This week, Pastor Steve concludes his Easter series titled “Journey Through John.” Join us as we look at the radical, passionate love of Christ and the impact that it has had and continues to have on so many Christ followers.
Welcome back as Pastor Steve continues his Easter series titled “Journey Through John.” In this week’s message, we look at the effort or work that one must often undertake in order to be healed.
Be sure to follow along this Easter season with our Lent reading plan.
This week, Pastor Steve begins his new Easter-themed series titled “Journey Through John.” The first message in this series focuses on John the Baptist, a pretty great guy sent by God to bear witness of His truly Great Son.
Be sure to follow along this Easter season with our Lent reading plan.
This week, Pastor Steve concludes his series on the Tough Choices facing a Jesus follower and why we most constantly strive to initiate contact with those who have not yet discovered the joy found in a relationship with Christ.
This week, Pastor Steve continues in his series on the Tough Choices facing any individual who desires to follow Jesus and what it means to honor others.
Week’s Scripture: Matthew 25: 31-40 (NLT)
31 “But when the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit upon his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered in his presence, and he will separate the people as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will place the sheep at his right hand and the goats at his left.
34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. 36 I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’
37 “Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing?39 When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’
40 “And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’
This week, Pastor Steve continues in his series on Tough Choices facing a follower of Jesus and what it means to put yourself out for others.
Week’s Scripture: Luke 9: 23-27 (NLT)
23 Then he said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross daily, and follow me. 24 If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. 25 And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but are yourself lost or destroyed? 26 If anyone is ashamed of me and my message, the Son of Man will be ashamed of that person when he returns in his glory and in the glory of the Father and the holy angels. 27 I tell you the truth, some standing here right now will not die before they see the Kingdom of God.”
This psalm is a communal psalm of thanks calling Israel to praise God for God’s abundant blessings. Israel has always been blessed to be a blessing to the surrounding nations and the rest of the world. Abram is called to leave his own land and go to the Promised Land where he is to be a blessing (Genesis 12:2).
As sons and daughters of God we are blessed, and God calls us His beloved children. But often as Christians we give thanks for God’s blessings, but we don’t use these to bless others. We keep looking inward and become spiritual navel-gazers, hoarding God’s blessings for our own safety and security. In Exodus 16, after God has rescued them from Egypt, the Israelites complain about their food. So God provides just what they need for each day—manna and quail. But what happens if they gather too much food and hoard it? The food rots. God is teaching them to not hold onto their blessings.
What do we do with our blessings? For example, what about those coveted tax returns? I know I’m already thinking of all the things we need for our new house—a new washer and dryer, a new fridge, new light fixtures, and on and on. These things aren’t bad in themselves, but what if we thought about how we could support others first? How could we use our assets and talents—physical and spiritual—to bless others? How can our house, our car, our time, our talents, and our financial resources be a blessing? The Church is meant to be a blessing to the world– God’s hands and feet. When we turn inward and focus on ourselves, however, we get de-formed and we rot from the inside out. Yet, we don’t have to live in fear of not having enough. John tells us,
“Perfect love casts out fear… ”(I John 4:18). What if we opened our hearts and homes and churches to those who are different from us– the foreigners and strangers, the homeless, and the addicts? What if we tried to get to know and then served our neighbors and co-workers who look different from us? For our wedding, my wife chose the song, “Make Me a Servant,” as our final hymn to remind us that our marriage was to be a blessing to others.
May that be our prayer today!
Prayer Song for the Week: “Make me a servant, humble and meek/Lord, let me lift up those who are weak/And may the prayer of my heart always be:/Make me a servant, make me a servant, make me a servant today.”
Bridging the Gap is an inner city weekend sleepover where each person is immersed into the realities of Memphis poverty, education, and homelessness through back-to-back hands-on experiences, interspersed with reflective debriefing, reflection on scripture, and teaching. We each have assumptions about those we consider to be poor, often without thinking through what it even means to live a life with limited resources, in unsafe neighborhoods, working minimum wage jobs. During this weekend, we hope that will change…
What: Join us for a weekend of experiential and scriptural learning about God’s heart for those who are poor and how as followers of Christ we are called to love and respond.
Who: Those who are ready to go deeper into the depths of love for their neighbors, rich or poor, black or white, homeless or sheltered.
Where: Though we will mostly be out and about in the city, our overnight accommodations and some other activities will be at the Smith Center (where Jacob’s Well meets), at 602 Looney Ave.
