Half Full or Half Empty?

half full

Perspective in life is everything.

per•spec•tive /pərˈspektiv/ the capacity to view things in their true relations or relative importance

Have you ever lost perspective?

Søren Kierkegaard, the Danish philosopher, poet, theologian, social critic and religious author once said, “The function of prayer is not to influence God, but rather to change the nature of the one who prays.”

In this life, perspective is everything!
We can see a problem as a burden or an opportunity.
We can see the rain as an irritant or a gift that supports life.
We can see the poor as a nuisance or we can see the poor as a chance to meet God.
We can see difficult times as God’s curse or we can see difficult times to grow patience, character and hope.

We see the glass half empty or half full.

When Goliath came against the Israelites, the soldiers all thought, “He’s so big we can never kill him.” David looked at the same giant and though, “He’s so big I can’t miss.”

Abraham Lincoln once said, “We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.”

Jesus taught us to pray a prayer of perspective daily when he said, “May your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”

I call this “The prayer of the cup that is half full.”

I grew up in church where I was taught that this world was going to hell in a hand-basket and that we were supposed to get saved from our sins and then hide out and hold on until Jesus comes back.

That was very unbiblical.

Jesus came proclaiming that the cup was half full, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me; he has appointed me to preach Good News to the poor; he has sent me to heal the brokenhearted and to announce that captives shall be released and the blind shall see, that the downtrodden shall be freed from their oppressors, and that God is ready to give blessings to all who come to him.”

Doesn’t sound like hiding out and holding on to me.

Jesus’ prayer was that his kingdom would come, right now, on earth as it is in heaven, then he commissioned and enabled the church to storm the gates of hell and rescue the poor, the blind, the lost, the addicted, the judged, the hungry and the gates would not prevail.

Name some kind of hell someone is living in, and Jesus has demanded and empowered us to go there and rescue them.

In my opinion, Jesus never intended for the church to look like it does today.

There is a lot of resources going to the “already convinced” and most programs are designed to placate the “already converted” and there are a lot of empty buildings and wasted space, except for an hour or two on Sundays.

Jesus always intended the church to be on the leading edge of rescuing people from hopelessness, brokenness, darkness and despair.

“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice.” Isaiah 58:6

It looks like Harry Rheder and Steve Baker who lead an auto-ministry overseeing dozens of volunteers, fixing cars for single moms so they can get to work and have safe transportation for their children.

It looks like a local auto sales owner, Ron Wells, who regularly gives cars away for single moms and those trying to get back up on their feet and Marty Robinson, who owns a local mechanic shop who donates parts so the auto ministry can continue to flourish, even though they may actually be taking business away from him.

It looks like Marsha Rose meeting weekly with the mentally ill, who have been forgotten and marginalized, to create life-saving support and letting them know the love of God.

It looks like Paul Geddes, who is passionate about farming, who helps plant and maintain a 20,000 square foot volunteer garden to supply fresh fruits and vegetables to the hungry.

It looks like an 82 year old, Berkeley graduate, civil engineer, Art Edwards, spending his twilight years running a non-profit transitional homeless shelter, and against all odds, is helping people move from despair to dignity and hope.

It looks like a 10 year old girl, Claire Cockrell, who after seeing a movie on the true Isaiah 58 fast and how a $10 mosquito net prevents malaria, so she goes to her local public school and raises $1000 to purchase 100 nets and saves hundreds of lives.

It looks like Justin Morsey, in his early twenties, who moved to the Philippines to a very dangerous, religiously militant area where being a Christian puts your life at risk, and became a director of a home where young girls who have been sex trafficked and have been rescued, are rehabilitating and learning about real love, by seeing a young man of integrity who respects women and loves God.

It looks like a retired, firefighter Doug Shelstad, walking the halls of our local hospital, praying for the sick and introducing the dieing to a Savior who offers eternal life.

When people start viewing and expressing the Gospel, “May your kingdom come, may your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” through their passions and talents and resources, injustice is fought at ever level.

How’s your perspective these days?

My prayers lately have been a Mother Teresa prayer:

MotherTeresaPrayer2

How are your prayers lately?

Are your prayers, “Jesus, there is no hope, I’m digging a bunker, the government is a mess, I’m going to play it safe, I’m going to let fear control me and pessimism be my guide.”

