Monday, March 16, 2009

Fruit of the Spirit

This is an account of my efforts to put into action what I learn while reading the Bible, an account of my journey to become closer to God.

In Galatians 5:22-23a we read, “The fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.”

I must admit, and joyfully so, I’ve been experiencing a lot of fruit recently:

One of the organizations I’ve told you about, the Children’s Restoration Network (CRN), a ministry that provides gifts and necessities to homeless children at Easter, the return to school season and Christmas, sent out a call for donations. They were short a good number of stuffed animals and books to complete the Easter baskets they were assembling to deliver in the coming weeks.

Jill and I agreed on how to respond and off to Wal-Mart I went. As I was checking out, and I alone am responsible for the carpal tunnel syndrome of the poor man who had to scan all those stuffed ducks, chickens and rabbits, a woman beside me commented on my buggy full of stuffed animals. It gave me a chance to tell her about CRN, and she mentioned how her church was working to involve its children in ministries in order to teach them from an early age the joy of serving others.

I asked about her church and it turns out it is a fairly new one that has opened not far from my home. This, in turn, gave me the chance to tell her about Unite, another organization I’ve written about, one which brings churches together in our city to work together as partners to combat social problems in our community. She was excited to hear about Unite, wrote down the contact information and promised to speak with her pastor about it. Perhaps another church partner for Unite? I hope so; I sure felt good talking to a stranger about both CRN and Unite, though.

I plan to profile CRN soon. Here are its and Unite’s websites:

Further, I wrote of Whirlwinds Missions last week. Since coming to know of their work, I’ve volunteered to work a few afternoons a month tutoring children after school in one of the Latin communities. I’m looking forward to that and the chance to learn a little Spanish! Here is Whirlwind’s website:

Next, I went to the Good Samaritan Health Center of Gwinnett to interview the Medical Director for an upcoming feature article on my church’s community outreach blog. I won’t say much now since I’d rather give you the complete article after it is written, but I will tell you that setting in the physician’s office, hearing of his commitment to serve the poor in spite of the sacrifices he had to make coming right out of medical school, choosing that ministry rather than a lucrative career first, really touched me. So I’ve agreed to volunteer there also in three capacities: to help with fund raising and recruitment of medical staff volunteers, and to serve myself as a volunteer counselor two days a month. These were all skills I once used for my own profit. I cannot look away from an opportunity to use them again but this time for good, for God’s work.

Here is Good Samaritan’s link:

And then I had lunch with the Executive Director of Street Grace, an organization combating the sexual exploitation of children. What a blessing that was! The Executive Director turns out to be a friend of mine from 30 years ago, one I haven’t seen since finishing my undergraduate degree. She was the last person I thought I’d cross paths with again, and certainly didn’t expect that to come from offering to interview the leader of this organization in order to tell its story. I’m going to tell you about Street Grace later when I’ve had a chance to absorb more about it. What was notable about our lunch is that when our meal was served, Cheryl asked me to say a blessing. I freaked; you know I have anxiety about public prayer. So I confessed this, and she wouldn’t let me off the hook. She simply bowed her head and waited. I had no choice, I said the blessing. And it flowed naturally from my lips, and it felt great! So I’m over it now, no more public prayer anxiety. Thanks Cheryl!

Finally, I’ve been asked to move the articles I write for the church blog onto BlogSpot so that they are more readily accessible to the general public, and to give our congregation the option of downloading the posts to iPhones or to receive notices of updates in their email. Way cool, and flattering too.

So in short, your prayers for me to find my way in my efforts to Live the Word are, I believe, being answered.

P.S. I’ve stopped asking God to tell me “Yes, volunteer here also” when he wanted me to, and instead have asked Him only to say “Slow down” when He thinks I’m doing too much. So far, I haven’t heard that, so full steam ahead.

Life is good!

Well, I guess that’s enough for today. Thanks so much for visiting my blog, and please pray for me and my family. Now go out and hug somebody!

1 comment:

Ginny said...

Life is good, Greg! And you are making it better for so many as you reach out with your heart, your hands, your voice and your written words. You continue to be in my prayers each day.