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October 2009
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December 2009

The Morning After

The church where I serve has six weekend services. Speaking five times (one is a video recording) over a weekend is not without its challenges. First of all, I must work to keep all five messages the same, even though the time available usually varies. I know 3-4 minutes does not seem like much, but when you only have 25 minutes or so, it can make a big difference. I have to think through what stories to include or not to include. Since there are PowerPoint slides, I cannot change the skeleton of the message, but may or may not have time for all the illustrations. What's more, I try to leave time for an altar call.

Then there is the issue of stamina. I like to inject some energy and passion into my messages and not shortchange any service. You have a lot going on while you are speaking as well, like babies crying, people coughing (one man who coughs sounds like an explosion), and people exiting rows. All that is normal for a speaker, but it adds to the challenge of staying focused and moving the message forward. Finally, there is the need to get done so the people can move out and the next service move in.

So here I am on Monday and I feel like I have moved some furniture. Please don't misunderstand: this is not a complaint. I just thought I would share some of what, from my perspective, goes on in doing multiple weekend services. If you would like to listen to or watch my messages from last weekend or two weeks ago, you can access them on the church site.

One more thing: I got this message on Facebook last night and thought I would share it with you. This kind of report makes the work of preaching so very worth everything that is invested:

John,

We have never met. I have been witnessing to one of my friends for over two years and finally convinced him to visit ACAC this morning, (I lead worship at an Alliance Church); he lives in Bellevue.

Anyway - long story short - he accepted Christ this morning as a result of hearing your sermon!

Thank you for serving!


Wow! Thank you Lord for the privilege of serving your people and your Kingdom! But now it's the morning after and time to return to our regularly-scheduled work week. There is certainly more to church work than preaching and teaching!

Proverbs 30:8

Your daily dose of Proverbs:

"Keep falsehood and lies far from me;
give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread" - 30:8.

When you think of it, your needs for today should be your focus. So why fret over tomorrow? Thank God for what you have today and trust Him for tomorrow's provision.Then work today on your integrity, by being honest and telling the truth.  Paul understood this when he wrote 1 Timothy 6:8 and Ephesians 4:25.


Proverbs 28:27

Your daily dose of Proverbs:

"He who gives to the poor will lack nothing,
but he who closes his eyes to them receives many curses" - 28:27. 

When you ignore the poor, you are in trouble with God.  When you take care of the poor, God takes care of you.  Could some of your financial problems be due to your own neglect of those who are close to God's heart?  Find the poor someplace in your world today, bless them and then keep on blessing them. You may want to read Galatians 2:9-10 to see what was important to the apostles.


The Latest on The Sophia Fund

It has been a while since I have written anything but my daily dose of Proverbs on this blog. I have had so many writing projects that I found it necessary to limit my posts for a season. I will try to do better in the coming days, but especially wanted to share with you this latest update on the Sophia Fund, which is used to feed HIV/AIDS orphans and widows in Kenya.

I received two emails this past week.  One was from Alice Kwendo, founder of the Each One Touch OneEOTOO Picture Orphanage outside Nairobi.  Alice sent me the attached picture (click on it to enlarge) when Maggie Oketch (seated center) delivered our next installment to help feed the children (Alice is not pictured, but you can view her video greeting to the Sophia Fund donors here).  Here is the text of Alice's email to me:

Dear John,

It's with great joy that l write on behalf of Each One Touch One Orphan (EOTOO) members and the children of the home to thank you and all those that are behind the $1,000 that we have received through the SARAH Trust  Fund in support of the food requirements of the Home.  We consider ourselves blessed as we have been touched by God's hand through the Sophia Fund. 

Even before we submit the full report of the first donation, l must mention that since the children went on an improved diet as a result of the donation, their health has improved very much thus reducing the health bill and the suffering that comes with the sickness.  Healthy children are actually a joy to be with.