Our can you pray boldly, “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”

Will you live with the perspective that light trumps darkness and love defeats evil and the unseen is more powerful than the seen.

Will you dream big dreams and live with the attitude that in God’s kingdom THE GLASS IS HALF FULL AND IT’S GETTING FULLER!

Will you live with two promises, “That nothing can separate us from the love of God” and “One day, suffering, striving, sickness, injustice will cease and he will wipe every tear from your eyes.”

AN ORPHAN’S VOICE

Precious and Powerful in His sight

This poem is dedicated to children all around the world that have been forgotten.

Children who have no voice.

Children who have been victims of injustice, war, disease, abuse, lust and greed.

Children who God asks us to defend.

I wrote this poem based on David’s writing of the 68th Psalm where he says, God is a “Father to the fatherless, defender of widows—this is God, whose dwelling is holy. God places the lonely in families.”

I wrote this poem with the children of India, Africa, Mexico and our own inner cities in mind. You will see a piece of each of them in the poem.
——————————————————————————————————————

AN ORPHAN’S VOICE

My mama’s sick, my daddy’s gone
My bellies empty, I’m all alone
I can’t grow food, the ground is poison
Religion says, it’s the path I have chosen

My papa lives in a new steel home
It’s a solitary place, no room to roam
His hug feels good, I need to cleave
I have to go, and he can’t leave

The man with car, driving up the street
He gives me things, always bitter sweet
I will find love, even if it hurts
Pain has become, the way I feel, the way I divert

He says he loves me, I want to believe
He beats me sick, my skin starts to bleed
My actions compromise, he’s gonna make me rich
I need a new definition, love shouldn’t feel like this

I sweat with fever, mosquito’s rage
Can’t get a net, it’s a two week wage
Rain forgotten, water brown
It’s all I drink, intestines pound

Church round the corner says they have good news
But only open an hour a week, I am confused
They say that Jesus loves me, I better get in
I tell them, I need to experience God, with bones and skin

Gunshots past my window, sunset brings a brand new show
I survive another corner, I survive another go
I’m told there is a God, I’m told he’s a father
I’ve been burned before, I’m not gonna bother

New job in the city, there’s a new hope pending
I’ve been lied to once again, now I’m a slave never ending
My parents think I’m safe, I’m making a living
I’m used everyday, more animal than human being

I have no value, I have no worth
Accidents happen, including my birth
I have no future, I have no sight
But I will survive today, I’m ready to fight

I need a dad, I need a mom
I need a house, I need a home
I’m one of millions, yet all alone
I’m looking for a place where love is shown

I’ve heard of children, with gold in their hand
I want to go there, this forgotten land
Where a bitter pill will make me better
Please someone notice, I’m praying for a letter

I want to go where children aren’t fatherless
Where my bellies full and the streets are harmless

I want to go where love doesn’t hurt and mosquitos don’t kill
Where churches are trading and Grace is the deal

I want to go where I’m safe, no longer looking behind me
Where I can find God, my heavenly father, who places the lonely in families

—————————————————————————————————————-
Let us pray and take action today.
For more information on how to defend the cause of orphans please look to these amazing organizations:
http://www.compassion.com
http://www.Tearfund.com
http://www.ijm.org

http://www.live58.org

http://www.halftheskymovement.org
http://www.safe-families.org
http://www.bridgetsdream.org
http://www.openingdoorsinc.org

Also, follow me on twitter @kenburkey and share my blog with someone where we can continue to raise awareness, so we will be known as the generation that was a father to the fatherless and placed the lonely in families.

Forgiveness is Tough!

I met Jennifer (name has been changed), several years ago.

Her beauty could not hide her sadness.

I was speaking at a conference and she came up to me after I was finished speaking about God’s unfailing love, and asked if she could have a few moments of my time.

We sat down and she shared about how she doubted what I had just said. From her experiences, God was not there in her biggest time of need.

She shared with me that when she was 12, her brother sexually abused her, and when she went to her dad for help, he rebuked her for being a liar and told her he never wanted to talk about it again.

Now at 25, having experienced many bad relationships and sabotaging the good ones, her bitterness towards her brother and father was just growing stronger.

The deep pit of anger and hurt was affecting all of her other relationships.

