Monday, July 21, 2014

Pastorgraphs: "A Cup of Cold Water"


E-Vangel Newsletter
July 21, 2014

Christ United Methodist Ministry Center

“Christ in the Heart of San Diego”
3295 Meade Avenue - San Diego, CA 92116 - (619) 284-9205
www.ChristSD.com 
 
Pastorgraphs: "A Cup of Cold Water"
 
I have known Rusty Crumm for at least a decade, probably longer. He was one of the organizers and leaders of The Wall, a 12-step program that met every weekday afternoon at Christ United Methodist for years.
A couple years ago, for a variety of reasons, the group moved to another location, but Rusty and I kept in touch. He is kind to respond to my Pastorgraphs from time to time.

Rusty did so last week in a way that warmed my heart and brought tears to my eyes. I am grateful Rusty gave me permission to share his testimony with you with minor edits.

Hi Pastor Bill, since The Wall moved from CMC (Christ Ministry Center) we've been on life support, as well. We had a business meeting [3 of us] last week and decided since we couldn't be fully self-supporting in paying rent we had to discontinue. In addition to not being able to pay rent, most of our leading members’ schedules changed and we weren't able to keep the doors open. Also, due to health issues I haven't been able to attend meetings regularly too.

However, I was secretary of the Tuesday 4 o'clock meeting and I am committed to keeping that meeting going. Funny thing is that was my first services commitment at the Wall 14 years ago, as Tuesday secretary at CMC. It saved my life along with a bunch of other individuals who struggle with addictions. I can't tell you how many individuals got clean, found God, and their lives are on a whole different path because of The Wall and CMC. Unfortunately, many more weren't able to surrender and they have died or continue to suffer.

Another sad commentary is NA (Narcotics Anonymous) serves the sick and hopeless who have nowhere else to go and for that our image isn't one of hope and change to outsiders. Don't know why I'm sharing this with you besides to share with you God's work isn't always obvious, especially those less fortunate to work with the sick, poor, and discarded. I am a blessed man to see God's work daily in my life and others. Thank you for allowing The Wall to use CMC and I'm sure you took your share of criticism for serving the sick as well. God bless and continue your work at CMC.

Rusty

When I talk about the ministries at CMC, I tend to overlook the 12 step groups. Rusty’s testimony is a reminder that urban ministry must involve caring for both the body and soul of those society “discards”. In many ways, caring for the physical needs is the easier part: providing groceries, clothing, shelter and basic needs. Meeting the spiritual needs is less obvious. Often it happens without fanfare. It may begin with a simple hug, offering acceptance the dispossessed may not have experienced in years. Maybe it happens when we provide a welcome or a place to come and talk with God.

Christ Ministry Center has two components. First, The Ministry Center is where charities, social agencies and The Fount help meet physical needs. Second, The Worship Center, now home to 12 congregations, helps quench the spiritual thirst that is within every person, rich or poor. When Jesus met the woman at the well, she thought all she needed was a physical drink. But Jesus quenched her spiritual thirst.

Our congregations are doing that for over 600 people each week. For example, Pastor Donald Owens of Exodus Church baptized several new Christians last Sunday  during his annual “Church Without Walls” service at Mission Bay (Pacific Ocean). He tells me Exodus has over a dozen new members in just the last couple months! Many of our congregations are experiencing revival and meeting spiritual needs.

But don’t miss something else in Rusty’s testimony. Both Rusty and I have taken our share of criticism from those who fear the poor and the sick. Don’t think that if you become a Mother Teresa you will meet universal acclaim. Quite the contrary, when you start getting your hands dirty in helping the poor and the sick, you will be criticized and vilified. So was Jesus.

Rev. Nathan Nettleton, an Australian Baptist preacher, blesses me with his online sermons and Bible translation (laughingbird.net). He has a powerful paraphrase of Matthew 25:44-46:

They too will ask, ‘Lord, when was it that we failed to take care of you? We don’t recall seeing you hungry or thirsty or seeking refuge or naked or sick or in detention.’
But he will answer, ‘The fact is, you failed to do these things to those who were regarded as the dregs of society, and each time you turned your back on one of them, you were turning your back on me.’
And with that they will be marched off to the place of punishment, never to be released; but those who did the right thing by others will enjoy life without limit.

Rusty and I have agreed to take a breather, and seek God’s leadership in pushing the reset button for his support group. My dear brother, you have an open door and a heartfelt welcome when you are ready to begin anew quenching spiritual thirsts, saving both lives and souls. 

In Christ’s Service,
Bill Jenkins 

From The Quote Garden:
“It saved my life along with a bunch of other individuals who struggle with addictions. I can't tell you how many individuals got clean, found God, and their lives are on a whole different path because of the Wall and Christ Ministry Center (CMC).”
~ Rusty Crumm ~

Photo Credit: Fotolia- royalty paid

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