Church this morning was amazing! A group was there from Teen Challenge in New Orleans and they shared some testimonies and songs. The first song they did gave me chills....well everything they did gave me chills, but bare with me. Its called "Top of my Lungs" by Phillips, Craig, and Dean. The chorus is so amazing...
At the top of my lungs I will sing Hallelujah! You're the one who saved me, the one who gave me this life I live, forevermore forevermore. At the top of my lungs I will sing Hallelujah! I'm not ashamed, I'll praise your name. Let the whole world know I love you Lord. I love you Lord.
Just hearing the group of men sing these words overfilled me with joy! Knowing that the Lord has brought them out of a lifestyle of addiction, and now they are able to sing praises to Jesus Christ for saving them!
I always get so moved in services like this-you know, hearing about how God has made such a huge change in somebody's life, and hearing of their drastic change. I mean, it's wonderful hearing about God's grace and him saving ANYBODY, but things like this just show how much he loves.....how far he goes to bring people to him.....how his grace has no end! Chilling......because he does this for me everyday! I may not have a deep addiction but I still have sin that separates me from him!
They talked about how it was the power of GOD that brought them out of the addictions, not some rehab program. The leader talked about how a rehab program is meant to take you back to what you once were. Addicts don't need that....they were trying to fill a God-shaped whole with drugs/alcohol and what they need is GOD! They don't need to go back to an old lifestyle....they need a completely new life!
He later spoke about some of his background, and said that at one point in his life he was homeless and addicted to drugs. I think several of these people had probably been homeless at one point in their life or another. THIS is what touched me the most....and then I heard that still, small voice.......
Let me back up.....
SEVERAL years ago during my teenage days in the youth group at Mt. Vernon. Steve Chambleewas the youth pastor then and he took a group of students on several occasions to downtown Bham to feed the homeless. One time we went and just helped pass out the food and drinks, and talk to the people, tell them about the love of Jesus and just listen to their story sometimes.
Another time we went, we helped pass out the food again and then I remember going back to a HUGE warehouse and help divide up food into paper bags that this guy would distribute once a month. That's about all I remember.....couldn't tell you where we were or who that guy was, I just remember having a part in feeding the homeless those few times.
Moving forward into my college days, I had an opportunity to go out and give jackets, coats, and blankets to some of the homeless in Bham one again. I loved doing this too...they were just so appreciative, and couldn't understand why we were doing that.
And there was that still small voice..........
Summer of 2007 in Savannah, GA (this is where I spent 6 weeks doing mission work...another story, another day) I heard of this restaurant that all the employees there were once homeless. The owner or whatever had a job-training program where he would train these people to cook and clean and do everything you would need to know to run a restaurant. They even did catering events. This man TAUGHT the homeless how to get on their feet and work. The lady I worked with all summer said that when these people finished the program, restaurants would almost fight to give the people a job. They were well trained and hard workers.
He was speaking............
Moving forward a little more.....
At a Social Work Conference just last year, a man from DC came and spoke about how he is the founder of this place that takes in homeless people and teaches them all kinds of job skills. I think I remember him saying that he would give them a small business loan and one of those cart things that are everywhere in DC and teach them to have a small business. He also had some sort of restaurant/catering thing where he taught job skills and helped them get on their feet. I was so entrigued by this, and so intersted.
He was still speaking, in that still small voice........
So here we are today. August 23, 2009. What I thought was just an ordinary day of church. We even debated going......but I'm glad we did! I've already told you what the service was about, but what I didn't tell you was that He was speaking the WHOLE time! I couldn't help but think that I work with drug/alcohol addicted people everyday with my job now. I would say more than half of the families we work with have some type of addiction. All I could think about was how I needed to tell them about the love of Christ. Yes, my employer says this is ethically wrong, but WHO CARES?!?!?!?!?! If I lose my job for sharing the gospel of Christ, will HE not provide??
Anyways.....that's really not what I sat down to write about. I wanted to share with you all that His still small voice is still speaking to me. I know he has called me to work with the homeless in some way. My desire is to help those who are hopeless. So many (myself included) just think about all homeless people as being adicts who don't want to change. And the answer to that is probably , yes this is true for most of them. But let me ask you.....do they not need Jesus too?? Maybe they are there because they don't know where else to be? Or because the drugs are the only thing they have? Maybe they're searching (which I feel MOST are) for the one thing they've been missing their whole lives??
What if I'm the one who can tell them?
HE is the only ONE who loves them....even in their current condition. (Even in my current condition!)
In the midst of him speaking all of the above to me during the service, and even now...I'm saying "But God, why me? How? Where? When? But God..... but God......"
I don't know how.......but HE does
I don't know when........but He does
I don't know where..........but HE does
But I know why......because HE wants me to!!!!
"For I KNOW the plans I have for you"