Stepping Out In 2016

A.W. Tozer wrote, “I have long believed that a man who spurns the Christian faith outright is more respected before God and the heavenly powers than the man who pretends to be religious and does very little to follow in the footsteps of Christ”.

Scripture says in Rev. 3:14 “To the angel of the church in Laodicea write:

The Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the [k] Beginning of the creation of God, says this:

15 ‘I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot. 16 So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will [l] spit you out of My mouth. 17 Because you say, “I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,” and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked, 18 I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire so that you may become rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness will not be revealed; and eye salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see. 19 Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; therefore be zealous and repent. 20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me. 21 He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. 22 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’”

Over the past three years, our team has been working with a national ministry to enlist mentors to help youth who have incarcerated parents. When we first began this journey, I just knew this was a no brainer and expected the “church” to jump at the chance to get more youth and families involved in their ministries. However, as time went on, I began to really see why we are failing as a body of believers to truly change our world for Christ. FEAR! Fear of stepping out of our comfort zone, Fear of losing control, Fear that something might happen to our church building, Fear because we have not been trained to do outreach, Fear that I am not qualified…well you get the picture.10245554_724537524235865_2109154085324712134_n

More than 100,000 children in the State of Arkansas are living with someone other than their parent according to Arkansas Voices. Statistics say that those who have a parent incarcerated are at higher risk of depression, dropping out of school, anger and self-esteem issues. Over three years, our team has talked with 285 churches across the state, and this is what we asked, ” Would you please allow us the opportunity to come to your church to speak with your congregation, or a group within your church, to share with them the opportunity to Mentor (disciple) a child just 4 hours a month. All we require is for an individual to complete a background check and 4 hours of training, and then to pick up the child they are mentoring one Sunday a month and bring them to your church.   At the writing of this column, we have had only 10 churches say they would participate and, out of those 10, only 4 actually followed through. Surely there was at least one person in each of those 285 churches who would have been willing to pick up a child and bring them to church. Just one person in each of those churches would have meant that 285 of these kids had a Mentor to love and care for them.  OUR TEAM WILL NOT GIVE UP! I KNOW there are people out there who have a passion to see these youth become strong, healthy, loving individuals who know that someone cares, that their lives have value, and who have a better chance of becoming productive citizens and realizing their God-given destinies.

So, what are YOU going to do for Christ this year besides give money? There are so many places to serve in our community. Volunteers are needed… in our schools,  Boys and Girls Clubs,  shelters,  food pantries like Healing Waters Outreach Center, and many others. The needs are great but the workers are few. The only requirement to serve in any of these areas is a willing heart. Opportunity abounds in the Kingdom of God; all you have to do is take the first steps. Let’s make 2016 be the year that we hear people say, “The Light of God came forth in Saline County” and you had a part to play in changing our community. If you are interested in bringing one the children who has a parent incarcerated to your church, please call me at 501-516-1602. I thank God for those who have and are about to step forward….Blessings, r

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