Thursday, December 30, 2010

More Homeless Students in Houston

Over 3000 students in the Houston Independent School District are homeless. This article recounts some of their stories and experiences.


Learn how YOU can serve with CSM in Houston!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Harvard Students Reach out to Homeless Community

A recent article shares about how some Harvard students are not only reaching out to the local homeless community, but also gaining valuable life lessons that aren't taught in the traditional classroom. Check it out!

Learn how YOU can serve with CSM!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Youth Pastor Tries to "Do Missions" Differently

Recently, a CSM group leader posted this great blog post! We wanted to share it with you, too...enjoy!

To really have an impact on some body’s life you need to have continued contact with them. Do you agree? Then why do missions differently?
A mission team’s goal is to impact others lives by bringing the love of Christ to them.  Why, then, do we not have continued contact after we return home?
Our church needed something different. We needed to help our students focus on issues of compassion while able to respond with justice. Most of us are great at compassion; we are quick to meet an immediate or felt need.Not to diminish this, but often times it seems to be that our cultural response is no more then a band aid or quick fix. Then when it comes to justice or the root of the problem we have no idea what we are doing.
So, this past summer we decided to partner with Center for Student Missions (CSM) for our summer mission trip.  It turned out to be the best trip I have ever taken and my students have ever experienced.  The main reason for our switch was not because other organizations are wrong or bad, but because CSM focuses on both compassion and justice.  They helped our students work directly with programs and organizations that address immediate need, while helping people deal with the systemic issues of poverty, homelessness, broken families and so on.
CSM is in the community the whole year rather than just during the summer months.  This is that continued contact that changes people’s lives. In a sense they are really “Doing Life Together” like the ECC. On top of that, they are “not working for these organizations, but partnering with them”, like Covenant World Relief.
The blessing of this trip was expanding our view of who God is; a more holistic view of missions; a new commitment by our students to be involved in working in our own community; and a revitalized commitment to relationships.
For more info on CSM check out their website: http://www.csm.org/
“And when the Holy Spirit comes on you, you will be able to be my witnesses in Jerusalem, all over Judea and Samaria, even to the ends of the world.” (Act 1:8 MSG)

-JJ Johnson, Youth Pastor from New London Covenant Church (New London, MN)

Friday, December 17, 2010

Street Papers Give Homeless Great Opportunity

Throughout the nation, street papers (newspapers made and sold by the homeless community) are selling great! While other mainstream newspapers are struggling big time, street papers are giving great opportunities to the local homeless community. Some individuals are even able to break out of homelessness thanks to the revenue they bring in monthly by selling street papers.
It's a simple concept - a homeless individual can buy the papers for 25 cents each and sell them for a $1. With a growing demand for papers like this, that $1 easily adds up!
Here's a great article from the Nashville Public Radio about the rise in popularity among street papers.
And you can check out these street papers from around the nation:
Street Sense from Washington DC
Street News from New York City
StreetWise from Chicago
Real Change from Seattle

Friday, December 10, 2010

Christmas shop AND donate to CSM!

That's right! You can be automatically donating to CSM while you're doing your Christmas shopping online through GoodShop - it's easy! Head on over to their website and enter "CSM" into the question "Who do you GoodShop for?". 
They'll also give you some amazing coupons to help you save money this season! Here are some of the participating sites and just a sample of their offers:
1800Flowers.com | Coupon: Buy 12 Roses, Get 6 Free | Donation: 7%
Barnes and Noble | Coupon: 15% off any one item | Donation: 4%
Best Buy | Coupon: 10% Off Select Major Appliances   | Donation: .125-3%
DSW | Coupon: Free Shipping | Donation: 4%
Hotwire | Coupon: Up to 40% off | Donation: $1-1%
Overstock | Coupon: Free shipping on gift cards | Donation: .5-3.5%
Sears | Coupon: $5 off $50 purchase | Donation: 2-2.5%
Target | Coupon: Free Shipping on Real Trees, Wreaths and Garland  | Donation: 1.5-3.5%

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Child Trafficking True Reality in Oakland

The FBI has been taking big strides to crack down on child trafficking throughout the United States. Many are still surprised to learn that modern-day slavery exists in this country, but it's absolutely in our backyard.
NPR just came out with a great story on some girl who've overcome "the game" and are now beacons of hope to other young girls. Check out Trafficked Teen Girls Describe Life In 'The Game'...

Learn more about how YOU can serve with CSM in Oakland!

