Reaching Out Today

August 29, 2015
by Iris Ford

Jeremiah 1:6,9 – "Alas, Sovereign Lord," I said, "I do not know how to speak; I am too young." Then the Lord reached out his hand and touched my mouth and said to me, "I have put my words in your mouth." (NIV 2011)

Several weeks ago, I went to the closing of a church building in a small community near my home town. It was Knox Presbyterian Church, Port Alberni, British Columbia, Canada. I wanted to find out what it felt like. At the end of the service, we all gathered outside the front door for the benediction. It was sad and felt awful! No longer could services be held in that lovely church. I felt bereft. We were closed out. That has also happened in many other church locations, for in today's world, making money means more in our contemporary society than following Jesus. Few except seniors are free on Sunday mornings to come to worship Jesus these days. People are busy doing other things on a Sunday like family time, working, or going to sports functions. Church buildings are being closed as their senior members die and no one is left to carry on.

Years ago, when I was ordained and sent to an extension church to build it up, we went out to our neighbours with the news that we were in the neighbourhood. We were welcomed. Sure, I walked by house after house with my dog close by, delivering pamphlets. That wouldn't likely be safe now. How do we share Christ's news today in this society where we don't even know our near neighbour? Is Christ's news even being shared today in the homes we pass by? When I was a child, we gathered on our knees by our chairs around the dinner table every evening to pray as a family. Christ Jesus was a family friend to whom we talked daily. But where is there a home these days where the family gathers around the table to pray? Today's families rarely take the time in their busy lives to talk about Jesus, so children grow up not knowing anything personal about Him.

What can I do? I am in my eighties, but I feel like Jeremiah: "I do not know how to speak," and I can't go from door to door anymore. But with the Lord's help, I can try to share my love for Christ in a modern way: social media, Facebook, Twitter, etc. I try to use them, but feel so cut off. It's so impersonal. But I can pray, though, and I do, daily, as Jesus gives me the words to say. The Lord is reaching out His hand and touching my mouth, and He says to me, "I have put my words in your mouth." He is touching you, too.

The Lord is showing His people today how to share His words with others. It is a new, modern way that He is guiding us into. We need to pray our way through with His leading. As church people continue to worship and share His words with others today, His love reaches out in many ways, even when we are locked out of the church building.

Prayer: Lord, we can feel so lost and sad these days, but Your Word fills us with hope. You are still heard today as You reach out to Your people speaking through all of us who love You. Help us to say the words that You give us, as we share with family members, neighbours, and friends. In Your love, we pray. Amen.

About the author:

Iris Ford
Parksville, British Columbia, Canada

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Thanks for sharing.


    Thank you for today’s devotional, Iris.


    Thank you so much for this moving devotional. I belong to a small church that is in danger of having to close. I will be praying that God will put His words in our mouths.


    I have been very concerned about the same things. It seems people, of all ages, are putting other things ahead of going to Church and worshipping our Lord. How will this end? I do not know.


    Thank-you Iris for this devotional. I am also in my 80’s. Isn’t it encouraging to know the Lord has given us no retirement date to share our experiences with others?
    Continual blessings Iris as you write via this channel.


    Thank you Iris for your devotional today. It is so true! How do we seniors share the good news of Jesus Christ?
    May God continue to bless us as we strive to do what we can as we age.
    Blessings from a sister in Christ in Ontario.


    Iris
    You said it the way it is. But I am certain God has a plan for us (I had to stop and have a laugh as I though it might be in death??)
    Not funny — But God in His timing has it all worked out — for sure.
    God bless.


    For one my Wife and I always pray before every meal and do our devotionals. We do go to Church every week. We do bible studies out of our house and other houses also. I pray in times through out the day. So us Christians are still here but maybe not in the numbers we should be. Remember He will never leave us or forsake us.


    Hello Iris,
    I appreciated your devotional this morning as I prepare to visit our granddaughter!
    I could feel your deep concern and sadness for our families and neighbours who might not know our wonderful Saviour.
    I am thankful to God for you and your wonderful example to me that you can and do pray to Him, knowing the power of prayer and the hope, comfort and joy you have being in communion with the Lord, knowing He is in control.
    May God continue to bless and use you.


