Resume From Hell

I see here on your resume that you are a member of the Do-gooders Club, that you served on the board of directors of the Homeless Relief Council; you are chairman of the fundraising committee, and president of the Charity Corporation and Trust Foundation.  I see that you led the Project to End Hunger in 2016, and headed the Homeless Outreach Campaign of 2017.  You took the helm of the Medical Needs Foundation in October of last year with a projected budget of over $1.6 million, and expect to raise twice that amount by June of this year.  You have 12 years experience in charitable 501c3 organizations, and have headed your own for the last 8 years.

Your credentials are impeccable and admirable.  I can see why you put yourself forward for the job Savior of the World.  The record shows you have a lot to be proud of.

Just have a few questions before we make a final decision.

No where in your resume did you mention the indwelling of the Holy Spirit or the Body of Christ.  You do realize, don’t you, that Jesus himself does not have a resume like yours – no?  We don’t want to belittle your work in the slightest.  It is most impressive, and every single crumb of grace or charity that falls from your table is greatly appreciated, but we are looking for a Kingdom Answer to the World Questions.

Jesus said that “On this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell will not withstand it.”  How has your work conquered the gates of hell?  We looked through your resume, cover letter, and even several of the brochures and websites of the organizations where you serve, but did not see even a hint about it in any of them.

Hmmm… Yeah…

Uhhmmm, …  We are looking for the Body of Christ here, actually.  We don’t really need another band-aid for the sucking chest wound of life.  We need something more in the realm of resurrection.  Do you do that?  Do you even mention it in your brochures?  How about in your planning sessions?

I wonder…, you see, one of your references here, upon closer inspection, revealed to us that despite your P.R. rhetoric about opening your door to the homeless, you actually kicked out some of your volunteers for insisting that you let the homeless in on freezing cold nights.  We checked on it, and sure enough, if this is true, it happened right when you were heading a media blitz campaign to raise tens of thousands of dollars with the public’s help.

Can you account for that?

It looks like you are raising money by telling people you take the homeless in so they don’t freeze on TV, but behind the scenes you are throwing them out to the cold of night.  Does that sound like Jesus to you?  One fellow even claims he heard you personally use the phrase, “I don’t care where you go, but you cannot stay here”.  Does that sound like the Good Shepherd to you?  Is there any truth to these allegations?

This raises some other questions for us as well.  How much of all that money you raise through all your various fundraisers, charitable trusts, and outreach foundations actually goes to the poor?  How much of it expands office space, vehicle fleets, vacations, and your own pocket book?

Do you know how much money Jesus pocketed?

We found a quote from you in a newspaper a few years back telling the public not to give money to the poor themselves.  You accused them of misusing it for drugs or alcohol, and suggested that by giving to them the public would be enabling the addiction.  This despite the words of Jesus to “give to all who ask” and his direction of at least one rich guy that he sell all he owned, give it to the poor, have his riches in heaven, and then come follow.  How do you square your remarks with that?

But you didn’t stop there.  No.  You said the public should send their money to you instead, and that you would handle it responsibly.  How is that working out?  Have you ended poverty?  Or did you fund a vacation?  Who exactly is being enabled here?

Perhaps it sounds like we are merely nitpicking.  There is no doubt your work produces remarkable results and has actually helped many people on many occasions.  We want to thank you for your service and for every good thing that actually happens as a result of it, but honestly, we think you not only fall way short of Savior of the World material, but you are hardly on track with Jesus in any of this.

Yes, we are looking for a world revolution, not a status quo collusion.  Thank you for applying, but please, stop muddying the waters with all your rhetoric.  Instead repent.  Go back to church, the very Body of Christ and seek the leading of The Holy Spirit there.  Anything else is a beastly parody.  A 666-substitute for the real thing.

 

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Those Poor Little Rich People…

Is having wealth a sin?

(Glad you asked.)

No.  In and of itself, wealth is not a sin.  But serving it is.

Yeah, devoting your life and sacrifices to Mammon is a sin.  And by far the way to obtain wealth most often traveled is by way of devotion, sacrifice, even worship of Mammon.