When: We will set a date that works for you and others interested in the Spring of 2018. We’ll meet in the parking lot of Christ United Methodist Church at 5:15 p.m. on Friday and be completely finished at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday.
Thursday, April 21, 2016
Please join us to share a meal and hear how your financial support of Jacob’s Well impacts the city of Memphis. We will hear moving testimonies of how God is at work in the lives of those involved at Jacob’s Well, a compelling vision of the future, as well how you can be a part of continuing the work the Lord has called us to in Memphis.
Single Plate $30
Table of 5 $150
Table of 8 $225
Have questions about Jacob’s Well Fundraising Dinner? Contact Jacob’s Well
What a night! God was at work Wednesday night in Compassion Party on the Road. This was only my second time going on CPR but it was quite an adventure. We first stopped at Methodist North Hospital to see a Nutbush native who faithfully drives a Jacob’s Well van and serves in the Clothes Closet weekly. She was in good spirits even though she was struggling with COPD. The next stop was a wooded area near the hospital where several neighbors live in tents. But on our way we saw a gentlemen flying a sign in the median so we stopped in the turning lane, turned on our flashers, and gave him a bag of food as Jamey and the man had a brief conversation. Then, seeing another of our friends heading to Circle K we pulled in there where we had conversation and shared food with three other homeless men. After conversations and prayer, one decided to get off the streets and enter into rehab at Safe Harbor. He had talked earlier with a guy from “The Gathering” who we are also connected with, so we next we went to this common friend’s home in Nutbush.
We prayed with those in his house and then the four of us headed out to see a woman who wanted to go into recovery who was hanging out near the Family Dollar on Jackson. When we got there we gave out some more meals and talked with the woman. She had also had a hurt leg, so we prayed with her. A man who hardly spoke any English shared how Diablo was keeping him down through alcoholism and wanted a Spanish Bible. We shared how the power of Jesus is greater than Diablo and prayed that the curse would be broken. The Gathering will be providing a meal Sunday afternoon and will bring Spanish bibles with them. As we were about to leave another gentlemen, Mark, heard we were going to Safe Harbor and he said he wanted to go and “get right with God.” So we hopped into the car and headed to Mapco where several homeless friends were waiting. We only had three meals left so we passed those out, and the 7-8 people there shared them. We also handed out some pillows, a jacket, and cards with scripture. At Mapco Jimmy shared that Alec was under a bridge again and Elaine reminded us that her brother Carl had been missing for several weeks. The homeless man from Raleigh told us that he knew where Carl was, near the Raleigh Mall. Though we were all tired we headed out once again looking for the lost sheep. We didn’t find him, but discovered where he had been sleeping and the place he flies his sign during the day. Finally we made it to Safe Harbor where our two new friends checked in and began a new chapter in their journey of recovery.
After they were secure we headed home, then remembered about Alec who may be under the bridge. before the adventurous night was over we made one last stop under the bridge to check on Alec. We checked but did not find him, which hopefully means he has found shelter for the night.
It was a crazy night and sounds like a scene from an adventure movie, but it was amazing and I loved it. It hasn’t all sunk in yet, but I realized I wasn’t thinking about what the right thing to do was; I was just reacting to the needs around me. There are so many problems in our world today–ISIS, refugees, racism, crime, poverty, and the list goes on–that we often get stuck or cynical. On Thursday I was able to attend a pastor’s breakfast at Lafayette Music Room with Dr. John Perkins, the founder of Christian Community Development Association (CCDA). CCDA was promoting its upcoming conference in Memphis November 11-14. Dr. Perkins said that the Church has made society’s problems too big, even bigger than God. Yet, Scripture tells us that nothing is impossible with God. The Church is to be Christ’s hands and feet in the world, being ambassadors of reconciliation. On Wednesday night we met some ambassadors of this reconciliation and, hopefully, we were being those ambassadors of reconciliation, literally giving people CPR–trying to meet their physical needs as well as share compassion.
Jacob’s Well is a place where we say, “no perfect people are allowed.” It’s a tagline that we rehearse as a reminder that we’re all in need of rehab and that each one of us are equal at the foot of the cross. It’s a sarcastic way to encourage transparency and authenticity in a world where people are encouraged to wear masks and put up fronts to be someone they’re not.
Yet Jesus once said, “Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.” What did he mean by that? It’s interesting that he follows that up with warnings against hypocrites who give to the needy and pray so that others can see them and then goes on to teach about asking for forgiveness when we sin. Didn’t his beloved disciple John teach us that, “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.”