What do you do with the hurts, whether words or actions, by those you have trusted, loved or maybe even didn’t know?

What you do with the hurt will determine your success in future relationships with people and God.

Continuing to carry wounds, hurts, and bitterness from the past will only bring painful dysfunction into future relationships.

This was where Jennifer was.

I think many of us can relate.

Jennifer was deeply wounded.

For Jennifer it was like carrying around a bottle of poison and pouring it into new relationships.

And it was not just affecting her human relationships, but it was affecting her view of God.

She was angry at God for not protecting her from those who had hurt her. Can you blame her?

There were two things about Jennifer.
One, she was angry at her Heavenly Father because of her earthly father.
Two, She felt worthless and ugly.

This combination was lethal. She hated herself and didn’t trust anyone enough to have a healthy relationship.

I asked Jennifer three questions:
“Would you like to begin to have healing in your heart from the hurt?
“Would you like to have better relationships?
“Would you like to really believe God loves you?”
Her answer to all three was “Yes!”

This is where it got tough.

I looked her in the eyes and said as gently as I knew how, “Then you need to forgive your dad & brother.”

Her response: “Why in the *%@#$ would I ever do that?”

My response: “Because your bitterness, anger and lack of forgiveness is only hurting you.”

Her response: “How in the *%@#$ could I ever forgive my dad & brother?”

My response: “First let me tell you about God’s forgiveness.”

I told her that while Jesus was hanging on the cross, falsely arrested, mercilessly beaten, barely breathing, he looked at those who were killing him and said some of the most powerful words ever spoken in the history of this world, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

An innocent man forgiving the guilty.

I told her about how He has forgiven our sins and canceled our debts which were nailed to the cross, and because of His death, sin, guilt and death are gone!

I told her that God was a different kind of father than our earthly fathers.

His love is unconditional (no grading on a curve).
He fearfully and wonderfully created us.
He chose us.
He will never abandon us.
He will never hurt us.
He understands our pain.
He experienced our injustice.

And then I said, “And oh, by the way, He thinks you are beautiful and is madly in love with you!”

I could see the tears in Jennifer’s eyes crying out that she wanted these statements to be true, but could she really believe it?

The healing Grace of God and the example of His forgiveness is the only thing that can set us free from the hurts and tragedies that we as humans experience in this world.

Famed psychiatrist Karl Menninger once said that 75% of people in psychiatric wards could walk out the next day if he could convince them that they were forgiven.

On her death bed, well known novelist and atheist Marghanita Laski said, “What I envy most about Jesus followers is His forgiveness; I have nobody to forgive me.”

While Jennifer was wrestling with my statement about forgiving her brother and dad, I stated that “Forgiveness brings freedom and you don’t have time to allow people from your past to continue to hurt you.”

I told her, “Accepting God’s grace is the beginning of life and healthy relationships.”

I asked her, “Would you like to do that? Give your life to Jesus?”

Her response was, “YES!” So we prayed.

I told her, “Jennifer, you will never regret following Jesus. He’s your lover, protector, provider, peace, joy, and your ultimate purpose.”

I asked her, “So you love Jesus, not religion, not rules, not an organization?”

Her response was, “YES!”

I said, “If you trust him with forgiveness and eternal life, then can you trust him with some other words he said?”

Her answer was, “Sure.”

I reminded her, “Jesus always wants what is best for you.”

She said in a doubtful voice, “Ok.”

I shared with her the words of the apostle Paul
“…never hold grudges. Remember, Jesus forgave you, so you must forgive others.”

I quickly said, “So you don’t feel like I set you up, let me tell you what forgiveness is not:”
It is not saying what someone did to you was o.k.
It is not letting them off the hook
It is not necessarily about reconciliation
Forgiveness is releasing that person so that they can’t keep hurting you!

Two monks find a woman at a rivers edge, unable to cross.
They lift her up and carry her across the river.
Leaving the lady, the monks continue to walk.
One of them begins to complain about how he hurt his back carrying the lady.
He complains how his clothes are all muddy and wet.
He finally falls to the ground and says, “My back hurts so bad, all because of helping that silly lady across the river! I CANNOT GO ANY FURTHER!”
The first monk looks down at his partner, lying on the ground and asks, “Have you wondered why I am not complaining? Your back hurts because you are still carrying the woman. But I set her down 5 miles ago.”

