Tag Archives: food

Are We Goats Thinking We’re Sheep?

I’ve got Haiti on my heart this morning. Partly because I’m headed back in a few months and partly because we watched a video from Richard Stearns from World Vision last night. He reminded us of the scripture in Matthew 25:35-40 where Jesus told of the day where God will separate the sheep from the goats. Jesus said that He will turn to the sheep and say, “I was hungry and you fed me, I was thirsty and you gave me a drink, I was homeless and you gave me a room, I was shivering and you gave me clothes, I was sick and you stopped to visit, I was in prison and you came to me.’ (MSG)”

What stood out to me last night as he read that scripture was the response of the sheep. They said, “Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry and feed you, thirsty and give you a drink? And when did we ever see you sick or in prison and come to you?’ Then the King will say, ‘I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me.’ (MSG)”. They didn’t even realize it was Jesus they were doing it to. They were doing those things because God’s love compelled them to.

That’s a stark contrast from where the Church is today. The Barna Group released the results of a study yesterday. They interviewed over 700 self-professed Christians and asked a series of 20 questions about attitudes and actions. In the end, only 14% of self-professed Christians were found to have the attitudes and actions of Jesus. Another 14% had the actions of Jesus, but not His attitude. The results show a lot more and if you like, you can see it here.

If we add those numbers together, barely a quarter of Christians act like Jesus. He spent His time in ministry to the poor, the hurting, the outcasts, the leppers and the unwanted. He spent very little time with those who were looking for power and prestige. He made it clear that He wanted us to do the same. You can see that in what He said in Matthew 25. The ones who made it to Heaven were those who fed the hungry, gave drinks to the thirsty, sheltered the homeless, gave clothes to the poor and visited those who were sick or in prison. When is the last time we’ve done any of those things?

We’ve spent millions building bigger, more stylish churches and only thousands on taking care of the poor. I look at those results of the Barna group and ask myself, “What area do I fall in? Do I have both the attitudes and actions of Jesus? Am I in the 28% or in the other 72%?” Those are tough questions that God and I are going to work through. I encourage you to ask the same questions. If you’re not in the 28%, what can you start doing today to move in that direction? How can you be one of the sheep instead of a goat?

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Counting the Cost

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I saw a headline yesterday from the USA Today that said the average cost to feed a family of four. I had never really paid attention to anything like that before. In March of 2013 for a family being very thrifty, the cost was $146.40. For that same family, if they were on a liberal plan, the cost would be $289.40. Those prices are for a week of food to feed four people. What I saw in Haiti was completely different.

I mentioned before that we went to a feeding center in Roboto, Gonaives, Haiti. One of our partners runs that feeding center. There are about 150 children who come there six days a week for what may be the only meal they get for the day. It’s not an extravagant meal. It’s rice with some beans on top and it’s warm. We asked Pastor Gnada how much it cost to feed those children each day. He said, “It costs about $30.” That’s $180 a week to feed 150 malnourished kids. Just barely above what a thrifty family of four pays here.

I realize that costs here are way different than there. I’m not making the argument that we should be more thrifty or we need to feel bad about the blessings God has given us. I’m thinking what if we could give a dollar a day to something like this. How many more kids could be fed? How many more could be rescued from the brink of malnutrition? The missionary that took us to this site pointed out the orange in a few kids hair. He told us that orange hair is a marker for malnutrition. He also pointed out that it was now on the tips of their hair and not at the root.

As these kids came and ate regularly, their bodies got the nutrition they needed and normal hair began to grow. Where there was once starvation for kids living in the poorest area of Gonaives, now they were not only receiving physical food, but spiritual food as well. Before the kids eat each day, the Gospel is shared with them, songs are sung with them, games are played and a prayer is given. I believe that since that center has opened, the signs of spiritual malnutrition are going away.

I was talking to a pastor friend of mine who went with us and runs a church in our inner city. I asked her what her thoughts were about the feeding center. She said, “You know, Chris, we spend so much time and effort in the church trying to get a program ‘right’ before we launch it. We disregard all the good we can do while we argue over how to make it work. This is simple and effective. The things we do don’t have to be complicated. We just need to start them and make them better as we go.” I couldn’t agree more.

What has God asked you to do? What excuses have you given to prevent starting it? While we try to get things right and to make it a success from the get go, people are starving spiritually all around us. If God said, “Do it,” then it’s time to do it. If you wait until it’s perfect and fool proof, it will never begin and you’ll miss so many opportunities. Today is the day of salvation. Begin the steps of putting into motion what God has called you to do. Don’t delay.

If you’d like to give to the organization that feeds these kids and houses the orphans we visited, you can go to www.coreluv.org/donate

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True and Undefiled Religion

On day four of our trip to Haiti, we got up early because we had a lot to do. We ate breakfast and split into two groups. One group would head to the market for an experience they’ll never forget and the other went to the hardware store to buy the supplies we needed. All around us were a sea of people who continuously walked by like waves coming on shore. Busses, taxis, motorcycles, trucks and cars added to the madness as they weaved in and out of the people.

Upon arriving at the orphanage, we said our hellos to the staff while the kids were in school. It wasn’t long before word got out that we were there. Kids and locals started showing up quickly. We began to work on the things that needed to get done. Not long after, it was time to go to the Roboto feeding center. We packed up and headed over knowing what we were going to, but not understanding what we were about to experience.

As the trucks drove through Gonaives, it was clear we were moving into an area that was so poverty stricken that it made the place where we were working look like a good part of town. Houses were no longer built out of concrete and mortar. These houses were built from scrap wood, tarp and tin. People stared at us as we slowly made our way through the broken roads.

When we arrived at the feeding center, the sound of children singing filled the air. You could hear the joy and anticipation in their voices. The building was simple, yet sufficient. We walked in to see around a hundred children piled on top of each other. Many were seated at a long table while others were stacked three and four deep around the table against the walls. They were excited, but patient as they waited until it was time to eat.

All of the children bowed their heads as the prayer over the food was prayed. A shout of “amen” came from the children and the food began to be distributed orderly. Plates with nothing more than beans on top of rice were handed to the kids. They quickly ate and made way for the next group of children to eat. Children with their brothers and sisters fed their siblings first even if they never got a bite. This could be the only meal most of these kids would eat that day.

We headed back to the orphanage with our hearts full. We finished building a cabinet for the kitchen, leveled a table in there too, built a stool, poured a slab of concrete in the stairwell and did various other maintenance. At the end of the day, it was time to say goodbye to these children who had captured our hearts. We gave them pillows, food, supplies and new underwear as we left. The ride back to the guest house was full of tears.

God was able to do exceeding and abundantly more than we thought we could on this trip. I’m not sure whose lives were changed more, theirs or ours. We saw God move and plant seeds on this trip. We got a taste of what God calls true religion. It’s hard to go back to religion as we knew it. This was pure and undefined religion we experienced. Anything less simply won’t do.

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