For the first time ever I want to ask you who read this blog or follow me on twitter or are friends on facebook to join me in taking a risk. You see, for almost five years I have been posting on this blog and I have been on twitter and facebook for a couple more years. When people ask me, "Why do you spend time blogging and twittering?" I tell them that I believe it is a way for me to influence people. Hopefully influence them for the good through conversation and through my example. Well, I think it is time for me to really take a risk and ask you to do something good.
I have friend at Community, Craig Swett who is trying to change a small part of Tanzania in the name of Jesus. He's not a pastor; he's a Dad and a successful businessman that loves Jesus and is trying to be obedient to what Jesus has asked him to do. Last year Craig and some friends flew to Africa for the first time and they were changed forever. They came to face to face with about 50 families living in poverty that if they had a little financial help could be self-sustaining. After being confronted with this poverty they decided to do something about it. They partnered with Global Family Rescue (GFR) and formed GFR Tanzania. For just $64/month over three years you can allow a family in Tanzania who is living in poverty to be self-sustaining for a lifetime. It will allow them to build proper shelter, farm some land and own a goat and cow. This is what they need for a livelihood.
THE ASK: Craig is returning to Tanzania with good news for the majority of the families that he met last year- that they will receive support for three years to allow them to start their own family businesses and be self-supporting. However there are are still 11 families that have not received support. Unfortunately they will see this as "God not blessing them." I would like to ask you to click HERE and support a GFR family for $64/month for the next three years. Say a prayer and decide what to do.
Leave me a message, I would love to hear what you decide.
Something was said last Sunday that I still can't get out of my head and I am better for it. We had an all-staff cook-out last Sunday. (Which by the way is a whole lot of people once you include spouses and kids!) We asked TJ and Ginger Friesen to talk about their generosity journey. They were very inspiring as they shared with us how they strive to be intentionally generous in things big and small. However it was something that Ginger said that stuck with me. She told how her small group had come together to help pay the mortgage for a group member who had come upon tough times. I thought that was pretty extraordinary. But then Ginger said, "That's normal; that's what a friend would do whether they are a Christ follower or not. Helping out a friend is normal generosity." Then she talked about how her and TJ are being convicted that God wants them to go beyond normal and then Ginger said, "I want to be the kind of generous person who others look at and say, 'hey, that is not normal.'"
I can't get that out of my head. I think God has it stuck inside my head to convict me to become a more and more generous person. I would love for others to see my generous life and say, "Hey, that is not normal."
Last weekend, for the second year in a row we had our Generosity Conference. We brought in some of the best speakers and foremost experts to equip our us in the "how-to's" of being generous and to motivate us to become the generous people that God wants us to become. If you missed any of this great event; it is now generously provided to you for free on-line:
MAIN SESSION: Becoming A Generous Church - Rob Wegner (handout) (video)
WORKSHOP: Raising Generous Kids - David Briggs (handout) (video)
The Christian Post did a story yesterday titled "Pastors Urge Christians To Exemplify Generosity." I'm not sure what it says when that is news - but it is. The article is about COMMUNITY, our Generosity Conference and how in these tough economic as a church we are saying now is the time for Christians to be generous. Take a quick glance. I love that God is making us into a more and more generous church.
If 1,000+ people all crammed into the two venues of the Yellow Box for a conference on dating, marriage or sex I would not be surprised. But on Saturday we had 1,000+ people from COMMUNITY all crammed into the two venues at the Yellow Box for a conference on how to be more generous! It was our second annual Generosity Conference.
Rob Wegner(pictured) from Granger Community Church kicked off our first main session and gave one of the best talks I've ever heard on the topic of generosity. You need to take the time to click HERE and experience this talk. A very clear and compelling BIG IDEA from God's word.
The hunger to be generous is just another reason I love this church and I love what God is
doing at COMMUNITY. We are a group of people who are being prompted by
God to step forward during tough economic times and say, "We will still
be generous!" I can't wait to see what God does next through COMMUNITY!
One of the things that occurs when you are the Lead Pastor of a large church is that you often get credit for things you with which you have very little to do. People will tell me, "You have amazing programs in Kids City" or "I love what you are doing with students" or "where do you get all those great musicians" or "what you are doing in under-resourced communities is so inspiring". I think all those things are true, but I have little to do with why each of those ministries is so terrific. We have some amazing staff and leaders that make it all happen!
So, I'm used to getting credit when I don't really deserve it. But perhaps never before have I received so much credit and done so little, as to when it comes to the 365 CLUB. If you haven't got the scoop, I basically bought three cups of coffee for some workers in a FedEx Kinko's just to be kind and they really liked it! I put that on my twitter and facebook status and Scott Couchenour read about it and started a facebook group called the 365 CLUB. The 365 CLUB challenges people to do one act of kindness everyday. Well, there are already over 9,000 members who have committed to doing more than 3 million acts of kindness in 2009. That is cool! The crazy part is that I have done interviews for radio stations all across the country and also in London, England and Auckland, New Zealand. And today, this article: 365 CLUB Spreading Kindness Across The World Via Facebook ran in the Sunday edition of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
It's a God-thing. Only God can take three cups of coffee and turn it into 3 million acts of kindness.
Time Magazine had a terrific article titled, 21 Ways To Serve America in which twenty-one different leaders suggest twenty-one different ways that an individual could make a difference in America. I found it pretty inspiring. The first of 21 Ways to Serve America begins like this: "Imagine the enormous difference it would make to our communities and nation if every American served for a year with a community-service group, nonprofit enterprise or faith-based organization..." To read more click HERE.
Do you want to be a remembered as a generous person? I doubt you answered, "no". If you did, quit reading now. But if you answered yes, ask yourself if are you willing to do what it takes to become an even more generous person? Julie just finished a 6-month shopping fast which empowered her to be remarkably generous to the Jesus mission. I am extraordinarily proud of her leadership and commitment. So, if you want to want to be generous, read this post. If not, click elsewhere.