was a good one! Well attended and lots of conversation, laughter and good discussion about God as our Father.
We are looking at the Apostle’s Creed and focused on the first line last night: “I believe in God the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.” Most of our discussion centered on how our relationship with our earthly father fashions our perspective of our heavenly Father – both good and bad. Some seem to lean towards a loving God while others have a deep respect for His sovereignty and almighty power. Both are right. As folks began describing how they view our Father almighty, I remained silent. After it was over someone asked my point blank how I would describe “almighty”.
I don’t really know how to describe that and give justice to a definition. I’m reminded of something James McDonald taught a few years ago about the greatness of God. We tend to say a lot of things are awesome – that cookie was awesome, that sunset was awesome, that dress is awesome, she is awesome – but in reality only God is awesome and as we lessen the impact of the word by describing things on earth as awesome, we minimize how we view God. Only God is awesome and only God is almighty.
I don’t want to minimize my view of God by describing Him in terms that I can apply to other things! I want to have a big view of God. I want to pray bigger prayers and expect bigger things because I believe in an awesome God – who really is almighty!
How do you describe the Father almighty?
Last night our community group looked at I Thessalonians chapter 5, http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+Thessalonians+5&version=NIV. While our discussion centered on the second coming of Jesus Christ, I think there is so much more we could have shared with each other! I think the verses speak for themselves today – not much comment needed.
Paul has some incredible words in verses 12-28! “…encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone!” There are enough opportunities right there to keep us busy every day!
How about you? Have encouraged someone today? How have you helped the weak? Have you really been patient with everyone? I know that right now I need to do all of these things. Right now.
Our God is so good! We really should give thanks in all circumstances!