Beggar on the West Side

Met a beggar on the West Side, outside the loop just off Marsha Sharp Freeway.  I won’t air all her business (not that I know it really), but I am stunned to see the begging where I found it.  The lady claimed she has a 5 year old kid (wasn’t with her at that moment), and I could not determine if she was homeless, living in her car, a motel, sofa-surfing or what.  But she definitely had the sign out asking for help on a busy parking lot.

I don’t really expect women on the streets to just open up to me and spill their whole life story to a strange man just for the asking.  So, I am not going to scrutinize the lady, though I sense she was either confusing some information or at least holding it back.  But I will say, I SAW her.  She was begging in my part of town.

Just laying down this marker, Lubbock.  The homeless and the beggars are spreading out.  Sure, there is a high concentration of them around downtown and just over the tracks past Ave A.  But we got them over in the white-flight, bright-n-shiny side too.

photo (5)

And all you churches on this side of town… (yeah, mine too)… I am pointing the least of these brothers and sisters out to you.

Advertisements

Changing Gears

This blog has not stalled out; it has, though, changed gears.  Fat Beggars School of Prophets is largely a street ministry, but has not been on the streets much in the last year and a half.  That seems to be changing… changing back to what it used to be.  Anyway, that means it is not nearly so much a blog as a real ministry!

I am not abandoning this blog.  I try to put something fresh on here a couple times a week, but this is like decompressing after the holiday season where I was posting daily and some days multiple times.  I seemed to gain a lot of fresh readers doing that, which I am happy about, but very few seem to come from Lubbock, or even more importantly either the streets or church(es) of Lubbock.  But I am happy to say something about the new change in gears.

photo

It turns out, over the holiday season, that one of my older kids (not one of the fosters) changed his major at LCU to youth ministry.  He is now a Bible major!  Yay!  And with all the newfound study and meditative reflections that has afforded him, he suddenly has opened up with me with far more rich connection than we have ever shared before – at least not since he was really a little kid.  And he claims a fair bit of influence this ministry has had on him.  He wants to join up in partnership and use this ministry for at least one (if not more) project for school – and he wants that to culminate in a documentary video.

The conversations spawned from this new, rich connection have sent me back to the books too.  He has inspired me to reach out to young people, and I have been working on my own project as well (one I hope he helps me with – especially as it moves off the drawing board and into the laboratory).  I will unveil more of that later.  But we now have these projects that are working toward one another and seeking to meet up in the middle.

Just tonight, we went out on a mission trip seeking the lost sheep of the house of Lubbock – any strays in our region of the city (the Southwest area).  Agent Z brought his camera and we took communion with us.  We prayed and asked God to help us find some folks, then we went out beating the bushes so to speak.

Sadly, we did not locate any on this trip.  We did, however, pick up the scent, after a fashion.  We found a trail of witnesses who had seen some homeless people in our area, but we did not find the homeless themselves.

Easter Tent City II

Not deterred, we decided to wrap up our night by sharing communion on 66th and University (a more central part of town) because several years ago a prophet of God left his job and took up a post on that corner to pray for this city every day there with a large sign that said “Jesus Saves” on it.  We went to his spot and shared the meal under the street lamp for all of Lubbock to see as we bore the image of God there.  Both of us returned jazzed from the experience.

This is just a quick note explaining my absence from the blog-O-sphere recently.  No.  I am not gone, but some of you surely realize I am not here nearly as much this past month.  I just want to keep you in the loop.

I certainly invite my readers to pray for this ministry.  This project we are working on is the biggest, most complex project I have ever worked on, and I think it is for Agent Z too.  Even if no one else finds blessing in it, we do.  But really, I think we have some very special things cooking in the oven right now, and I hope to share them with the world soon.

More on Personal Relationships

Just go pay Tommy’s blog a visit. You will be blessed by this. That’s all I really need to say…

Hard Times Ministries

Listening to people like Benny Hinn, one would think that daily, Jesus goes into their dining room and has a cup of coffee with them and then dispenses personal information.  While I don’t want to pick on anyone, there are many others.  In fact, a mainstream topic for sermons today is on possessing a personal relationship with God.

Never mind the fact that even the Apostles failed to obtain this status, preachers are quick to endorse this attribute to Christianity.

And a new commandment I give unto you… love one another..;…

How is it possible all these Christians are so close to God, yet lack the ability to love as Jesus did?

How is it possible that Paul describes the church as that unit that provides for the earthly (body) of Jesus on the earth today?

