Hello Church Family,
Nu has asked me to share about what has been happening through our Christians Against Poverty partnership and our outreach endeavours over the last wee-while. I consider it an absolute privilege to be involved in a ministry that hits all three of our core church values of Connect, Equip and Influence. As I share some stories of the impact we have been having in our community my hope is that you will be able to see where each one is represented.
The favourite part of what we do through our CAP partnership and our Debt Help Centre has to be sharing the love of God in a practical way and also openly sharing the Good News with people who have often never heard it before! It may seem strange to us that people haven’t heard the Gospel, as we often consider ourselves to be enough of Christian nation with a rich Christian heritage that surely everyone at least knows who Jesus is…well, what I have encountered through visiting clients in their homes and spending time listening to and speaking to them suggests otherwise.
The most obvious group of people who know nothing of Christianity would have to be young people, recently I visited with two different families, both single young Mum’s with no knowledge of who Jesus actually is, of course they know his name can be used as polite way of “swearing”, but that’s about it. As we share about a God who loves them, who is interested in every aspect of their lives, who formed them and knew them before they were even born, a God who gave His only Son Jesus to die in their place so that they could have a relationship with Him free of any guilt, shame or condemnation the look on their faces is one of amazement and an expression that almost says this is too good to be true. When we carry the presence of God and the truth into these seemingly hopeless situations the atmosphere changes and seeds are definitely sown.
We also encounter people who have been around for much longer and who have had exposure to some form of Christianity, either directly with Christians or through the media, and think they have got us pegged and understand that it is something nice for other people, but something they wouldn’t want to be involved in themselves. But I can tell you this is all based on false assumptions, lies or straight out deception. Just two weeks ago I sat with a man in his late fifties who thought he knew what Christianity was all about, after three visits with him and sharing about the God who I know and serve, about grace and forgiveness, he admitted that this was all new to him and not who he understood Jesus to be. He was so moved and hungry for God’s love we prayed right then and there for his salvation, this has moved him so deeply and completely transformed his outlook on life, he is like a new creation!
Last month Merrilyn and Jennifer launched CAP Life Skills which teaches people how to thrive on a low income. In addition to the practical budgeting, meal planning and cooking tips, Life Skills also has an element of developing healthy relationships with one other, the importance of community, and our need of a saviour. I’m excited to hear the stories that will come from this ministry especially as it grows and engages with our local community.
Of course one of our other targets with Debt Help is to free people from the burden of debt and poverty, since we launched our centre we have seen four families go completely debt free and have many more on their journey to becoming debt free. We expect to see at least four more debt free this year and have a very healthy amount of bookings of clients who are waiting to begin their journey to financial stability and learning the skills to maintain it.
This was something I never dreamed I would be involved with and I can testify to the work God has done in my heart to make this even possible. I would like to encourage you all that God can give us gifts that we don’t actually possess ourselves, the biggest gift God has given me to do what I’m doing now is grace. Sometimes it’s not about the talents we have, because the most important aspect is the gift God plants in us to give us the passion and belief to serve Him, despite of the limitations we place on ourselves. We currently have an opportunities for you to be involved in what we are doing here at Elim with outreaching to our local community, so if you know God has deposited something in you about reaching the lost and serving the poor, let me know and we can figure out how you could work out our core church values of Connect, Equip & Influence.
The last encouragement I would like to make is that there are people hungry for God’s love who think they know the truth of who He is, but in reality have been fed a bunch of lies and have been deceived. That may not sound encouraging, but it is, because it means there are plenty of people who are keen to hear the Good News, they just don’t know it yet. Why don’t you take the time to listen to someone when they are prepared to open up about their lives, and speak some truth and love into them, you may be surprised about their response, especially if you allow the Holy Spirit to direct your conversations.
Have a blessed week,