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God's People At Work: Looking Back, Ahead and Up…

Updated: Jan 12, 2021

The Storyteller Tells a Story of Faith…

It seems fitting at this time of year to look back over the past stories and relate the written word to the goals that we have set for our future. Over the past 20 Storyteller stories, we have examined many varied stories that have been brought to my attention.  I thought myself to be “plugged in” to the events of Barnitz and Mt. Zion, but I must admit to being pleasantly surprised with the stories of faith that have come my way.  From the very first story almost two years ago to the one posted just a few weeks ago, I continue to marvel at the expressions of faith that occur within our midst.

In the past year, the church has identified four values that we (both Barnitz and Mt. Zion) embody. They are: Genuinely Welcoming; Gloriously Praising; Generously Giving; and Graciously Relating.

We relate stories about SWAP (Seniors Without A Partner), the Sportsman’s Banquet, the Easter egg hunt, the Fishing Derby and Vacation Bible School, and how these different events all seek one goal – to connect people to Christ’s love. We want to Genuinely Welcome all those with whom we come into contact through whatever means we come together.

“Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God." (Romans 15:7, ESV)

We Gloriously Praise our Lord and Savior through worship experiences inside and outside our church walls. Whether we find ourselves at Carlisle Cares among the homeless serving food and holding a Sunrise Service, in the open air of a park or in a “cave” with the children during Vacation Bible School, we can worship His holy name and spread the Good News of Jesus Christ to all those we touch.

“Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker!” (Psalm 95:6, ESV)

Generously Giving seems to be an easy task for us at times. The stories abound about taking care of the homeless by serving them food, distributing bags of snacks, packing essentials for those going through disasters, staying overnight in the homeless shelter to keep the homeless inside in all weather, fixing the homes for those who cannot fix problems themselves, and distributing clothing, essentials and food to children and their families through the local schools. There are many needs within our community – more than expected. The challenge for us is to identify those needs, and then mobilize to fill the needs we are able to fill.  And with God’s help – and ONLY with God’s help – we are able to ease the pain and suffering of those who have requested help from us.

“In everything I did, I showed you by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” (Acts 20:35, NIV)

Graciously Relating means to carry our mission to those around us. Through Journey groups, we have been taking our faith “to the streets” outside the walls of the church.  We are called to spread the Good News throughout the world, and the Journey Groups have begun to do this. However, additional events, including some already mentioned, have been reaching into the community as well. Whenever people are filled with the Holy Spirit, they are encouraged to touch those around us. We are graciously relating.

“I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 13:47, NIV)

Many of the examples noted can be categorized into more than one value. The purpose of this is not to put our faith “in a box”, but to provide examples for the future. We should be encouraged by the stories we have heard and energized to do even more in the future.  In Jesus’ words, “the poor will always be with us” – we need to figure out how best to use our gifts to relate Jesus’ love and compassion to all those in need around us whether that need is material or spiritual. Jesus wants us to help, and we can all do something to make the world a better place. And we will do it in Jesus’ name.

Faith abounds – don’t miss it!

I try to avoid looking forward or backward, and try to keep looking upward.” ~ Charlotte Bronte

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