The word perfect in the Greek is telios, which gives the idea of being “complete” or “whole.” So maybe perfection in the biblical sense isn’t so much about doing as much as being. Yet so many of us have tried to complete ourselves with relationships, money, partying, making a name for ourselves, or knew we were incomplete so resorted to addiction or depression to cope. Jesus’ desire for you is to be complete–but we can’t manufacture it, we can only receive it. And when we are filled with the love of God and presence of God, we begin to get real and no longer have the need to make up for where we fall short spiritually by pretending or exaggerating or hiding. This is at the heart of transparency, of authentic spirituality. But it requires vigorous honesty and diligent humility, yet it results in in a life of freedom and completion and wholeness.
So, at Jacob’s Well there are no perfect people allowed and what we mean by that is hypocrites that live fake lives trying to convince the world they are better than others. Our desire is for a church full of people full of the light of Christ shining through their transparent lives touching others with hope.
If you are using Gmail and not receiving our E-Newsletter, it may be due to a setting in Gmail. In your Gmail inbox, there are three tabs across the top of the page. The first is your “Primary” tab, the second is your “Social” tab, and the third is your “Promotions” tab. Gmail filters your incoming email into one of those three categories. Most likely, the Jacob’s Well E-Newsletter is going to your “Promotions” tab in your inbox. If you do not check this tab very often, then you are probably missing out on our E-Newsletter. Here is how to ensure you stay up-to-date on all that is happening at Jacob’s Well.
Click on the Promotions tab at the top of your inbox page.
Click on the email from Jacob’s Well.
Drag the email to the Primary tab.
You will receive a message saying that “The conversation has been moved to ‘Primary'”. Click the “Yes” to save this action for all future E-Newsletters.
You should receive a message saying that all other communications will be moved to the Primary tab.
If you are reading this and have realized that you never signed up for our E-Newsletter, click HERE to submit your email address for all future mailings.
From the beginning of Jacob’s Well in 2010, God has connected us with neighbors in this part of town and recently some of us have sensed a call to invest deeper in this area. Confirmation of this call has come from 100+ teens from the U Student Ministry in San Antonio who are planning to come to Memphis June 20-28th to engage in an exciting week of ministry with us in this area. Please watch this video for more: http://youtu.be/oLhFSAI88J0
All will culminate during the week of June 20-28th when we engage with a flurry of activities in the above areas of town, all connected with our mission and vision and part of an ongoing strategy that reaches into the years to come.
Boys to Men is a ministry started by Pastor Leslie Ratliff whose goal is to engage young men (12-18) in under-resourced neighborhoods of Memphis and introduce them to strong Christian men who can be the mentor, disciple-maker, and father figure these young men so desperately need. We engage youth by taking them bowling, to movies, sporting events, and skating as relationships are built and the gospel is shared. We need some real men to serve as mentors to the youth who desire more out of life. Our mission is to reach young men, fill them with a Kingdom vision, and connect them with the risen and exalted Jesus. We believe that if we are faithful in doing this, God will do the rest in His world-changing plan.
Some new faces you might see around Jacob’s Well include Josh, Sarah, and Christian.While each have come from a different part of the country, all have found a home at Jacob’s Well.
Josh came from Kansas to engage in Downline Ministries’ Emerging Leaders program. While he experienced many great things and learned much from the program, the new city and new relationships took a toll on him. In a particularly painful season of his life, Josh discovered Jacob’s Well where he was met with unconditional acceptance and a community where he could serve and grow spiritually alongside others like him and completely unlike him. Josh serves as part of our Security Team and drives our van to bring individuals to worship. A few weeks ago Josh shared his story on a Saturday night and professed his faith through remembering his baptism.
Meanwhile, MTR (Memphis Teacher Residency) moved Sarah here from Ohio to follow her calling to teach in the inner city. A friend invited her to Jacob’s Well where she quickly got involved on Saturday nights and later began to go out on the streets to serve homeless neighbors on CPR. Sarah recently was hired onto the staff of New Hope Christian Academy in Raleigh, a phenomenal Christian Urban school advancing the Kingdom in inner city Memphis.