The Bible never judges wealth itself as sinful.  Yet the Bible tells us that the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil (I Tim. 6:10).  The Bible is hard on the rich frequently.  The prophet Amos spends most of his prophecy preaching against the rich in favor of the poor – even calling some of them “Cows of Bashan” (4:1).  All through Luke’s Gospel, the rich are marginalized and the poor elevated (see Luke 1:53, a line from Mary’s Magnificat for a particularly spicy example).

Does this mean Jesus hates the rich?  Or is indifferent to them in any way?

No.

In fact, Jesus loves the rich and laments that they don’t often sacrifice their wealth and follow him.  Notice Mark tells us he actually loves the rich man (10:21) who turns away from him before then proclaiming that it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God.

And what was his Gospel message to the rich man, the part the rich man did not want to hear?

Sell it all, and give it to the poor.  Then come follow.

Sacrifice Mammon, and help your kin, then you can follow.

Ouch!

On the other hand, the poor are frequently elevated in Scripture and given every spiritual comfort.  Is this because the poor are inherently more spiritual?  Do the poor, by virtue of their poverty, find favor with God?

Look at James 2:5, and you tell me.

And Jesus goes on to identify himself (his very self!) with the poor and marginalized in his Great Judgment sermon about the sheep and goats in Matthew 25.

No.  Wealth in and of itself is no sin.  And in fact we have biblical examples of wealthy believers finding favor with God.  Abraham, David/Solomon, and Lydia to name a few.  Yet it appears they are anomalies proving that anything is possible with God.  But their wealth in no way makes them special otherwise.

If a rich person can humble herself in the presence of God and love his poor ones, that will be adequate to please God.  But very, precious few rich people get that wealth without loving and sacrificing to Mammon.  Precious few.  And the Bible never goes to great lengths to comfort them.  On the contrary, the Bible time and again disturbs the wealthy – and if there is to be comfort for them, it comes after they sacrifice Mammon in favor of God.

(Stick closer to your Bible than Dave Ramsey, and where they differ, go with Scripture.)

But if you want to take pity on those poor, little, rich people, then tell them you pity them.  They have a harder time getting into the Kingdom of God than a camel does passing through the eye of a needle!

Would You Belong To This Church?

I found a new church in Lubbock that seems to take following Jesus and loving one another to radical extremes.  I don’t personally know any of the members, but I looked at their literature, and they are not at all the usual kind.

We have one church here in town that actually calls itself “Church without Religion”.  Perhaps you need a decoder ring for that.  I am not sure what they mean by “religion”, but I find it highly suspicious that they think they can do without it.  The Apostle James tells us that “religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world” (James 1:27).  He goes on from there to talk about not showing partiality to the rich while marginalizing the poor, so I am suspicious of any church that is so eager to jettison religion.  And anyway, I wonder why they don’t say something about what they are with rather than what they are without.  To be fair, I have never visited that church, so maybe their name just betrays them, but it is a strange name to say the least.

We have another church nearby that boasts that blue-jeans are their “church clothes” right on the sign that tells you who they are.  We could say all kinds of things about what to wear (or not) to church, and maybe, just maybe, some if it would matter.  But probably not.  Not really.  But I guess if blue-jeans are just that radically important to you, then you should go to that church.  No mention of Jesus there, but you will fit in, I suppose, if you wear blue-jeans.

We also have Biker Church, Cowboy Church, and even Gay Church.  Apparently they are so cued in on making their own kind fit in that they separate themselves into these little enclaves like cliques in a high school cafeteria.  Don’t get me wrong here; I am all in favor of bikers, cowboys, gays, even truckers, Indians, and the rich going to church, but the whole idea, I think, is that they go to the same church together with grannies, blacks, crippled, young, old, single, married, and even polka dotted people too – as long as they worship Jesus and strive in all honesty to serve him.

So what about this new church?  What makes it special?  What makes it interesting and attractive?

(Glad you asked.)

