Monday, December 15, 2008

weekend giving

You know what's inspiring? Giving. It inspires me to see other people give. You know why? Because it is in giving that I most see God. Remember God so loved the world that he GAVE! Remember Jesus GAVE his life. Remember the Spirit GIVES us direction and comfort. If God is the ultimate giver (and He is) then I saw glimpses of God through the giving of my church family this weekend.

For the last month i have seen people carry coats, food and toys into church on Sunday mornings (sometimes I watch from my office window as I prepare to preach) to give away. We estimate (always dangerous for pastors, but here it is) that there were somewhere between 50 and 70 thousand dollars spent on this project (3,000 toys, 2,000 coats, tons of food - yes tons).

Then on Friday night, hundreds gathered in our auditorium for a meeting on how to serve. We were out by 9:15 and under-resourced people were lining up at the door by 10:00 p.m. for the doors to open at 7:00 a.m. Hundreds (yeah, someone counted) spent the night at our church doors. By 6:15 over 700 Eastview volunteers showed up to serve - and that's what they did for over 5 hours. They loaded groceries, prayed, served food and coffee and hot chocolate (lot's of hot chocolate), played with kids, did crafts, translated, encouraged, registered, took care of all those who had shown up with needs. When the day was over, more than 600 families were served representing over 2,000 people! I was moved to tears many times.

So, that's it right?! Nope, on Sunday we had our special offering for the finish of Turn the Page (our capital campaign that is almost over). Our goal was $500K and many were skeptical that we'd get a fraction of that. I was moved to watch people walk forward during our worship on Sunday and put their gifts in the offering. You want to know the total we received? Over $300K and counting. This was on top of our general giving and it was a blessing from God! I'm so inspired by that. And giving continues. We still have 16 days in this month and checks are still rolling in. I'm not sure where it will stop, but we'll celebrate it on our special worship service the 28th. It's going to be amazing. God has given so much and he has used you and I to do continue to give for His purpose.