5 05, 2016

May Update

By | May 5th, 2016|Update|

Dear Love INC Community, This morning I met with the pastoral staff of one of our local churches to thank them for their generous support of the ministry of Love INC in 2015.  Yes, I know, it is lame that it took me until the beginning of May to arrange this meeting to share stories and show our gratitude for their partnership.  I must confess that far too often, I let the day to day “emergencies” of leading in this organization get in the way of nurturing the relationships that are so important to our ability to seek God’s kingdom in our community. As I returned to office to write this update, I realized that it might be good to share a report about 2015 with all of you who read these regular emails, donate, volunteer and pray for the work we do to transform lives and communities In the Name of Christ. It was an incredible year filled with God’s provision, God’s redemption and God’s transformative power.  Lives have been changed forever and if you follow our Facebook page, you have heard some of those stories.  But, I thought today, maybe there are some who read these updates who might want to see some of the numbers that describe our work.  The combination of stories and statistics can be so powerful in communicating our impact.  So today, I give you the numbers. Enjoy! Love INC in a Blink In 2015 we served 184 NEW families as well as serving [...]

25 02, 2016

March Update

By | February 25th, 2016|Update|

What is your greatest desire?  To be rich?   Is it to travel?  To find love?  Is it to unleash that amazing talent inside of you to be the best “you” there could be?     I don’t know about you, but it seems we have a great desire and need to be known. Yes, to be known & loved by both man and God!  Strangely, with all of the social media we use, it’s very easy to feel alone in this world. God had a better plan for us and one of the beautiful gifts from God is our community of Christians that we get to visit with each week.Typically, when you go to church, you’re going to find a place full of smiles and kind words. Granted, most people have probably had somebody say something hurtful at church. I remember when I was a teen just learning to use makeup, I likely went a little overboard with the eye shadow one Sunday and one of the older men made some snarky comment about it. Okay, we’re human. We can be really stupid, mean or clueless sometimes. However, most people at church are loving and kind.   If you need a hug you can bet you can find one at church. Another great way to be “known” is to use your talents and skills. I suspect that you have talents, skills and ideas that you haven’t shared with anybody. Perhaps you use them “at work” but didn't think that the Christian community [...]

3 02, 2016

February Update

By | February 3rd, 2016|Update|

When I was young, sending and collecting valentines was a big event.  I would painstakingly sort my boxed valentines into categories and match them to my classmates accordingly…the cutest ones for my friends, the most romantic one for the boy I secretly liked (would he guess?), the plainer ones for those I didn’t know so well, and that “special” card in the box---the very best Valentine---reserved for my best friend.  The next morning at school, my class was given time to place our valentines into the hand-decorated boxes of each of our classmates.  And at the end of the day, we could take our boxes home, where I would dump out the contents and begin the exciting process of opening them to see who liked me and who liked me. The desire to be liked is pretty powerful.  We were created with the need for acceptance and unconditional love and when we don’t receive it, we wither inside.  Often, people who find themselves in crises or compromised situations are people who simply want to be liked and accepted and have done things to get people to like them, usually at the expense of their own well-being, reputation, finances or character. At Love INC, we don’t want to be just another organization that offers hand-outs.  We want to be a place that offers love.  We strive to see every client as an individual with value.  We want them to know that they matter to us and we care about their situation.  [...]

6 01, 2016

January Update

By | January 6th, 2016|Update|

Dear Love INC Community, One of my favorite Christian artists is JJ Heller. She and her husband Dave write beautiful songs about the difficulties of this life and the goodness of God amidst the hardships.  Last year (2015), they wrote a song called This Year on New Year’s Day. On a whim, they videoed themselves singing it and posted it to YouTube and Facebook. The simple little video of this husband and wife singing in their own home went viral. Over a million people viewed it within the first eighteen hours it was posted! This year (2016), the official music video started floating around the web, and as I listened to this song again I was taken by how closely the lyrics were connected to the Love INC mission to mobilize the Church to transform lives and communities. It really struck a chord with me (pun absolutely intended!)  The second verse says it this way:   Changing our thinking from “what’s in it for me?” to “what does the community need?” is truly the key to experiencing the abundant life that Jesus promised us. Numbness is the antithesis of the Christian life.  Our scripture is full of rejoicing and lament. We praise and we cry out, but we do not wander through life in a state of lukewarm numbness.  We are a people who respond to need because we care deeply about the “us and we.” This was so evident as 2015 came to a close and the Love INC staff and [...]

