Hello good people,
This past Sunday I shared about the origins of the Lords Supper, which we celebrated together. I did a brief overview of the Old Testament Passover followed by the sacrifices done in the Temple and then ended with our perfect sacrifice; Jesus and how similar they all were together. What some have asked me about was the main scripture.
Matthew 13:24-30 ERV
Then Jesus used another story to teach them. Jesus said, “God’s kingdom is like a man who planted good seed in his field. That night, while everyone was asleep, the man’s enemy came and planted weeds among the wheat and then left. Later, the wheat grew, and heads of grain grew on the plants. But at the same time the weeds also grew. Then the man’s servants came to him and said, ‘You planted good seed in your field. Where did the weeds come from?’ “The man answered, ‘An enemy planted weeds.’ “The servants asked, ‘Do you want us to go and pull up the weeds?’ “He answered, ‘No, because when you pull up the weeds, you might also pull up the wheat. Let the weeds and the wheat grow together until the harvest time. At the harvest time I will tell the workers this: First, gather the weeds and tie them together to be burned. Then gather the wheat and bring it to my barn.’”
I used this in the beginning and for some, it was never mentioned again. As a Bible teacher, you don’t want to do that. Yet within my talk, I hoped that we would understand that we live among weeds, today. This is the land where we have been placed. We are not called to remove ourselves but to live for God while we are here. In Egypt and the Israelites story, the Israelites were removed only by and because of the Hand of the Lord. As believers, we too will be removed. One day. By His Hand.
So as we live among other wheat and weeds, how will we live? Will we be personally removed and stand aside and have no relevancy with what surrounds us? Or will we live and be welcoming and be hospitable, be nice? We are not being oppressed by what surrounds us, we are being challenged.
Our church supports many ministries. Because we support many ministries and causes we tend to have peaks for some that highlight national awareness of a cause. One ministry we support that has some Crosswalk volunteerism is Help One Child (H1C.) This weekend they will lead us in reflecting with the nation about Orphan Sunday.
Help One Child’s director of operations Valerie Crane and husband Matthew Crane who leads College Golf Fellowship, have made Crosswalk their church home since earlier this year. Valerie has had a great impact within H1C and is determined to better the foster care system within Santa Clara County by assisting the foster parents with basic needs. This Sunday she will be leading a brief explanatory session regarding a new ministry tool that enables anybody to get involved in doing this. I have asked her to give a brief introduction to what the foster care system is facing so to challenge us to act. I do hope that you would interest yourself to see how easy and effective your investment of time would have on families in need of some help. Some basic help.
There are some scary statistics surrounding foster care and the children and youth entering the system. For starters, there are over 1,300 foster kids in Santa Clara County with less than 250 active foster families. Half of the 1,300 are over the age of 12 and will languish in residential group homes until they age out of the system at 18 or 21. There are countless ways for the church to get involved and to help be a shining light to these kids. I am excited Crosswalk is dedicating time and service opportunities this Orphan Sunday to help shed light on this current crisis and to discuss the need in our own backyard.
Before you start thinking this sounds like too big of a commitment, let me ask you this, would you be willing to receive an email? With the launch of a new software platform child welfare workers will uncover the needs of hurting children and families in our community enabling the church to respond to each real-time opportunity.
I know you are busy; we live in Silicon Valley after all. The thing is, we have been given the same 24 hours a day as everyone else in the world at any point in history. And just as people throughout time made decisions of how and with what to fill their days, we also have the responsibility to make that decision. Would you choose to lift up a child and/or family in need and help share the gospel with them? If we don’t, these are the current statistics that will never change.
· More than 50% of foster youth are unemployed after emancipation.
· In California, 65% of youth leaving foster care do so without a place to live.
· 70% of the California prison inmates have spent time in foster care.
· 71% of girls emancipating from the foster care system will be pregnant by the age of 21.
· 26,000 youth age out of the foster care system each year.
· 60-70% of native-born human trafficking victims are foster youth or group home runaways.
This Sunday we will have two opportunities for you to take the first step:
· Visit Jen and adopt a child this holiday season by purchasing their Christmas gift wish.
· Join me for tacos and an orientation after second service to discuss how we can practically be involved in loving our neighbors and community.
Let us be known for valuing life and for investing in those whom the Father has called us to love, whether they are with us for a moment or a lifetime. Thank you for joining me in recognizing the fatherless this weekend!