The goal really is simple...

The church where I serve has designated September - "A Beautiful Month'. Over the course of the month we will scatter throughout our community with small on-site prayer groups praying for God's provision and protection for those who serve our community, host a special festival for a mobile home community near our church (complete with games, balloons, face painting, large grills for burgers) in partnership with the elementary and middle schools that serve this community, and also play a role in the community build for the Pregnancy Resource Center we support. We choose to begin a new ministry year with a tangible reminder of our vision to engage our community as a people and place of compassion. I am grateful to serve among a group of people with a heart to serve our community.

I'm often asked 'why' by people. Why are we making such a focused and sustained commitment to serve our community? It's really simple. Love. Wherever we turn in the pages of the Scriptures we're called to be a people who loves well. I've been reading I Timothy in recent days. Paul says it as clearly and simply as it can be expressed - "The purpose of my instruction is that all believers would be filled with love that comes from a pure heart, a clear conscience, and a genuine faith (I Tim 1:5 NLT). We are to love others without an agenda...without hypocrisy...and without a critical spirit that chooses not to see what God desires to do in someone's life and story. We do what we do in our community simply from a desire to love. Our capacity to love others well speaks for itself...stands as the greatest evidence of our experience with God's love.

Our love becomes life-changing when expressed with humility. A little later Paul says - Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinner's - and I am the worst of them all. But that is why God had mercy on me, so that Christ Jesus could use me as a prime example of his great patience with even the worst of sinners. Then others will realize that they, too, can believe in him and receive eternal life (I Tim. 1:15-16 NLT). We don't serve others with an arrogance that assumes we know enough or have lived well enough to judge them or tell them how to live their lives differently. We serve with a humility that clearly sees our own brokenness and sinfulness. Our lives display God's redemptive patience with sinful people. Such humility is honest,disarming and winsome for people who see the church as detached or disinterested at best, maybe arrogant and angry at worst.

The goal for this 'Beautiful Month' really is simple... 

...That the people we serve would experience something in the way we love them...experience something in the humility we display while among them - that sparks an interest in the Jesus who is behind it all. He makes it uniquely beautiful.

Fighting For Your Hearts,

Gary