28 August 2009

Can't Look Away!

We just came in from the New York City Rescue Mission. I like this place for many reasons. One of the biggest is that they are doing something for Jesus. It is exciting to go to new places and do new things, but what excites me more is when you hear two guys in a mission program talking to each other about Jesus. I never really realized what it was that missions did. I know they are all different, but the ones I've been through share one thing in common, Jesus. I haven't had much time to talk to the homeless that we feed at the missions, but I do get to talk to the guys in the programs there. You know these guys are going through some pretty hard times, yet they are happy and smiling because they have learned the truth about who Jesus is and what He did for them. Nothing brings me more joy than having somebody who is on their way up from a life low remind me of what Jesus did. Through the experiences I have had with the missions, God has given me a new heart toward the homeless population in America. I never wanted to see the legitimate side of homelessness, I just wanted to turn away. All of us have a story about a pan handler that has stepped over the line and we always want to climax the story with how we humiliated and rejected them and sent them on their way empty handed. It gives us a sense of pride to tell these triumphant stories of victory. I know, I've done it many times.

Over the past couple years I have been challenged spiritually to take another look at this "king of the mountain" approach to homelessness. God challenged me to find a way to help. I read a book called "Under the Overpass", written by a guy whose name I can't remember. Anyway, it is a book about two guys who decided to live homeless in 5 cities in the U.S. so they could experience life on the streets. I highly recommend this book because it opened my eyes to where the real needs are. It is easy to sit around and complain about what the government is, or is not doing about this. We can talked about welfare reform and food stamp fraud all we want, but it doesn't change the truth. People are going hungry on our streets. The truth is, it's not the governments job to take care of the needy, it's the churches job. Need proof? Read the Gospels and Acts, it's all there! I have been reading the parable of the Good Samaritan almost everyday for the past week and I learned something, my "religion" made has made me cross the street to avoid the real need. My position made me look away and hope someone else would take care of it. I can't do that anymore. I can't just sit around and hope someone else will take care of it. Jesus told us to love our neighbor as He has loved us. Who's our neighbor? The guy laying in the street. Jesus tells us this in Luke 10 when He is talking about the Good Samaritan. I can't look away anymore, and the saddest part is now I can't do enough. I don't think I can do enough to make up for the times I looked away, for the times I mocked and made fun of people in need. Zacchaeus promised to pay back four times what he had taken and I'm not able to break even. It would take too many years to pay it all back. This is where we can only rely on the unending mercy of God and look to the cross and the blood of Jesus. Without that the guilt would be unbearable.

My life is now devoted to doing what I can and nothing less. If I can do it, I will! It breaks my heart to see people in such need and hear people in the church comment or snub their nose. If Jesus where here today He wouldn't be in our churches preaching to capacity crowds. He would be in the streets, in the bars, at the Vegas strip. He would be reaching out to the lost, hurting, dying, sinful people that we can so easily look past as we walk down the street. Many of them need someone to believe in them, someone to love them and spend time with them. How do I know this? because I needed it once. Not because I was homeless, hungry or abandoned, but because without Jesus I was no better off. Don't forget where you came from. Lost and dying in the streets of New York is no different than lost and dying in the richest of houses in L.A. The truth is that without Jesus we are all lost and dying.

*for more info on some of the places I've visited go to Right Side Up Ministries website and click on the News, Events, and Links


  1. I think Mr. Donzella said it best... you are a "man of God"

  2. We should all take the time to throw a drowning man a line...there is ministry to do...whether it is on the various social networking sites, through face-to-face ministries or simply by being gracious enough to share Jesus with a homeless person.

    You are inspiring me on my quest too.


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