Saturday, May 24, 2008
Word on the Street #9
Some of you are probably wondering how long I plan on doing what I'm doing right now. In fact, many of you do because I've been asked many times. What was going to be a 2 month deal (possibly) has turned out to be longer than that. I think that this will be a summer affair at least. As I've prayed and discerned I've found myself concerned with becoming chronically homeless of apathetic. However, thanks to the encouragement of many and my own relationship with God, I know that this will not happen. I know for sure that I was led into this season by faith and I'll be led out of it by the same. God has always made big life decisions crystal-clear to me and this will be no different. As Psalm 119 states, God's word is a lamp to my FEET and a light to my path. So I know that when I'm in the dark about where I'm going, my feet are being led every step of the way. I can still feel the texture of the straight and narrow path under my feet, even though my lamp only shows me what is immediately in front of me day-by-day and I cannot see a week or month ahead. My life verse which was given to me by the Lord the first time I remember Him ever speaking to me is Isaiah 30:21. "Your ears will hear a word behind you, "This is the way, walk in it," whenever you turn to the right or to the left." I know that God has promised me clear guidance throughout my whole life, even when I mess up and turn off to the right or to the left! This is His ministry and I do not need to fear my own weakness, brokenness, or the thoughts of well-meaning people, or even my perceptions of what people might think! I AM being led of God, hallelujah! A recent example of my feet kind of falling in place was an opportunity offered me at The Lighthouse Ministry. I was offered a weekly Bible study for the guys in the program there since the current facilitator is leaving for 2 months. I sat on this offer for 2 weeks, really trying to get God's will and over-analyzing it! Come to find out, God had put this right in front of me clearly and I allowed fear to keep me from taking the step. And so I am now excited to be leading this weekly Bible study for some guys that have become really good friends. I get to teach them what the Lord's been showing me over the past 5 years and they constantly teach me by their sensitive and zealous hearts to know and please God! What a great deal! I've also had the opportunity to begin driving the church van for guys at the Hope Center, another enjoyable way to serve the homeless and hopefully use that as a way to inform others in my home congregation about their needs. In addition, a couple of days ago during my prayer time, I sense that God deposited some serious ideas in the near future that I want to pray into. Pray for me as I wait on God for these things. One possibility may be a serious discipleship group for the homeless on the streets and I believe the Lord may want me to connect that with getting other people in the body of Christ involved with the homeless. I know that I have to take this in stride because I DO NOT have specifics on this yet nor have I consulted with the appropriate leadership about the logistics, but these are just some burdens that God has laid on my heart. I want to help the body of Christ be in contact with and educated about the needs of those on the streets. I believe God is beginning to show me ways to do that as I continue to get educated. A really neat meeting happened this past Thursday at the Crowne Plaza in Lexington by the Lexington Leadership Foundation. It presented a strategy for the Church in Lexington to reach the city for Christ through covering individual lives in prayer, caring for their practical needs, and sharing the gospel of God with them. A simple, straightforward, and biblical approach. In the coming months I look forward to meeting regularly with other members of the body which I met there who are also burdened for the homeless, poor, broken and vulnerable as we pray and seek to articulate the revelation of God's plan to reach these people. A lot of neat opportunities surfacing, but of first and foremost importance, are the days where I sit and just talk with people. They don't happen enough because I get so wrapped up in all the things I just shared, but this is the greatest need and the thing that I want to mobilize the body in-actually loving and spending ourselves on people that need that kind of compassion. We all need it and Jesus provided it. Freely we have received, freely we MUST give! We must give the same to people that Jesus has given to us! This is the joy of the God-life we've been promised. To walk in anything less is to walk as beggars and not as sons and daughters of the living God. God ADOPTED us through His Son. So must we ADOPT the needy (physically and spiritually) in this world. Let's plead with God for a vision to look outward rather than inward. We have been trained to be egocentric but this is not God's vision. Let's cooperate with God and be His hands and feet on the streets. Programs are good, but let's spend more time actually being on the streets among them. The incarnation was not a program. It was a message of love, rooted in identifying with the brokenness of people. As Paul charges us, bear one another's burdens and share in one another's joys. May we all truly take this message to heart and repent so that we might walk in it.