I love the idea that church being more than sitting in a service on Sunday and I love that we are being challenged to be the hands and feet of Jesus in our community so that people can hear and see the message of Jesus’ love. But sometimes the thought of trying to help people in need can...
Have you ever asked yourself that ever-unanswered question, “Why does God allow bad things to happen?” Well, don’t get your hopes up, because I’m not here to answer that—we just don’t have enough room on the internet to tackle it. However, I can tell...
I love the idea that church being more than sitting in a service on Sunday and I love that we are being challenged to be the hands and feet of Jesus in our community so that people can hear and see the message of Jesus’ love.
But sometimes the thought of trying to help people in need can be overwhelming. There are so many needs…so many ways to get involved…so many ministries that I could help with. And sometimes I admit that I even wonder how my actions could even mean anything in the big scheme of things.
But here’s what I’ve learned: We don’t have to do ALL THE THINGS! But we DO need to do exactly what God is leading us to through the pull and guidance of the Holy Spirit.
I was in Curtis Bay doing some volunteer work and I thought maybe I would stop at the store to grab some groceries on my way home. As I was coming over the hill into Severna Park I felt a nudge. It was a little whisper that urged me to watch for someone. I wasn’t sure what that meant, but I knew it was from the Holy Spirit, so I decided to just slow down and look around as I ran my errand.
As I was walking into the store, I saw a man sitting on the curb. I smiled at him. He smiled back.
“How are you today?” I asked as I passed him.
“Good,” he said. “Just trying to make some money for bus fare.”
Just then I remembered that earlier I put $10 in my pocket to pay for lunch. Turns out, lunch was taken care of, so I still had $10 in my pocket. I pulled out the money and handed it to him. “Oh, then this is for you!” I said.
As I handed him the money, his eyes widened and he smiled. Just then, someone with a cart came by (this man was returning the carts that people gave him so he could keep the quarters that you insert to get the cart at this particular store). The moment seemed to pass as a gentleman handed this man his cart, so I walked inside to do my shopping.
When I finished my shopping, I headed out to the parking lot. The man I spoke to earlier was there watching the door. He approached me as I left the building and I smiled.
“You didn’t have to do that,” he said. “But thank you. Thank you very much.”
“Well,” I replied, “on the way here today I felt God tell me to help someone, and I think he meant you.”
The man told me his story. He had been living with his mother, but she died a few months back and since the subsidized apartment was hers, he lost his home. He told me how hard he has worked to try to get on a list for housing but he was having a hard time trying to make ends meet. I gave him information on The Transformation Center (a partner ministry of our church) and asked if I could pray with him. When we finished praying, he had tears in his eyes.
“You blessed me today,” he said.
“And you blessed me,” I replied.
I am convinced that God has a plan for each of us. It’s not necessarily a plan to do all the things…but God does have a plan to use you—at the right moment, at the right time—to help one of his beloved children in a real and meaningful way. We need to prepare ourselves to hear his voice, and respond to the Holy Spirit.
Have you ever asked yourself that ever-unanswered question, “Why does God allow bad things to happen?” Well, don’t get your hopes up, because I’m not here to answer that—we just don’t have enough room on the internet to tackle it.
However, I can tell you how God works through bad things that happen…
He works through his people! And about a month ago, Severn Run had a taste of this. Here’s what happened:
It was a typical Tuesday morning when some of the Severn Run staff came in to work. It was shortly after the New Year, and it was quite frigid outside. As to be expected, there was some ice in the parking lot of church campus. However, on this particular day, there was a large cascade of ice flowing down from Severn Run’s back entrance into the parking spaces nearby. It was quickly obvious that this wasn’t just ice from the previous night’s cold temperatures.
As some of the staff members investigated the interior of the church building, they discovered more ‘fun’ surprises. It seemed that Severn Run had gotten an unexpected pool installed in the whole first floor of the building! Ok, so it wasn’t a pool, but there was about two inches of water across the entire first floor of the building.
After calling the local water damage experts, the Severn Run staff began the tedious task of moving everything off the first floor that wasn’t tacked down. It was a LOT of work, but since it was the middle of the week, pretty much anyone who could help was already at the church building. After a lot of sweat, and maybe a few tears, it was eventually all done. The workers showed up later to start removing all the water and doing what needed to be done to set the church building up for repair down the road. This would be where the lovely ‘airflow upgrades’ around the base of all the walls on the first floor of the building came from. Perhaps you’ve noticed?
By the time all the water was extruded from the floor and carpet on the first floor of the Severn Run campus it was Friday, and the Severn Run staff had to move everything back into place to prepare for the services on Sunday. Quite a daunting task. But, this is where God came in!
The invite went out to most of the church via social media, and oh boy did people respond! The re-setup of the church campus was scheduled for Saturday morning starting at 9 AM. When I arrived (slightly late) there were already about 30-40 people there. There was a desk up front for people to sign in and get assigned to teams, which would tackle different places around the church campus that needed help.
Pastor John, our Executive Pastor, was giving a quick pep talk before we got started. He spoke briefly of how they discovered the water, and how excited he was to see so many people there to give up their Saturday to help prepare the building to house services on Sunday. He spoke of how important it was for us to come together because he knew that God had big plans. There were people who needed to have a place to sit on Sunday morning so they could focus on a message that God had specifically crafted for them to hear. It was inspiring to think about how such a simple thing as giving up a few hours of our weekend could have an eternal impact on the Kingdom!
Once Pastor John finished, off we went. It was a furious task to get the building back into a prepared state for Sunday, but we had a lot of help, as more people came in to support. It was probably 50 or 60 people in total.
Many people went inside the Worship Center to set up the chairs – one of the biggest tasks to do in preparation for Sunday. Other groups went to help put the kids’ areas back into place, while others helped remove trash, set up other areas, or go outside to start chipping away (literally) at the ice arena in the parking lot.
It took about three to four hours for just about all the work to be finished. The ice took the longest, and wasn’t even completely done by the time we all called it quits, but enough of it had been removed to allow people to drive through, park, and walk safely into the church building on Sunday.
Sunday morning came, and the services ran without a hitch. If you attended that day and had no idea about the escapades of the previous week, about the only way you would have known would have been those ‘airflow upgrades’ that I mentioned earlier, which that are still there. Well, that and the fact that we told everyone who attended, or who viewed our services online that day. But, we told everyone because we wanted them to know that when we needed help, God responded by bringing Severn Runners in to have our back.
And, that’s exactly what God does when bad things happen.
No one can say what exactly God will or will not do when it comes to allowing bad things to happen, but it has been evident since creation that when they do happen, he calls people to respond. The pipe’s bursting at Severn Run, followed by water damage, may not fully qualify as something ‘bad’, but no matter how big or small, God responds. Sometimes God calls on others, and other times he calls to us each individually. How we respond is completely up to us. We just have to decide if we’re going to be willing.
God works through his people. Are you willing to let him use you?