Aliens and Strangers

Rosa Louise McCauley Parks. You’ve all heard of her and probably know her story well. She is this week’s REACH woman of courage.

On December 1, 1955, Rosa Parks did something that was unheard of for her time. Let me recap: under certain laws, black and white people were segregated in virtually every aspect of daily life in the South, including public transportation. Bus and train companies did not provide separate vehicles for the different races but did enforce seating policies that allocated separate sections for blacks and whites. School bus transportation was unavailable in any form for black children in the South. Parks recalled going to elementary school in Pine Level where school buses took white students to their new school and black students had to walk: “I’d see the bus pass every day… But to me, that was a way of life; we had no choice but to accept what was the custom. The bus was among the first ways I realized there was a black world and a white world.”

One day as Rosa was riding the bus and it became full, she was told by the driver to give up her seat to a white passenger. She refused. Can you imagine what it would have been like to be on that bus? Can you imagine the thoughts racing through her mind at that moment as she decided to stand up for what was right, to go against the custom? I’m sure fear and worry were assaulting her thoughts as she tried to do right on that cold December day. She knew there would be consequences for her actions. Thankfully, she was not beaten because of what she chose to do, but she was arrested and fined for violating a city ordinance.

That day Rosa decided she did have a choice to go against what was custom. That is what sticks out to me about her life. It makes me reflect on my own life and how often I go with the customs of our culture and society instead of standing up for what is right, or what I feel the Spirit leading me to do in a certain moment. In the same way that Rosa went against what was custom, as God’s children we are also called to live differently (be aliens and strangers) than the world does. Hebrews 11 is also known as the “hall of faith,” listing all sorts of individuals who did incredible things for God. This is how scripture describes them:

“All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. 14People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. 15If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. 16Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.”

Peter also challenges us to live differently and to go against the customs of this world for God’s glory. He is quoted as saying,

“Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul.
12Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.” 1 Peter 2

How is God calling you to be different than the world around you at this very moment? If you haven’t thought about it much, take some time to take your heart before the Lord and ask him how you can stand out for his glory. Maybe there is a person in class that continually sits by themselves because they are a little different…could God be asking you to be their friend? Maybe you get caught up in conversations where gossip is a prevalent part of things…could God be asking you to challenge those people to think about their words? Each of us is living a very unique life before God, but He is wanting to use you exactly where you are at. Are you willing to go against the norm, taking steps of faith, and expecting God to show up and do something? I hope you do.

– Amy Englund

Fall Craft Fair and Bake Sale

[nlcf] is hosting a Fall Craft Fair & Bake Sale to raise money and awareness for various missions opportunities throughout the world!
Mark your calendar for Oct 23rd. The Fair will be held from 8:00a – 2:00p in 130 Jackson. It is never too early to start checking gifts off your Christmas list!!
Crafters are still needed. If you are interested in selling a craft, please contact Jeanette.

Home Groups Together

This Wednesday, Sept. 29th, all the Wednesday night home groups will be meeting together. Some exciting things are happening around [nlcf], and we’ll be coming together to talk about what God is doing, learn from each other, and grow with each other. If you aren’t in a home group yet, this will also be a great time for you to get to know people in the different home groups! We’ll be meeting at 7.30p in 130 Jackson.

The Woman with the Alabaster Jar

This week’s woman of courage is the woman with the alabaster jar from Matthew 26:6-10.

While Jesus was in Bethany in the home of a man known as Simon the Leper, a woman came to him with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, which she poured on his head as he was reclining at the table.

When the disciples saw this, they were indignant, “Why this waste?” they asked. “This perfume could have been sold at a high price and the money given to the poor.”

Aware of this, Jesus said to them, “Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing to me.”

At first glance, not much is known about this woman. We know that she was in Bethany the same time Jesus was in the house of Simon the Leper. Scholars debate who this woman’s identity. Many link her to Mary (Martha’s sister), though she is not names here.

But I don’t think we were meant to get caught up in who this woman is. Perhaps her name was left out to emphasize that it is not a matter of who she is, rather what she does.

This woman has something that is very valuable – an alabaster jar filled with expensive perfume. The fact that the disciples comment that this could have been sold at a “high price” shows that it was not only valuable to the woman herself, but could have really helped those around her. Because women in Jesus’ time had little to their name, let alone possessions of great value, I think it’s safe to assume this could have been most or all she had worth any value.

And yet, we watch what she does:  she poured [the expensive perfume] on his head.

