Coupon Crazy!

Last Friday marked our first Coupon Party at Quest.  Led by Teresa Bodle, we brought our ads and clipped, clipped, clipped. Organizing our findings based on the current needs list from Hillcrest Transitional Housing, we stacked up scores of deals and managed to find a few spare minutes to enjoy insanely delicious cake, hummus, chex mix, and gabbing (of course).

Because we wanted as many people as possible to help us collect, clip and sort coupons, we had a $50 Visa gift card on hand to give away in a drawing! Just showing up to the party was the first way to enter, but bringing friends and donations earned extra entries into the drawing!

Stephanie Moreno walked away with the gift card– the lucky duck brought scads of donations along with her for the party, so her name was entered into the drawing approximately 1 million times! Thanks, Stephanie!!

On Saturday, a group hit the stores to rack up major deals for the great people at Hillcrest.

Before coupons, our grand total was $500.

Thanks to all the coupon crazy ladies, we were able to bring that total down to…

(Drum roll, please….)

$200!!!!

Thank you to everyone who helped with this event! It is so exciting to have been able to provide Hillcrest with much-needed items. Enjoy the pictures and be sure to join in next time!

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Don’t Miss Out!

I should apologize for the absence of blog posts for the last few weeks. I’ve been busy planning Quest’s 2012 and it’s certainly going to be an exciting year!

A newsletter will come out next week detailing the upcoming events, but I want you to have a heads up as soon as possible on a few things. Here’s some of the cool stuff in store:

Jan 24: Qexchange at 7pm  NEW BOOK!  We will be reading The Search for Significance. All are welcome, you do not need to attend Quest. This is held at the Clifton home, please email micah at quest2819 dot org for location information.

Jan 29: Prayer Breakfast at 8am at Quest. Join us for a short prayer session and breakfast before church on Sundays. This is held every Sunday, with breakfast being served every other Sunday. The 29th is a breakfast day, so don’t miss it!

Feb 5: First Sunday Potluck at noon at Quest. Bring a side dish and get to know each other better!

Feb 5: Super Bowl Party at 5pm at the Hartzheim home. Click here for more info

Feb 10: Youth Pizza and Planning Event  Are you a teen or do you enjoy hanging out with the awesome teens at Quest? Please come to our planning party as we find out what this great group of young people are interested in and are seeking from Quest.  Click here for more info!

Feb 17: Winter Jam Tour Spectacular Don’t miss this awesome concert at the Sprint Center!  We’ll carpool down there, tickets are only $10 at the door. Click here for more info.

Feb 24: Coupon Party at Quest at 6:30pm  Bring your coupons from the Sunday paper (start saving now!!) to this clipping party. We’ll match them to store ads and buy groceries for families in need.

Mar 24: Volunteer at Hillcrest Transitional Housing Thrift Store 10am-1pm   Join us as we help set up shop for Hillcrest Thrift Store’s grand opening! This is a great organization that helps get underprivileged and/or homeless people back on the path to success. More info here.

That should keep us all busy for a while!! If you have any questions about any of the events, please comment here or email micah at quest2819 dot org.  It’s not too late to get involved with anything you see listed above.

As always, prayer requests can be submitted here and will go straight to Pastor Corey.

Living Our Mission!

Last weekend was a busy one for Quest!

On Saturday, Dec 3 a group of volunteers served lunch to the families of babies in the NICU unit at an area hospital. Because of HIPAA, the pictures aren’t too great, but here is one showing the group getting ready to serve:

Thanks to the area grocers and companies that donated food and/or gift cards. Thanks also to those that prepared food and donated crock pots!  We served smoked brisket sandwiches, green beans, sweet potatoes and desserts. Please keep the families of babies in the NICU in your prayers, especially at this time of the year. Celebrating the holidays with a baby in the hospital is extremely difficult and our prayer is that by providing a warm meal, we were able to provide temporary relief from some of the stress these families are facing.

On Sunday, December 5, we went SHOPPING!

Along with several of the kids from Quest, we journeyed to Wal-Mart to purchase toys for Toys for Tots and the Angel Tree programs. At Quest, we don’t have a time during our service when we ask for tithes, but it does cost money to run the ministry. The money Quest receives in tithes goes to keeping the lights on and to outreach (the service and social events we have each month). Quest’s pastoral staff is completely unpaid, leaving that money to go toward bettering the lives of others through Jesus.  On top of the monthly outreach activities, Quest donates 10% of the year’s given tithes to the community each December. Purchasing the toys for Toys for Tots was a part of this yearly Quest tithe and we had so much fun picking out the goodies.