Have I missed something? Oh, I’m not saying that Christians can’t obtain an inner…

View original post 395 more words

Power Lunch (In The Bible)

No Thanx I 8 already

I grew up in the very socio/religio-schizophrenic culture of America, raised to be a man of faith by parents of faith amid a post-Enlightened society clinging to a scientific worldview.  And in that worldview, you cannot see God!  This is axiomatic.  But at least it gelled with biblical faith, so it seemed, where we learn in Exodus 33 that no one can see God’s face and live.  This becomes an almost immutable rule which then explains my otherwise double-mindedness as a believer on the one hand, and then enables me to function in a secular world with the same commitments as pagans, atheists, and agnostics on the other.

I am not writing to explore that issue really, but I want to note it as I revisit the heavenly invasion I wrote of in my previous post.  I think WORSHIP of God has a power – a quiet power – that is more powerful than is normally acknowledged.  I really hate for my brothers and sisters to miss this.  Our worship of God changes our world, POWERFULLY.  And, anyway, the Bible itself is filled with these power lunches!

034

In my last post, I told of a group of lowly bums in an alley breaking bread and sharing the cup in worship, and how they themselves saw that moment as more powerful than many of the uppity banquets, lunch-meetings, and galas which normally feature politicians, bankers, business leaders and other pillars of the community.  God showed up at our power lunch!  The divine plans he brings for our world are actually more powerful and more important than any meeting our counterparts would ever imagine!

But as I have sat with that post the last few days, it has come to my mind that though my picture there of that moment provides a point of interest for a few blog readers, it does not amount to much more than a novelty.  No one I know of read that and said to themselves or to me: Wow!  That picture reveals world-changing power that I want to be a part of… that I want to make changes for and join.  No, not even close.

So, let me retell that story with only a few minor changes here and there.  I will tinker with a few of the names, slightly change the setting, and take you back in time, but I think you will see more similarity than difference.

Go with me back to Moses and the Exodus.  Moses shows up in Egypt, blowing in off the desert with a message for powerful people on behalf of a God that seems to have been either unknown or very silent for the last 400 years.  His message is announced in the brickyard to the brickmaking taskmasters and those slaving at the grind.

“Let my people go!”

We all know this message!  But have you ever looked closely at just where Moses aims to take these people?  What does he want to do with them?  I mean, we know the general gist of what happened, but did you catch his stated agenda?  The itinerary?

Go look at Exodus 3:18, 5:3, and 8:27.  Moses is demanding that Egypt let this strange God’s people go a three-day journey into the wilderness where they will be able to worship him the way he wants to be worshipped!  There are all kinds of theological lessons we can take from this, in fact the statement is like a stick of dynamite that would blow us in lots of directions.  Yet two features I want to highlight are: 1) a three-day journey into the desert amounts to a death sentence (and has this text bouncing sparks of Jesus in the tomb for three days).  Yeah, there are more effective ways to carry out a death sentence, it is possible to survive this one, but very unlikely!  I used to live in Arizona where a short walk without water kills some unprepared soul almost every year.  But then also there is number 2) God/Moses have in mind there will be a worship/party at the end of this journey.  Basically, the itinerary says: Go die in the wilderness and party with God when you get there!

(You never hear this bit preached.  I don’t know why not, it certainly makes the grumblers following Moses in the desert a few chapters later seem a lot more sympathetic.)

Well there is that bit in the drama about the Ten Plagues and all that.  And I wouldn’t want you to miss it!  But I sincerely doubt any of my readers ever have missed that part.  On the other hand, there is this one really strange little passage several chapters later that … well, if you aren’t looking closely, you sure might miss it.  Turn to that part where God gives Moses the Ten Commandments and see how awesome and terrible the presence of God is up on that mountain.  Notice how the people don’t want to approach it; they send Moses to be an intermediary, and besides, God said that if anyone so much as touches the mountain while he is there, they will die! (Exod 19:12).  So, like I said, you might be excused for missing the meal God shares with the elders if  you blink at Exodus 24:9-11.

Yeah… They ate and drank and BEHELD GOD!  Did you catch that?  And the ground turns like sapphire and looks like heaven?  This happens AT THE MEAL in WORSHIP!

Here’s the kicker: If you and I (Bible-believing, Jesus lovers) can miss that moment and all its significance… what about Pharaoh?  He wasn’t there!  Didn’t even get invited!  Leads the world’s greatest empire (which presumably means he has a few power lunches of his own), and has no idea what God is doing with that rag-tag bunch of slaves he took out into the desert.

But which power lunch has the real power?  Are you familiar with any (let me shout that word… ANY) power lunches, banquets, or galas Pharaoh ever put on?

No?

Me neither.

But God takes a few stragling, murmuring, ex-slaves on a hike to their death sentence, feeds them, reveals his face to them and in so doing starts a whole nation out of them!  A nation whose influence has EVERYTHING to do with my faith and yours today all these many thousands of years later.  That’s POWER!

