My parents just sent an email to the lot of us - all six kids of the Armstrong family. They're inviting us to be part of their legacy by contributing to the nokidhungry organization. In responding to their email I put together a short list of some of the ministries our family has become part of. Jesus says the Kingdom of God is not seen or observed, but found within. (Luke 17:20) His Kingdom is here now and perceived by the heart, not the mind. I guess that's why after serving in the homeless shelter - scrubbing beds, folding sheets, serving lunch and eating with the homeless men, my boys literally skipped along the sidewalk with joy, making all kinds of plans to bring friends from school next time. Why? Because the Kingdom of God is within. In their child-like simplicity they had just experienced the joy of God's kingdom. That joy is one that is never diminished by suffering, but instead is brightly illuminated in the presence of it - in the ministering to it - in the death of "I" and the wants "I" clings to and the resurrection of love that serves the broken-hearted. Kingdom Joy.
I've shared some links to partnerships we have made and support as a family. I have to say thanks to my mom and dad for the example they have always been of serving those in need - whether it's contributing to their children, their family, or their neighbor. It's been a shining example in our lives.
* This is a vision over 7 years in the making - Kate Schmidgall is the wife of Dave, who led our trip to Israel/Palestine. She's an amazing 27 yr old who is already being sought after on the National scene for her work and vision. This is the pilot on-line magazine and if I remember correctly she plans to have quarterly "coffee-table" quality print magazines.
* This is the community Ken and I are a part of ... National Community Church. This is their mission page - thought it would give you some ideas of how serious we are about helping transform the lives of those who are suffering. I think it's so cool that they have the resources (people-power and gifts) to be involved in so much change! Thought you'd like to see.
http://www.aoneeight.org/ (this is the church website http://theaterchurch.com/ )
* clean water http://20liters.org/
* help for those in Africa http://www.p61.org/index.html
I encourage anything coming out of Mars Hill - Rob Bell. Read anything on him and you'll find a lot of church folks hopping up and down saying he's not Christian. However, he is my biggest mentor. Here is one example of how they help through micro loans in Africa. 20liters was birthed out of this community. http://marshill.org/serving/economic-opportunity/burundi
We've adopted a boy and girl in the Democratic Republic of Congo through World Vision. They are now able to go to school and have basic health needs provided. We also have supported since 2006 a rehabilitation center in Darfur for the Lost Boys, those abducted and forced into the Lord's Army and civil war. World Vision and Compassion International are amazing organizations for helping those in need, locally and internationally. They were one of our partners on the trip to Israel/Palestine (I'm returning this year to the Refuge Camp.) We also contribute to 20liters, helping provide clean water.
"Enter his gates with Thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations." Psalm 100:4,5
Favored One, I hope you are experiencing Kingdom joy and that in every day you find reason to enter his gates with thanksgiving. Being part of these organizations has been supremely satisfying to our family. Really, it's redefined the holidays for us and I don't think I've seen my kids happier than when we're coming from a service opportunity. In the Benton house we are actively finding ways to make each day a day of Thanksgiving. Please share your Thanksgiving story here - we'd love to experience the Kingdom joy with you!