Friday, January 20, 2006

Among the questions

What is your first name and last initial?
Where will you sleep tonight?
Are you a veteran?
Do you have children with you? Do your children attend school or need help enrolling?
What was the alst place you lived permanently?
How long have you been homeless?
Do you have any of the following special needs? Alcohol or drug use, mental health, HIV/AIDS, physical disability or handicap, mental retardation or developmental delay.
Where did you eat dinner this evening?
What caused you to be homeless?
From what sources do you receive income?

These are questions volunteers asked to nearly 1,500 people who showed up to be counted as part of a survey from the Homeless Alliance. The goal was to get a count and find out more about the issues they face.

About 55 volunteers passed out the questionnaires this week in and around downtown Oklahoma City. The story is in today's Oklahoman.

Last year's survey numbers included 1,452 homeless people. One in four reported substance abuse and one in five reported disabilities or illnesses. One in three had been homeless for more than a year (and had once owned their own home).

Those are lots of numbers to read and statistics to analyze, but those numbers represent life and people who need us, but need God more.

Let's pray that many of those who were counted also have the answers to
Do you know God loves you?
Do you know God accepts you?
Do you know God is waiting for you to turn to him?

And, do you believe his son died to save YOU?

No doubt many of those surveyed have been to Cross & Crown, and we pray more will find our mission this year - to get help with food, clothes, recovery. Mostly, we want them to feel the unconditinal love of Jesus, acceptance, compassion and joy as they receive prayer.

Where will you sleep tonight?
What will you eat?

Isaiah 61
1 The Spirit of the Lord God is on Me,
because the Lord has anointed Me
to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
and freedom to the prisoners; 2 to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor,
and the day of our God's vengeance;
to comfort all who mourn, 3 to provide for those who mourn in Zion;
to give them a crown of beauty instead of ashes,
festive oil instead of mourning,
and splendid clothes instead of despair.
And they will be called righteous trees,
planted by the Lord,
to glorify Him.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

The Lord is My Shepherd

This last Sunday night's service at Cross & Crown provided a wonderful setting to bring in a new year of new hope, new resolution ... and just simply, a new start.

This picture is of George. He is a Cross & Crown neighbor, and resolved to the staff that instead of playing, he was going to help at the mission. So he has been helping. He took down Christmas lights. He sweeps. He hangs out. He helps.

Paul asked him if he would like to read from the Bible that he received as a Christmas gift from Rock Island. He read Psalm 23.

One of the most touching moments, aside from simply watching George read the Word of God, was hearing those in the room help him when he paused or stumbled on just a couple of words. Everyone was with him ... listening intently. If he stumbled on a word such as "righteousness" or "anoint" you would hear a voice in the audience - gruff, sweet, tired or with an accent call it out.

All together now ..

1 A Psalm of David. The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. 2 He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. 3 He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name's sake. 4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. 5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over. 6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life; And I will dwell F20 in the house of the Lord Forever.