Saturday, December 19, 2009

Water for Christmas

Did you know that disease related to unclean drinking water is the second biggest killer of children worldwide? In fact it kills about 1.8 million kids every year. That's 5,000 a day. That's too many.

Providing clean drinking water to the world is a daunting task. No one would claim it is not. It would cost about $10 billion to make clean water available to everyone. I don't know about you, but I don't have $10 billion sitting around waiting for a cause to donate to.

So I've gotta look at this a different way.

Here in America, we spend about $450 billion every year on Christmas. That's $450,000,000,000 spent on cards, ornaments, lights, presents, gift wrap, and other stuff that will mean little or nothing a month later. That's a lot of junk.

And it really doesn't make us any happier.

How many people have you heard complaining about all the stuff to do this time of year? About parking spaces at the mall, over-full schedules, too little money, too much stress? How many times have you yourself complained about it? And with the convenience of credit cards, we've even found a way to extend that stress-filled misery well into the new year!

In this country of spoiled children (and I'm not just talking about those under 18), we spend our time and our money searching for material value. No time of the year is this better reflected than Christmas. In order to celebrate the birth of God's Son who humbled Himself to be born as one of us, a helpless baby sleeping in the barn because there was no room in the inn, we spend billions ($450 billion!!!) on material junk. Am I the only one who sees the disconnect here?

Nowhere in the Gospel will you see Jesus trimming a tree, wrapping presents or mailing cards. This is not how He chose to celebrate His life. What you do see is Jesus every day reaching out to the poor, the lonely, the outcasts, the dregs of society. If He were walking this earth today, I don't think He'd be doing any different.

So do you think we, as spoiled Americans, could maybe solve this enormous $10 billion problem by allocating just a little (2% -- that's not much!) of our $450 billion spent on Christmas to instead helping those who need it?

There's a group who is urging people to do just that. Living Water International uses donations to build wells in communities where clean water is not available. They also educate the people there about hygiene and all of those little things that we take for granted every day. But more than that they use the connections these wells give them to spread the Gospel to people who have never heard it. More than just clean drinking water, they provide Living Water to a lost and hurting world.

Now, I'm a pretty skeptical person when it comes to charities. I mean how many charities out there spend the vast majority of their donations on overhead costs, leaving little to go to actually solving the problems they seek to solve? If you've never thought about this before, I would encourage you to look into your favorite charities and see how they stack up. If they don't make such financial information easily available to the public, that seems like a big red flag to me.

So what about Living Water International? If you go to their website and navigate to About LWI>Financials, you'll see that they're quite transparent about their funds. Another thing to note is the little ECFA logo at the bottom of the page. Any charity who is a member of the ECFA has had to go through an extensive auditing process to determine that they are doing what they say they will with the money they take in.

I should probably have posted this a month ago, but I didn't know all the details then. I know most of us have already spent our portion of the $450 billion. I also know that there are a lot of people who are still planning to spend more. If you're one of them, won't you consider giving to LWI? There must be someone on your list who would be glad to receive a note saying that you donated in their name rather than another meaningless gift to be thrown to the back of the closet come January.

Photos courtesy of Living Water International.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Sometimes they just get it wrong.

Two posts in one week??? What is this world coming to???

Usually, I love the Onion. They're hilarious.

Unfortunately, all too often, they've had a sample of the liberal kool-aid, as in the example at the left.

Because obviously Kirk Cameron is the best spokesperson for the Intelligent Design movement.

Clearly we don't have any top scientists who would dare to believe in something as out-dated as God or Creationism.

And how dare an actor like Cameron contradict a great mind like Richard Dawkins (the guy pictured below him)?

What is this world coming to? Next thing we know those looney Christians will try to disprove man-made global warming! Oh wait...

Further Reading:
Probably the best book (though not by far the only one!) I've found for those who want the entire argument laid out for them is The Case for a Creator by Lee Strobel.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

What I did last Sunday

My blog friends probably don't know (because I've been terribly neglecting all of you!) that the Moose and I have recently become involved with a new church.  When I say new, I don't mean new to us.  I mean our church has only existed for about eight weeks.

This brand spanking new church is called Vintage and follows the motto: "Learn to live, live to serve."

We lived this out last weekend, and I gotta say I am PROUD of my new church family!

First, go check out the first video on the church website, then come back.

Did you see that?  That was an eight-week old church.  Fifty people (50!) came out and volunteered their day to help out some folks in the community who we don't even know.  Adults cleared a burgeoning forest out of a back yard and rebuilt some structural supports a few blocks from the church, while the kids tackled the landscaping at a local elementary school. 

Among all the chainsaws, weedeaters, thorny vines (ouch!) and wayward branches, we got to spend some time doing the gospel rather than just preaching it.  Showing God's love instead of just talking about it.  Helping people instead of sitting around and complaining about the lack of community involvement.

And let me tell you, I have not been so thankful to be a part of something so amazing in a long, long time. 

God's mission is alive and well in McKinney Texas, and I feel honored to be a part of it.

Verse of the Day