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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

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

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

 

March Madness

I love college basketball. Since I was 7 years old I’ve been a diehard Duke fan. When I lived on Skid Row in Los Angeles I even played in their 3 on 3 basketball league that a lot of the homeless residents of Skid Row play in. Every March I get excited for March Madness. I’ve watched hours of games, rooted for the underdogs, and enjoyed the rivalries. I used to take off work so I wouldn’t miss the action. Many people become obsessed with the tournament; they live and breathe it. They join pools, throw parties, and commit many hours to enjoying college basketball. I’m guilty as charged. As I’ve gotten older my priorities have changed. The passion is still there but it doesn’t consume me like it once did.

As believers in Jesus Christ we are all called to serve. God wants us to read his word, study it, pray, and fellowship with other believers. His desire is for us to live a life that reflects his commandments. What if we had the same desire to seek and serve him like we so many of us do for March Madness? What if we were excited to study the word of God and pray for others with the same commitment and passion?

I met so many guests who seek the Lord every day. They are thankful for another day of life. They appreciate the volunteers who serve at Morning Glory. They love the Lord and I couldn’t tell you how many times they tell me they couldn’t get through another day without his love and grace.

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.  Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.”        –   2nd Timothy 4:7-8

When we accept that Jesus Christ died on the cross for our sins and believe he is savior we begin the race. We put ourselves in the ultimate game. We choose to follow and believe in his love and grace. We are on the winning team and our victory crown awaits for us in Heaven.

This week I ask that you spend some time in pray asking God to fill your life with the passion and desire to seek and serve him every day. Listen for his calling that he has prepared for you. It’s not easy to listen or even always comfortable but it can be if you make it a daily part of your life. Pray for a desire to read the scriptures. Ask the Lord to instill a desire upon on your heart to live the life he calls us to live.

“It is better to share, because we bring to Heaven only that which we have shared with others.”
– Pope Francis

Morning Glory Needs
Volunteers to help with breakfast on Wednesdays and Fridays
Men’s Jeans
Men’s Tennis Shoes
Backpacks
Canned Fruit
Canned Meat

My heart breaks

As I greeted our guests this past week my heart was broken for one individual. As I asked him how he was doing he told his wife passed this week. She had been battling various ailments and had been in the hospital for a few weeks. They had been married 13 years, volunteered together, and went through the ups and downs of life together.This individual is homeless but fortunate enough to get to be bedside when his wife passed.

He feels lost, alone, and is barely making it through the days. As he begins a new journey and the stages of grief he knows the Lord is right by his side. He was confident the Lord would carry him and take care of him even through he’s full of anger and sorrow. He told me his guidance was this old poem you may heard before but forgotten.

 

 

One night I dreamed a dream.
As I was walking along the beach with my Lord.
Across the dark sky flashed scenes from my life.
For each scene, I noticed two sets of footprints in the sand,
One belonging to me and one to my Lord.

After the last scene of my life flashed before me,
I looked back at the footprints in the sand.
I noticed that at many times along the path of my life,
especially at the very lowest and saddest times,
there was only one set of footprints.

This really troubled me, so I asked the Lord about it.
“Lord, you said once I decided to follow you,
You’d walk with me all the way.
But I noticed that during the saddest and most troublesome times of my life,
there was only one set of footprints.
I don’t understand why, when I needed You the most, You would leave me.”

He whispered, “My precious child, I love you and will never leave you

Never, ever, during your trials and testings.
When you saw only one set of footprints,
It was then that I carried you.”

That poem hung in my bathroom at my parent’s house growing up. I read it all the time and often thought about it. Life is short. We live to Love and Serve our Master, the one true God above. No matter how hard we try and run or how angry we are God still listens and loves unconditionally.

Please pray for this individual. He has no way to contact his relatives with whom he’s lost contact with. With your prayers he won’t be walking alone. Pray that he is comforted, has patience, and that he feel’s love from God, the only one who can help to heal and fill the void of a loss of a loved one.

“For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” -Romans 8:38-39

From homeless to house

My Mom grew up on a farm in Southwestern Missouri. When she was a kid they had an outhouse, took baths outside, had chickens, and lived a simple lifestyle. There wasn’t the internet, they didn’t shop at the mall, and she was the first one in her family to go to college. As a kid I often had the chance to spend my spring breaks with my cousins on the farm. I learned about growing crops, tractors, cattle, and spending time in what is often referred to as “God’s Country.”

Over the last few months I’ve had a chance to really get to know one of guests. He grew up on a small farm in rural Missouri. He dropped out of school in the 5th grade to take care of his siblings, doesn’t know how to read, and the doctors told him he has the education level of a 7th grader. He struggles through his life daily and has tried to learn to read many times. I can’t even comprehend or imagine what that would be like. He is one of the nicest, kindest, gentleman I’ve ever met. He ended up homeless because of his lack of education and when the farmhouse became his he was taken advantage of.

The one thing that truly amazes me is that is his faith in God is one of the strongest I’ve ever seen. He fully puts his trust in God every day. He prays daily and truly lives out his life as Christ calls us. He can’t even read the word of God but it doesn’t stop him from seeking the Lord’s will in his life daily.
A few weeks ago he approached me with the biggest smile on his face as he told me that after many years of facing the struggle of homelessness he would be moving into an apartment. He finally would have another place to call home and lay his head. We often take for granted so many things in our lives. We forget to give God thanks for the things we have. God calls us to a place of humility and thankfulness.

I want you to take a few minutes and make a list of the things you are thankful for. Then I want you to take a few minutes to pray and thank God for these things. Life is short and full of struggles and challenges but each day God reveals his blessings to us whether big or small.

“It is good to give thanks to the Lord, to sing praises to your name, O Most High; to declare your steadfast love in the morning,  and your faithfulness by night..”
– Psalm 92:1-2

“If families can say these three things, they will be fine. ‘Sorry,’ ‘excuse me,’ ‘thank you.’ How often do we say ‘thank you’ in our families? How often do we say ‘thank you’ to those who help us, those close to us, those at our side throughout life? All too often we take everything for granted!” – Pope Francis

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