Friday, June 29, 2007

Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous

"The LORD is a refuge for the oppressed,
a stronghold in times of trouble.
Those who know your name will trust in you,
for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you" (Psalm 9:9-10, NIV).

I want to share a few words from Ron Babbit's newsletter to his supporters. Ron is our preacher in the Contact Church of Christ. He has a way with words and a way with people. If you are investing in his ministry, you are investing well in the kingdom of Christ. He is one of the most effective ministers I have ever seen, and he works with people with some of the most difficult problems.

When I became involved in urban ministry, I had an idea that we would be a little soft on biblical teaching while emphasizing feeding and clothing. I had a seeker-sensitive mindset, fearing that people would be offended by a direct presentation of Christ's gospel. I also thought that people would be turned away by teaching biblical ethics. Ron Babbit and Frank Lott have shown me that I was wrong. We do meet a lot of physical needs among the poor of Tulsa, but we see many people who are looking for God and God's directions for living. Merely feeding and clothing them would be a terrible disservice to them and to Christ.

Last week, Ron preached about King David's sins against Uriah, Bathsheba, and God. In his sermon, he challenged our congregation to turn away from laziness, drinking, drugs, pornography, sexual immorality, and immodest clothing. He pointed everyone toward the forgiveness we need in Christ. At least six people responded, asking for help and prayers. God has gifted him with the ability to confront people in a way that assures them that he cares about them.

Here are just a few stories from his newsletter:

This last week a lady responded to the LORD and shared this letter. "My dear friends at Contact, I want to thank you for teaching me about faith, patience and how great the love of GOD is. Three months ago I had no income, no idea of where I would live when my lease was up, and where my next meal was coming from. Thanks to you all showing me GOD's way, I now have a wonderful home, all the food I could want and more chances to share GOD'S WORD than I ever imagined. I am so blessed by GOD's love and so very grateful to all of you at Contact for helping me through my pain and fear and for all the love you have shown me. Thank you."

This sister brought to Contact a lady who has been faithfully cutting herself. As I was on my knees listening to her story, I reached to touch her and noticed that her arms looked like a cutting board. Even the cutting doesn't tell the hurt inside her bones---the feelings of worthlessness, the loss and emptiness, needing someone who would listen and touch with the love of the LORD. Some of the cuts on her arm were fresh. Other cuts were a few days older, but the scars in her heart are deeper.

We praise GOD that someone brought her to the Contact family for prayers of encouragement and reminders of what she means to our GOD. It was a joy watching and listening as others shared with this lady about her worth, her importance, and her need to share her love with others...

Another precious sister who has been baptized into CHRIST continues to arrive for services. She has been homeless all of her life, that's all she has ever known. She might be 23-24 years of age. She told me she had been an orphan all her life (I can't identify with that). Always having a warrant out for her arrest, she couldn't remember a time when the police were not hunting her down. She needed guidance and thought she could find it in men. "I needed someone to love me for who I am, unconditionally and to tell me about GOD," she said. She was brought to Contact by a guy. She is now pregnant and he's not the daddy. She doesn't remember who the swinging dad is, so this cat dumped her. He's struggling. They both continue to come to Contact because they love the family of GOD...So goes the lifestyle of the rich and famous. Amen? We continue seeking to settle souls into the arms of our EVERLASTING FATHER.

No comments: