I’m on day 437 of a read-the-Bible-through-in-a-year program.
I’ve recently finished First Kings, the end of which tells the story of Elijah on Mount Carmel. For those of you not up on that tale, I’ll recap it here. Elijah had prayed that it wouldn’t rain. And it didn’t. For three years. Then he challenges the false prophets of the false god, baal, to a show down on Mount Carmel. 450 of them show up and beg baal to light a fire on the wood they’ve piled up. They even dance and cut themselves.
When nothing happens, Elijah taunts them and then takes his turn. He commands servants to bring water, a most precious commodity in a three year draught, and pour it on the wood. Then they dig a trench around the pile and the water fills that up. Then Elijah prays. BAM! Fire from heaven. It burns up the wood, it vaporizes the water. It demonstrates real power, real authority, genuine sovereignty.
And I wondered, again, why Elijah poured water all over the altar. But this time I realized it was about making what was to follow even more impossible in the human perspective.
At the Ministry Center we constantly wade through what seems possible and impossible. And in the Storehouse too.
Jesus had something to say about the impossible. All three synoptic gospels tell the story of the discussion about wealthy people and heaven. In at least one case, he’s been talking to a wealthy fellow and suggested that he give away all he had. Then there’s the whole “camel passing through the eye of a needle” thing. Jesus senses their dismay with the entire concept and finally says, “With man this is impossible, but nothing is impossible with God.”
And of course, my fleshy heart reads that as anything I want to do that I think would please God is possible. There is not enough paper for me to journal all the experiences when I’ve gotten out ahead of Jesus, doing something that He never asked me to do, something that is absolutely not my part.
But we believe the Storehouse is a gift from God. It’s His. And we get to join Him in His work there.
And we wonder what’s possible. And impossible.
Recently, I talked with Spring about our Storehouse work. She shared her dream that the Storehouse would be a place where our clients could learn better life skills and make steps toward self-sufficiency and independence. And I’ll just tell you. Straight up. It sounded like more work. On top of a lot of current work.
But an honest evaluation of my time revealed that I would much rather straighten our warehouse than get out and forge relationships with strangers and talk about how their resources can empower our clients to reach these two goals.
So on Monday, which will probably be my forge and discuss day, I visited Jacqueline at DHS. I was there to talk about SNAP applications. “Sure, I can come,” she said. “How about Thursday?”
This new friend isn’t a paper-gatherer. This lady can make things happen, pull the trigger, produce outcomes. “If you can give me a semi-private space, I can interview applicants there at the Storehouse.”
Yesterday, I was busy when she arrived and didn’t know she was already there. I greeted her and learned she hadn’t seen anyone yet. Well, this was stupid, I thought. No one is going to fill out an application. I’ve asked her to come here for nothing.
I stepped out into the waiting room and hollered something about SNAP applications. One client took a clipboard.
Later, I was outside and ran into a client who had gotten to interview with our guest from DHS. She was ecstatic. “I’m a cancer survivor. I’ve got this colostomy bag,” she said, patting her abdomen.
“I’m on disability (probably in the $700 range) and now I’m going to get benefits to cover what I’ve been paying. It will mean an extra $300 each month!”
I got a moment with Jacqueline before she left for the day. “I interviewed eight. (That’s 10% of our clients!) Six of them will start receiving benefits as early as tomorrow. I think someone from my office should be here every week.”
And what the Holy Spirit has just taught me is that until I am willing to take the hand of Jesus and step with Him into what seems impossible for me, I will never know the breadth of what is possible for Him.
Jesus, I believe. Help my unbelief!
We are currently percolating on having nursing students from UCA in our waiting room to conduct basic health screens, cooking demonstrations by someone from the County Extension Office and cooking classes through the United Way. Flu shots, among others, will be available for our clients starting in October because of the incredible goodness of our friends right across the street at Walgreens. And today, I will talk to a new friend at Baptist Hospital about the possibility having the Mobile Health Unit in our parking lot on some of our serve days.
“Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.’”
Yesterday was a great day. We served 84, and registered 86. When we only lost two registered clients, that’s a great day.
Candy disassembled and reassembled our heat sealing machine. And in between those tasks, I spent fifteen minutes on my knees around her looking for a tiny spring which she eventually found.
We picked up for the first time at Hendrix since school let out in May. Fried chicken and steak as well as garlic mashed potatoes.
No one passed out, but we did send one young woman to CVS to get her blood pressure checked. I realized later that I forgot to tell you that the client who passed out last week came fully to, explained that this event happens occasionally at home, and then stayed and shopped!
We had apples and potatoes and onions, which had come to us free from the Food Bank.
Seventeen of our clients, just about twenty percent, were brand new to the Storehouse.
And we loved and prayed over the People That Jesus Loves.
But this morning, I began preparations for serving next Thursday. And it seems, well, impossible.
Would you like to participate in the accomplishment of something that seems impossible?
Just take the hand of Jesus.
I am the Storehouse Director and get the privilege of writing about the people that Jesus loves.
Contact Mike Rush at firstname.lastname@example.org for all things "Volunteer".
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