The Not-So Brady Bunch
Here’s a story of a lovely lady… (finish it for me, friend)
Did you do the dut-dut-dut-dut part too? I always do.
You just can’t beat The Brady Bunch. It is unmatched in its purity, wholesomeness and, of course, utter cheesiness. Architect Mike Brady marries Carol and their families join together as one. Mike had three sons and Carol had three daughters when their families came together; making for one large and interesting union.
The problems they faced were never that tough, and always able to be solved in the allotted twenty-four minute time-slot. The six children all pretty much got along, despite their significant differences. First, was Greg, who was the handsome, athletic, popular oldest boy. He was good at pretty much everything he tried, and well-like by the ladies. Then came Marsha Marsha Marsha! who was the eldest girl. She was gorgeous, popular, fairly dim-witted, but still the envy of all. Next was Peter, who was the goofy but likeable typical middle child. Then, was poor Jan. She was the poster child for “the middle child syndrome” wasn’t she? Not as pretty as Marsha Marsha Marsha! and not as cute as little Cindy. She had her smarts, but that was pretty much it. Poor Jan. The group was rounded off by the two babies; Bobby and Cindy. Even their names were cutesy sounding. They were innocently mischievous, adorable and always easy to forgive. Ethpecially Thindy with her little lithsp; I mean, c’mon.
Despite their quirky differences, these kiddos were all pretty much untied in one goal; Team Brady. And, no this is not foreshadowing for the handsome Tom Brady who would lead his football team to victory decades later. Although, I did accidentally add him to the list earlier. 🙂
These kids, along with their parents did a great job modeling what teamwork was all about. They did their best to encourage each other, build each other up, and offer support to their team. They helped people in need and put each other first. And, yes, while I am clearly aware that this was just a TV show with actors cast in parts, I think the concept is more than noteworthy. It is to be immolated.
A couple months ago my best friend and I were trying to figure out what we wanted to do with our girlfriends for Christmas. We had done a girl’s night out once, and an ornament exchange brunch last year, so we were trying to think differently. It took no time for God to tell me exactly what we should do. Serve others.
I mean, we are celebrating the birth of the Christ-child who came “not to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:28) So, let’s serve those around us with the love of Jesus. I got giddy thinking about it as I was reminded of the last time I had done this. It was the best day ever.
So, after some brainstorming together, we came up with a list of girls who could all fit in one car, that we knew would have a heart to do this same thing with us. I sent out the email shortly after I completed the facebook page I’d been putting off for a while. This One Thing Project is all about this servant’s attitude. So, I knew God was working out all of these things for His glory.
I titled the email “The Blessing Bunch” – perfect. After all, our lives should be all about radiating that song. “Here’s a story of a man named Jesus who is bringing out Himself in you and I. (dut dut dut dut dut) He was one man, and died our Savior; we’ll never be alone. (dut dut dut dut)
We set a date and joyfully anticipated all He had in store for us. Friend, we had no idea.
I mean, we knew God would use us to bless people with His joy. But, we didn’t know He would show off and give us such a blessing too. That’s just like Him, isn’t it? He takes something good and makes it even better.
He is waiting to do that in you, too, friend. Do you serve others? I am aware that if you are a wife and/or mother, then the answer is an emphatic “Yes!” In fact, the more children you have, the more emphatically you screeched said “YES!!!” But, I’m talking about outside of your home. You may volunteer at church at Christmas (I hope you do!) or work the soup kitchen once a year. Maybe you make regular donations to a local storehouse or give money to the mission field. If that is you, then way to go! Pat yourself on the back…briefly.
I do think those things are all fantastic, I really do! They’re fantastic, but they’re also a bit ‘comfortable’. Jesus got out there. He didn’t stay in the middle-class part of town and heal people when they showed up at His door. He didn’t donate his sandals after His feet were washed, because they were dirty. He got out there and blessed people. He met them where they were.
