Thursday, July 30, 2009

Stop the Crying

So yesterday as I walked downtown I had one of the most weird yet normal experiences. On Tuesday's and Wednesdays we simply walk around downtown and see which friends we run into and simply hangout with them.

Well as we were walking I met eyes with this older homeless man. I smiled and said hey and something felt like I was supposed to talk to him. So as we talked I found out his name was Ronald. He was obviously drunk and who knows what else. So I asked Ronald if there was anything I could pray for him about. He got very excited and was more than willing. He was clearly a spiritual man. So right there in the middle of downtown he gets on his hands and knees and allows me to pray for him. As I finish he looks up and tears are running down his face. He then looks at me and Jo and asks if he can pray as well. The first words he said was, "Dear Jesus, please help me stop my crying." Wow. He almost had me going right there. My heart just broke as I wondered how many people are praying out this same prayer every day? Who is looking up to God and begging him to stop the crying? So this was all pretty normal but there was something about the feeling I had as I prayed for Ronald and as him and I talked.

Say what you want... maybe he was drunk, maybe he has mental problems, or maybe he was just faking it all; but I honestly believe the Holy Spirit was moving. Ronald kept looking at me, and telling me he had seen me before. Over and over he looked into my eyes and said, "I have seen you. I know I have, I have seen you somewhere." I didn't know what to say but I simply told him that everyone has tears and that he should remember that God loves him. Then as we shook hands he looks at me and says, "You know me. I don't know how you do, but I can tell that you know me."

Lord, I have never seen him before in my life but my prayer is that you will wipe away the tears of Ronald and everyone else who is crying out to you. Lord comfort those who are in need.

He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away. Revelations 21:4

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Sharing Faith through Life

A week from yesterday, I met a new friend named Dawn. Dawn told me about her occupation of "flying a sign." Flying a sign simply means sitting on a corner with a cardboard box with words written like, "help feed my family of four." To people who live on the streets, this is what they consider work. They get up early and end late and they call this working. Some days they will strike big and earn $200 and some days barely get by with $20. Dawn told me that she had a man stop and give her $5o. He looked at her and said, "here is $50, now I want you to go for the day and just let God take care of the rest." For the past few weeks, Dawn had told me that a lot of her friends and random people have been talking to her about Jesus. She, however, grew up pagan. She has never believed in God and has always been a bit suspicious. However, she told me that just recently she is starting to question everything. It was an awesome conversation that sounds deep but was really just a simple conversation. So I told her right then that God is wanting her. That he is seeking her out, that he loves her, and that he has a plan for her. It was so casual that I wasn't sure how serious she took it but she responded by saying she knew and that she is going to keep searching. I'm very excited for her.

At the same picnic I met an older homeless man named Randy. He looked like Tom Selleck. So Randy told me he served during the gulf war, that he believes in God, and that he has had headaches ever since. We talked for a little bit about God, life, heroin (which he doesn't do, but has many friends that do), and much more. As we ended our conversation, I asked if I could pray for his headaches. He asked if I would pray for him to find the right influences to hang out with as well. I prayed for him right there and it was such an encouragement to my faith to see a man so down on his luck fully believing and relying on God. I haven't seen him since, I don't know what happened after, but I pray that Randy continues to see God and that he seeks him every single day.

So as I got to experience this with my two new friends, I think about some of the close friends I made right from the start. My friends Cami and Simon are both friends that I really clicked with. I loved seeing them and looked forward to running into them every day. However, for the past 3 or 4 weeks I have not seen them. They are precious children of God and I never talked to them once about God. I pray every day that I did not miss my opportunity to share Jesus with them. I pray that Jesus is visible through my life and my actions. I believe this shows the importance of living a life worth of God's calling and also the importance of sharing your faith. It is through life, actions, and words that we share our faith. Hopefully I will see them again soon. Please continue to pray for the lost, not just on the streets but everywhere. Pray for my last four weeks and pray that I continue to be sensitive to what God is telling me to do.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Sharing Love?

Every Sunday, we attend church like “good people” and are charged to share the love of Jesus with those who don’t know such a love. It wasn’t until yesterday that I finally realized what people meant by the statement, “well some just don’t want to hear about it.”

My initial reaction to such a claim was, “ok, just tell them anyways.” Everyone needs to hear it. We need to be intintional! If they have heard it before, they need to hear it again, and maybe, just maybe, that time their hearts will be softened. I now realize it goes so much deeper.
In my own life, I have experienced the love and mercy of God. He has blessed me beyond my immagination. I know I am precious and loved in the eyes of God and that He loves me and my new friends so much that He sent his son to die for us.

Psalm 37:28a says, “For the LORD loves the just and will not forsake his faithful ones.”

