Sharing Life

12 Aug

This September 11, on the tenth anniversary of 9/11, we and the dear and gracious people of the Memphis Islamic Center will be cooperating with the American Red Cross in a blood drive. The number of people from Heartsong and MIC that have shown interest in being a part of this is impressive.

On the day a decade ago when so many senselessly lost lives due to fear and ignorance hardened into hatred, we are sharing life with each other, and with all those who will benefit from our gifts to them. For Heartsong it is a witness to our faith. I’m confident that the reason for MIC doing it is the same, but that is for them to say. We are offering ourselves as a witness to the love of Jesus for all people, and as a gift to those who will need the blood we offer.

On a day when so much blood was lost, we will be sharing life through the offering of part of our own lives. We mean this to be a public witness, not to garner publicity for what we are doing, but to use the opportunity to show the love of Jesus in yet another tangible and costly way. Ultimately for us, this is a gift to our Lord, who shed his blood as a means of giving life to us.

Last September the simple witness we made in loving our Muslim neighbors at MIC literally saved lives, and changed the world. As was true last year, this is a story we want to get out locally, nationally and world wide. We do it to offer an alternative to the mindless hatred that is still rampant in the world and seizes the headlines. We pray the Lord uses this to help many find their way safely home to him and his tribe. Our hope is that by sharing life with others who need it, along with our neighbors at MIC, we may cause those who are looking for some sanity and love in this world to consider opening their hearts and minds to Jesus and giving him a real try and making an offering of themselves to their neighbors for Christ’s sake.

We are making plans for this to be a safe, joyful, graceful and loving event. Please pray for just that to happen. You can make your stand with us by giving blood if you can, and by making every effort to be in one of the celebrations at Heartsong that Sunday. The theme of the Red Cross for all of their blood drives is: Sharing Life-love, give, live. We join with them and with MIC in this act of loving our neighbors.

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24 Responses to “Sharing Life”

  1. Rob August 12, 2011 at 11:16 pm #

    I am so moved by this event I may have to drive the 7 hours to attend. This is just what all the world needs to see and be a part as well.

    • stevestonesr August 24, 2011 at 9:03 pm #

      Come on, Rob! We will see you get a really cool t-shirt, and we guarantee a deeply moving spiritual experience!

    • Missi December 21, 2011 at 5:20 am #

      Those who carried out the attacks on 9/11, the previous attack on the WTC, Fort Hood, Shoe bomber…etc were/are good moslems…they were carrying out what their koran teaches and what their false proph, mohamad did in his lifetime. Love the sick but don’t love the sickness. Islam is sickness…and their god is the devil himself. Vast difference between a God who is Love and a god who cuts hands, feet, stones, demands a thrice divorced woman to marry another man in order to go back to her husband, allows men to marry four wives and what your right hand possess….and much more. Wake up America!

      • stevestonesr December 21, 2011 at 8:14 pm #

        Hey Missi. The people you describe as “good moslems” would certainly not be recognized as such by the dear, generous, loving and graceful people I know personally from the Memphis Islamic Center. They would be branded as religious fanatics and heretics just as true Jesus followers would brand neo-nazi skinheads, the KKK and the hateful people of Westboro Baptist Church (so-called) who take the name of Jesus but defame him and shame themselves by their actions. Those who are truly sick in a pathological sense are those who take a mindless hatred to heart. call it religion and blame their actions on God. They are a blight on the love that exists in the hearts of most human beings and damage the cause of Jesus on this earth. I fear their mindless hatred will cause some to miss the joy of a life spent with Jesus because they confuse the actions of some deeply disturbed people with the Lord they claim to know. The best thing any of us can do with any of our neighbors is to get to know them personally. To paint them with a broad brush of suspicion is to discount and demonize them, and is a slap in the face to the one who died on their behalf and is counting on those of us who know him to introduce him to them.

  2. Michelle August 23, 2011 at 2:14 am #

    Hello, Pastor Stone. The story about your congregation and neighboring Islamic Center moved me to tears. I have been a Christian in the past, and now consider myself a humanist. I must say that when I heard your story on NPR.com, my heartstrings were plucked, and I think that there is some redeeming value in Christianity yet. Kudos to you and your congregation for an act of kindness in the face of some criticism. There are many more of us, I believe, of many religions, philosophies and life stances who stand and applaud you, even if from afar.

