We all make mistakes

We all make mistakes. Sometimes, they’re small and fixable. Other times the course of our lives are changed forever. I’m just as guilty as the next person. When I was in elementary school the church I grew up in was building a new sanctuary. The construction crew had already dug a deep base for the basement foundation and there was mud and puddles of water everywhere.

My friend and I thought it would be a great idea to make a bunch of paper airplanes and throw them out the second floor window into the construction pit. When you’re little sometimes ideas seem like good ones. Looking back, I can’t even tell you how many apologizes I had to make and what embarrassment I must have caused my parents. My dad was a deacon at church.

Looking back years later I realize how dumb and stupid this was. We’ll all heard the expression “kids will be kids.” I laugh now but I’m sure I was grounded. It was a mistake and the first of many I made in my childhood. People often ask in conversation how most of guests came to be struggling with homelessness. Was it choices in life? Was it drugs? Sometimes, this is the cause but no one ever imagined they could end up living on the streets. The loss of a job, the death of a spouse, a work injury; these are all things I hear regularly from our guests that helped to contribute to where they have ended up in life.

What I love about the idea of grace is that Jesus died on the cross for our mistakes. He gave up his life for our sins. He paid for the things I don’t even know I am going to do yet. But, his grace comes with a price. We’re called to believe and be servants of the Lord. We are equipped with different skills and opportunities to serve and set a “Christ like” example in our life every day. Ministry is not a job, but a lifestyle. It’s supposed to drive our motivation and actions each day. The journey is not always easy.

“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” – James 1:22

Ask God to make the scriptures real in your life this week. Don’t just hear the words of the scriptures but ask God to make your heart open to truly living out what we are called to do as followers of Christ. Don’t be so hard on yourself for your mistakes. We have a chance to change every day but we must let Christ be the center of our lives and the light that guides us.


Morning Glory Needs
Jars of jelly for emergency assistance
Jars of pasta sauce for emergency assistance
Men’s Jeans and belts
Men’s Shoes
Men’s Cargo Shorts

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Seeing the good when its bad

I admit it. I like to watch terrible movies. I’m guilty of always checking out what Nicolas Cage is up to and think Keanu Reeves is awesome.  My roommates often join me to watch these movies. I often watch these terrible movies, embrace the bad acting, and ridiculous plots will hole after hole. I generally enter into the movie watching experience with an open mind no matter what the movie critics and reviews say. I want to give them a chance waiting for that one perfectly crafted moment that makes it great. You could say I see choose to see the good in the bad or make the most I can out of each movie I watch.

I try to apply this philosophy in other places of my life. It’s not always easy. In times of tragedy it’s hard to stay positive. On the bad days I’m not always thankful for the things I have or the good that’s in my life. My mom did this every day. She never complained a day in her life but worked at Children’s Mercy as a nurse for 26 years with kids who had cancer. I strive to be like her.

With each new guest I met I approach them the same way. I see every person that walks through our doors as another friend to be made. I want to know their story. I want to hear their dreams and passions. I strive to build a real connection. I joke all the time that I love my job because I get to have breakfast with 125 friends each morning. The struggle of homelessness is heartbreaking. I can’t grasp the pain and hurt some of our guests feel who have been living on the streets for years. I can’t begin to imagine what it’s like to live in a tent when it’s snowing or wake up not knowing where my next meal might come from. I am blessed with family, a job, and a place to live. So many of guests deal with the struggle of poverty and homelessness but yet they take the time to thank the volunteers and staff of Morning Glory. They encourage us and remind us to be humble and thankful.

When you come through the doors of Morning Glory you become family. You can check your drama and troubles at the door. For many of guests it’s a place they can feel normal and accepted. I love to watch our guests talk and interact with the volunteers. They share stories, ask about their lives, and I see the friendships and bonds they have.

A good friend of mine, Drew Hunthausen, has been blind since he was 11 years old. He came down with bacterial meningitis, went into a coma, and lost his vision. Life is not easy for him but he is one of the kindest and most positive people I have ever met. He does everything with a smile. Every week he makes video blogs on facebook called “Life of a Blind Guy” which shares his activities and tasks he accomplishes. Often, I watch them and are amazed at his persistence and ability to live as close to a normal life as he can. I can’t imagine making coffee blind but Drew does it every morning? Or going surfing when you’re blind. It’s encouraging and honestly quite special. Drew has never met someone he didn’t like and chooses to speak and motivate others to live life to the fullest. I look up to Drew. He reminds me just how special and each every one of our lives is. Read his story here http://drewhunthausen.com/about-drew/ .

I want each and every one of you to take a look at your life. Is their negativity? Do you complain more than you should? Do you take things in your life for granted. God want’s our hearts to submit to his will and seek him throughout each and every day. He wants our spirits to be filled with happiness and joy. It’s not easy but take a few moments each morning to thank God for your life. Pray that you can be a positive person and set an example for those around you. Ask God to help you change your heart. Be encouraged by his word and love.

“I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.” – Psalms 121: 1-2

Watch Drew’s Story

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Learning from the poor

God has taught me many things working with the poor and needy through the years. As I listen to their stories about childhood, traveling, their daily struggle, and heartbreak one thing always come to mind; Honesty. So many of our guests are willing to share their story of how they ended up in the place they did. One guest shared this week of growing up in a loving Christian home but he refused to believe and submit that God’s in control. He traveled the United States, struggled with drugs and alcohol and finally realized that God is real and Christ died on the cross for our Sin.

He has started to make amends with parents, his brother, and the people he hurt with his actions. He realized we live for one purpose, to be loved by God and love him, to serve him with our whole heart, and ask for the forgiveness he has graciously given us. This guest has been so thankful that Morning Glory has provided him with food and warmth, conversation, and a place to feel safe in. The last few days he has been helping cleanup after the meals, and wants to give back in any way he can. He has no money, no home, but a simple desire to serve those and help those who have given up their time to help him.

Every morning I greet our guests at their tables, find out how their breakfast was, and simply talk about life. They have hopes and dreams and passions just like the rest of us. As I asked one table how they were a guest responded “Still Homeless” and we had a laugh. He answered the question honestly and with a smile. Laughter is a great gift that God gave us that can be understood in any culture and any language.

In 1st Thessalonians Chapter 5 14-18 Paul writes ”And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone. Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

I encourage you this week to pray for guests. Pray that God continues to move in their lives and work in their hearts. Take a moment and thank God for the blessings in your life and pray for opportunities to bless those around you. Pray for more patience, more understanding, and be thankful for the things you have.

“Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier.”
  – Mother Teresa


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