FULL CARTS!! Such a great experience for everyone involved.  🙂

Acts of Kindness for Kids

We are halfway through the 30 Deeds in 30 Days challenge! 

How are you doing?

Have you remembered to share an act of kindness every day so far?  If so, awesome!!! Chances are, you may have forgotten here and there, gotten unexpectedly busy or even come down with a bug (hopefully not!).

I’ve been doing little things each day, but have to admit that sometimes at the end of the day I look back and try to find something I can “count” for that day.

Is that really what this challenge is about?  Scrambling to find good deeds to “count” for the 30 days?  No, I know it’s not. It’s about realizing the needs of people right next to us. It’s about sharing kindness, love and joy with a stranger. It’s about showing the heart of Jesus in a non-threatening way.

I was blog-browsing the other day and came across a few awesome ideas of acts of kindness to do with your kids. You could do one per day, one per week, or several in one day. As parents, we have the important responsibility of teaching our children to love one another. Not just those who look like us, dress like us, talk like us, not even just those we’ve met. We must teach our children to be aware of the needs of everyone.

With that being said, enjoy this list of kid-friendly ideas for this month!

  • Leave a box of girl scout cookies with a thank you note for your mailman.
  • Take a plate of cookies or muffins to your nearest fire station. Even if you’ve never need their services, I bet you sleep better at night knowing they’re  close by. Thank them for helping the community!
  • Have your kids make cards and deliver them to your local nursing home.
  • Take two vases of flowers to the hospital.  Ask the volunteer coordinator to put them on a floor where they’ll be appreciated the most.
  • While at the hospital delivering flowers, leave coloring books and new crayons at the kids’ table in the waiting room.
  • Leave a ziploc of change taped to a vending machine with a note attached saying, “Enjoy this random act of kindness!”
  • Leave a donation in a food drive bin. These are often located at churches, schools, grocery stores, etc.
  • Take cookies to your local librarians.
  • Hide easter eggs around a park. Tie a basket to a pole on the playground with a note that says “Have an egg hunt and enjoy this random act of kindness!”
  • Take your kids to the dollar store and let them each hide a dollar bill in the toy aisle for another child to find. He or she will be so excited to get to buy a toy!!
  • Mail coupons for a free cherry limeade at Sonic or movie tickets to a friend or family in need of a little cheer.
  • Leave a few diapers and pack of wipes on the changing table in a public restroom. Don’t forget to attach a note!
  • Buy a pack of Silly Bandz and let your kids pass them out to every child they see while out and about one day.

These ideas are so much FUN! I can’t wait to do a few with my kids.  Enjoy! 

Don’t forget to share how your month is going!

 

 

Un-Cocoon Yourself

Yesterday’s post ended with this:

Instead of walking toward the people so in need of God’s redemptive love, I’ve seen scores of people step in to a mode of no longer wanting anything to do with them. Are we so caught up in our “goodness” that we forget the very people who need our friendship?

Notice I said friendship. I did not say “so in need of our God.” Yes, they need God. Everyone needs God! We know that and we’ll get there, but first, they need a friend. They need you to be their friend. Get to know them, listen to their stories, and then listen to God. He will prompt you when prompting is needed.

We talked about Christ-followers getting completely caught up in their own Christian circles, turning a blind eye to the real needs of the world. Bill Hybels put it this way:

The aversion to non-Christians becomes so intense that a Christ follower has to plumb to new depths of dysfunction to deal with it. “Here’s what I think I’ll do,” she says. “I’ll set my alarm so that in the morning, I’ll get up to Christian music. I’ll email my Christian girlfriends all throughout the course of the workday so that I can stay pumped up with Christian thoughts. At break time, coffee time, lunchtime, I’m going to sit by myself and read my Bible. Then I will fill up my evenings with my family and church activities and, if I watch TV at all, it’s only Christian shows for me. I’ll go to bed, wake up tomorrow, and start all over with Step One. My life will stay exactly how I want it to be: simple and safe. Spotless and uncluttered. Protected and predictable. Just the way I like it.”

Um, there’s one problem with this cocooning pattern.

It’s the polar opposite of the way of Christ.

Simple and safe was not exactly the theme of His story.

Right?

He warned us that being sent out as lambs among wolves was part of the deal. He embraced a dying, broken, weary world with radical forgiveness and actionable love.