Well, their literature says they devote themselves to the Apostles teaching, to fellowship, and prayers.  They claim that awe comes upon every soul there, and that many signs and wonders are done among them.  They claim to hold all their possessions in common, even selling all they own and distributing their wealth to all who are in need so that none of them lacks anything!  And EVERY DAY they go to worship together, and they eat in each others homes and receive their food with glad and charitable hearts while praising God.

Sound interesting?  Think you might want to join that one?

Yeah, I found it right here in Lubbock.

Okay… Okay…

Let me clarify.  That sounds a bit misleading, I suppose.

The actual church is located in Jerusalem right after that ascension of Christ.  But I found them on the pages of Acts chapter 2 while I was sitting and reading their literature here in Lubbock.  Yeah.  I found them right here in Lubbock, but only in the literature.  I did not find the actually people claiming to be the church and claiming these kinds of activities and experiences.

But I wish I had.

I wonder….

Would you want to join that church?

Would you belong to that church?

And if it were found here in Lubbock, do you think the care a homeless man receives at a 7-11 would outshine the care he would find in that church???

 

Tears for a Man No One Cared Abouti

Grief is a way of celebrating. It says this valuable person may be gone, but the value is still with us,

My Best Laid Plans

I am sitting here with tears streaming down my cheeks tonight. I cannot stop the floodgate that has opened up, and honestly I don’t want to. The tears are for a man that no one cared about.

But that’s not entirely true. I did.

His name was Danny Pilcher. He was homeless – one amongst thousands on the streets of Houston and around our country and world. To most of you, he was just a nameless face weathered by hard times, a vagabond not worth a second look, or perhaps the man who made you reach up and lock your doors when you saw him, ragged and dirty, standing on the street corner.

I wrote another blog about him a year or so ago. I will have to find and repost it later, when my heart stops hurting so much. Because right now, it feels like it is going to…

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What That Homeless Man Needs Is What I Need

More people need to see this,,,

Seeking After His Heart

The first homeless man I truly met was Tony.

It was cold and we were all bundled up, but I made a concentrated effort to not mention the coldness.  I had only been outside for a few moments and this man had no home to seek refuge in against the frigid weather.  My perspective of the cold was altered in the presence of a man who stood before me after successive days on the streets.

Tony was tall and kind.  In situations where he easily could have been bitter, he chose to not be.  I was with a group of pro-life university students and he never once made me feel privileged or self-indulged.  One Saturday, a student bought Tony a coffee and I watched him graciously accept it, even as his cold hands shakily caused the coffee to spill on his fingers.  My face was etched with the concern and…

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Private Eyes (A Message For Fat Beggars)

Encouragement from the blog-O-sphere twice in one day! Yeah, I gotta reblog again.

Loiter Larry

I have been reading Fat Beggars and talking to Agent X for a long time.  I hear X get bummed about the lack of local response from street people or church leaders.  I share the concern for the poor and for the church.  That is why I write this blog.  I want to support the message what ever way I can.

But as I see it, there is one angle to this Agent X has not acknowledged.  It is possible that street people and church people are reading.

Think about it, X.  You and I have talked about this before.  You don’t have access to all the information.  You use the counter WordPress gives you for free, but that does not actually count every view.  It does not give you information on who is reading – only if they are in America or foreign.  And so you are working from…

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Whether they hear or refuse to hear (Ezekiel 2 – 3:16)

Here’s a bit of encouragement from God… So blessed I found it today.

Spend Yourself

I’m so grateful for the Lord’s calling on Ezekiel. My heart rejoices and resounds with the message of “whether they hear or refuse to hear”. I believe that the Lord has been preparing me to work in some way with those who are living on the streets. I have a enduring pang and concern for the homeless that I believe only comes from the Lord. Who among us has such “goodness” in our flesh that such a desire would persist? None of us are that good. The Lord has burdened my heart for the homeless who stumble and fall because of the substances in their body, speak out of their minds, who appear so long gone they no longer appear like “Mary” or “John”- who no longer seem like people, and no longer act out of the dignity in which they were created. I feel that the Lord pours…

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Ski Trips -n- Youth Groups

Is skiing a sin?

No.

(Thanx for asking.)

At the risk of overly complicating things, let me ask this:  Is a private jet and a second or third house in the Hampton’s or perhaps Vail sinful?

