My wife and I watched a TV series called “This Is Us” about the struggles of the Pearson family. I’ve appreciated the acting, the reality of family dysfunction, and being reminded about the joys of being family. The drama is attempting to expose or unmask the reality of family drama and be honest about that fact that “this is us.”
Sunday we are beginning a new series we are calling “This Is Pantano.” The focus isn’t on our church family drama or dysfunction (though I’m sure we could find plenty!). What we will do in this series is to expose and look at what we value as a church. Every person, every organization and every church has values. Sometimes we are not aware of them and often they are not clearly articulated, but everything we do or don’t do is driven by a value. Values drive behavior and create our life. They influence and characterize everything that happens in and through us.
This Is Pantano will help us see the six key values that give our church community its unique “flavor” and feel. For many of us, the values of our church are what we love about being a part of Pantano. So, values matter! In this series, we’ll look at the values that reflect who we are and the biblical basis for each value. This series is about who we are (not the organization), but you and I who make up Pantano. You won’t want to miss This is Pantano!
Faith in Action
The first value we’ll look at this Sunday is What matters most is loving people to Jesus. We’ll see how Jesus speaks directly to this concept. We’ll also have an opportunity to put our love and faith into action; we partner with ministries who love others to Jesus in practical ways. Sunday you can look into how you might join and support one of these groups to make a difference. They will be in the outdoor covered court. Each of these groups are serving in ways that are truly making a real difference for people who matter to God and should matter to us.
Be sure an join us this Sunday for our new series, and see how you can put your faith into action!
Tucson – 5th Poorest City in America
I’m sure you’ve heard this by now, but Tucson is listed as one of the poorest metropolitan areas in the United States. That’s not the kind of notoriety we want. About 25% of our city is identified as living below the poverty rate. As Christians, we can’t just stop here and say, “Wow, that’s too bad!” and do nothing.
What the Bible Says About Poverty
Some Christians are tempted to quote our Savior at this point; after all, Jesus said, “You will always have the poor among you…” (John 12:8). Christians will causally take this to mean that Jesus said poverty can’t be overcome, so don’t bother. Actually, Jesus is saying the opposite; He’s quoting Deuteronomy 15:11. Jesus would often quote a part of an Old Testament text, knowing that his hearers would not only know the whole verse but the key ideas of the section of scripture around what was quoted. There is a “therefore” after what Jesus quoted; that “therefore” is how we are to respond to the poor around us.
Here’s the full text of Deut. 15:11 – There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be open-handed toward your fellow Israelites who are poor and needy in your land. Then, go back to verse 4 of the same chapter – However, there need be no poor people among you! In fact, read the whole text of Deuteronomy 15:7-11 which states that it was God’s plan that generous, God-fearing people would respond to the poor. Flat out, the Bible commands that we be generous to the poor. Do an internet search and you’ll discover an overwhelming amount of Bible verses on helping the poor and needy (the words poor or poverty occur 446 times). So, what can we do?
Cost of Poverty Experience
Christians in Tucson through 4Tucson are committed to reducing poverty in our city. David Thoresen and J. Michael Davis on our staff are working with the Poverty Reduction Task Force of 4Tucson. Click here to read more about their work. The task force is promoting a Cost of Poverty Experience (COPE) simulation here at Pantano on Saturday, November 10, from 9am to 12pm. This is an opportunity where you’ll experience what it means to live below the poverty line. This will be eye opening! You don’t want to miss this. It’s a free event and you can register here.
Faith In Action
This Sunday, September 23, is our next Faith in Action event. After each of our three services, you’ll have an opportunity to see how you can be generous with your time, skills, effort and money to reduce poverty as you put your faith into action. We’ll have a number of our ministry partners whose focus is to make a difference in the lives of those who live in poverty near and far away. You can check out the local ministries like Haven Totes, Diaper Bank, Gospel Rescue Mission, Habitat for Humanity, Care Portal, and Interfaith Community Services. And, you can make a difference for a child in poverty through our work in Ecuador with Compassion International. Go to the Café after services on Sunday to see how you can do what God commanded when he said: Give generously to them and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to (Deut. 15:10).
Please join us in one of the various ways we can truly make a difference in our city and the world!