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Posts Tagged ‘jesus’

The Woman Who Asked “Am I Good Enough?”

October 2, 2009 Leave a comment

I have another story to share about my time on the streets of Hollywood last night. To anyone who is thinking, “didn’t you just share a story about last night?” the answer is yes. My other story entitled “Enthusiasm for a Parking Lot Church” was about a woman named Essence. If you haven’t read that story yet, you should. It’s a good one. šŸ™‚

Well, while our small group which included Essence was having discussions about the sermon last night, I would occasionally look around to see what else was going on around us. (There is always lots of crazy activity going on out there. Last night, some young drunken clubbers who were all friends got in a *fist fight* over who got to sit in the front seat of their car! It all took place just a few feet away from us!) Almost every time I looked up, one of the other ladies from the street was looking at me. This is odd for (at least) two reasons. First, we don’t encounter a lot of real women on these streets and last night we had at least four in our church service. Second, it wasn’t just one of them. Three ladies were like taking turns. And it wasn’t coincidence either. They had to turn their shoulders to see me. So, anyway, after our little discussion group broke up, one of the ladies approached me and I finally got to learn why she kept looking. (The other two will remain a mystery.)
Read more…

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F3AR and H8 [***]

August 7, 2009 Leave a comment
What happens when an animal is confused and cornered? I found out many years ago when my family and I house-sat for a friend of ours. Besides watching the house, we also watched the friend’s dog, a Cocker Spaniel. He was a friendly dog, but he wasn’t really sure what to make of us. Instead of seeing his owner who he was familiar with, he saw only us strangers for several days. He never fully adjusted to us being in his space. He did eventually accept that we were responsible for feeding him and letting him in and out of the house, but I wouldn’t say that he was ever comfortable with us. 

Being as young as I was and having grown up with several dogs of my own, it seemed natural to me to attempt to pet the dog, which he hesitantly let me do. My own dogs were always comfortable with me and so I could get away with things like wrestling, pulling tails, barking at them, and getting in their face. Well, this dog naturally was not that comfortable with me, and so when I put my face right up to his and made silly baby noises like “goo goo” and made silly faces, he didn’t know how to react. He tried to back away but since there was something behind him he couldn’t. I didn’t notice it in the moment, but the dog quickly began to panic. As much as a Cocker Spaniel can, this dog had an expression of fear on his face and in his physical demeanor. He started to freak out, and yet I persisted with my nonsense. So, the dog did what virtually any creature would do in a similar situation: He struck my face with his fangs and then ran away! He got me pretty good. There was blood but no long term damage.

Years of experience, starting with this incident, have taught me that neither dogs nor humans like to have unfamiliar people up in their face or in their business. Read more…

Building on Sand [*]

July 20, 2009 Leave a comment
House on SandArchitecturally speaking, sand has at least two potential problems as the foundation of a house. First, it can liquefy under certain conditions. Second, sand becomes unstable when it is shaken, such as during an earthquake, wind storm, or heavy flood. That’s not to say that it’s impossible to build a house on sand. With some clever planning and implementation you can certainly use sand as the foundation. Heck, people have built houses on marshes, swamps, stagnant water (see Venice, Italy), muddy mountain slopes (see Malibu, California), rocky cliffs, and more. Most houses, of course, are built on flat rocky soil. The reason for this is simple: Building a house on flat rock is safer, more reliable, and more cost effective than building on any of the aforementioned foundations. Read more…

Can’t Let Go [**]

July 20, 2009 Leave a comment
Cant Let GoFor those that don’t already know, I spend most Thursdays on the streets of Hollywood from 11pm until roughly 2am. I am a member of a group of young people from all over L.A. and Orange counties who have a passion for helping mend the hurting and broken lives all around us. The particular area that we focus on probably has several nicknames but the one I heard when I was first introduced to the ministry was “Boy Town”. It’s called this because this is one of many areas in L.A. where runaway boys (as young as 12, perhaps younger) seem to make their way to. Here they find other young (and old) men who have nowhere else to call home. They sleep on the sidewalks, in 24-hour donut shops, behind and in trash cans, in other people’s homes, and in hotels. 