My wonderful pastor often talks about how God meets us where we are too. So often we think we have to “change” and “get right” before coming to church or praying to God. That is a joke. He hears your every thought. Yep, even that one. You can’t fool Him or hide from Him or ever be good enough to approach Him. But, that’s not the point. As Pastor Bill says “God doesn’t expect you to change and then come to Him. He just wants you to come to Him and He will make the change. He will change your “want to”.
And this one always gets me when He says it from stage, because I know it is so true. To quote Pastor Bill again, “The good news is, you can have all of God that you want. The bad news is, you have about all of God that you want.”
Friend, do you feel distant from God? I’m here to tell you from personal experience, that if you do, it is because you have stepped away. This reminds me of a story I heard of an elderly couple driving along the road in their very late model car. The husband always drove and the wife rode with him on the bench seat. On this particular day, the wife observed the couples in the other cars, and she noticed that in many of them with couples in the front seat, the woman sat really close to the man as he drove. Somberly, she asked her husband, “Why is it that we don’t sit that close anymore?” He answered simply, “It wasn’t me who moved.” If you feel He is distant, it is because you have stepped away, not because He has. But, the great news is, no matter how many steps you’ve taken away, it only takes one step in repentance, just one step back to Him. He is waiting.
Maybe you don’t feel blessed? Friend, you can stop and check what you are doing about that. Are you reading your Bible? Not the obligatory five-minute devotional just to check off your list. I mean, really reading it? Studying it? Soaking it in? Do you go to church regularly and actually listen to the sermon? Do you serve in church? Do you tithe? Yes, I went there. Do you trust God with HIS money and give at least 10% back to Him. He said himself in Malachi 3:10 about giving your full tithe, “Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it. “
Wow. Not enough room. Cool.
So, if you answered ‘No’ to any or all of these questions, then let’s stop and redirect. In my humble opinion, aside from reading the Bible and singing praise music, there are few things in this life that can make you feel closer to Jesus than acting like Jesus. Doing what He did.
Get out there and love on people. It doesn’t take a ton of money or a ton of time, but if you give both, I know you will be blessed. The word blessed doesn’t mean ‘healthy, wealthy, and wise’, trust me. I am blessed. But, I am not healthy, wealthy or wise. I guess if I had to pick, I’d say I’m closer to wise than the other two; but that is like saying after dumping three cups of water, that I’m ‘closer’ to filling up the ocean.
So, take a few minutes and get rid of the excuses running around in your head. I don’t have time. I don’t have enough money. I’m too shy. I don’t know what to do. Get out there and actually do something for others. And, do it in the name of Jesus. Grab some friends and make a day of it. Be creative. Be thoughtful. Be genuine. Be useful. But, more importantly; be used.
Steal our name or come up with one of your own. Just go do this one thing. Our group is not exclusive. It is open to everyone in our area. We are planning another date in January. If you live in our area and want to come, by all means, contact me. You are more than welcome. If you can’t make it that date, then plan another one with your own friends. Or your spouse. Or your kids! Or just with yourself. That’s right, do it alone. Someone famous who I can’t remember right now said “The world has yet to see what God can do with just one heart completely sold out to Him.”
One of my best friends from college joined This One Thing Project on facebook and wrote this the other day – “Hey friend! The other night we went out to eat and decided to leave a generous tip but the girl seemed young (we were thinking high school) and we hesitated. Turned out after talking to her she was a single mom who works two jobs and is working on getting her degree. She also travels thirty minutes one way for work and school! I can’t believe we almost missed out on that blessing! This has been fun, thanks for the challenge!”
So many people think you can’t be a missionary unless you leave your home and move across the world. Missionary is defined as “a person sent by a church into an area to carry on evangelism or other activities,” And while I have GREAT respect for people (like my bestest friend in Mexico) who do that, I don’t think that is the only way. God calls some people to move somewhere else. But, He calls all of us to do something, somewhere. Acts 1:8 “…and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” For me, this is like Jesus saying I will be His witness in Keller, Tarrant County, Texas, and beyond.