Jesus explains that she is preparing Him for burial, but she didn’t know that!  His disciples, those Jesus lived His life with, didn’t even know it.  What I see is this: a woman taking all she has, offering it willingly, and sacrificing it in front of the disciples who criticize her for this, to demonstrate her reverence, honor, and love for her Lord.  She gave it all for Him.

We look at her this week to be encouraged to think of what we are giving to our Lord.  She gave everything and Jesus says, “I tell you the truth, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her” (vs. 13). It took courage for this woman to offer everything she had – what would she have to fall back on? Did that really matter to her, or was it more important to her that she honor her King?

Are we willingly offering all we have? Do we trust that God honors our sacrifices when we are willing to give Him what is most important?

I looked at her story and thought, “I want to courageously give to God whatever has been given to me.  Because I know He’s got my back – and He knows what’s ahead.  And in all things, God works for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8.28). Am I willing?”

– Kristal Newer

Worship at the Lyric Next Sunday

Next Sunday, Sept 26th, we will have the 11:00a service in the Lyric Theater downtown. From the steps of Squires, walk down College Ave. towards the downtown area and Main St. The Lyric Theater will be on your right (after Gillies).

Abigail – A Woman of Courage

Reach, the women’s ministry at [nlcf] will be talking about women of courage throughout the semester. Our woman of courage for the week is Abigail from 1 Samuel 25.

Abigail was married to Nabal. Nabal means fool and he did a good job of living up to his name. Abigail found herself stuck in a marriage that she did not choose and did not want to be in. I don’t know how long this good woman had to live with a man that was constantly embarrassing her with his rudeness and drunkenness, but I imagine that it felt like eternity at times. I’m sure she wanted to run at times. I’m sure she laid there at night thinking, “why did my parents think this was a good idea?” She probably called out to God, “Why, Why, Why?” But we see even in the midst of a dreaded life, she didn’t run. She stood loyal and firm.

It takes courage to keep going when things around you seem hopeless or like they are falling apart. It takes courage to not give up and throw in the towel when so many others around are doing just that or when they are encouraging you to do so.

Psalm 27:14 Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.


Sometimes the bravest thing we can do is wait patiently.

David and his 600 men were in the hills of Carmel. Nabal’s servants/shepherds were in the same area. David and his men were like a protective wall for Nabal’s servants and sheep (3000 sheep, 1000 goats – verse 7). They never harmed them or took anything from them. So when David heard that it was sheep shearing time (a time of feasting and hospitality) and he and his men were low on supplies, he sent 10 of his men to ask Nabal for some supplies.

Nabal’s response was rude and extremely inhospitable (verse 10). Now David was not only hungry, he became angry too. So, one of Nabal’s servants went to Abigail. “You’d better think fast, for there is going to be trouble for our master and his whole family. He is so ill-tempered that no one can even talk to him!” (vs. 17)

The “fast thought” in most modern day women’s minds would be, “now is my chance, I’m getting the heck out of here. I will never have to deal with him again!”

That is not what she thought. Her fast thinking went far beyond saving herself (you can often tell a persons character by their fast thinking and even more so by their fast reactions). She was so loyal to her God and to her household that her fast thinking enabled her to gather a lot of food to feed an army of angry and hungry men.

Deut: 6:31 Be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid of them! The Lord you God will go ahead of you. HE will neither fail you nor forsake you.

Josh 1:9 I command you- be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you Wherever you go.

What I love about this story is that we see two different types of courage in one beautiful woman. First we see the courage to stand strong, to anchor down, to not give up when all you want to do is run away. And then we see the courage to move quickly and face a potential enemy with wisdom. In time, she moved from enemy to friend, and from friend to the wife of David.

– Kati Williams

New Time for Prayer

Our corporate prayer time has been moved from Monday evenings to Thursdays at noon at 130 Jackson in the back room. Come on out to pray for each other, Virginia Tech, and our community.

Go Deeper

The next [nlcf] Deeper is coming up Monday, Sept 20th at 7p in 130 Jackson. Join us for an extended time of worship, prayer, teaching, and application as we talk about living missionally (living with God’s mission before us) by inviting others to follow Jesus.

Stop Hunger Now Event at VT

Come volunteer Saturday, October 2 at the Stop Hunger Now: Fall Day of Service. The meals YOU package will be sent directly to Haiti with enough food to feed a million people. As always, it’s a football weekend, but don’t worry! While we work, we’ll watch the Hokies take it to N.C. State on a 20- foot projection screen inside the Commonwealth Ballroom in Squires. Sign up below for the shift or shifts of your choice. The event runs all day, with the first shift starting at 10 a.m.

