What breaks your heart?

Do you ever watch DIY SOS? The show always starts with a heart wrenching account of someone’s unfinished project to improve their home that has been delayed due a tragedy in their life. The team come in, and aided by volunteers, transform the home into a haven for the family. Invariably when the improvements are revealed to the owners, tears stream down their faces as joy and relief are mingled together. It gets me every time and I confess I find tears welling up in my own eyes. As we read the gospels we find that Jesus too was a man in touch with his emotions, a man who wept and felt compassion for his fellow man.

When he looked out over the crowds, his heart broke. So confused and aimless they were, like sheep with no shepherd. “What a huge harvest!” he said to his disciples. “How few workers! On your knees and pray for harvest hands!” Matthew 9:36-38 (MSG)

Do you notice the strength of Jesus’ reaction when he sees lost people? His heart broke! That was Jesus’ motivation for instigating mission. He was not concerned about image or numbers, rather he felt such compassion deep in his spirit for the lost that it stirred his emotions and drove him to action.

First he highlighted the need to his closest disciples, inviting them to share in the pain and sorrow. Second he asked them to pray for workers to go out into the harvest field to rescue the lost people of Israel. If you carry on reading into chapter 10 you find that Jesus’ third action was to commission the disciples to become the answer to their own prayers. The trigger for proclaiming the good news of the Kingdom was hearts broken for the lost.

Does your heart break over lost people living down your street, in your work place, school or college? Do you feel compassion for your town or village? Does this drive you to pray for workers to go out into the harvest field? Does it propel you to become the answer to your own prayers? I suspect that until our hearts break like Jesus’, mission will always seem a heavy chore. Would you dare to join me in praying that God will break your heart for the lost people of Hook, Fleet, Basingstoke or wherever you happen to live?

This blog post featured in the June 2013 edition of Lifelines

Hart Foodbank

One tradition that many schools and churches still maintain at this time of year is Harvest Festival. Traditionally people brought the first fruits of their fields as a thanksgiving to God for the harvest, conscious of their dependence upon his providence in ensuring that there was abundance for the long cold winter months. Some of these offerings were used to provide for the poor in the local community who might otherwise go without. These days Harvest Festival food tends to be tinned or packet food with a long shelf life and gets passed on to any number of charities that distribute them to those experiencing hardship.

Along with a number of local churches, Life Church supports “Hart Foodbank” which distributes food across Hart District. People are often astonished that anyone living in Hart could possibly need such help. Sadly despite the generally high standard of living in this area there are a growing number of people who are in desperate need of this service. On a single afternoon in July 400kg was given to feed 60 local people in Hart. In the 12 months that Hart Foodbank has been operating 453 people have been helped (232 adults and 221 children). So far nearly 7.5 tonnes of food has been donated and we have been able to send over 1.2 tonnes to other Foodbanks across the country. If you would like more information about the national network then please visit http://hart.foodbank.org.uk

At Life Church we don’t hold a Harvest Festival service, rather we encourage people to buy an extra packet of food with the weekly shop and bring it along when they come to church – the need exists all year round and it helps to have a steady supply! However we are grateful to local schools and other organisations who do donate their harvest festival gifts to Hart Foodbank through us. Donations are always welcome and can be left at Life Church Centre during office hours.

This blog post featured in the October 2012 edition of Hook Focus