Thanksgiving is around the corner. One of the ways that we demonstrate that we recognize that all our blessings are from God is to share them with others. This month we will be thinking about three ministry needs in our community. Orphan Care
Every Sunday in November we will be praying for a different child to be adopted. These children are also featured on a poster in the main hallway of the church. The Scriptures are clear on what our attitude towards orphans should be. James writes, "Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world" (1:27). The word "visit is broader than simply paying orphans a visit. The essence of the word means "to pay attention to in a tangible way." As Christians we are all called to ask ourselves seriously what we can do to help the orphan. Praying, giving, adopting, serving as foster parents, and being child advocates are all ways that we can help.
You may be saying, "I am too old too adopt!" Actually, many of the children free for adoption in the Tri-State area would be well suited to older individuals and couples. There are young people in their late teens who desperately desire to have a mother or father (or both) involved in their lives. On December 2nd, Jim Weaver will address a joint Session of Sunday School on how you can help children in the foster care system in DE. God calls us to have his heart toward the orphan. Let's humbly ask for His heart, and ask for hands and feet to follow through in practical ways.
Sunday Breakfast Mission
We will also be thinking about the ministry of Sunday Breakfast Mission. SBM is one of the oldest missions in the country. It is an historic ministry whose gospel flame still burns brightly among us in the Newark-Wilmington area. It used to be that many of us at EP did not come into close contact with friends or family who are homeless or facing the threat of homelessness. That reality is changing somewhat, as the economic downtown has worked its way into every segment of the population.
SBM provides a tangible way to support the larger body of Christ to minister to homeless men, women and children. SBM also has a long term residential program for men who need the structure and consistency of a Bible based curriculum to return them a place of spiritual health and productivity. Please bring canned goods for SBM, remember them in prayer, and visit their website to learn how you can serve onsite in Wilmington.
God has blessed EP with a thriving international ministry. Most international students never see the inside of an American home. Please consider opening your home to a student over Thanksgiving. You may be thinking, "Thanksgiving is a family day. It's not the time to invite in other folks." We have hosted internationals on holidays before and found that inviting others into our family made the day more special. It reminded us that we are a Christian family. It gave a practical way to live out what was on our hearts. It feels good to express thanksgiving to God by sharing a small part of what he has given with others. It was also a blessing just to get to know the students. These students are the future leaders of their countries. They have fascinating stories. Internationals are often open to the gospel (if they are not already Christians). It is refreshing for Americans to meet someone who is interested in learning about the gospel. If you can host students or support the international ministry of our church in another way please call the church office and you will be directed as to the best place serve.
This month God has provided many opportunities for us to not only declare our him a the giver of all good gifts, but to live as though we are stewards and not owners of his blessings. As Paul writes, "I say this not as a command, but to prove by the earnestness of others that your love also is genuine. For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich" (2nd Corinthians 8:8-9).