Passion

April 9, 2010 Leave a comment
Jorge Angulo

Jorge Angulo

The first time I ventured out on the streets of Hollywood with Broken Hearts Ministry, I was nervous, terrified, and excited all at the same time. In many ways I can liken my emotions on that night to many of my experiences on those big roller coasters at Six Flags. They call them “thrill rides” for a reason. The second night out with Broken Hearts, I sat with several others on a sidewalk outside a laundromat as we listened to Antquan Washington preach a 15 minute sermon. In many ways I thought it all to be totally absurd. “Preaching to addicts, prostitutes, dealers… waste of time but bold nonetheless.” It didn’t take long though for me to see positive results from Antquan’s preaching and the rest of what the Broken Hearts team was doing.

The more I witnessed positive results from the street preaching, the more I admired Antquan. Since he stood and we sat as he preached, I looked up to him more and more in both senses. Antquan had and continues to have a passion to bring the healing truth of the Gospel of Jesus to the broken and hurting. You could say he was and is on fire. Likewise, you could say that his fire spread onto me too. It wasn’t long before I began considering preaching too. My gut reaction though was “Shu! …Right! …As if! …Like THAT will ever happen!” I can’t remember the specifics of how it came to be but after some time I gave my first street sermon, then another, and another… I’d like to think that I am pretty good at it now.

I got a gentle reminder a few months ago about how I basically sucked when I first started preaching. Antquan saw that I had a passion to preach even if I lacked the skills and natural talent. So he continued to allow me to preach despite my flaws. Unbeknownst to me at that time several people loathed my preaching. More than one person approached Antquan privately and pleaded that he would stop permitting me to preach. One person said once, with a tone that was less than enthusiastic, “What?! Jeremiah is speaking again?!”. I think if I had known what was being said about me in private back then I would have been crushed and would never have spoken in public again, anywhere, ever. Knowing what I know now, I am forever grateful to Antquan for seeing what many others couldn’t see. Read more…

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The Value of an Angry Drunk Man

March 29, 2010 Leave a comment
Antquan in the Parking Lot Church

Antquan in the Parking Lot Church

I like pretty women and I really enjoy talking with them. Angry drunk men on the other hand are generally not quite as enjoyable for me. It should come as no surprise then that when I encountered two such drunken men last Thursday night I didn’t think my evening was getting off to a good start.

When I arrived on the streets of Hollywood last Thursday to meet up with the rest of the Broken Hearts Ministry team I quickly encountered a drunken man stumbling down the sidewalk toward me. He was so wobbly that he had to use the wall of the buildings to his left to keep from falling. I made eye contact with him as we approached each other and he seemed to have enough sense to fall onto a windowsill before I passed, presumably to avoid falling on me. As I passed him we made eye contact again and I smiled but we did not exchange words. After I had passed I heard him shout something angrily at me but I could not make out his words over the sounds of the rushing cars. Seconds later I met up with the team… who was being told a thing or two by a second drunk man. Read more…

Don’t Bother Me, I’m Dying

March 15, 2010 Leave a comment

My 11-year-old son, Josh, is in Little League and his baseball season just started. In his two games so far he has been eager to hit a home run, too eager. In fact, he has three strike outs in four at-bats and his coach had to pull me aside to tell me “Your son won’t be hitting any home runs this year and the sooner he gets that in his head, the sooner he’ll start getting hits.” So, yesterday I took Josh and his little sister to a nearby field to do some hitting. My goal was to get Josh to swing for base hits, not home runs. So I made it a contest. I showed him two $5 bills and told him that he could have both if he could hit two home runs. I then threw him ~50 pitches, most of which he hit. But only one of his hits came within even thirty feet of being a home run. Then I changed the rules. I pointed out where he had been hitting the balls and I gave him a new challenge: Get five consecutive good hits and you’ll earn one of the $5 bills. Twenty pitches later, he had earned the money. Read more…

Midnight on Skid Row

February 22, 2010 Leave a comment
Last night I took a midnight trip to Skid Row with my friend Jorge and a few people I had never met before. I had been to Skid Row once before with some other friends, a couple years ago, but that was during the day.

For those that aren’t familiar with Skid Row, allow me to explain, from my perspective. First, here is a (slightly modified) quote from Wikipedia: “The area contains one of the largest stable populations of homeless persons in the United States. Informal population estimates range from 7,000 to 8,000. People passing through this area immediately see cardboard boxes and camping tents lining the sidewalks.” People find themselves living on Skid Row for a number of reasons, but the reasons are almost always drug-related. I was told during my first visit not to touch the walls or ground lest I catch an excrement-related disease. Needless to say, I carried hand-sanitizer with me and used it several times. While on that first trip, I witnessed one man going from woman to woman propositioning them for free and unprotected sex. He had two takers in a one-hour time span. At least they had the decency to do it in the privacy of the bathroom ONE of the two times. The other time was in plain view of everyone. Everyone and everything seemed to reek of poop and pot. The point I am trying to make is that most of these people have no respect for themselves. They have forgotten how to love themselves and how to be loved by others. Mostly, they just exist and live from one fix to the next. Read more…

Science Proves God Can’t Exist

January 26, 2010 Leave a comment
A few weeks ago I was browsing my local video store when I stumbled upon a DVD entitled “The Case for a Creator” by Lee Strobel. I had never read or watched any of his work before but I had heard positive things about him, so I picked it up and took a closer look. The price was really good and the synopsis on the back of the box sounded good so I bought it. I just wasn’t sure how long it would be before I got around to watching it. After all, documentaries are not exactly a Saturday night popcorn and kids kind of movie. When I got home I set the bag containing the unwrapped DVD on a shelf. That’s where it sat untouched for several weeks. Read more…

My Daughter, the Unchristian

January 18, 2010 Leave a comment
This weekend my daughter told me that she didn’t want to be a Christian. Before I get to that though, let’s rewind a bit…

My parents raised us three boys to be independent. This was both intentional and unintentional. Intentional in that they wanted to make us into adults that could think and act on our own. Unintentional in that they both had to work long hours to make ends meet thus leaving us to fend for ourselves a lot of the time, beginning as young as 8-years-old.

Overall I like how my parents did things because I think I turned out okay, eventually. With my own two kids however, I am trying to minimize how often they “fend for themselves” while still empowering them to be free thinkers. My daughter turns seven in a few days and my son just started middle school. He is eleven. To facilitate this free-thinking-ness, I encourage honest conversation about the things we all three do wrong personally, from lusting to lying. On the whole, I am very strict about the movies we watch, but I use any “bad” moment in a movie as a teaching opportunity. Read more…

Last Night I went to Watts…

December 16, 2009 Leave a comment
Last night I went to a church in Watts to deliver a carload of balls and art sets that will be handed out to the children for Christmas. 

The first time I ever visited Watts was two years ago as part of a 5-day/4-night mission trip. That’s a whole other story. Needless to say, at that time, I was terrified of the idea of going to Watts. Visiting Watts was literally on my Top 10 List of Things I Don’t Want to Do. Jumping out of an airplane, being burned to death, and drowning to death were also in that same top 10. On our team’s last night in Watts we walked through the neighborhood to get to a local restaurant that had food to die for – pun intended. As our team of mostly white people walked the streets, I felt kind of like we were a militia in a foreign land and the enemy was lurking behind any one of the windows on either side of us. I thought for sure that at any moment we would be fired upon and would have to duck or run for cover.

We did make it to and from the restaurant without a shot being fired. Read more…
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