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Can you spare any change?

Anyone who's spent any time in the city has been confronted with this question.  I've struggled for a while on how to respond to people on the streets asking me for money.  It feels like either way, I don't feel quite right.  When I give money, I wonder what the person will use it for (drugs, alcohol?).  When I say no, I feel guilty for not doing anything.  And when I just ignore them, I feel convicted of not even engaging the problem.  Is this really how Jesus would treat this person?  Is this how I would treat Jesus (Matthew 25)?  Shouldn't love and compassion overrule suspicion and guilt?  Arloa Sutter - a woman who is the executive director of Breakthrough Ministries in Chicago, and has years of experience actively engaging with those who are homeless - offers some great wisdom and insight into this issue in this article.  Check it out and be encouraged! 
 

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Taking a New Look at Charity

Many organizations are coming to realize that the old way of "handing out charity" isn't the way to go anymore. A recent Christianity Today article explores what it means to empower those on the receiving end and to give justly. Check it out!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

New Life, New Beginnings - 5 Years After Katrina

Even 5 years after Hurricane Katrina, there are still glimpses of hope coming from the wreckage. A single mom and her three kids were recently highlighted in a USA Today article. It's a great story about the family finding their way home - even if it's 5 years later.

Learn how YOU can serve homeless families through CSM!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Planting Roots of Redemption and Healing in Oakland

I love the people that call this city (Oakland) home. I have a particular love for the neighborhood togetherness I see in West Oakland. I felt pressed on my heart, to get more deeply invested. In my past, I found students understanding redemption and healing through hip hop and spoken word. Whether listening to secular or worship hip hop, the beat of the rhyme so often speaks to the soul. Seeing youth articulate what is in their soul and transcribe it to words is powerful. I decided to send some curriculum and my resume to a West Oakland public high school proposing to lead a 7 week spoken word/ lyric writing workshop. Within a day I heard back and school officials scheduled an appointment with me.
During my meeting I walked down barren hallways. I entered a main office with bars on the windows, where to my surprise I found an abundance of students but no staff. The lights were out in the room and all the kids had been sent by their teachers. I was greeted by the afterschool teacher who informed me that 70 students were showing up to their new program and were hungry, angry and aching for attention. He told me that students were so in need of nourishment that they had been breaking into first aid kits to drink bags of water kept there. I wasn't shocked by this statement until we were approached by a student. The conversation went something like this: Teacher: “ How are you doing today”
Student: “Ah, I am feeling sick”
Teacher: “ This is the third day you have been sick, did you eat something bad?
Student: “ No I haven't eaten anything”
I will be starting to teach on November 29, 2010 at 4:30 PST. Your prayers would be appreciated. Due to the lack of staff the students have been using the pro tools and garage band equipment to make rap music with violent gang threats, slandering some of the students who have gotten involved in prostitution, and boasting on Money that they don't even have. A lot of my rap stems from the redemptive nature of my Lord and savior. I hope to bring that light into the studio. I pray that I can help focus their writing and structure it to flow from concepts, not lies. I cant do it without prayer. Please aid me.
- Tara, CSM San Francisco Bay Area Associate City Director
Teacher: “This is good, these kids need it, you have one thing against you, though”
Me: “What?”
Teacher: “You’re white”

Friday, November 19, 2010

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Do you want to do something to make a difference?


If you have served with CSM before, you know that our hearts are impacted by God's words to care for others. Romans 13:10 says, "Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law." 

The way that we shop, the things we listen to and watch, and the way we vote can affect some of the oppressed in the world and show them love through our every day actions.  Here's a group of people who want to see the end to modern day slavery and oppression and are working to end human trafficking.  http://www.callandresponse.com/

-Robyn Elmore, CSM Washington DC City Director

Monday, November 15, 2010

Homeless Youth in Denver


Denver has been known for many things: sunny days, mountains, professional sports, etc. But the one thing that may surprise you is that Denver is also known for their street teen population. On any given night, there are roughly 1,500 young people on the streets between the ages of 14-24. This is a huge need for the city, and one organization is opening its doors for those that are in need.
Check out this recent article
-Adrienne Lamar, CSM Denver Associate City Director

Learn how YOU can serve with CSM in Denver!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Filling Stomachs and Hearts in New York City

