A Message of Hope

If you are a resident at MUST, you must attend at least three meetings during your first two weeks. Your choices are: AA, NA, Bible study, or church. When I do intake, I always recommend the Bible study. No matter where you are spiritually, they will get you where you need to be. It is awesome! I've started going because I'm a volunteer and heard about it. But some of my fellow workers volunteer just because of that Bible study. So cool. The messages are always hopeful and Christ-centered. Now, here is an example of the stuff you would find there. The only things missing are the frequent, "Hallelujah's!" and "Praise Jesus's!"

"He understands our humanity. Our struggle. Our dark hearts. Our failing. Jesus didn't make the journey from heaven to the manger for people who needed a tiny bit of assistance.

He came for the sick (the really sick), the crushed, the lost (like sheep with no shepherd) and the criminal among us. He came for the worst. And He came to raise the dead and touch those who were decaying from the inside out.

Let's lay down the need to impress each other, for that route leaves us looking good in their eyes but missing the healing power of His. Let's come to the throne of grace through Jesus Christ and seek mercy and grace in our time of need. Let's be real... and transparent.

Let's stop faking it, and fall into the arms of the One who sees night and noonday the same. Let's not try to hide from the One who can put us back together again. And let's ask Him to shine His light into our reality, however dark, and bring life again."

If you've never experienced a place where the people know the love of Christ and have experienced a deep connection with Him, or you have never experienced Christ for yourself, it may be hard to see why people would cling to someone they cannot see and something they cannot prove. It is not a phenomenon I can easily explain. All I know is this:

There are many, many hopeless women and men, who are desolate and desperate, searching for something or someone to bring them back to life. They are depressed and have watched the last glimmer of hope disappear, along with their pride and sense of self. They turn to anything that seems to bring happiness--money, jobs, sex, drugs, alcohol. The joy and happiness they so desire arrives, but it is only fleeting. They are back to the depths from which they never wanted to return. But then someone offers them something bigger than this world, bigger than themselves. They offer Jesus. They offer love, joy, and peace--not as the world gives, but as He does. It is unfathomable and eternal. It is the goal of every single person on the planet: to obtain love, joy, and peace. I see the saddened face brighten with the Truth that they are loved with an Everlasting Love, and something changes. The transformation begins, and they are a new person. The hope that has seemed hidden is now evident in Jesus.
This is the message of Hope. This is what can break the cycle of homelessness and poverty. But do not misunderstand me. Homelessness and poverty is not only a physical, monetary state a person may find himself in, but it can also be a state of mind. There are many who have money, a home, a family, a job, multiple degrees, higher education, but they do not know the joy that some of my homeless friends know. The former are the most impoverished.

"Even more, I consider everything to be nothing compared to knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. To know him is the best thing of all. Because of him I have lost everything. But I consider all of it to be garbage so I can get to know Christ." [Phil. 3]


Call Me Friend

I love when I go to the shelter and the residents know my name. We hug or shake hands, happy to see each other.

I want to be their friend but not their buddy. I want to be a true friend--one that holds them accountable, helps them out when they have need, rejoices when they are joyful, and cries with them in their sorrow. This is not an easy task. Often I am too selfish and too wrapped up in my own life to even think about walking with them through theirs. I must think about who and what I'm thinking about--I must be mindful and purposeful to love. Humans are wired to be selfish. This is a harsh, but true reality. No one has to teach a one-year-old to be selfish. They just automatically take a toy and attempt the word, "Mine!" A transformation is necessary.

"Don't live any longer the way this world lives. Let your way of thinking be completely changed. Then you will be able to test what God wants for you... Bless those who hurt you. Bless them, and do not call down curses on them. Be joyful with those who are joyful. Be sad with those who are sad. Agree with each other. Don't be proud. Be willing to be a friend of people who aren't considered important. Don't think that you are better than others. Don't pay back evil with evil. Be careful to do what is right. If possible, live in peace with everyone. Do that as much as you can." [Romans 12]

Breaking out of that selfish box is so fulfilling, but it is a daily choice. I can so easily forget about anyone and everyone but myself and my to-do list. But practice makes perfect. I can only hope one day it will be the easier thing to place others above myself.

However, I must clarify an important issue: I do not wish to be selfless and loving for the mere sake of being a better person or furthering humanity, but it is for a much greater cause--a much greater purpose. I want every person I meet to know and feel the love that his Creator has for him, even through the smallest act of kindness.

"For God so loved the world..."

I can scarcely believe that the Lord would want ME to help spread that message. But He does. I get nervous that I will screw up the plan, but still He calls. This is my life's goal Simple? Yes. Easy? Not always, but He will help me. "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is perfected in your weakness." :) Now, THAT is hopeful.