Well, the church left the building today! We served and loved God by serving and loving other people. We got together at 9:30AM for just a couple of songs and Communion and we were out the door before 10AM. We sent several vans of volunteers, shovels, and wheel barrows to the Crisis Ministry Homeless Shelter to spread mulch, sort donations, and clean. And then another group of volunteers walked across the street to clean flower beds, plant flowers, and paint the sign at Oakland Elementary School.
The morning started very strangely for me. I showed up at our building at about 7:45AM to find that someone had vandalized one of our sheds. My first thought was, “This is great – on the day we’re leaving the serve the community, someone from our community steals our lawn equipment again!” But none of our lawn equipment is in that shed and all they did was rip off the wood from the door frame of the shed. Honestly, I think they took one look inside the shed, could barely move around, and said, “Wow – this is a lot of junk,” and took off. They did pick up a few of the bales of pine straw that we were going to be using today and dump them somewhere else – weird. But the better locks that we installed were still intact.
Truthfully, my first thoughts were not very pleasant or Pastor-like. Becoming more and more like Jesus, you see, is harder than it seems. The Holy Spirit convicted me and I found myself thinking – on that first Christmas morning, did God say, “This is great – on the day I leave heaven to serve the community, someone from that community plots my son’s death!” On that first Easter, did Jesus say, “This is great – on the day I give my very life to save this community, those who call themselves part of my community have abandoned me.” No, they didn’t. They served, gave, and loved – in spite of our sin. Romans 5:8, “But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.” You see, while your Pastor was “digging deeper” to plant a few pansies, God used this day for me to go a little deeper in His word. After all, that’s what maturity is all about – right? And the deeper I dig, the further I realize I have to go in becoming more and more Christlike.
I was a little disappointed in the number of people that showed up today. Our attendance was definitely down. I’m not sure if it was the earlier time or quite frankly, if it was just that we were going to be working. I hope it’s not the latter. But you know what, I’m not going to focus on that, because I was so proud today of those who were there and served. I’ve said it a lot lately, “We don’t go to church. We are the church. And we are on a mission.” Today, in a small way, we put that into practice. Our mission is to love people to Jesus! Here are just a few pictures of the volunteer work at Oakland. I’ll be adding more from Crisis Ministry Homeless Shelter when I get those pictures. Click here, or on the pictures below to see the rest. I love you Coastal!
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