Tag Archives: homeless

The Rescue Mission

Twice this week, I’ve heard stories about people who are on a rescue mission from God. One group is trying to rescue the homeless in Houston and their babies. The other person is on a joint drug task force who is taking the Love of Christ to some of the darkest places imaginable. Both of these people have a Holy Calling from God to rescue people from the gates of Hell. It’s incredible and encouraging to hear the stories of the lives their changing. As I listened, God reminded me that we as Christians should all be in the habit of rescuing people.

I live in Houston where hurricane Harvey flooded so many parts of our city. The world watched as people jumped in boats and went house to house rescuing those who were stranded. What we witnessed was God’s heart in action. Every one of us were made in God’s image, so every one of us are worth rescuing. Every person has value. That’s why the Great Commission is really a rescue mission to go into all the world. Will you do your part?

Here are some Bible verses on how God rescues and we are to be rescuing.

1. But God will rescue me; he will save me from the power of death.

Psalm 49:15 GNT

2. It’s news I’m most proud to proclaim, this extraordinary Message of God’s powerful plan to rescue everyone who trusts him, starting with Jews and then right on to everyone else! God’s way of putting people right shows up in the acts of faith, confirming what Scripture has said all along: “The person in right standing before God by trusting him really lives.”

Romans 1:16-17 MSG

3. Rescue others by snatching them from the flames of judgment. Show mercy to still others, but do so with great caution, hating the sins that contaminate their lives.

Jude 1:23 NLT

4. He said to them, “When you pray, say: ‘ Father, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. ‘Give us each day our daily bread. ‘And forgive us our sins, For we ourselves also forgive everyone who is indebted to us [who has offended or wronged us]. And lead us not into temptation [ but rescue us from evil].’”

LUKE 11:2-4 AMP

5. Rescue those who are being taken away to death, And those who stagger to the slaughter, Oh hold them back [from their doom]!

PROVERBS 24:11 AMP

Photo by Hush Naidoo on Unsplash

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Lending To The Lord


One of the cool things I got to do this year was to be a part of YWAM’s Houston Street Church. After we set up all the chairs, the homeless and street walkers started showing up. They were fed a meal and then given a church service. There was a booth set up called Kuts for Christ. They offered free hair cuts in exchange for the ability to pray for them. After the service, those still in attendance were able to stop by some tables and pick out some clothes. Every bit of it was free and designed to help this team build relationships to win them to Christ. 

As I drove away that night, I couldn’t help but reflect on what I had just witnessed and been a part of. I saw society’s outcasts waiting to hug the couple that leads this church. I saw them lining up almost two hours before the event to get help physically and spiritually. I watched a team of volunteers and full time mission workers org together to do something special for people the rest of us look away from. I witnessed ministry taking place in an unexpected place.

It reminded me of Proverbs 19:17 that says, “If you help the poor, you are lending to the Lord- and He will repay you!” (NLT) I know that these ministers aren’t doing this to get paid back by the Lord. They’re doing it as an expression of love. When I saw their faces light up as much as the people on the street, I knew this was more than a feeding and clothing program. Real relationships had been built. Real help was being given. Real ministry was being done.

One thing I’ve learned in life is that there’s always someone who has it worse than me. No matter what financial, emotional or physical state I’m in, I have the ability to help others less fortunate. In Matthew 25, Jesus said that when we do things for the poor and outcasts, we’ve done it to Him. The least of these are all around us every day. Take some time to look for them instead of away from them, and do something to help them. It doesn’t matter what they do with your help as long as you’re doing it unto the Lord. 

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The Joy Of Contentment 

  
When I travel to New Orleans, there’s a certain homeless person I like to say hello to. He always makes me smile and he never asks me for anything. He’ll say, “It ain’t gonna cost you nothing to come say hello. I ain’t gonna rob you!” I then walk over and say hello and he puts a smile on my face. Except on a recent trip he called me over and said, “You know I never ask for nothing, but could you go in there and buy me an orange juice and sandwich? I’m about to curl up on my cardboard and I’m hungry.”

When I handed him his dinner, he hugged me and thanked me. He then asked, “You know what I’d change about the world?” My mind began to think of any number of answers. No more homelessness. No more hunger. No more devaluing people. No more selfishness. But before I could decide on an answer, he grabbed my shoulder, looked up at the sky, smiled a big toothless grin, and said, “Absolutely nothing!” He laughed, thanked me again and walked away.

I thought about his answer as I walked back to my hotel. Here’s a man, for whatever reason, is sleeping on a cardboard mat on the streets on downtown New Orleans and is exposed to the elements constantly, and he wouldn’t change a thing. Even though he has absolutely nothing to his name, he has found a way to be content. He’s learned to choose joy instead of bitterness over his situation. It’s a lesson we all could learn.

Paul learned that secret and told us about it in Philippians 4:12. He said, “I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little” (NLT). That secret is choosing the joy of contentment with where God has you. That joy gives us the strength to endure whatever comes our way. It takes us from being a victim of life to a victor over our situation. Don’t try to change your world. Change your attitude. The next verse tells us we can. “For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.”