The rest of the story is that Jennifer, now understanding what forgiveness is and what it is not, goes to her brother and dad and tells them that she forgives them for what they did to her.

Her brother still denied it and her father said it wasn’t his fault.

When it comes to forgiving those who have hurt us, we have no control how they will respond.

As much as it hurt that her brother and dad are still in denial, Jennifer is moving forward, drawing boundaries and turning her hurts over daily to the one who understands, Jesus.

She is moving on, with the power of forgiveness, so that her future relationships will be healthy and she won’t carry bitterness and hurt to the next generation.

In one way or another, we all can relate to Jennifer’s story. I will tell you what I told her.

Give your hurts to God everyday
Work on your stuff (Whatever that is)
Remind yourself of God’s grace and live in His forgiveness.
Remember, you are beautiful!

The great theologian Buddy Hackett once said, “I never carry a grudge. You know why? While you’re carrying a grudge, they’re out dancing!”

Holding Up The Sky

 

There is a Chinese proverb that says, “Women hold up half the sky.” If that is the case then sadly, “The sky is falling!”

Conservative estimates state that over 60 million girls and women who should be alive are “missing” from our world because of violence and other gender discrimination.

In China, 39 thousand baby girls die every year because parents do not give them the same medical care as baby boys receive in their first year of life.

In India, a “bride burning”, to punish a woman for an inadequate dowry or to eliminate her so he can remarry, takes place once every two hours.

Atrocities against women rarely are reported and even more rarely make the news.

When 5 thousand women and girls, in Pakistan, were doused in kerosene and set fire in front of their families because of a perceived disobedience, it didn’t make the news.

When a celebrity is caught having an affair, or changes the color of her hair it makes headlines, yet when 100,000 girls are routinely kidnapped and trafficked into brothels, it isn’t even considered newsworthy.

The best estimate is that an Indian girl dies from discrimination every four minutes. Where is the outrage!?

Author and Pulitzer prize winner Sheryl WuDunn writes, “The global statistics on the abuse of girls are numbing. It appears that more girls have been killed in the last 50 years, precisely because they were girls, than men were killed in all the wars of the 20th century. More girls are killed in this routine “gendercide” in any one decade than people were slaughtered in all the genocides of the twentieth century.”

She goes on to give us our marching orders for this next generation, “In the 19th century, the central moral challenge was slavery. In the 20th century, it was the battle against totalitarianism. We believe that in this century the paramount moral challenge will be the struggle for gender equality in the developing world.”

The devaluing of women leads to all kinds of horrific situations.

The sex-trafficking trade is a global epidemic where young girls are being sold and kidnapped into brothels where their spirits are broken through humiliation, rape, threats and violence. “The Lancet”, a prominent medical journal in Britain, calculated that “1 million children are forced into prostitution every year and the total number of prostituted children are estimated to be 10 million.” Other experts think that is too low of a number.

And the epidemic is not just in a far and distant land.
In 2005, the Department of Justice reported there have been an estimated 100,000 to 150,000 sex slaves in the U.S. since 2001.
In 2009, a University of Pennsylvania study estimated nearly 300,000 youth in the United States were at risk of being sexually exploited for commercial uses – “most of them runaways or thrown-aways,” said Ernie Allen, president of the NCMEC.

Young girls, precious in God’s sight, wonderfully and beautifully created, are raped, exposed to AIDS, and many are dieing because of the unrestrained lusts of the johns and the malicious greed of the pimps and brothel owners.

Experts state that there are far more women and girls shipped into brothels each year in the early 21st century than African slaves were shipped into slave plantations each year in the 18th or 19th century. And just as that slavery was ignored for far too long, so, it seems has this new horrific slavery of the 21st century.

Yet, news is getting out. The good news is there is a new awareness about this 21st century holocaust. And there are wonderful organizations and individuals going into these very dark places to not only raise awareness but to rescue and help these young girls find a new life. A life of healing, hope, dignity and purpose.

From the “International Justice Mission” (IJM), who is rescuing girls from brothels and prosecuting the offenders, to the global “Agape International Mission” (AIM), and the local “Bridget’s Dream”, who help rehabilitate rescued girls, showing them their true worth and value in God’s eyes.

