• 29 JAN 14
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    Developing Compassion for the One

    Developing Compassion for the One

    By LuAnn Turner, CBGC Multi-family Housing Ministry Consultant

    If we saw the value of one soul as Jesus saw it, our ministry would approach the effectiveness of His.”
    - Phillipps Brooks

    Halloween week I got a 24 hour stomach bug and was out of commission the day before our event at Green Gables. I had expected that we would have almost 100 people come through for dinner. Instead we had closer to 50. I went home tired and discouraged. I was wondering why I even do these things, which quickly moved to wondering why we even do this ministry at all. The next morning God clearly spoke to me.

    One of the little boys who came to our party is 8 years old. He came hungry and without a costume. After feeding him dinner, he asked if he could stay and play with some of the toys we have there. When the evening was over we loaded him up with enough chili for his whole family, lots of candy, and one of the toys he was playing with. God said, “If Jessie was the only one to come, would you have done all of that work for him?” God reminded me that Jesus would have come to earth and gone to the cross even if Jessie was the only one to ever respond to His invitation.

    God values one. And I must also. This is a lesson I needed to be reminded of. It is important in my family, as I shop and drive, in my ministry, and as I think about myself.

    One of the women in our ministry mentors and works individually with a number of our children and families. One week she got a call from Rich, the dad of one of the boys she mentors. The police had put his wife in jail because of an outstanding bench warrant, and he wanted to go see her but didn’t have a car. He was afraid it would take him too long by bus to get there, and he would miss his opportunity. Three trips to the Jefferson County Jail, one to the offices near Belmar, a loan of $200, and 2 days later, they had his wife out. When they got her, she was in tears and said, “I can’t believe anyone went to this much trouble for me. No one has ever done anything like this for me before.”  Cathy got to be Jesus to Carolyn. She was there, in Carolyn’s life, because of how much this one woman means to our God and Father and to her.

    On Sunday mornings we do breakfast for our teens from 10 to 11, then two of our college students come at 11 to do a lesson and play with the kids. From 10 to 11 we cook breakfast, review our memory verse, review the lesson from the week before, visit about the past week, and usually do a little craft. Two weeks ago the college students were away, and my substitute for them was a last minute cancellation. Seven kids and two hours later I was frazzled! Only two girls remained finishing up their project. Just as I was once again contemplating how tiring all of this is, one of the new girls said, “Miss, can I tell you something?” I said, “Sure”. She said, “I don’t have a mom or a dad. My dad died and my mom is homeless. We were all homeless, but now we live here but she’s still homeless.” I asked a couple of questions and learned that an aunt had taken her and her three younger siblings in and that her mom and dad fought violently when he was alive. The other girl with us then said, “We were almost homeless. Remember when we were going through that hard time?” I said, “Yes” and asked if things were better. She very sadly said, “No.” Then she talked about how hard it is to go to school then come home to take care of her little sister. This past week a Bear Valley Church family delivered a bunk bed to this family. When they arrived she was practically jumping up and down for joy, and excitedly asked, “Are you the ones bringing the bed?”

    God wants us there for the one or the two, because they are precious to Him.

    The stories of the “one” are endless. One hungry adult who comes in tears and we give her food. One lonely teenager who comes in just for a hug and to touch base with our consistent, safe presence there. One frayed looking man who comes for a coat.

    To minister well to a deeply broken, hurting world, we have to minister well to the one. We can bless the crowds, but we can only listen to and touch people one at a time.

    Hebrews 11 is a litany of faith heroes from the past – but it is also a list of people that God created, loved and called to fulfill their individual purposes on earth. It is a list of “ones” that God used greatly to change the world for His glory. The story of each begins, “By faith, Abraham…” “By faith Joseph…” So on through the chapter. James 5:17 reminds us that we are people just like Elijah. Bear Valley and the world today are filled with individuals – with “ones,” each of us being a human being just like the “ones” of Hebrews 11.

    Beth Moore in her Believing God Bible study challenged us to pencil in another verse at the end of Hebrews 11. In this “verse” we write in our own name. “By faith LuAnn _______________.”  By faith, this one, me, _______________.

    Anne Graham Lotts asks Jesus each December what He wants from her for Christmas. This year I am going to daily and intentionally ask Him how he wants me to fill in that blank, first in the rush of the next few weeks, one day at a time, then in 2014 for the year.

    Would you join me in this prayer, giving Jesus the birthday gift of increased, intentional faith that He can use the one – me – to change one life – to fulfill the incredible purpose for which each one of us was created?

    Celebrate with us the baptism of 6 our youth! https://vimeo.com/79072417

    Please continue to pray for the hearts and lives of all who live in apartments in the greater Denver area.

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