Christian had recently graduated college and was living in Long Beach, CA when in prayer his thoughts were set on Memphis, TN. He began to pray for Memphis though he knew only that Elvis lived here and that we had pretty good barbecue. Before long he could think of nothing else and so packed a bag and moved to the Bluff City with only plans to prayer walk for 40 days. Through this intentional prayer Christian was led to Binghampton and then to Jacob’s Well where he has quickly become part of the community and is now leading a prayer team who is seeing God move in a powerful way.
Praise God that He is at work bringing His people together from all around the nation for such a time as this. If you haven’t been to the Well lately, stop by some Wednesday or Saturday night soon and meet some of Jesus’ people who make up our church community.
I feel so blessed to have been a part of Bridging the Gap! It was a wonderful time of encouragement in my faith and also a time of personal stretching and challenge. I’m relatively new to the Memphis area, so I was unaware of many of the struggles unique to this city. Over the course of the weekend, I experienced just a taste of what it’s like to live in uncertainty and want, to not to know where I was going to sleep or whether I was going to eat and to be separated from the things I often take for granted.
Our Scripture passage for the weekend was 1 John 3:17-18: “If a person has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need and that person doesn’t care—how can the love of God abide in such a one? Let’s not love with words or speech but with action and truth.”
I saw a lot of gaps over the weekend. I saw gaps between rich and poor, between the educated and undereducated, between different races, between the saved and unsaved. But, I saw an even bigger gap in myself, a gap between the faith I professed with my mouth and the way I actually reach out to others in reality. So often I’ve focused on my own needs, worries and concerns that I’ve been too busy to notice or do anything about my “brother or sister in need.” This weekend opened my eyes and opened my heart. It inspired me to action. But, more importantly, it reminded me that it is the love of Christ abiding, living and working in us that really bridges the gaps. It is only when we remain in this amazing, gap-defying love that we can truly share it with others.
Jimmy’s journey is a testimony of God’s power over sin and death. Since the doors of Jacob’s Well were opened on the corner of Summer and Highland in 2010, Jimmy was there. At first he came to worship inebriated, yet seeking God and community. Jimmy’s journey led him to a series of bottoms and a number of God’s people who would show him God’s love such as Emily, Marlon, Linda, Chad, Michelle, which led him to detox and rehab a number of times but then back to the streets and the Med with life-threatening surgeries, and even an open wound which he struggled with while living unsheltered for several months. For over 20 years Jimmy lived on the streets and drank from morning until night. He cannot count on both hands the number of good friends who are no longer with us. Yet by God’s grace Jimmy was graced to live his final three years on earth with peace, love, joy, largely free from the bonds of his addiction. Thanks to Highland Heights UMC, he enjoyed meaningful work, a nice simple place that he called home, a church to worship and serve, and friends who loved him and checked in on him.
Recently Jimmy went out with us on CPR, a homeless outreach of Jacob’s Well, and met with several friends from the “old days” out on the streets. One man mentioned, “If Jimmy can do it, then so can I.” Another was convinced that he was sick and tired of being sick and tired from the heroin addiction and homelessness and gratefully invited Jesus into his life as Jimmy and Jamey prayed with him and gave contact info for a local rehab. Jimmy was asked how he did it, and his response was two-fold. “People wouldn’t give up on me,” pointing to those who had shown the unconditional love of God without any signs of fruit from their efforts. And Jimmy quoted Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Only through the one who rose from the grave could this miracle be shared. So as you reach out to our homeless neighbors, do so with hope in the One who can do the impossible. And as you face trials and struggles of your own, remember what God did in Jimmy’s life to find strength for your journey.
You can now help out Jacob’s Well while you grocery shop at Kroger or Superlo Foods! How? It’s easy. Introducing the Kroger and Superlo Foods Community Rewards program. Both Kroger and Superlo Foods are committed to donating a portion of purchases made with their rewards cards to a participating Non-Profit organization of your choice. All you have to do is choose Jacob’s Well when registering your reward’s card. Simply read the instructions listed for your preferred store and take the few minutes to sign-up. Then every time you shop at Kroger or Superlo, swipe your Kroger card or Superlo Community card and a percentage of your purchase will be donated to Jacob’s Well. It’s that simple!
Don’t worry…registering your existing rewards card will not in any way affect your personal rewards benefits. You’ll still receive the same points that you can use towards gas savings and other things. Anyone can sign-up. Have your friends, family, and neighbors sign-up to support Jacob’s Well while they are shopping as well!
The sign-up process is easy for both stores. Please take a few minutes and follow the step-by-step instructions for each store. If you have any questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (901)290-2124.
