Every summer our church hosts an outreach, which is called Summer Fun Dayz, and the thrust of the outreach is to bless the surrounding community. We give away 1400 backpacks filled with top of the line school supplies, and have a variety of other events and activities going on around our parkinglot for the 5000 plus visitors that show up every year. We feed everyone for free, as much and as often as they want to go through the line for the food, and provide many free items such as gift cards to many major stores – we’re talking large gift cards of $100 to sometimes $500 plus all sorts of prizes including music, and CD players and DVD players and computers and free music, and activities for the children. There are two major presentations of the Gospel in the afternoon and hundreds come to know Jesus.
Two of the areas that people can go include the rocking grandma’s and the bike repair area. Lets start with the bikes, as children push in broken bikes and three hours later ride out on fixed bicycles. Sometimes all they bring in is a seat or handlebars, but they still go out with a bike. Many new bikes are also given away free.
There is a section called the “Rocking Grandma’s” where infants and toddlers are taken care of and rocked under a canopy while the parents enjoy the festivities. A couple of years ago, a teenage approached the “Rocking Grandma’s” and inquired as to what was happening, and after he was told, he just stood there and watched what was happening. At one point, he asked if one of the ladies would rock him. They asked him, why would a 15-year-old boy want to be rocked, and he replied that he could not ever remember being rocked as a child. So one of the ladies let him sit on her lap and gently started to rock him and led him to the Lord, and he laid down his weapons as he was on his way to gang activity, but instead, was now in a new gang called the Family of God. Isn’t that amazing! (check out www.enwc.net for more information.)
This morning in our church, a letter was read that was titled, “One Prayer”. Apparently last year in the midst of the thousands that were on the parkinglot, one of our pastors was prompted by God to go and pray for one young lady. This particular young lady came to the event just a few months after being beaten by her husband and in front of her three small children. Her husband tried to kill her and the police officers said her face looked worse than many homicide victims they had seen. But she was identified by God in the midst of a gigantic crowd and received special prayer that day, just one year ago. Today she has launched a counseling clinic and help center for families of abuse, especially for children who go through and see physical abuse that happens to someone else. She has had a personal visit from the Governor of Nebraska and is doing amazingly well, but it was due in part to the one prayer – or let me say it another way, the one action.
I wrote this blog a week ago, but today August 11th I had the opportunity to meet this young lady in person and added her picture here for you to see and also her web site in case you know of people who need her services, and/or perhaps you just want to send her a note of encouragement too. Her name is Heather Duhachek and her web page is www.generationhopecounseling.com
Just a few weeks ago, I watched an interview on CNN of a young man who was shot in the thigh in Aurora CO at the theaters there. Most everyone knows that a gunman opened fire with assault rifles and various guns on a room full of movie theater patrons and may were shot and killed. This particular young man actually shielded another family including a mom and her two young children, while the dad ran for his life. So he most likely saved one or several lives and also took a bullet in his own thigh.
So I decided to look this guy up on Face Book and see if I could find him, and sure enough I did, and offered encouragement and prayer for him. Then with his permission I wrote a note about his heroics and included an article from the Denver Newspaper documenting the details and encouraged my 1500 plus Face Book friends to contact him and encourage him, and perhaps pray for him too. His name is Jarell Brooks and you can find him on my facebook page or click the blue highlighted part of his name above.
I only got two people to “Like” the posted article, so I posted it again, and again, and again, and again – five times total and only had two people like it and no one writing to him, yet simultaneously I got over 40 people to like the picture of a squirrel sitting on some ice in the current heat wave. Is there something wrong with this picture?
I believe that “Liking” things on Face Book has replaced actually taking action in the Kingdom of God. So many people “Like” poster after poster and quote after quote and picture after picture, but when something real and eventful comes along, no one has the time. No one wants to get involved. No one wants to encourage.
Matthew 6:33 tells us to Seek First the Kingdom of God and His Righteousness… but we seem to be seeking first everything else but His Kingdom. If we are to “Like” something it would seem that we are to “Like” what God likes, and in this verse it is His Kingdom and Righteousness – but it is so much easier to click “like” on Face Book and ignore real life situations like gun shot heroes and wives being beaten to a pulp.
