Archive for the 'journey' Category

“Giving to the needy” – in secret?…Herman could use a chess set

Last Wednesday we went back to the Amtrak bridge and found Herman at the same corner we found him exactly a week earlier. Herman agreed to go to lunch with us. We went to our usual place – Benjamin’s on 10th. Man, we had a really fun lunch with Herman. The guy is so fun to be around. Here are a few interesting things we learned about Herman…

  • He’s on a waiting list to get an apartment from the Wilmington housing authority.
  • He could use a good pair of jeans (waist 32 to 36 – he said the size after looking at us and sizing us up)
  • A pair of jeans will only last him about 2 weeks before they’re too old and dirty and need to be thrown out. (The 2 week thing on the jeans surprised me)
  • He needs a tarp to cover up his stuff. (He showed us a makeshift pile of his belongings. It was raining and everything he had was wet)
  • He plays chess as a hobby. (Ben’s going to give him a chess set)

Ben and I have been doing a lot of hanging around with ‘the needy’ over the last 7 months. And along the way we’ve been able to help our new homeless friends with more than just encouraging words. We’ve been sharing our street stories with friends, hoping that we can encourage others to get involved – because the need is great.

I’m feeling pretty good about the work that Ben and I have gotten ourselves into. I’m proud of the risks we’ve taken and I’ve discovered that it’s a ton of fun hanging out with homeless people. But I think God was sensing my pride, because he brought me into this passage…

Matthew 6 – Giving to the Needy (TNIV)

1 “Be careful not to do your ‘acts of righteousness’ in front of others, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. 2 “So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

The phrase ‘do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing’ really struck me. That’s an amazing statement that gets at the heart of how we should help people. I don’t always give in secret.

Maybe giving shouldn’t be something that we keep track of just so it can show up as a deduction on our taxes. I’m not saying we shouldn’t claim our charitable giving on our tax returns, but it is challenging to keep my left hand from knowing what my right hand is doing while working in TurboTax….

In the end, there is a healthy secretive aspect to giving. I’m glad God brought me to this passage – He reminded me that all the good I do is for His glory and not my own.

blogging the double edged sword – a year of blogging

i’ve been blogging for a year now.

blogging is a double edged sword. it’s great because it’s a place for me to gather my thoughts and pin down my ideas and connect with some great people. but the other sharp side of the sword is that blogging is very self focused. it can become self revolving. i see it in myself and others.

but i take the good with the bad, and i’m hanging on the good today – that God continues to take me along on my journey and make my paths straight. and this blog is a fun place for me to track what God is doing in my life.

this entry below was my first blog entry. at the time, i barely knew what a blog was (i’m a little slow with the techno). even now i’m surprised to find that this first blog entry still seems to fit my skin…

It’s winter…we’re leaning forward into the white snow…waiting – at least my kids are. The past few months have been really great, leaving little in the way of yearning. Except something is still missing. Can’t put my finger on it yet. I’m trying to understand what it really means (for me at least) to say that I follow Christ with everything. There are still too many compartments and separations in my life. Worship seems to be connecting them, and making certain parts of my life no longer fit…which is a good thing. I’m trying to lean forward into this winter storm that’s coming, anticipating what’s going to happen – how things are going to stop, and how quiet it’s going to become. I know things will be clear soon…

add some wattage to Jesus’ fame – Louie Giglio – Passion world tour dates

I’ve been writing a lot of blogs lately and haven’t been posting them. Does anyone else do that? Maybe I’m getting too critical of myself, I don’t know. Maybe I’m starting to care too much about what others think of me.

I think I need to start throwing things out there again, so here we go…

I was listening to Louie Giglio speak on the Passion Podcast, he was talking about the world tour…listen to what he said…

We’re all about the fact that Jesus Christ and his Fame and his Name are the thing that light up heaven…And If we want our lives to count, not just here in the few minutes that we’re on this planet. But forever! Then we want to be in that moment in eternity when Jesus just lights up all of forever. And We want to say “I had a part in that. My life somehow added some wattage to Jesus’ fame in eternity. I did what I did in such away to help the world see who he is.” And that’s what Passion is really all about.

That’s what I really what to be about too. I love the picture that Louie creates when he charges us to “add some wattage to Jesus’ fame

I think the idea behind his statement is that no matter what we do, we need to turn the light towards and brighten the light on Jesus. We can’t lose that image in whatever we’re trying to accomplish with our lives.