To Use the Kroger Community Rewards program (If you already have a Kroger Plus card):
- Register online at krogercommunityrewards.com
- Be sure to have your Kroger Plus card handy
- Click on Sign In/Register
- If you are a new online customer, you must click on SIGN UP TODAY in the ‘New Customer?’ box.
- Sign up for a Kroger Rewards Account by entering zip code, clicking on favorite store, entering your email address and creating a password, agreeing to the terms and conditions
- You will then get a message to check your email inbox and click on the link within the body of the email
- Click on My Account and use your email address and password to proceed to the next step
- Click on Edit Kroger Community Rewards information and input your Kroger Plus card number
- Update or confirm your information
- Enter NPO (26837) or name of organization (Jacob’s Well United Methodist Church), select organization from list and click on confirm
- To verify you are enrolled correctly, you will see your organization’s name on the right side of your information page.
- REMEMBER, purchases will not count for our group until after you register your card
- Do you use your phone number at the register? Call 800-576-4377, select option 4 to get your Kroger Plus card number.
- Swipe your registered Kroger Plus card or use the phone number that is related to you registered Kroger Plus card when shopping for each purchase to count.
Don’t already have a Kroger Plus Card?
- Simply go to the customer service desk at any Kroger Store
- Ask for a Kroger Plus card…it is free and easy to sign-up in the store
- Follow the above directions and sign-up for Kroger Community Rewards
To Use the Superlo Foods Community Rewards Program:
- Fill out a Superlo Foods Community Card registration (pick one up at Jacob’s Well on Saturday nights or go here and print out the sign-up form)
- Our Group ID is 500046120 and organization name is Jacob’s Well United Methodist Church
- Take filled out registration to Superlo Foods and pick up a community rewards card
- Swipe your registered community rewards card every time you shop at Superlo’s.
Providing Transportation at Jacob’s Well is at the heart of our vision for Reconciliation. Thanks to several devoted individuals tirelessly driving our people from their homes (or homelessness) to worship and ministry partners like BDC, SV Church of Christ, Living Hope, and Christ Church who generously loan us their vehicles, about 4o people are empowered to worship God each Saturday night who otherwise would have been unable. Nita Black, a member of Jacob’s Well Operational Team, shares her experience:
“For me, serving through the JWell Transportation Ministry is a way for me to get to know people. It is a reality check for me, when I pull up in front of someone’s home with no utilities and an empty refrigerator. When I check voice mails of people calling in for a ride and then when I check back with them to confirm their address, etc., often we get into a conversation about what is going on in their lives and in mine. The friendships made are real. And I would say that a lot of folks call in to get a ride but really just want someone to talk to, or somewhere to go, or something positive to do. The Transportation Ministry is a way for me to re-balance every week and to renew my awareness that God’s grace extends to all of us, all the time.”
We need your help.
Each week we need drivers and co-pilots to drive either our van, your organization’s van, or a large personal vehicle to transport people to and from the worship service at Jacob’s Well. Training and Resources provided. Driver’s License & insurance required. Email us or comment below for details. Start by trying it out once and perhaps move to serving once a month for six months if a good fit.
It would also help us to sustain and perhaps expand our routes across the city to pick up more people if we owned another 14-passenger van. We are aware of one in good condition available to us but we would need to raise about $10K to cover the cost of the van and insurance. Please click here to find out more about donating to Jacob’s Well safely and securely online.
One afternoon we were standing in the Parking Lot of the Smith Center (where Jacob’s Well meets) at 602 Looney Ave. We were talking with others getting ready to go out on the street. As we were talking, a truck and trailer pulled up along side the curb. The trailer was loaded with lawn equipment. A lady stepped out of the truck, and walked up the hill toward us. When she got close enough to us, so that we could hear what she was saying, she said “I want to Thank you” . We said, “What did we do?” She then shared her story with us…….
I was on the street for 15 years. One night a group of men took me into a field, raped me, and beat me nearly to death. I laid in that field for 3 days, when someone from Jacob’s Well found me. They got help for me. They gave me a safe place to stay, they gave me spiritual guidance, they loved me. I have gone through the recovery program in which I was given a job in lawn care. I am now the supervisor over two teams for the Mayor’s office for Blight Control. I have my own apartment, I pay my bills, and I am proud to be able to do so. Thank you for doing what you do, Praise GOD!
