Last weekend I attended an Easter Celebration in a church that would see over 20,000 people worship in several services. Their central campus cost over $35 million. As I sat and watched the five screens of video, live band with speakers galore, lights and camera; my mind wandered to the week before when I spoke at one of our African churches with mud walls and a cow skin drum as the only instrument.
I asked ten different pastors of these small mud walled churches what they were preaching about. Each one smiled and said, “We’re leading up to Easter to have a great day of celebration!”
As I participated in the service in Atlanta, I began to think how we will worship in heaven one day. Band or not, songs from what era, choirs, not sure. I’m not sure what methods of worship we will use, but I know what the message will be: “Jesus is the King of Kings, the Resurrected One!”
“And they sang a new song:…from every tribe and language and people and nation.” Revelation 5:9
Even though this has been the warmest winter I can remember, the calendar shows us spring officially happens this week. The past few years we’ve had a bird build a nest on the wreath that hangs on our front door. It happened again last week. ”Mommy bird” has been resting on her eggs and in a few days we will have baby birds sending old school “tweets”.
The apostle Paul talks about becoming a “new creation”; “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” 2 Corinthians 5:17 I’m not sure if you’ve seen this in evidence in someone’s life or not. Time and time again we see a total change in people’s lives as they hear the good news, many for the first time. They leave their old ways and seek a new path.
If you look close at this African lady, you’ll notice several things. One she is blind. Another, her front six teeth on her lower jaw are missing. The missing teeth identifies her with the cult “Legions de Maria” which she followed for years. The other things you will notice is that she is worshipping in one of our CMN churches with mud walls. This widow lady shows up to worship at this church on Sunday, but comes back on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays to receive a meal through our K4K feeding program. (This picture was taken on a Monday.) Finding no peace in the cult, she became a believer and her world changed when our pastor shared the good news with her.
Just as baby birds come to life in the spring, those who find Christ really do become new creations! Don’t judge someone by the exterior of their past, they may be becoming all NEW!
Many people dislike Monday mornings due to rush hour traffic, work issues, end of a great weekend, etc. My Monday mornings changed dramatically two years ago. I was challenged for months in 2009 to feed hungry orphans and widows in Africa that we had seen for over five years. In February 2010 we began a ministry called Kare for Kids in Africa (K4K). We started with six of our churches then feeding some 400 orphans each Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
K4K has now grown to 36 of our churches serving over 4,000 orphans and widows (February 2012). Not only has the health of these people greatly improved, but we are amazed at how many adults come to see these feedings wondering how these little churches can afford to feed all these children and widows. As they watch, we have pastors who pray and share with them, leading hundreds to Christ each month.
The cost of feeding an orphan or widow is only $5 per month, but feeding 4000 costs CMN $20,000 per month. James 1:27 says, “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” (NIV)
Every Monday morning when I get up, it’s early afternoon in Africa and I know some 4,000 orphans have just eaten and there are several new believers because many people and churches assist CMN to live out James 1:27. Your Monday mornings will turn from “blahs” to “blessings” when service and giving becomes your priority!
___Phil Johnsey, director of CMN