What is it that makes everyone on Face Book want to like, like, like everything? What is it that now makes people ask, and yes, beg people to “like” their page? Why are we so self-absorbed in our own kingdoms, that we miss God’s Kingdom? Like, like, like, like, like, like, like. I actually had one business owner beg me and plead with me several times to “like her business” as if that would justify and some how bring her more clients. If someone asks me to “like” their page, I ignore them. I do go and like different pages, but it is because I genuinely like what they are doing, not because of some popularity contest.
Daniel 11:32 says, ”Those who do wickedly against the covenant, he shall corrupt with flattery, but the people who know their God shall be strong and carry out great exploits or great action.”
The word wickedly or wicked means twisted, which is where we get our words candlewick or wicker furniture. The enemy tries to twist our thinking away from what is important such as the Kingdom of God and place it on anything else. And what happens is that we are corrupted with flattery. We want everyone to like us and like what we do and like our posts on the Internet etc. But God wants us to like what he is doing, and the thing he looks for is people of faith who are strong and will take great action.
How much effort would it take for a few people to have clicked on the guy’s name on Face Book and written him a short note of encouragement? I could only get two people to like the article after posting it five times in the space of two days. Yet a picture of a squirrel on ice gets dozens of “Likes”.
Romans 8:29 says we are to be conformed to His image – that of Jesus Christ, yet more and more people – millions of people, well meaning believers in God are now conforming their lives to how many people like them either on Face Book or elsewhere. Colossians 3:1 challenges us to set our affections on things above, but many are content to ignore that goal, and settle for things way below that goal.
Bill Johnson in his book, “When Heaven Invades Earth” on page 73 comments and writes, that he has no problem with people returning time and time again for more blessings from God, but goes on and I quote, “The problem is not in receiving more of the blessing of God. It’s refusal to give it away to others once we have received it ourselves.”
After I posted the article five times, I then wrote a brief note about what this blog is about, and quoted Daniel 11:32 and had a pastor write back and say – that’s why he went to Chick Fil A – I was so saddened by that reply. Can you believe it? He actually thought that Kingdom Action was eating some Chicken. Don’t get me wrong, I am all for Chick Fil A and understand the value of that company and the stance that their CEO took, but to respond as a pastor and say that my Kingdom action for the week was to go out to eat, seems to have really missed the mark. If I may say so, I believe that response was a cop out and just plain “chicken”.
James says that Faith without works is dead. Has our faith be reduced down to merely liking things? Are we so wrapped up in ourselves, that we must have everyone like us in order to think we are successful? Get over it and Get on with it!
The Kingdom is about laying down our lives for others, yet after five posts I could not get one person to write this young man, the son of a pastor who is a hero in saving at least three other lives and simply say thank you. Or just write four words – “I’m praying for you.” How difficult would that have been? Four Words. I don’t get it.
The people in our communities are sighing, crying and dying and we have the answer through a relationship, not religion, but a relationship in and with Jesus Christ, but we are so busy being “liked” and “liking” that we can’t like what Jesus Likes. I think it might be time to wake up. It’s interesting to note, that you don’t know you are asleep until you wake up. And then it hits you, “Oh, I’ve been asleep.”
One prayer changed a life on our church parkinglot one year ago. Perhaps a few prayers and words of encouragement would help change a young man’s life in Aurora CO. Don’t miss your opportunities this week. Galatians 6:10 says that as we have the opportunity, do good unto all men, especially the household of faith. And Leonard Ravenhill says, “The opportunity of a lifetime must be seized within the lifetime of the opportunity.” Sometimes there is narrow window and if you don’t respond, the opportunity is gone and the moment is lost.
I wish someone else besides me would have responded and written to this man in Aurora. But I am glad that one person responded to this young mother of three small children whose face and body was badly beaten, and responded with one prayer, One action.
One Action – One prayer can make all the difference. Don’t miss your opportunity.