Open The Eyes of Our Heart, Lord… We Want To See Jesus!

And it is not the only time in Scripture where God eats with the bums and reveals himself to them in POWER!  In fact we see it numerous times – including that little story we here at Fat Beggars School of Prophets take to be our foundational text (II Kings 6-7).  But I think that perhaps the premier text where we see all of this come together again most powerfully is in Luke 24:13-35 – the story of Jesus with the disciples on the road to Emmaus.

Yeah.  Go look at that more familiar passage carefully.  The disciples walking there are some of the most downcast people on earth.  Lowly disciples of what they believe to be a failed messiah who had just undergone a death sentence three days before.  When the stranger joins them as they walk, they do not recognize him as Jesus/God, their eyes are not opened until the breaking of the bread!  But the stranger begins opening the Scriptures to them beginning with Moses (and I cannot help but wonder if he doesn’t look at the meal he shared with those elders soooooooo long ago).  But when they sit down to eat, THAT is when they see Jesus for WHO he really is!  That is a POWER lunch that sends them running back to Jerusalem with a new hope and a powerful message  from which the world has never been the same since!

Did Herod know?  Caesar?  Those guys ate power lunches… No?  Of course they did.  But whose power lunch had the real power???

I really hope that those who read here will think about this next time they break the bread and drink the cup in worship.  I hope you meditate on these passages of Scripture.  But I don’t hope you merely have a theologically warm-fuzzy feeling.  No.  I hope you see the POWER in what you are doing!  You get to see God! (Gal. 3:1).  You are affecting the world! (I Cor. 11:26).  And even if you go to a fine church with a lot of gold, crystal, vestments and so forth – even if the mayor of your town attends the meal with you – I hope you realize that this worship meal reveals God to his creation.  And the secular power-players go right along not even knowing what is happening right under their noses.

Proph-O-Drama

AND THEN… I hope you will think about those beggars, bums, and prophets in that alley sharing worship and the meal that what they are sharing – or more importantly – that God is revealing himself there in those lowly people (Matt. 25:40).  It is apocalyptic in nature and more powerful than you can imagine.  AND, I hope you are just a little bit jealous…(assuming you have not seen God in communion and lived)… jealous enough that you are moved toward humility – humble enough to approach and ask if you might join.

Worship/Communion and the Power Lunch

Wanna share in communion where your imagination is expanded by God’s love for the lowly?  Or where it’s limited by your fear?

Here… I got a question for you.  When asked if we can open our doors to the poor, invite them in to Party with Jesus (Luke-14 style), who said “NO…” because of liabilities?  Was it the homeless who come to worship?  Or was it church leadership?

IMG_1212 IMG_1228

Did you guess the bums?

Oooooooh… I am sorry!  That was not the correct answer.  Do we have a parting gift for our losers?  No?  Okay.  So be it.

No.  The answer we were looking for was church leadership, sadly.  They said we could not host the homeless in our facility for an all-night prayer service because of “liabilities”.

IMG_1224 IMG_0275

On the other hand, the homeless – the bums drinking behind the Downtown Liquor store, on trashed out sofas in the alley – welcomed a worship service there in the waist-high weeds.  And as we shared the bread and wine, one lady shared with us two songs she had written for Jesus when she was in jail.  Another man preached us a fine sermon on the Love of God (and I was able to offer support by helping him site the scripture passages he wanted to quote).  Another led us in prayer.  We all sang together and shared the meal.

And then one of us pointed out that in our city we have some very wealthy and powerful individuals who sometimes hold important meetings where they make big decisions that effect our community for years to come. But there in that alley, we were having a power lunch.  A meeting with God.  And we decided it would be important that we make the very powerful decision to pray for those other important people and their important meetings, because in the Age to Come, it is possible none of their work will matter and no one will remember them.

If you weren’t there, sorry we missed you.  Perhaps you will come next time???

Think about it…

The Cardboard Boxer

Okay, I am not usually a movie reviewer, but I will recommend this one flick my kid found on Netflix for our family to watch tonight.  I never heard of it before and was surprised by it.

Is it the greatest movie ever?

No.  Far from it.

Is it realistic in my street experience?

No… not really.

I have seen fights on the streets, but nothing like this.  I have seen homeless men make friends of other homeless men, but not like this.  And the whole diary angle is pretty far-fetched.  But…

But…

But, time and time again, I have heard homeless men (and a few women too) say they are looking for connection with others.  They want friendship.  The yearning for true friendship is real.  The unrealistic way Willie (Thomas Haden Church) goes about seeking friendship nevertheless depicts that deep yearning of the heart which I have found expressed time and again.

The surprise ending, just when Willie rejects a manipulative offer of Jesus’ saving grace, will bring it all HOME for you if you care to watch.  And for that, I will give the flick my two thumbs up.

