Thursday, March 29, 2007

"God loves me too?"

Today I was sitting at Starbucks (I know big surprise there) and I was remembering this past summer. Many of you know I spent the summer in New York City working with an organization called Center for Student Missions ( I was a city host and led high school groups that came on mission trips around the city. I loved every second of it. It was an amazing experience.

Today, specifically, I was remembering a homeless guy that we met in Thompkin Square Park. We had just finished dinner at my favorite restaurant Sonar Gaow and did not finish all our food so the group I was hosting that week decided they want to pack it up to find someone to give it to. I thought it was a great idea and knew that at that time there were a lot of homeless that gathered in the park. For some reason though on this night there was not very many people in the park like I was expecting. We were about to give up and head to the subway to go home when we saw an older man sitting on a bench. Two of the girls from the group approached him with the food and said, “Here we want you to have this and we want you to know that God loves you”.

The man looked up at them with tears in his eyes and said, “God loves me too? I have done so many terrible things there is no way that God loves me too”. None of us were expecting an opportunity like this, but God knew and I know that he brought us to the park on that night for a reason. The group went on to share the Gospel with him and explain that there was absolutely nothing that he could do to make God stop loving him. He didn’t make a decision that we know of that night, but I know that the group had a big impact on him just by saying “we want you to know God loves you”.

Remembering this story got me thinking. How many people do I come in contact with on a daily basis that doesn’t know God loves them? Who do I know that if I were to tell them “God loves you”, their response would be surprise. The Message translation of Phillippians 4:3-5 says,

” Celebrate God all day, every day. I mean reveal in him! Make it as clear as you can to all you meet that you are on their side, working with them, not against them. Help them to see that the Master is about to arrive. He could show up any minute”!

Who do I know that doesn’t know God loves them? Can those people see me celebrating God everyday? What happens if Jesus does come back today and I never tell those people that God loves them and has an amazing gift for them?

What about you? Who in your life needs to hear the words “God loves you”. He could come back any minute. Time is running out to tell them. Don’t let any opportunity go by without telling those people “God loves you, no matter what you’ve done, no matter what you do, no matter who you are, no matter what you look like, God loves YOU and nothing can ever, ever take that away” . Aren’t you glad that you know that. Think about what it will mean to the people who don’t know it yet.

-Robbin, CSM New York City Host, Summer 2006
taken from her blog - check it out!

Monday, March 26, 2007

Jim and Corky

Jim and Corky are both volunteers at the Haight Ashbury Food Program. HAFP is a non-Christian soup kitchen that relies on volunteers to help them feed 300-400 people from the Haight Ashbury district of San Francisco every day. Their mission statement is that food should be a right not a privilege, so they do not discriminate as to who can eat there. There are many people that make enough money to afford cheap housing but not enough to feed their families, so at HAFP you commonly see a woman dressed for work sitting next to a man dressed in rags. It’s beautiful.

Jim is in his seventies. About three years ago he was arrested for a DUI, and was sentenced to several hundred hours of community service. He chose to spend a good number of those hours at HAFP. He loved serving his fellow men so much that he kept coming back to volunteer even after his community service hours were complete. Since then, he has retired and still spends several days every week preparing and serving food to people.

Corky is a musicology professor from London. Dressed in her multi-colored bandana and skirt, she reminds me of a gipsy. Several years ago Corky’s husband died, and then her daughter moved to San Francisco for a job. Being in her sixties without a husband and then without a daughter, Corky became very lonely and took a month off of work to come visit her daughter. While here, she found the HAFP and fell in love with the people. Now Corky alternates spending two months working and “living frugally” in London and one month in San Francisco volunteering at the HAFP and visiting her daughter.

Neither Jim nor Corky have a relationship with Jesus, but both have a love for their neighbor. One surprising thing I’ve found here is the number of non-Christians who seem to have a Christ-like love for the poor and destitute. I can only pray that Jesus is prepping them for the time when He will reveal Himself to them.

Please pray for Jim and Corky, that God would reveal Himself to them. Pray for all of the volunteers in San Francisco that are searching for wholeness in their lives by serving others. Pray that they would find that wholeness in the person of Jesus Christ.

-Ben, CSM San Francisco 2007 Spring City Host

Monday, March 19, 2007

LA 2007 Was Amazing...

We found a great reflection from one trip participant from Canada who served in LA this spring....check it out!

Monday, March 12, 2007

Update from Toronto

It has been busy here in Toronto. We have had a bunch of groups come and we are seeing Jesus here in the city. The last group of students we had were awesome and really demonstrated what serving was. They went away blessed and left us blessed as well. Not to mentioned all the blessings to the ministry sites they worked at.
I have particularly liked working at a homework club for Somalian kids. It is great to build friendships with these kids. Some of them actually teach us their homework, instead of us teaching them. They are really bright students. I am even learning a little of the Arabic language; like hello and goodbye.

From Toronto,
Mark (CSM Spring City Host)

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Are you rich??

Have you ever complained about being poor or not having enough money? Check out the Global Rich List for some great perspective on how rich you really are!
The website shows you what percentage you fall into as well as gives you an opportunity to donate one hour's wage to a specific non-profit. (For example - $8 could buy you 15 organic apples OR 25 fruit trees for farmers in Honduras to grow and sell fruit at their local market.)