These are wonderful, powerful, courageous, passionate organizations leading the way in trying to end this historic tragedy. But we need more awareness and participation.

There is another organization that needs to wake up to the opportunities to rescue these girls. This is the church.

During Jesus’ ministry here on earth, he looked at Peter and told him, “I will put together my church, a church so expansive with energy that not even the gates of hell will be able to keep it out.”

In my opinion, Jesus never intended for the church to look like it does today. There is a lot of talk, a lot of meetings, a lot of discussion, a lot of judging, a lot of hiding, a lot of debate, a lot of inward focus, a lot of resources going to the “already convinced,” most programs designed to placate the “already convinced,” and a lot of empty buildings and wasted space except for an hour or two on Sundays.

Jesus always intended the church to be on the leading edge of rescuing people from hopelessness, brokenness, darkness and despair. This is not for the faint of heart.

The church should be doing everything possible to rescue these girls!

This is the mission of the church.
To literally storm the gates of brothels who are imprisoning young girls.

I want to be respectful to the church I grew up in. It taught me that God loves me and sent His only Son to save me. I really do appreciate their commitment to share that amazing truth with me.

But, my church was very benign. We sang songs, heard truths from the Bible, talked a lot about how evil the world was, and sent money to missionaries who were doing heroic things in very dark, desperate places. They were literally “storming the gates of hell.”

While they were “storming”, we were being told to stay as far away from hell as possible. So the church set up camp on a Christian cul-de-sac, so that we were safe from the evils of hell. The key mission was, “stay away from hell”, it is a scary place.

Once a year we would go on a church controlled, organized missions trip where we would do a “fly by” hell, and then as quickly as possible return home to our safe cul-de-sac. We would feel good about ourselves that we went on the trip, but quickly we reverted back to the philosophy of playing it safe, thinking that darkness was more powerful than light, hunkering down, waiting for Jesus to return.

We were not taught that Jesus literally meant, “I will put together my church, a church so expansive with energy that not even the gates of hell will be able to keep it out.” We missed so many opportunities to help people. We missed so many miracles because miracles happen when we storm the gates of hell.

When we “storm the gates” of modern day slavery, trafficking and “gendercide”, we not only rescue precious young girls, but we also can change our world, because statistics make it very clear that when women are given equal rights, that communities, villages, countries can be lifted out of poverty. Women are not the problem, they are the solution!

Sheryl WuDunn states that, “Evidence has mounted that helping women can be a successful poverty-fighting strategy anywhere in the world…investment in girls’ education may well be the highest-return investment available in the developing world…investing in women is a “double-dividend” by elevating not only women but also their children and communities…Women are the key to ending hunger in Africa.”

Lawrence Summers wrote when he was chief economist of the World Bank, “The question is not whether countries can afford this investment in women, but whether countries can afford not to educate more girls.”

Sadly, the church I grew up in is closed today. Not because they were not good people, but because the mission was to play it safe. It was a mission to stay far away from where God was.

The power of God is waiting at the gates of hell. The power of God is waiting at the gates of those brothels. He is waiting for men and woman to proclaim, “We are the church and we are expansive with so much energy that the gates of hell will not be able to keep it out.” That is where the power is.

If a church wants to be powerful, then it needs to “Go to Hell!” That is not my opinion, but it comes straight from the Holy Scriptures..

Now is the time. This is our legacy. This is not an obligation but an opportunity!

At the church I go to, “storming the gates of hell” looks like this:

Sponsoring 1200+ children through “Compassion International” http://www.compassion.com

Giving backpacks and gift cards to the FBI, for girls who have been rescued from local trafficking.

Creating after school programs for at risk youth and children.

Supporting the “International Justice Mission” (IJM)
http://www.ijm.org

Supporting “Bridget’s Dream” (recovery program for locally trafficked women)
http://www.bridgetsdream.org

Supporting “Agape International Mission” (AIM) (recovery program for globally trafficked women) http://www.agapewebsite.org

Supporting “Courage Homes” (helping girls who have escaped trafficking both locally and globally) http://www.couragetobeyou.org

Supporting “The Landing” (helping at risk young people with their hurts, habits and hang-ups)

Supporting your local “Boys and Girls Club”

Supporting “Fair Trade”

Supporting “House of Acts” (urban after school programs) http://www.servesacramento.com

Investing in a local boy’s transition home

Supporting “Opening Doors” (partnering with and mentoring victims of international trafficking victims and refugees as they learn to live in the United States)
http://www.openingdoorsinc.com

And there is so much more!