When I think of Thanksgiving, I think of family, friends, and of course, FOOD. While you are craving turkey and pumpkin pie, think about the many people who are in need of food daily. Thanksgiving is a holiday where we seek to give thanks and enjoy filling our stomachs. One of our partners here in NYC needs help making sure there aren't any empty stomachs this Thanksgiving. If you are unable to help this mission in New York, please consider how you can helping make sure the people in your surrounding community have plenty of food this holiday season!
-Tracee Henneke, CSM New York City Director

Learn how YOU can serve with CSM in New York City!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Washington DC's Chasm of Wealth & Race

When you come on a CSM trip to Washington, DC, one of the first things you may notice is the strong contrast between the wealthy professional world of DC and the poverty that exists elsewhere in the city.  This divide many times plays out as a racial divide too.  This Washington post article highlights how statistically Washington, DC is now considered the most affluent and well-educated city in America, while many African-Americans in the city don't seem to benefit from this.  Life expectancy in whites is the highest in the nation (83 years), which is 12 years longer than the life expectancy for blacks in the city (71 years).  Check out more on the chasm in this article...
-Kristen Erbelding, CSM Washington DC City Director







Learn how YOU can serve with CSM in Washington DC!

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

In this month of gratitude...

We're wondering: what you do to make a difference in the lives of your neighbors in need?
Do you donate non-perishable food to a food pantry?
Adopt a family for Thanksgiving?
Volunteer at a local soup kitchen?
Invite an elderly widow/widower or an international student over for dinner?
There are so many ways you can be Jesus' hands and feet to your neighbors this holiday season. Share your ideas to inspire others!

Learn how YOU can serve through CSM!

Monday, November 08, 2010

Washington Post Tackles Tough Issue

Did you know that 72% of African-American births are to unwed mothers?  This is a complex issue with many contributing factors, and in our culture there are a spectrum of opinions about this fact.  Here is an interesting article in the Washington Post which presents several perspectives about the complex issues surrounding unwed mothers, in particular in the African-American community...

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Mmm...Pie!

One of CSM Washington DC's ministry sites (Food and Friends) will be selling their amazing pies to raise funds for their program. Choose from (get ready, taste buds!)...
Pumpkin
Apple Crumb
Sweet Potato
Pecan
US Airways Sky Pie (a Creamy Cheesecake covered with a Chocolate Ganache)
In addition to a pie (or two) for yourself, you can buy a pie to be delivered to their clients on Thanksgiving Day.
Also, each pie that you purchase will provide ONE FULL DAY of nutritious, life-sustaining meals for a child or adult battling HIV/AIDS, cancer or another life-challenging illness.
Buy some pies today!
**Available in the Washington DC area only**

Learn how YOU can serve with CSM in Washington DC!

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

November is National Homeless Youth Awareness Month!!

There are over 1 million homeless youth in the US today! This month, many organizations are trying to raise awareness and give a voice to those kids.


Here are some great resources:
Virgin Mobile - they've put together some great videos of youth telling their stories.
PR Web Article - "National Homeless Youth Awareness Month"
Colorado Dept. of Human Services - includes resources and planned events.

Many of CSM's cities have ministry partners that serve the local homeless youth population as well. Come learn more!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Re-hydrating Houston

At CSM Houston, many of our groups participate in "Operation Hydration," taking bottles of water to the homeless and getting a chance to meet them and dialogue with them where they live. For many participants, the experience of meeting a homeless person and discovering commonality with them breaks down stereotypes and changes the issue of homelessness from one of statistics to one of relationships. It also gives us a chance to love people where they are and bless them with something practical. In a Houston Summer, water is always practical.

A Houston-based foundation is doing this on a massive scale. Several of our ministry partners serve as distribution sites for the I Am Waters Foundation's effort to hydrate the homeless. They have given over 80,000 bottles of water to the homeless this summer. To read more, click here!

-Paul Randall, CSM Houston City Director

Thursday, October 07, 2010

World Homeless Day - 10/10/10!

Homeless

CSM is humbled everyday by working with some amazing homeless brothers and sisters throughout the US and Canada. Homesslessness is real and we hope to raise more awareness about the situation we're in by participating is World Homeless Day on 10/10/10.
Check out their website: http://www.worldhomelessday.org/
Follow them on Twitter: @homelessday
Join their group on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=252124162444#!/group.php?gid=252124162444&v=wall

Monday, October 04, 2010

Encouraging words...

