One of the crazy things we struggle with in our modern world is to what extent should we intervene in the lives of others? There are too many folks who seem to stick their noses into other people’s business who have no right to do so. Then there’s the polar opposite where folks should intervene, but fail to do anything.
I was watching a news clip this past week that showed two men attacking a guy in a New York City subway. They started hitting him, and when he fell down, both guys started stomping on his head. It was brutal. Someone was taking a video of the event. Two people stood a couple of feet away watching the whole attack. It hit me that at least three people were recording or watching, and no one helped the man being attacked. There are times when we are in trouble, and we need someone to intervene.
Many of us have had friends, family members, neighbors, or co-workers who were in trouble. Maybe they made some bad decisions about a relationship, about money, or about how to manage their pain and hurt. Their bad choices led them to a place of real danger causing more suffering and harm. Someone needed to intervene to help them change course and direction. Interventions are hard because so often the person hurting is blind about their addiction or bad choices, or are in denial that they have a problem. When we try to intervene and help, we are often pushed away.
The fact is, we all need an intervention. We all need God to intervene and save us from the power of sin that wants to destroy us. We are all sinners. We all live in a world where we are surrounded by the temptations of sin and can’t escape sin’s power. We all have issues, bad habits, hang up, addictions, and hurts that cause us to do things we hate doing. The sin in and around us also keeps us from doing what we know we should do. There are times we wonder if we’ll ever change. Can we change? The answer is yes, but only with God’s intervention.
This Sunday, we’ll start a new series called Intervention. Are you ready for a change? Have you been stuck in something that you want to stop? Is there something you know you need to start doing that should be a consistent part of your life? Is your past continuing to sabotage your present? Do you have an addiction? Often we are blind or in denial about the stuff in us which traps us. Sometimes we need an intervention to help us recognize what’s enslaving us so we can find freedom. God is always ready to intervene to help free us from our captivity. God has shown us the way to freedom. In one way or another, we all need God’s intervention in our lives. Join us in July for this incredible series of hope. Invite others who also need an intervention by God.
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Hope for the Homeless
We see the many homeless that are in Tucson. If you have a heart, you ache for those who suffer from mental illnesses that cause homelessness. You also ache for the mom and her kids who suffered setbacks or abuse and can’t get on top of things, consequently finding themselves out of their home looking for a safe place to stay. Or, the many other people who couldn’t afford medical costs, ran out of money and faced eviction. But, there’s hope for those who want help.
Tucson has an answer. It’s called the Center of Opportunity! The wait is finally over. The Center of Opportunity is finished and ready to begin transforming lives! The Center of Opportunity is a converted hotel convention center that has been remodeled to provide housing and services to the homeless in Tucson. The goal of all the services is to help the homeless be able to become self-sufficient and live healthy, productive lives. It is a one-stop shop for medical, social, job, recovery services and more. It is run by the Gospel Rescue Mission and both nonprofit and governmental organizations will be serving the homeless at one location.
At our Christmas Eve services we collected a special offering for the Center of Opportunity. Because of your generous support, we were able to send them $56,698. That, along with almost 250 folks who served there on our Serve Our City day, have been able to help make this place of hope a reality.
You are invited to attend the Building Dedication Ceremony of the H.S. Lopez Family Foundation Center of Opportunity on Saturday, May 18th from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm
at 4550 S. Palo Verde Road, Tucson, AZ 85714. Tours will be available and refreshments will be served.
We take our safety seriously at Pantano. We’ve all heard about the attacks on churches, synagogues, and mosques in the US and around the world. Last Sunday, at the 11 am service, a man walked down the aisle holding a Bible and speaking to Pastor Brian (we later learned he intended to take the stage from Brian, who was teaching). Immediately our security team took him and sat him down, then escorted him out.
I want you to know that we do have security measures in place and continually add more as needed. We have installed bollards at all the gate entrances so a vehicle cannot enter the courtyard. We have monitored security video surveillance throughout the campus. We have Pima County Sheriffs on campus all day Sunday who are in contact with our security team. We have a trained and committed security team that has in-ear communication. Because backpacks have been used in attacks around the world, our security team has started searching all backpacks to protect us all. Please cooperate with their search if asked. The team is stationed all around our campus in order to provide the most coverage possible. They are also on campus for other events in addition to Sunday services. They are here to address medical and fire emergencies, protect our children, as well as look for possible threats. I’m grateful for our team for protecting and serving us! We are trying to make our church as safe a place as possible for all who come to explore and grow their faith.
Thank you to all that serve the needs of our city, whether on or off our Pantano campus. You are appreciated!
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It has been said that the shortest story ever written was six words: “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.” This “story” has been attributed to Ernest Hemingway, but there is doubt about that (check out the full story here). The point of this story isn’t its author. The point is that those six words create in us various kinds of stories. Maybe the story you thought of, created, or felt was tragic and filled with the grief of loss. But, your story could have been one of joy, as the parents were gifted with too many shoes.
Everything is driven by a story… everything! Even our Bible. Our Bible is true. It is based in true historical reality. It conveys spiritual truth that guides how we live. But it also a story. Don’t hear “story” as a fable. Hear the word “story” as God’s story that helps us find out who we are, who God is and what’s important.
The short six-word story I started with isn’t a story told for the author or storyteller’s sake. It is told for our sake. A narrative isn’t primarily about information, it is about the values or what matters that are a part of the story. Stories are ultimately about us and they tap into not only our thoughts but more important, our feelings.
This is perhaps the greatest short story in fourteen words – “For God so love the world, he gave his one and only son…” (John 3:16). It is a story of rare sacrifice. It is a story of outrageous giving. It’s the best love story ever. It is a narrative of hope.
If everything is driven by story, then we have to look at our story. Are we letting others or situations write our story (think victim)? Or are we purposefully writing our story (think intentional)? What are the values that our story tells? Remember that a story is not for the storyteller, but for the reader and audience. What does your story do to and for other people? What values do others “read” or “hear” in your story? What impact is your story having on God and others?
This past weekend, Pastor Joe Stull taught in our adult services and opened our new teaching series, “Contrast.” I hope you didn’t miss it. As Joe shared the story of his struggle with PTSD, he invited us to see what was driving him. For a while, the story was about denial, hiding his wounds, and how it was destroying and defining him. But, that was not the end of his story. He is now writing a story that allows God into the deepest places of his soul. He is writing a story that lets others into those vulnerable places. He’s allowing God and others to help him write a new story, a better story, out of the trials he experienced.
What’s your story? Are you letting your story define you? Or do your godly values push against the story and change the narrative? Does your story allow God to have influence and presence? Are you writing a story that, because God is a part of it, is a story that’s different and worth reading and listening to? Take some time to reflect on your story. With God, you can author a better story!