Archive for the ‘Engage Atlanta’ Category

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One Color Shirt For All

August 5, 2009

One color for allOne of the best decisions leaders made about this Community Makeover was to put everyone in one color shirt. This year everyone was in RED. I picked the color, so I apologize if it didn’t fit your skin tone.

One of the purposes of this Community Makeover is to change some of the impressions people have about church. Most people who do not attend church have some serious questions about why there are so many different brands. Methodists, Baptists, Assembly of God, Seventh Day Adventist, the church for the white people, and the church for the African-American.  Often churches are set apart by dress code, hair length, music-style, music volume, and more. Our preferences give the people watching Christ-followers the perception that we aren’t working for the same goal, and we can’t get along. Perception is reality. All of the preferences that we put into place to help draw people to Jesus can actually become the very things that keep people away.

So what kind of perception do we give when we all wear the same color shirt, and get our hands dirty? What kind of perception do we give when we all sing in the same color shirt?

I believe that this Community Makeover pulls people toward finding out more about the Jesus that the people in the red shirts are singing about. When we set aside all the things we use to distinguish ourselves, He becomes the thing that sets us apart.

Everyone Belongs,

Paul

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Smile and Wave

August 3, 2009

One of the lessons of this Community Makeover weekend is what is truly possible when someone allows themselves to slow down and get involved with what their eyes have been opened toDouglas from the porch.
If you live in Paulding and West Cobb and journeyed on Hwy. 92 you have probably seen him. Most likely, he has waved at you. Maybe you were even nice enough to wave back. But one day someone did more than just smile and wave. A couple  from West Ridge had just spent some time delivering food to less fortunate families in Northwest Atlanta alongside Ralph and Marie Ugo and Caya Ministries. One of the things that Ralph typically does is to give some treats to those who serve with him in the form of a couple of bags of groceries. Armed with two bags Claudia asked her husband Joe to stop. What began that day was a relationship. Theirs is just one story that represents a dozen others.

Many of the projects in this Community Makeover came about because of Christ-followers who were willing to stop. In their God-given humility, I don’t think any of them would want special attention drawn to themselves, so I’ll keep it to first names.

What can happen when you stop? For one thing, you give others the courage to stop with you. Like Tim and Michelle who have not stopped praying and telling others about the help that their friends Alan and Sherri needed. This past weekend, over thirty people descended on Alan and Sherri’s house, and the amount of work done in one weekend is astounding.

When others stop, you accomplish more than you ever would have accomplished on your own. I think of  David and Jerry and Rocky and Michael who stopped long enough to rip the siding and the roof off one house and repaired most all of the floor joist for a friend named Steve.  They and a couple dozen new friends.

There are so many stories like this. Houses and needs so dramatic, I cannot even begin to describe them. Whole homes were made over this weekend after someone stopped, gave others courage, and the groups of people accomplished amazing things.

However, the Community Makeover is not intended to be a parachute drop. It is designed to be the catalyst for forming relationship after relationship with people who no longer become needs we are trying to meet, but friends we are trying to love.

Everyone Belongs,

Paul