Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Fruit-Bearing (of a sort)...

In John 15, Jesus says that if we remain in him, he will remain in us and together we will bear a whole bunch of fruit. Meaning, if we stay connected to Jesus, we get to be part of changing lives and bringing hope and restoring the world to the "very good" God intended from the beginning.

Where to start? It can be overwhelming to look at the big picture and see all of the needs in our world. In fact, it can be paralyzing. So, we start with the piece of the puzzle God gives us and trust that if everyone takes a piece of the puzzle, God will ultimately make it whole.

It is no accident that we are planting Ashley Ridge Church at Ashley Ridge High School. We saw it as available space, God saw it as a mission field and an opportunity. There are more than 300 students at Ashley Ridge who qualify for free or reduced lunch, meaning their families live below a certain income level, an income level that is quite frankly startling. It's hard to imagine that we have neighbors we see and those we don't see who are living a vastly different life from our own - a life with a level of uncertainty that most of us will never face. A lot of these kids leave school in the afternoon and don't eat again until they come back the next day.

And so, we've made it our mission to partner with the high school to send these kids home with food - food for the evenings, food for the weekends, food for breaks, and food for the summer. Already, the stories have been remarkable. High school kids who take home a container of ramen noodles and split them with a younger sibling. Kids who stop by the food center and say "my dad's getting paid today, so can I come back later this week when the food's gone?" A special needs child who brings a note back from their special-needs parent written with a crayon on a full sheet of paper, simply saying "Thank you so much."

It is our privilege and opportunity to care for these kids. It's our privilege and opportunity to support the high school teachers, counselors, volunteers and administration as they work constantly to serve our kids. It's our privilege and opportunity to be the hands and feet of Jesus in this world, bearing fruit all to the glory of God.

Details: this Sunday, please bring food to help us fill the Fox Food Center with enough food to send home with kids for Spring break. In specific, we're looking for things like individual-size cereals and big boxes of cereal, easy mac, pudding cups, pop tarts, honey buns, ramen noodles, fruit cups, any kind of little debbie type snack cakes, chef boyardee, instant oatmeal packs, instant grits packs, jars of peanut butter and jelly, popcorn, instant lemonade, a can of tuna or chicken and a box of rice, pasta, spaghetti sauce, or things like this.

Jesus says, "I am the vine, you are the branches." Join me as we reach out in faith that God will do abundantly more than we can ask or imagine in the lives of these kids.

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