World Services Weekend

WORLD SERVICES WEEKEND!!!
 
Tomorrow
10AM-Noon – International Breakfast with Virtual Tour 
of The Salvation Army work in Pakistan
 
6:30PM-8:00PM – University of Georgia Brass Band Concert, 
World Service Fundraiser
 
Sunday
9:30AM – Combined Adult Class in the Chapel
10:45AM – Worship with World Services Ingathering Collection
 
What if you couldn’t talk about Jesus?
 
Tomorrow morning, we kick off my favorite weekend of the year. It’s World Service Weekend!!! I have to admit, before I came to Atlanta Temple, I was really oblivious to what is happening in 131? 132? countries around the world. And every six months we seem to add another country. I’ve ran out of room to hang all the flags. If you are amazed by what The Salvation Army can do in the US, you have to be blown away by what The Salvation Army is doing in other parts of the world–places, that depend upon our resources to get things done. I found out last year, that the Temple Budget for one year, could sustain the whole Territory of Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands for 9 months.
 
ALERT!!!! – Current World Service Giving is at $49,582.
Our Yearly Goal is $63,000. We have $13,418 still to raise.
Our giving closes on the last Sunday of THIS month. That’s only 4 weeks away.
Help us make up the difference THIS Sunday!!! 
Pray this weekend about this month’s gift!
 
Tomorrow morning, at 10AM we will gather in the dining hall for an “International Brunch” and then we will get to hear about the country of Pakistan–actually, officially, the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. Pakistan is the 5th highest populated country in the world, but because it is smaller than India, the US, China and Indonesia, it is very tightly packed. 97% of all citizens claim a Muslim faith. Hindus, Christians, and other faiths are often treated as “second class citizens” and excluded to impoverished communities where they bond together. Proselytization, that is “Telling others about Jesus” is forbidden by law and punishable by fines up to and including death. And you thought that the United Way and State funding was restrictive.
 
So…it got me thinking…what would you do, if you couldn’t talk about Jesus?
 
Ever since I was a young boy growing up in a Christian home, I was reminded of this “expectation” to evangelize. I was a shy kid, now I just call it introversion…or maybe I would diagnosis it as a social phobia, but you get my drift.
 
I was scared to death when we were asked to go door to door by our church outreach group, and talk about Jesus or invite people to church on a Saturday morning. At Youth Conferences, we would be asked to share our faith boldly in school and to “Stand UP for Jesus!” The closest I think I got to doing that was wearing a “Petra” concert T-Shirt that said, “Not of this World” hoping that no one would ask me what it meant. They did.
 
I don’t exactly know how I got “called” to “pastoral ministry” and eventually officership. I think its because, when I felt like an outcast at school or with my “so-called” friends, I was encouraged by “church people”. They were the only ones who saw me for who I could be…not necessarily as a I was. I was the greasy haired pudgy kid, with acne and glasses who played Dungeons and Dragons on Friday night. Sundays at church…was something I actually looked forward to as a kid.
 
And THAT’s why I am a “Follower of Jesus”, not because of doctrine, BUT because people cared about me and LIVED Jesus.
 
So, translate that now to Pakistan. There are some, who believe that the Christian community and Salvation Army are primarily there to just disciple and encourage other Christians. This isn’t a bad thought. You might remember Peter’s first letter to the dispersed Jews in northern Asia Minor. They were subjects of Roman law, and tried to figure out how to be followers of Christ. Peter simply says to them. “Live out your life in love and holiness no matter how you are treated, and the way you handle this adversity will win over your captors.”
 
Now if you remember….Peter was the one in Acts to say, “We cannot help but SPEAK about Jesus!” But, in some cases, one can argue, is “preaching” really the best way to help people see Jesus.
No…it isn’t. I was blown away when I found out that The Salvation Army in Pakistan runs a school, 3 of them actually, but in this one, there are over 700 students. 75% of the Students claim a Muslim faith.
 
What?? How does that….? Wait…Can you take prayer to Jesus out of a “Salvation Army School???”
You see, here’s where our Protestant faith sometimes misses a bigger picture. They will know we are Christians by our “doctrine”? by our “prayer”? By our Biblical insight? Or simply by our love. The Salvation Army doesn’t discriminate. Anyone can come. And we will shower them with the love taught to us by Jesus. The messenger…IS the message. Incarnation.
 
It’s one more reminder that you need to take someone for coffee and just share your stories. No program, no curriculum, no agenda, no Bible verse quotations or pithy prayers. Just genuinely…invest in people and encourage them.
 
This weekend, YOU get the chance to invest in people that you will never probably see. We will never know the amazing work that someone from The Salvation Army will offer someone who is dying in the only hospital in the city, or the only children’s home to help those who are orphaned, or the only safe home for women where they are not sold, abused, and raped.
 
There are no government social services around the world. There is no safety net.
 
It’s up to YOU…and ME…through God’s grace and his resources…that we might give out of love without discrimination, that the world may know, who we really are.
 
See you tomorrow at 10AM!!
 
Fun with Flags Game This Weekend. 
Can you guess all 122 flags hanging at the Corps?