Saturday, September 13, 2008

Exit 13A NJ Turnpike - Elizabeth Jesus

During the Revolution, the Brits occupying Manhattan and Staten Island realized that Elizabeth was not named after their past queen and attacked the city with due diligence.

Way back in the 1800’s the city was home to not one, but two Electric Car manufacturing plants. Go figure. It is currently home to The Hope Center which is the launching pad for the New York City Relief buses providing bread and soup in the name of Jesus to places in the city few dare to travel.

Saturday, I was offered a rare opportunity to work a little OT. Living in North Jersey, I could surely use the cash. I was also offered the opportunity to feed the homeless in the South Bronx with New York City Relief. Feed the poor, or make some cash? There really wasn’t a choice. My colleagues at work thought I was nuts.

The weather was brutal, wet and windy. Driving down the NJ Turnpike to the Hope Center, I thought of Micah 6:8 and then tried to find an "out clause" for wind and rain – to no avail.

I felt pretty darn sure no one would stand in a nor’easter for a cup of soup. Stupid me.

Standing in the windblown rain outside that soup truck on a vacant lot on 148th Street, I witnessed it. People came, lots of them, individuals at first, then whole families and extended families. They came for a slice of bread, a cup of soup and a little bit of Jesus. For a fleeting moment, I couldn’t comprehend that this slice of NYC is America for many, many people.

During the course of the day I was speaking with an ex-gang leader recently released from jail. He explained how he once ruled this part of the South Bronx dictating who got mugged, robbed or knifed. He told me his buddies call him Lucifer, the Devil, Satan and Evil and that those names now brought him down.

I remembered a video at Liquid Church where the screen showed individuals who were downtrodden and negative descriptions of them were flashed on the screen only to have their faces appear again with words of how God sees them – loved. I told him to cast out those names and replace with how God sees him Worthy, Loved, God’s special child. It was a bit remarkable but then he began focusing on some of the positive things he’s done for others and what others have done for him.

I'll tell you what it means to worship the Lord. Remove the chains of the prisoners who are chained unjustly. Free those who are abused! Share your food with everyone who is hungry; share your home with the poor and homeless. Give clothes to those in need; don't turn away your relatives. Isaiah 58


Gigi said...

I just finished reading and I said out loud, "That was an AWESOME post!!" What an fed that man more than bread and soup today, my friend. And THAT'S what the Body is all about! God bless you!

SolShine7 said...

This is a really interesting concept for a blog!

Drew said...

Reaffirming how God sees people is something that doesn't get done often enough. We are all broken, but He sure doesn't care. That's a wonderful way to minister to someone, and it's good to hear the past hurts and wrongs being over-ridden by Jesus' new law of love.