May 24, 2016

“Sing to the LORD a new song…, …for the LORD takes pleasure in His people; He adorns the humble with salvation.” Psalm 149: 1 & 4.

We are a people who want to live. Life is strewn of poor choices with destructive result. All of us get in the way of our own fulfillment and joy in life. It is easy to slide into the default conclusions of the many, who would believe that God, if He does exist, is against me unless I give up on a life that is full of fun that is fulfilling as well as exciting. This is not the God we serve and know here. The God of the ages we not only know of, but know, is One who takes pleasure in His people and is not intimidated by the problems we face in life, whether we created our own problems or whether they were dumped on us in uninvited fashion. In fact, the LORD we serve has no reluctance about the cost of our redemption, as His heart and will is to “adorn the humble with salvation”—He wants to be a part of dressing us up in transforming our lives from within and without.

The song given us of the LORD to sing here in the community within which we are working with the children, have themes of serving our fellow-man—working productively in our community—and engaging in learning as a way of life. Whatever the focus of redemption might be, as the ever-changing world in which we live may change the shape and appearance continually, God has answers to each and every one. Life pops—it is abounding with goodness—it is fulfilling—it is awesome, when we tell God, “I Want To Live,” and will humble ourselves to receive His answers, knowing that He has nothing but good for us and takes pleasure in our salvation. It indeed requires our cooperation together with one another and with Him, but depends on His work and our trust, as striving actually gets in the way. Come and sing to the LORD a new song with us. Choose to Live.

Three things to do while living:

  1. WORK

    Each of us is created to be productive, contributing to society in such a way that we find work rewarding and fulfilling. Work is part of a healthy life. Everyone has something to offer. Yet the brokenness we each experience in life, because of the destructive nature of sin in the world, can adversely affect the motivation deep within to work and enjoy the fulfillment that being productive offers us. We have children who boldly state every Wednesday and Saturday evening, “I want to work.” This is one of our goals, as there needs to be something deep inside each individual which proclaims that they want to take responsibility for themselves and invest of themselves. Each of us needs to develop in settings where we have opportunity to contribute where that contribution is valued; it builds a godly sense of self-worth. We need to distance ourselves from any and all destructive forces which de-value an individual’s perception of themselves. We nurture children at very young ages, planting seeds we watch grow for a harvest. We have children of years ago who are presently and gainfully employed as adults in the work force today. Some who have internalized I Thessalonians 4: 11—12 from their time here speak of it when they return as adults. These same people who celebrate being a joyful contribution are an inspiration to all. Each of us should aspire to be such people. We nurture the youth as they mature to seek employment, but re-direct most to other places because we do not have the means of supporting job and business initiatives. We hope to see such initiatives develop, as they will transform the individual as well as the community while enriching the LORD’s ministry here. There are a few adults among us who were the children from a few years ago. We were able to place them in gainful employment here in the childcare center. Some have completed their College education and have moved on to work elsewhere; a few found Agora to be a long term place of employment. They made themselves valuable, while being valued. This is fulfilling and rewarding for all, as we together are making a difference in the lives of many.
    Vision for the future of the Work Initiative:
    • Individual sponsor projects
    • thrift store

  2. LEARN

    In our community, between 49% and 60 % of the young people who begin Kindergarten, drop out of school before they reach their high school graduation day; this statistic has fluctuated between these figures over the course of the past 20 years. While there are many factors at play in this, there is one common thread which is disturbing. Our children have lost the desire to learn, which seems to unfold in the most critical years of development in a child’s life.Our public school system exists as a result of servants in the church pioneering learning initiatives because of their desire to be faithful to the LORD in His value of the importance of the development of children. In 2010, we opened Agora’s Little Gems Early Learning & Child Care Center to plant the seeds and nurture the child to develop with this deep desire to learn. We want to see the children nurtured from a very young age to understand that God created them with minds that are fulfilled when learning flourishes according to how God fashioned each one them. We want each child to be so excited about how God created them, that they want to learn and excel in life. Agora’s Little Gems, begins to work with children at 6 weeks old through 12 years of age. [for more information] We mentor older children informally through the ministry of our long term volunteers.
    Vision for the future with the Learn Initiative:
    • Increased activity with mentoring the older youth
    • Developing supporting initiatives to assist within the context of the public education system

  3. SERVE

    Serving hands and caring hearts are essential for joy and happiness in life. From the time anyone walks in our door, we hope to see the individual become engaged in serving the interests of our heavenly Father as they reach out to those around them with His love and move away from a place of being self-consumed. Jesus exemplified, taught, and promoted servanthood. When asked to appoint two people to important positions in His kingdom, Jesus clearly stated that the great ones are those who serve, and that He came to serve and give His life as a ransom for many, not be served and assume a position of taking advantage of others (Matthew 20). Whether it is a kind word or help with a physical need, we were created with the need to love others. Jesus encouraged us to understand the essence of His cultural values and spiritual truths, as we will never really Live without this. His Life flourishes when His love flows into us and through us: “Love the LORD your GOD with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself.” We hope to serve, as Jesus did.We want to see our children choose to serve as they discover together with us the joy of serving.We invite people to come and serve among us. This is available in a variety of forms. Check out JOIN US for more information.