Tuesday, November 22, 2011

An Active Church Member

Have you ever been active in the church? That may seem a strange question to put in a church publication, but it is not really. Most people, even most church members, have never been active in the church.

My wife was talking with a friend who was, at one time, active in the church. But then this sister moved and she confessed that she has not yet become active in her new church home. She attends Bible class twice per week, and worship twice per week, but she is not active yet. She intends to get active soon.

Does it occur to you that this sister defines being active in the church a little differently than the average person? If you are like most people, you may think that just showing up at a third of the public services ought to qualify you for the term "active church member." Sorry to burst your bubble, but, according to Jesus, most people are going to be eternally lost (Matthew 7:14). That being the case, I do not recommend basing your actions on what most people think.

We can watch the World Series every year for a lifetime but we still will not qualify for a pension from the players union. Watching NFL games does not qualify us to be known as football players. In a similar vein, watching church services does not qualify us for anything.

Blessed is that slave whom his master will find at work when he arrives. (Luke 12:43 NRSV)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Gift-Giving Ideas

I do not know about you, but I find it hard to choose a gift for some people. When a gift giving occasion rolls around, there are some people I want to honor who do not really need anything that I could give them.

A couple of years ago I faced that situation with my oldest son. I could not think of anything he needed that I could buy with the money I had available.

At the same time I heard of an opportunity to give to Nigerian Christian Hospital -- to underwrite a hernia surgery. Doing this would cost about the amount I planned to spend on my son. So, for Christmas that year, Joseph received a certificate stating that someone had been blessed with a needed surgery. That was it. That was his Christmas present, and I think he enjoyed it as much as any he ever received.

Right now, I know of dozens of opportunities like that. I know of a very fine young lady in Tanzania who is trying to get an education so that she can help care for herself and her family, but she needs $50 per week ($200 per month) for rent and food while she is in school. You could tell some of those ‘hard to buy for’ friends that you provided a week or two of room and board in their name. Sponsoring a routine surgery at Nigerian Christian Hospital would cost about the same, $50. Sponsoring a student at school in Zambia is $130 per month. Sponsoring an orphaned infant in Zambia is $75 a month. If you would prefer to provide a bicycle for someone to enable them to go out and preach, $130 will provide a Zambian with a good bike and the basic tools needed to maintain it.

Many of us do not need any more neckties, handkerchiefs, or knickknacks on our bookshelves. So, if you have a few such people on your shopping list, consider giving to an organization that would do something far more worthwhile with the money. You can request a list of such organizations from the office.