Wednesday, July 20, 2011

2nd Chances

Last Saturday, July 16th, I was wrapped in my work at the office when a young family of a different ethnic group & very pregnant interrupted my work to seek assistance - food, clothes, money. Not having any of those available, I gave them directions to where they could find that assistance. Problem was they understood very little English, verbal or written. They asked me to take them, which I refused to do because I was into my own work. As they drove away, God convicted me that I was more concerned for the 'kingdom of me' than I was for His. I suddenly felt like one of the 'motel' owners in Bethlehem turning down Joseph & Mary.
On Sunday, as I preached on being a follower rather than just a fan, God brought this story to mind, so I shared it & closed my message. As we concluded the service, that same couple came walking back into the church. God was giving me a 2nd chance to do the right thing & teach the church about grace. I didn't miss my God-given opportunity, and the church didn't miss theirs to be a blessing as well.
My sin was putting my kingdom ahead of His. Don't do it! Don't put Him to the test of 2nd chances! Love God - love others - live it out, everyday by being a blessing & looking for opportunity to rescue the dying.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

PTH (Pass the Hat) - 7/3/11

After being gone for a weeks vacation I came back to a bunch on messages, one pleading for help with her power bill to keep the A/C on. I prayed and asked for guidance because we just did not have the money available to help. As I prayed I sensed God wanted us to help, and Pass the Hat came to mind. But I no longer had her phone number because the number she used to call me on was the hospital phone number where she worked. So, I again turned to God to have her again call me. 30 minutes later, she called, and we met later that same day.
She was trying to 'get on her feet' after leaving an abusive relationship and needed more than $500 to get the power company to keep her power on in her new residence. She had half of it, & the power company was giving her 'grace' for a week to come up with the money. I told her about 'Pass the Hat' and that she was suppose to get it, but it would be Sunday before I would have any money to give her. I encouraged her to find a church to get involved with. We prayed and she left in search for more monies, determined to make a new start.
Tuesday, I called her to arrange giving her the money. It was her 'due date' with the power company. She needed $100. 'Pass the Hat' was $105.
God is good, all the time. And all the time, God is good.

Monday, June 20, 2011

A Little Extra

I(names of givers and recipients will not be shared) was blessed with a "Pass the Hat" opportunity the Sunday before Thanksgiving. A co-worker has been through radiation and chemotherapy...twice.

When she came home the second time and shared the unfortunate news with her family, her husband told her that he was divorcing her. Currentl several months have passes since she finished the secnd round of treatmens, her divorce is final and her fmaily has been turned upside down in every aspect (financially, emotionally, physically, etc). She is now adjusting to being back to work full-time plus overtime (as her body allows, to help with bills) and being a single mom to her two sons (one is living at home going to college, the other is a senior in high school).

When I approached her on Monday, I explained the "Pass the Hat" at South Side and that I would like to 'share this gift and for her to know that Jesus loves her. That's it, plain ans imple."

Needless to say, she started to cry and for me the tears started when I was approaching her, so I began to cry a river whe she said "Thank you." She continued on, "You don't know what this means to me. My oldest son has a part-time job and I had to borrow money from him yesterday to buy groceries for our Thanksgiving meal. He gave me $100. and that's exactly what I spent."

I replied, "As God always does, he has given you a little extra." The total she received was $110. We shared tears and hugs and then returned back to our desks, both having been blesses bigger and better than either of us ever could imagine.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Pass the Hat

