Sunday, December 21, 2014

National Homeless Person's Remembrance Day



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Today, December 21 is the National Homeless Person's Remembrance Day. With that in mind, with seeing and  knowing homeless persons who have died, I decided to write the following.

I have worked with helping others find solutions to their needs for over 40 years now, starting as a young man, I worked with my uncle who was severely injured while in the Army. As a result of my uncle's injury, (BTW I lived most of the time with my grandparents who cared for him) which consisted of blindness, traumatic brain injury and later on the development of schizo-affective disorder, I was able to work with him to  learn simple basic things which made it easier on others and him that few at the time thought possible. I also worked professionally with the homeless, including those with mental illness in areas of rehabilitation as an Executive Director and Consultant for over 15 years and a total now of over 30 years in all capacities. It is a subject I know something about. The bottom line, I want to communicate to you that in my experiences, I have not just worked with the homeless but especially the homeless many think there is little hope for. I think there is hope, a solution to the issue of homelessness and poverty in America and ultimately around the world but I can only speak of my experiences and observations in America which include all sectors of America, from the South to the North East, the Southwest to the Plains and from the West Coast to the Northwest. I believe the universal solution to help all  people is the same. What will say is going to shock some, make some angry and maybe, just maybe open the eyes of others.

www.thevirtualpew.comHere is an unfortunate truth, dollars upon dollars have been thrown at the issue of homelessness. This
has not resolved the problem. Unfortunately, more private and public dollars than ever are being thrown at the issue of poverty and homelessness and little if anything is improving to in my opinion justify the cost. There has to be a better answer. I unfortunately not only speak from a professional perspective, I am also speaking from a position of experience. I was for over 2 years, by the definition of homelessness, homeless. I lived in a YMCA transient shelter when I married my wife and completed High School while living there prior to that. I write about these experiences in my book The Keystone Kid and those experiences are not exaggerated, they are as real and accurate as I can possibly record. While the book deals with various issues I dealt with, the answer to the problem is the same for all situations I had to endure in my own life. I believe now, as I have believed for some time, the answer is the same for most on the streets. I know because where I have seen real change come about over the many years of my work is the same in the overwhelming majority of people.

Are you ready for the number one way that we as a society, caregivers, and helpers in particular can make a change? Here you go, to know (for to know gives the ability to show change and model what needs to be changed best) and follow, (in all ways,) the person of Jesus, and then from that point, introduce Jesus to those we work with.

The Bible is very clear on this subject, and I have seen it from experience to be true in life. "What will you gain, if you own the whole world but destroy yourself? What would you give to get back your soul?" Things are not the solution to helping someone want to change. There is a spiritual component within each of us, that unless filled with the Spirit of God will not have an understanding or desire to change or find a place of peace within ones own spiritual needs.  I am honored and pleased to say, it is one of the things that makes the ministry I do and the work Mosaic is involved in different than many others. I am thankful that I am aware of other ministries doing the same thing and they have been things that have helped direct me in the work I believe is the work of God. This has been the thing I have seen be the most effective in bringing about change to the poor and the homelessness issues in American.

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One of the things I have seen and believe to be the number one problem amongst the homeless is the lack of hope. Many don't believe things can and will get better. Providers believe they know what is best and at best offer solutions that are temporary and do not last. It is so bad in some circles that some call themselves ministry and either the Jesus that is introduced is diluted at best and in many instances are 'Ministries' that never introduces people to Jesus. I see this done by some who are flat out lying and deceive. They say and do things that are clearly not true, while promoting themselves. They supposedly place hundreds of homeless people in housing when I doubt they could show 5 actual people, if that where they have done that. Or supposedly feeding tens of thousands of the homeless when there are less than 2,000 homeless people in their community. Of course with groups like this, it is easy to get a large numbers of people to support you but that support is based off of lies. It is imperative that one does the research to verify the facts. When it is done one can clearly see indiscretions in things like finance and more with numerous businesses in the community but it is sometimes so much easier to believe the lies. Then there are so called ministries that have personal indiscretions ranging from marital infidelity, leadership issues, untrue accusations and much more. I agree it is imperative to get the log out of ones own eye before worrying about the speck in another's, but I am not speaking about specs here, I am speaking about logs and making sure that those who say they do ministry follow the Biblical expectations of what the Bible calls ministry, otherwise it is not ministry it is a facade masquerading as ministry. There are clearly higher expectations for Biblical leadership and it is imperative that we follow that leadership and direction. If doing that, it becomes clear, it is about Jesus.

What is it Jesus does that some never take into consideration? It is quite simple, the very nature of God we see from the Old Testament through the New Testament is the concept of hope that comes from knowing and being in relationship with God, that only comes through Jesus. The Bible speaks hundreds of times on this subject. There are verses like the following:

For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. - Jeremiah 29:11

www.thevirtualpew.comNow faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. - Hebrews 11:1

But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect. - 1 Peter 3:15

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. - Romans 15:4

I could go on and on, like I said, there are literally hundreds of verses that deal with the subject of hope. I beg the question: how is hope instilled amongst the poor, the homeless or anyone when the need for Jesus is left out of the solution all together? The answer is simple, the evidence shows, it isn't. This is one of the primary reasons we see the homeless saying things like, "I have no desire to get off the streets, people are giving me everything I need," or, "I don't want help, I have no obligations or responsibilities on the street," to most recently, "Everything I need is given to me, I prefer to use my money for my drugs and whores." I beg another question, is it possible, that in the do-gooders intent that we have failed doing good and arrived at the place were we enable people more than help them? This is both a spiritual and a political problem, spiritual because Jesus and God has a purpose for each of us beyond just surviving and a political agenda that seems to be pressed at times that sees it as the governments responsibility to take care of those who are incapable of taking care of themselves. This is a Communist or Socialist perspective. The danger here is that while it is true there will be a segment of society who will always need help, it is clear to me from my observations and experiences, that we are leading others into that place that are capable to find that hope but have either given up on life by surrendering to alcohol and drugs, (of which many of the things that are given are sold to buy more drugs and alcohol.) or are some really incapable of helping themselves, at which point some others have less resources being provided to help those such as those with severe mental illnesses. The bottom line is this is quite possible and I believe likely. Many of the providers or those seeking to do good may be doing more harm than good because they leave out the one instrument of change that I know gives hope, God.