7 12, 2015

December Update

By | December 7th, 2015|Update|

Dear Love INC Community, Have you ever gotten a dollar bill stamped with a “Where’s George” website? It’s a site where you can track all of the places that dollar bill has gone. Knowing how many hands that dollar bill has passed through is pretty cool… and a little gross. How a dollar bill that started in Virginia can travel in a matter of days through several states and end up in Athens, Greece, is amazing! If that is what a humble dollar bill can do, how much more is possible when a currency is partnered with our Love? Now leverage that Love and dollar with a hefty dose of time and talent and you end up with powerful work! When Love INC receives a $20 bill, that bill is transformed into $200 because we leverage the God-Given Love, Talent and Skills of people. Not only do we transform money itself, but the most exciting changes occur when we see God transform hearts and minds. The concept is simple, yet powerful. Leveraging your trip to Costco to bless someone else with toilet paper is simple. You might spend an extra $15 dollars, but now several households will have toilet paper for a week. You might schedule a $20 monthly online payment from your bank to Love INC—and that $20 will provide help for a mom and her kids who feel lost, alone, cold and afraid. Leverage; it’s a primitive technology, yet one of the most powerful forces we have. We [...]

4 11, 2015

November Update

By | November 4th, 2015|Update|

Dear Love INC Community, Jesus said, “The poor you will always have with you...” (Matthew 26:11)  Why then, should we give ourselves to acts of charity and compassion?  If we can’t end homelessness and hunger, is it futile to try? At Love INC, every day we see the face of our homeless, hungry and discouraged neighbors in need.  We see those who try to better their lives and those who appear to not even try.  And for every person we help and send on his or her way, another walks in with yet more needs. So why would Jesus tell us to help the poor and then tell us that we’ll never be able to end poverty? Often, the greatest benefactor of compassionate giving is the giver, and not the person in need. When we see how little people who experience material poverty have, we are suddenly made aware of our own abundance.  When we show compassion, we become more like Christ and thankful for the gifts God has given to us.  When we meet needs, contentment grows. Self-centeredness and materialism diminish.  By reaching out, we keep ourselves from closing in. [pullquote align="full" cite="" link="" color="" class="" size=""]"By reaching out, we keep ourselves from closing in."[/pullquote] The greatest lesson in selfless giving is just that…selflessness.  When we give, we cultivate thankfulness, contentment and compassion, and we counteract covetousness, dissatisfaction and greed.  Compassionate giving is the greatest cure to a self-centered life. This Thanksgiving, experience the amazing combination of “thanks” and “giving”… being thankful for [...]

5 10, 2015

October Update

By | October 5th, 2015|Update|

Dear Love INC Community, I walked into the office a couple of weeks ago to find my friend Heidi being oriented to serving in our Clearinghouse. I was so excited to see someone from my own congregation joining the many others from all over Newberg who volunteer with Love INC. I excitedly exclaimed, “I didn’t know you were going to be here!” She answered that she had been thinking about serving for quite some time but she realized she just needed to do it.  She paraphrased Richard Rohr and said, “It’s time for me to start living my way into a new way of thinking.”  This struck me and I have thought of her response many times over the past few weeks.  “We live our way into a new way of thinking…” On my desk is an old rumpled copy of a quote from the Greek philosopher, Aristotle. I keep it handy to remind me that I need a lot of practice in the way of Jesus.  He says, “Whatever we learn to do, we learn by actually doing it; men come to be builders, for instance, by building, and harp players by playing the harp. In the same way, by doing just acts we come to be just; by doing self-controlled acts, we come to be self-controlled; and by doing brave acts, we become brave.” [pullquote align="right" cite="" link="" color="" class="" size=""]"By doing brave acts, we become brave" - Aristotle[/pullquote] Now I have to confess, I am not one [...]

