MSC News Archives

11

What God’s Been Doing: My Shepherd

“The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul” (Psalm 23:1-3a, ESV).

When David said, “The LORD is my shepherd,” he knew something about the word picture he was using.

The first time we ever meet David, he is introduced as the youngest, all-but-forgotten son-out doing the chore none of his seven older brothers wanted to do. “Then Samuel said to Jesse, ‘Are all your sons here?’ And he said, ‘There remains yet the youngest, but behold, he is keeping the sheep'” (1 Samuel 16:11a).

When David volunteered to face off with Goliath, he claimed his work as a shepherd-warding off lions and bears from the flock-had prepared him for the fight (1 Samuel 17:34-37).

Because he knew shepherding and he knew the Lord, David found it easy to put the two together-as if to say, “The way the Lord treats me is as a shepherd would treat me.”

Our inexperience as shepherds begs this question of David, “How is the Lord like a shepherd?”

First-like a shepherd, God leads us. We need to be led, don’t we? A good shepherd leads the sheep from out in front of them, not from behind. There isn’t a place where the lambs put their feet that the shepherd hasn’t already walked. There isn’t a valley the sheep go through that the shepherd hasn’t gone through first.

There is no terrain on the horizon of your life that the Shepherd hasn’t already surveyed and approved-including the rocky ground, the most difficult times. If God doesn’t want to allow it, He will lead you on a different path, and you will not experience that hard time. But when you do-and the Bible clearly tells us, “in the world you will have tribulation” (John 16:33)-don’t ever forget that the Shepherd leads you through that ground. God will use it for your good and bring you through it to the place He has planned.

Second-like a shepherd, He protects us. Sheep are so vulnerable-to disease, to weather, to predators, and to thieves that come to steal them. In the same way, the enemy of our souls would terrorize us, harm us, steal our focus, and tempt us to chart our own course, but our Shepherd protects us. It’s just as Jesus says in John 10:9-10: “I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” Your Shepherd protects you and wants what’s best for you.

Third-like a shepherd, He feeds us. For sheep, it’s green pastures and still waters. For us, our Shepherd provides both physical food and spiritual nourishment. Devotionals and sermons are a sampling of God’s feeding, and we can feast every day on God’s Word: “Your words were found, and I ate them, and your words became to me a joy and the delight of my heart” (Jeremiah 15:16).

How desperately we need the Shepherd’s care! With David, we can confidently say, “The LORD is my shepherd,” trusting that He will lead, protect, and feed us today.
Journal

  • In your own words, how have you experienced the Lord to be your Shepherd?
  • Which need do you feel most keenly today-the need to be led, protected, or fed?

Pray

Father, I praise You for the many ways You show Yourself to be my Shepherd. Thank You that in Your leading, protecting, and feeding, You have never failed. Your faithfulness has never faltered. There hasn’t been, nor will there ever be, a circumstance or danger You can’t handle. I rest my life in Your good care and I pray this with thanksgiving. In Jesus’ name, amen.

— James MacDonald

For more from James MacDonald and the “Walk in the Word” Bible teaching ministry, visit WalkInTheWord.com.

 

23

Monthly Motivation: January 2019

During last month’s incredible toy giveaway there were countless stories of ‘motivation.’ However, one stuck out because it included serving someone else’s needs. Last month – HCC’s local postal worker dropped in and asked if she could pick out three bags of toys for two little boys and one little girl who belonged to a family on her daily mail route. She’s gotten to know this family well over the years while delivering their mail and also knew their pride would stop them from ever asking for help during the holidays. The postal worker knew of their recent financial struggles and wanted to surprise them with some Christmas toys from “Santa.” We’re so glad that our postal worker reached out and that a few of our toys made a surprise Christmas appearance!

Noah Davis
22

HCC Welcomes Noah To The Team!

Please help us welcome Noah Davis to the HCC Team. Noah will assist with maintaining food and hygiene product at HCC locations. Noah, recently married to his wife, Emily, is a sophomore at Grand Canyon University, majoring in Biblical Studies. Noah told us, “I am excited to join the HCC team because I’m joining a team that cares about each person they serve. It’s amazing to see how the HCC is used to bless so many families.”

Welcome to the HCC Team, Noah!

Noah Davis
4

It’s The New Year, Did You Forget To Make Your 2018 Arizona Charitable Tax-Credit Gift?

Happy New Year from all of us at MSC, Inc. / Harvest Compassion Centers! Most of us concluded December with some year-end giving, and a portion of that usually included making an Arizona Charitable Tax-Credit gift. But don’t worry if you didn’t get that gift submitted before the end of 2018, Arizona law allows you to still make your tax-credit gift up until April of 2019 for the previous tax year. That’s right! You can figure out your state tax liability this month and donate what you owe the state to HCC instead. Then submit your HCC giving receipt to your CPA and ask for your dollar-for-dollar credit. Be sure to include HCC’s state code: 20157. If you live outside of Arizona, let’s hope your state follows Arizona’s lead soon! Millions are donated each year through the Charitable Tax-Credit Program and allows thousands of nonprofits just like HCC to continue our outreach work!

