Category Archives: Food drive

We Have A Great Hope

WE HAVE A GREAT HOPE

We have a great hope
that together
we can make a difference,
that one day we will see:

the promises of our faith,
the fruits of our labor,
and the results of our perseverance.

With churches reaching out to communities,
sharing the gospel and meeting the needs of
the poor and needy, we believe it is possible to have:

Neighborhood sanctuaries full,
integrated with people from all races
praising God together.

Streets that are safe to walk on,
without gangs or violence.

Families intact, so no spouse or
child will ever suffer from abuse.

Every student excelling, in good schools,
having an equal opportunity
to reach their fullest potential.

The elderly living in comfort and dignity,
in communities with neighbors
of all ages, races and income,
gladly loving each other.

Job readiness, retention and advancement for all people,
allowing families to earn the income they need.

Mixed income neighborhoods,
not displacing the poor, but living as equal.

Every person with enough to eat,
no more need for homeless shelters,
soup kitchens or begging on the streets.

Every family with access to the best medical care.

We have this hope because of the living God,
His Word and His Church.

A hope kept alive,
because we are the called ones
commanded to live a life of love.

But hope without obedience is despair
and faith without works is dead.

Therefore we will strive, one community at a time,
churches joining other churches
making a difference
house by house, street by street
fulfilling His great desire, that

“as you have done it to the least of these,
you have done it to me.”

REO

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For more information on how your church can get involved in reaching the community e-mail Ron Ovitt at ron@empowerministry.org and we will send you a copy of Close To The Heart of God. Also go to www.empowerministry.org for helpful materials.

Do you want to know more about your Spiritual Gifts? CLICK HERE to download your free Spiritual Gifts Test and Workbook.

 

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Who Is My Neighbor? – Helping those in need

Nehemiah, going to work in Jerusalem over 1000 miles away, begs the question that the expert in the Jewish law asked Jesus, “Who is my neighbor?” In the Biblical account found in Luke 10:25-37, an expert in the law asked Jesus how he could inherit eternal life. In reply Jesus asked him what the law said. The man quickly quoted the Old Testament:

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind and love your neighbor as you love yourself.

  Jesus told him that he was correct and that he should go and do it. But the person, no doubt being embarrassed, asked Jesus, “Who is my neighbor?” This caused Jesus to respond with an amazing story of compassion. Jesus told the story of the Good Samaritan.
 The road to Jericho was well known by Jesus and the people he talked to. Jericho was about sixteen miles or a five-hour walk from Jerusalem. It was at the bottom of the foothills, part of a water route of which Jerusalem was the center. Going down a mountainside meant that the trail would have switchbacks with plenty of places that thieves could ambush someone.  It was this road that Jesus used to illustrate a person being robbed and left to die.
 Jesus chose a Samaritan to be the person that met the hurt person’s need. A feud between Jews and Samaritans had been going on for centuries. It was the Samaritans that tried to stop the rebuilding of the Temple during Zerubbabel’s governorship and an army of Samaritans that likewise tried to stop Nehemiah from rebuilding Jerusalem. When Jesus spoke this parable, centuries later, there was still friction between the Jews and Samaritans. In fact in Luke 9:51, just one chapter before Jesus tells the parable, the Samaritans did not welcome Jesus to their village. Jesus sent people ahead to get things ready for Him but the passage says:

The people there did not welcome him there, because he was heading for Jerusalem. When the disciples James and John saw this, they asked, ‘Lord do you want us to call fire down from Heaven to destroy them?’ But Jesus turned and rebuked them and they went to another village.

  What then is our conclusion? If Jesus was deliberate in answering the question from the expert of the Law, could it be that Jesus was saying that even four or five hours away, if I come across someone in need, and even if that person is someone who has a different background than I do, that he or she is my neighbor?
 What would Jesus say to those of us from local churches that have resources and yet only forty-five minutes away from our pews, there are neighboring congregations with many needs? Perhaps in that location the people are different ethnically, perhaps the way the people worship is a little different than the way we do. Jesus is saying that this should not matter. We are called by God to help those in need, just as much as Nehemiah was called to help Jerusalem; just as much as the compassionate Samaritan felt called to assist one ambushed on the road to Jericho.
 Jesus was dead earnest when in Luke 10:36-37, He asked the expert in the law:

 Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?

The answer is convicting:

 The expert in the law replied, ‘The one who had mercy on him.’

  Jesus’ response is a mandate that we too must hear. Jesus said:

  Go and do likewise.

We are calling upon the Church to join in a revolution to rebuild impoverished communities

We are calling upon the Church to join in a revolution to rebuild impoverished communities through:

Church Ministry Partnerships
 We call upon the Church to get involved in helping rebuild communities by partnering with their sister churches in impoverished neighborhoods. This can be accomplished through assisting in neighborhood evangelism, building adequate facilities, aid in mercy ministries and support in any teaching or pastoral capacity if needed.

Eradication of Poverty
 We call upon the Church to get involved in helping rebuild communities by the eradication of poverty. This can be accomplished through assisting local churches in job training, placement, retention and advancement. We can also assist these sister churches by mentoring, teaching job skills and helping create entrepreneurial opportunities. We can advocate for fair living wages and affordable daycare.

Quality Education
 We call upon the Church to get involved in helping rebuild communities by partnering with communities to help provide quality education. Whether it is assisting local churches to provide alternative education or working with existing schools through facility repairs, tutoring, after school homework centers, summer learning academies, churches can aid in quality education to the children of the community.  