It doesn’t matter how you do it. Just do it. (I couldn’t use that slogan though. I think it was already taken or something! :))
Friend, this past Saturday morning, my friends and I started out as six individual women. But, then we went out in our community and did all of the things listed below. We each gave up one Saturday morning. We each gave some money. We each brought all of our differences together with a heart to share His love for the goal of Team Jesus. And, friend, with His sovereign leading, that’s all it took.
“That’s the waaaay we becaaaame the Blessing Bunch.” (dut dut dut dut) 🙂 (see pics below)
For the record, we wanted to be VERY clear that people didn’t think we were doing this because we were awesome people or because we were in the “holiday” spirit. We wanted it to be clear why we were doing this and Who we were serving. So, we handed out a piece of paper with the following words on it – (actually we handed out over 150 of them!)
The Blessing Bunch
Here’s a story of a man named Jesus…
Hi friend! We just wanted to tell you that we are not great people. We are not doing this because we are nice. We are doing this because we love Jesus and we want you to know HE LOVES YOU! We hope we brightened your day today!
Questions or prayer? Call The Met Church at 817-379-4638 or www.metchurch.com
And on the back of that paper we had these verses –
Philippians 4:19 “My God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus.”
Romans 15:13 “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace , as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope, by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
Psalm 46:1 “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.”
Luke 1:37 “For nothing is impossible with God.”
Jeremiah 29:13 “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”
Jeremiah 31:25 “I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint.”
My fellow Blessing Bunch friends have shared pictures and their own words as to what this day mean to them. Enjoy! 🙂 (For the record, I am still unable to sit upright much, so I wasn’t able to get out of the car and go do to blessing, which is why I’m not in any pictures. My job was to lie flat in the van and pray for the people we would meet! I was honored.)
We got 16 McDonald’s hot chocolates and passed them out to construction workers, bell ringers, Kwik Car workers, people walking a long way in the cold to their car in the parking lot.
Dawn – “One of the greatest moments was handing out hot chocolate to a woman in the Walmart parking lot. Honestly, she didn’t look very happy, so we thought some hot chocolate would bless her. I think she was surprised by it and said “Why are you doing this?” to which we answered “Because we love Jesus!”. And just then, her face lit up like a Christmas tree, and she said “I do too!” I think she, like I often do, just needed a little reminder of His love.”
We taped quarters to kiddy-ride as a surprise for a kid to happily find.
Shelley – “What an amazing time! I think the thing that was the coolest to me was the excitement of thinking about how God will impact people through this. As we were carrying out these acts of kindness, I was distracted by the ‘task’ (yes, I’m type A), but later I got so excited looking back on the day and people and what God had in store. I think my favorite blessings were those that we didn’t see who received them. The things we hid, or placed on cars or homes. It is exciting to think of who may have been the recipient and how it impacted them! So cool!”
We bought 12 happy face balloons and handed them to kids coming out of Walmart.
Roberta – “I feel so incredible humble that God chooses to us His kids to show His love in this world. And me in particular, when I continue to fall short of His expectations. He allows me to share His blessings and, by doing so, I am blessed too! We serve such a great God!”
We placed 25 hand-written notes of joy to people’s windshields in the Walmart parking lot.
We taped coupons for diapers and baby items near those items in Target.
We taped packages of popcorn to DVD section of Target.
We gave two ladies who looked deserving, each a Target gift card
We found these precious bags at the Dollar Tree and filled 10 of them with personal care items and coloring books for kids, put on doorsteps of mobile home community.
We hid dollars in the toy section and also the personal care section of Dollar Tree for people to find.
We delivered flowers to nursing home and asked the lady at front desk to deliver them to whoever doesn’t get visited much. (We would have delivered the ourselves but we had to get home! But, our disappointment of not being able to hand deliver them led to our next project next month.)
After all of this, we went back to Shelley’s house for some yummy lunch and hilarious fellowship! 🙂
Rebecca – “I am so blessed to have gotten to take a part in this. I can’t think of a better girl time!”
Alrighty, friend. It’s your turn! Get out there! Tag – you’re it! 🙂
John 8:31 “To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples.”
1 Corinthians 13:1-3 “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.”