Yes, I am a pastor which requires me to preach. I take preaching very seriously; conveying God's Word thru my mouth is incredibly humbling and sometimes frightening. Message preparation, each week, is nothing short of a miracle. It is a huge feat to "block" out the world (and insistent bulldogs) and listen, gather and try to be true to the words God gives me. I have done this long enough to know it requires way more listening than talking and when I come up short, it isn't God that has let me down. It has been me not giving God the time.
I write all of this to say, sometimes I end up preaching things I know are from God but I am not currently experiencing the message I am giving, or at the very least that message only exists in head knowledge and has yet to fall on heart knowledge. One of the things I love about God, is that God never fails to deliver to me a real life chance to experience what I have been told and re-tell.
Monday was such a chance. This past Sunday God gave me a MESSAGE about how He broke into the a world that was dark, broken, filled with turmoil and strife for His people when He stepped down from His throne and became man and God for people to experience God in their midst; God with us, Emmanuel. I shared what God had given to me; "If you are not experiencing Peace right now, we can take a lesson from those that found peace at the birth of Christ because God came to be with them." In the middle of oppression, violence and madness God broke into this world and came to be with them. I also shared Matthew was very clear, in the words of Jesus, of how peace is found for us, as we share with the least of these. Why? because THAT is where Jesus is. (Found in Matthew 25) and where Jesus is, there is peace.
It was a message that hit hard on my head, and needed to be found in my heart. Not that I haven't been in that space before, but come on ya'll COVID has made outreach ministry hard. Being actually with anyone is dicey at best. Gathering people to make it happen has been even harder.
Then God gave me Monday. Monday with partnership of Hartsville Woodland, Catesa Farms and Break Thru Nashville, the church I see, Carthage United Methodist Church gathered to put perishable boxes of food in about 400 vehicles for people with food insecurity at this time. And BOOM, in the chaos of cars, honking horns and a bunch of people we filled trunks, hearts and bellies. that 3 hour project gave me the fullness of God's message. I went home tired, and sore and spiritually at peace for the first time in a few months.
I share this to let you know: 1. the food give away will happen again soon, be watching social media for an announcement, 2. there is peace to be found right now, and it comes when you step outside of taking care of YOU and worrying only about your needs, and going to those that have found themselves being where Jesus is hanging out, with those in need, "overlooked and ignored."
Enjoy the photos from yesterday and look forward to next time. Let's bring on the peace!