Monday, 18 May 2009

reaching out to people on the streets

May 17, 2009

Went to Another Chance breakfast and church gathering... breakfast starting outside about 6:30, gathering around 8:45... normally till about 9:30 - but it was such a beautiful day we decided to do that outside too - and it lasted till nearly 10:30! Some people who feel uncomfortable going inside (into the church basement next to the lawn where the breakfast is held) seem more likely to stick around - and with coffee and cinnamon buns set out beside the group sitting around in lawn chairs, others going by stop for a snack, and some of them stay to listen in! It was great - so much discussion, prayer, really good teaching on faith and its practical outcomes (deeds, works, actions, whatever you want to call them! scriptures: James 3:14-24, Heb 13:5-8, Phil 2:11-13, Mt 6:25-34 ... and I'd add to those, Eph 2:8-10, 1 Tim 6:6,10, and Heb 11:1,6,12:2 and 2 Cor 4:16-18!) ... and stories from Mexico, illustrating those principles, by a guy who just came back (he goes down a couple times a year to help out at a orphanage and so on). Then a far-ranging discussion... And because for sure not everyone there is "churched" some really unusual ideas (for "church"!) are brought up... and the people are treated respectfully, but steered toward Jesus, the Truth and the Way... and if the conversation starts to go down rabbit-trails, ___ brings it back on-track, sometimes with a bit of humor, like "I don't believe in the X-men either!" ... and always bringing it back to the truth of the Word of God. I can imagine that if some of the ideas people brought up were mentioned in a more traditional "church" setting, there would be some gasps, and discomfort, and maybe people charging in with the Truth... But here, people are listened to, and treated with respect, and then the Truth presented gently and patiently (and humorously!). It's an awesome learning experience for me.

___ was saying how he's going to be "ordained" next month (he's been "walking love" on the streets here for 7 years, since he became a Christian, learning from studying the Word, and sharing with others as he builds relationships and cares for the people on the streets) ... and one of the guys said, "I thought you were a believer, not into that religion stuff" ... and he replied, "Well, the apostle Paul says he was "all things to all people," and when I'm trying to explain my ministry to 'churchy' people, and trying to encourage them to reach outside their buildings, for some people in those churches, a "Reverend" in front of my name will give me more credibility to be listened to." [Those he reaches out to on the streets already all call him "Pastor" ... but he doesn't have 'formal' training... and he doesn't "look" like a "Rev" either... which is hard for some "church" people to accept]. Anyway, the guy smiled and said, "Oh I get it! That's okay, then!"

It turns out that one of the people at the gathering had come to our house a couple times back in the day when hubby and I had "Sunday Soup" every Sunday afternoon (we did it for at least 2 or 3 years, and there were a lot of different people over that time, so I didn't remember him specifically, though he did look familiar, and then when he told me who he'd come with and all, I remembered him!), for anyone who wanted to drop in... and he was reminiscing about the "awesome soup", and wishing we'd do it again (we stopped because hubby's new work schedule at the time interfered...). Well, I've been seriously thinking about starting something like that again, so told him to let me know when it would work for him, and we'll start again... and to bring people with him. I really had been thinking about it, but didn't know whether to start Soup again or not... and asking Father what His will is... and then this guy comes and requests it! I love the way You work things out, Papa!

Well, ___'s message on faith and deeds was right on for me, a lot of confirmation of what You've been teaching me, Father! Thank You!

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