Thursday, September 18, 2008

the homeless in charlotte & the kingdom of God... where do i fit in?

I went downtown again yesterday. My friend Todd goes every week and feeds as many homeless people as he can. He buys them all pizza from Fuel & then blesses them any other way he can, shows them love any & every way he can, we all pray for them, etc... I wrote about it another time HERE.

**It's probably one of the most raw & greatest expressions of the Kingdom of God! It's an unbelievable thing to experience. I love it! There were almost 100 homeless men & women there yesterday at College & 6th. Me & Todd had tears in our eyes. God was there... His presence filled that pizza joint crammed with "street people". Jesus was on mission at Fuel pizza. Jesus loves the homeless, He loves the poor, He loves the outcast... A lot of these homeless people are "weird" in our culture. They're definitely outcasts. His kingdom comes to Fuel every week when Todd decides to put these peoples' needs above his own comfort.

It jacks me up every time I go. I don't fork over any $. I don't even put myself out in any way. I hold the door, put the biggest smile on my face that I can (most of them have beaming smiles back at me), I give out some hugs & hand shakes & kind words, I pray for people who ask me to... but I don't really sacrifice anything - except maybe an hour of my day.

Then they all leave. it's a pretty moving sight to see almost 100 homeless people walking right past you and dispersing out into the streets of Charlotte. I stood talking to a few of them and watching the rest of them going their own ways. I started looking at each individual... wondering where she would find a spot to sleep that night... wondering if he would find something to eat the next day... wondering if ANYONE else shows love to these people... wondering if I would if I met them on the street one night and found them hungry... found Jesus hungry.
It breaks my heart. My heart literally hurts for them. I want Jesus' kingdom to come to downtown. He loves them intensely & I want to do the same. I want to do more. What can I do? What should I do?

Today I go back to my normal, comfortable, American way of life. I go to pray with some guys 1st thing in the morning. I go to the office to work. I go to lunch and get full. I go back to work the rest of the afternoon. I come home to my amazingly beautiful wife. She gives me a big hug and a kiss. We go downtown... (only blocks from where the homeless gather on Wedensdays for a free meal & hopefully a taste of the kingdom) & meet friends for Oktoberfest at my favorite restaurant, Rock Bottom Brewery. I get full again. We walk to the epicenter for Live After 5. We just chill in the beautiful weather & amazing view of the city. God did this & made all this. I'm thankful.
The sky is beautiful. HE is Glorious & I thank Him for that glory under my breath. We listen to a pretty decent band cover some 80s & 90s hits. then some Bob Marley. We walk 8 or 10 blocks back to our cars. I hold my beautiful wife's hand as we walk in the night air. She's awesome & I'm so thankful for her. We all drive back to our house we've been blessed with. It's way bigger & nicer than we need and full of free furniture. The girls do some girly stuff upstairs while us guys go down to the basement & watch the football game & shoot some pool. Me & Myrick talk a little about some books, Sproul, Driscoll, & McLaren... Then we start the all night poker game. We talk about life. Kooter Browns in FL - the best wings ever. The best movies ever. I lost $5. Shouldn't have happened... I folded my flush on a big hand... got bluffed. My wife and I are about to fall asleep in our awesomely comfortable bed...

I wonder where that guy is right now that had on the Yankees 
hat yesterday? That woman, Marie, that I prayed for yesterday... I wonder if she has found a safe place to sleep? What can I do about it all? How can I live the way of Jesus? How can I more fully bring the kingdom of God to the people of Charlotte? Shouldn't I be doing more for the poor and outcasts that Jesus loves so much?

Or was the raw community I experienced today with my friends also an expression of the kingdom of God - during the poker game, and over dinner at Oktoberfest, & listening to the guy with the bad haircut cover Everyday People. + my short experiences of awe & thankfulness for God's creation & blessings. I'm guessing those things are the way of Jesus too...

I don't know. These are just random thoughts. I'm just writing them on here like they are bouncing around in my brain. I'm just being raw & not putting up any facades. Should I feel this guilty about sitting on my leather couch while the very people I hung out with yesterday are going to sleep hungry on the steps of the library downtown? Would Jesus live with these comforts if He were here? I don't know. I'm trying to figure that out. I DO know I want to live the way of Jesus. I want to see His kingdom more fully here on earth. I want to do whatever it takes.

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