Thursday, June 18, 2009

baseball bats and God

The other night I was asleep in my bed when I heard my roommate holler, "Donna, someone is trying to get in through my window!" I was on my feet and standing in the hallway about a half-second later. "What?!?" She said it again. I went back into my room, put on a sweatshirt and grabbed a baseball bat from my closet. "Grab your cell phone", I told my roommate as I headed to the door. I flicked on the light, walked down my driveway and turned the corner of the house. I wasn't really thinking; I just went into combat mode. I prayed as I walked out of the house but I wasn't sure what I was walking into. Nonetheless, I walk into the night.

On Emily's windowsill was a little black and white cat, just sitting there. I laughed.

I told Emily to come and see; and we both laughed. As we went back into the house she said, "So that's it? You just grab a baseball bat and walk straight into it?" I told her that I would rather be taken out in my driveway facing my fear than to be cowering in my house, afraid of what might be there.

I went back to my room and as I was laying in bed God whispered to my heart. He told me that is the way He wants me to write my just grab a bat and go. I was convicted. I've been supposed to write this book on shame for the past 2 years. I'm a little afraid of it and, well, kind of ashamed. But, I've made a decision that I'm going to do what God says. I'm going to grab a bat (pen) and go.

I should be launching a new website, hopefully in the next few weeks. I will let you know when it happens and then I'm going to need help from all of you (and your friends, relatives, co-workers and the guy you just met on the elevator). The website will be gathering stories about shame and those stories will help shape my new book.

Please be praying that I will grab a bat and go. Be blessed, in Jesus' name.

All glory to God!

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Saturday, June 13, 2009

Right here, right now

Last night we got to do Midnight Outreach and it was FABULOUS. For those of you who don’t know, Midnight is an awesome outreach we do where we go to the clubs, bars and streets late at night to remind people that they are not forgotten. We typically take roses to ladies dancing at strip clubs, chocolate to the bouncers, and snacks to the people we find trolling the streets. It’s always exciting and God always shows up. Last night we had some really cool experiences.

Sometimes it’s just the regular crew of HPC volunteers that head out into the night, but last night we had the privilege of being joined by a mission team from Washington, DC. They are a great group of young people from Mark Batterson’s church and they are spending a few days with us at the Baton Rouge Dream Center learning how we do outreach at HPC. Our goal is to reach the world by serving one; and one of the best ways to do that is to equip other churches so they can replicate these outreaches in their own cities. It’s a cool opportunity to pass on the DNA of Healing Place.

So this is pretty much the highlight reel of last night:

Strip clubs:
• Gave out roses and chocolate at 3 south side clubs
• Favorite moment: seeing one of our volunteers crying in the parking lot, unable to express her gratitude for God delivering her from that life. Before Christ, she had been a stripper for 10 years. She knew everyone in the club, and last night she was able to walk in, hand out roses, and be a light of hope in that very dark place.

Top 10 Social Club:
• Handed out roses, chocolate, lip balm with hotline number and gifts for patrons to take home to their children.
• Favorite moment: a man standing in the parking lot, surrounded by team members praying for him, at midnight. He said that something had told him to go stand “right here, right now”. Our team leader told him that something had told us to go “right here, right now’. Cool God moment.

Street corner:
• Favorite moment: watching a prostitute take a rose from the hand of a volunteer. When we pulled up she started to run away…she said we scared her…then she took the rose and thanked us.

The Alamo:
• Handed out roses, chocolate and lip balm to people who were hanging around outside at this by-the-hour motel.
• Prayed for people who are lost, hurting and desperate for change.
• Dean got to talk to the owner and he said we could hang up a poster in the office letting people know what we do. This is extra cool because earlier in the week the same guy threw out one of our outreach teams off the property. Another God-connection.
• Favorite moment: meeting Brian. He was standing outside his room with Don and Monica, barbecuing in the back of their pick-up. They had a small charcoal grill, a plastic fork and some pork chops. We walked up and offered them chocolate. They took it and thanked us. We happened to have charcoal in the shuttle (thanks to Vince) so we offered them that too. Brian looked at me and asked why we were being so nice. I told them we were with Healing Place Church, and we were just out reminding people that they weren’t forgotten. “For real?” was his response. Monica said, “Sometimes it feels like we’re forgot”. We got to pray for them and invite them to church. Just before I got back onto the shuttle Brian crossed the parking lot with a Styrofoam tray full of pork chops. He offered it to me. I said, “Oh Brian, thank you so much but I can’t take your dinner.” He put it into my hands and said, “Ma’am, you can’t not take.”

I have been offered all kinds of things, from all kinds of people, in all kinds of situations. I have rarely been so humbled by someone’s generosity. Brian, Monica and Don were cooking their meal in the back of a pick-up truck in the middle of the night because their room doesn’t have a stove and they have nothing else to cook with. They had no plates, a plastic fork from a take-out place and no knife. And they gave their dinner to us. They fed the thirty-plus volunteers who were willing to show up at midnight and let them know that God loves them. After we prayed at I looked at Brian and said, “God is after you, Brian. You know that, right?” He dropped his head and nodded. He looked back at me and said, “Yes, I know that.” I believe God grabbed hold of his heart last night. I know He grabbed mine.

All glory to Him!

I go to the coolest church in the world!!! Can you even believe we get to do this??? Thank you, Pastors Dino and DeLynn for allowing us to do this. Thank you for caring more about souls than about public opinion. Thank you for sending us to the least of these. God bless you.

Matthew 25:40
The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.

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Thursday, June 04, 2009

Thought of the day

Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.
Psalm 139:23 (NIV)

I was walking in the park the other day and I saw a group of children in the distance. They were probably in third or fourth grade and they were wearing school uniforms. They all looked similar, except for a young boy with a cast on his arm. The plaster was neon orange and stood out dramatically from everything else. I could tell, from a hundred yards away, that this boy had been hurt.

I started thinking about all the times I had been hurt; without a neon cast to show for it. So many times we are broken and wounded, and yet our closest friend isn’t able to tell.

Why is it that we insist on hiding our brokenness? Most times, with me, it’s either pride or shame. I’m afraid that no one can help or, worse yet, that no one will care. So there we sit, quietly bleeding to death, hoping and fearful that no one will notice.

God always knows about our hurts and He always wants to heal them. We don’t have to be anxious about going to Him, we can be like David and invite God to search our hearts and thoughts. The more access we give to Jesus the quicker He is able to heal us.

Question of the day:
What’s my payoff for not letting God help me?