As we stood there listening to her story, we knew exactly why we were doing what we are doing. May the Lord continue to Bless Jacob’s Well. May we all be the Hand’s and Feet of Jesus.
Eden is a lively 3 year old who adores her 3 sisters, loves to swim in her pool, watch cartoons, and hang out with all her friends at Jacob’s Well. Eden also has Acute Lymphoblastic Luekemia. She was diagnosed in April and has endured chemotherapy, surgery, vomiting, pain, and hospitalization. She is doing amazingly well and hasn’t even lost her hair yet! These are gifts from God, but the journey is far from over.
Eden and her family will have to endure 2 1/2 years of treatments. There have already been illness scares, setbacks in treatments, and longer than expected hospital stays. This journey they are on has also had bright spots though. They have seen friends and family step up and help in ways they never would have imagined. They have seen Eden’s friends cry out to God on her behalf, and have been blessed to watch them play with her and be unconcerned with bandages, IV’s, and ports. Eden is not alone on this journey and she is not the only one suffering. Her sisters have to spend days away from their parents and worry if their little sister is going to be ok. Her parents, Chad and Nicole, have had to face the thing every parent most fears, while also trying to maintain home, work, and caring for 3 other children. They will all continue to need our prayers, our help, and our steadfastness. They are running a marathon, not a sprint. We need to be ready on the sidelines each mile of the journey. God is already showing up in this family and it is our privilege to be part of His plans for them.
As of this week Eden is DONE with phase 2 of treatment. Hurray! She has finished consolidation and is starting maintenance. She is doing well, but her counts are not recovering as quickly as they expected. They aren’t sure why, but they need to keep coming up to begin the next phase. Maintenance should mean fewer trips to St Jude and no scheduled hospital stays. Maintenance will also include 2 reintroduction phases when Eden will be receiving some pretty powerful combinations of chemo that have potential for some yuck side effects. So, prayer requests: that Eden’s blood counts recover fully and begin bouncing back more quickly, that she will have no fevers or other illnesses that would require a hospital stay, and that her side effects will be minimal and easily controlled. Praise God for how far she has come and for the strength He’s given this family along the way!
One really tangible way that you can help is to:
It had been one of those weeks where it was difficult to remember why we were doing this thing called “Jacob’s Well.” Men that were being discipled and showed potential and promise on their road to recovery were relapsing back into addiction. Leaders who had been so faithful in the past were stepping away to pursue other passions, and it was becoming increasingly difficult to round up the minimum number of people to carry on the weekly tasks of ministry. One area that was particularly struggling was CPR, Compassion Party on the Road, which was beginning to feel more like OMG, Obligatory Ministry on the Go. The guy who was scheduled to lead that Wednesday notified the pastor that he could not make it out on the streets, and our kitchen coordinator Sherri suffered a shoulder injury keeping her away so an email went out asking for help. It was in this moment of surrender and reaching out that God came through in a glorious way.
A couple from a partner church, Quito United Methodist showed up at about 5:30 expecting to do everything themselves, but were greeted with the smiles and helpfulness from Jacob’s Well youth from the neighborhood. After cooking and cleaning the kitchen the teens loaded the meals (spagetti/salad/dessert) and bottled water to go out on the streets. The following is the account from Mike and Connie on the rest of the evening:
Enjoying one moment at a time,
Accepting hardship as the pathway to peace.
Taking, as Jesus did, this sinful world as it is,
Not as I would have it.
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His will.
That I may be reasonably happy in this life,
And supremely happy with Him forever in the next.
A great opportunity to “Love Your Neighbor.” The pickup is Wednesday evenings and the bread is then delivered before Saturday when it is served to all that come to Jacob’s Well and are hungry. We are also in need of volunteers to bag the bread on Wednesday or Thursday. If this sounds like a way that you would like to serve your neighbor, please leave a comment here. Thank you and be blessed!
“For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
You catch him out of the corner of your eye. You know what is going to happen next. He is going to come up and ask for money or food or give you some excuse about his situation. All you want to do is get in your car and go on with your life. This guy has nothing in common with you. You are almost to the car and safely on your way but then you recall something that you read in your morning devotional from Psalm 139. Verse 14 is the response of David as he is praising God because “I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.” You begin to ask yourself, if I am fearfully and wonderfully made, then does that mean everyone else is too? How will you respond?
