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May
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Creating Care

We look at this Son and see the God who cannot be seen. We look at this Son and see God’s original purpose in everything created. For everything, absolutely everything, above and below, visible and invisible, rank after rank after rank of angels—everything got started in him and finds its purpose in him. He was there before any of it came into existence and holds it all together right up to this moment. And when it comes to the church, he organizes and holds it together, like a head does a body. – Colossians 1:15-18 (Message)

I’ve recently been challenged to accomplish a new task.  I have been asked to develop…actually to design a program that is distinctive and at least to some degree, unique to the group I am serving.  As I am embarking on this project, I’ve been looking around at some other models and examples and I have discovered that there are not many ideas out there that are authentically original.  For example, in the world of technology, I hear folks talking about the i-Phone and what a genuinely unique and original idea it was.  Now, while I do admit that it is beyond a doubt very different from anything we have seen before in the field of communications and computer science, it remains, nonetheless an outgrowth of an ever emerging already existing technological concept.

As I launch out on my new role at Lifepoint Church as her Care Pastor, I have to confess that I began by asking the question, “How is that church over there doing it?”  Now don’t get me wrong; there is nothing inherently bad about examining other successful models and “borrowing” from their effectiveness.  I mean, the bottom line is and should be, “How may we BEST care for people.”  Frankly, it does not matter to me that someone else thought of it first so long as the people given into the hands of our church receive the maximum amount of sincere love, and compassionate care.  Also, if something has the greatest efficiency in accomplishing that goal, it doesn’t even matter if it’s “always been done that way.”  Honestly however, something in me is saying, “Don’t settle for what’s good enough or what seems to be working well for that church or organization or programmed method.”  If I am going to accept that no idea is truly original and I am going to seek inspiration from another source then I want to go to the BEST!  I want to receive guidance, direction, counsel and advice from a true model source of originality and success!

The Bible tells us in Genesis and other places in Scripture that our God created and made absolutely everything that has been created, ex nihilo, or “out of nothing.”  We also believe that before anything else existed, God existed as the one and only uncaused causer of all things.  This One God exists infinitely in the persons of Father, Son and Holy Spirit and that at the time of His choosing He came into His own creation in the visible bodily form of a man named Jesus.  In Jesus, our God displayed… made known… made visible, all of His concern, His mercy, His grace and His supreme, unconditional love for the pinnacle of His creation…humanity.   “This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.”

In terms of caring for others, how arrogant would it be to imagine that we might have a better idea, or conceive of a better plan, or develop a better program than the One who originally designed and perfectly modeled LOVE?  As one of Jesus’ disciples, Matthew was an eye-witness to His earthly ministry to people, and he wrote this example describing his Lord’s heart: “But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd.”  In the original Greek the phrase “moved with compassion” literally means that Jesus had a physical reaction of inward pain when He saw the state of suffering of the people before Him.  It made Him sick.  It made Him sick enough to move beyond sympathy to action.

There’s our model!  There’s the idea!  There’s the original plan!  JESUS!  God’s best idea of all of how to show that He really cares!  Our job is not to tell people what their problem is or even to fix their problems for them.  Our task is to compassionately care that they are hurting, they are suffering, that they are “weary and scattered, like sheep without a shepherd.”  Our responsibility is to live and walk and listen to and follow The Shepherd and as we do to wave our arms in the air to other sheep and say, “HEY!  Over here!  Here He is!  This is our Lord and He has extended an invitation to bring our burdens to Him!”  If we really care, we have to help others hear His invitation, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.”  Pointing people to Life…Pointing people to Jesus!  That’s how we show that we really CARE!

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