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Opening Our Lives to People in Need: The Key Principle

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On Sunday, May 7, Pastor Ed Allen spoke again about Opening Our Lives to People in Need, this time looking at the big picture.

When you're trying to do good, knowing How to do so is tricky.  What will be helping others, and what is enabling?  When is it selfish to avoid the mess, and when is it prudent?

Jesus and his disciples gave us some critically important guardrails, principles to help us make God-honoring moment-by-moment decisions.

In the context of our personal resources, the first principle of the Kingdom is:

If we make our relationship with God the guiding and governing concern of our life, then everything else will fall into place.

Matthew 6:19-24 -- The real issue is not our valuables, but what we value.  Jesus always drives the conversation to the core issue.

Treasures include time, relationships, things, money.  As we treasure our relationship with God most - ALL of our situational decisions become clearer and clearer.

If we have a lack of generosity, it's because we treasured the wrong thing.  This is also why we worry.

4 Treasuring Principles:

1)  Treasuring the stuff of this world isn't a smart life strategy.

It won't work for the long haul (vs. 19-21).

2)  Treasuring the stuff of this world leads to spiritual blindness.

If our heart is dark, we're in the dark (vs. 22-23).

3)  Treasuring the stuff of this world crowds out our ability to treasure God (vs. 24).

4)  Treasuring the right stuff will be an end to most of our worries (vs. 25-34).

Jesus says the real question for us is not what we do with our valuables, but what we value; not how we manage our investments, but what we invest in; not how we give or spend our treasure, but what we are treasuring.

In decisions, we can ask, which way will enhance my relationship with God?

Opening Our LIves to People in Need: Practical Examples

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Last Sunday, April 30, Pastor Ed Allen spoke again about one of our church's Healthy Habits:  Open our lives to people in need.  But this week, instead of a sermon, he talked with various members of our congregation to show us practical examples of people opening their lives to people in need.

(But first, it was noted that the webpage for Gateway Village Children's Center is up!  Like our page on Facebook!  Share with your friends!)

First, we read from Matthew 25 where Jesus talked about separating the sheep from the goats.  As we serve the least of these, we are serving Jesus.

Opening our lives needs to be something we're pursuing, or we'll miss it.  This is God's call on our lives.  This is how we grow.

God blesses us so that we can be a blessing to others.  Do things to keep your hearts and your lives open.

Then Ed talked with a teen named Marissa.  She was the one who spearheaded having the teens run Kidztown every 5 weeks.  Now she and other teens are putting together a trip to DC to hand out backpacks with necessities for homeless folks.

Next was a young adult named Kevin.  He's got a dream of planting fish farms in impoverished communities.  He majored in aquaculture, and met some folks doing that in the Dominican Republic - but they didn't know anything about fish.  And God gave Kevin a new vision.

Pastor Ed noted that when we step into people's needs, it's difficult and it's messy.

Next, Ed talked with his son Jordan, who has begun a business named sooma.  It's a meal delivery service, but with a goal to help people in "food deserts" like Washington, DC, where families can't afford to buy healthy food unless they travel a long distance.  So their start-up is trying to reduce the price per serving.

Next up was a couple named Bill and Lisa.  Bill read from I John 3:16-18.  They have, over the years, had people live in their home for months at a time.  The guests have brought joy into their home and have expanded their family.  Bill once heard his daughter say, "That's just what our family does."

Finally, Ed talked with Crystal  and David, and a new member of their small group Katharina.  Katharina hadn't been attending their small group long when she had meningitis which went into encephalitis.  Crystal took her to the emergency room, then back again the next day after they'd sent her home but the headache hadn't lifted.  (It wasn't until the second trip that hospital staff realized how serious it was.)  When Katharina was sent home before she could even care for herself, the small group worked out a schedule to care for her, and even now they have organized her being driven to and from work by Gateway folks, since after having a seizure, you can't drive for six months.

Pastor Ed finished up by saying that this is what it looks like when Jesus bubbles out of your lives.

People are going to come when we build our new building - Our minds and our hearts need to be open.

We are a community of people dedicated to meeting needs.

We fall into the habit of thinking Christianity will make life a lot better for us, but God has blessed us so that we will be a blessing to others.

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