Our church serves as a relay center for Operation Christmas Child. This is a ministry of Samaritan's purse where people pack gifts in a shoe box. The boxes are sent to Samaritan's purse and they put a Gospel booklet in it. The boxes are then shipped to needy children around the world. It is a fantastic ministry. Our church loves being a relay center. That means people can drop their boxes off at Hopewell and we will ship them to the next point.
Every year we take one Wednesday night and people bring shoe boxes and things that can go in them to church. We eat together and then pack shoe boxes. Many people will bring theirs already packed but will have left over items. People use those to make up other boxes and they wrap the boxes as well.
This is an awesome night. Many people love packing and wrapping boxes. Some, mostly men, are not that in to packing boxes and wrapping them. I've noticed that we lose some of our men on shoe box night and many of the ones that do come do not have a lot they enjoy doing. Tonight, during shoe box night, I had a men's Bible study for those who did not want to pack and wrap shoe boxes for my "first."
I was hesitant to do this for a "first." I did not want to do anything to distract from getting as many shoe boxes as possible and as much involvement as possible. So, I talked to those who lead this ministry about the idea of a Bible study for the men (after we ate, of course). They were all in agreement with the idea.
The men responded well. We had some men that wanted to do some Bible study and prayer time after they ate. If the spiritual food was as good as the food the ladies made for us to eat, it was good. We had a good time talking about how Scripture applies to us as men who are trying to follow Jesus.
Tonight, I taught on Philippians 1:4-6. The Bible says there, "always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy, for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ." That is a powerful passage of Scripture. I'm glad God is about doing a good work. His work is so much better than simply living for myself, my image, my career, or anything else I might come up with. His work lasts forever. Everything else will burn up. C.T. Studd wrote, "Only one life will soon be past, only what's done for Christ will last." Since God is doing a good work in us, we should give our heart and strength to cooperating with Him in His work. He is about making us more like Jesus so He will be glorified. That's worth all the effort I can give.
It's encouraging to know that God will complete this work. Sometimes I get discouraged that I'm not making any more progress than I am in becoming like Jesus. It's easy to get down and feel like I'll never get there. I can go to this promise and say, "Praise the Lord, I will be like Jesus one day."
I do wonder what these Philippians were like to cause Paul to pray for them with joy and to have confidence that God was going to complete a good work in them. I don't think Paul was easily impressed. I think these Philippians must have been a people who lived for Christ daily and not just on Sunday. They must have not been afraid of suffering. Paul would not be impressed with people who would run away when the going got tough. It is cool to think I will get to meet those guys in heaven.
Tasting new things in the abundant life
3 things I thank God for today
1. Philippians 1:6
2. Men who love God's word