I would never have guessed this would be my first blog post but, as I found out yet again, God has his own agenda.
Last Sunday, I stayed home from church nursing a cold and letting my girls get some much-needed sleep. For whatever reason, I spent some of that time opening a WordPress account, securing a domain name and messing around with WordPress. As is typical, I had a couple hundred other things I should have been doing but found this much more interesting.
As a bit of a back story, I have been attending the same local church since the mid-1990’s. I have always loved the atmosphere and the fact I could apply the messages from the pastor to my daily life. However, the last couple series of messages haven’t inspired me as much as before and the church’s current initiative, while very worthy, has left me less than energized.
The church is joining forces with an international non-profit to work for freedom for children all over the world suffering from human trafficking and slavery. The church is donating the entire offering received on Sunday, Dec. 19 and Friday, Dec. 24 to the organization. This is an amazing gesture as I’m sure the total offering will be more than $150,000.
However, I’ve struggled internally with our church sending all this money overseas when we have so much need in our local community. For example, within a 10-15 mile radius of the church, there are multiple “tent villages” with our homeless brothers and sisters sleeping out in the cold. Through my work at Goodwill, I hear daily about the tens of thousands living in poverty in our community. Shouldn’t we be making in an impact here — and, of all times, now while we’re fighting a three-year recession?!
For several weeks I’ve been feeling a push to visit Elevation Church’s new campus in Blakeney. So yesterday, I made the jump, attended my first service and knew God had placed me in the right place… at the right time. From the first notes of the opening song, I felt chills up and down my arms. Imagine my surprise a little later when Pastor Steven Furtick presented a check for $20,000 to the Matthews HELP Center as one of many contributions this week to local outreach partners. Just a small piece of the church’s $1.2 million they contributed to our local community in 2010.
Do I think it was a coincidence I was at Elevation to learn about the church’s impact on our community? Not a chance. Did I hear a passionate message about gratitude from Pastor Steven that I started applying to my life as soon as I walked out the church doors? Yes, I did.
I don’t mean this as a knock on my former church or even a blessing for Elevation. It’s really a testament that God has a plan for us. Every day. You just have to be willing to open your mind and your heart and listen. If you do, he’ll make sure you’re in the right place… at the right time.