So how am I turning light towards Jesus? And adding to the “wattage” that’s increasing his fame?

Hopefully we’ll be turning the light towards Jesus this weekend at the HBC men’s conference. Worship is going to be beautiful.

He is the Lord, the famous one.

Joshua 9:9 – Your servants have come from a very distant country because of the fame of the LORD your God. For we have heard reports of him

Two passion world tour dates in Europe, that’s what I’m talkin’ about…

  • Paris – June 3, 2008
  • London – June 5, 2008

james part 3 – no james, but sonny found us

Ben and I set out to meet James as planned. He didn’t show – but we’re hopeful to find him again. Ben left a note for him at the Sunday Breakfast Mission.

We walked around the train station area a bit. We were walking along and Sonny recognized us! Sonny is the blues man that we took to lunch a month ago. I thought it was interesting that he noticed us, I guess we do stick out a bit. We were able to reconnect with Sonny. He asked how we were doing financially, then he asked for some cash. Instead, we offered to walk him to the convenience store to get him “something he needed.”

When we walked into the store, Ben noticed some packages of socks and thought that might be something Sonny could use. Ben turned to Sonny to ask him, but Sonny walked right to the snack isle. Smart man. He picked out some candy orange slices (I love those things – even though they stick in your teeth) and some caramel candy. He also asked for some cigarettes. So that’s what we bought him….

orange-slices.jpg

It was interesting to talk to Sonny again. He asked us if we knew anyone that needed a carpenter, because he needs work. One of the things I’ve really enjoyed about our homeless lunches is meeting the same guys several times. It’s funny how after 2 encounters someone can become a friend.

Please pray for Sonny and James. They could both use our prayers and our help…

james part 2 – to trust? or play the skeptic?

Ben and I set out on our homeless lunch thing again today. We had an appointment to pick up James, our lunch was on all our calendars. Ben and I had a little wager going on whether James would show or stand us up (like Donald did). Ben was right, James did follow through on his word. James was waiting on the corner for us – hands crossed, bright yellow gloves + military green trench coat.

We had a great lunch with James. We learned more about his complex story. Her are some random bullets…

  • Today was the first day in 2 years that James has had a cheese steak.
  • He was able to get his medication from the VA.
  • He’s about to get his “daddy’s” house in Laurel. He’s waiting on all the legal stuff to go through.
  • His dad died last year, right before Christmas.
  • He’s going down to Georgetown today, to get his birth certificate.
  • He likes jazz and gospel.
  • He gets help from the friendship house.
  • He wants to buy my kids some Christmas presents. (I’m all for that!)
  • He is a lieutenant, and was a sniper in the marines.
  • He sweeps the parking lot of the Hertz rental place near the Wilmington train station. And they let him sleep in the garage there.
  • He has seizures.
  • He has cancer.
  • He has no family in the area.
  • He holds honor in a high place in his life.
  • He likes to salute….

lieutinant-james-2.jpg

In all of these details, James is a really likable guy. Our biggest challenge with James is trust. He’s given little reason not to trust him. So far, he’s been a man of his word. Still, his story has holes. And it’s outrageous on many levels. It’s easy to play the skeptic and point to the inconsistencies.

Ben and I both agreed that we are rooting for James, and we’ll do what we can to help him. We have another appointment on Wednesday, to take James to the DMV so he can get his ID. The plot may thicken yet!…

Teach us to love like you love, Jesus – unbiased perfect love, selfless perfect love

Trying to see past circumstance…

the dip – a little book that teaches when to quit (and when to stick)

I just read thedip.gif “The Dip – A little book that teaches you when to quit (and when to stick)” by Seth Godin. I like this book for several reasons…for one thing – it’s short! and it’s fun to read. But it also has a really thoughtful approach to quiting.

The basic idea is that in many areas of life, there is a dip. And the worst thing we can do is quit while we are in the dip. Godin points out that excellent/successful people recognize the dip in two ways:

  1. They know how to avoid the dip. In other words, they recognize early when to quit something. Godin points out that we have a mindset that it’s not OK to quit, and that the right thing to do is press on. But he points out that in reality – success at times requires quiting. But the best time to quit is before you get into the dip.
  2. They recognize when they’re in the dip – and that the end is worth fighting for. He points out that so many people quit things while they’re in the dip. They’ve put a lot of resources and energy into something – then quit at the worst time.

