Dear Friends of Living Hope,
I have shared in my two previous notes, (1) Looking Up and (2) Coming Together, roles we as the Body of Christ have in faithfully living as followers of Jesus Christ.
Looking up was about our need to acknowledge our dependency upon Christ while Coming together addressed in part the role of The Church to maintain our focus for the promotion and advancement of the precious Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Reaching Out will expand a bit on the previous.
For years, you and I have benefited greatly from those who have put their personal agenda aside in order to help us in our time of need.
If someone you love has developed addictive behaviors, the proper and right thing to do is to lovingly confront them while providing a way out. You may not be the one who can actually provide the way out, but you may in fact know one who can.
I realize this may not sound warm and fuzzy to some, and I would concede to you, this interaction may not be the warm and fuzzy we might prefer. In this case we may very well need to look beyond our personal feelings and focus on the needs of those in front of us.
Every time a person chooses to reach out in an authentic manner, there can never be the motivation of what I may get out of this. Reaching out may indeed prove to be costly, and that is when we may begin doing mental gymnastics. However when we approach an outreach in this manner the end result too often is something like, "That costs too much."
At the heart of this is the issue of value or worth. If I were to ask you how much value you have, or what is your worth, there would be a wide variety of responses ranging from "That hurts too much to answer, and is why I have tried to kill myself, because I don't think I am of much value." The other end of the spectrum would present a response such as "If you knew who I was and who you were talking to, you would know I am someone, almost worthy to be worshipped."
Have you ever wondered how you got the picture you have of yourself? Is that how others see you? More important, is that how God sees you?
Since 1993, Living Hope Ministries (LHM) has worked at reaching out to kids and families, many of whom would otherwise be overlooked. There is not a face of a child that has participated with LHM, who was not loved and cared for. This may not have always felt good to them, but the motivation behind serving them has always been in an attempt to model to them the incredible value, significance and worth they have received from The Creator God Almighty. For some, the life-cycle in which they find themselves has not been easy to break. To them God has given a Living Hope.
Having caring adults walking with them through some of their more difficult times has at times proven to be part of them moving forward instead of becoming another statistic.
Has it been costly? Yes, in many ways. Our family has endured some things I hope no family will ever encounter. It is these times that solidify in me the great need there is to reach out in our "Miracle Mile" as well as realizing this is exactly why we cannot leave. While the issue of gangs increase, so too in response, the work of The Church in providing hope found in a relationship with Jesus Christ has to be present in powerful ways.
If I were to sit with you face to face and ask you this one question, "when you think of kids in the inner-city, what comes to mind?", if you will be honest with yourself and me, I would bet some of what you think about them may be a little less than pleasant.
If I were to ask you this question, "What do you think inner-city kids think of you?" Your response may be something like, "That's an odd question, why should I worry about what they think of me?"
In just two questions we can learn some things about ourselves. 1. It is alright for me to make judgments about other people I really don't know, 2. I don't want to know what they think of me. 3. Their "problems" are not mine and I really don't have any responsibility toward them.
I realize this may not be what you would like to hear. I also know people today have many prejudices that run very deep. Speaking from the perspective of a white male and what I have witnessed over the years in ministry, there is far too much trying to "fix" another person and far too little of walking with another person.
What would you say is the greatest need in the city today? How important is it to you to see Jesus Christ presented to the people in the city? At what cost are you willing to go for the advancement of the Gospel of our risen Lord and Savior?
Nearly 2,000 ago, Jesus paid the greatest cost to reach out to you and me. The price He paid was that of His life. He, an innocent man, bore the pain and agony of the cross on your and my behalf. He gave all He had in order that we might humble ourselves and acknowledge our need for a Savior. Prior to His returning to His heavenly home he turned over the growth and expansion of His Church to you and me.
There is little I enjoy more than sharing the truth of God's Word and the message of salvation that only comes through the risen Savior Jesus Christ.
Has this been costly over the years? Yes. Is it worth it? Yes. Is there more to be accomplished? Yes. This is where we need your help. We have no fancy fundraising plan. All I can do is present to you our need and allow God to work as only He can. The building next door to us has been made available to us. However, we first must pay off our current facility, before taking on another mortgage.
There is about $15,000 in our facility fund, made up of many gifts. Just Monday, our 8 and 10 year old children sold lemonade and 100% of their profits were to go toward the building fund. They raised $4.00. If you can match their gift of $4.00, that would be wonderful. To reach our goal we will need 25,000 gifts like this. If you are able to contribute more, that too will be greatly appreciated. Perhaps there is 90 of you who are able contribute $1,000. That too would cover the cost of paying off our current building so we can move forward. Perhaps for you $10,000 or even $25,000 is what you would like to provide. Thank you.
Reaching out is costly.
We have a neighborhood about 1 square mile of 20,000 people, many of whom are in need of The Savior. How much is too much? The cost of Jesus reaching out to you and me was not what motivated Him. The joy of providing the way from death to life did.
Will you pledge your support to the advancement of the Gospel with that same joy Jesus did?
I am inviting you to respond to this note with your pledge. I would like to take your pledges of support to our Board as an encouragement to them. You will see on our website a thermometer as we move toward the culmination of our initial goal.
Blessings to you,