Those were Jesus' words, not mine.
You remember - - - the goats and the sheep gathered around the great throne and the goats received those horrible words, "I was naked and ye clothed me not, depart from me . . ."
But the sheep were told, "I was naked and ye clothed me, come, inherit the kingdom.
I've gotta be honest with you - - - I don't know how much clothing of the naked I've been doing.
Our new little church, Baker Street Community Church, which averages less than 100 on Sunday morning even counting the as yet unborn - - - is very aware of meeting the needs of the sick, naked, lonely, and hungry in our community.
We just celebrated a month of missions emphasis. Part of that celebration involved hanging of flags representing the various countries where we send money to support missions outreach.
The very first flag that was hung was our own, the Wisconsin Flag.
I thought to myself, "how appropriate!"
First of all appropriate because Jesus told his disciples they would be his witnesses in Jerusalem, Judaea, Samaria, and unto the utermost part of the Earth. Jerusalem represented their home town (Wisconsin Rapids) and Judaea was their equivalent of a state (Wisconsin). So FIRST we must minister to those AT HOME.
Secondly I found it very appropriate because I have been attending this church long enough now to KNOW that they take these words very seriously. I already knew they house the homeless on cold winter nights to take in strangers, participate in the community food pantry as well as maintain their own to feed the hungry, send out 4 groups to minister in nursing homes weekly or biweekly to visit the lonely, and keep a "Shepherd's Loft" to clothe the naked.
I've been challenged in my heart to find my place in these ministries. All it took to get involved was simply "raising my hand." My volunteering is my new "job," and I'm pretty sure it is what I am MEANT to be doing since I can no longer teach school.
Since January I've been teaching a KIDDs class on Wednesday nights. For a month and a half I've been going with a group to conduct a Sunday afternoon service in a nursing home. These two things have blessed my heart to no end - - - but that is the story of another post.
Last week I began volunteering three mornings a week in the Shepherd's Loft.
I help keep the shelves and racks well stocked as well as assist our customers. Some of them come in to randomly browse, others have several specific items which they need NOW.
Yesterday a lovely young lady came in excited because she had gotten a job after a long search. She'd just been hired as a waitress and needed white tops to wear for her uniform. She brought her darling little three year old daughter who was wearing great big white bug-eye sunglasses and a smile which matched the size of her glasses. How fun it was to help them scour the racks for white tops - - - we found 7. She's off and running on her way to being able to support herself once again.
Her first day on the job is today. I wonder how she is doing.
The Shepherd's Loft is very organized and well run. Above you can see our main shop floor.
This is the shoe room. Shoes neatly organized in boxes, the sides clearly labeled into categories like "Women Size 6."
This is David, another volunteer. He has designated himself "box boy." He not only brings in new boxes but helps us keep the filled, sealed, boxes organized.
This is one of David's neat box rooms. Each box is filled with items that aren't needed on the floor yet. They are clearly labeled (example: "Girls 6-12 Winter") before they are stacked.
Lately I've been boxing up winter things and bringing out summer boxes, unpacking them, and placing them where they go on the floor.
This is Josh. He's been volunteering every week day morning since long before we moved here. He knows most everyone by name and greets them with a smile.
Sometimes others drop by to volunteer their time. This is John, he was perched above our heads one day working on a wiring issue.
Tuesday, April 5, 2011
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How wonderful Keetha. We are studying Isaiah this year and just reading Chpt 58 this morning on proper fasting...the kind of service and not serving self. I am afraid I have been greatly failing in this area. Thanks for Godly confirmation.
Sounds like a great work is being done in your town. That is so encouraging to hear when there are so many churches I've seen falling down on reaching out to the local communities.
What a rewarding way to spend your mornings! I love it that so many are getting the clothes that they need! God provides:)
Enjoy your day my friend, HUGS!
Keetha, I have to be honest I am not big on organized religion but this little church seems like something I could get into if I lived there! When churches finally realize that it is by example not preaching holier than thou...that is what people want! Good for you and them!
Keetha this is great stuff!! It so reminds me of what I am now doing since not teaching also. It seems God has lead us down similar paths. So excited for you! Sounds like a great church
Keetha, I LOVE this post, the church you describe and your own volunteer efforts.
Keetha, What a great new "job" with such meaningful work, great colleagues and grateful clients.
Wow! M so excited to read about your church ministries. We have become serious in our church about ministering to local needs and in the past year have started, among others, a clothing ministry and it was great to see your pictures of yours. I can't wait to share this post with the lady in charge of 'Joseph's Coat!'. And thanks for the encouragement!
How wonderful.. It is a great thing you are doing. What a great ministry your church has and it is so good of you to volunteer.
Thank you for doing these great things
I love it! What a blessing people will never forget.
Fantastic! I just know that you are blessing the socks off of the people in that town. They're lucky to have you.
I love to see the church doing what we're supposed to do! Our church really needs to get involved in our community!
Ditto, to what they all said. We have a needy mission field all around us in these economic times and it sounds like your little church is doing a good work for the Lord! (and so are you.)
Thanks for sharing this good news.
I love that you're doing this. Yay! The heart of the gospel: loving others!
This post made me cry. I love it when we KNOW we are doing God's will for our lives. I love hearing that you are sensing a new direction for your life. I love the excitement & anticipation of waiting for God to show (us) what He has in store for us and to watch His plan unravel.
I hear & sense the compassion in your heart with these new adventures. I can't wait to hear more stories.
Love & Miss you here in Indiana!!
Love everything about this post! Love the Wisconsin flag hanging at church and what that means. Love the Shepherd's Loft. Especially love to hear that you are involved.
So rewarding. Thanks for sharing!
I don't think I have ever seen a project so well organized. What a wonderful thing your church does and how awesome that you are helping out.
Keetha, I love this post. If I am ever in your area, I'm going to church with you!
What a great ministry ... and much needed in these times. Is this in the basement of the church? It's been a l-o-n-g time since I've been there.
I want to volunteer there too! What a great ministry. Like Nancy, I too want to know where in the church facility it's located. With it's name being "Shepherd's Loft", it seems like it should be on an upper level!
Wow, look at all those clothes! And so organized! I'm way impressed. There used to be a similar ministry at my in-laws' church, but it sadly petered out because no one would take on the job of organizing things.
That is the most organized space I think I've ever seen!
So cool! You will meet some neat people, I'm sure!
Matthew Chapter 6, Verse 26, if we're not mistaken - "Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?".
Those mentioned in this post are the VERY BEST that humanity has to offer. x
Our love to you always.
Ruth & Jasper xxx
The Shepherd's Loft began on a few tables in our unused balcony...thus the name. Over what we now realize was a short period of time, it grew to be in two places of our church. Today the congregation sacrifices the fellowship hall for the sake of the community...but not for our own gain or without some pain...because ultimately we chose obedience to heed God's call.
I am so blessed by this post, encouraged by the comments, and reminded of our humble beginnings. Thanks to you all.
Yesterday we met with others in the city to find out that we will likely become the primary clothing source for the less fortunate in our community. God has blessed us with this opportunity to serve Him and I highly recommend we all heed His call! As assistant pastor of the church, I invite you ALL to visit if in the area, or check out our sermons on line: www.BakerStreetcc.org.
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