Bread of Life Information

Bread of Life will be having a Thanksgiving Dinner this Sunday, November 23,  following service. All are invited to attend. Bread of Life is raising money to help with the cost of supplemental items we purchase each month.

Last year, when Bread of Life started, we pledged to raise $2,000 toward a matching grant. We raised the funds and the $2,000 became $4,000. At the end of the year, someone made an anonymous donation of $2500 into our account at Ozarks Food Harvest (which we are very thankful for). When we ended 2013, we had a total of $6500 we could use for the supplemental items we could purchase through Ozarks Food Harvest. We had a year to use our grant money through Ozarks Food Harvest.

Supplemental items include but are not limited to: laundry soap, additional meat products, spaghetti sauce, diapers, baby wipes, etc. We try to be very frugal when it comes to purchasing supplemental items. We try to purchase the items which clients need but sometimes can’t afford.

We applied for a $2,000 grant as well in August of this year to use for supplemental items in the year 2015. After we applied for the grant, we were notified the funds for the grant had been cut in half for the year 2015. The total amount of funds available for 2014 were $92,000. The funds available for 2015 totals $42,000. Not only did Ozarks Food Harvest feel the hit from the Wal-Mart Foundation, but so did we. Not only are we going to feel the impact, our clients are the ones who will ‘suffer’ the most. Of the $2,000 grant we applied for, we were awarded $500. Our $500 will become $1,000. Regardless, we have $6500 less this year than we did last year. We have been spending about an average of $300- $350 a month on supplemental items. However, we are nearing the end of the time period we have to use our grant money for 2014, so we have been spending more than the $350 a month.

Bread of Life also has a very small wish list going. Some of the items needed are:

  • 3-4 carts (about $80 each)
  • packing tape
  • 2-3 more tables

If you feel led to give in any way, please see Lacey Stokes or Alex. Any and all help is greatly appreciated

When Alex and I attended the Annual Conference in October for Ozarks Food Harvest, we were hit with some pretty shocking numbers

From October 2013 to June 2014, Bread of Life received 29,658 pounds of commodity food, 4,576 pounds of supplemental items and we also received 74,835 pounds of additional food (this includes bakery items, bagged potatoes, water, juice, produce, etc.). The total amount of food we received from Ozarks Food Harvest from October 2013 to June 2014, totals 109,069 pounds. If we were to purchase the amount of food we received at the grocery store, our total bill would come to $183,236.26. Those numbers are pretty amazing for our ‘small’ agency.

This ministry would not be possible without YOUR help. I thank each and every person from the bottom of my heart for all your time, effort, prayers, financial giving and energy into this ministry.

Thank you for helping us feed our neighbors in need.

Lacey Stokes

Whose Church is it?

Christ is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; for in him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers—all things have been created through him and for him.  He himself is before all things, and in him all things hold together. He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that he might come to have first place in everything.
Colossians 1:15-18

“Where is your church?” It sounds like an innocent enough question, right? And, it is one I often hear. And, depending on the situation, I will even give a straight-forward answer and describe our location along A Highway in Marshfield. But, there is more to the answer than that. For multiple reasons.

First, the church is not the building, but rather the people that gather here on Sunday morning (as they are able) for worship. The church, then, is actually dispersed throughout the community, the state, and even the world.

However, that is not the only complication to the question of where my church is. The bigger concern is the nature of the word “your” or “my” when we are talking about church. When I say “My church…” am I saying “my” as a way of identifying with the church, or does it imply ownership?

Up until very recently, I’ve usually understood that phrase in terms of ownership. “Don’t change MY church!” “This has been MY church for the past (however many) years.” While taking ownership is not necessarily a bad thing, there are some negative side-effects.

If I take the idea of ownership too far, then the church is no longer Christ’s or God’s. It becomes MINE and I resist anything that may shape it into something other than what I desire. Even if the force doing that shaping is God. As the church becomes MINE, I am more likely to focus my efforts and energies within the walls instead of focusing outwardly in mission and evangelism. I become more and more concerned about how the church serves me and less concerned about how the church reaches the world.

So, until recently the phrase, “my church,” scared me. Then I heard a child say it. I know that this particular child had only been going to that church for a few weeks when they said to a friend of mine, “Hey, you go to my church.” There was no ownership in it, purely identification. It was a short-hand way of saying “We worship God at the same place on Sunday morning.” Isn’t “You go to my church” so much easier to say? And it sounds better, too!

In just a few weeks, that young child had it figured out. It is his church, as much as it is my church, as much as it is your church. As long as we never forget that it is always and in all ways God’s church.

I pray that we will share our church with others. And, I pray that we will be good stewards of God’s church. So as we identify with this community of faith and take appropriate ownership here, we will be the church for the community outside the walls as much as we are for the community within the walls.

Worth-Ship

Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.
Know that the Lord is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations.
Psalm 100 (NRSV)

Did you know that our word “Worship” is actually derived from the Old English word “Worth-ship?” My guess is you might not. And, even if you answered, “Well yes, Alex, I did know that”, you may still be wondering why I would even bring it up… My reason is this; our language has a huge impact on us, and on how we envision the world.

When I say I am going to worship on a Sunday morning, what does that really mean? Well, it could mean a whole host of things to each one of us. Worship is a pretty vague word, when you come to think about it… What I consider worship, some may consider dull and lifeless. What some think of as worship, others may call a “concert” or “motivational speech.” And there are yet others for whom the elements of worship are so strange to me that I find it appalling. (Take for example the handling of snakes or drinking of poison.) The truth is that worship is pretty hard to pin down.

The interesting thing is that the same is true of God. Faced with a bush that was on fire and yet not consumed, Moses asks God for a name, a name to tell the Israelites which god it is that is sending Moses to them. But, God doesn’t give Moses what he wants. Instead of saying, “I’m Baal,” or “I’m Zeus,” God simply (and profoundly) says, “I am who I am. Tell them I AM sent you.” I AM is a good name for God because by simply taking a name God would begin to be defined by humanity.

This is the very reason that some believers hesitate to write the name of God. Instead they choose to write G*d, or HaShem (which is Hebrew, and roughly translated means “The Name”). Once we name something we can, on some level, contain it. We give it height and breadth and depth. But not so with God.

But what does this have to do with worth-ship? I am glad you asked. The two roots, worth and ship, tell us a lot about what worthship is. Worth is pretty obvious, but ship… what does that mean? In the Old English it means “to shape.”

Simply put, our worship shapes us by that to which we attribute worth. If we worship money, money shapes who we are. If we worship fame, fame in turn becomes a defining factor in our lives. The same is true of God.

As we worship God, God can (and does) shape us. So, the next time someone asks you why you go to church why not say, “Because that is where God shapes me.” It’s probably not the answer they expect, and I am pretty sure it’s a good way to start a conversation and build a relationship. I hope to be shaped by God with you in the very near future!