Dream Sabatogers: People’s Opinions

Nothing gets me charged up like seeing people moving with confidence in their unique giftings and living out their dreams.  While we all have different callings and abilities, God means to use every one of us to do amazing and creative things in order to glorify Him and help people follow Christ.  But just because something is ordained by God doesn’t mean it will be free from opposition…in fact, you can bank on it.  I often get scared when I’m not experiencing adversity while serving God.  Inspire Urbana, overall, was trouble free.  That made me wonder because in so many ways, things fit into place immediately with very few anxious moments.

Jesus told us we would have opposition and asked the Father to protect us (John 17:11).  It’s a given.  We just have to remember certain key thoughts as we obey Him.

There will always be critics.
Nehemiah was trying to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem, a noble and worthy cause.  He was even given permission by King Artaxerxes and the necessary supplies for the journey and the construction.  Everything seemed fine…until Sanballat and Tobiah began to criticize, accuse, and mock them for their undertaking.

Just as we were about to begin Inspire Urbana…acting on our passion to serve the underserved in East Urbana, questions and accusations were thrown out immediately.  What about the north side of Urbana?  What about Northwest Champaign?  UGH.

Then we attempted our first ever gun exchange.  Immediately activists began criticizing us, throwing us into the bigger agenda of gun control.  People said we were naïve and simple minded for thinking criminals would turn in their guns for a meezly $50 gift card.  Blogs started to circulate with accusations and outright lies about the process of the gun exchange.  We started receiving letters and emails from “Christians” with less than Christian responses to our efforts.  They told us we needed to focus on caring for people’s needs, sharing Christ’s love, and “doing the real work of ministers.” Sigh.  If they even knew what Inspire Urbana was about.  If they knew what we knew about several of the guns that were collected, the stories behind certain tragedies.  And the fact that we have no interest in guns by authorized owners.  If they only knew that more than half of our men’s ministry (150 men) are avid hunters and outdoorsmen.  If they knew that my pastor has been an NRA member for over 30 years and has had a rifle(s) since he was a child in Western Illinois.  While I wanted to answer all the accusations and defend our church, I chose to remain silent.  I determined that the cause was greater and that’s where my attention needed to be focused

Stay the course.
While there are temptations to give up, we need to keep the end game in mind.  It’s not about us, our comfort, our notoriety, our reputation…it’s about people.  The very reason we need to keep going, keep passing out groceries, having health fairs, creating opportunities for advancement, clean up neighborhoods, etc.  It’s to instill hope and demonstrate Christ.  To keep declaring that we believe in East Urbana, despite the opposition.

God will see us through to the end.
Scripture and experience tells us to keep trusting in God.  He has more than provided the money and resources, volunteers, given us everything we have needed.  He’s not going to abandon us.  Amen.

Your cheerleaders will outnumber your critics.
Little reminders here and there, emails, notes, phone calls…they have been a source of strength and a confirmation that we’re on the right track.  While many may be silent, I can rest assured knowing that needs are being met and folks are appreciative and supportive.  Once in a while, commendations from city officials and local news media coverage also helps boost our confidence 🙂

You will finish well.
We have to keep reminding ourselves:  it’s gonna be worth it.  Resources might be limited but we’re going to do the best we can with what we have.  It’s worth one more life, one more family being fed, our neighbors and friends finding hope, and folks meeting Christ.

What a privilege it is to serve people.

 

Father Tony giving a free haircut during Inspire Urbana
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