He Needed to be Forgiven

Genesis 4-4

This past weekend we went to a new church plant. We went to support friends who are stepping boldly forward and answering the call of God saying, “Here I am, send me.” We went to support a friend looking for a place to worship. 
But, I had no idea that what would happen in that little service would tear open our hearts, clean us out and fill us with the water of life. Quenching that insatiable thirst and yet leaving me craving, praying, worshiping all day, like I could never get quite enough. 

And it all came out of the mouths of babes. 

Cain and Abel

Adam[a] made love to his wife Eve, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Cain.[b] She said, “With the help of the Lord I have brought forth[c] a man.” Later she gave birth to his brother Abel.

Now Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil. In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the Lord.And Abel also brought an offering—fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast.

Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you

But, God was doing something greater. 

The pastor, asked the congregation, “What was the difference between Cain’s offering and Abel’s. And we thought it was rhetorical. We know the story. We get that it was a heart issue. Yet no one offered to put themselves out there and answer the question. 

But one young boy raised his hand. 

In the sweetness of his seven years, he shyly put together the words, “He knew he had sinned and needed to be forgiven.”

……

He (Abel) knew he needed to be forgiven.

I still have to soak that one in. 

You see, as many times as I ever heard this story… as many times have I have recounted it’s meaning. I have never once thought of Abel, the son who brought the best offering as a broken sinning soul. 

I have never once thought that Abel, understood something about the disconnect of sin, and the need for atonement. The longing for restoration and connection with God. 

I thought Abel had it all figured out. I thought he was the good boy who knew how to do the right things. That he was so pure of heart that he never messed up. 

But, today a sweet seven-year-old boy taught me a lesson. Abel, was bringing that sacrifice, bringing the best of what he had to the Living God, not because he had already done all the right things, but because he wanted to be restored. He needed to be forgiven. He needed to be right with God. 

yeah. 

 

~Rita

 

How You Can be a Part of the Allegan Western Days

Western Days 2017 Allegan, MI

It’s that time of year again! Planning is underway for Western Days 2017 at the Allegan County Fairgrounds. This year’s event will be held June 17th-18th. Since this is a community outreach event, our ministry team would like you to be well informed of the many available opportunities for you and your congregation.
We invite you to share your God-given gifts and talents and love on your community. .
If you have any questions about our ministry we invite you to check out our web site: www.westerndaysministries.org and send us you questions through our Contact US tab.

Below are some of the areas where you could bless this ministry and your community:

Prayer: Community prayer meetings are happening every Tuesday evening at various locations around the community. Please check out this LINK to view the complete schedule. From the very beginning Western Days has been God’s event. These prayer meetings are an integral part of the planning of our events.

Bake Sale Fundraiser: We are once again having a Bake Sale Fund Raiser at the Allegan Farmers Market. Fundraisers like these are part of why Western Days is FREE to the community. You will find us under the community tent by City Hall at the Markets new Locust Street location. We have reserved the Community Tent for May 25th And June 8th. We are seeking Volunteers for both dates to put their baking talents to work and also, help with set up/tear down and taking a shift in collecting donations.
Please Contact Rita Gleason (269-370-8108) if you can help with this event. Of course we need people to come and buy the delicious treats as well. Your support in this way is greatly appreciated.

Evangelism: Above all things, Western Days is an outreach ministry designed to present the gospel of Jesus to a lost and dying world and to minister to the needs of the people as the Spirit leads. If this is an area of passion for you, we could use your help throughout the event. Contact Sue for further information.

Camp Workers: We are looking for several volunteers to help with the family bible camp. Specific positions include registration, teachers and camp guides. We will be happy to train you so no need to worry about experience.

Kitchen Ministry: People love to eat, and we enjoy providing them with food. As in the past, we will have food available at no cost at different points of the day on Saturday. We are in need of multiple volunteers to minister to the community through food service.

Food Truck: We are looking for someone with a food wagon that will help cook hot dogs to distribute after the Round’em Up Bible Camp. This person will also be able to sell food later during the Bull Riding. Please Contact Brian Sowle (269-720-7690 for more information.

Chili Cook off: We need a volunteer to organize this valued part of our event. We are also seeking outstanding entries to submit their favorite chili recipe to share with the group. This has always been a hit and this year it will be judged again with a trophy to be given to the winner! We would love to get a pot from each church in the area! Who’s your best chili maker?

Information, Medical & Security: Those looking to minister in this capacity should be comfortable being on their feet and on the go. The primary responsibility will be to provide guests with information about time schedules & events as well as location of the food court, restrooms, etc. We do not anticipate any security or medical issues, however, volunteers should be on the lookout for potential problems and be prepared to assist guests as needed.

Flyers: Once again Western Days event flyers will be available for distribution in the community. We are looking for volunteers to put up posters throughout Allegan County and to distribute flyers to businesses or door-to-door. This could be a great opportunity to involve the youth of your congregation.

Banners: Banners to advertise your church or business are available for purchase. These will be displayed at various locations throughout the fairgrounds and will be returned to purchasers after the event. Talk to Sue for further details.

Set Up/Take Down: Perhaps you are more of a hands-on, manual labor type of person. No problem, we have a place for you. We could use committed volunteers to help with the set up and take down work during the day on Friday and Sunday. We tend to have a good turn out for set-up and could use some equally committed individuals for take down.

Donations: Western Days Ministries is now a 501C3 corporation under the covering of World Ministry Fellowship. If you would like to make a financial donation to Western Days Ministries to help cover the cost of this year’s outreach events, please visit our webpage at https://www.westerndaysministries.org

The One

Luke 15-4

Most know I have a love/hate relationship with social media. I love it because it allows me to stay in contact with far away friends and family, who otherwise I would not hear from except for the annual Christmas card. I love that it allows us to peek into each others lives and remember that none of us are alone in our struggles. I love that it has given me and this wonderful ministry as a platform to share God’s word and his love for all people. Of course there are many things I don’t love about it, but for today, lets just stick to the positives.

It was because of the blessing of social media I was able to witness baptism of someone I once knew growing up. This proclamation of faith and baptism has stuck with me and I have been rejoicing over it for days. You see, though I don’t really know this person anymore, I did know of the love and prayer and continual reaching out of this persons family. A family who both knew Christ and who was new to a personal relationship with Christ. I knew this person needed Jesus too.
So, it was such a wonderful surprise when the video of this baptism popped up in my news feed. My heart literally stopped as I heard the confession of faith and watched in awe that someone who I had no idea was looking, yet I knew soooo needed Jesus shared the testimony of how God had intervened in their life, And here they were getting baptized, not just this person but his children as well! Can we get a Hallelujah in here!!!

It got me thinking about what Western Days Ministries is all about. You see, even though this ministry had nothing to do with leading this person to the Lord, we rejoice because of the ONE.
Our theme has always been, “Gather’n the Strays.” Though we love putting on events that are family friendly, that seek to draw the community together and unite churches, it is really all about the one. That one person who thinks they have no hope, that one person who needs to hear that God loves them. That one person who feels, …lost.
I’ve heard it over and over, since the beginning of this ministry that if what we do brought just one person to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, then it was worth it!

The Parable of the Lost Sheep
Luke 15:1-7

Now the tax collectors and sinners were all gathering around to hear Jesus. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”

Then Jesus told them this parable: “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons
who do not need to repent.

This is our Calling. Leaving the ninety-nine and going to look for that one. 

The question is, will you join us?

~Rita