This blog is one of the ways I get to brag about my friends.
On Friday night I met with our San Pedro lead team. We had some good pizza, pasta, salad, and conversations. It was mentioned at that meeting that we should try to go out to bless our neighbors before the 4:30 p.m. worship service. Reason being—the sun would still be out and they wanted to invite our neighbors to worship with us at 4:30 p.m.
I thought it was a good idea and wanted to eventually make the adjustment, maybe in February, but they asked if we can make the adjustment right away. We contacted everyone on our e-mail list to let them know.
A team left at 3:30 p.m. to go and bless the neighbors. Some of them invited someone who was passed out drunk on the street corner to come join us for worship. He was a little droopy but stayed for the entire worship service. They also felt led to lay hands on a recovery home and just bless all those who were living there. Someone stuck his head out the window and said, “Look! They are praying for us! That’s awesome!” Our goal is to bring joy and peace to the city!
We met for worship at 4:30 p.m. and it was heavenly as always. There is something really special about being in a room with people who love God and are expressing their love all at the same time.
After the singing time, we asked if anyone who went out at 3:30 p.m. wanted to share a report of something cool that happened in the last hour. Tiffany was nominated by the others on the team: She got up and joyfully shared with us how she was way more blessed than anyone that they talked to. She deeply felt God’s love while walking the streets and conversing with broken people. Tiffany is a really sweet person and a super volunteer at our church. She was at church all morning and afternoon in Torrance and still made it to San Pedro in the late afternoon. She really has a beautiful heart and inspires me to love people.
Then she invited Peter to come and share something from their time on the streets. He told us about a lady he met who had kids in the foster system. As a father, it really broke his heart to see families separated like that. I’m sure this person who Peter engaged in conversation with felt deep compassion from Peter and felt the power of his prayers.
The evening service ended with Brit and Anthony (and their newborn, Sarah) leading us all into prayer for San Pedro. It was really a heartfelt time!
Well, maybe it was that 3:30 team that got the rest of our group all fired up, but for some reason about 25 of us decided to head back out to bless our neighbors even after our worship service. So they walked the streets. (I had my wife and daughter with me, so I was trying to be sensitive to them, since we were literally out doing ministry and leading meetings from 9 a.m. and now it was already 6 p.m., and my wife is very pregnant.)
Anyhow, while I was not able to go out, even though my heart wanted to, I know that our team made such a difference that night. I got text messages of all kinds of great stories! They ended up going to an area where many live in tents and led a worship service right there! They ran into the same lady Peter ran into, and as they just sang songs with her, they said that tears rolled down her face. This team was out there for almost two hours.
The next morning, I got another text from someone who was there for those two hours and he was sharing with me that he really saw how much people just need God’s love, and that we as a community need to continue to cultivate that love (individually and corporately), because that’s what this hurting world really needs. I can’t agree more.
People at Jesus Center are really catching God’s heart for San Pedro.
I’ve been teaching on how we need to continue to sow kindness. Kindness is more than being nice and polite, it’s being helpful and generous. It’s doing what you don’t have to do, just because you want to do it! Even though people may take advantage of kindhearted people from time to time, it’s still better to be kind than a jerk. We will have a better life and afterlife, a more prosperous soul, and better relationships when we choose to sow kindness. The Scriptures promise that those who sow kindness will reap a harvest of blessing! If you have been tempted lately to no longer be kind, I hope you reconsider. Kindness will always be rewarded! You don’t always reap where you sow, but you do reap what you sowed.
I have been asking God to make me an embodiment of His kindness. I have a ways to go. Yet, I believe that our church —Jesus Center — will be known for our kindness! Not just because we want to harvest blessings (even thought that’s guaranteed), but because we have become transformed by the heart of God.