Garner Citizens for Haiti began with a nearly empty Garner Historic Auditorium and the sound of a whipping rain storm in 34 degree weather outside. For all the effort, planning, practicing, and coordination, it seemed that the event was going to be all hype and no substance. However, by the time the welcomes were over and the second song was sung, the auditorium filled out nicely.
For a town that is undergoing its own recovery (ConAgra) while fending off further losses (www.savegarnerlibrary.com), the citizens of Garner showed that they can significantly love and serve others who are in need.
After being greeted by Mayor Ronnie Williams, Councilman Ken Marshburn, and Police Chief Brandon Zuidema, the Sovereign King music team led the crowd of over 100 in singing “Everlasting God” and “I Stand Amazed” – both songs calling people to the great hope in an eternal and gracious God. Then Garner was challenged to understand the need in Haiti.
Stan Wiebe (www.heartsandhandsforhaiti.org) gave a heart breaking account of his on the ground experience when the earthquake occurred. Rev. Erilus St. Sauveur (http://www.solidrockfirsthaitian.org/) challenged the crowd to consider traveling to Haiti to offer 1st person care and mercy. Rev. Chuck Killian (www.garnerumc.org) passionately prayed for real, active, and swift relief for the people of Haiti.
Following two more songs by the SK Music Team (“Still” and “How Great is Our God”), I was privileged to lead the crowd in 2 events: praying and giving. We had a moment of silent reflection and the lighting of candles to signify the Light of the World, Jesus Christ, entrusting His children with the task of being lights in the world. The moments of silent reflection and prayer were powerful. Following this time, we took up an offering to the American Red Cross while watching a powerful video from the folks at www.churcheshelpingchurches.com.
In total, over $1,600 was raised for Haiti relief, but I think even more was accomplished last week. I think the Town of Garner took another step towards realizing just how much impact they can have in their community and the world. I and Sovereign King Church were glad to be along for the ride. Look for an updated page at www.garnercitizensforhaiti.com in the next few days so Garner can continue to contribute to the needs of the people of Haiti.
A lot of exciting things are going on this weekend including the Garner Citizens for Haiti event and worship on Sunday. Check out the video preview below for more details.
To prepare our hearts, consider these thoughts from Tim Lane and Paul Tripp:
“The Bible says that my real problem is not psychological (low self-esteem or unmet needs), social (bad relationships and influences), historical (my past), or physiological (my body). They are significant influences, but my real problem is spiritual (my straying heart and my need for Christ). I have replaced Christ with something else, and as a consequence, my heart is hopeless and powerless. Its responses reflect its bondage to whatever it is serving insted of Christ. Ultimately, my real problem is a worship disorder.
When we rightly identify the source of our problem, we are on our way to a solution that celebrates the grace of Christ. But we must first acknowledge that the problem is us! It is inside us, deep in the recesses of our hearts. If we don’t face our own sins, we will never get to the real solution. We will minimize the redeeming love of the Father, the Son, and Spirit or bypass it completely.” (How People Change)
If you would like to worship with us at Sovereign King, you can find directions our space here.
- Garner has the rare opportunity to gather together for the purpose of loving and caring for an incredibly hurt people.
- There is a growing sense of community in Garner civically (ConAgra, Library), and the Garner Citizens for Haiti event allows us to put that energy together, not in protest, but in solidarity for others who are in need.
- This event is the rare chance to bring together multiple churches, civic organizations, and other social tribes in a unifying effort.
To prep us for the event, I’ve included an incredible video from the folks at www.churcheshelpingchurches.com. It does a great job of setting the scene for both the need and the meeting of that need in Haiti. For more information about Garner’s event, check out www.garnercitizensforhaiti.com.
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As a pastor, I take great joy seeing people respond with mercy when others are in need. When people care enough to extend grace, there is almost no stopping what can be accomplished. I’ve seen our small congregation at Sovereign King feed tons of people and meet the needs of everyone from the local women’s shelter to individuals we have met through the police. Other churches in the area are also doing great things like Redeemer Church’s massive Christmas present effort and True North Church’s work at With Love from Jesus.
However, despite our best efforts to show mercy, there is a temptation that always creeps in after a period of time: amnesia. Immediately meeting people’s needs is a genuine heart response of those who have had their needs met by Jesus, but gradually forgetting that need is as equally likely. Ask yourself:
- How often do you think about the work still needed in the wake Katrina?
