Blessed are those who have regard for the weak

Psalm 41                                                                                                                                          1 Blessed are those who have regard for the weak;                                                   the Lord delivers them in times of trouble.                                                                      2 The Lord protects and preserves them—                                                                 they are counted among the blessed in the land—                                                       he does not give them over to the desire of their foes.                                                 3 The Lord sustains them on their sickbed                                                                  and restores them from their bed of illness.

The words jumped off the page, “Blessed are those who have regard for the weak” (Psalm 41). I have a new and heightened understanding of the weak. In the past couple of years as I have been a part of planting Mosaic Church and living in Original Aurora, I have seen the weak in our society up close and personal. Many of my friends and neighbors have so few options and opportunities, they are ignored and practically invisible. Those who have the least influence, the least power, the weakest in our society are my neighbors… the poor, immigrants, single moms, refugees, the homeless, those with language barriers, the uneducated.

I am well aware of the Bible’s clear message that God cares about and cares for the “least”, the weak among us. But this morning as I read Psalm 41, I saw the clear truth that God blesses not just the weak, but also those who have regard for the weak. What an encouragement that God sees those of us who have chosen to work with the weak and vulnerable. God promises to bless, deliver, protect sustain and restore those who work with and minister to the weak. Wow, how blessed am I?! What an amazing thought that God pays special attention to not just the weak and vulnerable but also to those who care about and serve the weak and vulnerable.

My friend and neighbor “Cynthia” is weak. She has an ugly personal story of abuse and abandonment as a kid and young adult. She spent years living in a unbelievably destructive lifestyle that she is paying for now. Cynthia is estranged from her family, lives in a homeless shelter and has overwhelming physical and mental health challenges. Cynthia has so many pressing needs that its hard to know how to help. I often wonder whether my/our efforts are helping much. But here’s what I do know: Cynthia knows that there is a God who cares enough about her messed up life to send us to pray and give and encourage and try to help. Her problems are not solved, but she is a bit better off than she was a couple of months ago. I also know that God does really care about her. And now I know that God is and will continue to bless us because we “have regard” for her.

I am claiming a chunk of God’s special blessing for me personally as well as the team here at Mosaic. But now I also realize the Biblical truth that all of you that have helped and supported our work are also in line for God’s blessing for regarding the weak. I’m happy to share that blessing. I am so pleased to be partnering with you in the ministry here in Aurora… every day I am fully aware of the fact that I could not possibly do this without your help, prayer and finical support. It just wouldn’t be possible. I sometimes feel a bit guilty for suggesting to some of you that we continue to need your help and support. But it does take a bit of the sting away realizing that as you help us help the weak, the marginalized, the poor and disadvantaged that you step in line to receive even more of God’s blessings.

If this a moment that God prompts you to give and/or help in some other way, follow His instructions and get ready to be blessed.

Reid Hettich, Pastor                                                                                                                    Mosaic Church of Aurora                                                                                                                1445 Dayton Street                                                                                                                       Aurora, CO 80010                                                                                          www.MosaicofAurora.com                                                                                                             303-870-6055

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a crumpled $10 bill

crumpled-ten-dollar-10-us-bill-B3CARTI did a classic double-take as I noticed the name on the offering envelope, “Cynthia” and “Daryl”. Inside the offering envelope there was just one crumpled $10 bill, but there was so much more. Cynthia and Daryl are homeless. They get a small disability check every month, but it isn’t enough to survive on. Cynthia and Daryl go to local food banks and other charities to get basic necessities. Cynthia told me the other day that when thy get their check they use the money to stay in one of our cheap hotels on cold nights. She told me that after the check runs out (and it always does before the end of the month) unless they are able to find someone who will take them in, they ride the city bus at night as long as they run just to be out of the cold. Cynthia explained to me that a day pass on the bus is about $5 per person and that they could usually barrow or panhandle that much.

As I looked at the crumpled $10 bill in Mosaic’s offering, I felt a bit guilty realizing that the $10 represented a night out of the cold on a bus. I struggled to come up with a time when I had given that much. I suppose ten bucks is the inflationary adjusted equivalent of widow’s mite that we read about in Mark 12, that that caught Jesus’ attention. That offering represented real faith, real sacrifice… it epitomized the true humble, generous nature of true Christianity. 

I am constantly amazed at what I am learning from my neighbors. Because of my friends Cynthia and Daryl, I see more clearly my selfishness, God’s goodness and the simple yet profound faith of the spiritual giants that God allows me to hang out with here in Original Aurora. 

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a 7-11 parking lot

Lovettsville 7-Eleven (1)

I have known “Evie” for a few months. She drifts in and out… sometimes she’s at Mosaic’s worship service, sometimes we don’t she her for weeks. Evie often talks about her battles with alcohol which leads to unemployment, homelessness and some other really ugly situations. 

Evie called me the other day and asked to meet. We met at a 7-11 close to where she was currently staying. I soon as I got there she began pouring out some of her recent troubles and expressed her desire to make a fresh start and get her life together. I tried to encourage her, reminding her that God cared about her, that she needed to be regularly connected at church. I assured Evie that making the right choices eventually leads to good things. Then she asked me to pray for her.

I glanced around… a bit uncomfortable in those surroundings, but Evie didn’t seem to even notice. So I prayed, Evie cried, God showed up. It was an odd setting. We were standing in the parking lot of the 7-1, not a new shiny, cool looking one… this one fit the neighborhood it was old, dirty, gritty. It occurred to me that this exact place was likely used for drug deals, crime, robbery – but that day it was God’s office. The God of fresh starts did some business in that parking lot (I suppose it could have been the muffled sound of the slurpee machine, but I think I heard the angels rejoicing). I don’t know how many fresh starts that Evie’s had, but I don’t think that God does either – that number is buried in the sea of His forgetfulness. I am so pleased to know that He is always ready to forgive, because its my guess that Evie will need that grace and mercy again (and so will I). I am so pleased to know that our God is present and active in beautiful sanctuaries, in majestic natural settings and in old grundgy 7-11 parking lots.

