Volunteers ran carnival games inside the gym, where kids were able to throw darts at balloons, fish for prizes, and throw glow-in-the-dark rings at pirate hooks. Families enjoyed cotton candy (thank you volunteers for premaking it!) and popcorn. On their way out, each child was given a mini-pumpkin decorating kit and information about Harvest.
The rhythm of generosity comes from both giving and receiving. There is no shame in being in need, no shame in receiving gifts that have been generously and lovingly given. If you, as a valued part of the body of Christ are in need, reach out. And to those of you, in the body of Christ, who have much, give generously to those in need.
In summary, without grace we are not the church.
It is as nonsensical as a book club that doesn’t read or a band without instruments. A church community that exemplifies grace is one that prioritizes the need for confession and forgiveness, just as Jesus called His followers to display.
Loneliness is a real problem in the world, and Americans are among the most lonely people on the planet. Through technology we are “connected” more than ever before, and yet we experience less community. People seem to be craving community now more than ever before. There is a part of us that recognizes that we were created for community.
But this realization doesn't end there. This also shows how vital community itself is. If we remember back to the Last Supper, where communion was established, we don't see Jesus alone, we see men sitting together and supporting one another in a time of upheaval.
The Pantry here at Harvest has just been so good lately.
It has been an encouragement to my heart to see the Lord’s provision and I want to write so that you all may be encouraged as well.
Have I become so accustomed to life here on Earth that life after the return of the Christ, where pain and striving will cease and the perfection of the Garden of Eden will return, has simply become a part of my theology, rather than a future reality on which I can depend? Have I placed the temporary amusement found in a movie above the everlasting peace of life in the presence of God? I’d like to say “no,” but I don’t think that would be the most truthful of responses.
What is left, then, is a choice: do I curse my circumstances, and, like Jonah after his plan for Nineveh to be destroyed was disrupted, refuse to change? Or do I evaluate what this new phase has brought, and attempt to roll with the punches?
The Carnival is brings in over 1,200 kids and parents from our community. It is a fun way to reach out, show love to those around us, and plant seeds about the church and Jesus! We look forward to seeing some of the families who come to the carnival walk through our doors on a Sunday morning.
Because of this, people have come. This summer, we have served an average of 21 shoppers on Sundays and an average of 15 shoppers on Wednesdays. This average represents about 36 households and families a week being served.