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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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Are We Goats Thinking We’re Sheep?

I’ve got Haiti on my heart this morning. Partly because I’m headed back in a few months and partly because we watched a video from Richard Stearns from World Vision last night. He reminded us of the scripture in Matthew 25:35-40 where Jesus told of the day where God will separate the sheep from the goats. Jesus said that He will turn to the sheep and say, “I was hungry and you fed me, I was thirsty and you gave me a drink, I was homeless and you gave me a room, I was shivering and you gave me clothes, I was sick and you stopped to visit, I was in prison and you came to me.’ (MSG)”

What stood out to me last night as he read that scripture was the response of the sheep. They said, “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)”. They didn’t even realize it was Jesus they were doing it to. They were doing those things because God’s love compelled them to.

That’s a stark contrast from where the Church is today. The Barna Group released the results of a study yesterday. They interviewed over 700 self-professed Christians and asked a series of 20 questions about attitudes and actions. In the end, only 14% of self-professed Christians were found to have the attitudes and actions of Jesus. Another 14% had the actions of Jesus, but not His attitude. The results show a lot more and if you like, you can see it here.

If we add those numbers together, barely a quarter of Christians act like Jesus. He spent His time in ministry to the poor, the hurting, the outcasts, the leppers and the unwanted. He spent very little time with those who were looking for power and prestige. He made it clear that He wanted us to do the same. You can see that in what He said in Matthew 25. The ones who made it to Heaven were those who fed the hungry, gave drinks to the thirsty, sheltered the homeless, gave clothes to the poor and visited those who were sick or in prison. When is the last time we’ve done any of those things?

We’ve spent millions building bigger, more stylish churches and only thousands on taking care of the poor. I look at those results of the Barna group and ask myself, “What area do I fall in? Do I have both the attitudes and actions of Jesus? Am I in the 28% or in the other 72%?” Those are tough questions that God and I are going to work through. I encourage you to ask the same questions. If you’re not in the 28%, what can you start doing today to move in that direction? How can you be one of the sheep instead of a goat?

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Ministering in Love Languages

At church last night, our group was discussing a church in Austin, Texas that had someone who ministers to the homeless in that area come in and speak. At the altar call, he didn’t ask anyone to come down and get saved. He didn’t ask anyone to come down for prayer. He asked that each person would pray and ask God if they should give their shoes to the homeless. If they felt they were, they were to come to the front, take off their shoes and leave them there.

I started thinking about that and the book “The 5 Love Languages” by Dr. Gary Chapman. In it, he describes five ways that people give and receive love: words of affirmation, acts of service, quality time, physical touch and gifts. Then I started thinking, if those are the ways people receive love, shouldn’t we the Church be showing love to the lost in their love languages? The story in Austin was showing love through gifts. For a lot of believers, this is the easiest way to show love because we give out of our abundance and then move on with our lives. What if we continued to give gifts until it came from our necessity and not our abundance?

Words of affirmation are another one that doesn’t require much of us, but we hardly do it. I was having a rough day recently and had a lot on my mind. As I stopped to pump gas, my mind was working. A lady on the other side of the pump said, “Hey, you should smile every once in a while. It’ll do wonders!” I snapped out of my thought coma, looked at her and smiled. She said, “See. Doesn’t that feel better?” She got in her car and drove off. Her words of affirmation changed my mindset. It made my day better. We can do that too.

Where things start to get difficult are the remaining three. I once heard it said that many people spell “love”, T-I-M-E. Quality time is not something we usually want to do with “the least of these”. We’d rather give something that costs us less. The problem is that those who receive love this way are left out when we’d rather take the easier route. If we truly care about the lost, we need to find ways to spend quality time with them, invest in a relationship and share the love of Christ with them.

I like acts of service when reaching out to the lost. I call it “putting sweat equity in the Kingdom”. Give a day of your time, labor and talents to someone who needs it. This speaks volumes to those who receive love this way. Find a widow or elderly couple nearby who need yard or house work done and help them. Find a single mom who needs help and offer to help her. Find a ministry who is doing one of the other love languages and help them. It requires your time and effort, but is well worth it.

Finally, there is physical touch. Jesus was good at this. He laid His hands on people and touched them. He wasn’t afraid to go up to lepers and touch them. They were considered unclean and people were forbidden to touch them, but Jesus did it anyway. Who are today’s “lepers”? Who does society deem “unclean”? They need us to reach out to them, hug them and to share God’s love with them.

The book shows that we typically give love in ways we like to receive it. In a relationship, you have to learn someone else’s language to keep their “love tank” full. In ministry, I think that if you’re good at giving love in your language, that’s the area you need to show love to others in. Each church should have ministries that give love to others in these five ways. It will allow those in the church who give love those ways a place to plug in. It will also allow the church to share love in the ways that people in their community receive it. Think of the difference that could make for your church and God’s Kingdom.

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