There are so many ways churches can be involved. If you want more information about how you can get involved with these amazing organizations go online and check them out or email my churches community care director Ginger Jacob at jacobg@gvcconline.net

I would also encourage you to read, “Half the Sky” by Nicholas D. Kristof, Sheryl WuDunn.

Where is Jesus?

During the week before his death, Jesus said these words, “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.”

As I am reading this I am wondering what kind of criteria is he going to use to separate them? Is it church attendance? Tithing? Correct theology? Abstaining from evil? The right political affiliation? Abstinence? I wonder what it will be?

“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’”

Really!!? When I was growing up in church I was told I was making it to heaven by staying away from bad people and bad things.

“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’”

Wait a minute! You mean to tell me that is where I could have hung out with Jesus! I was told you meet Jesus through a really cool church service or worship song. I realize now that Jesus was all around me, I just didn’t recognize him.

Ken and C. J. have been married for many years. They live and run a deli in Bodega Bay. Bodega Bay has one homeless man, a man named Garland. Garland dressed poorly and acted a little strange and slept in the city park. But being Christians, Ken and C.J. befriended Garland and offered him food and kind words.

When their store was broken into everyone in town accused Garland. But Ken and C.J. knew it couldn’t have been their friend. In fact, they prepared a very expensive gift basket for Garland and gave it to him. The next morning the police showed up with Garland, who was holding the expensive gift basket, certain they had caught the burglar of their store.

Ken and C.J. to protect Garland from embarrassment said, “Oh, Garland! Thank you for bringing your basket back. We forgot to put some things in it we wanted you to have. And by the way, here’s the change I forgot to give you.” And Ken made up a number. In front of the police he opened the cash register and gave Garland $38.67. The police let Garland go without saying a word.

A few mornings later Garland died in the park in his sleep. Ken and C.J. were called to the attorney’s office. They were told that Garland had made them the sole heir in his will. He wrote “The entire contents of my travel bag are
yours.”

Inside the bag was a bag of birdseed, a Bible and a bankbook. The names on the savings account were Garland and Ken and C.J. The last entry in the savings account was the day before for $38.67 bringing the balance to well over three million dollars.

The bankbook had been used as a bookmarker in the Bible. Garland had put it in a unique place and the Bible lay open to Matthew 25:35 and the verse was underlined. “I was hungry and you gave me food. I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink. I was alone and away from home and you invited me into your house. Jesus said, ‘When you did it for the least of these My people, you also did it for Me.'”

Garland had hidden wealth that nobody knew about.
When Jesus Christ hung on the cross very few of those standing there knew how wealthy He was.
He was God. He was the creator of the universe and He owned everything.
We have a hidden wealth and power that many times we underestimate.

Jesus quoted the prophet Isaiah when he gave his mission statement, “The Spirit of the Lord is with me. He has anointed me to tell the Good News to the poor. To heal those who are brokenhearted. He has sent me to announce forgiveness to the prisoners of sin and the restoring of sight to the blind, to forgive those who have been shattered by sin, to announce the year of the Lord’s favor.”

Where is Jesus?

He’s the homeless person looking for shelter.
She’s the abused mom who is looking for safety.
He’s the dying aids patient looking for someone to care.
She’s the prostitute who is begging for intimacy.
He’s your co-worker who’s depressed.
She’s the mother from Niger wondering how she is going to feed her 3 children.
It is the forgotten widow barely getting by on her social security check.
It is your neighbor who is facing bankruptcy and losing his home.
It is the elementary student who was abandoned by his father.
It is the drug addict looking for another fix.
It is the foreigner who faces another day of prejudice.
It is the Garland that leaves you 3 million and 38 dollars and 67 cents.

Author Max Lucado says, “Jesus lives in the forgotten. He has taken up residence in the ignored. He has made a mansion amidst the ill. If we want to see God we must go among the broken and beaten and there we will see them, we will see Him.”

Author and Speaker Tony Campolo says “Jesus never says to the poor come find the church. But he says to those of us in the church, go into the world and find the poor, the hungry, the homeless, the imprisoned.”