No.  Not in and of itself, this kind of thing is not sinful.  But in a world where children starve to death and titans of the global economy whisk to and fro between such homes, is there any particle of such wealth that serves God?

Ouch!  That thought begins to bite.  It puts the squeeze on such a lifestyle.  And it gets complicated in that it pits Christian values against long-standing American values – even seemingly joining them with very liberal values.  I feel certain someone reading this will argue otherwise, and the complexity bogs it all down.

I don’t care to follow your debate.  Defending selfish wealth in the face of starving children and hiding it behind denial and complexity doesn’t help you in the Matthew-25 Judgment, and I don’t really care to descend into your HELL to help you sort it out.  Instead, I suggest you soften your heart toward Jesus, his will, and those hungry children and then see what happens to that wealth whether it be just a hypothetical discussion point or your real life circumstance.

So, if God blesses you with such tremendous wealth, how about you bless him with it?

And for that matter… what about the $10 you have in your pocket?  This line of thought is not exclusive to the very rich, but even to the poor.  If you have much, then much is expected.  If you have little, much is expected.  Will you honor – LOVE – God with ALL your heart, mind, and soul, or will you close it all off from him?

So… let’s just cut the crap.

I hope I am talking to fellow believers here, because this should be ready made discussion points for those in-house; those out-house are welcome to listen in, but until you come in, your input here is of little use.  God made this world to honor him, and he blessed it with great wealth available to all whether believer or not.  Such is his grace.  Those of us claiming to honor and love him have the added responsibility to live up to the claim.

And that brings me to the ski trips and youth groups.

By far, most of our churches in Lubbock are somewhere between the stellar wealth exhibited in private jets, second or third houses in the Hampton’s or Vail and the poor starving children of the world.  I don’t know of any titans of global economy living in Lubbock or worshiping in Lubbock’s church.  But there is lots of wealth one or two tiers below that, for sure!  And one of the manifestations of it in the church is the annual ski trip for the youth group.

I have not researched the stats, but I would not be at all surprised, based on my experience, to find 50 youth groups (and likely more) from the Church of Lubbock heading to the slopes this holiday break.  (Hope the church vans don’t collide with each other in the mad rush!)  What is going on there?  Meanwhile this town is plunged into subfreezing temperatures for days on end (rare for this area) with a population of homeless people up around 500.

I don’t mean to be a buzzkill.  I am all for the party, believe me!  Party, celebration, and worship are all right at the heart of Fat Beggars ministry!  And no, skiing is not a sin.  But we seem to have some warped values in the Church of Lubbock, and I am calling that to account.

As I see it, we are at a fork in the road.  I see two possible ways forward that might serve Jesus in this.  One is that we might gather up the poor and take them on the ski trip too, thus share the party in Durango, Vail, and Aspen with Jesus there.  The other is that we might cancel the ski trip and have the party in our magnificent church buildings with their family life centers, gymnasiums, kitchens, and ornate sanctuaries – places designed for the very purpose of celebrating Jesus to begin with.

No.  Skiing is not sinful.  But as we currently practice it, we leave Jesus out in the cold of the streets while we raise our kids in an elitist, social-club atmosphere that supports a culture of selfish wealth.

“Behold!”  Says Jesus, “I stand at the door and knock.  If you open up, I will come in and party with you…” (Rev. 3:20).  And sure enough, EVERY TIME I have ever seen a church open its door to the poor and put on a party, Jesus comes in for the celebration.  EVERY SINGLE TIME!

What party do you think the church was created to throw?  One in the Hampton’s accessible only by private jet?  Or one where Jesus is welcome???

It is not enough to open a barn on the other side of the tracks, install a heater, and let the poor survive the night out of sight and out of mind.

Just imagine the Bethlehem synagogue sending all the youth group on a ski trip when Mary and Joseph come to town and can’t find a place to stay!  Let Jesus sleep in a manger down at the barn, only a few shepherds and a few foreigners will come to celebrate while the people of God fail to notice that God came into the world and right into their town.

Surely the Church has learned this lesson.  No???