A Word THROUGH The Prophet TO The Shepherds

I AM AGAINST THE SHEPHERDS

Ezekiel 34:1-10

 

The word of the Lord came to me:  “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel; prophesy, and say to them, even to the shepherds, Thus says the Lord God: Ah, shepherds of Israel who have been feeding yourselves! Should not shepherds feed the sheep?  You eat the fat, you clothe yourselves with the wool, you slaughter the fat ones, but you do not feed the sheep.  The weak you have not strengthened, the sick you have not healed, the injured you have not bound up, the strayed you have not brought back, the lost you have not sought, and with force and harshness you have ruled them.  So they were scattered, because there was no shepherd, and they became food for all the wild beasts. My sheep were scattered;  they wandered over all the mountains and on every high hill. My sheep were scattered over all the face of the earth, with none to search or seek for them.

“Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord:  As I live, declares the Lord God, surely because my sheep have become a prey, and my sheep have become food for all the wild beasts, since there was no shepherd, and because my shepherds have not searched for my sheep, but the shepherds have fed themselves, and have not fed my sheep,  therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord:  Thus says the Lord God, Behold, I am against the shepherds, and I will require my sheep at their hand and put a stop to their feeding the sheep. No longer shall the shepherds feed themselves. I will rescue my sheep from their mouths, that they may not be food for them.

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A Word From God TO The Prophet

This message was sent in from one of our readers:

 

Ezekiel 2:3-7

God said, “Son of man, I’m sending you to the family of Israel, a rebellious nation if there ever was one. They and their ancestors have fomented rebellion right up to the present.
They’re a hard case, these people to whom I’m sending you—hardened in their sin.
Tell them, ‘This is the Message of God, the Master.’
They are a defiant bunch. Whether or not they listen, at least they’ll know that a prophet’s been here.
But don’t be afraid of them, son of man, and don’t be afraid of anything they say.
Don’t be afraid when living among them is like stepping on thorns or finding scorpions in your bed. Don’t be afraid of their mean words or their hard looks. They’re a bunch of rebels.
Your job is to speak to them. Whether they listen is not your concern. They’re hardened rebels.

Harvey Helps Sort Out The Homeless

Okay, like everyone else, my heart goes out to all that displaced humanity in South Texas escaping Harvey with nothing but the clothes on their backs.  Spending one or two nights in the rain, no power, under a bridge, wondering where their next meal will come from.

Why wouldn’t I care?  This whole blog is devoted to concern for people dealing with that kind of thing.

Okay, unlike everyone else, I want to point out a few inconsistencies here.  Not in those suffering this mess, but in us watching it.  This in no way belittles the needs we see on our TV’s and computer screens tugging at our hearts.  I encourage you to help those folx, I really do.  Send money, send clothing, send food, grab your boat and rush in to save someone.  Absolutely!  My hat’s off to you.

However, I wonder if anyone will size these refugees up as either “deserving” of help or not.  I wonder if anyone will look down their nose on these needy people and say, “Don’t they really want to live like that?”.

Think of it:  They knew the risks of living in a flood zone – of living in hurricane country.  They saw what happened to NOLA when Katrina came ashore a dozen years ago.  Why did they stay there?  And if you give them a little money, what if they spend it on booze?  Will you look down your nose at them then?

Do we separate them into “deserving” and “undeserving”?  It sure seems like we did a week ago before Harvey came along.  Is there such a thing as first-class homeless and out caste?

Again, I am thrilled with all the compassion poring out of this nation.  Please don’t read this and think I am bitter.  Don’t read this and think I would suggest you shouldn’t care or help.  I would not suggest that.

But a week ago, Houston had homeless people living on the streets toughing it out in the rain and President Trump didn’t get a photo op for them.  No one did.  When the Super Bowl came to Houston, the homeless were rounded up and run off for the weekend.   Now the whole metro Houston area is homeless, practically!

And if you really divide these people up into different classes of “deserving” or not, just what standards do you use?  Are you so sure its not just standard contempt?  How can you tell through a car window at 30 mph which ones are “deserving” and which ones are not?  And I gotta say, based on what I see on the evening news, all dem homeless peeples looks alike to me.

http://www.texasmonthly.com/the-daily-post/super-bowl-looming-houstons-homeless-get-boot/

Think about it.

Half The State of Texas Is Homeless Tonight, and The Church Door Is Closed

Thanx to T.F. Thompson (AGAIN) for sending this link to the Fat Beggars School of Prophets.  I never zeroed in on the church in Houston before – or Osteen for that matter – but we now have a prime example of the stupidity on the world stage there that has been going on here in Lubbock for years.

Check out this link:

http://nypost.com/2017/08/28/pastor-osteen-shuts-church-amid-flooding-crisis/

News Flash! …. This Just In … Extra! Extra!

