Downtown Cornerstone Blog
May 2
2019

Mercy Ministry Update | May

Mercy Ministries, Mercy Update | by Pastor Justin Keogh

The Mercy Ministry Updates are a regular snapshot of our Mercy Ministries in DCC, where we are working to serve and uphold the value and dignity of God’s most vulnerable image bearers in our city. Each update highlights one of our focus areas, as well as provide a listing of upcoming events, and current prayer requests across all of our focus areas.

Gospel Framework

The Bible, as God’s inspired word, displays God’s good design and our radical need for a savior, found only in Jesus, and calls us to live out our new identity in Christ as we engage the world around us.

“For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God, who is not partial and takes no bribe. He executes justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the sojourner, giving him food and clothing. Love the sojourner, therefore, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt.” Deuteronomy 10:17-19

In Deuteronomy 10, God tells Israel about his great love and awesome glory. But he does more than simply tell them; in his wisdom, God reveals his love for them and his power over all things by weaving into Israel’s story a sojourn in and rescue out of Egypt. Israel’s time in Egypt, and their redemption by God out of Pharoah’s hand, serve as undeniable, historical declarations of God’s love and might. These attributes are rooted in his character, and he weaves them into Israel’s story, and then he calls them to love the sojourners in their midst. The same is true for us as it was for Israel. God’s love for us and power for us are just as profound, bringing life to dead sinners, bringing those who were far off into unity with God in Christ (Ephesians 2). Like Israel, we were sojourners, apart from God. Like Israel, we have been given God’s love and grace in Christ. And like Israel, God calls us to live a life that is transformed by his love, a life that glorifies God in the way we love others.

Mercy Focus Highlight: Refugees

As a church we support and partner with several mercy ministries and want to share and highlight their on-going work.

Over 30,000 refugees live in Washington, making Washington one of the top 10 refugee-receiving states (representing 0.4% of WA population). Refugees arriving to the US often come with nothing but the clothes on their backs, often fleeing persecution and face political, cultural, and linguistic barriers as they seek a safe refuge and better life. For those that are provided entry into the US, restarting can be a very lonely and challenging experience. Organizations like World Relief Seattle aim to meet those refugees who’ve become our neighbors through practical material assistance, legal and economic programs, and meaningful relationships. Through partnerships with local churches, World Relief Seattle connects Christians to these arriving refugees in various ways, enabling the love of God to be tangibly expressed and received.

Join us this Sunday, 5/5, at 1pm, to learn more about what makes someone a Refugee, how they come to our neighbors in Seattle, and how we can serve them alongside organizations like World Relief. You can also join our Mercy Focus: Refugee group in Planning Center.

Upcoming Events

Not all events are sponsored or hosted by DCC, but serve those in our focus areas. See linked details for each.

  • Thursday 5/2 | Night of Prayer – We will be setting aside some time this evening to pray for REST’s ministry and for those who are being exploited in the sex trade. If you are interested in joining to pray, please email Micah at rickard.micah@gmail.com for details.
  • Friday 5/3 | All Our Friends Fest – REST is hosting an upcoming art show and auction featuring many local artists. All proceeds will go to benefiting REST and the clients they serve.
  • Sunday 5/5 | DCC Info Session – Refugees – We will be hosting an info session this Sunday after the 11 AM gathering to grow in our biblical understanding of God’s love for the refugee and how that impacts us today.
  • Saturday 5/18 | A Night with NuHope – REST is partnering with NuHope for a fundraising event which will serve REST’s ministry and provide a fun opportunity for support!
  • Saturday 7/13 | Serve the City – Mark your calendars! This year’s Serve the City is scheduled for July 13th! We’ll have the gift of joyfully serving together at Gatewood Elementary in West Seattle!

Partner Prayer Requests

Please join us in praying for the people impacted and involved in each of these focus areas.

Homelessness and UGM

  • Pray for our city leadership, to be able to make wise and helpful legislation that ultimately serves those experiencing homelessness in Seattle.
  • Pray for those going through the UGM programs, to find healing and recovery through faith in Jesus. Pray that we would be a welcoming people to those who are struggling and homeless.

Foster Care & Adoption

  • Pray for more foster and adoptive families willing and equipped to take children with special needs, especially high medical needs. Pray for the families already taking medically fragile children that they would have a support community and receive rest.
  • Pray for the children to not be defined by their diagnosis but as a child of God.

Refugees

  • Pray for mutual love and edification between U.S.-born and immigrant sisters and brothers in the American church.
  • Pray that the church in America will be unified in loving and caring for immigrants so that together, we can testify to God’s love for all of us through his son, Jesus Christ.

Sex Trafficking and REST 

  • Pray for the growth of REST’s recently established Integrated Health Clinic, which provides medical, mental health, and chemical dependency care to those in need. Pray for the clients that will be helped and cared for through the IHC.
  • Pray that God’s truth and love would be made known on every street in our city, and that he will bring freedom and peace to those who are being exploited.

Juvenile Detention

  • Pray for the youth currently in detention, that they would hear of God’s love through Christian mentors serving them.
  • Pray for the families of youth, to be safe and stable, so that youth leaving detention can return to healthy environments.

