Be Of Service? Be a Part of Stopping Hunger! (Feature Friday!)


A Year of Being Kind blog – Friday, July 4, 2014

following Jesus

Be Of Service? Be a Part of Stopping Hunger! (Feature Friday!)

Stop Hunger Now! (This is a tremendous opportunity.) Imagine, being a part of stopping world hunger. Even if I can only do a little bit, only a tiny portion, I will still be doing something. This ministry opportunity is the selected service project for the New Wilmington Mission Conference (NWMC) in July.

Every summer for more than one hundred years, NWMC has sought to make youth aware of mission effort around the world. Yes, it’s a conference of the Presbyterian Church (USA), but it’s much more than just that. Held every July on the campus of Westminster College in New Wilmington, PA (and thus the name, NWMC), this week-long conference has morphed into a multi-generational conference, going beyond just intellectual knowledge. True, NWMC informs attendees about its Presbyterian/Reformed tradition of mission outreach worldwide, but the conference also promotes active service and witness for God—and much fun is had while promoting it, too!

I’ve attended for a number of years. My younger children remember NWMC with great fondness, and every year this conference has a selected service project. Everyone who attends—no matter what the age—is encouraged to participate in the project!

For several years now, the service project has concentrated on world hunger. More specifically, Stop Hunger Now! (That’s the name of the mission organization.) This organization has come up with an efficient, tasty way of packaging dry meals, to be shipped where most needed. Where hunger is currently devastating lives. A nutritious mix of rice, soy, dehydrated vegetables and flavoring mix can be packed by volunteer teams, and sent all over the world. And, for a cost of just $0.29 per meal, too!

In 2011, the packaging team at NWMC made more than 24,000 meals which were shipped to Kenya. In 2012, NWMC sent more than 37,100 meals to Liberia and Uganda. And in 2014? God willing, that number will be even higher. Everyone who attends the conference is encouraged to participate. To be the hands and feet of Christ, feeding the hungry.

The use of volunteers to package meals makes the cost of each meal even lower. Plus, the use of packaging teams from all over the nation increases awareness of global hunger; many people become even more aware of how scarce food is, in large parts of the world.

This is an opportunity to be doers of the word of God, and not just hearers, only—like James said in Chapter 1 of his letter. What a chance to provide food for hungry people. And, what a chance to be helpful. Be of service. And be kind.


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Serving—with Holy Spirit Power!

A Year of Being Kind blog – Sunday, June 8, 2014

The Pentecost,  Alexander Sadoyan

The Pentecost,
Alexander Sadoyan

Serving—with Holy Spirit Power!

So there I was—at an evening meeting several years ago in a public building. Out of nowhere, the lights flickered. Went out! And stayed out. Immediately, everyone inside the building filed out. As a safety precaution, of course.

But—what happened? Was it a brown-out? Did something happen to a transformer attached to the electrical supply in the neighborhood? Everyone wanted the power supply to get back on line!

I narrated the story of Pentecost this morning, in church. I told about Jesus ascending to heaven, and then—what? Nothing! Not a thing, for many days. But at last, when the band of beleaguered believers was all gathered together in one place, Pentecost happened! The Holy Spirit came with mighty power! The disciples became courageous overnight. And the Holy Spirit turned the disciples inside out and upside down. Life—as they knew it before—was never the same again.

As I preached this morning, I honestly felt like I was serving the congregation in a deep, meaningful, wonderful manner. Opening the Word of God. I’ve felt that in the past, and it is such an awesome, stunning feeling to have. Almost like Isaiah falling on his face before God Almighty in the Temple (in Isaiah 6). However, today had a different feel to it. This morning, it was almost like I was uncovering something rich, something precious. Something of immense value! And then, turning to the friends out in the pews. Showing them the treasure of immense value! Offering them the opportunity to come along on this tremendous journey.

What about you? How has your journey through life been going? This small congregation has had its ups and downs, but I felt that this particular message from Acts 2 was just exactly what I ought to preach to this congregation. I hope and pray that any time people consider this chapter in Acts that they also consider the tremendous opportunity that God is holding out to all of outs. Just like a treasure, a rich and beautiful thing.

I want to serve. I have been praying for opportunities to help, whatever way I can. In this case, I will try my darnedest to get out the Good News. And if I can serve, be helpful, and be kind along the way? All fantastic ways to follow God. And God’s Good News!


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Of Service? Using the Telephone!

A Year of Being Kind blog – Wednesday, May 28, 2014

telephone drawing

Of Service? Using the Telephone!