T.F. Thompson drops this feedback into my comment box, and I think it should get a post all it’s own.  See it here:

The world’s position as a whole is that the homeless do not exist. This is especially true here in the states. If the Christian admitted the homeless existence then we’d also be forced to confess that we failed as a church and as a country. There is nothing sugar coated about being out in the cold. As we all know, this will crank back up in a few short months. It is especially cruel for children who struggle, many still in school. I think even when God sees His children in such a predicament He is pissed off. No, there is no holding hands around a campfire singing innocent hymnals. Neither was Jesus’ body hanging on a cross a beautiful vista. It was raw, violent, cruel, evil, dark and more or less another 1000 words of which I failed to speak. Now then, we finally took Jesus off the Cross only to throw his discarded body out with the homeless. Shame on us. We can do much better than that and in the end, we call Jesus our friend. I don’t believe He needs friends like us.

Please go pay Thompson’s blog a visit.  Tell him X sent ya.

https://hardtimesministries.wordpress.com/

I Am No Chaplain of Empire

In a day-n-age of consumer-friendly Jesus, handsome-leather-bound Purpose-Driven daily journals, coffee table study Bibles for men, women, sports fans, and arm-chair theologians, I have no vocation to sugar-coat the message that first called people to risk their lives just to go to church.  So when I go to church and sniff on the breeze a whiff of namby-pamby pop-theology that has served a modern church, on whose watch divorce rates have soared, the pornography industry has taken over even the checkout stand at the grocery store, and pastors now endorse everything from abortions to alternative lifestyles while flying in and out of resorts in their private jets, I speak up and challenge the offerings.

I am no chaplain of empire, whether the merchant-friendly empire of global commerce or domination through military might.  I will not pray with our soldiers on the boats before we invade with heavy weaponry, nor on the beaches after they are taken.  Jesus did not say, “Take up your M-16 and follow me”; instead he said, “Take up your cross and follow me or you cannot be my disciple” (Matt. 16:24).  How can I serve that other master that gives lip-service to this Jesus while making you feel better about killing the enemies he would have you love?

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/06/06/d-day-chaplains-wwii_n_5461338.html

Apparently I am “blunt”.  And it would seem that being blunt keeps me at arms-length from others with whom I should otherwise share unity.  I don’t understand why.

I grew up as the son of a preacher, the grandson of another, and the nephew of still two others.  I was socialized for church.  But I also grew up as the red-headed step-child of the church, for every time my dad got fired (and every single time that happened, he was taking a stand for Jesus among Jesus-people), I got kicked down the road along with him.  “Nice” is a farce.  It’s not real.  Church people put on a show, but they are not nice.  I am a first-hand witness to the unpublished carnage.

I might be a bit cynical, but I am not bitter.  I love the church.  Every single thing I say and do is part of that love.  We have a lot of nonsense to cut through.  A lot of fake nice – to borrow from presidential rhetoric.  Perhaps I should be sharp instead of blunt, since sharp cuts better than blunt.  But blunt is the description I get from others.

I am not apologizing for it.  This is barely an explanation at all.

Can I have patience?  Sure.  But that does not mean I won’t challenge.

So when I go to Bible class and hear a teacher suggest “It all boils down to attitude”, I am going to challenge that.  That kind of teaching just keeps rubberstamping the status quo which is a world rushing headlong into destruction.

Think I exaggerate?

I have met numerous small children on the streets of Lubbock at midnight completely unattended by adult supervision.  The breakdown of the family is deeply eroding society.  Think about that.  Babies in diapers running the streets at midnight in a conservative town like Lubbock, Texas!  Just how long do you think society can keep going like this?  How long will welfare, Medicaid, or any helping organization/institution be able to hold this together?  10 years?  20?  30???

And you were worried what the Democrats would do.  You were worried about the Russians, the terrorists, the North Koreans.  Ha!  We are the enemy.  This is LUBBOCK, TEXAS ya’ll!  We are conservative here!  If we are suffering this kind of carnage in Lubbock, just imagine what is happening on a far more grand scale in Los Angeles, New York, Detroit, Atlanta, Chicago.  Between the giant banks and investing firms and their greed, the dissolution of families in the projects, the breakdown of “the middle class”, and the KKK with their neo-Nazi friends, our society needs Jesus more than ever.  The need is urgent.  And it’s not a confused empire-compromised Jesus our world needs.

Where is the church in all this?  Baptizing troops?  Is your pastor browsing the porn sites when he could be opening the door of your church to the poor?  How about you???  Is your nose just a little too buried in that handsome, leather-bound Purpose-Driven journal to open your door to the poor?  Where did you think you would find Jesus?

Read Revelation 3:20 and then answer that question after.  Not before.

And then pull out of that whore! (Rev. 18:4-5).  And let’s get busy.

Free Hugs in Lubbock

Go down to the Lube Pro at 82nd and University in Lubbock and get an oil change for about $45.  But the hugs are free!  And of course, that is PRICELESS…

Yeah!  It’s real.  I went there to change the oil in my wife’s rig the other day and saw the small sign boasting the free hugs.  I inquired, and sure enough, upon request, the whole staff came out, one-by-one, to hug me in front of the other waiting customers.  It was great.