We documented the great occasion as Ms Margaret Namirembe handed the cheque to us through the children but are a bit inconvenienced by a breakdown of our computer.  We are working hard to restore it so that we can share the photos that were captured.

God bless the work of your hands even as you bless these special children.

Warm regards from the EOTOO Team

Alice

Then I received another email from Pastor Francis who runs the Upako Orphanage, also outside Nairobi.

Hallow Rev John,

This is to acknowledge receipt of the money you donated to feed the Orphans at Upako Centre Nairobi.

We have received $1000 from Sarah Network which we are using to buy food for the orphans as was directed and we are very grateful for this continuous and timely  help.

On behalf of the children and staff, I want to express our gratefulness and sincere appreciation to you and to everyone who is involved and who contributed towards our feeding and it is our prayer that the good God will increase you and do His will for this help to continue.

I will send in our elaborate financial report on how the money will be spent.

Thank you for considering God's children who live in the marginalized communities and those who are seen as lost and broken on the face of the earth.

Pastor Francis

Toys and books are arriving daily for our collections through the Deborah Foundation (you can read about that here).  And money is always needed to continue to feed the children and widows through The Sophia Fund.  I trust you will be able to help during this Christmas season.  Thank you and I will keep you posted on any further updates I receive from Kenya. You can read more about both the Deborah Foundation and the Sophia Fund here.


Proverbs 29:7

Your daily dose of Proverbs:

"The righteous care about justice for the poor,
but the wicked have no such concern" - 29:7.

The Bible is full of commands to care for the poor, and Jesus emphasized this ministry as well.  As you approach Christmas, what can you do to help the poor?  What more can you do year-round to promote justice for the downtrodden? You can read one thing that Jesus said about this in Luke 12:33.  You can also give to help feed HIV/AIDS orphans and widows in Kenya by going to this post on my blog site.


Proverbs 27:26-27

Your daily dose of Proverbs:

"The lambs will provide you with clothing . . . You will have
plenty of goats' milk to feed you and your family . . . " - 27:26-27. 

Are you worried about provision?  You need not be! The Lord knows how to provide for you and your family and for all the families under his care. To see an example of how He once did this, read 2 Kings 4:1-7 and then be encouraged that God can do the same thing for you if you ever need it. 


Proverbs 26:27

Your daily dose of Proverbs:

"If a man digs a pit, he will fall into it;
if a man rolls a stone, it will roll back on him" - 26:27.

You cannot escape the fact that you reap what you sow. What's' more, God responds to you the way you respond to Him! For example, if you are merciful to others, He will be merciful to you.  So in some ways, you control how God reacts to you, once again reaping what you sow! If you need more convincing, then read Psalm 18:24-27


Proverbs 25:21

Your daily dose of Proverbs:

"If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat;
if he is thirsty, give him water to drink" - 25:21. 

You are to treat your enemies like friends, for this is just what God does! He causes the sun to shine on the just and the unjust. How well are you treating those who are not only not your friends, but who also may be mistreating you?  You may want to read Jesus' instruction on how to relate to your enemies in Matthew 5:43-48.


Proverbs 24:31

Your daily dose of Proverbs:

"Thorns had come up everywhere,
the ground was covered with weeds. . ." - 24:31.

Life is a constant cycle of sowing and reaping. When you stop sowing and tending, whether it is financial or spiritual things, the weeds overtake your field. What are you harvesting these days? Do you have a bumper crop of good things or a field full of weeds due to laziness and neglect? You can read what Paul wrote about sowing and reaping in Galatians 6:7-10.

Proverbs 23:5

Your daily dose of Proverbs:

"Cast but a glance at riches, and they are gone,
for they will surely sprout wings and fly off to the sky like an eagle" - 23:5.

If money is your objective, you are pursuing a moving target. Jesus urged you to store up treasure in heaven, not here on earth. Are you using your treasure to gain true riches or is wealth your final destination? You may want to read Jesus' words about this in Matthew 6:19-20.