Tuesday, February 2, 2016


Too often the Church is the voice of Christ but never move to being his hands and feet in the community that so desperately needs it to be.

This is exactly what Southlake Church in Portland, Oregon did.

The documentary Undivided was about their church reaching out to one of the poorest, failing schools in their city. A synopsis for the film is:

In the 1960s, Roosevelt High School was the most outstanding school in Portland, Oregon, brimming with bright young students from the growing vibrant neighborhood. Fifty years later this institution was nearly empty and collapsing - enrollment down, facilities crumbling, sports teams a joke, and nearly 20% of the students technically homeless. Students with any means had left, finding safer and newer schools elsewhere, leaving the less fortunate students still at Roosevelt attempting to survive in a war zone. By 2007 things were so bad the superintendent of schools had slated the once grand school for closure. All that begin to change in 2008. SouthLake Church was like many suburban churches in the Northwest. It's gleaming facilities full of professionals, young people and traditional families eager to worship God and experience teaching in a comfortable and convenient environment. When Pastor Kip Jacob agreed to participate in a clean-up day at Roosevelt, he expected a couple hundred of his most faithful would show up, get their hands dirty for a few hours, then hop back in their SUVs and head home to the 'burbs. But what happened no one expected. UnDivided is a sobering, inspirational documentary exploring relationships forged between SouthLake volunteers and the kids at Roosevelt; revealing the daily challenges many students face in an under-served community and how church members individually and collectively can appropriately engage in those challenges; and it reveals how this involvement ultimately has a profound effect on the volunteers.

Here's a trailer for the documentary, which can currently be streamed on Netflix that shows the true power the Church can have in a community when they move beyond their walls, beyond their comfort zone, beyond their services and serve.

There's a quote they used in the film that came from President Theodore Roosevelt that I loved, "Nobody cares how much you know, until they know how much you care."

Do our communities see that we care? 

Do they see the love of Christ in us through actions, without ever saying a word? 

We must love people without agenda. Period.

Jesus not only said this repeatedly, he did this repeatedly. He loved people into relationship with him. And we, as his Church, are to do likewise. "What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, "Go in peace, be warmed and filled," without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, without works, is dead." (James 2:14-17). Are we a Church of words or works? Are we the hands and feet?

There are those in the Church who ask, "But what can I do?"  Jesus told you. "If you have two coats, give one away. Give food to the one who has none." See a need, meet a need. Simple as that. 

Hebrews 13:16 says, "Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God."

1st John 3:17 warns, "But if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him?"

It all comes down to the heart. Are our hearts closed to those who need to have love poured out on them extravagantly because no one else does? Does our heart beat for the same things as Christ's? For the poor and the marginalized?

Philippians 2:4 tells us, "Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others."

Are we?

As a Church, are we stepping out beyond the building to actually being the Church, the body of Christ?   

Here's a link to the Be Undivided website (http://beundivided.com/). It is not only about the movie, but, more importantly about how others can reach out in their communities to show the love of Christ in a tangible way, without an agenda, but simply loving others and meeting their needs. How much different would our world be if we did this?

It's not about short term missions, but about long term commitment and investment: investing in people, schools, and community.

As the website asks, "Can you imagine 300,00 churches helping 100,000 schools?"

Their website shows how churches, schools, and individuals can get involved.

But will we?

Mother Teresa said, "There are no great acts, only small acts done with great love." Yet when each of us does one of those small acts how much more are they multiplied when millions of people do so? Those small acts can ultimately transform the world.

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