Thursday, January 22, 2009

Thursday Notes

Dear Good Shepherd,

What an amazing week. I know intellectually that God provides and I have experienced that provision in the past, but nothing quite like what has happened in the last two weeks. The Sunday before last we were without a place to worship, the Shepherd's Bowl was without a place to serve meals, and my family was without a place to live. Then, out of the blue, Msgr. Meagher called to offer the former St. Andrew's rectory, his parish offered to host the Shepherd's Bowl, and Pastor Hollinger and the Conklin Avenue Baptist church offered their gym and classrooms for Sunday morning.

Saturday, Msgr. Meaghar called, again out of the blue, and offered the former sanctuary of St. Andrew's to us for this coming Sunday. We confirmed the arrangements this Monday. What strikes me about his call, on top of his sheer kindness and generosity, is that I had planned, prayed, and was worried about calling and asking him for the very thing he offered.

What generous neighbors we have on the South-side and what an amazing God we serve. His mercies and grace have been poured out on us.

"When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion we were like those who dream. Then our mouth was filled with laughter and our tongue with shouts of joy; then they said among the nations, 'The LORD has done great things for them.' The LORD has done great things for us; we are glad" (Psalm 126:1-3)

There is still much to be done and, I am sure, much to sacrifice. The capital campaign needs many more contributions in order to make a good down payment offer for a purchase of property. We've lost many items we use for worship. We may well lose the Branan bequest (which is currently frozen). Given those needs along with regular salaries, insurance, any rent and utilities we pay at our present location, we are basically living month to month.

If, moreover, we stay in this neighborhood for any length of time, there is a lot of work to be done. The people of the Saratoga Apartment housing projects, within sight of St. Andrew's, need help with food and clothes. And, more than that, judging by the high crime-rate, many of them need to hear the gospel of Jesus Christ.

We are living on the edge. These are the times that James tells us produce godly endurance and character (James 1:2-4). Every day we experience his grace. Every day we are thrust into circumstances that demand courage, trust, love and obedience.

Meanwhile, God is faithful. He has and will give us everything we need. Our task is not to lose heart, not to shrink back, but give ourselves to this great work to which we have been called.

Here are your Thursday Notes:

Men's Breakfast and Bible Study will be held here at the St. Andrew's rectory Friday morning at 6:30am. Don Dean is cooking. If you've never been here before, here is a map and the address.

Contact Information: If you've been trying to reach us here using the old rectory phone number, you've no doubt been unsuccessful. For the time being, use my cell phone: 621-9944. Here is the rest of our contact information

Sunday: If you have not heard, we will be at St. Andrew's for worship on Sunday. The service times will be as usual and there will be Sunday school for all ages at 9:15 as usual. Be sure to invite your friends and if you know of someone who needs a ride, please call to see if you can help.

Thank you to everyone who helped us pack and get everything and everybody out of the old rectory. I cannot properly express our gratitude. We were incredibly moved by your support and generosity.

Women's Bible Study will meet at the regular time at St. Andrew's rectory.

The Shepherd's Bowl will remain at St. John's this week and there will be bible study afterward.

Prayer requests: 1. That God will give us his blessing and that we will be able to enter into an agreement to purchase property. 2 Growth in faith, love, and holiness. 3. God will use our ministry here to convert many to Jesus Christ. 4. Bitterness, resentment and/or anger toward those who have taken our property will be not be suppressed or repressed but consumed by forgiveness, love, and gentleness.

In Christ,

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