3371 Chattanooga Valley Road Flintstone GA 30725 706.820.2833

3371 Chattanooga Valley Road Flintstone GA 30725 706.820.2833

Monday, September 27, 2010

Jobs for Life @ Highlands Presbyterian Church

Check out these photos from our Jobs for Life class at Highlands Presbyterian Church! I had the privilege of spending last Wednesday visiting with the class.

Monday, September 20, 2010

How Can I Help?

Responding in way that does no harm

The following are three responses for three specific situations of need. It is important to
know which is appropriate –and which is not- as this is the most common reason poverty-
alleviation efforts lead to harm.

1. Relief: the urgent and temporary provision of emergency aid. This is administered
in order to reduce immediate suffering from either man-made or natural disasters.
Dynamic: Provider-receiver (provider gives assistance to the receiver)

Seldom. Immediate. Temporary.

2. Rehabilitation: seeking to restore people and/or their communities to the positive
aspects of their pre-crisis condition
Dynamic: working with (victims participate in their own recovery)

3. Development: the process of ongoing change, moving all involved, via a promoting
and empowering process (helpers and those helped) closer to being in right relationship
with God, others, self, and creation. The goal here is that those involved are better able to
fulfill their calling to glorify God by working and supporting themselves.
Dynamic: working with (all involved become more of what God created them to

Questions to ask:

1. Is there really a “crisis” at hand? If I fail to provide immediate help, will there be
serious, negative consequences?

2. To what degree is the individual personally responsible for the crisis? (use
compassion and discretion here!) Allowing people to feel some pain resulting from
irresponsibility can be some tough love -and lead to an individual seeing a need for
lasting change! The point here is not to punish, but promote healthy learning and growth.

3. Can they help themselves? If so, a handout would completely undermine their
capacity to be a steward of the resources and abilities God has already provided them!

4. To what extent has this person already been receiving help –from you or others?
How likely are they to be receiving help in the future?

Friday, September 3, 2010

What is Love?

This past Sunday, I was privileged to take part in teaching a Sunday school class at one of our Hope for Northwest participating churches, East Ridge Presbyterian Church. The class is basically a study on how we should pursue relationships with those who are hurting, needy, and oppressed. On this particular study, we were looking at what two Scripture passages have to say about working with (and loving) the poor. One of these passages was 1 Corinthians 13. Let me just stop right here and say that what I am about to share greatly effects not only the poor and those working with them, but all human relationships.

It is ridiculously hard to love someone when you are both sinners. That said, it is impossible to love someone if neither of you are a sinner. We are all fallen creatures, incapable of living a single day without sin. Our hearts are full of all sorts of things we'd rather not let anyone see ...and lets not even mention those things that come out of our mouths! Maybe it is because of the very sin in our own hearts (yes, it definitely is), but it is so easy to see the filth in the heart of someone we love and know intimately. This makes us want to turn our backs instead of turning our cheek.

I must confess that it has taken me all of 5 days to realize that I myself have failed to do the homework that I assigned in closing Sunday's class! I asked the class to read and pray through the passage, as well as pursue a relationship with someone they did not know. I did not mention (although I hoped) that this homework also included some valuable "life lessons" for those in the class- that we might all be both humbled and convicted (and in the process, changed) by reading and praying through 1 Corinthians 13.


While reading through the passage this morning (somewhat un-prayerfully) I was slammed by the phrase "keeps no record of wrongs". ...I mean, really? How!? Relationships hurt! They burn. Sure, we "heal", but what about that scar? What does it take to remove that ugly mark? It takes Jesus. I tell you with great confidence that there is nothing in me (nothing at all) that is capable of forgetting wrongs. But Jesus -who is in me- has the power and all-capable presence to take the very worst of wrongs away.

Fear not, for He is with you , empowering and equipping you to go out into a sinful world and love people with His love -even scary strangers- far beyond our miserable capacity to do so. Trust God, and obey. And read Isaiah 58.