Tag Archives: helping the poor

Undercover Savior

Have you seen the TV show “Undercover Boss”? It’s where a CEO of a company creates a fake identity, changes how they look and goes to work at their own company as a regular worker. They hear things they wouldn’t hear if others knew they were the CEO, and they get a frontline perspective of what it’s like to work there. It’s usually very eye opening for the CEO who does it, and they are always glad they did it.

Inevitably, they run into people who either treat them well or treat them or others poorly. In one particular episode, the CEO ran into both. The one worker was kind to everyone, especially the customers. The other thought they were at war with the customers and had to win at all costs. At the end, the boss revealed himself. The one who treated others poorly was terrified when they found out. They no longer work there.

I tell you about this show because you and I are on it, but on a much grander scale. In Matthew 25, jesus told us about what the great reveal will be like. Verses 37-40 say, “Then those ‘sheep’ are going to say, ‘Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry and feed you, thirsty and give you a drink? And when did we ever see you sick or in prison and come to you?’ Then the King will say, ‘I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me’” (MSG).

The people you and I come across each day could be the Undercover Savior. It’s up to each one of us to treat others with dignity and respect. It’s up to each one of us to offer a hand to those who are down. The Christmas season is the perfect time to help a needy family, watch a single mom’s kids while she shops, pay for someone’s groceries or to do something that relives the stress in their life. Jesus said that you’re not just doing it for that person. You’re doing it for and to Him.

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The Poor Prodigal


We all know the parable of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15, and we’ve heard many sermons on it. But what if there’s more to the story that we’ve missed? What if it’s not just about a lost soul returning home? I believe it could also be about how we care for the poor as believers. Take a look at verses 16-17. “The young man became so hungry that even the pods he was feeding the pigs looked good to him. But no one gave him anything. “When he finally came to his senses, he said to himself, ‘At home even the hired servants have food enough to spare, and here I am dying of hunger!” (NLT)

There was no one in the land he was living in who gave him anything when he was in need. So he left that area. He remembered how his father cared for the poor. He thought that even if he wasn’t his father’s son anymore, that his father would have compassion on him because he was poor. So he returned. In looking for compassion, he found salvation. There’s a lesson there for us as believers. When we care for the poor, they’ll find salvation. 

Here are some verses on caring for the poor.

1. Those who oppress the poor insult their Maker, but helping the poor honors him.
Proverbs 14:31 NLT

2. Jesus answered him, “If you wish to be perfect [that is, have the spiritual maturity that accompanies godly character with no moral or ethical deficiencies], go and sell what you have and give [the money] to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me [becoming My disciple, believing and trusting in Me and walking the same path of life that I walk].”
MATTHEW 19:21 AMP

3. Defend the rights of the poor and the orphans; be fair to the needy and the helpless. Rescue them from the power of evil people.
Psalm 82:3-4 GNT

4. Be generous to the poor—you’ll never go hungry; shut your eyes to their needs, and run a gauntlet of curses.
Proverbs 28:27 MSG

5. Those who shut their ears to the cries of the poor will be ignored in their own time of need.
Proverbs 21:13 NLT

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Your “Little” Is A Lot

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I forgot how hard it was to go back to work and my normal everyday life after a trip to Haiti. It’s hitting me this morning though. As I pull out of my driveway, drive out of my neighborhood and turn onto the freeway, part of me is fighting it. I wonder why can’t every day be full time ministry, why every day can’t be spent on the mission field and why can’t I be doing things with an eternal purpose all the time. It’s an ongoing struggle that I’ve had since April and was renewed with this trip. It’s hard to do things that won’t matter for eternity once your perspective changes. It’s hard to do the things you once did when you see the need others have.

When you meet an entire village of people who are living without electricity, cell phones, Internet or brick and mortar homes you begin to see how truly blessed we are. You also see how wasteful we are. When a bug hits my windshield, I simply pull a button to spray water to clean him off. In Myan, Haiti, a person would have to walk six miles for water that I’m using to wash a bug off my windshield. When I get the same meal two days in a row, I complain. There, they’re lucky to have a meal each day. They’re thankful for the same meal over and over because it’s life and death.

There’s so much to be done there and yet, so much has been done. It’s easy to see a mess that big and think, “I can’t possibly make a difference here.” You can also pretend that it doesn’t exist. After all, ignorance is bliss. If you aren’t aware of it, you don’t have to do anything to help. The only solution I know of is to go in, get your hands dirty, connect with the people so it becomes real names and people, not just stories, and then do what you can to make a difference with what’s in your hand. If you can’t go, help someone who can.

The real question is, “What has God given me that He intends for me to use for Him?” I am and have been wasteful with what He’s given me. We think we have so little because we’re comparing ourselves to the rich in this country. If you look at the other 98% of the world, the “little” you have is more than they will ever have. We use the excuse of “I don’t have much” to keep us from giving or doing things that matter. In reality, we have been blessed more than we will ever know. As Jesus said in Luke 12:48, “To whom much is given, much is required.” If you can read this, you’ve been given much more than most of the world.

