Dear Ones,
Happy weekend to you! I started the day with my annual  Doctor visit and am thankful to be healthy. I am doing some baking now, as Ann’s may stop in tomorrow and want some goodies for the grandkids!Emoji 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
I think we would all agree that the church today needs to be renewed. We have strayed from the mission of the church and in some ways are more like a social club that has absorbed the culture’s values. The early church had true community and welcomed everyone, including the Gentiles, strangers, women, foreigners, the poor, sick etc. In a sense they had a massive social welfare system as they cared for widows, orphans, and all who came with needs, including those who were struck by plagues. Christians believed they were undeserving but because they had received God’s love, they were to love and serve others. Besides the temple, churches were formed in homes, down by riversides, and wherever Christians gathered. When Al pastored in Des Moines, we took mission trips to Mexico where a simple church was being built.  Al preached inside an enclosure of brick walls, no roof and one lightbulb hanging for him to see his notes. But God was there and hearts were drawn to the Lord. Today here in the U.S. we are spoiled and some choose churches by their massiveness, their beauty, or history. or the organ, etc. But the church is not a building but a gathering of people who have found salvation, care for one another and want to proclaim Jesus to the world. Sadly, Pastors are so busy with preparing sermons to be given on TV, writing books, fixing sound systems etc. they hardly have time to visit the sick or help those who need spiritual council. When my friend was dying at home and wanted a visit from her pastor, he told her he didn’t do visits. Sad! But all who know the Lord are the church and called to serve others and open our hearts to whoever the Lord sends into our lives. Professor Sittser tells of a particular church that was on the front page of the newspaper concerning their ministry. An example was shared about a poor homeless gal that was addicted to meth and went to their church as a last resort. The first person who greeted her was the senior pastor and he asked what she needed and gave her assistance. She started coming to church and found community and that they cared for her. She was later diagnosed with cancer and members of her “life Group” brought her meals and encouraged her and provided for her needs. They were the church! Today, we have so many ways to respond with compassion, especially for those hit hard in this pandemic. We have only to ask the Lord, “what would you have me do?” Let us become the church that Jesus loves and gave His life for.
Challenge for today: The next time you come across someone in need, ask the Lord if you are to fill that need.
Blessings on your weekend and prayers and love, Judy