These last two places (homes and hotels) are interesting because these boys, most of them anyway, have never learned a trade. Very few have finished high school. Some haven’t even finished elementary school. They are victims of physical, verbal, and sexual abuse. They have been through foster homes, group homes, prisons, and more. They have not only seen the dark side of America, they have lived and are still living in it. …So what do most of them do in order to afford food and lodging? They prostitute themselves. Furthermore, over time, these “boys” become more and more like “girls”. They cover all areas of the spectrum, from wearing a little mascara or walking a certain way all the way to having body parts added and removed. The bulk of our team’s ministry is simply being (hanging out) with these people and letting them know that they are loved, by the creator of the Universe and our small group of, relatively speaking, wealthy young people. We do pray with them, feed and clothe them, discuss the Bible, and even have church services in a parking lot near a 7-11. But if all we do on a given night is listen to and sympathize with someone as they share a heartbreaking story about how their parents kicked them out of the family because they were gay, then we have had a fruitful night. Sometimes, the best thing we can do is just be with them. Read more…

Hope in a Time of Darkness [**]

April 22, 2009 Leave a comment
The financial institutions are failing. The governments are raising taxes and making questionable compromises. Both public and private educational systems are being clobbered. Unemployment and debt are skyrocketing. The moral fabric of society has been almost completely replaced by political correctness and “hope”. 

Where then shall we seek refuge in this chaos? I heard this story years ago:

There once was a farm where there lived a hen and her chicks. One night a fire broke out in the barn where the hen and her chicks were at. As the fire spread, the smoke thickened, and the heat increased, the mother hen frantically called her chicks to her. She said, “Hurry! Come here my little ones! Take refuge under my wings and I will protect you.” So that is what the chicks did; they hid under the wings of their mother.

The fire was of course too much for the hen and so she died. After the fire had been extinguished, the farmer walked around surveying the damage. He came across a blackened clump that he recognized as his now diseased hen. He then kicked the hen’s blackened corpse. To his surprise, bright yellow spots began to emerge from the blackened hen. The hen had given her life, but it was not in vain! Her chicks had been saved!

Christmas – 2000 Years of Revolution [*]

December 12, 2005 Leave a comment

Introduction

NativityIn a couple weeks, I will be celebrating Christmas for theĀ umpteenthĀ consecutive year. I have gone to Church my whole life and have heard the Christmas Story about a hundred times. I have personally been involved in a number of stage performances where we read passages, sang songs, and acted out scenes. Even if you are like me and have heard the story countless times, I invite you to read the story again, with a fresh set of eyes.

Ancient History

The bulk of the Christmas story is told in two books of the Bible, Matthew and Luke, and is actually spread across approximately three years time. Often we are told the story as though it all happened on one night, but that is neither true nor even very important when you get right down to it. The story really begins in the very first book of the Bible, Genesis, and is brought up again and again as the Old Testament (one of two major divisions of the Bible) prophesies the coming of a Savior, someone that will redeem the whole world from every wrong, past, present, and future. Some of the words used to describe the “Savior” include “Lord”, “Christ”, “King”, and “Messiah”. Some passages of the Bible describe the Savior as though he is a great conqueror, one that will undo all existing kingdoms and turn them to ruin.

At the time that the Christmas Story takes place, the Israelites, God’s chosen people, were living under the rule of Rome. The Romans had conquered most of the known world, mostly by slaughtering and devastating all living things that stood in their way. The Roman Empire was so huge that it’s capital (Rome) was simply too far away from most places to really be seen as a force. To compensate for this, there were governors, sometimes referred to as kings, that ruled over various territories. These kings had nearly sovereign power within their territory, but they ultimately had to answer to the Caesar, the supreme ruler of the empire. Read more…