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Posts Tagged ‘Adams Avenue Crossing’

Sanctify

December 16, 2009 2 comments

It’s a word that was thrown around a lot this weekend at our weekly bible study at Lestat’s and at table talk the very next day. We were studying Jesus’ prayer for Himself, His disciples, and the people that would come after. You can read it in John 17.

Jesus prayed to sanctify Himself so that his apostles would be sanctified. “For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.” – John 17:19.

Sanctify: to make holy, consecrate.

I think it’s a prayer that I need to say. Really glad TC put up  his version of the prayer over at the AAC blog. Another part of the definition was “set apart”. I don’t always feel holy. I struggle with how much a part of this world I allow myself to roll around in the muck with. I feel more like “struggling to free myself of my worldly desires and wants sometimes when it’s convenient for me” than set apart.

This particular blog is somewhat of a bitch also. It was a lot easier when I was reading Luke to get fired up about social justice and the poor than when I have to look inward and beyond when I’m studying John. Probably explains the lack of posts lately.

I’m trying to decide what I need to give up to feel sanctified. I know that I am. Jesus prayed it. That doesn’t mean that I always “feel” it. Unfortunately, thanks to some rather “poopy” life choices my thoughts are an amalgam of lust, Jesus, poker, compassion, vengeance, greed, faith, fear, hope, depravity and so on and so forth. I have to be very intentional about my walk or I fall off into the ditch fairly quickly. Things like Facebook and twitter really feed my already inflated ego and my selfishness. Don’t you want to know what I’m doing RIGHT NOW? Of course you do!

My decision was to cut off most of the electronic media so that maybe I could start having actual face to face human interaction again. First the cell phone. Then the internet at home. That lasted about a week and Letty turned the internet on at home again. And here I am again, pecking away at the keyboard.

I like blogging and reading blogs. That’s going to stay and if anything probably expand. It’s good for me to put what I’m thinking down on paper and I need a creative outlet.

Facebook and Twitter, drastically reduced. Except to keep up with my friends doings and whatnot. No more mafia wars or any of the rest of that crap. A week away from it and I hardly missed it. Maybe an occasional update just to let you know what I’m up to and to exult in another Chargers victory.

The bottom line is that I want to feel sanctified. Holy. Whatever that feels like. Here’s another great part of the prayer:

“My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world.” John 17:15-18.

Lord, please sanctify me in the Truth. In You. That’s my prayer for today.

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Crutches

September 17, 2009 11 comments

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Headed over to Normal Heights this morning to do whatever it is we do for the homeless. This is really a trial by error kind of deal, at least for me. I know as I’m driving over there I’m asking the Lord what it is that I can do. Let me be Your eyes, Your arms, Your ears, and Your mouth.

Let’s face it. The homeless are a little scary. I mean, usually there’s a reason why they are homeless. Whether it’s drugs, alcohol, or mental illness, no one is hitting the streets on a winning streak.  I love the fact that Jesus is turning my fear into compassion. I love the fact that He is letting me see people through His eyes and not mine. My eyes are jaded and wary. His are loving and hopeful.

I was sitting at the park this morning without a homeless person in sight. I figured I’d get my bible reading out of the way before TC showed up and we went looking. As it happened, TC brought the homeless to us. He hollered at me to meet him over at Lestat’s so off I went. Here’s TC’s take on what happened before I ran into them.

I walked into Lestat’s and TC was buying a sandwich and a cup of soup for a guy he met in La Mesa.  Said his name was Ron. He told me people called him Crutches. An appropriate nickname since he was on crutches.

I know that the one thing that God has been wanting me to do is listen. I think He’s laid the gift of being able to have a conversation and not just a monologue on me. I think He’s gifted me with the ability to maybe ask the right questions. How can we redeem someone if we don’t even know what’s going on inside their heart?

Ron’s story kind of went like this. He’s a San Diego native of 57 years. East county mainly. He has 4 kids and 2 wives. I asked if he had a harem and he laughed and said no, just one at a time. All his children are grown up. Two are in Jersey, one is in Texas, and one lives out in Santee. He was really proud of his son that went and fought the Taliban. When he told me that you could feel his pride in his boy.

The reason that he was on crutches? Seems that 9 months ago a couple of guys met up with him at Amaya over by the trolley. They had a baseball bat. They told them that they wanted to get rid of the homeless in the  area. They started to chase him. He came to a 6 foot fence and decided to jump it instead of  face the wrath of the bat. When he hit the ground he landed on his knees. He ended up breaking his leg. He ended up in the hospital for a few days and then they sent him on his way with the crutches.

