Monday, July 26, 2010

The Lord is working through 'Gifts from God'

Yesterday, our church hosted a local out-reach ministry, Gifts from God. This is a life-changing ministry that we have supported for many years. GFG has many arms that reach into the deepest and most desperate parts of the fairly affluent Sarasota community we live in. They touch people that many of us would walk away from because they are homeless, have addictions, and are in most desperate need of help.

The morning began with a breakfast we hosted for the men from GFG. Ted, who lovingly is our church "cook" made bread pudding and was it ever good. Ted, has been very involved with Gifts from God since it's inception. Our pastor, Chet Z. has really embraced the GFG ministry in the two years he has been at our church and has encouraged our congregation to get more involved. He has gone up many times to preach at the "Dream Center of Sarasota."

Anyway, back to our day. Our worship service began with our amazing music minister Doug, leading the Vamo Praise and Worship Band in a medley of uplifting songs. Surely, you could feel the presence of the Lord, in our church! The Holy Spirit was absolutely in the House!

Pastor Dave and the Barnabas men of GFG began their inspiring testimonies. Rejected by their families because of their addictions to drugs and alcohol, many lost everything; their wives, their children, their jobs, their homes, and all their earthly possessions. We heard many stories of incarceration and Pastor Dave even told us he had actually been to jail 11 times, before he gave up on trying to do things his way and turned his life over to Jesus. Each testimony brought me to tears, because each testimony showed the power of God love changing lives.

Pastor D. now spends his days ministering to the homeless and desperate in our community. He runs Barnabas House. It is so awesome to see our Mighty Lord working through the lives of these very humble men. Formerly, their lives were filled with self indulgent attitudes, drug addictions and alcoholism. Now, they are ministering to others and reaching out to help people in the name of our Lord! Jesus has turned their lives around and they are not wasting it. They are making a real difference in this world we live in. Now - that is a God-thing! WOW

But really, isn't that what Jesus would want us to do? Doesn't He want us to be His Hands and His feet in this world? When you belong to Him, He wants you to seek others in His Name.

During his short 33 years on this earth, Jesus was not spending his days lavishing among the rich and wealthy. Instead he hung out with the sick, the homeless, the helpless, lepers, the fisherman, the poor, and prostitutes just to name a few. Jesus always sought out those that needed him the most.

2,000 years ago, the destitute, the sick and the poor were rejected by society. So, really, how much has really changed in our thinking all these many years later? Many of us still turn away when we see a homeless person, don't we?

Well, Gifts from God is not turning away from those that need it most. They are reaching out in the name of Jesus. They are a big family, helping each other and helping those around them. With the assistance of local churches and pastors, they have weekly sermons and hot meals as part of their Church in the Park series, where everyone is always welcome, regardless of how the look, how they smell, and what kind of clothes they may have on their back that day. And God is at work through the many pastors and volunteers that help each week. There is serving, eating, preaching, singing, dancing, praying and fellowship all in the name of Jesus Christ!

GFG feeds and clothes the homeless, they have ongoing Bible studies for men and women of all ages, they pickup and deliver furniture and cars to those in need, they counsel and house men at Barnabas House, their Christian recovery center for drug and alcohol addictions GFG is truly reaching out to the "least of these" in our little corner of the world in Jesus' Mighty Name!

The Gifts from God ministry has been a part of our Vamo church family for years. We have been helping them for years with our financial assistance and ongoing prayers. But, yesterday, I think we were the ones that were helped. I think everyone in our congregation was blessed and moved by these humble men of God. If you would like to see what's happening with this awesome ministry go to the Gifts from God website, linked on my blog page and see how you can get plugged in to help those that need it most.

My verse for today is from Matthew 25:35-40

"..'For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty, and you gave me something to drink. I was a stranger and you invited me in. I need clothes and you clothed me. I was sick, and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit  me. Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you? And the King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me."

My prayer for today:

Dear Heavenly Father:

Help me to reach out to those in need. Help me to get outside myself and my needs and think about the needs and suffering of so many. Lord, tomorrow is my doctors appt.about CCSVI as it may relate to my MS. If it is your will Father, let this be the vehicle to begin my healing so I can spend more and more time ministering in Your Name.Thank you Jesus for my many gifts and blessings for I know they come from you. I pray for my family; for my husband, that is so giving and loving, and helps me so much everyday and for my two sons. Guide them in their lives Lord. Put your loving arms around them. Convict them in their daily decisions, and bring them ever closer to you.

In Jesus Name I pray,

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