    I love that you’re working together. I live in Indiana, but will keep aware of your doings, and visit someday if possible.

    Thanks, and good for you!

    • stevestonesr August 24, 2011 at 9:02 pm #

      Hey Michelle. It is deeply heartening to us at Heartsong to know our simple act of neighborly love for Christ’s sake inspired you! We have seen the world change one neighbor at a time as we stop waiting for the other to be a good neighbor to us and take the initiative in being recognized as a good neighbor by them. Jesus talked a lot about the Kingdom of God. He talked about it coming in fullness when the Father decides to take us to that level of amazing in a future time known only in the heart of God, but he also talked about the Kingdom as relationships of love and trust we can have with each other now. Jesus also said that if we seek first the Kingdom (those relationships) then everything we need will be added to us. That is a mighty promise, and one we are seeing fulfilled through the gifts of getting to know the kind, loving, generous and gracious people of the Memphis Islamic Center. We consider you to be one of the answers to the promise of Jesus as well.

    • Missi January 23, 2012 at 2:42 am #

      Hi Humanist,
      A true religion or philosophy such as Buddhism, Shintoism, any -ism is for peace, harmony, respect etc. Sorry, to tell you islam is the only exception. Check out the big/little news bits about their activities in the world. Aren’t they the only ones who blow themselves up and kill innocent people to please their so-called-god…..all for what mohamad promised them i.e. 72 virgins and young boys, rivers of milk, honey, wine.These virgins become virgins all over after every encounter. islam is so opposite to any humanist mind that makes it very hard to believe or accept. That doesn’t change the facts. Sorry

      • stevestonesr January 23, 2012 at 5:05 pm #

        Hey Missi, To me all religions are an attempt to build a tower of goodness to reach God. Jesus is the self revelation of God who came as one of us to show us just who God is and what God wants. God is love and wants only love for us and from us-for God and for each other. How is it that you are unable to show love to people whom you claim hate you? Isn’t that just what Jesus told his followers to do?

  3. Laura from Fargo August 24, 2011 at 4:26 pm #

    I just read about Heartsong opening their doors to the Memphis Islamic Center on NPR.

    I am so grateful for the evidence of Divine love your church is displaying. Too often, we overlook the very point and source of that love.

    Well done, Heartsong!

    • stevestonesr August 24, 2011 at 8:56 pm #

      Hey Laura. Thank you for sending your encouragement to us! We are sold out 21st century Jesus followers and he only gives us two prime directives: Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength and love your neighbor as you love yourself. That is not always easy to do, but it certainly isn’t rocket science to understand. If we were to overlook the Source and point of that love we would have to call ourselves something other than Jesus followers because that is exactly and all he ever calls us to do with him and in his name. God bless you deep and wide in your well doing too, sister.

  4. Luke Hirad August 24, 2011 at 10:31 pm #

    Dr. Stone,

    I read your story of welcoming Muslims to your church. Sir, I would like to take this opportunity to say big thank you. As a Muslims who is celebrating his 26th year in America, this is the most heart-felt story I have read. Your act was not only Godly, but it was the spirit of what Christianity and Islam have been breaching throughout the ages—love your neighbor.

    Around here in Northern Virgina, When the local mosque gets filled up, we pray either in the Jewish congregation center or one of the local churches. To me they are all God’s house of worships.

    We cerainly need more like you.

    Thank you

    • stevestonesr August 25, 2011 at 4:25 pm #

      Hey Luke. Thank you so much for your words of encouragement about what we and our sisters and brothers at MIC are up to, and for further encouraging me with your story of how the love of neighbor among Muslims and Christians is happening in Northern Virginia. My belief is that there is so much more good news about interfaith and intercultural relationships happening in America than is known. Please do all you can to share the positive and loving stories from your life with those who may think all that is happening is the negativity that is so often seized upon by the media. By simply being good neighbors instead of waiting for the other to be a good neighbor to us the world is changed. Thank you for being a world changer!

  5. Rev. Linda Troy September 7, 2011 at 2:53 am #

    I was inspired to read the story of how Heartsong and Memphis Islamic Center are sharing worship space and living as neighbors–demonstrating to the world that we can live in peace, as God desires. Thank you for this awesome witness to the power of God’s love!

