Nursing Home Ministry

Nursing home ministry is not just something nice or a little extra side line for the church to investigate. Nursing home ministry is in fact an expression of the very heart of the Jesus Christ. In Matthew 25 Jesus talks about how we treat him in places like prisons, sick beds, orphanages and other places of abandonment and suffering. When we as His church consistently remember the importance of a true commitment to include such places in our outreach we may not get much notice in this world; but we will make the headlines in heaven! If we choose to allocate our church budget and sacrificially give of our time in order to value those whom Jesus values we will never regret it in eternity. Here in this small book is the compilation of more than 25 years of experience given as a guide, an encouragement and a call to action for those who are willing to hear.

When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me  Matthew 25:38-40

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Nursing Home Ministry – The Heart of Jesus Christ

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All things

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.
Romans 8:28

This was a bad week for us from our small perspective. One close friend died and we got news that another couple we loved were getting a divorce. Then yesterday I was in terrible pain from a small workplace accident. We were talking about going to the emergency room but decided to pray and wait for morning. My plans seemed to have come apart and yet as my wife prayed for my badly bruised ankle a peace overtook me. In spite of all I am overwhelmed by gratitude for the life God has given. Today is the day we celebrate the birthday of our oldest son! We have each other still though 44 years to pray together as we pass through deep waters. Just like you I do not understand in the heat of my painful moments why God would allow it to happen like this but he does and then works it all together for good. Just like a corn field needs someone to plow it up then disk it down. Someone has to turn the earth upside down before it can look  good right side up! God is still and always so good!kimg0340.jpg

What will they See this Thanksgiving?

In the gospel of Luke we find a story about 10 lepers who came to Jesus for help. They are a lot like people in our neighbors today. They knew that Jesus cared about their needs and has the ability to help. These 10 men also were ready to  immediately do anything that Jesus asked.

Luke 17:12-15

Then as He entered a certain village, there met Him ten men who were lepers, who stood afar off. And they lifted up their voices and said, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!”  So when He saw them, He said to them, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And so it was that as they went, they were cleansed. And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, returned, and with a loud voice glorified God

Jesus had made an impression on people because they knew that He was willing to touch lepers and that He had the power to help them Because of how Jesus ministered He was continually surrounded by people longing to get close. Some wanted to touch Jesus, others hoped just to see Him and still others sat quietly listening to what He had to say. It must have looked a little bit like a hospital emergency room. People were lined up waiting to be seen. Others brought their loved ones and family to Jesus. He was constantly presented with opportunities to demonstrate the love of God.

Sadly our local church today bears a distant resemblance to the ministry of Jesus. Too often we seem to function more like an understaffed medical clinic. Sick people still show up regularly but they find few people around to help. Our nurses are out on strike for a better benefits package and our doctors are having coffee together reviewing their retirement program. When folks press their nose against the glass and look inside the office they hear the sounds of a business meeting called into session to discuss how to reduce the number of sick people allowed in! If any hospital functioned like our churches they would quickly find themselves in court. The front page of the paper would be filled with angry headlines. The 6 o’clock news would begin with a lead story demanding immediate change to how that medical facility functioned. nepal-and-india-260

So as we approach this Thanksgiving let’s consider what we can each do differently. The world has as much need as it ever did. Do our altars act more like walls to keep folks off the podium rather than a meeting place for prayer? God  is still willing to cleanse. Jesus is still ready to heal. He still welcomes the sick, the blind and the sinner. They are outside looking in our windows. What will they see this Thanksgiving?

 

Did Jesus come to end poverty?

“For Mother Teresa, poverty and sickness were gifts that provided the opportunity to develop one’s connection with God. Her mission was not so much to alleviate suffering but to ensure it happened within a framework of religious belief.”    George Gillett from The West’s big lie about Mother Teresa in Salon Magazine January 3.2016

In his article,Mr. Gillett takes issue not only with the “saintliness” of Mother Teresa in specific, but also with what he sees as questionable motives in all Christian missions and charity. He asks some hard and some very pointed questions about poverty, suffering and why Christians see value in the spiritual side of their work. Initially I was offended by his seemingly heartless attacks on Mother Teresa. Then as I paused to reflect I realized that his opinion as expressed in the article was really only another voice in the growing secular chorus of doubts as to the purpose of Christian work around the world. Criticizing Christian charities may have become popular because it gives people a politically correct sense of moral outrage. But maybe it would be better if we can all take a breath and ask ourselves why poverty is a wrong to be righted and just what should be done to deal with it.

Going to the Bible’s account we find that Jesus was all for us giving to the poor. When he was approached by the rich young ruler and asked about eternal life Jesus said,

If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.            Matthew 19:21

Jesus absolutely saw great value in a no strings attached giving to those in need. But coupled with that command was a higher call, “Come,follow me” Alleviating suffering was only a part of life’s journey, but the goal was farther up the road. Life’s purpose could only be discovered after giving, if we take up our cross and follow Him.

When a man came to Jesus who asked Him to to judge fairly about the division of wealth, Jesus responded quite differently than a person who simply aims for social justice.

And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth  Luke 12:15

In Jesus’ view, the central issue of life had less to do with economics and everything to do with relationship to God – the creator of life. No amount of money, education or ability could compare to the value God placed on a single strand of hair on our heads.Nepal and India 260

The mission of Christian work will always minister to human suffering wherever it is found, but success cannot be measured by meals given or vaccinations administered. Success is when a single human heart is awakened to the immeasurable love of God. While the world all around us seems continually to demand we do, say or give something of value, God comes to give true worth. The worth God has placed in us can only be measured by the sacrifice of His only Son on the cross. He sees beyond our small horizons of pain, poverty and hurt and looks to the finish line of this life and into the vast reaches of eternity safe and warm at His side.

 

 

Mr. Nice Guy & Jesus Christ

“Jesus didn’t just die for nice people to make them even nicer…”         Pastor Steve BrownP1010180

A friend of mine once said, “I believe there are only two kinds of people in the world, good people and bad people” I replied. “But we don’t believe that at all. We believe we are all bad people but God can forgive us.”

“You’re trying to convert me!” she responded with a smile.

“Oh, yes I am ” I replied

On the night that Jesus was betrayed, the Bible tells us that Jesus took bread and wine and shared it among his disciples. He wasn’t doing that because they had all finally arrived at some kind of Holy perfection. In fact, that very night, Peter would deny him, Thomas would doubt him and everyone of them would run away and hide.

No Jesus gave us the bread and the cup to remember his death – for us- until He returns. No matter how bad the world gets and no matter the violence we face or deception of religious people who murder innocent lives for their God, Jesus love is still greater. God’s forgiveness is still more powerful. The cross of Jesus Christ will always be greater than anything in heaven or earth!

But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.                         Romans 5:8 KJV