So, the first step in un-cocooning ourselves is to develop friendships. Embrace everyone you meet with the goal of developing a friendship that may one day lead that person to Christ. Today is most-likely not that day. The truth is, if you jam Jesus down their throats, they’ll probably mark you as crazy and avoid you at all costs. Don’t do that.

Instead, Hybels sets forth a challenge in his book:

Try a little experiment with me this week. As you pull into your driveway, fight the temptation to look past your neighbor. Perhaps for the first time, stop long enough to wonder why God chose to put the two of you on the same block to begin with. When you drop off your dry cleaning, take four seconds to smile, and ask the name of the person standing behind the counter. If he or she has served you well, then say so. When you run into the drugstore to pick up your prescription, take a good look at the clerk who’s assisting you. What’s that person’s story? Will you carve out two minutes to find out? Or should you bump into your mail carrier during the day, invest a few moments in discovering if he or she has a spouse or kids- what do they like to do around town on their day off?

You can do this!

This is what 30 Deeds in 30 Days is all about.

Get out there and make a few friends this month!

The Ugliness of Christians

So, tomorrow’s the day.

Tomorrow’s the day we start our challenge.

Tomorrow’s the first of 30 days that we will intentionally perform one act of kindness for someone else.

Tomorrow the day that the 2nd annual 30 Deeds in 30 Days challenge begins!

Why do these 30 deeds?  Well, for starters, I think we’ll all agree that intentionally impacting someone else’s day for the better is fun! There’s little more satisfying than knowing you helped someone else when they least expected it. But you know what?  It goes further than that. Did you know that doing one good deed for 30 days could actually change your life?

I want to explain something that I find a bit sobering.

You may have noticed in your own life that the longer you walk with God, the more open your arms become. Instead of clenching tightly to a small circle of insiders, you throw out your arms, opening them up to those outside the circle who may need to come in. As your arms grow wider in worship, they correspondingly grow wider in acceptance.

But wait. Have you actually noticed that in your own life?

Be honest.

The brutal truth is that the longer a person attends church, the fewer interactions that person has with people on “the outside.” It’s been my experience that when a person makes a faith-decision to follow Christ, his or her contact with people outside of the Christian faith decreases significantly.

In my opinion, Christians tend to become quite inwardly focused. We find our group of Christian friends, do our Christian activities and distance ourselves from non-Christian people.

Say WHAT?!

(I’ll take this opportunity to warn you that I’m pretty passionate about this topic, so bear with me if I get a little amped. I’ve had a lot of coffee.)

Ugh. I hang my head in dismay at the ugliness and selfishness of it all.

Are we so concerned with our own well-being, our own “final destination,” our own public image that we forget the very people we are called to reach?

Do we isolate ourselves so much in our “Christianity” that we turn a blind eye to the adulterer, the prisoner, the drug addict, alcoholic, unwed mom, troubled teen, lonely woman, jobless father, sick neighbor, and depressed family member? 

Instead of walking toward the people so in need of God’s redemptive love, I’ve seen scores of people step in to a mode of no longer wanting anything to do with them. Are we so caught up in our “goodness” that we forget the very people who need our friendship?

Notice I said friendship. I did not say “so in need of our God.”  Yes, they need God. Everyone needs God! We know that and we’ll get there, but first, they need a friend. They need you to be their friend.  Get to know them, listen to their stories, and then listen to God. He will prompt you when prompting is needed.

So, do 30 Deeds in 30 Days. See where it takes you.

Let me tell you, wrapping your caring arms around someone gives back far more than it takes.

Anyone, anywhere.

Open your eyes. Open your ears. Open your heart.

Change, friends, is inevitable.

2nd Annual 30 Deeds Ideas

Are you ready?!

The 2nd Annual 30 Deeds in 30 Days challenge starts TODAY!

Have you already done your intentional act of kindness today? If so, leave a comment about it!

Do you need a little inspiration?  Below is a week’s list of ideas– feel free to repeat these ideas each week, changing the recipient, or create your own ideas!  I do suggest that you keep your eyes and ears open to anyone who needs help or encouragement at any time. It’s amazing what we become aware of when we intentionally stay tuned in to those around us!

Nov 1: Call a friend.

Nov 2: Compliment the checker at the grocery store.

Nov 3: Leave cookies for your mailman.

Nov 4: Write a letter to your grandma.

Nov 5: Donate a bag of household belongings to Goodwill

Nov 6: Take a few 9-volt batteries to church and remind people to change their smoke detector battery

Nov 7: Take your neighbor’s trash cans back up to their house on trash day.

What are your ideas??