House of Horrors Squalor

This article is a reminder, sad though it is,  that there are opportunities all around us to share the love of Jesus and be the love of Jesus if we keep our minds and hearts open for the opportunities.  This situation occurred just down the road from me.

House of Horrors Squalor Case
Shared via AddThis

It reminds me of the song by Bruce Carroll that he sang many years ago – "Elm Street"

Saturday night in plainville

saw some local people go

to the downtown corner movies

for a late night picture show

And it's 90 mindless minutes

of the best in blood and gore

They all come out laughing,

just can't wait for more.



While on the other side of

town a child 4 years of age

huddles up a weak defense

against his fathers rage

and as we spend our time and money on

Life's Moments Cheapest Thrills

In our city there's an Elm Street

where the nightmare is real.



Chorus:

Oh God, Have mercy on us please,

For the times that You've shown

the need and we refused to see

Give us all a heart like Yours that grieves

For the lost souls on Elm Street

that need to be released





Complacency's a poison taken

one drop at a time

It fools our minds into

thinking that everythings just fine

Desensitize our Spirit with

nothing left to feel

'Till we never hurt for Elm Street

where the Nightmare is real



Oh Lord You've got to send me

where theres a need to go

Put me on their street, Lord,

'cause they all need to know

There's a God who's so much bigger

than anything their going through

Oh they need to know that there's

a place where nightmares don't come true.





Oh God, Have mercy on us please,

For the times that You've shown

the need and we refused to see

Give us all a heart like Yours that grieves

For the lost souls on Elm Street

that need to be released



Oh God, Have mercy on us please,

For the times that You've shown

the need and we refused to see

Give to us a heart like Yours that grieves

For the lost souls on Elm Street

that need to be released.

Every town has an Elm Street.  May the Lord give us great wisdom and insight to see where the pain and the need may be and be the church as we seek to meet it in His name.

Another Reminder of How Fortunate We Really Are…

5 million.  This is the number of precious children in Ethiopia that are orphans at this very moment.  Many of them are orphans because of their parents dying from AIDS, because of poverty, because of populations that are growing faster than needs can be met.

These are children Jesus loves and died for, and His heart aches for them.  The true question is….does ours?  When we see the hurt, the heartache, the hopelessness found in so many places around the world, what we complain about seems so trivial.  Yes, I know, not having our favorite breakfast cereal or running out of our favorite bath soap really SEEMS like a crisis, but I don't think it really is.  We have shelter, food, clothing, resources, and are more blessed than we can even appreciate.  "And if we have food and covering, with these we shall be content: (1 Tim 6:8, NASB).

Here's a link highlighting the plight of so many precious children.

Ethopian Orphans

Be sure to stop and thank the Lord for all He has blessed you with.

There’s So Much We Take for Granted

It is easy to lose sight of the many things we take for granted.  I was reminded of this by my sons when they mentioned a project they leared about in their Sunday School class.  In class last week, they learned about how 10,000 children die every day around the world from diseases that could be prevented if they only had clean water.  There is a group called the H20 Project that is seeking to raise money and awareness to help address this.  They are at http://www.theh20project.org.  We think nothing of turning on the faucet or opening a bottle of water when we need to have something to drink or need to wash dishes, wash clothes, or take a shower.  So many around the world lack this basic necessity.  Please check out the site.  We have so much to be thankful for and so much that we do take for granted.  Let us not forget to give God thanks for His generous provision.

Next Day Ministry

As I was reading the parable of the Good Samaritan, a small portion of a verse caught my attention. In verse 35, after the Samaritan had bandaged the strangers' wounds and brought him to an inn and took care of his primary needs, the verse states, "On the next day…".  The Samaritan knew that his responsibility to the man didn't end simply by caring for his immediate need, but making sure there was a plan in place to care for the needs that arose after he left, and then following up to make sure it was taken care of.

We could be more effective in our ministry efforts in our churches if we simply would do some "next day ministry".  It's often the times shortly after the immediate needs are met that even more needs become evident.  "Next day ministry" gives us a chance to meet more needs and point people to the the One that can meet them all.

Did Galveston Disappear?

It occurred to me the other day that somewhere in the midst of a presidential election and the current economic challenges we're all aware of, Galveston, TX disappeared from the map.  If memory serves me correctly, they were hit with a pretty significant hurricane the middle of September, but I can't remember the last time I heard any news report or saw any link on any news website home page link with a story about how they are doing down there.

I'm sure they are struggling even more than the rest of the nation in the midst of the challenges we all are facing.  I'm sure most have no permament home yet.  Do they have power?  Food?  Clothing? Running water?