What excuses have you made that have kept you from giving and using what God has given you? Have you falsely compared yourself to the world’s wealthiest people instead of to the majority of the population? What will you do differently going forward? How can God use your “little” to make a big impact in the world of others? It all starts with you recognizing how much you truly have, how wasteful you’ve been with it and opening your eyes to the potential God sees in you. What are you willing to let go of that He can use? The power of letting go rests in your hands.

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On A Dirt Road In Haiti

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As day four dawned in Haiti, the team was very energetic. We got up, had a good breakfast, a great devotional and then packed for the day. We piled up in the back of the truck and headed for Myan. The long dusty road there is full of bumps. All along the way, people smile and give us a thumbs up. It’s clear that Coreluv has built good relationships in the community and the people are excited to see the teams who come down their road. They know that we’re there to help not just the orphans, but the community at large.

When we arrived at the orphanage in Myan, we unpacked and began to prepare for our projects. Kids arrived slowly for some reason. As I went from room to room to check on the teams, I went into one where some ladies were staining the beds the orphans will sleep on. Just inside the door, a three year old boy was sitting on the floor with just a shirt on. He was covered in the white dirt that is everywhere out there. He looked up and you could see he was sad and something was wrong.

One of our team members, who has been on several trips, said, “He told me he didn’t sleep well.” I held his hand, but he would barely look at me or grip my fingers. After sitting with him a few minutes, I moved on to walk the property and see where future projects would be. I checked on the other team who were building shelving in our storage room. They were measuring, cutting and determining what order to do things in with the limited tools and weak generator. Each person was doing their part to make this project a success.

As I walked into the bed staining room, I saw our team member giving this boy water and then some food. He’d ask for more water and she’d give it to him. Then he’d ask for another bite of food. Slowly his demeanor began to change. My heart was touched as I watched her compassion for this little boy. As she gave it to him, Matthew 10:42 came to mind, “And if you give a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward.” I was blessed to be able to watch that moment take place.

As the teams kept working on their projects, the missionary, a girl on the team and I got in the truck and headed back towards Gonaives. After we got over the part of the mountain the puts Myan in a valley, we pulled over. On a dirt road in Haiti, we used the hot spot feature on his iPhone to connect his iPad. We then used Skype to call Lifestyle Christian School where she attends and were patched into their chapel service. They’re bring a team of students next year and the principal wanted to have the student on this trip to be able to share her experiences.

As we finished speaking to chapel, we all kind of looked at each other and talked about how cool it was to be pulled over on the side of a mountain, on this dirt road, and to be able to do a video feed thousands of miles away to be able to share what we were doing. In a country where many of the technological advances that we enjoy daily have yet to make it, we were able to do that. The concept of video calling hasn’t reached here and would be as foreign to them as a truck of American sitting on the side of their road.

After coming back to town for supplies to get the more powerful generator working, we returned to Myan. The teams had made huge progress. The generator fired up after several minutes of the locals working on it. The saws started buzzing, drills started humming and the work began to move quickly. The 90 degree heat and no air conditioning began to take it’s toll on everyone. One of the guys looked at me and asked what time it was. When I told him it was almost 3:00, his face showed that he thought it was much later. We worked a little bit more when a couple of kids showed up in the middle of the buildings and started throwing a tennis ball.

One guy looked and asked, “Where’s our soccer ball?” I pointed it out and he ran out there with them. It didn’t take long until all of us were out there kicking the ball in a circle. Soon after, it became a free for all running after the person who had the ball. The goal was simply to be the one kicking it. Laughter filled the air in Myan (and dirt!). For an hour we played and loved these kids as the Haitian workers watched us. There was a renewed purpose for the work and our energy levels increased. It was just the boost we needed to get through three more days of work.

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Dream Bigger

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One of my favorite things to do in Haiti is to go to the Roboto feeding center. Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere and Roboto is one of the poorest areas in Haiti. The further we drove into Roboto, the poorer it got. Paved streets turned into rocks covered in trash. The few buildings that are made of wood lean to the side a bit. The rest are made with rusty tin that has rusted through in many places. People sitting on their porches don’t smile and nothing is done to upkeep the area as if it’s too far gone.

When we arrived to our destination I was shocked at how improved our feeding center was since April. Teams have used paving stones to line ground on the property. The width of the property has increased and a second building has been added. The sound of children learning filled the air. As we walked to the back of the property that backs up to the ocean, we passed several classrooms filled with children in blue and white uniforms. They smiled and waved as we walked through getting a tour and tried to process what we were seeing. Over the fence at the back of the property is a beach that is covered by trash and looks more like a landfill. Fisherman were ashore in their boats cleaning their nets and the smell was nearly overwhelming.

