We are a part of something that is so big. We're a part of something that is pretty much the epitome of The Kingdom. I am humbled and stoked beyond what I can explain to be a part of a community... a church that is being The Church... and bringing The Kingdom into the world.
We are a part of something that we hope will become a radical culture of generosity in the people of Ridge Church. We hope it becomes a revolution (it's already revolutionary).
We launched our NOW Project. We want to "Give away a lot of time and money to people who can't pay us back and may never attend Ridge Church... FOR GOD'S GLORY."
(Actually, yesterday when I announced that from stage I'm pretty sure I heard some people cheer... like at a basketball game = "WHOOO!!!"... I could be wrong, but I think that's what I heard.)
We want to give away at least $10,000 to families in our area who can't afford groceries or pay their electric bill, etc...
We are also going to LOVE and SERVE the homeless in downtown Charlotte. We made bags that say "You are not forgotten" and we're stuffing them with winter survival kit stuff. We'll hand those out to hundreds of homeless peeps downtown. Plus we're feeding lunch to hundreds of homeless people on November 7th.
Our lead pastor - Chris Brown - did a series these past 2 Sundays called NOW. His talk yesterday is one of the best I've ever heard. He challenged us to attempt to "see as God sees." He talked about what John said in 1 John 3:16-18. Pretty strong stuff that I've never heard in church before & I'm betting you haven't either because most pastors wouldn't want to talk about this! Patrick's version of this passage would basically say "How can you say you love God if you're not taking care of the poor?" that's pretty hard core!
It was brilliant too! Chris set us all up with something none of us will soon forget. He "planted" a homeless man at the entrance of our church! so as everyone was pulling into Ridge Church there was a homeless guy standing there with a cardboard sign! pretty brilliant. It was awesome that a few of our Upstreet volunteers were scrounging the hallways for food and bottles of water to give to the guy. He ended up with like $50 in cash by the end of the day.
Chris brought him out on stage at the end of his talk. You should have seen all the heads of spouses and friends turning to talk to each other... "That's the homeless guy we drove past!" It was a crazy moment. Chris interviewed him about how he felt and how people responded.
It was a really amazing day and even more amazing to think that we are part of something... a revolution... that is rocking the world of the poor in our city.
If you've ever read the Bible you know how God sees the poor. I'm praying that we can all see the poor the way God does.
And then maybe when I'm old at least 2 things will be different in our world:
1) There won't be nearly as many poor people living right down the street from Christians.
2) Being radically generous and helping the poor won't seem so revolutionary... it will just be normal.
You can read Chris' thoughts on the NOW Project HERE, HERE, & HERE.