In the next section of Paul's letter to the Phillipians (his "partners" in the Gospel), Paul encourages them to follow his example of "forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead" (the "upward call of God in Christ Jesus", namely, the resurrection) and the joy-filled presence of our Lord Jesus Christ. With the end in sight, Paul encourages them (and us) to give our all, to run through the tape, to allow the Holy Spirit to fully form Christ in us both individually and together for the glory of God the Father. As we look at the corporate nature of this effort we realize the importance of everyone pulling together in the same direction as we consider what we might do together to reflect the light of Christ to our community. First, we must recognize our own individual communities that God is calling us to serve (our families, our neighborhoods, our workplaces, our local schools, etc); and, secondly, we must recognize, corporately, our church community...where God has planted us geographically and how we might bring Christ to the church's neighborhood. For The River, we believe that God is calling us to use our facilities to connect with children and youth in our east side neighborhoods, many of whom are fatherless and Fatherless. We believe providing a safe and inviting place (a gym) with safe and inviting people (mentors) is a vital combination to bring the Good News to our community. To finish the facility part of the vision requires a big stretch financially. So far 1/10 of our $70K goal has been pledged and/or given. How is God calling you to stretch and strain to provide the funds to make this happen? May we all act in faith, generosity, and sacrifice, as we keep "straining forward to what lies ahead" and extend our hands of welcome and help to those who are looking for it. Stop and pray about it. And give by faith what God lays on your heart...for His glory and your joy!
Grace and peace,