    • stevestonesr September 7, 2011 at 5:24 pm #

      Hey Linda, We really didn’t have a choice. The Memphis Islamic Center is right across the street from Heartsong making them literally our neighbors. Jesus clearly only gives his followers two commandments, and the second one is specifically about loving one’s neighbors. We had to. Of course, in doing so we have been rewarded with the most amazing gifts-every single woman, man, teen and child we have had the deep pleasure to have met at MIC. They are some of the most generous, kind, loving and gracious walking and talking reflections of the love of God in human form I have ever had the joy of getting to know. We are clear that they are Muslims, and they are clear that we are Jesus followers. And we are both clear that we are children of God, who while not sharing the same faith, share many of the same values. Thank the Lord we had no choice but the find a way to love them. And thanks to you for reaching out to encourage us.

  6. Siya September 8, 2011 at 1:38 pm #

    Dear Pastor Stone,
    Just saw the tv clip and you are a great example of the true American spirit. Glad to see more positive work in Tennessee. May God always bless America.

    • stevestonesr September 12, 2011 at 4:02 pm #

      Thank you so much Siya! What we are doing is simply what the Lord has put us on the earth to do: love God, our neighbors and ourselves. It’s not rocket science, is it? I’m glad you are living out your one in a zillion purpose too!

  7. Missi December 11, 2011 at 2:24 am #

    I wonder if Steve Jones or any of those who commented have ever read the koran, It is good to be kind to people, however, to be tolerant to evil is another thing. Your moslem neighbors might be nice people (nicer than their bloodthirsty, pedophile false prophet mohamad) but, they might be also using El Takeya on you. Here’s some homework: read sura 16:106, 5:51,8:60, 9:29, 9:5 etc …don’t let them fool you with the peaceful abrogated verses i.e. the Mecca verses when mo. was weak.
    May God give you wisdom and help you to evangelize them instead… many don’t know their islam that well either…they believe what the koran tells them that Christ was not crucified (i.e. no salvation took place)
    p.s. osman ibn affan, the 3rd khalifa after Mo, burned all the korans and kept his

    • stevestonesr December 21, 2011 at 8:20 pm #

      Hey Missi, I have read the Quran, and am no defender of what is there. I find a lot of it in line with what is in the old testament and a lot of it is unintelligible to me. Surely you know that there are passages in the old testament that if taken to heart and lived out literally would make Jews and Christians into barbarians. I pray the same prayer for you that pray for me: that the Lord will give you wisdom, and an open mind, and a heart on the lookout for how to bear a loving witness to Jesus and his ways with everyone you encounter-both by how you love them and how when prompted by the Holy Spirit you share your experience, strength and hope.

      • Missi January 23, 2012 at 2:30 am #

        Hello, I’m glad you read the koran (even if it’s, probably, dishonestly translated, as usual.) However, I cannot imagine how you can compare the Bible with the koran. Go back to the 10 commandments in the O.T. and remember “Love your neighbor as yourself” in the N.T…..then read sura 9:5 (moslems called it the verse of the sword…written in Medina) It reads:
        AND WHEN THE SACRED MONTHS HAVE PASSED, THEN KILL THE POLYTHEISTS WHEREVER YOU FIND THEM AND CAPTURE THEM AND BESIEGE THEM AND SIT IN WAIT FOR THEM AT EVERY PLACE OF AMBUSH. BUT IF THEY SHOULD REPENT, AND ESTABLISH PRAYER, AND GIVE ZAKAH, LET THEM GO ON THEIR WAY. INDEED allah IS MOST FORGIVING AND MERCIIFUL.
        (You are the polytheist-they say-because you believe in three gods?????? I am afraid for this great country going to the devil because people want to be politically correct, are afraid to sound racist, and naively believe islam is a religion of peace. ISLAM IS DANGEROUS FOR MOSLEMS, CHRISTIANS, JEWS, BASICALLY FOR ALL HUMANITY BECAUSE IT’S FROM THE DEVIL.
        A true God loves all mankind…..He doesn’t come 600 yrs later with teachings such as “…strike off their necks and smite of them each finger….sura 8:12” or sura 2:65 “And you had already known about those who transgressed among you concerning the sabbath, and we said to them, “Be apes, despised.. or 5:60 re.people of the scripture …allah has cursed and with whom he became angry and made of them apes and pigs and slaves of taghut….God bless all His people and bless the U.S.A.

