Seven Were Chosen to Serve the Needy

Compassion, which reopened its East Indonesia ministry in 2005, has brought new life to the ministry of some churches. Pastor Pangkey is one pastor who has been inspired by Compassion to begin new patterns of ministry.

He had the opportunity to take part in the Global Leadership Summit in 2007 in Jakarta. At the meeting, God asked him to challenge his congregation to open its heart more for the people in the community.

Pastor Pangkey felt that God wanted him to look to the others who haven’t yet been reached by our programs and the church. This is how he began the Stefanus Group.

Pastor Pangkey“God spoke to me through the scripture in Acts 6:1-7, which speaks about the seven chosen men. The Twelve Disciples chose Stephen and six other men to be responsible for what the people needed at that time.

“We know that people who live in poverty are not only people in the past. We still meet a lot of people who live in poverty today. They can’t afford their basic needs like meals because many of them don’t have opportunity to have a job or build their own business. They have to struggle every day to fulfill their basic needs.”


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Out of the Ordinary

Out of the ordinary

“All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need.” – Acts 2:44-45 (NIV)

In today’s world, that’s out of the ordinary. Unfortunately, society preaches the opposite: More is better! People seem to acquire more “things” that they seem to hold onto with a firm grip. Of course, I understand necessities or essentials – for example, people need transportation to get to work – but WHAT IF you and I sold our *nonessentials* in order to provide for those who truly have need?

Here’s what worked for me: Go into your closet, around your house, your basement (I know, it might be intimidating!) Imagine God with you – imagine God cleaning those places out with you. What would He throw in the “to be sold so others may eat” pile?

In my pile were (just to name a couple):


Me: “But God, I really like those bags. This cute little black one, yeah I use it when I go out to dinner with my husband.”

God: “Britt, when was the last time you went out to dinner with you husband?”

Me (shuffles feet): “Um … does PB&J in our backyard when the kiddos go to sleep count?

God: “Britt, you really don’t use that bag, do you?”

Me: “I guess not.”

A fancy dress that I wore back in 2005:

Me: “But God, this was a dress that I wore to a very special ball. It saw important people! I looked so good in this dress! What if I go somewhere fancy again and need this dress?!”

God: “Britt, have you worn this dress since? And don’t start on who you think important people are – remember, I have no favorites. Oh, by the way, give me a break – the dress couldn’t possibly see anyone because it’s not living – whereas I have children all over the world who could benefit from you selling this dress.”

Me (bites lip): “Well, when you put it like that …”

Can you think of some things that you are holding onto? Why are you holding onto them? Are they really that important?

This will be hard. The enemy will try and deceive you. Here’s what he tried whispering in my ear:

“Ah, but what sort of difference would one, two or even a hundred people make? This is a waste of time. Besides, you deserve to hold onto these things. Someone else will take care of those kids.”

But fight back!

Remember that your faith tells you that we serve an amazingly loving God who will work through us – can you imagine the possibilities if you take that first step?

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The Community That Ended Poverty

Just the other day I read something in the Bible that, although I must have read it a hundred times before, never jumped out at me the way it did this time. The words practically threw themselves off the page. I was reading at the end of Acts 4 …

“All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had. With great power the apostles continues to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was upon them all. There were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned lands and houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone as he had need.” – Acts 4:32-35 (NIV)

Wait a minute … did I read that right? There were no needy persons among them. How did I miss this before?

Back in July we had a discussion about whether or not we should – or even can – end poverty. It was a good discussion with some very insightful comments.

This verse wasn’t mentioned in that discussion, but as I read the verse I started to ponder something.

If the believers in Acts were able to essentially eradicate poverty among their community, why couldn’t we (the Church) follow their lifestyle and do the same today? What would happen if churches would simply start following the model of the Church in Acts? Could we eliminate poverty?

What do you think? Does this verse change how you think about poverty and the Church’s role in ending it?

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