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Christian Concourse
Newsletter of the Month

September 2017

 

Dear Brothers and Sisters in the Lord,

With much care and love we greet you this month. With sincere hearts, we thank each of you who support us with your prayers and your donations. We trust you are well and that you and your family and friends in the path of the recent hurricanes have weathered the storms with victory. In His "Sermon on the Mount" Christ mentions that it rains on the just and the unjust (Matthew 5:45). In the context of this passage the Lord Jesus is saying that our Father in heaven brings His blessings of provision of rain for drinking and cooking, for flocks and harvest on the righteous and the unrighteous. God is gracious to those He is pleased with and to those who have offended Him. Just to complete the thought, let us add that Christ’s point was that we should have grace and kindness and patience and love for those who we get along with and for those who are hard to get along with - just like our Father in Heaven does.

When we see the crowds hovering under blankets and curled up on cots in safe shelters in Texas and Florida, we can remind ourselves that all of them are struggling just like the rest of humanity to be "good" people. Many of them have abrasive personalities. Many of them have bad habits. Some of them are probably not nice to their family members. Some are probably law-breakers and selfish and full of pride....and....we could go on and on could we not? But, there they are, safe and dry and fed. Nobody asked them if they were good to their dog. Nobody spoke up to say, "Don’t give that guy anything, he cusses too much," or "...he doesn’t cut his grass often enough!" Without regard for the character or the religion or the race or the morals of any of those in need, the authorities open the doors to all who are struggling with the elements and in danger if left to their own devices.

My, my. What a lesson for us Christians! We can send our money to help those fighting the disastrous winds and the devastating floods of Harvey and Irma, and if we can we should, but how about that guy next door who doesn’t keep his yard nice like ours? Or the person at work who lied to get our promotion? Or the politician who doesn’t share our convictions? Or that family member who hurt our feelings? Or that deacon at church who opposed our ideas at the last business meeting? Again, we could go on and on couldn’t we? Our heavenly Father wants us to stop and consider what kind of guy He is and then try to be like Him! How many times has He had to forgive us for selfishness and pride and laziness and greed and anger....and....?

But, just a minute, let us go back to the thousands and thousands still needing shelter and help because their home, maybe their car and just about all of their belongings have been destroyed. How hard is it going to be for them to keep that job at the auto parts store - did the store even open back up? What about school for their children? Weeks, months, years from now many of them will still be suffering from the ravages of these storms!

Not in any way to diminish the impact of these natural disasters on those caught in their paths, but we feel compelled to remind ourselves that the sweet folks we meet in nursing home ministry are experiencing hardship and deprivation very similar to the victims of these terrifying hurricanes. They are caught in a different kind of storm, though it is just as devastating: the storm of age and illness; the storm of confusion and dementia; the storm of loneliness and loss.

It is overwhelming to consider the dimensions of the tragedies we are seeing in the news. How can we, by ourselves, make a difference? The shock of it is paralyzing. Yet, it’s easy to let the disturbing memories of the news casts fade away. Indeed, the news casts will go on to some other disaster or some other political dilemma or some other diplomatic conundrum. The danger is that we will be shocked and cluck our cheeks without asking the Lord what He wants us to do.

So, here is our prayer: "Heavenly Father, move on our hearts to respond to these many needs with renewed compassion, for those in shelters, for the homeless at the stoplight, for the neighbor next door, and the nursing home resident down the street. Quicken us to be sensitive to Your leading and obedient to Your will. Strengthen us to reach out in prayer and in practical ways as You empowers us. We especially pray that the Lord of the Harvest would send laborers and make provision for the work in the needy field of nursing home ministry that is so open and ripe today. Amen."

Love in Christ

 

Jerry and Dar

Jerry and Dar Johnson

 

 

Reminder:  "Comforting Words of Grace, Number Two" is here!!! We are honored and blessed to be able to announce that the second DVD in the series, "Comforting Words of Grace" is now complete and ready for distribution. (View segments of these DVDs here.)  Using the same format as the first in the series, this hour-long video plays the instrumental and vocal renditions of nine hymns from the middle of our hymn booklet, "Favorite Hymns of Grace" while showcasing many short clips of God’s wonderful, beautiful creation. During the instrumentals, scriptures are displayed on the screen and read out loud that relate to the message in each song. We have prepared and produced this resource and make it available upon request, at no charge (as resources allow), as a tool for ministry especially geared for the elderly, the infirm and those suffering from dementia.

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