Thursday, July 23, 2009

Daniel's Gloves

I've been teaching the adult Bible study at church on Wednesday night during the month of July.  We've been doing the study NO PLAN B by Todd Phillips.  It's about how God has only one plan for dealing with the poor and oppressed of the world--the Church.  Not The Church as in a church but the church as in you and me.  He wants social action and the gospel to go hand in hand and work together.  Todd said in the first session that "the gospel gives our acts a reason to be and our actions give validity to the gospel."  I love that!

Earlier today a friend of mine who has been attending the study emailed the following story to me.  (Thanks Linda!)  As I read it I wept, because it is the essence of what we've been studying for the past three weeks.  It is so easy for us as Americans to look away and ignore what is going on right in front of us.  We're too focused on ourselves to bother with the homeless vet asking for food much less begin to even think about the starving disease-ridden children of this world. 

The problem seems overwhelming to say the least.  What could I, one person, possibly do to make a difference in a situation that is so vast?  All it takes is one person standing up and DOING something to make a change in one person's life.  One person!  You!  Me!  That is all that God is asking of us!
I sat, with two friends, in the picture window of a quaint restaurant just off the corner of the town-square. The food and the company were both especially good that day.

     As we talked, my attention was drawn outside, across the street. There, walking into town, was a man who appeared to be carrying all his worldly goods on his back. He was carrying, a well-worn sign that read, 'I will work for food.' My heart sank.
     I brought him to the attention of my friends and noticed that others around us had stopped eating to focus on him. Heads moved in a mixture of sadness and disbelief.

     We continued with our meal, but his image lingered in my mind. We finished our meal and went our separate ways. I had errands to do and quickly set out to accomplish them. I glanced toward the town square, looking somewhat halfheartedly for the strange visitor. I was fearful, knowing that seeing him again would call some response. I drove through town and saw nothing of him. I made some purchases at a store and got back in my car.

     Deep within me, the Spirit of God kept speaking to me: 'Don't go back to the office until you've at least driven once more around the square.'

    Then with some hesitancy, I headed back into town. As I turned the square's third corner, I saw him. He was standing on the steps of the store front church, going through his sack.

     I stopped and looked; feeling both compelled to speak to him, yet wanting to drive on.. The empty parking space on the corner seemed to be a sign from God: an invitation to park. I pulled in, got out and approached the town's newest visitor.

     'Looking for the pastor?' I asked.

     'Not really,' he replied, 'just resting.'

     'Have you eaten today?'

     'Oh, I ate something early this morning.'

     'Would you like to have lunch with me?'

     'Do you have some work I could do for you?'
    'No work,' I replied 'I commute here to work from the city, but I would like to take you to lunch.'

     'Sure,' he replied with a smile.

     As he began to gather his things, I asked some surface questions. Where you headed?'

    '  St. Louis  '

    'Where you from?'

     'Oh, all over; mostly   Florida ..'

    'How long you been walking?'

     'Fourteen years,' came the reply.

    I knew I had met someone unusual. We sat across from each other in the same restaurant I had left earlier. His face was weathered slightly beyond his 38 years. His eyes were dark yet clear, and he spoke with an eloquence and articulation that was startling. He removed his jacket to reveal a bright red T-shirt that said, 'Jesus is The Never Ending Story.'

     Then Daniel's story began to unfold. He had seen rough times early in life. He'd made some wrong choices and reaped the consequences.. Fourteen years earlier, while backpacking across the country, he had stopped on the beach in Daytona.. He tried to hire on with some men who were putting up a large tent and some equipment. A concert, he thought.
    He was hired, but the tent would not house a concert but revival services, and in those services he saw life more clearly. He gave his life over to God

    'Nothing's been the same since,' he said, 'I felt the Lord telling me to keep walking, and so I did, some 14 years now.'

     'Ever think of stopping?' I asked.

     'Oh, once in a while, when it seems to get the best of me But God has given me this calling. I give out Bibles That's what's in my sack. I work to buy food and Bibles, and I give them out when His Spirit leads.'

    I sat amazed. My homeless friend was not homeless. He was on a mission and lived this way by choice. The question burned inside for a moment and then I asked: 'What's it like?'


    'To walk into a town carrying all your things on your back and to show your sign?'

    'Oh, it was humiliating at first. People would stare and make comments. Once someone tossed a piece of half-eaten bread and made a gesture that certainly didn't make me feel welcome. But then it became humbling to realize that God was using me to touch lives and change people's concepts of other folks like me.'

    My concept was changing, too. We finished our dessert and gathered his things. Just outside the door, he paused He turned to me and said, 'Come Ye blessed of my Father and inherit the kingdom I've prepared for you. For when I was hungry you gave me food, when I was thirsty you gave me drink, a stranger and you took me in.'

     I felt as if we were on holy ground. 'Could you use another Bible?' I asked.

     He said he preferred a certain translation. It traveled well and was not too heavy. It was also his personal favorite.. 'I've read through it 14 times,' he said.