- When was the last time you sent money for relief efforts for the floods in Iowa?
It is just human nature to eventually forget of these great needs once space and time creep in to our consciousnesses.
I pray that does not happen in light of the needs of the people of Haiti. One way to fight off that amnesia is joining the Town of Garner for “Garner Citizens For Haiti” on February 5th. Held at the Garner Historic Auditorium at 7:30pm, the Town hopes to gather, sing, pray, listen, and give to the ongoing work in Haiti.
As we creep closer to a month removed from the earthquakes, our minds may already be focusing on other things. Let’s keep our prayers and efforts focused on loving and caring for the people of Haiti.
If you want more information about the event, go to www.garnercitizensforhaiti.com.
It has been a tough month for the town of Garner. There is concern about the health and future of the ConAgra plant. We are at the very beginning of an investigation of missing public funds. Wake County is considering the closure of our library. However, perspective is always a good thing. Though the aforementioned issues loom large in our collective conscience, our concerns and woes pale in comparison to the concerns and woes of Haiti. The devastation there is soul-numbing.
That is why Garner needs to care for Haiti. Despite our challenges and fears of the future, more than a few of us have the ability to send financial aid to Haiti. Despite our own country’s economic woes, we still have so much more than the people of Haiti. Caring for Haiti would be a soothing balm for us and a step towards healing for them.
2 Corinthians 1 speaks of God being the God of all Comfort. The comfort He gives has a two-fold purpose. His comfort is intended to care for those in need, and as people recover, they are then to pass that same comfort on to others.
Haiti needs that. Garner needs that.
We need comfort from our fears, but so does Haiti. We can play a part in that. On February 5th, at 7:30pm, the Town of Garner will hold a citywide Concert of Prayer at the Garner Historic Auditorium. We are going to gather, celebrate, give thanks, pray, and then at the end of our time together, take up an offering for American Red Cross’ effort in Haiti. For more information, check out www.garnercitizensforhaiti.com.
Let’s gather together, enjoy the comfort that God gives and then extend it to others who are in need.
Journaling has become part of my daily practice of prayer and mediation. It helps me think through everything from personal to local to national issues. I hope this video is a help.
I’ve begun reading “Where is God” by Dr. John Townsend as part of the Thomas Nelson Book Review Bloggers program. I’m only a chapter or so in and am enjoying it already. The title speaks to the book’s content well. From the worldwide stage (the devastation in Haiti) to the local stage (the future of the ConAgra plant), many people are asking the question, “Where is God?”
I plan on doing something different for the review though. I will post a final review when I am done, but I plan on posting regular quotes via Facebook status and Twitter updates. The Twitter hashtag will be #whereisGod?
To get us started. Here is one quote that I felt had tremendous impact.
“You may be experiencing a great deal of stress, hurt, or suffering, perhaps even at unimaginable levels. You may have anxiety, fear, confusion, anger, sadness, and a host of other negative emotions. You may simply be living day to day, hour to hour. That is just the reality of life today.
If you are in that position now, you need to be heard, understood, and supported, just as much as you need clarity of mind and understanding. The last thing you need is to feel that your pain or anxiety should not be there that it is dismissed, disregarded, or negated…so remember, that your experience, especially the negative part, matters to God and to those who care about you.”
This article also appears at the Raleigh Examiner.
The news out of Haiti of a 7.0 earthquake is nothing less than soul-crushing. In a country where widespread poverty and corruption reign, any natural disaster would seem to cripple an already over burdened recovery effort from recent hurricanes. But an earthquake larger than any seen in the last 100 years might very well send the country to new depths of need and chaos.
Haiti is already one of the poorest countries in the Northern Hemisphere, and now who knows what will fill the void left in the wake of disaster? Friends within the PCA as well as my father in law have told me stories of their visits and work there, and each has communicated the massive amount of physical and spiritual need.
One thing that is not needed is grandstanding or pontificating by either politicians or critics of said politicians. I’m sure the folks down there don’t care about the political views of the people sending need. They just need help.
The simple solution is to pray, give, and serve. We need to dedicate ourselves to praying continually for this ravaged country. I would welcome any feedback about credible agencies doing good work in Haiti so folks who want to give or serve can do so.
For those interesting in helping immediately, simply text “HAITI” to “90999” and a donation of $10 will be given automatically to the Red Cross to help with relief efforts, charged to your cell phone bill. More info about this effort can be found here.