Today my son from Independence Mo called & asked me why I wasn't posting any more. He told me that there was a portion of the churches web site, 'Pass the Hat' that took him here to my 'Notions', and when he got here & found nothing, he was quite disappointed. he encouraged me to start setting aside at least 3o minutes a week to post 'Pass the Hat' stories. So here's the 1st one.
Last October I was at a conference and heard about a church doing something similar to our passing of the hat. I felt God nudge me toward instituting this in our church as a way to teach & encourage the church to be the church, be a blessing to others & create an opportunity to share Christ's love with others at the same time.
I came home wondering about it & still praying about it. The next day, as I was passing through the sanctuary, on the front pew hung a old, black cowboy hat I have never seen before. Laughingly I said to God, "OK, since You provided the hat, we'll see where it goes.". That Sunday we began
'passing the hat', and we collected $110 to give away as a blessing to someone in need. I felt God lead me to someone in the church to give it to to pass on to someone else telling them that Jesus loves them , which they did later that week. I set that old, black cowboy hat on a desk in my office & left for home. The next day when I came in, that hat was gone. To this day, no one has fessed up to taking it. It's just gone. I since have gone to using another hat that I found in the ushers closet that no one has claimed. It's still being used used. To date we have given away over $5,000 to 32 families, who have mostly been strangers in need of hearing that Jesus loves them. Knowing, that the one's who have been blessed the most is us, as we get to hear the 'Pass the Hat' stories every week.
So starting this week I will try to post those stories for you to share in our blessings from God. And if by His design you happen to be a recipient some day, know it's because Jesus loves you & wants to bless you with a gift from a church that loves Him.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Pass The Hat

Our church is becoming missional minded. Yes, we support missionaries. Yes, we help those in the congregation who need help. Yes, we support the local food bank. But those things are allocated into our annual church budget. How do we intentionally get past ourselves to see what Christ sees? To discern the needs around us and be willing to be uncomfortable to meet those needs?

One of the ways we learning the answer to these questions is by Passing the Hat. Every Sunday after the tithes and offerings are taken, we pass a hat from pew to pew. People are encouraged to put whatever little bits they can spare into the hat. For some it is the cost of a cup of coffee, for some it is spare change, for some it is a five, a ten, or a twenty. No one is expected to give more than they can afford but all are encouraged to think of those less fortunate than themselves.

At the end of the service, someone is chosen from the congregation to take the money and ask God to reveal who they should give it too. The only requirement to giving the money away is to tell the recipient that Jesus loves them. We will try to accurately record stories from week to week to keep you all informed of how God is using Pass the Hat to help others and to help us learn the joy of giving and living missional minded.

The first week a little over $137.00 was tossed into the hat. A gentleman from the church was randomly picked to give the money away. A big smile crossed his face. He already knew who God wanted him to give the money too. He selected a young couple who were going to have their first baby. The husband had recently lost his job and this gift couldn’t have come at a better time.

God is good. Stay tuned for the next installment of Pass the Hat.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Yeah, I know it's been a while again. I was walking with a friend the other day up my favorite trail & they were talking about their life situations & how God has been at work in their life. The trail can get rather steep, and it was during the steep part my friend began to doubt they could make it to the top without a stop, whether or not they were in shape enough for the climb. I told them, you determine how good of shape you're in by how fast you recover from the exertion. Dawned on me the same is true in our spiritual walk. How good of shape we are in spiritually is determined by how fast we recover from our lapses in sound judgment, otherwise known as sin. Do you wallow around in it, or do you set your heart on getting right with God again so you can continue the climb. That's the mark of a spiritual growth.

Monday, April 12, 2010


Last night we where at Muncher & Randa's picking up Carole's computer, which gave me a chance to play with my grand kids, Braska & Kinlee. Kinlee, who is only 14 months old, came over to me as I sat in the couch & lifting her arms said, "Up." Instead of just lifting her unto my lap, I tossed her into the air & caught her. She loved it & laughed with delight. So I asked her, "More?" Which she quickly responded to with her sign lamguage & the word, "More!" Everytime I tossed her up she would laugh & squeal with delight, and as soon as I would catch her & set on my lap she would sign for & ask for "More." After a while I got tired, so I quit & put her down. Wasn't very long before she was back, lifting up her arms to me & asking for "Up?" And as soon as I picked her up she signed for & asked for "More." Of course I complied.
That's how God wants us to be with Him in life. Coming to Him with outstretched arms wanting "up", and when He stoops to comply, asking for "more". More of His love, His grace, His hope, His peace, & His joy. God loves to make us laugh & squeal with delight; and He loves it even more when we return again & again asking for "more' - MORE of Him.