Category Archives: homelessness

THANK YOU!

 

eyeseeyouI am thankful to God for so many things…primarily that He has loved me so much that He has made provision for my eternity through the gift of His Son and the Grace and truth He introduced into the world.  It is beyond possible to thank Him enough.

I also have multitudes of people to thank in this life.  If it were not for my late father-in-law, and his generosity life would have been very difficult in some of the early years of our marriage when medical bills threatened to sink our ship.  I don’t think we ever asked for his help, he was just tuned-in enough to know when it was needed.  I trust he is enjoying his heavenly reward.

Nearly every job I’ve had was the result of someone suggesting, recommending, pulling strings, pulling rank or vouching for me.  I can only think of a few times I was hired because I acted totally on my own.

The church has been the source of so many blessings.  Lake Highlands church in Dallas was my sponsoring congregation as Brenda and I did mission work in Australia.  Aside from their prayers and monetary support, they sent things to us that made our work easier.  North Davis church in Arlington literally saved us from being homeless and broke during a very difficult time.  Our present church home, University church in Abilene has overflowed with kindness toward us many times.

I don’t ever want to be guilty of forgetting those I cannot embarrass by naming here.  Brenda and I have been the recipient of gifts from many people in Australia and here at home.  Frequently those gifts have arrived at very critical times.  We have enjoyed the hospitality of wonderful Australian and New Zealand saints in our travels.  They have fed us, sheltered us and entertained us simply out of their love for Jesus.  Truly, God works through His people!

In my meditations I often review, with tears, the kindnesses and mercies of God and His people who have loved us, prayed for us and given to us.  I can only say from the depths of my heart, THANK YOU!

Advertisements

1 Comment

Filed under Blessings, church, dependence, discipleship, Encouragement, Friendship, Gratitude, homelessness, honor, Love, Salvation, Selflessness, Thankfulness

Constant Growth: Abnormal?

If I understand what is being said by those who are supposed to know: we are in a recession because we are not growing economically.  I may be hopelessly naïve, but it seems to me that growth has to end somewhere.  If a human keeps growing, we will call him abnormal.  If a plant keeps growing, we take the pruners or clippers to it.  In other words, constant growth seems abnormal.  When is enough enough?  When do we quit being concerned about industrial and economic growth and start concentrating on consolidation?  When do we stop accumulating wealth and start feeding the hungry (we have an obscene amount of hunger in this country given our wealth) and clothing the naked…or, at least, help the victims become productive and less dependent?  I’m just saying…

And he said to them, “Do not take money from anyone by force, or accuse anyone falsely, and be content with your wages” (Luke 3:14).

If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content (1 Timothy 6:8).

Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have (Hebrews 13:5).

4 Comments

Filed under Blessings, Culture Wars, Current Events, Economics, Faith, homelessness, independence, Politics, Random Thoughts

Tiger

“Those birds can’t make up their minds whether to fly north or south,” he said as I was walking to my table in the coffee shop, “…they’re going around in circles.”

Thus began a strange and confusing conversation with a man who calls himself “Tiger.”  He was out of the Army as a combat engineer but apparently had not seen combat.  He was now at loose ends, living out of his car and delivering pizzas in the evenings.  He was not completely broke since he was in a coffee shop but was about to leave for a bookstore where they served free coffee.

I asked him where he was from and he said, “Baytown.”  But it turns out that he was from all over Texas and elsewhere.  In short order I learned that he suffered from bone loss, damaged ligaments in his right arm and several industrial injuries.  He had been married twice, had three children and had lost another son to murder.

“I consider myself a professional singer,” he told me at least twice.  He had sung with several bands but it didn’t work out because he wouldn’t sing songs by Judas Priest for moral reasons.  Nevertheless, he had tried to be an alcoholic like the rest of his band but was thwarted by an allergic reaction to alcohol.

Finally, I questioned him about his journey of faith.  He had started out as an atheist because “something really bad” had happened to him and he decided there could not be a God.  Then “another really bad thing happened” to him and he nearly died.  He decided then there must really be a God because “He let me live.”

I asked him if he had been baptized.  “Oh yes…several times,” he said.