Please pray for us (and Evie).

Reid

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did not know that

maxresdefaultI met “Ben” a few weeks ago out in the community. We’ve just had a couple of pretty casual conversations, so I was a bit surprised the other day when he introduced me to a friend of his, “Tara” with the comment, “I told her she needs to be a new member of your congregation”. In the next few minutes I understood why tara needed to be a part of our congregation… she was battling a crack cocaine addiction and really wanted to get her life together and really needed to be around good people who would love and support her through her recovery. I thought it was a bit usual that Ben who had never been to our church would be so strongly recommending Mosaic to his friend. 

Tara and I talked about Jesus. We talked about how much He cared about her and about His power to free people from habits and addictions. As we talked about Jesus, Tara looked over to Ben for affirmation. Ben said “Don’t look at me, I’m a Muslim.” I did not know that. 

God does work in mysterious ways.  I thought it was kind of fun to have a Muslim recruiting people to come Mosaic to find the life changing power of Jesus that could break the chains of addiction in their lives. Please pray for Tara and Ben.

Please pray for us. We need to raise about $10,000 in the next few weeks so that we can continue to reach neighbors like Ben and Tara. 

Reid Hettich                                                                                                                           1445 Dayton Street                                                                                                                 Aurora, CO 80010                                                                             www.MosaicOfAurora.com

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sometimes, I’m not very deep

Laughter2

OK I’ll admit it, I’m not very deep. But last week I considered it high praise when I overheard “Marcus” a homeless guy who has been attending our worship services talk to a friend about my sermons… He said, “Its the only church I’ve ever been to where they’ll make you laugh every week”.

I know a bit about Marcus’ life: addictions, homelessness, ruined relationships, incarceration, lots of terrible decisions… not really a laughing matter. Marcus’ life is a mess. He has a hard, bleak existence. I’m guessing that Marcus and many of his friends and family are a bit laughter deprived. It’s great to see God at work in his life, but it will be a long, difficult journey as we work together to change some of his long time patterns and overcome some of the consequences of a host of really bad choices. 

We live in a world filled with serious problems. I am surrounded by friends and neighbors that are weighed down with incredible burdens, who’s lives are filled with tears. It’s interesting that when you start paying attention you see that the Bible talks about joy and laughter a lot. So, maybe there are a bunch of other comments (or compliments) that I should be striving for, but I have to admit it, I am really, really happy to be a part of a church that makes the homeless laugh. I think it brings a smile to the face of God.

 

 

 

 

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One Sunday Morning

Our meeting place in 1985, Rangeview High School

Our meeting place in 1985, Rangeview High School

I still remember pretty clearly Sunday morning September 22, 1985, my first Sunday as a pastor in Aurora, Colorado. Approximately 1560 Sundays have passed (I didn’t take the time to calculate the leap years) since my first Sunday in Aurora, Colorado 30 years ago. That is a lot of Sundays.

There have been a bunch of Sundays that I remember pretty distinctly… I remember the emotion of our first Sunday in our new building; I remember the Sunday the Christmas tree fell over during the service; I remember the Sunday I ridiculed forest rangers (right after that service that I found out that it was also the only Sunday in those 30 years that a forrest ranger attended our service… what are the odds of that happening?). 

Certainly one of the most memorable Sundays is one that I don’t really recall. Let me explain… after attending our church for two or three years, Linda was in our membership class. As was my custom, I asked her and the others about the specific time when they chose to trust in Jesus for the forgiveness of their sins. Linda surprised me by telling the story of one Sunday morning a couple of years earlier, when at the end of a sermon she followed my instructions to pray and ask God for forgiveness and she chose to follow Him. Quietly and without any outward demonstration one Sunday morning Linda’s sins were forgiven and she become a follower of Jesus. No one else in the building knew what had happened but that Sunday morning there was a party in heaven as the angels rejoiced.  

The Dayton Street Opportunity Center, our current building

The Dayton Street Opportunity Center, our current building

Linda’s story reminds me that every time that we’ve gotten together in the last 30 years, God has been present and active. While the quality of the sermons has varied from week to week, I’m reminded that God has consistently showed up and often does His best work when we are not even aware of it. That’s a very good thing.

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A Classic Mosaic Moment

With Gummy my Nepali translator

With Gummy my Nepali translator

One of our partners, Shekinah Church does a food distribution ministry out of our building on Saturdays. Whenever I’m in the vicinity they ask me to “preach” just before they hand out the food. Its always a bit awkward because they all speak Spanish and most of the regular clients also speak Spanish… but I preach and they translate. This week as I agreed to preach I noticed a group of Hindu refugees from Nepal. Its not unusual for us to encounter neighbors that we can’t communicate with, so I assumed that sadly they’d miss out on my amazing “words of wisdom”.  But then it happened, a Spanish speaking lady somehow convinced a Nepali woman who spoke a little English to agree to translate.   

So I talked about Jesus. Ernesto translated my words into Spanish and Gummy translated into Nepali (at least I think she did). I forced myself to focus, because I found my marveling (yes marveling) at the unlikeness of the moment: an English speaking preacher telling Hindus from Nepal about Jesus at a Hispanic Church ministry on a normal Saturday afternoon in Aurora, Colorado. It was a classic Mosaic moment.

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