Need doesnt disappear just because we walk away from it or ignore it.  It sure didn't in the parabale of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37).  Even though the priest and the Levite turned their heads the other way and walked past, the need still was there, to be met by the Samaritan.

Sadly, there are needs we see every day and walk past, thinking they may disappear if we just walk fast enough.  But they are still there, waiting to be met by us, so we can be a beacon of light and hope to those living in a dark, hopeless world.  Let's all slow down just a little bit and be a Samaritan and stop to assist those in need and be filled with compassion as Jesus was.

Ministry to the Homeless…

I had the great opportunity and joy to hear Mike Yankoski speak yesterday at a homelessness conference I attended through my job as a supervisor with a local housing agency.  He is the author of the book "Under the Overpass" (see sidebar for link).  The book is a journal of the entry into and journey through homelessness him and his friend took for 5 months in 6 major U.S cities.  This was in response to God speaking to his heart about his own willingness to look the other way when need met him face to face.  His transparency was refreshing, for I know too often I have looked the other way when need has confronted me

I had read the book a year or two ago and was and continue to be inspired and challenged by the message and by the lessons that it contained as they experienced how people treated them while they lived a life as those Jesus refers to as "the least of these" (Matt. 25:31-46).

I was touched and reminded of many things as he spoke.  One was that we take so much for granted, such as a place to lay our head at night, a bed, sheets and blankets, clothing, a lock on our door to secure our possessions, a car we don't have to sleep in, a refrigerator filled with more food that we don't need than food we really do need, being able to buy food and gas and have a roof over our heads instead of having to choose between these, a switch to turn on heat when we are cold and air conditioning when we are warm, a shower to get cleaned up every day, a toilet we can go to when we need to take care of our needs.

As well, I was reminded that we must never lose sight of the fact that those that are homeless are PEOPLE first and foremost.  It is easy, too easy to dismiss someone when they don't look, or talk, or smell the way that we expect we should.  Mike shared how he made special notations in his journal on the days when people actually spoke with them or held a conversation.   He said it happened so infrequently that it was noteworthy.  How sad it is that the people that Jesus loves and cares for so much are marginalized and often treated as less that people, less than human, because circumstances placed them in a situation that we could easily be in ourselves except for God's grace.

I continue to hope and pray and work toward the day when the church will be the church Jesus called us to be.  A church that will lavishly minister to those around us in need and not be fearful, or live in light of times past when we feel we may have beed deceived by someone in need which keeps us from giving wholeheartedly to the next person we see that is in need.

Please check out his book and his website, undertheoverpass.com.  You will be encouraged.

Jesus came for such as these….

A couple weeks ago I saw this story on Dateline and it broke my heart:

Ann Curry did an expose of the horrid conditions endured by adults and children who were in institutions in this country.  Most of these people were developmentally disabled, living with relatively mild cases of Down's Syndrome and celebal palsy, yet often taken from their families at birth and living their entire lives in institutions where they lives in cribs and atrophy mentally and physically and wither away.

My only comfort comes from knowing that these people are who Jesus weeps over and that He deeply cares about.  As He said in Luke,

"The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,
Because He has annointed Me
To preach the gospel to the poor;
He has sent me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty those who are oppressed:
To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord."

(Luke 4:18-19, NKJV)

It is sad that we live in a world that devalues life just because someone is different, through no fault of their own.  But, because they do not live up to societal expectations of what cool, or sophisticated, or popular, or valuable is, that they are marginalized and are made to feel less important, less valuable, less of a person.

Jesus' harshest condemnations in Scripture were directed at the so-called "religious" types that thought they were better or more important that anyone else.  It is sad that too many of our churches and too many Christians struggle to see the value in each person.  We snicker behind their backs, keep them from discovering their gifts and serving the Lord, and it breaks God's heart when we do.

More Hunger

It seems like many of my posts as of late have been about the global hunger and food crisis.  It appeared again on the front page of the USA Today.  Maybe it concerns me because it seems that Scripture says that when we minister to those in need, we are ministering to Jesus Himself.

31"When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. 32All
the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the
people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the
goats. 33He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

 34"Then
the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by
my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since
the creation of the world. 35For
I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you
gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'

 37"Then
the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and
feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'

 40"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'

 41"Then
he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed,
into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43I
was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you
did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after
me.'

 44"They also
will answer, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger
or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?'

 45"He will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.'

 46"Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life." (Matt 25:31-26, NIV).

How can we not be moved to compassion when we see images such as these:

Hunger in Ethiopia:  The New Famine

We cannot stand by and let the world suffer.  We must ask God what He would have us do to make a difference.