Volunteers Needed Tuesday and Thursday

This Tuesday and Thursday evening, from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm, we will be opening our church doors to the community to come and take advantage of the bounty of donations we received for the Twin Oaks Apartment fire victims. We have helped about half of those families and are in contact with the rest, so the remaining donations are being made available to anyone in need.

In order to make this possible, we are calling for volunteers this Tuesday and Thursday. On Tuesday the big push will be to organize everything between 10 am and 2 pm, so as many of you that can come during that time will be welcomed! Then Tuesday and Thursday night, from 4 to 7 pm, we need volunteers to help with handing out donations.

We don’t want to pass up the opportunity to be the hands and feet of Christ to our city! We encourage those of you that can to take advantage of this great opportunity to meet people from our community and embody Christ in this special way.

Community Clothes Distribution – Tuesday and Thursday Night

We have been able to help about half of the individuals and families displaced by the Twin Oaks apartment fire, and we know who the other half are and will be in contact with them. Even after we reach out to them, because of the community’s generosity, we have an incredible amount of donations left to give out.

In order to put these donations to good use, we are opening these up to the community this Tuesday (4:00 to 7:00 PM) and Thursday (4:00 to 7:30 PM). Please pass the word that we will be welcoming anyone who has a need for these items from our city and beyond. We have clothes, shoes, coats, blankets, as well as many other items. Additionally, Thursday we will have a special visit from Santa Claus himself!

Volunteers are welcomed on both days to help with the distribution.  Additionally, volunteers are also needed on Tuesday during the day, beginning at 10 am until around 2 pm, to help sort and arrange donations for Tuesday and Thursday night.

Regarding new donations, we ask that you call us first before coming by. We are not taking in any more clothes or small items, but we do have a list of needs from the families, which includes bigger items such as furniture. Our number is 816-380-4604.

If you want to make a monetary donation, you can do so through Hawthorne Bank in Harrisonville. The Harrisonville Ministerial Alliance has an account there and will be collecting funds to go towards those affected by the fire at Twin Oaks Apartment. You can also drop off checks written to the Harrisonville Ministerial Alliance at the HMA Thrift Store (1405 South Commercial St.) or here at the Nazarene Church this Tuesday or Thursday.

Helping Families Affected by Apartment Fire

(updated at 3:50 pm, 12/16/16)

Thank you for the outpouring of love from the people of Harrisonville! The Red Cross was here yesterday (Thursday) to give away vouchers for housing and food to the families affected by the fire, so we are not housing any at this moment.

What we need now is help getting the word out to the families affected that they can come to the Harrisonville Church of the Nazarene to get clothes, toiletries, coats, shoes, etc. In fact, the response from our community has been so overwhelming we are opening doors to other families in need of warm clothes and other items. Our church will be open for people to come and pick out things from 12-6pm on Friday and 9am-12pm on Saturday. If you can pass the word along that would be most helpful.

Here is a list of some specific needs right now: laundry detergent, toiletries (soap, shampoo, lotion, toothpaste, toothbrushes, razors for men/women), combs, brushes, hair ties, diapers (all sizes), baby wipes, towels, wash-cloths, dishes, pain relievers, reading glasses, new underwear (all sizes), bras (all sizes), Depends (XL), coffee, cat litter, cat food, cat boxes, laundry baskets, storage tubs.

As we work with the families over the next few days we will be making a list of needs and getting those out to people who can help. Feel free to contact us in the coming days to see other ways we can continue to provide support to the families. You can also contact our school district – they will know which families with children were affected.

Lastly, if you are wanting to give a monetary donation, you can give through the Harrisonville Ministerial Alliance.  Make a check out to the HMA and mark it “Fire Victims,” or stop by Hawthorne Bank in Harrisonville and let them know you want to donate for this cause.

Faith in Action – Giving Thanks!

Are you a dam or a river?

Some approach the purpose of the spiritual life as receiving and receiving and receiving blessings from God. Only then, when they are overflowing with these wonderful blessings of God, do the blessings flow out of them and into the lives of others. This is the Christian as a dam…only when you are completely full of God’s blessings can you bless others.

give-thanksHowever, for others, the spiritual life means allowing the blessings of God to flow through you. Like a flowing river, God blesses us so that we can bless others. This is the Christian as a river. The blessings of God must be held onto loosely, for we are never the end point of God’s blessings. We are therefore doubly blessed: we not only receive the blessings of God, but also the joy of being generous in sharing those blessings with others.