"Thanks for showing me a new side of grace and love for the people who need our help the most."
-CSM Nashville Trip Participant

Friday, October 01, 2010

Recession Continues to Hit Houston Households

While the recession hit Texas later than many parts of the country, its effects are definitely still being felt.  This article shares much of the recent data about the Houston area and Texas as a whole.  For example, 12% of households in Houston report an income below $15,000/year.  For more, check out this article from the Houston Chronicle!

-Paul Randall, CSM Houston City Director

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

It's quite simple...


But he’s already made it plain how to live, what to do, what God is looking for in men and women. It’s quite simple: Do what is fair and just to your neighbor, be compassionate and loyal in your love. And don’t take yourself too seriously—take God seriously.
– Micah 6:8 in The Message

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

CNN Report: The face of America's homeless youth

CNN recently posted a great article called The face of America's homeless youth.
Many don't know that youth make up a large portion of today's homeless population. Denver has found itself to be a hub for youth that runaway from home in search of a new beginning. We encourage you to read the article!

Learn how YOU can serve with CSM in Denver!

Monday, September 27, 2010

“Come one, Come all to the Christ that saves”

I can’t remember where I heard this quote but for the last few weeks, it’s been resonating with me. As a summer city host, I got to witness a lot of things that I never even thought about when I was in school - such as the homeless of the city, the working poor, and most importantly, how us followers of Christ are being “the light” in these situations. I could sit here and list hundreds of ways that is being done, but for the sake of time, I will only talk about my favorite site.
There is a place that I get the chance to visit only once a week, its called the Waystation and it is one of the most physically present ways you can see God’s handiwork. Rather than tell you what the Waystation is and what they do, I will simply tell you what happens on a typical day there(from the perspective of a city host of course).
On Waystation days, I wake up at 6 in the morning. We (the group and I) must be out of the door by 6:30 am and on our way. The Waystation is held at a church downtown called Palmer Episcopal Church, so that is where we arrive at 6:50 am. As we walk up to the Church, we can see a line of people already waiting for breakfast, most of them homeless. As soon as we enter the premises, we find Terry the director of the program and he immediately puts the kids to work in the kitchen cutting pastries, putting together peanut butter and jelly, and filling containers with gallons of juice. There are usually other volunteers in the kitchen by the time we arrive and they are already cooking whatever is for breakfast that day. Options include pancakes, grits, eggs, sausages, soup, rice, pastries, etc.
At 7:30, after the kids are done putting out the bread and pastries, there is usually a span of thirty minutes in which most of the group can sit around and talk. At 8am breakfast is put out,  the doors are opened , and this is where I see Christ the most. People start pouring in to get in line for food. Some look grumpy, others are smiling, some say good morning, and others barely grunt in your direction. Regardless of anyone’s personal attitude, Christ is present and I can feel Him as I put on a smile, say good morning and hand a man perhaps the only meal he might have for the day. The Waystation feeds about 300 people on a typical day so this process is repeated about 300 times.
After everyone has had a chance to get food, there is a call for seconds and I often see some of the homeless getting food to go by stuffing plastic Wal-mart or Kroger bags with their seconds. I remember eating with a group of homeless men one day at the Waystation and I saw a man stuffing his bag with rice and sausages and upon feeling my eyes staring at him, he looks at me and says “This is the only meal I’m goin’ have all day man, gotta plan for the future right?” followed by a boisterous laughter. This especially touched my heart because I can’t imagine not knowing where your next meal might come from or if it will ever come at all.
After breakfast is served, we head back to the housing site and in my mind, the question arises whether or not I will see the same people next week, because there is a hope in me that maybe somehow by next week their situation would have changed and they could be the ones volunteering, but that is in Christ’s hands. What I can do is thank God for providing a service such as the Waystation and hope that more Christians take the time out to really be “the light” as Christ has called us to.
-Israel, CSM Houston Summer 2010 City Host

