Sunday, April 11, 2010

Livin' the Dream

Taken from my personal blog, regarding ministry this week:

Somewhere along the line, God changed my dreams quite  a bit. Sitting in a grey cubicle at work, I often day-dreamed of an afternoon at the beach instead of sitting at a desk. But  as time progressed, especially on a Friday after a night of street ministry, those dreams became more about being in Hollywood and having time and availability to spend with the people we met.

Well, this weekend I got both.

The joy of working at home is that, on Thursday when I had some work to do, I headed to the beach to get it done out in the wonderfully warm weather. That night, I went out to Broken Hearts for street ministry, where I had several memorable encounters. First, I saw a guy I haven’t seen in weeks but pray for often, and got to catch up with him  a bit. Just seeing him again was great, as was knowing that now I have much more opportunity to spend time with him if he ever wants to hang out because I live in the neighborhood.

During that conversation, a girl interrupted us as we talked about church, asking if we do housing for people. That led into a conversation about the help she needed and how we might be able to help. That’s rare – people don’t just ask for help unless they’re really ready. In fact, that’s my regular prayer, that God would send us just those type of people…the ones so hungry for change and help that we don’t have to offer or convince them of anything because they’re desperate enough to ask. Which also means the chance of sustained and lasting change is much more likely, because we’re not coercing, we’re simply available to help in their need.

Tonight, a friend was visiting, and after coffee and dessert, we couldn’t decide what to do with the last hour or so of our night. We decided to take a stroll and go by way of the boulevard, just to stop and say 'hi' to a few people and see the Friday night Broken Hearts team.

We ended up seeing that same guy friend mentioned previously, which then led to us seeing a few other people we know and getting to catch up with them as well. But it also took us inside the donut shop, where once again we ran into the girl who’d asked for help.

For the next 30 minutes, my friend and I got to hear more of her need and situation and talk a bit about God. Which, again, she brought up and we didn’t even have to. She asked about going to church and agreed to meet up this week to come with me to church where we can start the journey of meeting both spiritual and physical needs.

Our plans didn’t quite pan out tonight like we’d planned…but clearly God had something much better in store. And it brought me so much joy to simply take a stroll late at night, and end up seeing the Broken Hearts crew and many friends on the street who, normally, I’d have to wait a week to see.

We encountered someone in need and got to talk and pray with her, journey the streets and wander in areas that Broken Hearts always avoids. Because now it’s not just an intimidating, unfamiliar neighborhood, but it’s my home and much more comfortable to spend time in.

The idea of “incarnational ministry” has appealed to me since I heard the concept in those terms. It swirled in my mind as a longing and dream for over a year…and now I get to see it lived out. Not quite what I had planned, or could have ever imagined for myself.  This move, this crazy neighborhood, this cut from full-time to part-time work…it’s a far cry from the beach house and comfortable life I always planned on. But now, this is what I call “livin’ the dream”.

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