Friday, August 5, 2011

Under the Overpass Recap

Better late than never. I want to write a bit about this book from where I have marked sections that I found interesting. There are three particular ones that I want to bring attention to that God really spoke to me about and helped widen my thinking about the lost and homeless and how we treat them. So many wonderful learning experiences but these are just a few that jumped out at me to write to you about.

1) In Denver, pages 36-39. "If we are the body of Christ-and Christ came not for the healthy but the sick-we need to be fully present in the places where people are most broken." I think that is one of the biggest reminders that many Christian's and non-Christians constantly need to hear. You don't have to wait until your "better" to be good enough to come to Christ. He came to save the sick and the sinners. A page over Mike describes the speakers who come to preach to the homeless. And in a lengthy description he wonders, "Why the speakers so often focused on the "hell, fire and damnation" theme and so little on hope, joy, love, peace, or really anything positive." Mike ponders over why the speakers think that this type of sermon is what is going to help these people who are so down and broken. He uses this example: "Telling someone who is suffering deeply that he's going to suffer more is probably a waste of breath. It's like warning someone who is already starving that they're about to get really hungry. But tell him of the restaurant that serves heaping meals to all who come no matter where they're from or what they look like, and he's more than likely to listen." I have always wondered about those who do preach this theme and if it ever actually works and "scares" people into coming to Christ. I felt like Mike really showed me how wrong that thinking can be and that we could be more effective by loving people to Christ. I know which option I would choose if I didn't already know the Lord...I would be much more willing to listen to the hope than the hell.

2) Now in Portland, pages 96-97. "Sitting there with Sugar man, I felt my carefully established definitions of a Christian crack and expand. Here was an admitted addict and user openly proclaiming Christ in his community and asking how he could serve us." This is the part where Mike is trying to determine what do you do with your definition of a Christian when you encounter someone like this, you end up having to expand your comfort level. He says, "Why do we reject the loving, self-sacrificing, giving, encouraging, Jesus-pursuing drug addict but recruit the clean, self-interested, gossiping, loveless churchgoer? Which one do you suppose Jesus would rather share a burrito with under a bridge?" I don't know about you but that really made me think about the way I judge and treat others.

3)Lastly in San Francisco, pages 134-136. Sam and Mike have just received some left over pizza from a man and are extremely grateful for the leftovers. They discuss how the prayer of thanking God for our food has a whole knew meaning when you are out on the streets. Mike brings up the idea about how we pray for provision but then don't make the effort to get it when God provides it. He made the observation, "What do you think would have happened if the Israelites hadn't gone out and picked up the manna God sent?" "We'd be a lot more hungry if we hadn't asked for that pizza. God answered our prayers for provision, but we still had to ask these guys for it. We still had to 'pick up the manna.'" Then as the conversation continues he said, "It's like asking God to Bless your day, then when He puts a needy, smelly person in front of you that you could really help, you wonder what you did to deserve such rotten luck." It was an interesting conversation about how we ask for things and sometimes God provides just not in the way we anticipated and we still have to receive it... we can't just sit around and do nothing.

At our meeting we talked about so many other wonderful things we learned and the interesting experiences of these men as they lived on the street. If you haven't already, I encourage you to read the book and I pray you are blessed by it and find something unexpected and good! Happy Reading!

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