When Jesus shows up, you know He’s already there- aka His love on the street

“…take church out of the four walls of our buildings…”

Wow! Preach it, Sista! Preach it!

Move Your "..BUT God .."

img_1480 Can you see a heart in the gravel?

Changing my route on my usual walk on Monday, going not uphill but down and around, led to a God connection so unexpected for Jessica and me, and then for her husband Brian. No way could a casual hello  on the street when I  saw a woman up ahead, then turned right to walk the loop, then changed my mind and turned back to say hello  to her and her daughter, have the results it did by any hand other than God Almighty’s. New neighbors are here to plant a church! And the connections we discovered had God’s fingerprints all over them.

Should I have been surprised, then, on Thursday as I was packing up PBJ and other food to take down to the homeless at the park, at the nudge I got to take some hand lotion, cologne, and scarves for…

View original post 1,166 more words

Clean Food

Guess what? America!

We’ve been knowing for a long time (just see the documentaries, blogs, and Thursday night local newscasts (Terry Waiters anyone?)) that eating out at restaurants means eating food off the floor, eating someone else’s sweat, eating food handled with unwashed hands, and from time-to-time even eating food sabotaged with snot or other mysterious ingredients.

We just choose to live in denial.

Oh, sure, some of those restaurant ordinances put in place by your city or state seem a bit extreme (a separate sink for hand washing, keep one rag for one job but not another, and What is the real difference in one or two degrees above or below the standard?).  I mean, we don’t adhere to that strict of a standard in our own homes, and that would seem to have been the point!

But, still, many of us are germ-O-phobes and/or legitimately concerned when ABC News’s 20/20 program does an expose on the bacteria cultures collected at average, popular restaurants around the nation.  There is always room for improvement, even if we aren’t doing THAT bad.

But do you ever think about those food service workers living off minimum wage while feeding you?  Do you think they care?  Why would they? 

Well, surely the majority of them do.  I mean… I guess.  How would you really know?  Would you believe that if 20/20 tells you so?

Sucka!

Let me just say this.  I know a number of individuals who live on the streets and in alleys and under bridges who actually hold down real jobs.  And MOST of those who actually do hold those jobs, work in food service – AND most of them work in fine restaurants serving high-end consumers food at prices I can’t afford (at least not unless we are celebrating a special occasion).  I am talking about men and women who sleep, eat, pee and sometimes poo behind dumpsters around town.  And SOME of them have known the humbling experience of finding food in those dumpsters and eating it.

What exactly do you think THEY THINK about ALWAYS WASHING THEIR HANDS BEFORE RETURNING TO WORK?

Yeah… Think about it.

You might see yourself as too good to care for the homeless.  You might think they are worlds away and have nothing in common with you.  But then again, they might be getting their fingers all over your finger-licking-good lobster tail or fried chicken just a few minutes before you do.  You really MIGHT be SHARING a LOT MORE with these folks than you care to admit.

I’m just sayin’.

ANGEL? OR JUST A BUM???

How can I not feature this message on Fat Beggars?

Please check out this convicting post.

The Gathering Journal

Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it. -Hebrews 13:2 (NIV)

*****************

As I chose the above verse for today, my feelings and emotions were mixed.  I have so much compassion for the people living on the street…the homeless…the drug addicts… the alcoholics; yet I am so angry about it all!

I’m angry at Satan for destroying innocent lives with the lies and junk he peddles to our children, and to those of us that have lost hope-for whatever reason!  He advertises drugs, sex  and alcohol, showing rich, prominent, beautiful people ‘having a great time’ as they delve into ‘ his spirits’.  But the picture most of us fail to see is, all the addicts and a large portion of the homeless are where they are now because of buying into his lies!

Most in this…

View original post 340 more words

On the Internet…True is Rude.

I’m with you! Sign me up! (Everything except “go falcons” – I couldn’t care who wins…. I only care that Jesus move in Houston and help those brothers and sisters hiding in the Super Bowl shadows…

Please check out this blog post!

Marvelously Maggie

Oh well.

I figured I might as well start this off honest.  And I believe this statement.  On the internet…true is rude.  So I want to say some things about what has been in the news this week.  And I honestly don’t very much feel like dressing up my words to make sure they don’t offend.  Maybe we’re past that.  I’d rather be honest with you than humor you. Okay?

First things first…meet Ed.

I don’t have a picture.  But I met Ed in November while I was in Houston, Texas.  I went and checked out Ecclesia church while I was there.  I’m a big fan of Chris Seay and I knew he had a church in Houston so I looked it up and went to a service before I went and boarded my plane.  It’s a beautiful re-purposed warehouse.  Everyone was friendly with their looks…but nobody spoke to…

View original post 1,079 more words