I Gave Shoes To The Homeless This Weekend

Yolanda and I participated in an outreach to the homeless of Denver this weekend and it was exhilarating. I LOVE being able to connect with people who don’t need a handout as much as a firm handshake, eye contact, maybe a hug and a smile to let them know that someone cares about where they are in life. Yolanda and I helped hand out shoes to people and to hear the thankfulness in the voices of people we helped was priceless.

I am not writing this blog to try and make myself look good or to guilt others into doing something in their community to help people in need. I want to bring up a few points to consider while helping people who are homeless or just in transition in their lives.

1. Don’t treat the homeless LIKE human beings treat them AS human beings
People who are homeless are not a lower level than anyone else and deserve the respect of people who are volunteering in some way. The best way you show respect is by not patronizing or taking down to them. Ask them their name, shake their hand and make eye contact. You would be AMAZED at what a smile and a firm handshake will do for someone.

2. Ask them to tell you their story and JUST LISTEN
Yolanda and I sat with two girls during lunch and had them tell us their story. We just sat and listened to them and let them know we were there to support them. Not to preach to them. Not to make sure they cross the proverbial “Jesus finish line” to make sure they were going to heaven. Just to listen to them and be a part of their journey in life. An important thing to remember is that showing love and meeting a practical need in someone’s life can speak more “Jesus” to someone than all the talking in the world. Yolanda and I love people first and let them ask us why we do the things we do. Jesus always comes up in conversation and we didn’t have to force any “religion” on people.

3. Don’t just help during the holidays
It is easy to get motivated to help during the holidays but the fact is that people are not just homeless and/or hungry during the Thanksgiving and Christmas season. All of these organizations need help year round and would gladly accept the volunteer help at other times than just the end of the year. I think there is a Godly impact in a person’s life who commits to helping year round and not just as a give back during obvious months. The TRUEST form of being like Christ is looking for those in need and filling that need.

Have a great holiday season and I encourage each of you to look for ways to go outside yourself and meet practical needs in your community and then continue those things year round. Remember what Jesus did when he interacted with people; He met the practical need FIRST and that was the path to helping meet the deeper Spiritual needs.


Pre-Thanksgiving Book Snippet for your reading pleasure….Good things about being Sick

This is another section of my book I wanted to post before the thanksgiving craziness of tomorrow! Enjoy!

God designed the church body to lift one another up and be there for one another. I started something amazing with my Facebook account that I know completely came from God. I take a day of the week and update my status with asking for prayer requests that I will lift up during that day. It is amazing, the number of people who respond to me and ask for me to pray for them. I also encourage them to post testimonies about what God did through prayer to help encourage those still with a prayer request. I do not consider myself someone who knows everything about terminal disease or being sick for many years. I actually feel blessed that I could have a few years of pain to experience the things I did so I can somewhat relate to people of all walks of life who have some sort of crap going on in their lives. I was sick just long enough to have the “we don’t know what else we can do” conversations with the doctor, have a major test done on my body and be sent home to wait for the results hoping it wasn’t cancer. I was sick just long enough to have the privilege of spending some time at the Arthritis Clinic in the Remicade room, hearing so many heart-breaking stories.

I consider my experiences to be wonderful opportunities to have a peek into the lives of people who were dealing with life-altering disease and to encourage me in a new way to pray for them and believe for God’s best for them. I have let the pain I went through be a catalyst, of sorts, to help me understand how to pray and to have a heart that goes out to every person who has a serious need in their lives. If you don’t know Jesus as your best friend, then you really need to have that connection in your life to get a full grasp of what I am saying. This is more than just having “good and positive thoughts” about a person. It is doing something in the spiritual realm to lift a person’s needs before a God who will always be there to listen and to help you use your difficult circumstances for a greater good than just getting through the inevitable pain in life.

Holy Crap Moment:
Being a “strong” person, and just keeping good and positive 
thoughts going will not make real change in your life and probably won’t be enough to bring you through really tough times. When you have a relationship with Jesus though, you change from just trying to survive by your positive mental outlook alone, to now having a deeply personal connection to God, and it’s His love for you and His power at work in you, making real and lasting change.

Excerpt from Chapter 6 of Holy Crap – Change Challenges

This excerpt from my book is one of the “change challenges” that I encourage readers to do. Enjoy!

