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Sep
23

could i survive in poverty?

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From time to time I post original writings of guests from around the world. In this post,  a lover of Jesus, poverty advocate and devoted believer in social justice for the world shares some of her experience in identifying with the impoverished in America.

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How can we truly be Jesus’ hands and feet to the poor? What does it look like to truly serve the marginalized, oppressed and lost? Like many of you, I want to make a difference in this world so I went searching for a job with meaning after graduation. I enrolled in a volunteer corps program for one year where I worked at a local non-profit. In my particular program, I received a small stipend that was the equivalent to what a single person in poverty would make. This was the challenge: could I live like a person in poverty lived? Could I survive on $26.00 a day?

The answer is no. If it weren’t for my gracious parents, savings and a lot of free church meals, I wouldn’t have made it. Yet I learned an incredible amount in that year and I began to see a glimpse of what poverty truly looks like from the inside out. I didn’t just read about it, I lived it.

Part of my experience included applying for food stamps. I wanted to better understand the system and personally go through the process, not to mention I was hungry. I never imagined that it would be so difficult. It took a total of four months to receive my benefits.

My breaking point came when I visited the food stamp office for the fourth time. I asked the clerk why I had not received my EBT card in the mail and she informed me that I had been denied. At that moment, I started crying and yelled at her, “You’re telling me that even though I make less than $800 a month, I can’t get on food stamps!?”

It wasn’t my proudest moment, but it was a life changing one. I was frustrated that I would have to reapply for the second time. But even more so, I was heartbroken for my brothers and sisters, neighbors and friends who would never be able to get on food stamps even though they desperately needed them. I watched a system that was designed to help the poor, fail them.

I don’t claim to understand what it truly feels like to be in poverty nor do I claim to understand the agony of going to bed hungry, but from this experience I have come to better understand the challenges the poor face on a daily basis. More importantly, it got me thinking about how I could be an advocate on their behalf as a believer in Christ and a proponent of social justice.

Food security and hunger are growing concerns across the United States. It is no surprise that only 65% of Alabamians who are eligible for food stamps receive them according to the USDA. Additionally, food stamps only provide $3 per person per day for a family of four. That’s simply not enough.

We then must ask ourselves: What is the responsibility of the Church? What role do we have to play? It is time to rethink how we do ministry and find more effective ways to defend the weak and fatherless and uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed (Psalm 82:3.)

Categories : church, social justice
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Oct
25

Discipling the Least of These

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From time to time I will be posting original writings of guests from around the world. In this post, a strategist / practitioner in Florida shares his goals and strategy for engaging some of “the least of these” through a ministry to impact lives both inside and outside of the prison systems. Thanks friend!

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iStock_000005740624XSmallThe Vision is for the Matthew 25 Mandate to be obeyed and the Acts 1:8 Strategic Challenge followed and The Timothy Initiative of  2 Timothy 2:2 started in the correct missiology of  Luke 10:1-3 prayer to the LORD of the Universe to send workers into HIS harvest because the harvest is truly great, but the workers are few! So therefore…

We are committed to recruit, train, and develop missionary individuals and couples who will learn to LOVE the “least” and go into the prisons (long term incarceration) on MISSION TEAMS to build relationships through Training for Trainers (T4T) and then to share their homes with former youthful offenders, adult inmates, and sex offenders that they already have relationships with.

As we start small faith communities GOD will grow them into Missional Church Plants. Each disciple disciples others AND each new believer is a church planter (missionary) AND each planted church is a church planting church (with GOD’s SENT and SENDING divine nature)!!

It is not all about making believers. It is about making disciples! The discipling process takes years and is a function of ReJesusing the missionary so they can ReIntroduce the LEAST of the brethren to GOD in obedience to His mission. This will add salt back into the Western church incidentally, in the process!

Categories : discipleship, missiology
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Sep
08

Spiritual Raisins?

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From time to time I will be posting original writings of guests from around the world. In this second guest post, Bob Royce, a missionary / church planter in Ontario shares a story that contrasts African and Western discipleship. For the past six years, Bob and his family have been missionaries in the Toronto area–one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world. Their heart is for awakening and revival at McMaster University and beyond. They have also been involved internationally in SE Asia, Pakistan, Kenya and other places as well. Thanks Bob!

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Our family has enjoyed being involved in Kingdom work both in the States, around the world in places like Russia, SE Asia, Pakistan and Kenya, and have lived for the past 6 years in one of the most cosmopoitan cities in the world…Toronto. People from all over the world are here.

Our heart is for awakening and revival beginning with university students and then spreading out from there. At one of our home meetings this summer, we enjoyed getting to know a girl from Zimbabwe who just finished her first year in university.

iStock_000006899550XSmallShe shared part of her story with us that night and that she was a follower of Christ when she arrived here. I asked her, “So would you say you have grown spiritually or shriveled some since you arrived here?” She admitted/confessed that her walk with the Lord had suffered. She said back home that they use to have all night prayers, and fasting was a regular part of their walk. Since coming to North America, it has been hard for her to grow because not many Christians are hungry and everything here is easy….

I had a sinking feeling that was going to be her answer. Friends, our brothers and sisters from around the world are anchored in a Kingdom reality that we know very little about. What if we discovered that we also need to be on the receiving end of missionary work…not just sending folks out? Something to prayerfully ponder….

Categories : discipleship
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Sep
01

Repent

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From time to time I will be posting original writings of guests from around the world. In this first guest post, Bob Royce, a missionary / church planter in Ontario shares about the necessity and urgency of repentance. For the past six years, Bob and his family have been missionaries in the Toronto area–one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world. Their heart is for awakening and revival at McMaster University and beyond. They have also been involved internationally in SE Asia, Pakistan, Kenya and other places as well. Thanks Bob!

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Striving as the body of Jesus Christ in North America to be more Kingdom minded and missionally involved locally and globally, we need to get back to the basics…starting with repentance.

The command of repentance is the first message that Jesus started declaring when His time came to go public with His ministry[Matt 4, Mark 1]. While God has done some amazing things through the brief history of the church in NA [missions, media, literature distribution, eucation, etc.], my sense is we flatter ourselves a little too much and we are not as strong as we think we are. Though there are small flames of awakening and revival burning in a few places, for the most part we need to repent of the following just as a starting place:

1. Tolerating sin and disobedience
2. A self-centered, consumeristic gospel and lifestyle
3. A lack of spiritual power, anointing, vitality, and Kingdom appetite
4. Trying to market and advance the Kingdom with mere humanism and sociology
5. We really don’t know the Lord, like He wants to be known

Part of repenting will involve recalibrating ourselves around Jesus and His Kingdom. Here is a challenge:

1. Do a search on Biblegateway.com or your favorite search enginge and look up every reference for “kingdom” in the NT.
2. Prayefully digest what is revealed, and adjust accordingly, both personally and corporately.

There is a bit of urgency stirring in the Kingdom these days and there is excitement mixed with a sobering warning. If we respond to the Spirit’s call to repent, we will be more alive and burning brighter for His glory than ever. If we harden our hearts though, judgment is waiting…Hebrews 3:7-19.

So friends, let’s humbly move forward one step and repent by God’s merciful grace.

Categories : Bible, discipleship
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