He uses snowboarding as an example. Many unsuccessful snow boarders quit in the dip. They get far enough into it with all the equipment but don’t have the drive to work through the dip. The successful ones are either smart enough not to get too far in, or are driven enough to work through the dip.

The challenge of the book is to recognize the dips in your life, and evaluate weather it’s worth working through them before you are in the dip. This has challenged me to think about excellence in my life, and be a little more open to the idea of quiting something (before the dip) and working through other things that are worth it in the end.

This book could be viewed as a purely self-help book, but I think from a Christian perspective it can encourage us to be thoughtful about excellence in our lives – and having Christ join in this excellence in our lives, because this is not something we achieve by just self-helping ourselves.

Here’s a quote from the book that got me thinking…

Some Reasons You Might Fail to Become the Best in the World

You run out of time (and quit).
You run out of money (and quit).
You get scared (and quit).
You’re not serious about it (and quit).
You lose interest or enthusiasm or settle for being mediocre (and quit).
You focus on the short-term instead of the long (and quit when the short term gets too hard).
You pick the wrong thing at which to be the best in the world (because you don’t have the talent).

I’m working through a dip in my life right now that I probably could’ve avoided…

sharing a meal with sonny, perk and ??? – a simple act of worship

Ben and I set out for our bi-weekly homeless lunch. It was a misty cold day with an overcast foggy skyline. We walked around Market and Rodney Square looking for Charlie or Eric or Donald, but we didn’t find any of them. But we did find 3 other guys.

Ben was up first this week, he asked me if he should go up to 3 guys standing together. I’m the skeptic cheap guy so I said to Ben, “Dude, you want to take 3 guys to lunch???” He said, “Yeah, good point”…then he proceeded to go up to them and ask if they were up for joining us for lunch. That’s so like Ben…

Well they were up for lunch. We met the coolest guys – Perk, Sonny and another guy who would not tell us his name for security reasons. He said he doesn’t give out his name to anyone. We were like, “Hey that’s cool – we don’t need your name, just come anyway.”

They asked us why we would take them to lunch. Ben gave this awesome response of why we’re doing this, I’m sure he’ll mention it on his blog – check it out here.

I can’t even begin to describe our lunch, but fun is a good word to start with. We threw together our $$ and had just enough to pay for all five lunches. I think we had $3 dollars left. The small restaurant we go to is called Benjamin’s on 10th, at 204 West 10th Street, Wilmington, DE 19801. The place is great, one person behind the cash register, and one cook. They only take cash. I got a BLT, Ben got ham & cheese, ??? got a BLT, and Perk and Sunny got large cheese steaks with everything.

Sonny is a blues man. He is definitely a believer in Jesus. We started talking about worship and he said so many wise things. He said he follows a hard Jesus (as opposed to an easy Jesus) and that Jesus has always given him a door to take out of bad situations (like Vietnam). He travels from city to city and apparently plays a lot of blues. He said he worships through the blues, because God sees his heart.

But one thing he said in particular really hit me. He said that no matter what we sing, we need to “Lift Him”. Maybe it was his deep raspy bluesy voice, but for whatever reason there was a lot of weight and honesty behind his words. He kept saying “Lift Him” over and over again when he described how to worship. I told him that when I lead worship sometimes it seems that people are not really worshiping like they could. He said that whatever song we sing, no matter how we sing it we need to “Lift Him”. And he said maybe we’re not “Lifting Him“. I need to give his words time to sink in. Especially “Lift Him”.

Another highlight was when Sonny started chatting with the waitress and all of a sudden he had his harmonica out and he was singing her a bluesy love song. It was so awesome, I wish you all could’ve been there.

I learned so much today. Here are a couple of pics from Ben’s phone to prove we’re not making these lunches up…

me sonny and perk…

terry sunny and perk

sonny…

sunny


author – Terry Foester

I'm a family man at heart. I admit my world revolves around my wife Libby and our 3 hooligans...Eli, Eden and Silas. They are easy to love. I'm trying to learn to love the rest of you. I also like to ask questions.

Give Herman One Dollar

Greylias Worship
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