“Several times?” I asked.

“Yep.  Several times in different names…Father, Son, Holy Ghost, and in the name of Jesus only.”

“When I was seventeen I got the Holy Ghost at a Pentecostal church.  But then I noticed how the church people were treating others,” and even though he didn’t lose faith in God, he lost faith in churches.  Now he’s an attender of churches but member of none.

As the conversation continued, it was clear that Tiger’s mind is as confused as his life.  As we talked, different, disconnected details kept emerging.  “I try to forget the past, and press on to the future just like the Bible says.”

When I asked him about the future he told me he wanted to be a mercenary with the Israelis but he was vague about when and where.  “I don’t think I can kill anyone,” he said, “but I can hand bullets to those who will.”

What will happen to the Tigers of this life?  Is he destined to wander aimlessly taking life as it comes for good or ill just like those birds flying in circles?  What will be the eternal destiny of those like him?  I honestly don’t know.  But maybe I was not there for him.  Maybe I encountered Tiger so I could count my blessings.  I left the coffee shop in my old, but trusty car I’ve never had to spend the night in.  I drove to my comfortable home to eat a nutritious breakfast.  I sat down in my comfortable chair at my computer to write this article.  Later on I will talk with my beloved wife of 48 years.  Today I will be doing meaningful and purposeful work in the kingdom.  Thank you, Lord and thank you, Tiger.  Point well taken.

Leave a comment

Filed under Atheism/Theism, Baptism, Biography, Blessings, church, Eternal Life, Faith, homelessness, Life, Meaning of Life, morality, Scripture

Eric

I spotted him through the window as he dropped his pack and heavy coat on the sidewalk outside the coffee shop.  He was in his late 20’s, a long tuft of beard on his chin.  I watched him come in and head straight for the restroom and I knew he was there to clean up after a night on the street.  He exited the restroom and headed for the line of people ordering coffee.

“Say brother,” I said, “Is that your pack outside?”

“Yes,” he said warily.

“I’ll buy your coffee.”

“Thanks,” he said.

“But there’s a price,” I warned.

“What’s that?” he asked, immediately suspicious.

“You have to tell me your story.”

“My story?”

“That’s all,” I assured him.

We sat down at my table and I began to ask him questions.  I found out he’s from Portland, Oregon and hasn’t spoken to his parents in over ten years.  They don’t know if he’s alive or dead.

He wound up in Abilene because the freight train he hopped in El Paso was going the wrong way.  He got kicked-off in Sweetwater and made his way here.

“Are you going to stay?” I asked.

“Well, it’s a nice town and the people are friendly but it’s so dull.  I’d like to go to Tampa but winter’s nearly over – so, what’s the point?”

“So what have you been doing on the road…do you get jobs?  What are your long-term goals?”

I could tell by the look on his face that “long term goals” were not a part of his thinking.  He told me that he would stay somewhere for a while, get a job but he would get lazy and depressed.

“Every time things seem to come together for me, someone ruins it and it falls apart.  It’s never my fault!  It’s only when I start traveling again that I get that spark back.”

He’s worked off and on as a fry cook since he was 15.  He says he would like to advance to executive chef but, “They only make $75,000 a year – so what’s the point?”

I asked him why he was estranged from his parents.  “They never gave me any space; always following me, always trying to direct my life, always on my back.”  I asked him if they might have done that because they cared.  “I know they care, but they were always on my back,” he repeated.  “Thank God they’re not on my back now.”  I offered to call his parents just to let them know he’s alive but he refused…said he would do it “…someday when the time is right.”

When I finally said, “Well thank you for your story,” he took it as dismissal and fled to another area of the coffee shop.  He couldn’t wait to get away from this old man who was asking too many personal questions.

Eric doesn’t know he’s looking for something he’ll never find on the hard streets, cold rails or lonely highways.  The famous “God-shaped hole” in his life was gaping.  So, I gave him my “Why you should follow Jesus” card and a prayer in my heart that he will find Him who can give him that missing piece.  So, if you see Eric on the street, give him my regards, buy him some coffee, and tell him a little more about Jesus, would you?

5 Comments

Filed under Community, homelessness, Jesus Christ