Thank you to all who have made their tax-credit gifts to HCC for 2018 – We are seeking 300 more gifts to help us multiply each gift by winning this year’s IMPACT AZ $50,000 Grant! Each and every gift (no matter the size) helps us take one step closer! Please share this news with a friend today!

Still not sure how the Charitable Tax-Credit Plan works, watch this short video below, then follow this link to:

donate online today!

10

What A Difference A Year Makes! HCC Maryvale Update

Last January our newsletter featured an update about Harvest Compassion Center Maryvale ‘coming soon!’ Now 11 months after opening HCC Maryvale has found its stride! Paul Thompson, HCC Maryvale’s Director of Operations, reports that they have recently seen an explosion of activity at this newest location. “We anticipated the first few months being slow, as word of mouth and social media helped us spread the word that HCC Maryvale was open and ready to serve. However, it took the community a little longer to trust that our mission was real, that all we want to do is help and love the Maryvale community,” commented Paul.

The wait is over! Maryvale’s two weekday shifts have officially taken off, with 60 families being the busiest shift to date. “Let’s just say word is officially out! The neighborhood trusts us, local police are passing out our flyers on calls, foster families know we are here to help, and friends are letting friends know where to go when in need. It’s never a quiet day at Maryvale, God has poured His blessing over our space and we now get to serve others in His name,” said Paul.

All of us at MSC, Inc. would like to thank Paul and the volunteers who have helped launch HCC Maryvale this past year. It has been a learning curve for our leadership team as we dove into a new community and new demographics who were experiencing new needs. To date HCC Maryvale has served over 1,600 families. 60% of those who visit HCC Maryvale each week continue to be brand new guests.

“We are extremely excited about HCC Maryvale’s progress in serving the local community. HCC’s overall vision is to open new centers in underserved zip codes, while continuing to offer our clients a first-class shopping experience making HCC a place that they actually want to revisit, if they have a need. We’ve learned a lot while launching and watching Maryvale progress, and have taken strong notes for future centers,” commented Nicolee Thompson, Executive Director.

Want to make a difference in a life today? HCC Maryvale needs you! Volunteers are needed weekly on Tuesday and Friday mornings 8:30am to noon.

To find out more information about HCC Maryvale and how to volunteer, click the link below:

4

HCC’s Christmas Toy Extravaganza!

Four years ago, HCC Phoenix set out to spread a little extra Christmas cheer during the month of December. Many HCC clients came in asking for Christmas toys, but always had to say no. HCC leaders decided it was time to start saying, “yes” and meet this need in their local community. Our little toy drive started out by giving away almost 400 toys its first year, then grew to almost 1,000 toys the second year, and then exploded last year, with lots of local community involvement giving way over 3,400 toys.

HCC leaders knew they had to aim high for this year’s collection because we had grown to two centers. HCC leaders and advisory team members prayed and set a goal of collecting 6,000 toys in December. Our prayer was not only answered- but exceeded as HCC Phoenix and Maryvale collected and distributed over 13,400 toys!

“We can’t believe the outpouring of local community support and those who want to truly bless another family at Christmas time!” said one HCC Advisory Team member.

A HCC volunteer commented, “One of my favorite Christmas moments last month, while passing out toys at HCC Phoenix, was when a previously homeless, single dad of two little boys was able to find a ride to pick out bags of toys for his two sons. The family had been homeless for most of the year, and had recently secured housing thanks to another nonprofit’s help, unfortunately the single dad found himself unable to buy any toys for his boys for Christmas. He called HCC Phoenix on December 21 frantic and almost begging for help. We were able to say ‘YES, we can help you!’ The very next day, on December 22 (our last day of toy distribution) three more huge loads of toys were donated and dropped off. This single dad waited in line patiently and couldn’t stop thanking us after he had hand picked some toys for his sons.”

Another HCC volunteer commented, “My favorite moment was when a 11-year-old girl turned around and said thank you to me for the toys, then smiled real big and said, “This is the first year EVER that we are doing Christmas!”

HCC sends out a HUGE THANK YOU to all local community partners who collected one, two, or more HCC toy bins during the Holiday season. Your incredible dedication to serve others allowed the many smiling faces below to experience some extra Christmas joy! Thank you for impacting each and every smile!

11

A Preview of God’s Plan

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:11-13, ESV).

God has a plan for your life. He has some objectives for you. Even knowing those truths, it’s still easy to get stuck in the bottomless vortex of questions: Who am I supposed to marry? Where am I going to live? What am I going to do for work? It’s time to set aside the questions and get back to what God has said.

His plans for you are not so much about those specifics as they are about developing your character. Everything else will sort itself out.

God always has plans for the welfare and future of those who are His. He always has plans to give His children hope. Even in the midst of sobering seasons of discipline, God pours out His heart for His people, pointing them (and us) toward relationship. The circumstances He allows are designed to cause us to call upon Him. We’re always able to call, seek, and find Him because He wants us to call, seek, and find Him!

