At Northstar one of the things we try not to do is reinvent the wheel. What I mean is that if someone in our community is already doing something successfully, we do not want to try to do the same thing at Northstar. We would rather partner with them and support what is already happening. Two heads are better than one, right? There are so many wonderful organizations in the Panama City area that are already helping people in the areas of clothing, food, homelessness and many other types of care. With this concept in mind we are partnering with Habitat for Humanity to provide a home for a family in need in 2012. It is our desire to do for one family what we wish we could do for all the homeless families in Bay County. We also partner with The Rescue Mission through Northstar Groups and individual volunteers.

Another organization we partner with is Saint Andrews Baptist Church and their benevolence program. Several of our Northstar groups have donated time, food and clothing. Through your generosity and compassion in partnership with Saint Andrews, they were able to provide services and meet the needs of so many people in our community. Here is a glimpse of what God did through you in 2011:

Food: 24656
Sack Lunches: 756
Clothing: 22391

Families Served: 8093
Children: 9360
Total Adults: 16020

Gospel: 7053
Salvations: 100

Last Friday I had the privilege of attending an event at St. Andrews called “Embrace the Ends of the Earth”. The event was a celebration of all the things God has done in 2011 and here is a special message from Saint Andrews to Northstar:

“As fellow believers, Northstar has came along side of us with generous gifts of food, clothing,
shoes and even working with us from your small groups. We want to say ‘thank you’ and to
have a way to show our appreciation for your acts of kindness fulfilling God’s command to
minister in Jesus’ name along side of us to the poor and needy.”

The guest speaker, Dr. Fred Luder, enthusiastically encouraged everyone that together we can impact Bay County and together we can have an eternal impact. He said, “It isn’t about the staffs at either of these churches, it is about you, it is all of us together Loving God and Loving people!”

That is my belief, too.  Mark 12:33 say “To love him (God)  with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”

I was challenged by Dr. Luder’s words. I found myself sitting there asking, “Do I even know the neighbors that literally live right next to me? How did I let the busyness of life trump the people that God puts in my life each and every day?”

If you are asking yourself these same questions, I would like to encourage you to evaluate your schedule and look for opportunities to get to know not only your physical neighbors but also the people you see on a regular basis and then the people of Bay County who do not know Jesus and His great sacrifice and love for us!