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Humble Pie

Matt Hahn

This may seem to be a bit of an odd way to begin a blog, but I've been a “husky” fella for quite some time. My mother would unashamedly walk alongside me into the Walmart kids section and pick out the seemingly starched pair of blue jeans labeled “husky” by Rustler. Made no difference to me as I would wreck them in the hours that followed once they were fastened around my waist. But none the less, mom was looking out for her little “beef cake” ensuring I was taken care of. 

I've grown older and have created relationships with people who come and go. There seems to be a common “welcome” with those who have been away for quite some time. They often smile, take a step back, look at ya from head to toe and relay how great you look, with the open-ended question of, “Wow, you look amazing! Have you lost some weight?” To my internal response of “I wish” or “Nope still the ol’ Husky G-Vegas!!!” My point is this…we often recognize the outward appearance of individuals but fail to examine the inside condition of one’s soul. 

Most recently I responded with my crew on Rescue Company 1 to a motor vehicle accident where we had multiple patients to be transported to the hospital. Upon triaging the various patients, I met a woman whose name was Ruth. This accident happened in a remote neighborhood where lighting was scarce and the the intersection was adjacent to an open field. People were scattered and moving about, but not Mrs. Ruth. She was elegantly sitting on the corner edge of the field parallel to the road on a random Coburg milk crate. She, with her hands in her lap, sat with a calm demeanor amongst the chaos all around her. You see, Mrs. Ruth was blind. She and her husband were on their way home from a church service when the vehicle they were in struck another. The driver of both vehicles, as well as Mrs. Ruth’s husband, needed medical attention. Nothing life threatening, but for me, this was life changing. As Mrs. Ruth sat quietly, I approached her to inform her of her husband’s condition as well as their friend who was driving them. As precautionary measure she too would be transported to the hospital to ensure she was okay. 

In conversation with Mrs. Ruth we spoke of the strength of her name and the influence of Ruth in the bible. She couldn't stop smiling as she humbly spoke of the things that God has done in her life. She then spoke to me about my “heart” condition. Not by words but by her heart communicating to mine. I could barely hold back the tears. I reassured her that she would be fine along with the others she was with. Not because I have any medical insight, but because I knew the Lord had His hands wrapped around them. 

I don’t fill out my “husky” jeans by avoiding the dinner table and neither does my heart get full by avoiding the truths found in God’s humble pie. It’s moments like these that we must take a step back and reflect on the impact this woman and others in your life have on us. You see, being blind she didn’t care about my stunning physique. She didn’t care about skin color or or the fire truck I was assigned to. She cared about my heart. Her impact led to this blog. Her love for the inward condition propels me to encourage you to do the same. 

We as Christians cannot afford to reduce ourselves to the outward appearance and influence of others. We, through the Holy Spirit, must examine the heart of each person we come in contact with. We cannot stand still while people are wandering without purpose. Romans 8:26-28 says: 

26Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to
pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings
too deep for words. 27And he who searches hearts knows what
is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints

according to the will of God. 28And we know that for those who love God
all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. 

I absolutely believe that Mrs. Ruth was no ordinary woman. Mrs. Ruth was sent by God to minister to not only mine, but your life as well. 

Consider the hearts of those in your closest circle of influence. Have your prayers been for their spiritual condition or rather the wants and desires of their own hearts. Are we truly focused on the inward and blinded by the outward? What does that even mean? 

I believe that when we see through the lens of Mrs. Ruth and the Holy Spirit we are able to examine the hearts of men. We become solely focused on eternal things and not worried about the things that will “fade away.” To often we see through a tunnel and lose the whole picture of the Glory of God. I have had heavy servings of humble pie. I want to steer clear of the table, but end up in front of a platter. Not that these moments of humble gluttony are bad, but it’s the way I exercise the humbleness that matters. Am I soaking up these great moments or am I sharing them through faith with you and others? 

As the holiday season approaches, make room for some humble pie. Seek opportunities to be intentional about others inward condition. Mrs. Ruth has taught me a lot, and honestly I wish I was able to meet her again. It does, however, seem certain that she had one purpose in my life, in the 20 minutes that we shared together. She was to simply there to serve me a small slice of humble pie. 

I’m forever grateful for her and others that have served the same recipe. 

Much Love

- Gregg

More than a Game

Matt Hahn

As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds his people, from this time forth and forevermore. Psalm 125:2

We had a VAN at Awaken Church this week. You may be thinking well thats great, I have a car or perhaps a truck, and if a “van” is your speed, well then hammer down my friend. If that is your thought, we may not be on the same page. The Awaken Church staff hosted a Volunteer Appreciation Night, hence the acronym VAN. As a staff we wanted to thank those who do so much for Awaken and most of all in service to God. These volunteers aren't like your “normal” run of the mill kind of volunteers. These volunteers work tirelessly, consistently, and humbly for the pursuit of Gods kingdom and the growth of the local and Big “C” church. 

