FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Serving ‘Jesus Style’

Kelli B. Trujillo writes: ‘“I’m not your servant!” I half-grunted, half-spoke to one of my kids as I got on my hands and knees to pick up pasta he’d decided to deposit on the floor…Then a thought struck me: I sure hope Jesus didn’t hear me say that! Unfortunately, this attitude towards servanthood extends beyond cleaning the floor. Most of the time, serving others just rubs me the wrong way. If it’s some extra-meaningful project where you can practically hear the soundtrack of inspirational, feel-good music…and experience a rush about how great you are…it’s not difficult. But what about the service Jesus talked about…that involves getting no credit…and waging a battle against your selfish impulses?’ Harry E. Fosdick said, ‘No steam drives anything until it’s confined. No Niagara is turned into power until it’s tunnelled. No life grows great until it’s focused, dedicated and disciplined.’ Serving ‘Jesus-style’ means saying, ‘I no longer live, but Christ lives in me’ (Galatians 2:20). Paul was jailed, whipped, stoned, shipwrecked, and robbed, yet he said: ‘We serve God whether people honour…despise…slander…or praise us. We are honest, but they call us impostors. We are ignored, even though we are well known. We live close to death, but we are still alive. We have been beaten, but we have not been killed. Our hearts ache, but we always have joy. We are poor, but we give spiritual riches to others’ (2 Corinthians 6:8-10). The Bible says Jesus ‘for the joy set before him he endured the cross…and sat down at the right hand…of God’ (Hebrews 12:2). And that same Spirit enables you to serve others by drawing on His strength.

~Bob Gass

  Getting Empty To Be Full

The world reveres wealth, power, talent, and fame. And sometimes it regards service as demeaning. But Jesus used a different yardstick when He asked His disciples, ‘Who is greater, he who sits at the table, or he who serves?’ Then He answered the question by saying, ‘I am among you as the One who serves.’ Paul said that Jesus ‘emptied himself by taking on the form of a servant’ (Philippians 2:7). To be a servant you must first be emptied of self-centredness, and that calls for dying to self. As Christians we like to call ourselves servants, but how do you react when you’re treated like one? In the upper room the disciples all looked for a prominent place to sit, but Jesus looked for a place to serve! And as they waited to be served, He took a basin and washed their dirty, calloused feet. Can you imagine how they felt? The world bases importance on the number of people serving you, but God is much more interested in the number of people you are serving. He honours those who minister selflessly without complaining or seeking recognition. The truth is, it takes more character to serve others than to sit around waiting to be served. So here’s the question: are you doing more ‘sitting’ than ‘serving’ these days? If so, it’s time to ask God for a selfless spirit and a servant’s heart, and start looking for opportunities to serve wherever He places you. Why? Because Jesus lived to serve and His Word to you is, ‘A servant is not greater than his master’ (John 15:20).

~Bob Gass

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$10 BUCKS BUYS ALOT MORE THAN IT USED TO! 

  ~ Daryl Sutherland

This is not just any ordinary ten dollar bill. You have to look deeper to see it's real value. 
Tuesday night at Rice N Beans one of our "friends", a regular that we have been serving for a couple of years now came up to me when I was away from the crowd and very discreetly reach for my hand. I though he wanted to shake it but then he put this $10 in my hand. He said " I got some work this week and was thinking about all that you and rice n beans do for all of us out here every week and I wanted to be a part of giving back. Thank you for caring for us". 
Most people have the wrong impression of people on the street. Unfortunately many of us still think its ok to put all homeless or people on the street into the same box, but are offended when others stereotype or pre-judge us before knowing anything about our story or understanding our situation.
I have been involved in missions work for over 40 years now but I have learned more about people in need over the last 7 years working with Rice N Beans. Part of that is because I see them differently. The face on the street now has a name, I know their story, I have held there hand and prayed for there desperate situations. Somehow the lack of personal hygiene vanishes when your listening to man asking you to pray for his grand daughter because she tried to take her own life because she was being bullied at school. Your heart breaks as you see the pain in his eyes because he is unable to reach out to help her. 
Although they have been hardened by life and society has stripped them of dignity by deeming them scary, dangerous, insane or lazy, they are human beings they still have feeling. Beneath the scar tissue they are people, no different than you and me. God created them, Jesus loves them and Gods word tells us not to overlook them but to actually take care of them, it's not just a "nice thing to do" or a suggestion. Read it for yourself  
31 “But when the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit upon his glorious throne. 32 All the nations[e] will be gathered in his presence, and he will separate the people as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will place the sheep at his right hand and the goats at his left. 34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. 36 I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’
37 “Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? 39 When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you? 40 “And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’ MATTHEW 25. 
Wow, who would have ever believed you could get so much for 10 bucks!

BEING A BETTER VOLUNTEER

Below are four things you can start doing right now to become a better volunteer, ultimately creating a bigger impact for organizations that serve your community.

1. Educate yourself

First things first: you should have a firm grasp of your volunteer organization’s mission and goals before you start. If you have plenty of background information about the nonprofit you’re serving, you’ll be able to spend more time volunteering and less time asking, “Where do I go?” and “What do I do?” The directors will also be thrilled to see you’ve taken time to research the organization they work so hard to run. In general, if you educate yourself on the nonprofit before you begin volunteering, you will be able to better serve the community and appear more professional.

