Tuesday, November 29, 2016

ReImagine Coat Drive 2016

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RE: 2016 Coat Drive

1. Collect New and Like-New Coats (all sizes & shapes)

2. Bring them to our next group meetings. 

3. Or, take them to Burlington Coat Factory in Chapel Hills Mall for a discount.  

ReImagine Foundations: Recently I had opportunity to visit with a wonderful lady working with the poor and needy in our city. Her agency makes a daily impact on those most needy of help and of hope. By all indicators, even in her attitude, language and focus, she and her agency are being the hands and feet of Jesus. Funny thing, they actually don't claim to be a Christian organization. 

Back Story & Foundations: For years Shanna and I have been working with the poor, being on mission, right here in the U.S. We offer financial help and direct support to those struggling. I think it became a worldview of ours, a value, that established a North Star for our family and ministry. This has not become a business for us, a banner we wave over our head to get attention or even something we try to sell others on. We have adopted internationally, helped refugee families, given money, food, clothing and more to the poor families in our community, for over 22 years. 

Miracle Man: Once, many years ago, while in college, we stumbled onto a sale of coats at Burlington Coat Factory. We literally emptied our pockets and wallets to buy all the jackets we could. We had a mountain of coats. We left the store knowing we had to bless someone trapped in the cold without a good coat. We believed the Bible and the heart of God in us led us in two ways. One, to care for others, period, no strings attached. To care for those in need or struggling, without pomp or circumstance, just an act of love. Second, we believe in sowing seeds of generosity. We believe generosity is an act of spiritual warfare, an act of love and an actual seed sown for future, Godly harvest of blessing and reward. -- Shanna and I giggled as we left Burlington that day, partly because of the joy of spontaneously giving all our money and partly because we did not know where our seeds would yet be sown, we just had a car full of coats and a listening ear. As we talked and tried to hear what God was saying, we remembered a tent near our school that was being used by a traveling evangelist and his family. This was a large party tent, like an old fashioned tent revival. They advertised healing and miracles, but drove an old busted bus with an old busted tent. They were faithful to be out ministering to people, even in the cold. -- This seemed to be our destination. We drove up, gathered our coats and walked into the tent. It was slightly lighted but no one was home. We felt the Miracle Man, as we began to call him and his family could be really good ground to sow these seeds into, and frankly, they looked needy. But, we also knew there would be needy and cold people coming to the tent meetings for help and miracles. Getting prayer and a coat could be an answer to someone's prayers to God. So, we left the large pile of coats on the stage near the podium and ran out laughing. 

Giving was Fun. 
Giving energized our Faith. 
Giving sowed seeds of Generosity. 
Giving blessed Others. 
Giving set a Trajectory of Joy. 
Giving defeats the Devil.
Giving defeats Fear. 
Giving defeats Selfishness.
Giving defeats Materialism. 
Giving is Supernatural. 
Giving is Fun. 

FIFTY COAT CHALLENGE: Burlington Coat Factory and Lutheran Family Services have partnered to do a significant coat drive for those in our city. For a discount, take used coats in to trade for a discount on new coats. Or, collect coats and bring them to our next meetings. We want to get a count on the coats we collect, my hope is, we can collect over 50 coats in the next month. 

BE CREATIVE & HAVE FUN: Be creative, get kids involved, ask neighbors, friends, family and co-workers. The ReImagine Coat Drive of 2016 is now beginning......GO

Billy & Shanna Ramsdell
Lead Pastors

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