Allow me to pause for a moment and once again say, “THANK YOU”.  

During this night of thanks for these amazing people we sat around the dinner table and broke bread together, we had a time of prayer and devotion, followed up with games and fellowship, and to end the night we prayed over the Volunteers as we venture into the new service year. We laughed, we ran around chasing beachballs and acted out some amazing charades. But last night was more than a game. Last night was more than a time to say thank you. Last night was an opportunity for Awaken church to see what the true heart of Awaken Church is, and what the true heart of God is. We don't simply host such events to pat you on the back and give you a participation trophy on your way out, we do this in an effort to dive into the heart of Awaken, to see a crystal clear picture of how God intends our lives to be. You see, when you selflessly give yourself to and for something thats much bigger than you, you experience God. 

When you begin to look at the amount of volunteers we have at Awaken we cannot help but to be humbled by the things that God is doing. From a small church plant that operated out of a local school, to a church that is bursting at the seams in a beautiful facility, we must remain humble. Its not “us” as a church that makes this happen, its not an overwhelming urgency for people in the Columbia Metro to cram into these four walls, its God speaking through our “Awaken blessings”,  our Awaken Volunteers. 

In as early as 1648 there was a volunteer "rattle watch" who patrolled the streets of New York. If a fire was discovered these people would sound an alarm and help organize bucket brigades. Thus creating the birth of the American Fire Service. If you’ve been alongside any firemen for a given period of time you’ll notice that history is huge portion of who we are. We often reflect back on the days of hip-boots and long coat firefighting from tradesmen who wanted to help their communities. Their passion drove them, their desire to serve others propelled them,  & the love for their city and those in it fueled them. But their hearts are the same as those of Awaken Church. You see, the heart of volunteering is that it’s all about God, loving people, serving people, and investing into others’ lives. 

We often look at volunteering as some sort of charitable work that we do in our spare time. (Whats spare time, right?) We tend to fill our schedules of monotonous tasks that make us feel “accomplished”. We check the “to-do” list of american suburbia and think we are keeping up with the Jones’. No offense, but who cares what the Jones’ are doing in their day to day lives. Isn't our pursuit of God much bigger than what they have on their schedule? Isn't making time to serve the Lord a better investment of our most treasured asset? We value time in such high regard sometimes that we fail to realize that its the same time God has provided us since birth. Its the same time that God blesses you with in this very moment as you read this blog. When we pause and really think about what God has afforded us how do we not leverage our time around serving - volunteering for the local and Big “C” church? 

When looking into volunteering don't consider it to be work, Observe the following Four Keys to volunteering: 

1.) Volunteering creates family - Who doesn't want to be a part of a larger family? Who doesn't want to be a part of a group of people with a common interest and love for God? Volunteering allows you to be a part of something bigger than yourself. Its not about simply performing tasks, but about doing life together - becoming family. 

2.) Volunteering is a sacrifice - I know this seems a bit harsh, but its actually a celebration. God loved you so much that he gave his son as a living sacrifice for you. Wouldn't it seem only appropriate to celebrate that sacrifice by giving you up your time in service to your creator? Don't we “say” we volunteer out of or love for Jesus, people, and the church? Volunteering your time creates a domino effect of service. Once the first one falls you’ll have a craving for the next opportunity to make a difference. 

3.) Volunteering unlocks your potential - Volunteering allows us to discover what it is that God has placed on our lives. From creativity to leadership to administration, who knows. God has different gifts and talents for each and every one of us. Use and grow in these gifts. 

4.) Volunteering is about service - Serving people is ultimately what volunteering comes down to. Its not about becoming well known or “climbing the ladder” of biblical success. Its all about God, loving people, serving people, and investing into others lives. Have you ever been to a “Full Service” gas station? Where you the one in the car getting fueled up? Is that last statementtwo fold? Your vehicle was getting the needed quantity of “go juice” simultaneously as you! You cannot help but to feel amazing as you were being waited upon. This is what volunteering is all about. Putting others before yourself, becoming the one who is in second place. 

Partnering with God in the local church is a huge honor. In whatever way, through whatever gifts and talents we have, we all play a significant part in serving people and moving the church forward. I challenge you if you”re not volunteering to search your heart and consider all that Gods done for you. To consider what it would look like to give back to there the vast quantities of blessings we receive daily. If you’re already volunteering, again I want to say thank you. 

As you know, its more than just a game. 

Much Love