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Friday, February 15, 2008

A Common Cupboard Foundational Principle - "Invisibility"

The second foundational principle of the Common Cupboard is "invisibility". It is our desire that the cupboard would be so in the background that those we serve never see it. What they see instead is the love of God displayed to them in the person who is serving.

In our orientation I usually say "the cupboard is merely a place we store the food that we have gathered together". It is not really a food ministry to the poor. It is a "common cupboard", a pooled resource available to followers of Jesus and the local church to serve people in need. As such we equip churches and individual lovers of Jesus to reach out and so we facilitate the expansion of God's purpose and mission in this community.

I don't remember where I read it, but recently I read a quote that went something like this. "It is amazing what God can do through a person who does not care who gets credit for it!" Not only does Common Cupboard not care who gets the credit, we do not want the credit. All we want is for local churches, ministries, and other lovers of Jesus to use the cupboard to serve those in need. We want God to get the credit as his cherished children follows the example of Jesus and serves the poor whom Jesus loves.

When I say that the cupboard is to be invisible, I mean it. Last month a new couple started delivering food to several homes. They had not yet been through the orientation. They asked me what organization were they delivering for. I am sure they were asking me if they should say Common Heart or Common Cupboard, or whatever. I said the name of their local church in response to their question. They seemed a little shocked. I imagine that they were thinking, "I didn't know that our church ran this." But if anyone should get the exposure for good deeds done in the name of Jesus, it is the local church.

This principle of invisibility flows from my strong belief in the body of Christ displayed in gatherings of Jesus followers known as a local church. As individual members of his body, the church, reach out and meets a need, serves a person, displays patient listening, gives an encouraging word, the world will see Jesus. It is this body, the church, that brings today what the Bible teaches. Again, there is a saying, "we are the only Bible this world will read.."
Recently I heard a song from the worship album, Songs for a Revolution of Hope that echos a prayer of St. Teresa of Avilla, which expresses this outworking of the mystery of the Body of Christ very well.
Christ has no body here but ours,
No hands or feet here on earth but ours,
Ours are the eyes here through which he looks,
On this world, With Kindness.
Ours are the hands through which he works,
Ours are the feet on which he moves,
Our are the voices through which he speaks,
To this world, With Kindness.
Through our touch, our smile, our listening ear,
Embodied in us, Jesus is living here
Let us go now, filled with his Spirit,
Into the world with kindness.
In addition this principle of invisibility stems from another of my strongly held convictions. God’s love is best displayed through people serving people, not through church programs, or para-church ministries, or charitable institutions, or non-profit organizations, or government bureaucracies. It is people helping people that allows God's love to have a transformative effect on both the one being served and the one serving. The Cupboard's invisibility helps remind us that it is not the Cupboard, but us who are serving, giving, reaching out to those in need!

Keep serving. It is the kindness of God that leads people to repentance! Next month I will share more on my thoughts on the third foundational principle of Common Cupboard, "Demonstrating God’s Love."

You can read the first of the three pricniples by clicking on "Common Cupboard: A Pooled Resource."

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Your Church and Common Cupboard

In this post I would like to expand a little on how I envision Common Cupboard and your your church working together to reach our community with the good news of Jesus Christ. I will endeavor to be brief here, but I would love to sit down and have a cup of coffee with you one day and talk about it more! - Keith

Some time ago I was a pastor at a local church. It was my passion to teach the people of God. I taught a lot of things from our identity in Christ to personal evangelism, the books of the Bible to the power of the cross. My main desire was to see people serving God fully and to equip the congregation to reach out effectively to their friends, neighbors, and the community at large. I did a lot of talking. But, with all my teaching I couldn't quite get either myself or my congregation motivated to reach outside the four walls of our church on a sustained regular basis.

As I pondered this one spring, I had a rather simple but profound thought. What if equipping people for evangelism (or any gospel endeavor) was more than just training or teaching? I reasoned that American soldiers are provided not only with training on how to fire a rifle, but they are equipped with an actual rifle. Maybe I should think about equipping God's people that way. That's a thought that transformed a food pantry idea into Common Cupboard - a means to "equip saints to serve".

Let me share with you how we can "equip" your church to serve and draw people to Christ through intentional, active kindness through Common Cupboard.

We can provide you with a "turn key", local church based ministry. This is my number one priority for the cupboard. We want to help you develop a ministry to those in need in your community. You provide leadership, volunteers, and willing hearts to serve. We will provide you with training, groceries to give away to those you know in need, full access to an emergency food pantry for your members, and we will even help you identify people in need to serve.

You do not have to provide space in your facility to store food, boxes or bags. You do not have to spend lots of money or time to acquire groceries to give away. You do not have to constantly be running food drives or do fundraising. All you do is recruit a couple people who love God and love people to form your church's ministry. It's your church's ministry. We literally provide the rest so our church can be involved reaching out to folks in your community.

We only ask in return that your church add Common Heart to your local missions budget at an amount your board determines and that you help out with an occasional food drive. Oh, yes there is one other thing ... We ask you to keep Common Cupboard "invisible" to those you serve in the community. (See article below.)

If you have folks who would like to volunteer in a supportive role at the cupboard, we can certainly use the help. If you want to provide your youth group with a service project, we could help you with that too. We want to be a resource for you in fulfilling God's call to serve "the least of these."

For more information call me at 704-458-3744 . You could also click on the brochures under "Common Heart Quick Links" in the right column.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Moving Day at the Cupboard

Here is the first of several videos of Common Cupboard's move. Enjoy!

Your mission should you choose to accept it is to get those freezers out of the 300 sqft previous home of the cupboard and move them into the new 900 Sqft home on Garmon Rd, Indian Trail

To view the second video in the series Click here to see"Two Srong Arms" at