Notes from Fred
Sunday was a wonderful day, beginning with the joyful voices (and “dancing”) of our VBS children; followed by a witty and inviting Ministry Café; concluding with our Summer Bash, filled with food, fun, and fellowship!
This week offers the many exciting opportunities of our Ministries, and a special opportunity to join with others to discuss responses to the movie Courageous (contact the church office to get connected).
Trust In God - To Turn Aside
On Sunday, we continued our journey with Moses, who called us to trust in God to turn aside, to see and hear the cries of our suffering brothers and sisters – to let God lead us to set the captives free from all that imprisons them in our community; to let God bless us in unexpected ways, by equipping us, filling us with His power and presence, bringing our families closer together; to let God use us to perform miracles. (Exodus 2:23-25; 3:1-12; 4:10-20)
- Moses is living a comfortable life in Midian, married, with children, tending the sheep of his father-in-law. But God has other plans for Moses and us, because God sees and hears the cries of the suffering of His children – for the Israelites, captives in slavery to the Egyptians; for our community, so many people captives to hunger, homelessness, violence, poverty, addictions, joblessness, hopelessness… It’s a long list.
- God calls us, as He did Moses, to turn aside from wherever we are, to see and hear the suffering and set the captives free! God calls on all of us, but, on Father’s Day we focused especially on our men to remember the covenant made by the men in the movie Courageous – To confront evil, pursue justice, love mercy; to obey God’s Word and do His will.”
- It is God’s Word and will to see and hear the suffering and set the captives free – as revealed by God to Moses; as revealed by Isaiah, “This is justice and mercy, to break the unfairness of the workplace, cancel the debts of the poor, invite the homeless into your home;” as revealed by Jesus, “You will be judged by whether you served the poor, fed the hungry, welcomed the stranger, cared for the sick, visited the prisoners….” It is no coincidence that the next-to-last scene of Courageous in one of the men sitting with a young gang member, showing mercy, seeking to set him free from the demons that imprison him.
- Many of us say that God has never shown us a burning bush. Yes He has! We walk by burning bushes every day, but we are too busy, too preoccupied with our selves and our families to see, hear, and turn aside. Our Ministry Café lifted up several. These are three: The disabled, on a long waiting list for a Love INC Team; at risk 9th Grade students, on a long waiting list for mentors; in the East Huntersville community, where so many are captives to poverty, addictions, joblessness, where the residents cannot use the community center because of the fee and the requirement of organized sports, where children spend the Summer watching children from elsewhere enjoy camp at the Center….
- I urge you to take time this Summer to slow down and see, hear, and let God lead you to set the captives free who are all around us in this community!
- And if we trust in God to turn aside, God will bless us in ways we never expected, equipping us, filling us with His presence, bringing our families closer together! Moses made many excuses, but God was able to equip Moses, and He can equip us, with whatever we need to set the captives free. “God does not call the qualified; He qualifies the called!”
- Beyond the “basics,” God offers us His presence and power! God promises Moses that, if he turns aside, God will be with him, and God’s power will do wonders. And God will bring our families closer together with each other and with Him! Moses’ wife and two children and his brother Aaron went with him to set the captives free – and experienced, as a family, the power and presence of God.
- This is the experience of ten families at Myers Park Presbyterian Church who turned aside 20 years ago to build one Habitat “Family House” a year. Now the third generation of those families is building the 21st house. One of the fathers described what God had done for them: “The Family House has brought us closer together as a family and with God. When we are out there with Him, He becomes part of who we are as a family. We had no idea this would happen when we first began….” Is this what you want for your family? Then trust in God, and, as a family, turn aside to see and hear and set the captives free!
- There is one thing more: If we trust in God and turn aside, God will perform miracles through us! God made this promise to Moses, and miracles flowed. God will do the same through us. Miracles have flowed through our members who have already dined at the Ministry Café. Connie Roberts’ life has been transformed by her Love INC Team. Lamar’s life has been turned around by two of our members who are his mentors. Already miracles are happening in East Huntersville – The community is coming together against all predictions to the contrary, and much more; as one resident said last week, “Hope and joy are rising up here for the first time in a long time!”
- And once the miracles begin to flow, there is no limit on how far miracles will spread! That is the truth learned by Doc Henley. His story is too long to repeat here. (Hear it on our website.) In summary, Doc’s life was going nowhere, until he had a vivid dream with the words “Wine to Water;” which led him to turn aside to see and hear the suffering of the more than one billion people who do not have water or clean water, a child every 20 seconds dying from unclean water. Doc let God lead him to begin wine tastings to raise money to provide clean water wells, beginning in Darfur – now, only seven years later, in six impoverished countries…
- The whole time, Doc says, “I felt God’s hand on my shoulder.” In the midst of serving the suffering he found God again, found the Bible again. He prayed for a wife and family. Six months later he was married. A year later, their first child was born with a life-threatening birth defect. They prayed for a miracle, and their son is perfectly healthy today – “He is a miracle,” Doc declares! Doc became a miracle worker and a miracle receiver. For once the miracles began, there was no limit to how they spread….
- I pray that you will take the time to look around, see and hear the suffering, and turn aside to let God lead you to set them free – to let God’s miracles begin to flow, through you, and, perhaps, even for you!
Connection for the Week. Spend time his week looking at the needs focused on by our Ministries; talk and pray with members of a Ministry Team to see where you might turn aside to serve; then go with some member of the Team to where God wants to lead you; and experience His blessings and miracles as you do.