As I challenged you yesterday in worship, as you gather this Thanksgiving, take time to give God thanks for all the blessings he has given. Then take another step, reflect on all the ways God has used your generosity to bless others. Ask these questions…How am I investing my time, talents and treasure in the lives of others? How am I allowing God’s blessings and generosity to flow through me into the lives of others? As Paul writes to the Corinthians, “You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.” (2 Corinthians 9:11)

This Thanksgiving, are others thanking God because of your generosity?

Blessings,

Pastor Bill

 

Faith in Action – “Gain All You Can”

“Gain All You Can”Money Sermon Series - for HCN webpage

Very rarely does a preacher know every single eye in the sanctuary will be focused on on them. Yesterday morning was one of those moments. Each time I took another $10,000 stack of bills out of the bag, I could feel your gazes getting more intense.

Now, truth be told, I did not actually place $50,000 on the table in front of the communion elements. They were really stacks of $1’s, with one hundred dollar bills on the front and back (where in the world would the preacher get 50 grand in cash anyway?). But I got your attention, didn’t I? Cash has that incredible ability.

Which was the point of the illustration – money is a power. It motivates people like nothing else, except maybe hate. Money uses people, and creates incredible pain, suffering, regret, and disappointment.

Yet, in the bewildering Parable of the Dishonest Manager (Luke 16:1-15), Jesus calls us to something radical. Instead of trying to rid our lives of all money, Jesus calls us to use it. Yes, it is a power. Yes, it can cause incredible pain. However, God can redeem anything – even money.

Therefore, Jesus’ call is to refuse to serve money, instead use money for our good and the good of others. By stripping away the false promises of money like security and joy, we can instead embrace the true promises of God. When we find our security and joy in the Creator, we can use money for His kingdom and glory.

Therefore, work hard, work honestly, work at something good, and in the words of John Wesley, “gain all you can.” Then use that money for the good of your family and others. In so doing, you will conquer the power of money over your life, and know the joy that comes from being free to be generous.

What have you gained that God can use to bless others?

Blessings,

Pastor Bill

A Story from the Church at a Car Show

carshow for web-2014We had another wonderful Car Show yesterday. The weather was great, the cars were beautiful, the food was wonderful, and the worship service was very inspiring. Not to mention the horse rides, popcorn, and wonderful fellowship.

Thank you to so many people who work behind the scenes to make this outreach event such a success each year!

I would like to share just one story from yesterday. A young man approached me after the service and lunch to thank me for having the car show each year. He told me they are members of another church in town, but he comes to our car show each year because it is the only church service his father will attend. We have always known there are many people in the service who do not usually attend church, but this was the first time a Christian has actually thanked me, because we are sharing the Gospel with his father each year.

If you have an unsaved family member, what would you give in order to have them go to church at least once a year to hear the Gospel? If you do not have an unsaved family member, imagine what you would give in order to have them exposed to the Gospel each year.

That is just one story from one car owner from one Church at the Car Show. Imagine all the other stories that have never been shared. Nevertheless, if you have prayed for the Car Show, if you have volunteered to help at the Car Show, or if you have donated money or food for the Car Show, then you are an essential part of that story. You are part of the redeeming work of God in and through this church. And from a grateful pastor, let me say a big “Thank You!”

Blessings,

Pastor Bill

Compassion as Art, not Science

compassionart-compassionartAlmost twenty years ago, when I was ministering at a homeless shelter, I had to make an immediate decision about whether or not one of the men at the shelter could stay or would have to leave. The decision was one of those frustrating situations in which there was no clear “right” or “wrong” answer. I just had to act, and act immediately. As I made the best decision I could under the circumstances, I prayed “Lord, if this is the right decision, thank you, if not, then please forgive me.”

I remember that prayer, because it made me so uncomfortable (and still does). I like issues to be black or white, right or wrong. I like clear guidelines about exactly what is expected and how to deliver on those expectations.

However, this life we lead is rarely ever so simple. And what it means to be compassionate is rarely ever simple. Because, when you get up each morning, there is no telling what situations you will face that will require your compassion. There are no clear lists about who to help and how much to help. Much less how much to cry over other’s pain and how much crying is too much for your own health.

This is one reason why regular times of prayer and Bible study are so essential to the Christian life. We never know when a crisis will arise, when a life-changing decision might have to be made, or when we will be called upon to walk with someone through incredible pain. We cannot know all the right things to say, or have all the right answers ahead of time.