When God says, “I know the plans I have for you,” His words are a great comfort. But wouldn’t you love to get a look at those plans? The tension isn’t, “Does God know?” The tension is, “I want to know!” Although God understands our questions, He doesn’t owe us any answers. It’s as if He says, “I know, but I’m not going to fill you in . . . yet.”

He does give us hints, however. God provides us with some general categories that describe His purposes. First, they are plans for your welfare. The Hebrew word is shalom, meaning “the complete state of well-being; fulfillment; prosperity; peace.” As God looks down the telescope of time, His plans are for your total well-being.

Second, His designs for you are not for evil. People who are determined to prove they can live contrary to God’s program will pay a price for their experiment. God’s plans take us away from evil; ours tend to take us smack into the middle of it.

Third, God’s plans are designed to give you a future and a hope, both immediately and eternally. The biblical definition of hope is a confident expectation of something better tomorrow. When your hope is in God, He’ll always deliver. It doesn’t matter what has happened, better things are coming. That’s hope! You can be confident He has good plans for you.

Journal

  • What have you learned about God’s good plans for you?
  • Why doesn’t God reveal all His plans for us now? How does the not-knowing grow our faith?

Pray

Father, thank You that You have good plans for me. How ever I may feel and whatever I may face today, I can anticipate that You are working for good in all of it. So I call to You, come to You, and pray to You, believing that You hear me. I seek You, believing You will allow Yourself to be found by me. I know I can’t imagine all the good You have planned for my life, but I trust Your Word, so I thank You in faith. In the unfailing name of Jesus I pray, amen.

— James MacDonald

For more from James MacDonald and the “Walk in the Word” Bible teaching ministry, visit WalkInTheWord.com.

 

23

Monthly Motivation: Turkey Blessings

Last month a friend called the HCC and asked if she could donate a few frozen turkeys and other Thanksgiving specific food items. Of course, the HCC welcomed these food donations and asked the friend to drop them off at HCC Phoenix the Saturday before Thanksgiving so they could be handed out to families that day. Little did we, the HCC staff, know that over 60 frozen turkeys would be delivered, along with an additional 500 pounds of nonperishables! Each family who visited and shopped at the HCC Phoenix that afternoon sure were BLESSED!

22

Welcome to the HCC Team!

All of us HCC would like to welcome Katie Martino as our newest team member. Katie will assisting in many areas within Harvest Compassion Centers such as, leading our social media efforts, helping with HCC shifts and various administrative duties. Katie, born and raised in Phoenix, has just been accepted at University of Denver as she seeks her master’s in social work.

Welcome to the HCC team Katie, we’re blessed to have you!

22

HCC Volunteer Spotlight: Kathleen Trapp

This December, HCC would like to shine the spotlight on an amazing HCC volunteer, Kathleen Trapp, whose own parents taught her how to serve at a young age. Today Kathleen continues to live out the same lessons she learned long ago. As Kathleen and her husband aim to teach their own teenage boys the same lessons in serving others, the HCC has played a key role. Kathleen began volunteering at the HCC over four years ago with her son, Max, as they were looking for service opportunities that allowed kids to volunteer. HCC welcomed Kathleen and Max with open arms and they immediately began volunteering on Saturdays. “I love this time with my son and learning about the needs of others right in our community,” commented Kathleen.

Kathleen and her entire family are now involved with HCC in numerous ways- from volunteering during HCC shifts, to helping with local bread pick-ups, joining our Advisory Board, helping with HCC’s backpack/school supply and Christmas toy drives and setting up community volunteer projects with Trapp Technology and the Paradise Valley High School varsity football team.

When we asked Kathleen what her favorite thing is about volunteering at the HCC she replied, “My favorite thing about serving at the HCC is definitely the people. Working side by side with HCC guests, volunteers and staff. It is a great feeling to work with a team that have the same desire, to serve others and show each person served they have value and they are loved. My favorite experience was scheduling the PVHS varsity football players and coaches to stock and get ready for the upcoming Saturday shift. Watching my son, Max, and his team work hard and have so much fun while selflessly giving their time really touched me. It’s exciting to be a part of HCC and I love that they welcome the youth of our community to serve and learn the needs right here in our neighborhood.”

As the HCC’s continue to expand there are also expanding needs. Kathleen constantly encourages others to use one’s gifts and talents at the HCC! Take a step of faith and give it a try. Serving others in your community and seeing the difference that is made in others’ lives is very powerful. It is not only rewarding, but also helps us see the bigger picture of God at work in all our lives.

Kathleen added, “God has blessed us to be a blessing and I am so grateful that HCC is a place where our family can serve. Funny thing is, when I volunteer for the HCC, I feel like I am the one blessed so much more by the other volunteers, community members and clients served!”

Thank you to Kathleen and the entire Trapp family for being a strong example of a family who serves and loves their community!

If you’re interested in volunteering at HCCs across the Valley, please contact our Volunteer Coordinator Adrie Olson at aolson@msfcares.org.