I did a number of things today, including a bit of breakfast family-time. Leftovers from the family reunion yesterday. Even though I had to be at work later this morning, it was so good to see several of my dear family members one last time (for this visit, at least!).

After arriving at the church, I got together some materials and facilitated a bible study. Not the usual bible study, but that’s okay! A confluence of some significant things all impressed themselves upon me, and I wanted to bring them to the bible study this morning. It is amazing how God brings disparate things to my attention, and then—like puzzle pieces—they arrange themselves into a pattern. Wow! Amazing how that works. And then, sometimes, I just have to bring these significant patterns to people’s attention. Like today. I hope it was a worthwhile bible study for those who attended. I pray so!

However, I didn’t want to go on and on about the study in this blog posting. No, I wanted to talk about the telephone. Yes, I know that some people today don’t use the telephone as much any more. Many people prefer to use the Internet. Email. Texting. Other forms of communication. Not me. No, I still enjoy talking on the phone. I relish that personal interaction, that connection I make with a person over the telephone lines. (Or, even more significant, talking face to face! But that’s the topic of another blog post. For another day.)

This afternoon, I had several telephone conversations. One in particular was of note. I was asked to find out some information, verify some facts, and take down some recommendations. And afterwards, I need to write up a brief fact-finding report, giving my personal insights and what I recommend for this specific situation. Everything about this is so interesting! And, I tried (and continue to try) to take the opportunity to be of service. Especially in this situation, I am trying my darnedest to be helpful.

Gosh, I didn’t expect the spiritual gift of helps to be so active in me! I knew I had some of it, especially from the inventory of spiritual gifts I did quite some years ago. Yes, that was a no-brainer. However, deciding to embark upon this Year of Being Kind really activated the gift of helps within me. I mean, I’ve looked for ways I might be able to help, for years. But this commitment, these 365 Days of Service are teaching me to put out my spiritual antennae. To actively look for people, places and things that might need some service. Or a helping hand. Or someone to be kind.

And sure enough, God is sending things to do, people to see and places to go. All in the name of God. Gosh, I wonder what God will send my way tomorrow? I’m not sure, but I suspect it will be great!


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Another Snowy Day

A Year of Being Kind blog – Thursday, January 2, 2014

a boy's best friend

Today was another snowy day. Slow driving, drifting snow. Treacherous walking, blowing snow. A good day to be of service! So many worthwhile opportunities, I saw potential ways of service all over the place. I rose to the occasion. Ran an errand for someone else. Cleaned someone else’s kitchen. Several times, people expressed their gratitude to me. Said ‘thank you’ to me. And, that felt good.

I’m not doing this for the strokes. (At least, not primarily for the strokes . . . but that is a consideration. Let’s be honest, now.) I want to see how making intentional service a daily part of my life will have an effect on me. Will it change me? (I think, yes.) If so, how will it change me? What kinds of service am I drawn toward, or repelled from? What about those I serve—what are some varying attitudes towards being served?

I return to the verse I’ve chosen for the month of January. Ephesians 4:32 begins “Be kind to one another . . . .” Service is a great way for me to get out of myself, and being kind is certainly one way to be of service. One of the attitudes I wanted to flee from is the attitude of self-centeredness, or of bondage to self. When I concentrate on myself to the exclusion of everyone else, that is selfishness to the extreme. God is not pleased with me, and neither are other people. And truth be told, I am ultimately not pleased with myself, either. So, being kind is a positive step outside of my self, or a step outside of my self-centeredness.

As I’ve said before, I do have the gift of being helpful—on occasion. It comes naturally to me. Usually. I especially want to focus on being kind to others. Surprise, surprise! I find I take the focus off myself. And, I put the focus on God and on other people, which is so beneficial to me and my continued journey with God.

This blog will incorporate my thoughts on my intentional service, but it may morph into something more. In fact, I hope so! Here’s an example. As a part of the launch of this blog, I sent out a message/email to a number of my friends and acquaintances yesterday.  I included this quote:  “If you have a great way of serving, please drop me a line and tell me about it. I’d like to list some tried-and-true ways to serve others on my blog site, too. I’m looking forward to hearing from you.” In this twenty-four hour period, the response has been amazingly gratifying, and quick!  A dozen ideas of how to serve others, and that’s just the beginning!

My heart was so warmed by this generous response that I decided today to have a weekly focus on one featured way of doing or being of service. I want to make Friday my focus day. (“Feature Friday,” anyone?) Stay tuned for ways to serve that have particularly touched my heart.


(P.S. I don’t know who took this photo, but I thought it was an awesome expression of being kind!)