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Be more than a just a gift giver….

December 2, 2007

Last night I was looking around online and considering donating a gift to others who are in high need for this holiday season. I came across some stories that made me think. Just one or two people started each of these organizations or movements. What could you do this holiday season to make a real difference? It doesn’t have to be starting an organization, but just look what one person could do! Be intentional this holiday and make a plan to be more than a gift giver, be a blessing to someone else.

  • – Build a wall of one million witness accounts of God’s love , raise money to provide water, food, shelter and medicine for those in need all over the world = changing the world one story at a time.
  • –One man, Scott, founded this organization in August 2006 to bring drinking water to Africa. In the first 5 months he raised $550,000, enough to fund 71 new and rehabilitated wells. Since charity: was founded they have funded the development of 200+ wells in 6 African nations through the work of exemplary humanitarian organizations like Living Water International, Concern Worldwide US, Healing Hands International, and Water For People. When completed, these wells will serve 100,000 people with clean, safe water.
  • I Am Powerful Campaign – Businesswoman, philanthropist and CARE Ambassador Sheila C. Johnson has made a $4 million gift to CARE to issue a singular challenge to individuals and businesses in the United States: Join a global movement to empower women in the fight against poverty. Sheila’s I Am Powerful Challenge, launched in June 2007, will match gifts to CARE dollar for dollar, engaging Americans to connect with women in poor countries and help them break down the barriers of poverty and inequity that have held them back for so long.
  • Advent Conspiracy – In 2006, five churches from across the United States banded together to restore the scandal of Christmas by substituting compassion for consumption. Last year the five participating churches collected just under half of a million dollars. This year, excitement is building; more than 1,000 churches and organizations have already joined the conspiracy for Christmas 2007. Participating groups will take an offering just before Christmas, made up of money that was saved through relational giving and resisting over-consumption. With these funds, each church or organization will find ways to love desperate people with the love of God–both in their communities and around the world. They called their movement “Advent Conspiracy”, and challenged their members to…
    • Worship more: We shouldn’t compete with the consumer impulses of our culture, but instead align ourselves with Christ, worshipping him in a holistic way.
    • Spend less: We need to learn that part of saying “yes” to Jesus means that we say “no” to over-spending. We say “no” to over-consumption. We say “no” to these things so we can create space to say “yes” to Jesus and his reign in our lives.
    • Give more: We have to think in a new way about what it means to give ourselves to others. We can be transformed by the story of Advent, knowing that we give relationally because God gave relationally.
    • Love all: It was in the Advent that Jesus entered our poverty so we would no longer be poor. The money we save by giving relationally and rejecting consumerism can change the lives of people in our communities and our world.
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