Life Project

  • Pray for their abortion-minded clients; that they ultimately chose life for their child — pray for positive influence from family and their community that will support them and encourage them to continue in their pregnancy, and support them when children are born.
  • Praise that CareNet has been able to find a new facility, and pray for the plans to offer extended hours in Seattle through this location and the mobile unit!

Stay Connected

Join the focus area city groups in order to hear more regular updates, events, and opportunities to serve.

Mar 21
2019

Life in Community | Loving and Serving One Another

Community | by Pastor Justin Keogh

The Life in Community series highlights aspects of our life lived together in community through a mixture of theology, vision, and personal stories. Cornerstone Communities are the primary means of forming meaningful discipling relationships where we can be known, encouraged, and challenged by brothers and sisters in our body, and live out the “one another” commandments in our daily lives.

For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another…. By this we know love, that [Jesus] laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. (1 John 3:11, 16-18)

We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother. (1 John 4:19-21)

There is a direct relationship between our relationship with God (our “vertical” relationship) and our relationship with others (our “horizontal” relationships). How we love our brothers and sisters horizontally reflects our understanding and beliefs about how God has loved us vertically in Christ. This was not immediately apparent to me in my early days of faith – I claimed to love God, but that love did not result in love for my fellow Christians. It was in my freshman year of college, during a Bible study on 1 John, that God drew this to my full attention by His Spirit and through His word.

There I was, thinking I had a right understanding of God’s love – to which God called me a liar. I saw the stark contrast of my horizontal relationships which lacked any tangible grace, forgiveness, or love with the extremely tangible peace, forgiveness, and love of God to me in Christ. Thankfully, by God’s grace, this led not only to a deepened understanding but wholehearted repentance, which still to this day shapes the way I see my brothers and sisters in Christ. If you struggle to love your brothers and sisters in Christ, I encourage you to reflect on the ways in which God has (and does!) loved you in Christ, the depth of the forgiveness he has for your sins (i.e., all of them), and the abundance of his provision for you as co-heirs with Christ.

As the understanding of God’s love for us has hit home, and we desire to love and serve others as Christ has loved and served us, some very practical questions quickly arise. Here are four of the most common questions that frequently arise as we seek to love and serve one another in our communities.

1. What does it look like to love others “in deed and in truth”?

In contrast to “loving in word or talk,” we see that loving others is an action. On this topic, James writes: “If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that?” (James 2:15-16). We see throughout Acts – there was practical and tangible care for one another that included meeting material needs (Acts 2:45; 6:2). In our context, this could be as simple as picking up the bill for a shared meal for a friend who doesn’t have the same financial means, or it could mean rallying together as a community to help someone in your community pay rent and make ends meet when they are in between jobs.

2. What if I don’t have the financial means to help others? Or, what if the needs of others are not financial?

In either of these scenarios, we can still meet the practical needs of others. We have all been given a unique set of time, talent, and treasure from God to steward, which varies by his providence and grace. These gifts not only differ from one person to person but also from season to season. Therefore, we should not expect that there is a ‘one size fits all’ way to serve. Meeting material needs is not the exclusive way to love and care for others. How then? Well, it depends on the unique needs of others and your gifts of time, talent, and treasure. A family with young kids might have their material needs covered, but need a babysitter so that they can get a date night. A single young professional might have their material needs covered, but need Godly counsel and guidance. Together, they might form a mutually-edifying relationship where they meet each others’ needs and grow closer in the process!

3. How do I prioritize who to serve?

There are more people in the world with greater needs than you will ever be able to meet. Thankfully, God has not called us to be the savior of the world, but to love and serve those whom we are able – with the gifts that he’s uniquely given to us. The bible doesn’t give us a prescription on how to split our efforts, but rather principles on how to love our family in Christ and our neighbors. Knowing that I have to prioritize and choose whom I will serve, here are a few of the questions I prayerfully consider:
Who has God sovereignly put into my life already?
What are their needs?
What does the balance of my time, talents, and treasures look like this season?
Have I sought to love both my family in Christ and my neighbors?
Are there folks who cannot repay me, that I might serve unconditionally (cf Luke 14:12-14).
Very often, I don’t have to think long before I find God’s Spirit directing me to those around me – in my community, my church, my workplace, and my geographic neighborhood.

4. What if I’m the one in need?

We all have needs, and there is no shame or condemnation for being in need (Rom 8:1). Even so, we don’t generally like to be in need. For starters, by definition, it means we’re lacking in something. Secondly, asking for help from others can be a huge (albeit good) blow to our pride – fighting our social norms of individualism and our self-made images. Yet, we know that God has given us needs that we might depend on him and come to receive what we need for his glory and our good (cf. John 9:3).We want our Cornerstone Communities to be places of authentic, loving, discipling, and mutually-edifying relationships. This means that they need to be places where we can share our needs and our time, talent, and treasure to meet one another’s needs. It takes a humble vulnerability from the person sharing the need, and a compassionate action from those around the person sharing the need – but as this happens, people’s needs are met, we grow closer to each other, God is glorified, and the world around us sees a glimpse of the Kingdom of God (cf John 13:35).

If you’re part of a Cornerstone Community, I invite you to prayerfully consider who is in need around you that you are uniquely gifted to serve this month.

If you’re not yet part of a Cornerstone Community, sign-up for the next Foundations class to get started.

Justin Keogh
Director of Communities & Mercy Ministries