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Video Updates of Thrift Store Donations - Gathered Yesterday and Delivered Today


I am learning how to create a video report of my life and ministry. There are links to 4 very short videos at the end of this text. There are 4 of them and the lengths are 2 and a half minutes, 1 and a half minutes, 10 seconds, and 8 seconds in that order. They are a chronicle of what I have been doing recently. 

Also, I am learning how to best use my time and talents to express my values. I have an inclination toward depression when the news reports are focused on the many crazy problems all around. So I have learned that I need to invest part of my life to contribute to the solution. That gives me peace of mind. It makes me feel part of something bigger than my tiny corner of the universe. 
My Christian faith informs me that according to the Bible Jesus gave me a New Commandment to love one another. The epistles teach me to love others using my words and deeds. So I am on the lookout for practical ways to love others. I want to make a difference. I seek to make this world a better place. 
What has been working for me is to keep an open box in my residence. When I come on a thing I do not need, want, or use then I put it in that box where I am collecting things to be donated to the thrift store. I am constantly doing that all year long. 
Then a few times during the year I conduct a mini spring cleaning. I cast a critical eye on my closest, cabinets, drawers, and other storage locations. If I have not touched a thing in about a year then it is on probation. If I have not used it in 3 years then the thing needs to justify my keeping it. The exceptions are those things with sentimental value, tools, and reference materials. 
This ongoing policy helps to keep my living space orderly and minimizes clutter.
I hate waste. I do not want to waste my time, money, energy, storage space, thinking, feeling, etc. 
I embrace the fact that according to the Bible I am a steward of my time, talents and things as well as money. 
After my last day in this mortal body, I will give an account to the Lord Jesus Christ for my stewardship. I seek to excel at that evaluation. And in order to do well on that final exam then I must be diligent during my journey from the cradle to the grave. 
Today I went with 2 men and a woman to deliver 43 boxes and many more units to a thrift store in the small town of Ennis named Thrifty Boutique
This filled up 2 pickup trucks, We took up a collection like this last year at the apartments for senior where I live in Ennis. Then we filled 2 pickup trucks too. 
The funds from those sales go to support First Look Clinic that is in Waxahachie.
Those funds make available free ultrasound tests for pregnancy as well as the detection and treatment of STDs and classes for mothers. 
This is a Christian organization so prayer and the gospel message is part of what the women receive.  
We live in a society where casual sex is common with the younger generation. Such intimate contacts can lead to pregnancy. Then, unfortunately, abortion is treated as another kind of birth control. 
The emotional ripples for the women that have an abortion can last for the rest of their life. These unseen wounds can lead to all kinds of other troubles like addictive behaviors and deep depression.
The woman entering a crisis pregnancy center did not typically have a previous game plan to care for a child long term. 
They probably do not have much of a support network before this critical crossroads.
There are small choices to be made that will lead to huge consequences during this tiny window of time. 
By the nature of the pregnancy process, it is not possible to ignore, deny, or postpone such small choices.
Consider that pregnancy and childbirth can be complicated and difficult for the most prepared mother.  Then layer on that the stresses, pressures, and uncertainties that come with any female that enters a crisis pregnancy center. 
The older I become the more I appreciate the gracious gifts I received from my mother. 
I was blessed to have had a close relationship with my mom. 
Her sacrificial love for me in those early years humbles me. 
Her tender mercies remind me of the love of God. 
Each year on Mothers Day there seems to be a huge outpouring of gratitude from moms. That is one of the very few things that unite us these days. 
Our shared society is overly busy. There is precious little time or energy to express love. 
The media does a grand job to magnify the bullies and the victims that are all around.
So who are those that are worthy of our unconditional love? May I suggest those women who are brave enough and humble enough to enter any crisis pregnancy center. 
As I have reflected on what I have been doing recently I realized that all my attention had been on the women. Yet the Lord slowed me down enough to consider the infants that will become babies. 
I had a hard time sleeping last night. My back was sore and my body ached all over from dealing with the preparations of the 43 boxes of donations things that I assembled in the apartment clubhouse. 
Those muscles will recover. My memories will fade. 
Yet those physical things will be sold for many hundreds of dollars. That money will go to serve the moms. Those moms will love those infants, that will become babies, that will become children, then teens, then adults and then parents for many decades to come. 
Therefore my discomfort had redemptive properties. 
So inviting my senior citizen neighbors to bring their surplus things to the clubhouse was ultimately my way to express love for untold numbers of others I will never meet. 
You will never find me holding a poster in a political rally related to Pro-Life.  Messing with politics has zero appeal for me. 
But being used by God to personally and corporately love those ladies that pass through those doors, floats my boat. 
I have been consistently pruning my possessions and taking those to thrift stores for many years. It is only the last 2 years that God has led me to donate to a thrift store to help a pregnancy center. This has added a deep stirring to come from compassion as well as stewardship. 
What is next for me is to take this text document and repurpose it into 2 slideshows that I will use with voiceover to make short videos. 
One will deal with advocating Christians to gain the habit of giving their surplus things to any thrift store. 
The other short video will advocate supporting crisis pregnancy centers with prayer, money, volunteering, and donating things. 
These projects are dear to my heart. Yet I do not intend to make these the long term focus for my online ministry. They are important to me under the general heading of consistently improving stewardship.
The huge and complex project that I was involved with researching and planning before this was to create an interactive ministry for international college students. Launching and leading that enterprise is the wisest way to steward my time, energy, and talents.  
Any time that I write it is essential that I call my readers to prayer. 
I have witnessed over the decades that such requests lead to answers from God that are amazing. 
I request your best prayers that these 2 videos will come soon come together gracefully and be shared widely to receptive audiences. 
It is my intention that I will be producing and sharing more such videos that are aimed to stir up Christians unto love and good works. See Hebrews 10:23-25 that is an often neglected part of the Bible. 
After that my game plan is to both craft a narrative of how I believe God has called me to minister to the international college students. That will be used to enroll supports that include intercessors, advisers, and donors. 
In terms of prayer requests for all crisis pregnancy centers that have thrift stores, I offer the following.
May God supernaturally inspire many and various people to generously donate good quality items often. 
May the volunteers and paid staff at the thrift store work well together as a team to accomplish their goals gracefully.
May God guide an abundance of shoppers to come to the thrift store where they find the exact things they need at reasonable prices.
May the property, things, people, and all those associated with the thrift store be blessed. 
May there always be an abundance of net profits from the store operations that go to the crisis pregnancy center. 
May the paid staff and volunteers at the pregnancy center flow together in harmonious ways. 
May God do a deep work in the mind and heart of each woman that comes for services.
May each unborn be effectively loved and nurtured by their mom. 
May God to a great work so that each mom gains and maintains a support network. 
May God move mightily to raise up a band of prayer warriors for each pregnancy center. 
May there be more than enough things and money donated each year for each center. 
Here are the videos I took.
part 1
part 2
part 3
part 4
THANKS again for all your prayers.
Glory to God in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen?
John S. Oliver

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