He told me that he’d done quite a bit of county time. He’s retired now. Doesn’t want any problems. He’s an old man now that just wants to be left alone. I can dig. I know the feeling too well.

Here’s the question. What do you do? I think we did as Jesus would have done. Fed him. Got him a pack of smokes. Got him a Steel Reserve. Listened to his story. We all have one. We all want to be heard. I think TC and Sam probably gave him some shirts and some shoes. I think you show him our Savior’s mercy without asking anything in return.

Did we convert a soul to Jesus? Probably not. I don’t even know if we planted a seed. What we did do was show another human being God’s grace in a way that he could tangibly understand. So for an hour or so he was able to feel our Lord’s unconditional love. I just thank God that I get to be a part of something like that.

Everytime we go out I’m learning. Maybe my job isn’t to convert souls to Christ. Maybe my only job is to show Christ’s love and mercy and healing and understanding to those who have been beaten down by this world. Those who are so broken that the milk of human kindness might be a cigarette or a 40 ounce. I’ll let the rest of y’all be concerned about saving souls. I’ll focus on showing Christ’s mercy and let Him take care of the results.

Park Stalk

September 10, 2009 5 comments

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Ok, that’s the last time I use that term for what we did today. It’s just funny to me. Hopefully someone will come up with something equally catchy for what we did today.

What did we do today, you ask? That’s a good question. Sometimes when God sends you out to something you just do it, even if you’re not quite sure what “that” is. God called us to go to the park today, bring some water and oranges, and hang out looking for people to talk to. I think better yet we were called to listen. Which is sometimes a harder thing.

We met over at 39th Street park (can’t ever remember the real name of it). Sat and talked and reflected about our week so far while we scanned the park for someone to meet.  It was pretty empty except for some kids and their moms at the playground. Even the basketball courts were empty.

I’ve got to admit, I’m pretty nervous about all this. I don’t know if this is in my skill set. I don’t really see myself as an evangelist per se. When no one was at the park I think inside I was quietly going “yes!”. So we said a  prayer and headed off to the Adams Ave Rec center to see if anyone was hanging out over there. Great.

As we rounded the corner at the rec center we saw a couple of guys sleeping on two benches with old blankets covering them.

Me to myself: “Those poor scary guys who I can’t tell what they are about, let’s just let em sleep. They must be really tired and possibly dangerous to waken.”

T.C., walking up to them, “Hey, would you like some water?” Now I’m a little on edge. I’m not sure if it’s a good idea to wake up sleeping homeless folk.

Out pops a head. Man, it’s just a kid. A kid with a mohawk. Troy. Says he just got kicked out of his parents house for smoking pot a couple of days ago.  His buddy popped his head out also. Bob.  Long hair stoner kinda guy. Both of them are 18. First they turn us down when we ask them if they want some water and oranges but eventually they relent and accept a couple of bottle of waters from us.

Bob’s pretty quiet and stays on his bench sleeping. Troy, I think he felt obligated to talk to us since we forced him to accept our water. He tells us about how he ended up there, how he might have some issues with pot and drinking and smoking. Actually a really nice kid. Quiet, but he said that’s because of the medication that he’s on.

One of their friends came up while we were talking to them. Keela. She had just left her boyfriend’s place after he kicked her in the head to start off his day. That was our introduction to her. She was definitely the talker of this little group. She has a couple of issues with Christians. The same ones that a lot of us have. Even other Christians. When she was talking I could definitely tell that she had been to a few AA or NA meetings in her time.

She explained her conception of God in much the same way that I did in my last post. TC talked a bit about how a lot of other Christians feel the same way that she does. She was pretty receptive to listening and responding to us which I though was pretty amazing. I kinda told them a little bit of my story of coming to Christ and how I had all the same thoughts and feelings about Jesus and Christianity that they did.

After talking a little more, Keela had to leave.  And that was that. Our first walk was over. Nothing bad had happened. We might have planted a seed. A positive seed. Not one of a condemning God that wanted to send them to Hell but a God that wanted to give the something to drink. Not The God of the Million Dollar Bill Bible Verse Tract but The God that wanted to listen to them.  The God that wanted to give ’em an orange. The God that talks about grace and forgiveness.

Incarnational? I think so.