Friday, February 4, 2011

Reaching Out

I'm finally doing it again. It's been a long time, but I'm doing it tomorrow. I'm stepping outside of the four wall of my home and I'm taking Christ to the people around me. Pretty much since we've lived in North Carolina, I've only been involved in outreach a few times. None of those things were repeat projects. All of them took place within the four walls of my church.

I've been growing restless for some time to do something. I've been very active in church, but I wanted to escape those four walls and see, and touch, and talk to the people I ministered to. I tried to come up with something for us to do as a family for the holidays, but most of the projects I came up with enabled other people to see, and touch, and talk to the ministry recipients. I suppose we could have gone to a soup kitchen, but that's really hard with small kids. So by the time the holidays were over, we had once again done very little to help our community.

I'm not very good at talking with people I don't know about the weather, let alone Jesus Christ. I knew a girl for whom it was so easy. For her talking to people about Jesus was just like breathing. I wish I could be like that, but it's just not me.

So my restlessness to do something has been increasing, and I struggle with striking up a conversation with people. I have been singing and praying lately for God to use me. It's what I trained for since I was a teenager. I've been reading Conspiracy of Kindness, by Steve Sjogren off and on since the fall (I tend to read several books at a time, so it takes me a long time to finish one). I feel like my contribution to the Kingdom has been very limited the last few years. I woke up around 2:30 Monday morning and started praying. I was just praying pretty generally, about church, reaching out, the lost, family, our place in the Kingdom... While I was praying God dropped it in my heart to take cookies to our neighbors to sow seeds of His love.

WOW! A light bulb went on that morning! So simple! I make some pretty darn good cookies, if I do say so myself, and I know how to make them so they are fairly healthy (or at least not as unhealthy), and still taste good. I had no plans at the time for this weekend, so I made a plan to do the deed on Saturday (tomorrow). I figured the kids and I could load up the wagon with bags of cookies and hand them out to our neighbors, telling them we simply want to show them the love of Christ. Shawn suggested that I check the weather forecast. Well, it's supposed to rain this weekend, so the wagon idea was out, but then I heard firetruck sirens for umpteenth time (the number is really beyond counting since we live about a quarter mile from a fire station). I realized that those guys deserve thanks and love, so I altered the plan a bit to drive around to the fire stations and police station in my town and deliver cookies to them. (If I hadn't been reading that book, I probably would have never thought of this. It's all about servant evangelism and how to use simple acts of service to share God's love with others.) I decided to put it on facebook and invite people to participate either by coming with us or at least by praying. I'm glad I did because the response was really encouraging, and I hope to inspire other people to do the same where they live...and now I'm obligated, so I can't think myself out of doing it.

Would I like to do more? Certainly, but at least I'm taking the first step. I hope to take cookies around to my immediate neighbors one weekend, and then wash a few cars in the neighborhood another weekend, and maybe mow lawns, or trim bushes, or help power wash and paint porches... I want to have a block party, too, this summer. I also want to help my friends do the same things in their neighborhoods.

But, most importantly, this is not about me. This is about Christ. This is about being His hands and feet and simply loving the people He loves. My friend did it through her conversation. I'll do it through my cookies. God only knows where this will lead.