Saturday, February 10, 2007

This Saturday with the Homeless

John Lunt, a good friend that walks with me on the streets didn't come today because he hurt his knee last Saturday. Today started out looking really grim for the homeless church. When I showed up in front of the library at 1:30pm I saw three of the church guys. There were probably twenty other homeless people on the benches outside of the library. One of the church guys got upset because I told him I had talked to John about not thinking cell phones were a need that we should provide for. There was an argument about it resulting in him declaring, "I'm too angry to do the bible study with you guys." I left it alone but George could see I wasn't ok. I told him it was because I am stressing at work because I have been slacking and taking too long on my job the Shore (a condo in Austin) but also concerning the argument. It was nearly 2pm and George was the only one wanting to hang with me. I might have been the plague to the street church because of my inadequate "leadership," but I wasn't going to let it hinder God's work. Me, George, Jesus... what else do I need? I continued to talk to George. I asked George, "If me and John stop coming, will you guys continue to meet?" He said with definite authority, "No." I probed more, and was disappointed to find out that they would not commune or meet with each other without us outsiders being there. Then John showed up (not John Lunt, a different guy). He is also a good friend to me and always brings a joyful attitude. But he didn't look like he was doing very well. I asked and we talked about what it was; very good honest things came from it. George said lots of people were doing bad this week. Lawrence was there too. We hung out in front of the library for a while. George kept asking if we were going to go in front of City Hall, where we have been studying the book of John. I deliberately persisted in remaining a non-decider. George FINALLY took the lead, with a little assistance, to move to City Hall. So it was me, George, Lawrence, and John when Bill and Jeffery showed up. Bill had been having aches and pains. Kelly showed up with the sloppy joes, bananas, apples, and carrots. Other folks showed up, namely Renae, Wayne and Daniel. George prayed. We ate. Good stuff. Daniel left. I suggested we all pray, each of us. Jeffery started with the LORD's prayer. In turn we all prayed, some offering extra words to YHWH. We went through John 4:27-38. Discussion was so thick and rich. Renae has gifts similar to Lawrence's. There was a time when three or four conversations about the Harvest were going on at once between only 9 people. It was awesome. Everyone seems eager to follow Christ in this way. Also, I shared about having doubts about God and also that I had been disobedient concerning two specific opportunities he had given me to witness about Jesus that I hadn't taken. There were other confessions, discussions and encouragements. I am so proud of the work Jesus has done in John, how far he has taken him because he was teaching Wayne and sharing with him. John is a quick learner, honest, and humble. He still needs guidance though he always has lots of questions; but he can teach in practical ways what he does know of the lord. All the guys are on fire for God; they are encouragers, prophets, teachers and evangelists; real leaders. There were times when the discussion climaxed into a crescendo of exaltations to our LORD Jesus, claiming his righteousness and declaring his victory over satan and death and sin. Lawrence laughing with joy said satan must hate this, that we are all praising Jesus regardless of anything that happens to us. Earlier someone said something about having the peace of Christ and that nothing could take that away. We talked of needing to know the word for when we don't have the bible with us or for when bibles won't be available. It was beautiful. Everyone was reluctant to leave.
Kelly and I opted to hang out longer with some of them. We went to the store with them. I saw Joe who joined us. On the way we saw Alonzo, and met Collin and Reggie. We walked and talked about stuff. George gave me a tour of a different wealthy downtown area. Later we hung out at the Resource Center. Collin and Reggie were there. Me, Kelly, George, Bill, John, Collin, Reggie and a couple other Christians hung out there by the entrance for two hours talking about food and Jesus. Bill walked Kelly and I back to our cars. I gave him a ride to his camp. Kelly called John Lunt to tell him a summary of the events.

2 comments:

John Lunt said...

Ben;
You Kelly and George did great. Don't be worried about the argument. I know you handled it with more grace than I would have. It was a conversation that was coming regardless. Since I know the person involved, I know it's more about some greed in their life than anything else.

It sounds like God showed up. The issue of them not continuing to meet if we don't show up doesn't surprise me right now. The "gatherings" are still really new. I honestly believe that will change as we continue down this path. As George and others like John begin to find their identity in Christ and their place of leadership, I believe this will change.

It was encouraging to hear you mention that you were be deliberately indisive and yet George stepped up to the plate. You gave him an opportunity to step up and he did.

There will be other opportunities as well. I don't believe God has us down there to somehow be the pillars. He'll raise them up from the outside. At some point they'll do it because it's something they want to do. They're getting stuff out of it every week. I hear them talking about it. It's just going to take a little time.

Great job, Ben, George and Kelly.

I am so glad that God is allowing us to walk together.

Joseph said...

You guys continue to inspire me to do the stuff of Jesus. I learn weekly from your example.