  8. stevestonesr January 23, 2012 at 5:12 pm #

    Hey Missi, Surely you are aware that there are brutal passages in the Old Testament. The reason Jesus came to this earth was to reveal the true nature of God and show us the true way to live with God and each other. I totally agree that religion is smug self satisfaction and is hateful at its core-even and especially any religion that takes the name of Jesus. He came to put an end to all religions and to call all people into relationships of love and trust with God and each other. But to pass that kind of judgement about religion is not the same as passing judgement on anyone. That I will not do, and encourage you not to fall into the trap of judging another’s heart, mind or soul. That is only the right of God to do.

    • Missi January 23, 2012 at 10:46 pm #

      I don’t know how you got to an accusation such as “…unable to show love to people I claim hate (me)” and again saying ” …encourage you not to fall into the trap of judging another persons heart, mind or soul.” Haven’t you read what I first wrote about “LOVE THE SICK BUT NOT THE SICKNESS”. Please Do Not confuse my intolerance with evil teachings with hating those who follow it……I do see them as victims. I only wish that you have more love for them and that you would want to help them. All I’m wondering is for you, if you care enough, is to share the Truth, the Light, and the Salvation of Christ…tell them who Christ really is and not what their god says He is. I KNOW THAT CHRIST WOULDN’T WANT US TO TOLERATE EVIL EITHER. I admit, it’s not always easy to speak out about our faith, but Christ did say “I am coming quickly” …there is no time. I wish you many blessing and I hope that you pray for me too to speak to those who live in darkness, when I can, about how wonderful and merciful our Father is and how He came to save them too…I want them to have hope too and to taste that same sweetness…

  9. Brian July 29, 2012 at 3:55 am #

    It’s very interesting to read of your growing relationship with your Muslim neighbors, and as a believer, like yourself, I get it. You’re striving to be a witness for Christ through showing love for them.

    Still, at some point, don’t your friends need to hear the truth claims that Jesus made, especially those like John 14:6? Do such issues ever come up in your conversations?

    Additionally, I’m interested in hearing more of your view on the need for repentance from sin. I see a lot about God’s love, faith in Christ, and that sort of thing. However, the need for repentance seems to be ignored. Is the need to turn from sin, while also turning to Christ, taught at Heartsong?

    I’m sorry for so many questions, but I saw information on what you guys were doing, and I just thought I’d ask a couple. I don’t live in the Memphis area anymore, and found what you’re doing to be very different from most churches in that region.

    • stevestonesr August 2, 2012 at 7:11 pm #

      Hey Brian. My heart’s desire is that all people everywhere would know the joy, peace, hope and love that comes from getting to know Jesus personally in the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, inviting him to live in and with him, taking him and his ways in and living them out, joining him in his cause to rescue the world and see that everyone makes it safely home to him and his tribe. That is my experience, strength and hope in Jesus and I stand ever ready to share that with whomever as nudged by the Holy Spirit to do it. I am not one to charge out into the lives of another and broadcast what I believe is such a personal decision and experience. If any of my Muslim sisters or brothers showed even a hint of interest in what motivates me to love them and all others I would eagerly share why I am spending my life following Jesus. At the same time I respect their lives, their faith journey and their desire to please and serve God and would not impose my faith on them in any way that would be disrespectful. When we work together it is to meet basic human needs that both of our faiths lift up as pleasing to God. I believe the Lord is proud of how we love our Muslim neighbors, and I stand ready to follow him into any of their lives that he and they make an opening. And if that never happens I will love them nonetheless. As for repentance, I’m guessing you mean that as regards all human beings. God hates sin. The reason, I believe, that God does is because of what it does to us-how it corrupts and distorts our relationship of love with God and with each other. Repentance is at the heart of life with the Lord and each other. It is not a “one and done” thing. It is an ongoing course correction that beings us back into fellowship with Jesus again and again. I will not cease to sin while I am on this earth, and because of that I will not cease to repent. Holler back.

      • Missi May 14, 2013 at 7:34 am #

        Would be even greater love if you tell your moslem neighbors about Christ death on the cross was to give us life … SALVATION FOR ALL (to them too) and ask them why the writer of the koran denies Christ’s death and rising on the third day and for what purpose.

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