James 2:14-17(NIV) What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? 15Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. 16If one of you says to him, "Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? 17In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
What I love about Radiant Fellowship is the willingness to help each other out in our own church. We understand that missions has a place and other worthy causes but, we also know we have to take care of our own first. That statement right there is a bomb dropped in some circles. Let me give you three great examples. There are many more like this that the average Radiant Fellowship goer doesn't know.
1. A few years back a widow in our church raising kids on her own needed a new roof on part of her house. The drywall ripped away...the room was trashed. The same time this was going on we were raising funds at our church to do a "gas buy down" outreach in which we raised $1000.00. Instead of spending it on doing outreach to the community, we decided to fix this ladies home because CAP services was jerking her around. What a blessing for those that gave of their time. Here is the kicker...she was fairly new to the church and there was no, "let's wait a month to see if she sticks around" before we would help her.
2. A young lady in our church found out she has breast cancer and will be taking an exceptional amount of time off from work due to the appointments and evasive surgery. Currently she was making car payments and realized she may lose the car. I sent a letter out to the church and within two weeks we raised enough money to take over her car payments for a year. EPIC!
3. This week a couple in our church has a sick 6 month old boy who is requiring multiple trips to Milwaukee. Most recently he had to have a bone marrow draw...you can imagine how the parents were. To complicate the situation, he is without a job though he just graduated with a business degree and aggressively looking for a job. She is a nurse but with raising 3 kids and a house every little bit helps. I sent out an email and within a 24 hour period from the time they would have to go to Milwaukee again we were able to bless this family with a $300.00 Visa gift card. This would cover their gas and food a couple times. Get this....because one of her co-workers heard about what her church was doing for her...this ladies co-worker walked up to her at work and gave her a $50.00 check as well. AWESOME!
This, in my opinion is signs of a church that is alive and well. Oh, get this...we are only a church of 80 people since the re-launch 5 years ago in a city of 5500 people. After we helped the lady with cancer out I had many MANY people from other churches ask me, "Bob, aren't you opening a can of worms by helping her out like that? Won't more people ask?" I wanted to smack them upside the head and ask...have you read your bible? THE CHURCH is not about hoarding cash to build a bigger building. By all means build to suit your needs but when is enough, enough? Missions? Yes I enjoy giving to missionaries and buying a water buffalo from "Heifer International" for a needy family overseas (we did that one year). But how much better is it when those who are fiscally sound are able to give towards a common cause in order to help each other out?
So what about those who receive? What do they give? This is where a pastor only sees what goes on behind the scenes. I can honestly tell you that if these that give are not able to reciprocate financially than they offer to help at the church in other ways. EVERYONE who has received though has blessed back financially as well when there is a need. In fact they do more with what talents the Lord has blessed them with.
THAT is a church I am glad I am a part of. To me...THAT is church and what a church family should be. I don't say this boastfully but rather relieved as to what a church in my opinion should be.