www.thevirtualpew.comUnderstand, I am not trying to make  blanket generalizations.  There are always  exceptions but they are exceptions, not solutions. In this whole dilemma, not only should the mistakes of what I call the do gooders be addressed but the failure of the Church in large, and Christian community must also be addressed. Many churches have gotten caught up in political dogmas to the point that they have forgotten about the missional expectations of Jesus. Many do good once a year, say at Christmas, but what do we do all of the year to carry out this mission? I am asking the church to consider something, something I would love to do and be a part of but there are people in your communities who could do this as well. Look at ways you can serve the homeless and the poor, while at the same time, having crusades (not revivals but crusades where the Gospel of Jesus is clearly preached) to this population. Then take on the responsibility of the Church to those who have converted. Take them under our wings, disciple them and implement the whole of the following passages of scripture:
 Acts 2: 42-47: (42) They spent their time learning from the apostles, and they were like family to each other. They also broke bread and prayed together.

(43) Everyone was amazed by the many miracles and wonders that the apostles worked. (44) All the Lord’s followers often met together, and they shared everything they had. (45) They would sell their property and possessions and give the money to whoever needed it. (46) Day after day they met together in the temple. They broke bread together in different homes and shared their food happily and freely, (47) while praising God. Everyone liked them, and each day the Lord added to their group others who were being saved

And,

Acts 4: 32- 37: (32) The group of followers all felt the same way about everything. None of them claimed that their possessions were their own, and they shared everything they had with each other. (33) In a powerful way the apostles told everyone that the Lord Jesus was now alive. God greatly blessed his followers, (34) and no one went in need of anything. Everyone who owned land or houses would sell them and bring the money (35) to the apostles. Then they would give the money to anyone who needed it.

(36-37) Joseph was one of the followers who had sold a piece of property and brought the money to the apostles. He was a Levite from Cyprus, and the apostles called him Barnabas, which means “one who encourages others.”

www.thevirtualpew.comHere is the reality as I see it, until the do gooders start introducing Jesus with integrity or are at the
least working with those who are faithful to this need and the Church and Christians do their part, then as much as I hate to say it, while some good may be done, in the overall scheme of things, we are may be wasting our time. It is my desire that we do what we should be doing. Some say the Bible addresses over 2,000 times the needs of the poor and needy, the orphan and the widow. While I am not sure if it is that many times, it is clear it is an awful lot and the Church needs to be doing the work God. It has always dumbfounded me, the church spends so much time on subjects like abortion, which should be addressed but seems to ignore the expectations of caring for the poor and needy which are so strongly emphasized in scripture. The bottom line for many problems including both of these, the answer is Jesus but how can people hear if the followers of Christ don't take Biblical teachings seriously and recognize that Jesus is exactly who he said he was, (...no one goes to the Father in Heaven except through me.) and emphasizes those points and takes and illustrates that message of hope to them?

Today I implore three groups: 1) There are those who deceive, they are in my view, evil and God will judge them harshly for their actions. I believe they should be exposed for their deceit. 2) There are others who just don't know. They have taken seriously their work but never seriously taken the message of hope that comes through Christ seriously. They wonder why they see little or no results, stay discouraged or know in their hearts they want so much more for those they legitimately love and care for. To those individuals, surrender to Jesus, I would love to be one of those who introduces you to him, simply contact me through mosaicwichita.com or thevirtualpew.com and I will gladly walk you through the process. 3) There is another challenge, that challenge to Christians and The Church who are not doing their part. I realize many are doing their part. There are great churches doing great work, seeing wonderful results and many Christians individually doing their part. But, for churches and Christians who aren't, get busy. Ask for forgiveness and do your part in reaching one of the great mission fields on the earth. Don't just stop at a conversion, we are not called from a Biblical perspective to just make converts, we are called to make disciples. Don't settle for anything else. We are to be a part of the process where people are sold out Jesus Freaks and fully life long committed to Jesus, even until the point of death, to do the work of Jesus on this earth, including an area strongly emphasized in scripture, serving, reaching and seeing the salvation of the poor and needy. Anything less is not what God has called us to do.

I know this will strike many the wrong way, others will hate it, some agree with a point or two and some will know I am sharing truth. A truth that may not be easy to hear but none the less, truth. I challenge everyone to do more than just give money but if giving money, give to those that are doing good, that is the good that helps the whole person, including the spiritual component of people, not just the physical. Remember that the Gospel and message of Jesus is also called Good News! In closing  I close with the following verses.

What does it profit anyone to gain the whole world and lose their soul? - Matthew 16:26

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. - Romans 15:13

You can experience the plan of salvation and the eternal hope that comes with Jesus. Watch the following video for more information, just click on it, if the video doesn't appear, click on the following link. I also encourage you, if rededicating your life to Jesus or making a commitment to follow Christ, let me know, I will do all I can to help you in the situation you are in.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NLDrNCVW9Vc



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