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Jesus and the Block Party

“For the Son of man came to seek and save the lost.”  Luke 19:10

 I love this verse and the story that precedes it.  So, there was this man and he was a tax collector, which in the day was a horrible profession because they would always collect more than what they were owed, and pocket the overage.  Zacchaeus was a tax collector. Jesus was passing by and Zacchaeus wanted to see this Jesus, but since he was a short little dude, he needed to climb into a tree. So, Jesus already knowing who Zacchaeus was said to him, “hurry and come down for I must stay at your house today.”  Don’t you know that the righteous guys standing around were all messed up about Jesus even talking to this thief, and now he is gonna stay at his house.  What is up with Jesus? Doesn’t he know that Zacchaeus is a bad dude?  Zacchaeus probably had to close his mouth in shock that Jesus spoke to him, yet it says he hurried down and received him joyfully.  “The people grumbled”, is what the bible says; sound familiar?  The bible says that the people said “He has gone in to be the guest of a sinner.”  Whoa! what in the world?!  Zacchaeus then told Jesus of his sin and that he would repay anyone four times what he stole from them. Not only that, but he was also going to give half his goods to the poor.  I would call this immediate repentance and a willing heart to restore.  Jesus then says “salvation has come to this house.”  And it ends with “For the son of man came to seek and save the lost.”

You see, God had already been preparing the heart of Zacchaeus, so in the right time when Jesus came Zacchaeus was ready.  All glory to God.  We are a lot like the people of that day; nothing has changed with the human heart.  We are easily discouraged and we have expectations that are God’s alone.  We are not called to save the lost; we are called to join into what God is already doing, where He is already doing it.  We have no power to save, yet we have been given the awesome honor to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with everyone.  In Matthew 28:18 it is our command to make disciples, “baptizing in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”, teaching them to observe all that Jesus has commanded us.  This is the easy part, if we let it be easy, Romans 10:14 says:

How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? 15 And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” 16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?” 17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.

So we go wherever there is a need for Jesus, and that’s not hard to see it is all around you, fatherless children, drugs, prostitution, stealing, oppression of the poor, and on and on it goes all these issues stem from a sin issue in the heart and not knowing Jesus as THE LORD of our life.  This brings me to a story about a Sunday afternoon in the “hood.”

As a part of Scarlet Hope for Kids, my son was picking up some children one day and he made this comment to me, “Mom there were so many kids at J’s house tonight, if I had a bus I could have brought 50 kids”, so probably a little exaggeration, but this was so encouraging to see the excitement in his heart to bring the gospel to these kids.  The Lord almost immediately spoke to my heart and gave me the idea of having a backyard bible study.  I cleared it with J’s mom, who was super excited and said, “Yeah, everybody needs Jesus.”  It was exciting just planning it.  We walked through the neighborhood handing out flyers and asking people if we could pray with them.  Sunday came and the Lord provided all the food, face paint, music, and most importantly the Word of God to be heard.  I don’t know how many people came, but we had mommas in the house and kiddos all over the back yard.  We grilled some hot dogs and got share in the love of Jesus with everyone who came.  The kids made pictures on tile with paint, they got their faces painted, and painted our faces too.  Observing the kids interacting with everyone was really a beautiful sight to behold.  Kids were getting piggy back rides left and right.  A tug at your hand causing you to look down to see little brown eyes looking back up at you for nothing more than to receive a smile and hug as they run off to play again would make tears of joy flow.  I overheard one of the teenagers say to a group of older teenagers who came, “this is our party and you’re not invited”, so I intervened and told them we just want to share the love of Jesus with you so come on over and have some food.  They stayed in their corner, so I grabbed some food and took it to them, the one who said they weren’t invited quickly recounted his statement and said, “I was just kidding”.  Jesus is always teaching us, we may never see the fruit of what He commands us to do, yet we still remain faithful only by the power of the Holy Spirit.  The kids sat down, and we sang about Jesus together.  I’m not gonna lie, not many of them sang, yet the ones who did, made a joyful noise unto the Lord.  Remember we do not save people, yet we are given the command and honor to spread the gospel. I am fully convinced because of God’s teaching in the word that since the gospel was heard it was not wasted, and God in His perfect timing will call people to himself.  The glorious truth is that the word of God was heard and seen in displaying His love by loving each other.

Did I mention that the mommas all stayed in the house just watching from a distance?  The Lord in His divine purposes had it all planned, you see we had two young men sharing the gospel that day and so as I look back at what the Lord did, he kept those mommas in the house.  This way they were not distracted, instead they were a captive audience for Craig who went inside, closed the door, and shared the good news of Jesus with them.   The last thing I want to share is the parents of the woman whose house we were having the Jesus party at showed up.  The mother said, “we haven’t seen S in a long time, so we decided to come today and can’t believe what is going on here. This is allllright!”  Her father or step father, I’m not sure the relation, kept saying over and over again, “this is so nice, this is allright, we were just stopping by and I can’t believe that this is happening here.”  I praised the Lord with him, all glory to God!! Wow, what a God we have.  So even now looking back at the love shared that day and the gospel that went forward, I have no doubt that the Lord is always moving.  It brings joy to my heart to be able to see Him work.

The gathering of people under the banner of Jesus in the form of a block party was a blessing and therefore we will continue to pour ourselves out for the sake of Jesus Christ, that He be made Known and that people everywhere will come to know Him as the Lord of their life.

So we continue to see God moving in the world around us, let us never forget HE is always at work.  Pray that he gives us eyes to see what He is doing and hearts and feet to go.

Written by:  Jennifer W. Outreach Team Volunteer SH

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