Saturday, August 14, 2010
Welcome To New Hope
Had a meeting last week with a man who has been visiting New Hope off and on this summer (in between family trips out of town). We work hard to make New Hope an inviting place to worship and serve. Lots of people contribute to that every single week. So it's always interesting to hear from people what drew them to New Hope and what happened that would cause them to be interested in staying.
In his case, one of the main factors was the person in the picture above - our friend Allan.
Allan, for those of you coming in late, is a fixture in our little town. He's developmentally challenged, but seldom if ever meets a stranger. He loves Nascar, baseball, the Florida Gators and New Hope. And New Hope loves Allan just as he is. We've been doing it for ten years now so we don't really even think of it as a choice anymore. God loves us. We love each other. Each other is everyone God puts in our path. Allan is loved - treasured, really.
Our new friend saw that, and measured it against his experience and found it "a God thing." One that told him things about New Hope without his hearing a single word from us. Kind of a "they will know you are Christians by your love..." sort of thing. I heard him say "one of the reasons I came back was the way you all treated Allan" and I thanked God for teaching us a lot about how to love through him. So many of us think that the only way God teaches us is through formal Bible study. That certainly helps ground us, but we have to live it out.
Our motto at New Hope "We love, because He first loved us" has become who we are.
There are no words for me to use to describe as pastor of this amazing group of people, how knowing that makes me feel. No words at all.
Except to say thank you Jesus.