How do I proclaim this truth to my new friends? How do I look them in the eye and tell them that God is just? That I serve a God who loves them so much yet they have never expereinced one break in their life? Instead of love and peace, they have experienced abuse, hatred, neglect, addiction, violece, poverty, and death. How can I tell them that God wants to have a personal relationship with each and everyone one of us when they have faced the devil face to face every single day of their life?
This became a major struggle inside of me. I have not had half the troubles in my life compared to these kids. It is easy for me to say Jesus loves me. So why is this? Why am I so lucky? It is quite unfortunate that we have become victims of a fallen world. We have all sinned and as a result we do not deserve one blessing. The experiences that these kids have been through are not of God. These lives are a result to a fallen world, and for now Satan thinks he is winning.
So how do I speak truth into the street kids and everyone else who needs Jesus? Through the same love that Jesus gave us.

“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:12-13.

I will continue to build friendships and show unconditional love. I will be willing to lay down my life for anyone. I will be intentional through the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Only through the Spirit will the impossible be achieved. Pray for me to have guidance from the Spirit to touch the hearts of my friends. Pray that I will have the boldness to be intentional while being able to build real loving friendships.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Thanks for the Water...

After church Sunday night, all of the interns decided to go get ice cream. As we walked to downtown Denver we ran into several of our street kid friends. It was so much fun. It was the first time we got to hang out with our friends without it being an organized DryBones event. If you think about what friends do, a lot of times it is simply hang out and go get ice cream or go see a movie or something similar. So I continually pray that we will move from those people that hang out with them because we are a part of DryBones, into the zone where we are simply there because we want to.

So as we hunted for Ice Cream, we settled on good ol’ Mickey D’s. As we all entered the place, you can only imagine the stares of those around us as we came in with our friends. All the interns chose a friend and paid for their ice cream. I was the last to order and I overheard my street friend Cleveland in front of me ask the guy at the register for a cup of water for his dog. The dude told him that would be $0.55. 55 cents! For a cup of water! Ridiculous! He knew Cleveland didn’t have .55 cents. So when it was my turn to order, I asked for a cup of water as well. Without even hesitating, the guy grabbed water without even charging me.

"My brothers, as believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, don't show favoritism. Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in shabby clothes also comes in. If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, "Here's a good seat for you," but say to the poor man, "You stand there" or "Sit on the floor by my feet," have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? Listen, my dear brothers: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him?"
-James 2:1-5

We, as a society, still have the tendency to discriminate. We will judge, put down, and count out anyone who looks “different” then us. My fried Cleveland is precious in the eyes of the Lord. God has a plan and purpose for him. Cleveland was bought with a price just like you and me. Who are we to judge? He will be rewarded with the kingdom of heaven and we do nothing but make his situation harder. God please help me love the way you love. God help us realize we are no better or no worse than anyone. Instead we are simply all children of God.

Friday, June 12, 2009

No Justice in "Just Statements"

Webster defines justice as the quality of being just, impartial, or fair. Often times society (and even myself) can be caught using "just statements." In order to solve poverty or homelesness we will often say things like, "just get a job," or "just quit using drugs," or "if you just ask for help," or "just go back to school;" just, just, just, just. However, as I become closer and closer with my new friends, the more I begin to realize how unjust these statements really are. As I sit and look into the eyes of people who have been trampled on in life, I relized there is so much more to it. So many of these kids have been molested by their own parents and family members. They have been put in foster family after foster family. Many have been beated and abused. Some have been dealing drugs since the age of 15. Many have entered the realm of prostitution. Tons have scars all over their arms from years and years of being hooked on meth and heroine. The wounds go deep; emotionally, phisically, mentally, and spiritually. So who are we to say "just do this" and "just do that"? Where is the justice in that? How is their life "fair?" Every single person, even these kids have been bought with the price of the cross. Just statements are not the answer, Jesus is. Pray that Jesus can use even me to reveal his love for them.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Camping... in a Cabin

Snow on June 1st. I am obviously not in Texas anymore. After a 3-mile hike up to an elevation of 11,200 feet, all the interns and the DryBones staff made it to the cabin where we would spend the next two days. HYere we relaxed, got to know each other, went through some training, and simply enjoyed the beauty of God's nature. THe interns are so fun. Kenli, JoAnna, Liz, Trevor, and Stephen are all from ACU, Mark is from York in Nebraska, and Madison is from Freed Hardeman. It is going to me awesome. Be sure to keep praying for God to move. We are going to be working on the streets fully next week.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Friends are a blessing from God

So yesterday was my last official day of fund raising through my blog. God is definitely a faithful provider and has used all my friends to help out. Through my blog I was able to raise $580 of support and through my spange drive I was able to raise $271! A grand total of $851. Thank you so much. As I prepare to leave in less than two weeks, please keep me in your prayers. My financial goal is almost met and it is definitely an answer to prayers. Thanks to everyone who helped out and is continuing to pray for me.