8 09, 2015

September Update

By | September 8th, 2015|Update|

Dear Love INC Community, “Follow me as I follow Christ” Would you put that invitation out to anyone? Most of us are working pretty hard to follow Christ to our best ability and would be a little uncomfortable having someone follow our example. But this is exactly what the Apostle Paul said in I Corinthians 11:1. It may be a little easier to relate to this idea of “being followed” if we use a modern term we are more familiar with, and that is mentoring. This is a concept we can relate to…giving help and advice to someone with less experience in a given area. At Relational Ministry, that’s exactly what we do! We pair a mentor with someone who not only needs help but wants help! These are people whose journey through life has been a little rough. They have been sidetracked and need guidance and encouragement to get back on the path and make progress. Relational Ministry offers practical instruction on the basics of life…getting finances in order, developing a work ethic, making wise life choices, even getting fit and healthy! And while learning to live, they are also learning to love. The mentor becomes a trusted friend. Relationships are formed and a sense of community is fostered. As our Relational Ministry classes start up fresh again this fall, we are anticipating a great year! We are excited to see lives changed, bad habits broken, good habits formed, debt reduced, pounds shed, relationships strengthened and hope restored. Most [...]

4 08, 2015

August Update

By | August 4th, 2015|Update|

Dear Love INC Community, As a child, the back to school season was so exciting for me. I got a couple of new school outfits, maybe a new backpack and of course all those new supplies.  On that first day of a new grade, new teachers and new classmates were exhilarating!  I loved school as a child and deeply enjoy learning to this day. When I became a mom, back to school advertisements were a wonderful sign that the fun but highly chaotic pace of summer would soon be replaced by the peace and consistency of school year routines.  When our boys were in elementary school those routines were incredibly anchoring for our family. Sunday evenings were spent prepping lunches and planning for the week.  Each weeknight was spent helping our two boys memorize spelling words, complete math assignments and making sure they were ready for Friday’s quizzes. It was comforting watching our boys add to their knowledge week by week by week while enjoying the predictability of our schedules.  Over the years, the disciplines learned in those early years of education served our grown sons well.  They are both avid adult learners who love to discuss ways our family can make this world a better place for others. Reminiscing about back to school seasons of the past got me thinking that maybe Back to School 2015 is a good time for the staff and me to introduce the Love INC community to some new routines that have the power [...]

6 07, 2015

July Update

By | July 6th, 2015|Update|

Dear Love INC Community, This past Spring I had the privilege of participating in a Lead for Equity conference with some educators from our town.  I was so impressed with the incredible commitment to students I saw demonstrated by the teachers, administrators and parents who attended. At one point in the two-day long conference, a group of educators from Chehalem Valley Middle School (CVMS) sat together to brainstorm ways to close the achievement gap that exists between low income and ethnic minority students and their better resourced classmates. [pullquote align="right" cite="" link="" color="" class="" size=""]Two significant barriers to equity in our schools: lack of supplies, and the need for after school assistance with homework[/pullquote] Principal Karen Pugsley asked a simple question of the group, “What are the barriers to equity in our school?”  I listened intently as the teachers shared their experience with students who struggled to do well in school. The list of barriers was long, but there were two things in particular that stood out to me – lack of supplies, and the need for after school assistance with homework for those students whose parents worked long hours or lacked the education and language skills to help their children succeed. Shortly after this conference, I was reading The Externally Focused Quest by Eric Swanson and Rick Rusaw. This book is all about shifting our thinking as pastors and church members from “How can we be the best church in the community?” to asking instead, “How can we be [...]