California is a multiple disaster area. In the north, thousands are suddenly homeless and scores are missing and presumed dead from wildfires that swept away whole communities trapping the unfortunate ones who could not get out fast enough. And in the south, more fires wreaked devastation on neighborhoods while a random shooter cut down a dozen young people enjoying a country dance. Just to look at the paper every morning around here or watch the news puts you on empathy overload. You can’t imagine what it must be like for so many people hit by these disasters. Their lives are going to not be “normal” for years. Actually, the Governor has proclaimed this current state “the new normal.”
These are times, however, that also bring out the best in humanity, and should also be populated with Visible Evidence of people of faith. These are times when the words of James in the New Testament take on immediate significance.
Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. James 2:15-17
James, like Jesus, wants to see faith that results in tending to the real needs of people. Jesus said over and over again that His followers needed to not only be hearers of the word, but doers of the word as well, and James goes as far as to say that faith that does not show itself in good deeds on behalf of others is not faith at all. He calls it dead faith. Not that works create faith, but good works are the Visible Evidence that real faith exists. Works follow faith.
There’s that term again — Visible Evidence. It’s interesting to note that, after what we’ve seen from yesterday’s Catch and today’s, Christ should be evident both in the victims of these disasters and in the volunteers who serve those victims. For the victims, He is the Visible Evidence of faith, hope and love in spite of the devastating circumstances; and for those who will serve them, He is the Visible Evidence of compassion and their faith in action. Both ways — from the server and the served — God gets the glory.
There is one more manifestation of the Visible Evidence of Christ in a life I want to mention in closing, and that would be in the area of giving. We found this out a few weeks ago when we studied this. We found out that one of the greatest marks that a heart has truly been touched by the grace of God is that it counts giving as a privilege. That would mean that a grateful giver who considers giving a privilege would be Visible Evidence of someone who has experienced the grace of God. God’s grace makes great givers.
So get ready as this is our last Catch this week and we want to end on a giving note. Most of you probably know we have been conducting a fundraising campaign to raise $15,000 to launch a number of new programs to expand the reach of the Catch and help it to be self-sustaining. In other words, we want the Catch to not have to rely so much on fundraising. You have done exceptionally well. In less than a week, you have contributed a total of $10,533. We have givers who have indeed experienced the grace of God. That leaves only $4,467 to raise today. And we have promised that if we can make our goal today by midnight, everyone who donated $50 or more will receive a Visible Evidence T-shirt free as our “thank you” to you. So let’s finish this! Some of you have never given to the Catch. This would be a great time to be gracious. Some of you could give again. A few of you have already done that. Whatever it takes, let’s take this thing over the top. We will let you know throughout the day how we are doing so you can help us reach our goal. This is doable. Let’s do it!
In reading your emails, there appears to be a strong desire for many to become involved with our efforts. Nothing could make us happier.
Many recommended the Catch involve the Community through “Matching gifts.” It was believed matching gifts heightened anticipation of reaching the goal.
There are large scale matching gifts, and, of course, if anyone would like to offer such a challenge, please write me by replying to this email or call me at 949.315.5533.
Additionally, and on a smaller scale, there are many who recommend building camaraderie by encouraging people to do gift matching, such as,
Tim in Oregon will double his $50 gift if someone else will also double their $50 gift”
— Or —
In addition to monthly gifts, MemberPartner Cynthia challenges all MemberPartners to contribute to this $15,000 campaign — Cynthia will double her $50 gift if another MemberPartner else will also double their $50 gift. ”
Any Large challenge or any Smaller challenges are most welcomed. Write or call me and I will extend your offer to entire Catch Community right away.
Call or write me now! Write me by replying to this email, or call me at 949.315.5533.