Give Them Something to Eat

Generation Alive stages Something to Eat events 2-3 times a month. They are so fulfilling. They give kids a chance to say, “We’re going to help someone who needs to be helped.” That’s the greatest thing. These kids show completely selfless love.

Our first one, in 2011, changed my life. It was an all-day event in January and several hundred people showed up for it. Everyone worked together in teams to package kits for complete meals. Each kid who came was directly involved. One kid would hold a bag under a funnel. Another would pour some protein powder in. The next kid would pour in some dried vegetables, and then the next one would pour in some vitamin powder. The last thing to get poured in was rice.

Next, someone would check the weight of the bag, because it had to weigh a certain amount for shipping. If it weighed too much, they took a little rice out, and if it weighed too little, they added a little rice in. Then the next kid would take the bag and hold it under a heat sealer, and the next one would seal it. Then they’d stack the bags for boxing.

You add this meal kit to boiling water and you get all the nutrients you need for the day. Hungry kids in places like Haiti eat these meals and their health really improves. Their hair and nails grow back, their eyesight improves, and they do better in school because they can think properly. These meals are helping their bodies do what they need to do.

From start to finish, it takes two minutes to make a meal kit that restores life to someone dealing with hunger. Each kid in a group took part in preparing each bag, and each bag held six meals. Twelve kids would touch the same bag, and know that they were a part of all six meals.

We told the kids, “Write whatever you want on the box. Write a positive message.” And these boxes were covered in messages. “God loves you,” they wrote. “We pray for you.” “We love you.” “We care about you.” They drew pictures! It was awesome, just to see them waiting for their turn. They worked hard, enjoyed the work, and wanted to do more.

You just can’t imagine how fulfilling and uplifting it is to spend a day with kids who are willing to work hard to help strangers! A lot of them shared that they want to do this all their lives, and even do it for a living. That makes me think about God’s call and our response. Next time, I want to share some thoughts about that. See you Thursday.

Proud to Love an Orphan

A friend just got home from Haiti, and she had a tough, tough time. She spent a few days at an orphanage in Les Cayes, just hanging with some orphans and hearing their stories. One little boy was abandoned by his family on a filthy river bank when he was just 18 months old. His mom and dad simply couldn’t take care of him. So they left him, hoping the orphanage would take him in. It did, of course. He’s nine years old now, and my friend sat with him in the evenings after school. She told me how quiet and still he was. A boy like that should run and play and laugh, but he just sat near her. They had yarn and parachute cord, and she made bracelets with him, noticing how easily he would get discouraged. There wasn’t much she could do, beyond being there with him and encouraging him. She couldn’t bond with him, make promises to him, or raise expectations in him. She was just a visitor.

When she got to the airport in Port-au-Prince, she ran into a Christian group from Illinois. She said they were glowing and happy. They had also just come from an orphanage in Les Cayes. They’d just put a new roof on the main building. They told her their church had been helping the orphanage for several years. They love traveling down to Haiti. They get such a charge from doing good works. She couldn’t help but love them for their happiness and enthusiasm. She told me that she understood why they felt so good about what they had accomplished.

But she also wondered how she could be so sad. God had given her such a special opportunity to serve. She’d had a chance to be present for that little boy. She wondered why she didn’t have the same joyful buzz as those Christians from Illinois. I encouraged her on this. She shared the love of Jesus with that little boy! I know she’ll reflect joy in that, probably as soon as she recovers from the trip.

Her story got me thinking about how we are as human beings, and how we function. Pride is part of our human flesh. “I did something good enough for God to smile! Look what I did, that He smiles on me!” It feels awesome. I think we look for opportunities to feel that way.

But I have news for you. God is smiling on you anyway.

Pride makes us forget about grace. Take any good, solid, decent human being. If they get enough money, if they get enough fame, if they get enough people telling them how awesome they are, they can get pretty full of themselves. It is so easy for a good person to be corrupted with pride.

God knows how the human mind behaves. He knows that we are prideful. He knows that we like to brag and that we enjoy getting recognized for our accomplishments. He knows we’re not perfect! That’s why He sent His Son, who is perfect in every way, to die for us.

It is only through the death of His Son that we can get into heaven. It is the only way. I don’t care how much work you do, you have no shot. It is through His death alone that we enter the Kingdom. Don’t brag about all the great things you have done for God. We are only welcome in His Kingdom because of what His Son did for us, not for what we did. We didn’t do anything.

When Jesus died for us, He took away our right to boast. He took away our pride. He took it for a reason. Pride is too tempting! He had to save us from it. The only option was to eliminate it. This is the genius of God! The only person to get credit for getting us into the Kingdom is also the only person that won’t feel pride because of it. Jesus! He won’t brag about what He did. He’ll only say, “I’m just so glad you guys are all here, man!” You know?

So praise Jesus for what He did! He came in human flesh, dying for mankind. Now we are in Him, and He is in us. He brings us into the Kingdom of God. He brings us to eat at the banquet table of the King. We did nothing to get here. No money, no fame, no lottery ticket. No orphanage roofs or bracelets made from yarn. Nothing! Jesus did it all. Boast about that!

Fulfilled by Work

Last time I suggested that working to earn money and achieve our goals is important, but that we as human beings need something more. Let me put that into perspective. Americans aren’t the only people to work hard, but we are among the few who are able to achieve success from our hard work. In some countries, people never make more than two or three dollars a day, no matter how hard they work. They never work their way out of poverty because they literally can’t. There’s just no way to do it.

There are so many people out there in the world who work just as hard as we do and will never, ever, ever, be able to make more than two or three dollars a day, unless something changes. You can help. Continue reading

Why Do You Work?

Why do you work? If you work because you need a paycheck, or because you want to make tons of money, I understand.

And maybe you also work because you’ve set goals. You have said, “I want to achieve something great. At my job, greatness comes with a raise or a promotion, so that’s my goal.” You work hard for your goals. I really do understand that.

Suppose I say to someone, “You have to work hard if you want to become the president of your company.” And they say, “Yeah, I want to do that.”

Then I would ask, “Okay, why?’ Continue reading

Satisfy Your Soul

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We did not choose to be born in America. We could have been born in Uganda or Haiti. Imagine that! I respect that I was born in America.

But we weren’t born here because we’re lucky. We were born here because we are blessed.

We are blessed to be born in a country where we have freedom and prosperity. We are blessed to have the opportunities that freedom and prosperity make possible. I know some people think we’re not prosperous. We hear a lot of concern about the economic crisis. But unless you’re making less than four dollars a day, you’re making more than 90% of people in the world. Continue reading

Serving Like Jesus

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Over the next couple of weeks, I’m going to share my dreams with you by describing my organization’s REACH program. We’re trying to create a generation that has come alive in Christ.

REACH starts with water. Water is the source of life. But people all over the world live without access to clean water. Their water makes them sick. They need wells.

For eight thousand dollars your youth group can build a fresh-water well. You’ll change a community of fifteen hundred people! It’ll erase 90% of diseases in that community. They will flourish!

Generation Alive is trying to get youth groups and young kids to try this. Suppose you have a youth group of one hundred kids. We want to get one hundred kids to figure out some way to raise eighty dollars each in three months. Eighty dollars! That’s it.

Do you think we can do that? Continue reading