Dear NorthRidge Family and Friends...
Doesn't it just break your heart to see what's happening in Texas and Louisiana? It does mine. If this were happening to someone in my family or close circle of friends, I'd have to do something. I'm sure you feel the same way. As believers, Jesus challenged us to feel the same way about those who are hurting and suffering that we don't know. He wants us to love them as we would love Him.
Matthew 25:37-40: "Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?' The King will reply, 'Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.'"
1 John 3:17-28: "If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth."
At NorthRidge, though we're all certainly flawed and far from perfect, we're striving to follow Jesus and His teaching. We want to "show Jesus' love"...through our words and actions. In light of this, we can't help but do something for those suffering from the effects of Hurricane Harvey. I've been proud of all of you who have called and asked what you can do and what we are going to do collectively as a church family. I love how you love and are seeking to follow Jesus. You inspire me.
The good news is that many of you have already done the first and most important thing you can do to help NorthRidge show Jesus' love to the world. You've shown you are "ALL IN" by your continued giving to NorthRidge. As a result, along with all of the day-to-day ministry we do here and around the world, we have been able to establish and grow our Compassion Fund for moments like this. Thanks to your generosity, we have already sent $50,000 to Samaritan's Purse. It is an International Relief Organization we trust and have worked with for years (think Operation Christmas Child). They already have response teams on the ground in the devastated areas, and will direct those funds to the areas of greatest need in the days to come.
As well, we are making plans for the possibility of long-term investment in the clean-up and rebuilding of these areas. For those of you who've been around NorthRidge for a while, you'll remember the huge investment we made over several years following Hurricane Katrina. Many people forget the tragedy after a couple of weeks, and the real and most important work takes months and years. To show the love of Jesus in real and life changing ways, we like to be there even after others leave. We are communicating with Samaritan's Purse and other churches in the affected area. Stay tuned for announcements about the opportunity to be part of this effort.
We know that many of you would like to donate specific and tangible items. Because of the expense of delivery from Michigan to Texas, and logistics of getting them to those in need, we believe sending money to the first response relief experts on the ground is presently the right and best response. But we will continue to look for other opportunities to help, and if something develops, we'll let you know.
For now, I want to encourage you to be praying for all of those suffering from this catastrophe; for the first-responders who are doing all they can to rescue and help provide shelter and basics for those in need; and for God to reveal Himself in powerful ways to those who are experiencing so much pain and darkness. As well, in order to make it possible for us to continue to help during this catastrophe and others that will develop in the future, I want to encourage you to start, continue or increase your giving to NorthRidge. Your generosity really does make it possible for us to ..."Wake the World Up to Jesus. Show them His love. Tell them His Truth. Involve them."
Expecting God's best,