As we broke into our assigned teams, we quickly began to work. The guys began to add swings to the swing set and to make repairs on it. The kids in the classrooms stared at us smiling and waving. They couldn’t wait until recess. When it was time for it, every swing quickly filled up. While we were doing that, the ladies were up front painting the entrance, front wall and principal’s office. The wall outside was painted a stark white and was accented by painting the gates bright green. We chose green because it represents new life and hope which is what we hope to bring.

As the morning continued, it came time for lunch. The truck arrived with three five gallon buckets of rice and one bucket halfway filled with macaroni noodles in a brown sauce. Team members grabbed plates and started putting rice on them. Others grabbed the plates and poured some of the macaroni and sauce on them. Others delivered the food to the classes. Others picked up empty dishes and returned them to fill with food again for other children. Each child waits patiently for their food. For most of these kids, this will be the only meal they get. Their parents are so poor, they can’t afford to feed them. What was just a feeding center in the beginning has evolved into an education center to those who would have no education otherwise. We also share God’s love with them and hope to make spiritual change there as well as the future of Roboto.

After lunch, we got to come back to the guest house to clean up a bit and grab something to eat. After lunch, we went to the orphanage in Gonaives. As we sat outside the gate and heard the story of how Coreluv became involved with this orphanage, the sound of children grew louder on the other side. When the gate was opened, the children came rushing out like water on rocks. They bounced from person to person looking at our faces as if to determine who they wanted to fall in love with them. You don’t choose the orphan you get to love, they choose you. They make you feel special because you are the one that they want to have hold them.

We did crafts with them, brought books for them and played games for hours. The staff got a much needed break and took the opportunity to rest. The sound of laughter filled the house. These children aren’t the sad ones on commercials begging for your money. They live in similar conditions, but they’re happy and well cared for. As a monthly contributor, I don’t sponsor just one child. My money goes into everything we’re doing on this trip. I get to see my giving in action and making a difference not just for the orphans, but for the whole community.

At the end of a long, tiring day our muscles were worn out, our emotions were drained and our minds had tried to comprehend what all we saw. We still walked out on that balcony to meet Jesus and to worship Him for giving us the opportunity to serve and to be His hands and feet. We heard from II Kings 4:1-7 and were asked what all miracles we saw in that chapter. One person said it best when he said the widow was challenged to dream big. God will fill as many vessels as you bring Him. The only limitations He has are the amount that you bring Him and allow Him to fill. After yesterday, our dreams just got bigger.

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Moonwalking Jesus

A friend showed me a video this week of two teams of guys doing a drill of passing basketballs. The video asked how many times a certain group passed the ball. I watched intently and counted in my head as they passed the ball. At the end of the video it asked, “How many did you count?” My answer was right. I took a deep breath, held my chin up a little bit and bowed out my chest as if I was something. Then the video asked, “Did you see the moonwalking bear?”

What bear? There were two teams of guys passing balls. There was no bear. Then the video rewinds and highlights a guy in a bear costume start from the right side of the screen and moon-walked through the players to the left side of the screen. The guys pad to move to pass around him, but I never saw him when I initially watched it. I also replayed the video from the beginning just to make sure they didn’t try to pull a fast one on me. He was there the whole time.

I was reading John chapter one this morning and came across verse 10. Speaking about Jesus, it says, “He came into the world He created, but the world didn’t recognize Him.” You’re thinking, “I recognize Him”, but really we have the advantage of the tape rewind like I did later in that video. Would we have recognized Him in that time when He came in the flesh? Would we have readily received Him? Or would we have been so busy counting the laws we were supposed to be obeying that we missed Jesus moonwalking through our world.

What about today’s world? Do you see Jesus in your world today? He’s there all around us. He’s the homeless person on the corner who’s hungry. He’s the single mother who doesn’t have enough money to pay the bills. He’s the person who has been beat down by this world and doesn’t think they can go on another day. He’s the child who has been orphaned and is in need of love. He’s in the cubicle next to you. In the house next door. Standing in front of you in line. He’s moonwalking through our lives and we don’t see Him most if the time because we aren’t really looking for Him.

Jesus said in Matthew 25:40, “Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me.” How many times have I overlooked someone or ignored them? It wasn’t intentional. I was just busy going about my day doing what I do. I wasn’t looking for those opportunities. According to verse 45, that won’t be an acceptable excuse. Jesus said, “Whenever you failed to do one of these things to someone who was being overlooked or ignored, that was me – you failed to do it to me.”

I don’t want to miss Jesus moonwalking through my life today. I pray that God opens my eyes so I can see Him where I didn’t expect Him. I pray that God gives me the courage to help the people that are overlooked and ignored when I see them. I’m hoping today that you’ll make that your prayer too. Jesus is all around us everyday, but we don’t see Him because we aren’t looking for Him that way. Yet, He told us in His Word that’s what He’d look like in our world. Keep your eyes open today and let me know where you see Him moonwalking.

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