    Dear Iris:
    Never fear, God is here. Our church does still reach out to our community. We go door-to-door twice a year sometimes.
    We hand out welcoming packages and we let the people know what we are about. Our Vacation Bible School had 70 children attend, almost all were from the community – not our church (yet).
    We are a “reaching out” church and we love our church family and all of God’s family.
    God bless you Iris.


    Dear Iris, Well here I am again. Your devotional seemed like I was there too. Our church is about to close and I know my feelings will be the same. It is so sad for me as all of children were baptized there, attended Sunday school and married there. Now our church will be sold and used for what, we don’t know. Anyway thank you for your thoughts and all of us will just have to work in spreading the word the best way we know how. Glad you are feeling better and able to continue writing.
    Blessings.


    Thank you Iris for your devotionals. Our Lord has given you the gift of writing and spreading His Word. I am so grateful to receive Devotionals every morning on my iPad.
    These wonderful words of wisdom start my day with the Lord. I am so blessed to attend a church which is thriving and growing with young families and their children. The Word of God is reaching out to the community. As a fellow senior I know exactly what you are saying in your devotional this morning. With God’s help, we his followers are the only ones who can change what is happening to our beloved places of worship.
    God Bless you Iris.


    Good Morning Rev. Ford: Your written presentation as the basis for today’s Devotion couldn’t have been presented any better, especially not by me. Our lady minister is leading us into presenting the appearance of our church so those who might darken for the first time won’t feel too ‘uncomfortable’. Pardon the sarcasm. But change we must for we have been observing for years the ‘handwriting-on-the-wall’ within our own congregation. The same has been attacking other churches about us.
    You are so right, it can make one feel so low, so dispirited.
    Our congregation has accepted the plan and almost completed the structure and Christian approach we feel necessary in today’s world. We have hope and feel so fortunate to have ordained leaders and faithfully determined laity and, Oh yes, our Christ the Son of the living God beside us.
    Thank you Iris for your contribution to my early day reading. May our Lord continue to bless you “real good”.


    Hello Iris;
    Knowing how passionate you are in your faith and seeing churches close their door, when unfortunately this is a changing world going down the WRONG PATH. Yes it is sad and we wonder why, but one should never give up hope. Some times I think of churches like the Stock Market, they have the peak times, especially when things go wrong in this world of ours, as we saw at 911, then it levels out and then we have a down period. Yes we wonder how do we balance things out. Families don’t take time to come together and put a side the business of life we put on ourselves and church gets shelved, which is sad. Through Prayer and being examples to others and showing our love of Christ, may spark a Light of Hope.
    Yes it is sad day when churches close their doors.
    We must not give up hope and we need to continue to pray that things will come full circle to Christ our Lord and Savor.
    I enjoyed reading your devotionals as they have a true purpose to them.


    Hello Iris from So.California,
    Your message today is what I’d call an “oueeeeeee.” People in our little city are jumping from church and not finding what they want. What do they want? We do but they don’t. Attendance is way down in our church, and I hear that it’s happening in most churches in town. And, as you said, what they want to do on Sundays is far more important than wasting time at church where all they want is their money. Very few families are sitting together as you and I did. My Daddy was a pastor but we kids sat up front with Mother.
    We all had to kneel down around the dinner table at the close of our meal, and we all prayed around. If Daddy sensed in any of our prayers that we “weren’t right with the Lord” it was taken care right there before the final Amen. How many families are having dinner together around the table. I’m lost without that now.
    My Sweetheart also was a pastor, then a Navy Chaplain. We always had dinner together with family devotions and prayer. As the children got older we had them take turns to have the devotions and we let them be creative as they wanted to. We started our first baby and always brought the basket or carrier to the table, so they were always with us, growing into the experience of learning Scripture verses, singing and praying. They are very active in our church in various ways. I’m 90, in very good health and quite independent. The Lord is so good.
    Thank you so much for your devotional, Iris. May the Lord bless you and what you share with others.
    (Ca.)


    Dear Iris,
    God richly bless you.
    Its pleasant and encouraging to find out that at your age, you are employing social media to propagate the Gospel.
    I pray for strength, good health, grace and favour and many others the Lord should bless you with.
    (Ghana)


    Good morning Iris, What a lovely, thought provoking meditation.
    Thanks for sharing the same.
    In our community where we go to church I fear we are mostly seniors too. However, the Lord did say I will build my church and the gates of hell cannot prevail against it.
    I have just finished reading a great book by Don Carson entitled, “The God Who Is There”.
    Blessings on you.

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