Intentional Neighbors

Today I went to an assisted living facility to volunteer as a receptionist.  I’ve found that volunteering is very important in managing my symptoms.  It gives me perspective.  I met some interesting residents today.  One of them is a Vietnam Veteran.  I heard beautiful stories about their past especially about raising children.

It helps to see such wonderful people facing painful aging when I am anxious and feeling ovevolunteerrwhelmed.  To be honest, symptom-wise today has not been a great day.  Thank God for volunteering.

While I’m very careful not to compare my struggles with others, seeing someone else’s pain provides perspective into how God has blessed me during my struggles.  One of the most notable ways I have seen God’s provision is financially.  At various points in the last two years, I have been unemployed.  I still had bills to pay during these times.  My parents are retired, but God has provided in such a way that not once did any of us go without while they picked up my bills.  My medical expenses (doctors, medications, therapy) have all been paid for without fear that the finances wouldn’t be there.
phil-4Another major way God has blessed me is with my church family at Grace Community Church.  This past weekend, the church did something unprecedented in my view.  Pastor Chip, our senior pastor, gave a sermon on giving.  He wasn’t simply speaking of financial giving, but giving in every way, your time, talent, and treasure.  The main point of his message was to always give to God, not a person or entity.  When you give to God, you don’t worry about how your gift is being used.  You trust that God will provide for you in every area of your life.  What I really enjoyed about this message was that at the end, Pastor Chip said he and Grace Community Church wants to always demonstrate what he preaches.  He doesn’t want a sermon to just be words without action.  So, Pastor Chip read a letter he sent to three churches where we sent a no-strings attached offering to simply be a blessing.  If that wasn’t enough, after he finished reading the letter, he called the ushers to come and hand each family and single person an envelope.  Inside the envelope was $20.  Have you ever heard of a church giving money back to it’s congregation?  I haven’t.  We were all somewhat dumbfounded.  What a blessing!

That simple act on a tough and polarizing message not only showed the love our pastor has for us, but also the love God has for us.  He sees to our needs in interesting ways to bring himself glory.  Sitting in my seat in the sanctuary with that envelope in my hand, I thanked God for sending me to a church that strives “to reach the unchurched by being intentional neighbors that reflect Christ.”

So, when I’m having a bad day, I remember to volunteer to be an intentional neighbor and that reminds me to look at God and not my problems.

Be encourage my darlings

Don’t just survive, live!

Christen

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