Ever wish church was that friendly?  Why doesn’t the marquee with the nifty message offer “free hugs”, and while we are at it, “free love” (agape, of course) and “free salvation”?  As my good friend and blogging buddy T. F. Thompson points out, my homeless friends might well feel a bit priced out of church.  Perhaps we should take note of where “the world” around us is shining a bit more brightly than we do and humbly take notes.

Here’s a cool little video you can watch for homework assignment.

Let’s implement this.

I Have An Idea…

Let’s raise a bunch of money and devote it to the homeless ministry!  Yeah.  Then the problem will finally be licked.

Well, okay, so we need to use it wisely too.  I hear you.  So here is my next idea:

Let’s educate people about the problem!  Then we can use the money wisely.

Oh, yeah… that’s been done too and still we have a persistant problem.

Oh… Oh… Oh… I know.  Let’s raise awareness!  Yeah!  That will do it.

Wait.  What?  that’s been done too?

Yeah…  I suppose so.  And really, that is just one more aspect of educating people anyway, and we were doing that before too.

Hmmm…

So what should we do then?  I am out of ideas.

What would Jesus do?

Die on a cross for our sins and three days later be raised from the dead?

How is that an answer to the homeless problem?

Wait a minute.  Come to think of it, raising money, educating people, raising awareness – those all seem like good ideas.  They might even play some part in the answer – maybe.  But even the pagans, atheists, and power-mongers do all that to address the problem….

Meahwhile, Jesus dies on a cross, is raised from the dead three days later, and THAT IS THE ANSWER to all the world’s problems – somehow.  I am having trouble just now seeing how, but I believe it despite my limits of understanding – don’t I?  Don’t I believe that?  I thought I did.

And the church (the very Body of Christ) surely plays its role in THAT ANSWER to the world’s problems – including homelessness.  But that is soooooooooo deeeeeeeeply counterintuitive!  Nobody, and I mean NOBODY, brings that kind of answer to bear on the problem … if we don’t.  And it looks like we have neglected it too.

What exactly is going on here?  How might we implement this answer to problems like homelessness.  Surely I don’t need to find some Italian to drive nails through my flesh and hoist me up on some rudimentary cross at the edge of town.  I mean, aside from my physical, spiritual, and emotional aversion to that thought, I really think that IF I did that (I mean really did that), it would be deeply upsetting to the people of Lubbock and yet would not help the homeless at all.  I would just be making a spectacle of myself, wouldn’t I?  How would anyone make the connection that this somehow helps the homeless?

I am not sure.  I suppose that in God’s hands that is possible.  After all, all things are possible with God.  I have read that somewhere (Matt. 19:26).  But maybe there are other ways of analyzing this which could illuminate God’s answer to this problem for me, the homeless, and the watching world.  What might that be?

Well, in Matthew 25:35/40, Jesus says that if I take a stranger in, I am taking him in.  What if I follow that spiritual breeze?  I mean, I am just spit-balling here.  We really might find a better way forward, but at least we are following the Word of God – even the words of Jesus – as we consider this.  What happens when we take a stranger in our home and love them like they are Jesus?

Woe!

Now there’s an idea worth pondering.  Lots of risk involved, but anyone willing to take up a cross to follow this Messiah is surely willing to face a little risk.

Hey!  I have an idea…

More Minster CJ Prayers

I didn’t think to share CJ’s prayers on the blog, but she gave me one at our worship assembly about a month ago.  It just so happened that on that day, I was carrying a handwritten copy of the Magnificat which I was memorizing.  When CJ gave me her prayer, I reached in my pocket and gave her mine!  We traded prayers like kids trading baseball cards…

I figure this explains why we received a bundle of prayers from her here at Fat Beggars yesterday (however, I am still puzzled over how we received them).

Here is a scan of the one she gave me.  Precious.

 

CJ’s Prayers To God

I am impressed. Good one, Larry.

Loiter Larry

Perhaps by divine providential mystery, somehow (I do not know) the handwritten prayers below, offered up to God by  “Minster* CJ” (formerly Sista CJ), wound up here at the Fat Beggars School of Prophets office today.  I am really puzzled by how they got here.  But they did.

Sista CJ is a long time friend of this ministry (though not homeless herself) and has lived in fine homes (in which she raised her three children as a single parent) provided by charitable Christians in Lubbock off and on for years.  When she says she has had problems before, she means it.  But as you can see in these prayers, her tender heart is grateful to God for his abundant care.

Surely we can all take these prayers to heart.

This is a voice you won’t likely hear anywhere else.

CJ Prayer one

CJ Prayer two

CJ Prayer three

CJ Prayer four

*As you can see from the handwritten notes CJ spells the word “minister”…

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