What we can have, however, is a tender heart open to the voice and direction of Jesus Christ. We can allow Him to guide and direct our thoughts, to inspire us to acts of great love, as well as to know what kind of help will be most beneficial to someone in need. As we regularly learn to hear God’s voice, spoken to us through scripture and prayer in the quiet times of life, we will also learn how to hear his voice clearly spoken to us in the chaotic times of life.

As Pastor Samuel preached Sunday, there is no set number of times you need to be compassionate this week. Disciples of Jesus Christ do not merely “do” compassionate acts, disciples are compassionate. What has being compassionate looked like in your life today?

Blessings, Pastor Bill

Alabaster Offering – Sunday, March 2

What is Alabaster?
The Alabaster Offering provides funds for property and buildings around the world. While we understand the church consists of the people of God and not a building, buildings erected for the purpose of ministry help provide a sense of permanence, functionally enhance ministry efforts, and convey an  attitude that the Church of the Nazarene intends to “put down roots.” Alabaster funds help provide land for many Work & Witness projects, and the entire Alabaster Offering goes toward the purchase of land and construction of churches, schools, medical facilities, and homes for missionaries and national workers.

We will be receiving this offering on Sunday, March 2nd. You can get an alabaster box in the church lobby, or simply come prepared to give on that Sunday morning service.

Blue or Blessed Monday?

blue monday_Welcome to Blue Monday!

According to researchers, today (the first Monday of the New Year) is the most depressing day of the year! Why? Because by now:
…all the Christmas and New Year’s parties are over
…people are going back to work and school
…you are realizing how deeply in debt you are after taking advantage of all those “great Christmas deals”
…you have begun to break your New Year’s resolutions.

If you are feeling blue this Blue Monday, then let me share with you a few words of encouragement, and invite you to see this instead as Blessed Monday.
From a Christian standpoint, today is just like every other day. “This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” (Psalm 118:24)
As Christians, regardless of work, school, credit cards, and New Year’s resolutions, we are invited to live in the incredible reality that we are created and loved by Almighty God. (John 3:16)
As Christians, we are not ultimately defined by job descriptions, school grades, or credit card balances. Our ultimate identity is found in the One who created us in His image (Genesis 1:27)
As Christians, our lives are not left to fate or chance or randomness, they are blessed by Divine love. “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)
As Christians, our hope is not in the temporary things of this world, but in the eternal blessings of the next. “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade– kept in heaven for you.” (1 Peter 1:3-4)
My prayer for you this Blessed Monday, (and actually every day of this year):
May you recognize the incredible love God has for you,
May you be open to the healing work of God in your life,
May you faithfully reflect the compassion of Christ to those around you
May you live, not in your strength, but in the strength of the Holy Spirit within you.

Blessed Monday!
Pastor Bill

Faith in Action – A Holy Busy-ness?

busyness

I rarely come across a person who describes their life as “slow.” For most of us, between church events, family events, school events, sporting events (and the list could go on and one), we are very busy people.

As I came into the office Monday morning exhausted (the universal pastor’s Monday morning experience) from a very busy weekend, I read an article that asked a strange question. Unlike many articles I read, it did not ask how busy I was as pastor, but asked how busy God is in my church. The author suggested the test of the church being the church is not how busy the pastor is, but whether or not God is busy among us.

So I thought a little about this past week.

  • I thought about the hundreds of pounds of food we delivered to the Bright Futures Food Drive to benefit the Shepherd’s Staff Food Pantry.
  • I thought about the two-hundred homes our twenty volunteers visited Saturday morning giving away batteries for smoke detectors and information about our church.
  • I thought about the dozens of people who gathered together Saturday night for the Heritage Preschool Fall Cookout, and the dozens of children being taught, loved, and nurtured through Heritage. Moreover, I was thankful for a preschool that does not just minister to children, but to teachers and parents as well.
  • I thought about the Aaron’s House Fundraising Banquet Sunday afternoon that gave God glory for three beautiful boys born to three courageous women this past year. I gave thanks for all the faces in the crowd from so many different churches who gave over $9,000 to continue Aaron’s House ministries this next year.
  • I thought about the jumping and yelling I did as Sean Smith ran an interception back 100 yards for the Chiefs! Oh, sorry, off topic…
  • I thought about the incredibly devoted church staff members I get to serve with who gave so much of their time and talents and treasure this past weekend to share God’s love with others and me.
  • I thought about the $1,300 we raised for Jessica Strickland’s ministry in Peru.
  • I thought about the privilege I have teaching and preaching God’s Word to a loving and encouraging congregation.

After I thought all these thoughts, I thought “thank you God, for being so very busy among us this last week.”