    'I'm not sure we've got one of those, but let's stop by our church and see' I was able to find my new friend a Bible that would do well, and he seemed very grateful.

    'Where are you headed from here?' I asked.

     'Well, I found this little map on the back of this amusement park coupon.'

     'Are you hoping to hire on there for awhile?'

    'No, I just figure I should go there. I figure someone under that star right there needs a Bible, so that's where I'm going next.'

    He smiled, and the warmth of his spirit radiated the sincerity of his mission. I drove him back to the town-square where we'd met two hours earlier, and as we drove, it started raining. We parked and unloaded his things.

    'Would you sign my autograph book?' he asked.. 'I like to keep messages from folks I meet.'

     I wrote in his little book that his commitment to his calling had touched my life. I encouraged him to stay strong. And I left him with a verse of scripture from Jeremiah, 'I know the plans I have for you, declared the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you; Plans to give you a future and a hope.'

  'Thanks, man,' he said. 'I know we just met and we're really just strangers, but I love you.'

   'I know,' I said, 'I love you, too.' 'The Lord is good!'

   'Yes, He is. How long has it been since someone hugged you?' I asked..

     A long time,' he replied

    And so on the busy street corner in the drizzling rain, my new friend and I embraced, and I felt deep inside that I had been changed.. He put his things on his back, smiled his winning smile and said, 'See you in the New Jerusalem.'

    'I'll be there!' was my reply.
    He began his journey again. He headed away with his sign dangling from his bedroll and pack of Bibles. He stopped, turned and said, 'When you see something that makes you think of me, will you pray for me?'

     'You bet,' I shouted back, 'God bless.'

    'God bless.' And that was the last I saw of him.

     Late that evening as I left my office, the wind blew strong. The cold front had settled hard upon the town. I bundled up and hurried to my car. As I sat back and reached for the emergency brake, I saw them.... a pair of well-worn brown work gloves neatly laid over the length of the handle. I picked them up and thought of my friend and wondered if his hands would stay warm that night without them.

    Then I remembered his words: 'If you see something that makes you think of me, will you pray for me?'

    Today his gloves lie on my desk in my office.. They help me to see the world and its people in a new way, and they help me remember those two hours with my unique friend and to pray for his ministry. 'See you in the New Jerusalem,' he said. Yes, Daniel, I know I will...

“I shall pass this way but once. Therefore, any good that I can do or any kindness that I can show, let me do it now, for I shall not pass this way again.”

So take a moment to ask God what He would have YOU do today.  Something that is seemingly small and insignificant to you has the potential of radically altering another person's life for all eternity.  Nothing is too small for God to use!

Friday, July 10, 2009

The Superbowl of Motherhood

Today all of heaven is rejoicing with me.

My daughter came to me about an hour ago and said, "I just asked Jesus into my heart, Mommy!"

It just doesn't get any better than that!

Happy Birthday Baby Girl!

May God continue to draw you to Him. May you enjoy the many wonderful blessings of a life lived for Him. You will never be sorry.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Once a Month Won't Get You Blogher Ads

About six months ago I applied to run Blogher ads on my sight. At that time I was posting a couple times a week. Then it tapered the speed of cold molassas in January. I totally forgot about the application and about Blogher in general until two weeks ago when I received their response to my application.

A paraphrase...
"Due to your utter lack of posting we're going to pass this time on you this time. We prefer to have our ads run on blogs that people actually read! People don't read blogs that are only posted to once a month. Sorry about your luck. When you get your bloggy butt in gear you can re-apply."

(It really wasn't rude AT ALL! I added all the snippy comments.)

I was so irritated with myself on the one hand, but on the other hand I didn't care at all. Since applying for the ads, my outlook on my little piece of the blogesphere has changed. I used to want lots and lots of readers. I wanted to run ads to draw more readers and more advertisers so I could make a name for myself just like The Pioneer Woman and Dooce.

But I've discovered that's not what I want at all. I just want a place to be me. I want to write about the stuff I love and share my life with the people I care about. If a stranger stumbles upon my little blog here and is encouraged or blessed or amused by something I wrote and wants to come back day after day, er...month after month, then more power to them. But I'm not going to seek that out. At least not now anyway.

Soooo...what's my point? Um, I guess there really isn't one. Ha! With Twitter and Facebook giving, I haven't felt the need to post here. And honestly...the few people who even read this blog are already on either Twitter of Facebook (or both) and you haven't wondered one moment where I've been.

I'll be interested to see where this blog goes. I'll keep you posted.

Bahahaha!!!! Get it?!?!? Posted!?!?!?!

I love when I make myself laugh!

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

There is NO PLAN B...

Join me Wednesday nights for a brand new study of God's remarkable plan to rescue the world!

WARNING: This study just might mess with your current worldview. Be prepared to Get Uncomfortable!

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Independance Hall

A gorgeous day with my lovelies. It doesn't get much better than this!

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