2nd “Change Challenge”:  Have an attitude of gratefulness

Think about this statement: gratefulness provides an atmosphere for change.  This was another one of those principles which I didn’t understand until about 4 years into my sickness.  If you haven’t noticed, I am trying to set you up for greatness.  I want you to be able to read the pages of this book and learn from my mistakes.  I am not saying I did everything wrong, the past few years, but I did enough things wrong to maybe help you be further along than I was in my pain.
There is a great example of thankfulness in the book of Luke in the Bible about ten lepers (outcasts with a terrible skin disease)Luke 17:11-19 (NCV)    11 While Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem, He was going through the area between Samaria and Galilee. As He came into a small town, ten men who had a skin disease met Him there. They did not come close to Jesus but called to Him, “Jesus! Master! Have mercy on us!”
When Jesus saw the men, He said, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” As the ten men were going, they were healed. When one of them saw that he was healed, he went back to Jesus, praising God in a loud voice.     Then He bowed down at Jesus’ feet and thanked Him. (And this man was a Samaritan.)  Jesus said, “Weren’t ten men healed? Where are the other nine? Is this Samaritan the only one who came back to thank God?” Then Jesus said to him, “Stand up and go on your way. You were healed because you believed.”

Did you read those verses correctly? There were ten lepers who had an incredibly terrible skin disease and were outcasts to society. It says that nine went on their merry way, yet only ONE came back to actually thank Jesus for what He did!  This portion of scripture always floors me with the contrast of gratefulness and ungratefulness, all in the same section of scripture.  The one made the effort to go back to where Jesus was to thank Him, but the others so quickly forgot that, not only were they healed but an amazing lifestyle change had just been given to them.

I believe gratefulness is a key element in making it through a rough time in your life.  It takes the sting out of a painful situation by focusing on what you DO have instead of being concerned with what you DON’T have.

Thankfulness Provides an Atmosphere for Change

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! This post is specifically directed at those people who are having a hard time being thankful today. Maybe today you are seeing all the posts on Facebook & Twitter about Thanksgiving and you don’t feel like you can post anything. Never forget that thankfulness provides an atmosphere for change. If you want things to change in you life, whatever it might be, then it is important and even imperative that you find something to be thankful for. Thankfulness does not change anything in life itself, but it certainly changes the atmosphere and attitudes of you and the people around you. When you are thankful in life you are not ignoring possible crap that is happening but you are choosing to focus on something positive, possibly, in a sea of negative. On this Thanksgiving, I challenge you to really examine you life and consider giving thanks and seeing if the rest of the un-thankful parts of you life don’t turn around for the better. When your focus is forward and not backward you cause your mind and heart to see potential in life and not the “reality” of where you think you are. It really is one of the main reasons I follow Jesus; the good in Him replaces the crap in me. And that is CERTAINLY something to be thankful for. 🙂 Have a blessed day and weekend!!

Nothing like being Thank-FULL

I want my life to be “full” of “thanks.”  Thankfulness is a key factor in moving out of difficult situations in life.  Thankfulness says something about your life especially when you are a follower of Christ.  The most important thing thankfulness does is admit that God is in control and you are not.  You are not saying you enjoy pain, but that you trust God enough to say thanks for the opportunity to learn something about yourself that has the potential to make you a better person.  Pain, sickness and generally things that feel harmful in life can be seen as one of two things; OPPOSITION you can fight or OPPORTUNITY you can embrace. Thankfulness focuses your thoughts and attitude on being grateful and is a key ingredient in God seeing that you are ready for a change in life.  True thankfulness is not being thankful to try and manipulate the situation to get what you want, it’s taking an inventory and appreciating the things in life that help make you the person you need to be.  I want to be a thankful person in all situations so people will want to be around me, listen to me and be changed by how I feel about a relationship with Christ.  People who complain and are not thankful in life repel others and make a reputation for themselves that is generally negative and not good.  When I was really sick with my eye I didn’t know how to be truly thankful for possibly going blind, losing my job and becoming a huge burden on my wife.  I really believe this was because I didn’t know the difference between being thankful FOR pain and being thankful IN pain.  Thankful FOR pain is not what God asks from us but he does want us to learn to be thankful IN pain.  Keeping our eyes on Jesus and not worried about the circumstances that cause us discomfort.  On this thanksgiving day don’t just say you are thankful, but really take an inventory of your life, thank the people who have helped you in life and thank God for the oppositions you have in life that can become your greatest opportunities to become stronger in every way.