Affordable Housing
 We call upon the Church to get involved in helping rebuild communities by assisting in the clean up of neighborhoods, remodeling distressed properties, building of affordable homes and mentoring potential new home owners.

Youth Programs
 We call upon the Church to get involved in helping rebuild communities by partnering with their sister churches and assisting where needed in the provision of day care, youth programs, educational enhancement and parenting training.

Assisting the Elderly
 We call upon the Church to get involved in helping rebuild communities by partnering with their sister churches in providing elder care, senior housing, and adequate health provisions.

Health Care
 We call upon the Church to get involved in helping rebuild communities by partnering with sister churches and making sure that quality affordable health care is available to all members of the community.

What Then Is Our Response?
When we look at Acts at the very birth of the Church, how can we consider living any different than they did? In Acts 2:42-47 it says:

 They devoted themselves to the apostle’s teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
 
 Again in Acts 4:32, the scriptures say:
  
 All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had. With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was upon them all. There were no needy among them. For from time to time those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone as he had need.

You Are The Church. What Are You Going To Do?
There has never been a better time to get involved in community development. Municipalities are looking for assistance in the face of an over burgeoning social issues and shrinking revenue. What if churches would work together in entrepreneurial ways and create results? What if the impact of a sustained evangelical community development project reduced crime, teen pregnancy and lowered the recidivism of people back into the penal system? What if faith-based economic initiatives and mixed-income housing actually did bring back the economy to distraught communities? What if we could rebuild neighborhoods without displacing the poor? What if churches again became vibrant assets to a community in which it was located? Maybe then not only we, but the world would understand what Jesus meant when He said, “Let your light so shine before men that they may glorify your Father in Heaven.”

Taken from Ron Ovitt’s book Close To The Heart Of God. To learn more about making a differnce go to www.layministry.com

Do you know your Spiritual Gifts? If not CLICK HERE for a FREE Spiritual Gifts Test and Workbook.

Hunger – Food Shelter

If your church is large enough or in an area where there are sufficient amount of people needing assistance with food, you may want to consider a food pantry. The size would depend on the need and the availability of other assistance. If you are just looking to help those in your own church and their network, you may only need a moderate size pantry. If you are going to open it up to the public, depending on the number of other pantries in the area, you may need a larger pantry. What should you stock? When planning a food pantry it is good to know what to buy or ask donors for. If allowed, people will donate many kinds of odd foods. It helps if you can create a list based around six basic groups. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, toiletries, paper supplies and necessary clothing. Also you need to determine how often you will be using the pantry. If occasional use by those that drop by or are in need in congregation then set up an area for mainly can goods and boxed goods that will keep. If there are weekly pick-ups you may want to add things that you can refrigerate. If there is daily traffic you may want to include an area with fresh donated food. 

Here are some of the basics: 

Breakfast – STORED: This is crucial, especially for children and seniors. Cereals, breakfast bars, dried milk, fruit juices, coffee and tea. REFRIGERATION: Eggs, milk, cheeses, some meats. DAILY: Pastries and baked goods.  

LunchSTORED: Peanut butter & jelly, tuna fish, canned meats, meals in a can, i.e., Spaghetti-O’s, stews, hash, ravioli, soups, condiments for sandwiches, crackers and cookies. REFRIGERATION: Cold cuts, lunch meats, cheese, eggs, milk and some meats. DAILY: Prepared food for reheating and sandwiches. 

Dinner – STORED: Canned fruits & vegetables, beans, pasta, rice, sauces, canned tomatoes and tomato sauce. Canned meats, soups and meals. Jello and pudding. Box and jar baby food. REFRIGERATION: Cold cuts, cheese, milk and some meats. Casseroles and precooked meals. DAILY: Prepared food for reheating. 

Toiletries – Soap, shampoo, conditioners, toothpaste, toothbrushes, deodorant and foot powder.

Paper supplies – Toilet paper, paper towels, napkins, diapers, and handi-wipes.
Necessary clothing – Underwear, socks, tee-shirts, clothes, warm coats and hats. 

If you, or someone in your church is seriously interested in having a ministry like this, I would encourage you to make a few calls and find out what other churches or agencies are doing. Ask them for help and find out what the true need in your area.

For more information on how your church can get involved in reaching the community e-mail Ron Ovitt at ron@empowerministry.org and we will send you a copy of Close To The Heart of God. Also go to www.empowerministry.org for helpful materials.

Do you want to know more about your Spiritual Gifts? CLICK HERE to download your free Spiritual Gifts Test and Workbook.

 

101 Ways You and Your Church Can Make A Difference – HUNGER

Hunger – It’s not just children with bloated stomachs in
Africa. It is here in the
United States too. Chances are hunger affects families not that far from your front door. The good news there is much we can do to alleviate hunger.

101 Ways – HUNGER #1 Have a food drive

Most towns have agencies that feed the hungry. They are always in need of more food. The easiest way you can get involved is to collect food for them and either deliver it or have them pick it up. The best way is to have a stretch goal with an adequate time limit. Usually you can plan one month to raise about 2 pounds of food per congregant. So if you have 500 in average attendance, if you advertised it well, you could collect at least 1000 pounds of food in four Sundays. This would be exciting for your church and those that get the food.

What are you and/or your church doing to help with hunger? Go above to Share How You Are Making A Difference and let us know. 

Also go to our BOOKSTORE to find books that can help your church make a difference!

 Next Post – Create a Food Pantry