Shifts available: 10AM – 12PM, 1PM – 3PM or 3PM – 5PM.

Watch a video about the Stop Hunger Now efforts in Haiti.

More information about Stop Hunger Now.

Register now!

Global Justice Organizations

Directory of global justice organizations that [nlcf]ers have been involved with:

At Ten Thousand Homes, we feel that a HOME is so much more than four walls and a roof; it is a place to belong. By building care centers in Africa, we are creating a HOME away from home for orphaned children: a safe and nurturing place for these children to receive food, education, play therapy, adult role models, and love. We also teach important life and income-generating skills. In addition, we build actual homes for those orphaned by HIV/AIDS, malaria, and violence in Sub-Saharan Africa. Our ultimate goal is to provide “hope and homes to 10,000 orphans by 2010.”

Hoops of Hope is a volunteer run non-profit organization started in 2004 by 10 year-old Austin Gutwein to help AIDS orphans. Since then, with the help of World Vision, he has recruited other kids and adults to join him in his cause. By simply shooting baskets, they have raised millions of dollars to help AIDS orphans in Africa. The money raised by Hoops of Hope has been used to support more than 100 orphaned children, build a high school for 1,000 students in Zambia, build a medical lab and counseling center, and provide 1,000 remote medical care kits and bicycles.

Project H Design is a charitable organization that supports, inspires, and delivers life-improving humanitarian product design solutions. We champion industrial design as a tool to address social issues, a vehicle for global life improvement, and a catalyst for individual and community empowerment. Virginia Tech Chapter design projects will be focused mostly towards the rural Southwest Virginia region.

Least of These International (LOTI) is demonstrating the love of God by meeting the basic needs of small rural communities in developing countries through the use of appropriate and sustainable technologies. We focus on the key areas of energy, food, water, health, and sanitation as we serve the “least of these” (Matthew 25:40), following Jesus’ model of holistic ministry, the whole gospel for the whole man.

Christian Veterinary Mission (CVM) is a professional sending agency. For more than 30 years, CVM has encouraged and sent veterinary professionals, technicians, and students throughout the world serving with churches, mission agencies and development organizations. CVM provides an excellent opportunity for those with a call to missions to use their veterinary skills and Christian commitment to serve others and share the Gospel. CVM needs volunteers for a variety of roles: short-term missions, state representatives, faculty representatives, speakers, writers, fundraising, and networking.

Empower A Child seeks to bring confidence and self-sustainability to the orphaned and vulnerable children of Uganda by teaching modern skills, giving them the opportunity for education, and enlightening them through the word of God.

Peace Corps works to connect skilled American volunteers with communities in developing countries for 2 years in an effort to increase diplomacy and transfer a needed set of skills to the host country. Peace Corps volunteers work in the following areas: education, youth outreach, and community development; business development; agriculture and environment; health and HIV/AIDS; and information technology.

The Life Project partners with non-profit organizations that work in urban centers and red light districts where sex trafficking takes place. These partners all follow a consistent model of caring for the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of women and children in these areas. One of the major goal of these programs is to provide safe housing, vocational training, and a viable means of self-provision for those wanting to leave prostitution. Through programs established by our partner organizations, women can leave brothels and still deal with their financial obligations without resorting to prostitution. Women are taught skills and given training so that they can make specialized crafts that can be sold in affluent countries. The Life Project buys these crafts directly from the women in a safe house or care program at exceptionally fair rates and then markets and sells the products to retailers. We hope to connect individuals with this simple and powerful way to rescue women and children from the sex trade.

World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families, and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. We serve close to 100 million people in nearly 100 countries around the world. Motivated by our faith in Jesus Christ, we serve alongside the poor and oppressed as a demonstration of God’s unconditional love for all people.

Compassion International exists as a Christian child advocacy ministry that releases children from spiritual, economic, social, and physical poverty and enables them to become responsible, fulfilled Christian adults. Today, Compassion helps more than 1 million children in 25 countries.

Nuru International exists to alleviate human suffering and mobilize developed societies toward social action by attacking poverty through holistic community development. We are committed to restoring hope and meaning to the lives of the poor and oppressed by creating sustainable, measurable solutions that result in significant lasting changes in the most impoverished rural communities.