Posts Tagged ‘listening’

Shut Up and Listen [*]

June 4, 2010 Leave a comment

7-11 SidewalkFor those that don’t already know, I had to experience another one of those really rough patches of life these past two weeks. It was one of those “If it doesn’t kill you, it only makes you stronger” kinds of experiences. So, during that time, I took a two-week break from serving with the Broken Hearts Ministry team to focus on my “rough patch”, focus on God, and rest.

My “rough patch” came to a formal close, at least for now, last Wednesday. Since then, I have been processing my feelings and considering my options for life moving forward. My feelings have mostly been a mix of sadness, frustration, anger, and joy. My options have focused around my kids and ministry. Even as I write this, I have many things pending a resolution. It was a little bit of a surprise then that I received an email yesterday morning from Antquan Washington, the leader of Broken Hearts, encouraging me to deliver the sermon that night on the streets of Hollywood. He specifically suggested that I share something about what I have been experiencing these past few weeks. It wasn’t long before God and I had worked out a rough outline including scriptural references for the sermon I would give.

The title for the sermon we came up with was “The Voice of God: Shut Up and Listen”. One key verse came from the book of Psalms:

“Be still, and know that I am God;” (Psalm 46:10a NIV)

I was the first member of our team to arrive at the intersection of Santa Monica and Highland last night and was joined a few minutes later by Antquan. Apparently, the remaining members of the team were either not coming or were running late so Antquan and I prayed briefly and then headed across the street to the Donut Shop to mingle. I didn’t recognize many people and most people we met were stoned and/or drunk. I wasn’t sure how to initiate a conversation or with whom (yup! even after all these years, I still lose my tongue sometimes), so I prayed, repeatedly, “God help me. What should I say? Who should I talk to?”

While praying, I observed the comings and goings around me. Among other things, I watched one man sell $5 worth of “medicinal” marijuana to another fellow who immediately stepped outside to smoke it. At one point, I took a break from praying to ask no one in particular how the Lakers game had went. I got several replies but that also instigated a minor scuffle between two Celtics fans and everyone else. Right in the middle of it all, one man pulled out his pocket knife, waived it around, and said something like “We’ll see who’s really boss around here.” At that, I went back to praying. Read more…


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…

Natasha – The Search for Something…

November 9, 2009 Leave a comment

This week I was paired up with Jen to go out on the street and share the love of Jesus. After a few minutes of walking up and down our stretch of Santa Monica Blvd, we found a prostitute wearing a miniskirt and high heels standing alone in the cold waiting for his next customer to drive up. Jen and her bubbly personality got the conversation rolling quickly and so it took mere moments to learn that his name is “Natasha” and that it was his birthday. We also learned that he is writing an autobiography detailing the various hardships in his life and how he has overcome them. He volunteered to us that he has spent a lot of time alone lately just reflecting on his life and considering ways to improve it. Very early on in the conversation, Jen asked Natasha what he would like prayer for. Natasha quickly suggested that we pray for God to help him with his book. Well… we spoke with Natasha for roughly thirty minutes and most of that time was focused on empathizing with Natasha’s pain and frustration with things like the self-perpetuating prison system and parents who abuse and neglect their children instead of loving them. Natasha had lots of things to say and we were there to listen… and agree. At the end of the conversation, we asked again what he would like prayer for. This time, he was too choked up to give a proper answer. With tears in his eyes, he said, “Just that God would give me…” But Natasha couldn’t finish his own sentence because even he wasn’t sure what it is exactly he is searching for.

As we said our goodbyes, I gave him a hug and wished him a happy birthday. We invited him to the Refuge church service and he said he would join us shortly. Later, he did actually come by for a few minutes but he left shortly after getting a plate of pizza.

Please pray that Natasha keeps searching for and eventually finds God.