Friday, September 24, 2010

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Grace and Love

I’ve been thinking a lot about grace and love lately; wondering how better to tear down walls and build bridges with our partners, groups and people of Houston. Stephen Sciolino says, “Love in its purest form is the most powerful weapon we have against hatred, indifference, prejudice, misunderstanding and divisiveness. The more we genuinely love, the more we understand that this commandment is life altering for everyone involved. Just as water rushing against hardened stone eventually erodes the stone, so love in action breaks down all barriers between people. It’s a commandment which works miracles and brings the Kingdom of God closer to reality.”
Beautiful isn’t it? This summer I have seen pure love in action. I got the opportunity to sit and eat lunch at this great little Cajun place with a middle school group this summer. In talking with one of the boys on the trip, I asked him how God had surprised him during the week.
He responded by saying, “Well, I was surprised to find out that homeless people are just like me. And so are the kids that we’ve been working with. They’re all just kids and we all need love. So I’ve tried to love them while they’ve been loving me.” All this from a brilliant 13-year-old from Tomball, TX. He’s right and so is Sciolino. The love of Christ is rich and free, says an old hymn, and I have seen that love displayed in the smallest of actions that made the biggest impact. Painting with college students, playing speed scrabble with my hosts, and in Paul being a great listener. I have seen love transcend boundaries in my new neighbor giving us some homemade pear preserves. Love bound up the brokenhearted when one of our groups offered up a simple, but genuine note of thanks to one of our partners who was tired and burned out.
In the light of Love, we are carried to the feet of Jesus and filled to overflow. I think each day I learn more about love, grace and sacrifice than ever before. As many of you know, I recently began a new adventure living in community in an economically depressed neighborhood in Houston called Third Ward. Community living has already opened my eyes to seeking grace and humility and I’m constantly figuring out what this pure love looks like.
-Britani Wade, CSM Houston Associate City Director

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Chronos and Kairos

The ancient Greeks had two different words for time, chronos and kairos. These two words of time differentiated the difference between “normal time” (chromos) and “special time” (kairos). Kairos time was a time that something special happened, a specific moment in time. In Christian circles, sometimes kairos is referred to as “the appointed time in the purpose of God.” In contrast, chromos is all the other time. This is equally important of an time, because it is all the other time that takes us through the day. It’s waking up in the morning; it’s showering and getting ready for the day; it’s driving to work; it’s… every day.
In urban ministry, there’s a lot of chronos time. Most of the time, we are in a holding pattern - praying, plugging away for something to happen. We meet with our friends who live on the streets; we make connections with ministry sites; we fight to for basic human rights.
For the most part, it’s hard work. It’s a process that can be difficult for people who want to see change right away. It’s hard waiting for the kairos time, where people decide they need a change. But recently in my life, there has been a great deal of kairos time, not specifically with the people I work with, but with work & in personal life, change has been a major theme in my life.
As the summer ends, I am learning to settle into the chronos time, and beginning to relax. I ask that you pray for God’s hand to continue in my life, and that He brings rest in this slow(er) season of Fall.

-Jonathan Liu, CSM Los Angeles City Director


Learn how YOU can serve with CSM in Los Angeles!

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Houston Food Bank Expands!

The Houston Food Bank will soon be the largest in the world.  With an impending new building, and a focus on fresh produce, beautiful things are happening to help serve the hungry in Houston. Check out this article!

-Paul Randall, CSM Houston City Director

Learn how YOU can serve with CSM in Houston!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

New Friends

The Lord has, somewhere along the line, given me a heart for foster youth. My heart was especially heavy for this population in May during CSM staff training. In May, I read a statistic that 70% of foster youth in the Bay Area turn to prostitution, or enter the world of sex trafficking. After this, I led CSM’s 9 interns in prayer for the foster youth in Oakland. Just two weeks later, my pastor announced that we would have 3 young women from foster care living in our church for the summer. This was a transitional set up before they enter college housing in September.
I felt that God was beckoning me to step up and connect deeply with Kayla, Jessie and Tasha*. Since June my friend Ashley and I have hosted 2 family dinners, a Tyler Perry movie night, participated in Jessie’s birthday, saw Jessie baptized, served food in our homeless ministry together, processed with, laughed hard and now have started seeing them off to their college communities. Kayla attends St. Benedict’s in South Carolina, Jessie and Tasha attend CAL State East Bay.
Partner with me in prayer for these beautiful women. God is so good!

-Tara Tremblay, CSM San Francisco Bay Area Associate City Director

*Names have been changed for privacy.

Monday, August 30, 2010

…for just one second… (a reflection of CSM Washington, D.C.)

We stumbled upon this great blog post from a leader of Mt. Zion Church's group that served with us in Washington DC. Thanks for sharing, Ryan!

"Give me your arms for the broken hearted,
The ones that are far beyond my reach?
Give me your heart for the one’s forgotten,
Give me your eyes so i can see,
Yeah yeah yeah yeah…”
Sometimes in our lives we are called to do something truly bigger than ourselves, and it is in those moments that we are foolish to not take them. This is something that I told myself on the plane ride back from DC as I finished my pre-trip orientation for CSM DC this July for Mount Zion.