This is not an attempt to guilt trip you into doing something you do not want to do. It is an attempt to get you (and me) to question our motives and our perceptions of the homeless. On Tuesday November 5th from 6-8 pm we have the opportunity to hear from ministry partners as to how they are working with and helping our homeless neighbors. Come listen to a lively discussion from Marlon “Big Dog” Brown of SOS as he relates his story of homelessness. Jamey Lee will describe how Jacob’s Well is helping overcome obstacles in helping the homeless. Lemar Walker with Christ Community Church will paint a picture of how we can move from enabling to empowering the homeless. Tana Vanderhooft will describe how Ruth’s Heart was created to help the homeless find the resources they need to get off the streets. Emily Rachiele with the CUMC Benevolence Ministry will surprise you with a story of how close any one of us is to becoming homeless.
On a recent C.P.B. outing, Rick and J.Well disciple-maker, Mark, knocked on the door of an Uptown neighbor. Rick did not recognize her, but she remembered growing up with him. She shared how she’d heard of his trouble with addiction and let him know that she had been praying for him over the past few years. In turn, Rick shared his newfound faith in Christ and the community of acceptance he’d found at Jacob’s Well. What a reminder of God’s work despite our rebellion and the powerful effect of the prayers of God’s people.
The Lord guides our steps when we walk in guidance of the Holy Spirit. Rick worked at defying that companionship for years. But, when he finally began having hope in his future, he found his faith, and began to walk dutifully spreading God’s truth. The irony of it all is that during one of those literal walks, the door of a long forgotten childhood acquaintance was opened, and there he found a woman of faith who had been praying for him while he was in his dark, faithless meandering. Just goes to show, you never know how or when God’s blessings will be revealed. Maybe our C.P.B. walks are just the blessing you’ve been looking for!
Compassion Party on the Block (C.P.B.) is unique in many ways. This multi-faceted ministry involves community outreach, prayer evangelism and, perhaps the most important, relationship building. We see Missional Believers walk with faith newcomers as we share our experiences. We forge bonds by relating the hope that is gained from not leading, but following. Discipleship is learning about God through the scriptures and growing in faith by sharing your life experiences with one another. We hope you’ll pray on becoming involved in this ministry, no matter what stage you are in your faith. If God is leading you to serve, we hope you’ll consider C.P.B.
“You can’t stay in your corner of the Forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes.” Winnie the Pooh to Piglet
I think most of us would say that we learn best by doing. Think to yourself how many times you’ve heard someone say “speaking from experience” and then think about how that phrase makes you feel….. Isn’t that a great phrase? It automatically gives you an appreciation for what the opinion of the speaker is because they’ve been there, done that.
Yet, if you think about it, our society doesn’t have the depth of experience it used to. Nowadays, when someone says, “speaking from experience”, you have to question how much real world experience they’ve actually had. With the invention of the internet and the ease of communication, we’re able to get college degrees online without ever entering a classroom. We’re ordering food without ever touching money or talking to a human. We, as a society, have moved into a very ‘hands-clean’ sort of environment where building relationships is done through text messaging and gaining experience comes from looking through a computer screen.
Bridging the Gap was the experience I wanted before I even knew there was such a thing to want. I don’t want a ‘hand’s clean’ sort of life where I’m so disconnected from the source that I can’t fully appreciate the fruit. I want to get my hands dirty. I want to be able to speak from experience. I want to grow as much as I can in this life because I’m not going to get another one.
Years ago, when I realized I didn’t know a spark-plug from a fan belt I decided to take an Auto Mechanics class. I guess I knew that if I wanted to have a vehicle that ran fairly well and didn’t break down all of the time, I’d have to figure out what it needed to stay maintained.
Bridging the Gap is that type of experience. I can’t give away too much, or you won’t need to go on this weekend….and you NEED to go on this weekend. But, think of it as an Auto Mechanics class and your car is your life. Would you be getting better efficiency if you would let go of some things? Are you at a point in your maintenance knowledge that you can start helping others maintain theirs, or are you the one who needs the repairs? It asks, “Are you fighting to stay in the driver’s seat or are you willing to let God take His rightful position?”
So, this is me, sitting in a position of “speaking from experience”, and what I’ll leave you with is this: Let the world fall away, explore the forest, let the weekend take center stage, and let Bridging the Gap enter your life. Experience is life’s best teacher……….don’t miss this opportunity.