2. Attitude is everything

It’s always crucial to arrive at the volunteer site with a smile on your face. The more positive your attitude, the more you’ll get out of the experience. Other volunteers, directors and the people you’re serving will notice your bubbly demeanor and be inspired to act the same—it’s contagious! And let’s be honest: sometimes the volunteer work isn’t exactly what you want to be doing. Volunteering can be mentally or physically taxing at times, but don’t let any of that get you down. Think about the positive effect you’re creating in your community and the people who need your help. Let that be the fuel to get you through the day, and be sure to motivate other volunteers to keep that same mindset, too!

3. Accept differences

No matter where you volunteer, one thing’s for sure: you’ll be working with a diverse group of people. That’s one of the best parts of volunteering, though, right? Exposing yourself to a variety of social classes, races and ages can yield great long-term rewards and allow you to see the world through a different lens. Learn the stories of the people you’re helping and see them as more than just a recipient of your services. Be tolerant, accepting and understanding. Volunteering is powerful because it can shatter barriers between people who would normally never interact. Make sure you go in with an open mind so you’re able to experience this sensation firsthand. You won’t regret it.

4. Make connections

Building relationships with both the organization’s directors and the people you serve is so important. These people can become lifelong friends and important connections, so treat them well! Whether it’s a one-time event or you’ve been volunteering at the same place for years, be sure to leave everyone you meet with a good impression. Ask if there’s anything else you can do to further serve the community and stay in touch with the volunteer coordinators after you’re finished. Creating strong relationships while volunteering will make your experience more worthwhile and fun.

Next time you volunteer, be sure to arrive with plenty of information, stay positive, welcome any differences you encounter and form connections with the people you serve. Follow these steps, and you’ll be sure to maximize your volunteer experience!

 

The Compassion Of Jesus

Nicky Cruz

Time and again the Gospels portray Jesus as a man of deep and unwavering compassion. After the death of John the Baptist, Jesus withdrew alone on a boat to mourn the loss. He knew John was in heaven, but He hurt for those who were left behind.

When Jesus returned to shore, He saw a crowd of five thousand people gathered to see Him. Matthew records that “He had compassion on them.” So He took five loaves of bread and two fish and miraculously provided food for them all (Matthew 14:14-21). His heart went out to these people who had come to be with Him, and He couldn’t stand to see them hungry. He not only provided food, but He also healed the ones who were sick.

When Jesus saw two blind men on the road to Jericho, He “had compassion and touched their eyes. And immediately their eyes received sight, and they followed Him” (Matthew 20:34). His compassion for these men outweighed any other task before Him at the moment.

On the road between Samaria and Galilee, while going into a small village, Jesus noticed ten men who had leprosy and He healed them (see Luke 17:12-14). The lepers instinctively kept their distance, even from Jesus. Society had shunned them and they were rejected by the world. But Jesus saw them and had compassion on them. He saw them as people in need of a Savior.

How do we respond to the lepers of our day — the outcasts of society? What does our culture do with the poor, the addicts, the alcoholics, the sinners? Does the Body of Christ see them as people in need of help, lost and searching?

We must never forget what Jesus has done for us and for those around us. Without His saving grace we would be just as lost and hopeless as those lepers were. Without Jesus we are nothing and without compassion we have no place in God’s kingdom.

Nicky Cruz, internationally known evangelist and prolific author, turned to Jesus Christ from a life of violence and crime after meeting David Wilkerson in New York City in 1958. The story of his dramatic conversion was told first in The Cross and the Switchblade by David Wilkerson and then later in his own best-selling book Run, Baby, Run.

 

 

RESTORE DIGNITY

   When our eyes have been opened by Jesus — when we see people the way he sees them — we can no longer sit quietly while hurting souls wander aimlessly through life all around us. Compassion for the lost cannot coexist with complacency. Apathy is no longer an option.

“This is how we know who the children of God are,” the apostle John tells us, “and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother” (1 John 3:10). Does God’s Word get any clearer than this? There is a litmus test to see if we are true followers of Jesus, to see if we are really his children, and it hinges on the level of our compassion for others.

John goes on to write, “If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence whenever our hearts condemn us” (1 John 3:17-20).

When the Holy Spirit has come into our hearts and lives, filling us with the love and compassion of Jesus, we see people clearly. Our eyes shine with the joy of the Lord, and we can no longer walk by the outcast of our day — the poor, the addict, the alcoholic, the gang member, the sinner — without seeing him, without feeling his pain. We take it upon ourselves to help him restore his dignity before God. We embrace him, cry with him, and lead him into the healing arms of Jesus. That’s what being a follower of Christ is all about.

Nicky Cruz, internationally known evangelist and prolific author, turned to Jesus Christ from a life of violence and crime after meeting David Wilkerson in New York City in 1958. The story of his dramatic conversion was told first in The Cross and the Switchblade by David Wilkerson and then later in his own best-selling book Run, Baby, Run.