To prelude my blog for the week, I encourage you to read Isaiah 58. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Isaiah%2058&version=NIV
This last Monday I went with my friends on the "God's Favor Bus" to Detroit again to serve and minister to the homeless. I must admit I commited to serving on this day, but didn't really want to go, because I was anxious to work on my Fund Development for InterVarsity. I have an ambitious goal of raising 90% of $63,000 by June 1. I'm currently at 24%. I thought, O another day "I" cannot work on this. But I know this is a commitment I've made and I do really love doing this ministry.
God always does something different each time we serve in Detroit. Before we circled up to pray I decided to go talk with one of the homeless ladies that I've met several times before. I'm curious and perplexed by her. At times she seems so random and rythmical with her conversation, almost like a beat poet, that I am not exactly sure what she is saying. Other times she seems clear and concise and almost prophetic. This was one of those times. I don't even know why she told me this because I didn't even bring up the conversation. I just asked her if she would like to join us in prayer. Her response, "now you go and don't worry about not saying anything. Respect your elders and know that God knows your heart. Okay, go now, okay..." I was speechless. I only asked her to join us in prayer and this is how she responds? And what is it that God has been telling me to respect my elders lately. Don't I already do that? Hmmm.... Anyway, we circled up for prayer and I had something on my heart to share but an older man in our group started to preach. I felt a little jealousy in my heart and I remembered what the lady had told me. So I submitted and resisted the jealous tendancy and prayed and listened. After the older man had finished speaking (amazing words from the Lord) I was given the opportunity to share my story.
I also talked with a homeless guy who had only been on the streets of Detroit for one week. He came here from Arkansas seeking to find his estranged wife who left him for someone who lives in the Detroit area. He's only 29 and he was definitely out of his element. Me and another friend pleaded with him and encouraged him to yes contact your wife, but if she is not willing to reconcile, please get off the street and go home to your family. He was deeply hurt and moved I could tell, but he just couldn't humble himself enough to take our words to heart. So he continues to hang out on the streets with people who really don't care about him.
Another encounter was with a prostitute. Our bus pulls up beside her and our crazy bus driver lady (Louise - wonderful woman of God) shouts out, you need anything! The lady immediately repeats, "I know I am doing wrong. I know I am doing wrong." After talking with her and praying with her she did say that she believed in Jesus. But she just couldn't get out of this life style. The marks on her eyes showed just how her "boy friend" treated her. We pleaded with her to let us take her to a shelter. She wanted to be free, but again she wanted to go get her things from her boy friends apartment. We explained that we had clothing on the bus and that she should leave the other stuff behind. The price of freedom is leaving the old and moving toward the new. That's what Christ has done for us.
It breaks my heart to see people who want and need the freedom that Christ offers, but the bonds of sin hold them captive. O Lord that you would set the captives free! Indeed you already have, but please open the eyes of the blind and help the deaf to hear! O Lord have mercy on the people of Detroit!
Why did I ask you to read Isaiah 58? What is a day the Lord finds acceptable? What type of worship does he glory in? How are we as followers of Jesus suppose to live? The word is plain and true. If we are to see change and transformed lives in Detroit or anywhere, the gospel must be proclaimed, the captives must be set free and we must be humble before the everlasting Almighty God!
O Lord have mercy, Jesus have mercy, Lord have mercy!
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