Lent & Advent

Advent 2020 – December 12

Jim Hopkins

December 10, 2020

Acknowledging God’s Gift with a Gift
Sheila Sims
(Sheila Sims is a long time member of Lakeshore Avenue Baptist Church, a youth and lay leader, and chair of the Hunger Task Force)

2 Corinthians 9:6-8
Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.

During this Season of Advent, we pay our respects to the birth of a tiny child who changed our world and what we believe. We were not there to witness his birth, but the legacy of that event has been passed down for generations; a child that would be birth by a woman and who was the real Son of God. Jesus’ birth represents a season of Giving; a season of Grace; and a season of Love for humankind during Advent. As we reflect on what that means to us, we cannot forget, and we cannot avoid those who are in need during this season of giving, grace, and love. We witness this on our tv’s, in our neighborhoods, in our church, and in ourselves. We often ask “what can I do? And how can I make a difference?”

We are called by Christ not just to give, but to make the needs of others our own, to hold them into ourselves and to take them seriously. There are so many people who are in need and are suffering silently. The mere thought of this travesty can become overwhelming particularly when we hear that one out of four families live in poverty; one out five children go to bed hungry; 4800 homeless people in Oakland; and 60% of our seniors fall below the poverty line. This can be upsetting and stifling at the same time especially when you are one of the individuals or you know of individuals who represent any of these instances. One person alone cannot solve the issues at hand.

We cannot fix every problem, but we can help those agencies and individuals who are trying. We can help those who are in need by providing food and clothing. We can help make this Christmas special by letting them know we care, and we see them. We should never give up on God’s calling for us. God has empowered us with so many talents and/or gifts. Whatever your gift or talent may be – be it financial, encouraging, supporting, or inspiring, others through your words and witness, or personal involvement – is need by the agencies and those in need. No matter where you fall on this spectrum, try to give what God has given you cheerfully. Embrace giving and be encouraged that whatever you can provide is making a difference in the lives of others; that you touch others whether it is directly and/or indirectly. We are not all called to be on the ground level, but we are all called to contribute our talents where needed. As believers, we are also called to show empathy, compassion, and love to all those who are in need, discouraged, and lack hope. Our community is honoring what Christ has put before us.

I am in awe and grateful for the Lakeshore Community and the gifts you provide to our Oakland Community. We, as the body of Christ, are doing this when we support “Sponsor a Family,” when we help feed the hungry, and when we provide for the children and widows.

LABC, your spirit is giving. Your heart is filled with love. Your soul cries out for justice. Your inner being acknowledged every person matters. You are answering the call!  Praise God for you! Praise God for us!  Praise God for all! 

Here I Am, Lord
(Daniel L. Schutte)

I, the Lord of sea and sky
I have heard my people cry
All who dwell in dark and sin
My hand will save
I, who made the stars of night
I will make their darkness bright
Who will bear my light to them?
Whom shall I send?

I, the Lord of snow and rain
I have borne my people’s pain
I have wept for love of them
They turn away
I will break their hearts of stone
Give them hearts for love alone
Who will speak my word to them
Whom shall I send?

I, the Lord of wind and flame
I will tend the poor and lame
I will set a feast for them
My hand will save
Finest bread I will provide
‘Til their hearts be satisfied
I will give my life to them
Whom shall I send?

Here I am, Lord. Is it I, Lord?
I have heard you calling in the night
I will go, Lord, if you lead me
I will hold your people in my heart

There is still time and opportunity to participate in “sponsor-a-child” for Christmas. Contact Sheila Sims for information and details.

LABC Zoom Gatherings

A Time For Prayer- 10:00 a.m. Saturday

Virtual Tour of Bethlehem – 11:30 a.m. Saturday (contact Pastor Allison for information)

LABC Worship – 10:00 a.m. Sunday

Adult Bible Study Class – 11:45 a.m Sunday

Blue Christmas Service – 2:00 p.m. Sunday

LABC Youth Group – 7:00 p.m. Monday

No Soup, But Study – 6:00 p.m. Tuesday

LABC Church Council Meeting – 7:00 p.m. Tuesday