My daughter tends to use her bedroom windows as whiteboards, writing quotes and ideas in Sharpie marker, so she can look out at the world through inspiring words.

One verse on her window recently was Jeremiah 29:11, “for I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, to prosper you and not to harm you, to give you a hope and a future.”

It is easy for my daughter, who goes to a great school, who lives in a safe neighborhood, who is a part of a cool youth group at a vibrant church, to believe those words. That she has a hope and a future. She’s living out that hope every day.

Kids growing up on the west side of Chicago, not so very far from here, might question the truth of that verse. They see violence in their neighborhood, their schools are not so well-equipped. But I love that it’s the theme verse for Breakthrough Urban Ministries’ upcoming benefit dinner. Breakthrough is a great community ministry on the west side, and is bringing hope to that community.

Scot and I decided to get involved with the benefit this year. We’ve supported Breakthrough in various ways the past few years: taking a group of neighbors down there once a month to serve breakfast, donating clothes and household items, and so on. It’s a great ministry that helps the homeless, but also provides tutoring and sports programs for kids in the East Garfield Park community.

So we’re sponsoring a table at the benefit. If you live in the Chicago area and would like to attend, please leave a comment and I’ll send you an invite. Unlike most charity benefit dinners, there’s no upfront cost. There will be an opportunity to donate to this very worthy cause, but you don’t have to buy a ticket.

Erwin McManus, pastor of Mosaic Church in Los Angeles, will be the speaker for the evening–if you’ve read his books or heard him speak before, you know that will be inspiring and empowering.

In these uncertain economic times, the idea of giving can be frightening. But I believe giving is a spiritual practice that transforms us into the image of the ultimate Giver, Jesus. It builds our trust in God, it opens us up to his heart, and his provision for us.

Getting this involved is a stretch for me. But I think just doing it will grow me, challenge me, help me to be someone who goes beyond just talking about helping the poor. In other words, this is a step toward not just thinking about social justice, but taking small steps to live my faith.