Thursday, July 23, 2009

Wednesday night recap.

So last night, Mercy Street Fellowship met for our weekly dinner and worship. In an effort to safeguard my mother in law's blood pressure, I had a plan, shopped, and began cooking all before 7:00 a.m.

Ok, feeling the need to clarify. Began baking cookies at 6:30 a.m. because I wanted to eat cookie dough with my morning coffee. If you can't be totally transparent with strangers who read your blog, who can you be honest with?


With the help of Monkey, Dea and Darius' friend and unofficial brother in law - he is the brother to D & D's older brother's baby-momma, (sometimes, I need to draw it on paper. It helps.) - we whipped up some yummy bbq stuffed baked potatoes with all the fixins, garlic bread, and salad. Monkey had gotten into a little trouble with Johnny Law for skippin' school and needed some community service hours. I needed the help so it was a win-win. His grades may reflect more of a win-lose but that's not the topic at hand.

During the cooking process, I once again thought how handy a double oven would be. We cooked 70 potatoes all at once. My friend, Carey, told me it made her claustrophobic just looking at it. Thankfully, I don't think potatoes have those kinds of issues.

Speaking of issues, and since I pretty much always have one to share, I struggled with one at church last night.

We have a group of regular attenders but always have kids who come in late and want to eat. The deal is, we're happy to feed you all you want but if you eat, we'd love for you to stay for the worship. The obvious reason is that, if kids can come, eat, and leave, we'd have 250 or more every Wednesday night and my oven might go on strike.

Inevitably, each week we have kids come and eat, look you in the eye saying they'll stay for worship, and then either be very disruptive during the preaching, or simply walk out the door after dinner. Last night was no exception and this HoodMama got a little feisty. There was one 8 year old little boy who was leaving and, in the process, was pretty disrespectful to me. In addition, he was pulling a whole group of boys with him creating chaos in the middle of worship.

I was frustrated and maybe a little less than gracious.

Thankfully, Garrett, one of the Mercy Street staff, came out to help. It was amazing to watch. With so much grace, love, and clear instruction, he talked to this little stinker about respect, Christ, and the love of His people. He corrected the child's behavior without shaming him and eventually wooed him back. Before I knew it, the child's hand was in mine walking down to the children's program - genuinely happy to stay. Garrett - clearly the professional.

I read this from a friend and pastor, Patrick Lafferty, this morning -

The quality of our love reveals where we place our trust. If we find ourselves withholding love, it may reveal arrogance or indifference in us. But it might otherwise reveal fear—fear of what we might lose (or what we might be left with) if we relinquish something of value to us.

A real stillness before God will lead to freedom to love extravagantly. Abundant care becomes not only possible but preferable because you no longer fear losing what cannot be taken from you. The Christ who bestowed all that we would gain all is meant to persuade you of the fact that He is our true refuge. Persuaded of that in the stillness of prayer, praise will flow, and often through relinquishment for love’s sake.

Who are you afraid to love right now? Nothing the Lord has given you in Christ—forgiveness, favor, renewal, eternity—can ever be siphoned from you. How might the truth of His being our strength in those ways free you to love?

What describes my heart so often is the part about withholding love because of indifference or arrogance. I'm certainly praying for the ability to love extravagantly because it is how I have been loved.

On the lighter note, while all this was going on outside, our friend, Tracy was teaching the kids about creation. After her lesson, we walked out to look at the Mercy Street garden to see first-hand how creative the Lord was - even in His variety of tomatoes.

I picked some mint and asked a child to smell it and tell me what it he thought it was.

"Weed? It smells like weed."

Weed? Hmmm. Close. Really close. Try again.


Traci said...

You are good - real good. That is a lot of potatoes!

Deidra said...

It's an adventure everyday isn't it? For some reason, Pine Sol smells like weed to me. Go figure.

Caroline said...

Love seeing little evidences of God's grace, like in that little guys life last night! Also loved seeing how many potatoes you could cram into your oven!! I'm impressed.

Aimee said...

I've never commented on your blog before, but just had to let you know that I LOVE your blog. Thanks for being real! :) May God continue to bless you and give you lots of patience as you live your ministry daily!

Becca said...

oh I totally feel you. I am finding myself more easily exasperated with the kids after 5 weeks of camp than I have ever been in the past 2 years . . . I keep having to remind myself to love with Christ's love and not my own. Because clearly, my own is impatient and irritable more often than not! :-)

thanks for the reminder -- and I'm totally impressed with the potatoes - they looks yummy!

Cole said...

I'm impressed!!

Grateful for Grace said...

Could you share what Garrett said. Like verbatim. I'm always lacking the right words. Sounds like he has a gift.

emily said...

This picture of Monkey just makes all of us over here happy! :)

Great reminder of how we should gently correct......

Scott and Erin said...

i am so impressed by the vast number of potatoes. my oven would catch on fire if i attempted that. but i probably never would... i'd cook about 6 and then pray over them to see if God would five-loaves-and-two-fishes them.

hannahgarippa said...

One of my favorite things I ever heard someone say...the director of a ministry similar to ours, as he looked around at the folks in his community, "If God can change you then there's hope for me." Garrett is truly amazing with these kiddos...and my dear so are you. We just all have to remember that love...and get over ourselves.

Also, on a cooking note...I just learned that the best way to bake a potato is not wrapped in foil...but smeared in butter and then resting on a bed of salt or rolled in salt. Yummy!!! We made these for sisters shower, they were delicious.

Hauswife said...

OK, the potatoes are killin' me! You are amazing, woman!

God's grace is sufficient for those little punks who walk out on worship or are disruptive... Your work there is changing lives. Just being able to identify the difference between mint and weed alone is awesome. ;)

Karin Katherine said...

I could also learn to love extravagantly. My problem isn't little street punks, we don't have that at the country club golf course I live on---but I do have my bigoted Jewish Mother-in-law who loves to send me poisonous plants...and that was BEFORE her son because a Christian!

LoLa said...

fabulous post...exactly what I needed.