Friday, July 29, 2011

It's Good to Give

How many appeals we get to give and we may respond to a few or not respond thinking that we can't.

Many non-profits in America are close to closing doors in this long, long recession. This would be such a shame as countless hours of volunteer work and so much benefit to communities has happened.

I would say this is the time for America to discover; IT IS GOOD TO GIVE.  It was a life lesson for us as a young couple when we decided to give regularly. When we were poor, I saw how God made the little we had enough.

One particularly vivid memory was needing a long dress for a Christmas party and having a very small budget for it. Well, I went shopping and there was the perfect dress marked down and marked down and marked down. I had just enough cash!  It was that kind of thing that built my faith that I could give and see God multiply what was left. That dress I still have: a reminder that God knows and God provides.

Why is it good to give?
1) Because giving reminds us that what we have has been given to us.

2) Because there is a blessing in giving. Jesus said: IT IS MORE BLESSED TO GIVE THAN TO RECEIVE.

Are you afraid for your finances? There are people who have stockpiles of money and yet are afraid that they don't have enough or won't have enough. The rich need to be rich in good deeds so they won't think that money can save them and so that money won't become an idol that controls them. When we help someone else by our giving, we receive an expanded sense of peace and joy. These are priceless gifts.

3) It's good to give because we can't take anything out of this world. Stuff is stuff. America has hungry children. America has hungry families. America has bright children who need after school tutoring. America has neighbors who could use a vacation. The list is endless.  Let's open our eyes and our wallets and discover that it is very good to give. Try giving consistently every month to whatever God puts on your heart.

I was talking to the treasurer of Project Lost Sheep yesterday about a woman named Dorothy who gave small amounts to Project Lost Sheep every month for years. She rented an apartment in affluent Menlo Park. She was elderly and I suspect living on social security. One day I went to visit Dorothy and told her how much I appreciated her consistent support of our work for the children. Her home was filled with peace and she was a happy woman.

What really surprised me was that she not only gave to us but she gave to a number of other charities EVERY MONTH. Dorothy had learned that it was a good thing to give and she lived it!

How To Stay Young

You have heard of the expression "young at heart". I think it is in the heart that we either stay young or grow old. A young heart will be teachable. Young children are always learning something new. They know that others have something to teach them.

To master a skill that is practical will keep you fresh. This summer I took two courses in digital photography. Now I can operate the camera and do basic editing plus e mailing. It was fun to be creative and make a collage out of my photos.

Learning somthing new is refreshing. To stay young you need to be able to slow down and focus on something very carefully. Ever seen a child of four look at a bug on the ground. Very intense. That child is watching the bug: nothing else.

Volunteering with children will remind you of how you used to be. Children are so open. Their hearts are on their sleeves.  A few years ago at a TOUCHDOWN CAMP, I had a 10 year old girl come up and give me three real hugs. I was letting groups of children go through the line to pick up food.

When I asked her why the hugs, she said.  "One hug was for breakfast, one for snack and this hug is for lunch."

Children really show you how they feel. I have forgotten much about that camp but I DO KNOW I GOT SOME REAL HUGS. These hugs were from a little girl from a very poor area of San Francisco (Hunter's Point) brought down to camp in Redwood City.

Children show us the way. Let's get younger by welcoming them and helping them. I look forward to volunteering at camp each year because I have a real dose of children and get to help them, but I always come away having received something new. It refreshes me to see them play sports, learn a craft, play games. I love their laughter and smiles.
There is a touch of heaven when we get young enough in our heart to receive.

Fresh Breeze

How welcome is a fresh breeze in summer. Unity in Christian community is like a fresh breeze. We all get refreshed and energized when we work together. We experienced this unity at our brunch at Sue Stevicks house. There old and new supporters shared and laughed: enjoyed a great brunch (see pictures previous).

We were glad to be together and glad to be working together towards camp. The children presented the different aspects of camp from: cooking to Bible stories to sports.

A new part this year will be guitar lessons taught by "Junior" the pastor's son and very popular with campers as a college roll model.

Talk about fresh breeze: imagine yourself as a child of 10 who has been inside an apartment (small) most of summer.  Now it is camp. You get to be outside EVERY MORNING doing sports. You get to have food and fun and you get to learn new things.

Surely angels bend their wings when we extend ourselves to bless the chldren of our city.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Monday, July 11, 2011


First, a heartfelt "thank you" to all of you who have been giving of your time and resources for the six Touchdown Camps in the past. We are looking forward to serving more than ever children and we very much THANK YOU in advance for thinking of the children again.

Sharing used to be a way of life in San Jose. I can remember growing up that neighbors would share fruit with each other. They would be helpful and give coupons. There was a sense of "we care about each other" that made a street a neighborhood. I was fortuntate to grow up where this "sharing" was a way of life. Most of the people on McDaniel Ave. had lived in those houses for a long time. Newcomers were welcomed. People knew who lived in which house. Sharing leads to a sense of community which leads to a sense of place and belonging. We all need this.

I just got a big bunch of plums from a neighbor and I was able to share from the lemon tree here in exchange. This seemed so perfectly normal BECAUSE I HAD BEEN TAUGHT AS CHILD. Today there are more needs around us than ever. We, as Americans, need to continue the old tradition of sharing. We need to get back to what I believe is one of the great traditions of our country. Make the bounty bless others. DEFEND THE CAUSE OF THE POOR.

I think we should share not just at Christmas. Jesus said "YOU CAN DO GOOD TO THE POOR WHENEVER...." This is WHENEVER TIME FOR USA. Let's not drop the ball and forget that we are going to be blessed inside as we give.

Big companies: get involved with little non-profits and don't forget where your blessings came from. Lost a job? Can you volunteer in the interim? Non-profits need your help. Made something and retired early and are bored to tears? Find your niche. Get out and look around. You don't have to get a paycheck to make a difference. If you share something your really care about ( a skill, a hobby, etc) with one other person and that person grows as a result you have done something that will give you a sense of satisfaction.



Today, I had the interesting experience in my digital class of making a collage out of five separate flower pictures.

The first thing that happened was each of the individual flowers got cropped so they would fit together on what would become the collage page.  The flowers were all Iris...with leafy green backgrounds which we had to crop out.

Cropping was rather fun. Then it got really interesting because we could expand a picture of contract a picture we could tilt it and rearrange all the pieces. We could put one particular flower in the center with others around it. Then we could pick the background color.

Oh, the joys of digital editing. What came out of this was SOMETHING NEW. The individual parts were there but they were somehow made to fit into a new picture that was beautiful.

We, the body of Christ, are like individual flowers. We need to be cropped. We need to be tilted and moved. We need to fit into those around us who are working with us. Because, we are "an edifice being built into a holy temple in the Lord.  Ever thought that the trials and the take aways from your life might have something to do with God working on a larger picture?