Saturday, January 27, 2007

Wisdom from the aged

It rained cats and dogs all today but that didn't stop our faithful Dream Center volunteers from hitting the streets in North Baton Rouge. Even though our original plan got rained out we changed gears and took the opportunity to visit some of the elderly in the neighborhood. We sent teams to three different streets and spent time with some people that don't always have a lot of visitors. As always, I learned a great deal.
My team started out at Miss Martha's house. She's out of the hospital now but still not eating very well. She's having a problem with her electricity so she's got an extension cord running from the neighbor's house into her kitchen. Every time one of us stepped on the cord the lights went out. Despite the fact that she's chronically ill, doesn't have money for her medication and is borrowing power, she was as cheerful as ever. She told us how good God has been to her and that she knows He's going to make everything all right. She let us pray for her and then insisted on hugging all of us good-bye. She was so grateful that we took the time to come and visit her.
God continually amazes me. Truthfully, I didn't really want to do visitation as old folks kind of scare me a little. But as I sat there and listened, to Miss Martha, and then Mr. Lawrence and then Miss Gertrude, I began to realize the wisdom these precious people have to share. Not necessarily their experiences, but their faith; that assurance in God that has carried them through their eighty-odd years of life. I was encouraged, and humbled by their faith.
It was a great day. Once again, despite the rain, the Son shone through. All glory to God!

Friday, January 26, 2007

On the mend

Hey all. Sorry I haven't blogged in forever. I've been under the weather for a couple of weeks but I believe I'm on the mend.
Things have been hopping down at the Baton Rouge Dream Center. We're getting ready to start a pre-school literacy program called 'Jump Start'. We had our first day of registration this morning.
We're also busy planning for an event in March called WOW Jam. It's basically a giant block party we're hosting for 2000 of our closest friends. I'll give you more details as we get closer.
The day's highlight, in my opinion, was seeing Miss Barbara operate a forklift for the first time. Normally I drive the Green Monster, but I thought it would be cool for her to give it a shot. She did amazing! I included some photos so I could share the moment.
God is good, all the time! All glory to Him.

Friday, January 19, 2007

HPC Staff hits the streets

I had a really cool opportunity today to watch almost the entire HPC staff in action. As part of the staff's annual retreat they did an outreach downtown at the Baton Rouge Dream Center. They handed out groceries, cleaned houses for the elderly and prayed for a ton of people.

Now, I see these guys all the time, since I spend a good deal of my time hanging out at the church. But today I saw them in a different light. They weren't sitting behind desks, answering phones and crunching numbers; today they were feeding the hungry, praying for the sick and bringing hope to the hopeless. It was awesome.

I know that everybody who works for Healing Place is called there by God, but it's really cool to see them in the streets, taking God's message to the people. I get to spend a lot of time doing outreach downtown, but many of them do not. Inner-city ministry is not for everyone, but today everybody jumped in with enthusiasm. I'm so glad that I belong to a church who isn't afraid to get their hands dirty. I love HPC!

All glory to God!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

16 cents

I was at a drive-thru today picking up a salad for lunch and I asked them for a packet of bar-b-que sauce. (I find salad much more palatable if it reminds me of steak). They told me my total and asked me to pull around to the window. As I was handing the lady a card I heard somebody yell, "She's got to pay for the sauce". The woman swiped the card, waited for it to clear and hollered back, "Too late, I already ran the card". The guy hollered back that if I don't pay for it I can't have it. The woman looked at me and shook her head. "You got to pay for the sauce. It's sixteen cents." I fished around in my ashtray and pulled out the right change. I smiled at her and said, "Just out of curiousity, why is it free inside but I have to pay for it at the drive-thru?" She said, "It's just the manager". I asked if he was at the next window and she said yes.

I wasn't angry, just curious, so I asked the manager the same question. He informed me that unless I buy chicken nuggets, I'm supposed to pay for it every single exceptions. I told him that I order the same thing all the time and I've never paid for the sauce. He said that I should have. I picked up my order (with my sauce) and drove away. I decided that I probably wouldn't return to that particular restaurant.

It's not that I mind paying for the sauce...I think it's worth 16 cents for me to be able to eat a salad. But I was a little miffed by the way it was handled. I decided to forgive and bless (which is almost always the best decision) and go on with my day. But, it got me thinking.

How many 16 cent mistakes do I make, and what is the real cost? Over sixteen cents I'm going to go to a different drive-thru. There are too many choices available for me to set myself up for aggravation. How many people are not sitting in church because of sixteen cents? How many people have been offended over something minor and decide not to go back. Sadly, many of these people don't pick a new drive-thru (church), they just decide not to go.

I don't want to be the one demanding sixteen cents. I want the people around me to remember being fed, not the coins in the ashtray. I want to represent my God well; His love and compassion and mercy. I want to provide the extras...without worrying about nickels and dimes.

Father God, help me to focus on the changes you want to make in me and let me not be distracted by the cost. All glory to God!

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Chad in the back woods

I just got back from hearing Chad Daniel preach at a retreat for HPC elevate students. What a night! Chad threw down, the Holy Ghost showed up and we all had a great time.

The retreat was held in some state park about 70 miles from no place I'd ever heard of. As we were walking to our cars the possoms were running around in the shadows and it seemed that we were almost surrounded by water. It didn't matter though...I'd waterski across the Antarctic to hear Chad bring the fire.

I met Chad when I lived in St Louis, MO. His ministry is still based there but he travels the world bringing people the gospel. He's a man of God who loves his wife, is a great dad and refuses to compromise. He is what young Christian men should strive to be.

It's such a privilege to belong to a church that is determined to pour into the next generation. I am amazed at HPC's commitment to our young people and I am convinced that with people like Chad speaking into their lives, our future church will be dangerous indeed. I can't wait!

All glory to God!

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

You Want Coke with That?

Last Saturday we had the opportunity to do a really cool outreach. The good people at Chick-Fil-A donated over 250 chicken sandwich dinners to Healing Place to be distributed to people in need. The meals included a chicken sandwich, chips, a brownie and a cold drink. They even loaned us heated containers to keep the food hot and fresh until we handed it out. On a cold, rainy day there’s nothing better than a hot meal.

A lot of the people we regularly deal with are not your average citizens. We make contact with folks that are facing issues like addiction, prostitution, violence and poverty. We work with the poor, the oppressed and the often forgotten people who are struggling just to make it through the day. Despite all their problems, they are still important people. They are somebody’s sons and daughters; they are people who got caught in circumstances, many times beyond their control. They are people who need a hand up, someone to encourage them and to confirm their worth. This weekend, that person was you.

Healing Place Church has a reputation of giving; whether its hot food or cold water, the community knows we like to give. When Chick-Fil-A wanted to donate, they looked to HPC to for direction. They brought the food to us and we brought the food to the people. It was a great partnership.

We delivered meals to people living at The Alamo, a by-the-hour motel on Florida Blvd. One woman walked up to the van and said, “I have six children, y’all are an answer to prayer.” She left with a box of meals and tears in her eyes. For some of these people it was the first hot meal they had eaten in days. We delivered meals to the Hispanic community in Gonzales. At the Baton Rouge bus station we had dozens of people lined up at the van and we were handing out meals as quickly as we could pack them; over 80 meals in fifteen minutes. It was awesome.

Healing Place Church is always looking for ways to bless others and now we’ve got a great company that wants to link arms with us in the mission. It’s such a privilege to belong to a church with a reputation for giving. I believe that God is going to bless Chick-Fil-A tremendously for their generosity and their willingness to get involved. I love that God allows me to be apart of it. All glory to Him!

To view some great photos from this outreach check out the Serve Team webpage.