Save the Date for our next Bridging the Gap on November 1-3, 2013
A little over a year ago, Alex sat in his car alone in the parking lot of a Church’s Chicken on the corner of Hollywood & Chelsea where he accidentally overdosed on heroin. Somehow, he came to and soon after checked into the Warrior Center for rehab. He was very skeptical of the Christian-based program and wanted to leave. However, he was estranged from his family and had nowhere else to go. Several years back he had thrown a party at his aunt and uncle’s house while they were out of town. He and his friends did thousands of dollars worth of damage and his sin caused a riff in his whole extended family. This guy was carrying a lot and felt responsible for much. He didn’t know whether forgiveness was possible, but he doubted it.
Then on one of the first visits to Jacob’s Well, he bumped into his Aunt who he had not seen in years and who was not speaking to his mother since the incident. It happened to be her first time to Jacob’s Well and honestly the first time to be in church for a while. They embraced, he received forgiveness, and has begun to experience reconciliation in his family. This miracle was what Alex needed to accept Christ and he was baptized soon after at the Well. Last night at his graduation, his family came together in a way like never before. Alex proudly recited 50 “battle verses” from memory as a testimony of the work that God has done in and through him this past year.
Do you feel like your guilt is too much? Do you think your family can never reconcile? There is no divide too big for God to bridge. There is no wound too deep for God to heal. Jesus Christ bridged the gap for us. Through his stripes we are healed. Through him we are made whole and can experience reconciliation with God and family.
Jacob’s Well is proud to introduce Ruth’s Heart, an emerging non-profit begun by our volunteer staff members, Tana and Tom Vanderhooft. It was begun to give compassionate attention to the real needs of our neighbors that we often meet on the streets on C.P.R. and in worship on Saturday nights.
Ruth’s Heart is a non-profit organization that is assisting anyone in the Memphis area that is living on the streets, in rehabilitation from addiction or just in need to connect with resources that are available to them throughout the city. We will help connect men, women and families with all the resources available to help them get back on their feet and improve their lives. We also offer Discipleship opportunities, Appointment Assistance, and Transportation. Some of our current volunteer needs are:
- Connecting with a client and helping them find resources
- Transportation (driving or delivering bus passes or donated items)
- Phone calls to resources to keep our database current
- Prayer Warriors
Ruth’s Heart is currently helping neighbors every day with needs such as finding emergency shelter, transitional shelter or housing, finding food pantries, getting identification or enrolling in social services and other areas of need. We also assist in making appointments and providing transportation to these appointments to ensure our clients are able to get the help they need. We will then keep in contact with our clients and work to build relationships with them so they can count on us for any future needs they may have, continue to help them move forward and improve their lives, and not just address their immediate need.
We have many different opportunities and are always in need of volunteers and donations to further our ministry, please visit our website or find us on facebook for more information about who we are, those we serve and how you can help make a difference in someone’s life!
The goal of Step 4 is to clean house in a way that our unclean spirits do not return. If you want to get rid of rats or roaches, the first steps are to expel them from your house. But if you continue to leave food out, and keep garbage around, they will return. Get rid of the trash and the rats stay away.
This past week we started Step by Step, where we bring together the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ and the framework of the 12 steps. Lots of newcomers showed up but one is especially memorable. She had gotten sober several years earlier through the help of recovery groups, but when she found Jesus and began going to church, got away from 12 step work. A couple of weeks ago she went with a friend back to a meeting, but didn’t feel free to talk about her higher power Jesus. She had never heard of Jacob’s Well or Step by Step, but this Saturday she saw all the cars in the parking lot and decided to go in and see what was going on. As she heard the message on the steps and attended the meeting after worship, she was amazed at God’s provision for her exact need. She had found a safe place to talk about recovery and Jesus and was able to offer her experience, strength, and hope to others. Join her and experience God at Step by Step each Saturday Night.
4:30 – Women’s Bible/Step meeting
6:00 – Worship
7:30 – Bible/Step Meeting
Step by Step is a journey through the 12 steps via the lens of the gospel of Jesus Christ. At Jacob’s Well we believe that rehab isn’t just for addicts and invite all people to embrace this amazing framework for living life on life’s terms.
At 6:00 is a service with music, stories, and teaching themed around each step. Both before and after will be a discussion-based meeting where participants share experience, strength, and hope. The meeting at 4:30 is women only and the one at 7:30 is co-ed.
Nursery and Childcare is available from 4:30 – 7:30.
Recovery Study Bibles available free to participants after 3rd visit. Also, we are now a TN Drug Court Approved meeting.
Just one of the amazing stories of God’s grace on display at Jacob’s Well…