Sometime back I wrote an article titled "Loving the Friendly City."
Today I feel it is the mind of the Spirit to continue that thought followed with a call to action that will bless our community. It will give all believers and churches the opportunity to unite in an effort that will give God the glory.
Throughout scripture, cities would be known for various characteristics, i.e. a city of refuge.
You find in the New Testament when God spoke to the churches, He addressed them as the church of a particular city, e.g. "The Church of Corinth," "The Church of Ephesus," and so on. These epistles were not written to a specific local church, but to "The Church," the Body of Christ in that city.
I would like to take this opportunity to invite individuals and churches to prayerfully consider supporting the "Mayors' Feed the Hungry Program". Funds and efforts go to replenish the Food Bank of Manatee.
This is a wonderful opportunity for The Body of Christ to come alongside our city leaders and serve a great need with the same spirit of Joseph that helped to replenish the storehouses in Egypt.
Previous statistics from this effort provided more than 14,000 meals with more than over 35 percent going to children, more than 16 percent to the handicapped and more than 15 percent to the elderly.
However more than 40,000 requests were left unfilled!
The "Mayors' Feed the Hungry Program" united with the Food Bank of Manatee assists families, elderly shut-ins and the homeless which includes more than 1,500 homeless children in our county alone.
The Food Bank helps subsidize meals in our public schools. For many of these homeless children, their meal at school is their only meal for the day.
While many churches who love God and love people have a food pantry and do well in collecting food, they are challenged with the ongoing distribution of the food. These churches can partner with this effort and become much more efficient in reaching the end goal: food to the hungry.
The Food Bank distributes a large amount of food on a daily basis year-round with great efficiency. By mobilizing and unifying the Body of Christ in this manner we can, as we have in recent years, help raise millions of pounds of food.
Here are three simple ways we can make an impact:
Pastors -- please consider placing a Food Bank Barrel in your church lobby. The Food Bank will deliver the barrel, pick it up when it is full and leave an empty one. The food is then inventoried and quickly distributed. We keep one in our lobby year-round.
Acquire one for your place of business.
Volunteer at the Food Bank, especially during the holidays when the need is great. This will also give you the opportunity to share the love of Jesus Christ.
To learn more, and how to donate and/or volunteer, please contact the Food Bank of Manatee at 941-747-FOOD or at foodbankofmanatee.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
In closing this Epistle of Love for our community, I leave you with these passages from the Holy Scriptures.
"I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. -- John 17:20-21.
Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. -- Matthew 5:16.
And the King will answer and say to them: "Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me." -- Matthew 25:40.
That's the Kingdom Perspective!
Don Sturiano is pastor of Kingdom Life Christian Church, which meets at 10:30 a.m. Sunday at 825 Ninth St. W., just across from Turner Donuts. Information: 941-776-0026 or kingdomlifechristianchurch.org. Faith Matters is a regular feature of Saturday's Herald written by local clergy members.