Sunday, January 29, 2006

Altering a Community

I imagine most people think about the lottery and wonder, what if? It’s a fun game to play with endless possibilities based on which lottery of the week you envision winning or just dreaming about the ultimate lottery of mega millions.

My vision of that mega millions lottery would be to pay the taxes due, give my tithe to God, pay off our mortgage and any debts, help our children, and help our community.

My husband goes to work to earn a living and life goes on. We pay our taxes, make the monthly mortgage payment, tithe, do what we can to help the kids, and help our community all without winning that big one. We ride a Harley and as members of the Harley Owners Group, Mt. Baker Chapter, Bellingham WA, we have a great deal of fun riding and helping our community. We have an annual toy run each year to benefit the Blaine Chamber of Commerce Giving Tree. We have a benefit ride to raise money for our annual scholarship for a graduating senior in our county. We flipped hot dogs for Northwest Medical Teams to benefit Hurricane Katrina survivors. Our Ladies of Harley supports charities that assist women, children, and families in our county. We provide baby clothes, emergency food, diapers, and school and art supplies for The GRADS program allowing teenage mothers to complete their high school diplomas.

Larry and I also provide additional support to the GRADS program and I teach art classes to the girls and recruit other artists to teach. Larry is working with our church to write grants to help low income families in our county as well as helping other non profit organizations write grants.

When I started my blog there was a question you could answer or select another one. Well I kept clicking the button hoping the right question would pop up before it rotated and I had to start at the beginning, and there it was: Your hand has been replaced by a rubber stamp. What does it say? First thought in my head was, “In God We Trust.”

In church this weekend, Pastor Bob spoke about In God We Trust. What we have, what we own, everything is by God’s grace. We don’t own anything and we can’t take it with us. Everyone was given a sealed envelope and told not to open it. Across the front it read: In _________________ we Trust. We were asked to fill in our name in the blank spot. Then we were told that in the envelope was a $5.00 bill. We were not allowed to return it to the offering plate or buy a lottery ticket. Other than that we could do what we wanted with it. What Pastor Bob hoped is that we make an impact on our community. Individually, as a family, with friends, or with our small groups, Pastor Bob was giving each one of us what belongs to GOD and God trusted that we would use it wisely.

Pastor Bob encouraged us to email him on our decisions of how we used God’s money to help make an impact in our community to benefit those in need. We have almost 3,000 people who attended services each week on Saturday nights and Sunday mornings. That is almost $15,000.00 that we as individuals and church members have been entrusted with.

My first reaction was to put it back in the offering plate because it was not my money. When finding out I couldn’t do that, I thought of Salt on the Street. This program provides a sack meal to the homeless and ministers to them every Saturday evening no matter what the weather conditions. So the challenge was to use wisely what we have and make an impact in our county. Our church small group agreed to purchase jeans and sweatshirts to help the Salt on the Street ministry.

I would image that most people given $5.00 to spend that doesn’t even belong to them will then put in a like donation. Imagine what $15,000.00 or $30,000.00 or $45,000.00 can do in a small county in one week.

I read about those who win millions and then within several years they are broke. They squandered their money on frivolous things with no thought to the future.

I’ve already won the biggest lottery anyone can win. I have accepted Jesus Christ as God’s son, and my reward is yet to come.

Stretch it
See how far it will go
What do you get for it?
Is what you get
What you really want
You can’t buy
Or peace of mind
Will it last?
Will you regret it?
Will you wish
Upon a star
Make a bet
Play the lottery
Hedge your bets
Make a difference
In someone’s life
Make a donation
Soup kitchens
Women’s shelters
Use it wisely
No apologies
No guilt
No distress
What can you do?
With God’s gifts

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