The Homeless – Shun, Ignore, or Embrace?
February 1, 2018
This last month I attended the Bakersfield Prayer Breakfast here in my hometown. I’ve been told this is the second largest prayer breakfast in the nation. In addition to the great food and all the Christian brothers and sisters you get to meet with, there is always an outstanding speaker. This year was no exception. We heard from Mike Yankoski who for five months lived as a homeless person so that he might actually experience what it was like to be homeless. His story of those months is chronicled in his book Under The Overpass. Quite a sobering read.
As I listened to Mike and later read his book I felt both convicted about my past behavior towards the homeless and how I was going to change my response from this point on. I had been guilty many times of not seeing them and/or justifying my response with thinking, “They will just spend it on drugs or booze so why bother. Besides, there are places like The Mission where they can go and receive help.” While there are places where help can be found if all the homeless were to show up they would be overwhelmed.
Mike talks about how we as believers can respond to the homeless in ways that can offer them hope and much encouragement. Even a smile, engaging in conversation or offering them a meal is huge. But his experience more often than not was to be ignored and shunned. He gives some practical ways that one can respond to the homeless as we go about our lives and come across them, often when we least expect it. I highly recommend you read his book and look at your own attitude towards these often forgotten people. It could well change how you see them in the future.
DO YOU TRUST ME OR NOT?
Everywhere I go around this nation, again and again I hear Christians who are dealing with issues in their lives, involving relationships in their families, or at work or school, or issues with their health or finances. We look around us and see our nation in chaos, the level of stress and frenzied activity in our lives is increasing dramatically. Never have I seen an election for President bring about such contention among people. Once again God brings us face to face with this question, “Do you trust me or not?” I am reminded of a time when my son and I were at a gentleman’s home here in Bakersfield. This man was well known and quite knowledgeable in dealing with snakes. He had in a cage the largest Diamond Back Rattlesnake in captivity. He said to my son, “I want you to reach in that cage and pick up that rattlesnake.” This rattlesnake was coiled and ready to strike. When my son hesitated the man said to him, “You came to me for help and information regarding reptiles because you needed my help; now I am asking you to do something. I am telling you that if you reach in and slowly pick him up he will not hurt you. Now, DO YOU TRUST ME OR NOT?” The point is that often we go to God when things are going well or we need his help in the day-to-day circumstances of life. But then there comes a time when we are facing something very scary and He allows it to bring us to a point where the question from Him becomes, “DO YOU TRUST ME OR NOT?”
My newest book, Before You Get Here subtitled, Baggage To Drop On Your Way To Heaven, is a guide to assist in discovering freedom from the invisible burdens that oppress and defeat many Christians today. Chapters include: The Importance of Forgiveness, The Traps of Unforgiveness, A Look in the Mirror, Harmful Words and Harmful Connections, Let Yourself Be Loved By God, The Recovery of Intimacy, and more. Copies will be available at Wholeness.org and at Amazon.com.
$$$$$ This last week I spent part of my time signing letters and writing notes to those of you that faithfully support this ministry. I was looking over this stack of donation letters and I was overcome with such deep thankfulness for you that believe in what we are doing and have been faithful in your support. Some of you from the very beginning over 23 years ago! The amounts range from small to large but what is important to me is your heart of giving believing that what you are doing will make and difference in the Kingdom of God! A simple thank you seems hardly adequate to express how I feel about you but it’s the best I have to say. So, THANK YOU!