By Will Huff
My wife and I just got a dog—a six-week-old Australian Shepherd, to be precise! If you know these breeds, they grow to be medium sized dogs with lots of energy and big furry coats. Right now our puppy is a small sized dog with lots of energy and a big furry coat.
As many of you know, FIRST priority with a new puppy is—you guessed it—potty training!
So, I set a timer on my phone to go off every 20 minutes to let me know that I need to take her out again. My dog and I dread this alarm going off. As soon as I open the back door, carrying my puppy outside to the place we both do not want to go, we felt it—that terrible Columbia heat.
Every 20 minutes, as I took my dog out to the backyard, several things happened all at once:
My glasses fogged up so that I could not see
The world around me was suddenly damp and my clothes began to stick to my skin—so that it felt almost like swimming
My dog panted and whined
… and, finally, my dog did not go potty.
And after all of that—my dog runs back inside, has an accident, and lies down beside the AC vent to cool down. Well, that’s the way it goes (she’s really a great puppy . . . I promise). Why am I telling you this?
I’m trying to demonstrate a point, even describing what we all already know: Columbia summers are miserable.
Last week was hot in Columbia . . . very hot. One day we had high of 96°F and another with whopping 100% humidity rating. It was miserable to go outside—at all. Do you know what it feels like?
Here’s the kicker. I visit that heat; there are several hundred people downtown who live in it. That’s why I’m thankful for outreach opportunities like Oliver Gospel’s annual Beat the Heat.
Beat the Heat is an annual event Oliver Gospel does several days in the summer. Pelican’s Snoballs provides delicious shaved ice, and Oliver Gospel has shade, fans, cool water, and a place to rest. Anyone in the community is welcomed to cool off, rest from the hot sun, and enjoy the company of others.
Best of all, I think that Beat the Heat is actually about Jesus.
The Gospel of John is unique among the four Gospels in the Bible. It is structured around seven signs that Jesus performs and seven “I am” statements that Jesus makes about Himself. Throughout the Gospel of John, Jesus not only tells people who He is . . . He shows them.
Those seven “I am” statements are:
“I am the bread of life.” (John 6:35, 41, 48, 51)
“I am the light of the world.” (John 8:12)
“I am the door of the sheep.” (John 10:7,9)
“I am the resurrection and the life.” (John 11:25)
“I am the good shepherd.” (John 10:11, 14)
“I am the way, the truth, and the life.” (John 14:6)
“I am the true vine.” (John 15:1, 5)
I want to draw your attention to the first “I am” statement Jesus makes about Himself in John 6:35 it says, “And Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.’”
In Jesus, I believe our thirst is satisfied—in our faith today and permanently when Jesus returns. But, like Jesus does throughout His ministry, He not only tells people who He is . . . He demonstrates it through His kindness, friendship, mercy, authority, power, service, miracles, and in everything else He did.
Beat the Heat is Christ’s love expressed through Snoballs, cool water, and shade from the hot sun.
Why does Oliver Gospel do events like Beat the Heat? Because we love people, want to provide joy and rest, and want to not only tell people that Jesus satisfies their thirst and gives them rest—but tangibly shows that truth in everything we do.
Thank you for helping us touch the lives of the hundreds of men and women living without a home in the Midlands. We’d love for you to join us for a snoball and some shade too!