Thirty-three students and adults, 33 people with different personalities, different talents, different gifts, maybe even different color skin, but one thing was common between us: we have some good news for so many… we got Jesus!

So on July 18, 2010 around 5:00 am; we set out on an adventure, but more so a mission. It’s a mission none of us expected, but we all knew it was going to be one amazing week. After 12 hours crammed in three 15 passenger vans we arrive: tired, hungry, restless, but eager to start the mission God had laid out for us.

I don’t have the time or the memory to tell you all that happened this one week between July 18 and the 24th. What I can tell you is that we as a group decided to adopt the song above not just as our favorite tune, but a clarion call for something truly supernatural. We were going to share the love of Jesus Christ throughout Washington, D.C., even if it seemed like “just one second.”

Truly interesting was that we all would split up into three groups throughout the week, hardly seeing each other except a day or so, and every night. We would all come back having different experiences serving different people in different ways.

Some would work at a homeless shelter serving food to those in want, some would do yard work for elderly people who can’t do it on their own, some would move furniture for those who are coming out of homelessness and don’t have much to start over again, some would make and pack and distribute food for low income families and those who have life-long illnesses, some would go into the inner city– the projects of DC and set up a “backyard Bible club/VBS” and just pour out the love of Christ on those who don’t experience it at home and who need to hear the good news, some would go to Boys and Girls Club and work with difficult children who seem to have no hope of changing but change would and did shortly come…

Some of us did so much to help out… even if the “footprint” of our impact was small, it was what was needed, and people needed us that week. Not because we are something great but because we are carrying something great inside of us: the Holy Spirit of God!

Have you ever experienced homelessness? Do you know what it is like? Do you care? Well for “just one second” we all felt it to an extent. Not to the extent of those who are truly homeless, but to the extent that it woke us up and changed us, humbled us and made us grateful for His blessings. Just to sit down and fellowship and commune with those who many feel are “second-class” or “in the way” or even “trash,” is truly enlightening. Many are brilliant, many had successful lives, they are all like you and me. But a mistake here, a fall out there, a lost job somewhere, left them in this condition… and we are called as believers in the resurrected Lord to help them out and to provide for their needs… so are we? I mean, are we really?

Our leaders, our guides, were amazing individuals who were set apart for such a time to show us what is going on in this place, and how we can do something about it. For every need there should be every answer. For every hurt there should be every healing. Are we truly being the “hands and feet” of Christ, or are we just living?

Lives were changed for sure, and I would like to believe we made a difference. We might never know. We might have to go on faithfully knowing that we planted the seed, but someone will water and it will grow! But more than us seeing other lives changed, our lives were changed all the more.

So I praise my Savior and Lord that He “gave me His eyes for just one second…” because that “one second” was truly a “second” that never left me the same…

Friday, August 27, 2010

Vacant Homes and the Homeless

We love UrbanMinistry.org and all the rich resources they provide urban min folks with! Check out a recent blog they posted...

Boarded up house"Current estimates say that there are approximately 3.5 million homeless Americans. There are also 18.9 million vacant homes. That means that for every homeless person in America there are 5 empty houses. Neglected homes are at best a waste of resources and at worst immoral in the face of a homeless population larger than Connecticut. 

Richard 'Skip' Bronson calls attention to this in his latest blog."



Learn more about urban ministry issues on UrbanMinistry.org!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

A Calling to High Standards

“Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the Gospel of Christ.” Philippians 1:27

This verse is so simple, but as I was reading through my Bible this week, these words really caught my eye.  This short phrase is actually a pretty enormous challenge to us.  WHATEVER happens, the standard for our actions and reactions is behavior that honors Christ and His sacrifice.  I know that in my own life I am all too often caught up in situations that occur and fail to even consider whether or not my conduct is honoring to the Gospel of Christ.

This week, God gave me plenty of opportunities to try to live out this verse.  Every single day something unexpected occurred whether it was with the schedule, the ministry sites, or just in my own personal life.  In each situation, I was presented with a choice of how to act: I could behave in a manner worthy of the Gospel of Christ or not.  Through these events, God was revealing to me just how high of a standard He has called us to and that I have not been considering the manner of my conduct as seriously as I should be.

I am weak and frail, but the Lord is my strength and my salvation.  The Gospel of Christ is so beautiful and so vital, how can I not be committing my every action to honoring it?

-Robin, CSM Toronto Summer 2010 City Host

Learn how YOU can serve with CSM in Toronto!