Posts Tagged ‘streets’

Flower in ConcreteLately there have been so many reports of bad things happening in the world—from terrorist attacks, to riots, to shootings. But if we look hard enough finding good that’s being done is like finding a flower blooming in concrete.

Here are a couple of flowers I discovered lately:

Omaha’s street paper

M,A,Yah saw the homeless in a different light, because at one time he too, was homeless. So he has great compassion for those struggling to survive on the streets. He dreamed one day that he would own a street paper and dedicate it to getting the homeless jobs and hopefully, off the streets. Omaha’s Heartland News street paper has been finding its way into homes and businesses since 2011.

But M,A,Yah’s dream literally went up in smoke February 5, 2013, when someone had set fire to his newspaper which was located at 62nd and Ames Avenue at the time. Fortunately no one was hurt. However, M,A,Yah had been residing in the upstairs of the building, and due to the fire he found himself homeless once again. But that did not deter him from going after his dream.

Although someone tried to crush it, they didn’t succeed. All he could think about from the time of the fire was getting his paper back up and running again. He said he only lost a building, not his dream. Within 4 months of the fire, M,A,Yah found refuge just 20 blocks east of where his original building was. He moved his newspaper into a building that is shared with a barber at 4001 Ames Avenue and now his paper is back and doing better than ever!

The vendors are told to tell people the suggested donation price is $1.00 per paper, but once a person finds out that the venders are homeless, they usually get generous amounts of donations—All of which they get to keep for themselves. This program is designed to help the homeless “Charge Straight out of Poverty,” as the motto goes, by allowing the vendors to keep 75¢ from each paper they collect a dollar donation for. Then they pay The Heartland News .25¢ for each paper they distribute. The money they give to The Heartland News goes back into the fund to get the next issues printed.

M,A,Yah also has people that set up tables in front of stores, such as Walmart, No Frills and Bakers who do nothing but collect donations for the paper itself. However, because vendors do not set up at the same locations as the Salvation Army bell ringers, the paper doesn’t do so well in donations this time of year.

The Heartland News is not just another venue for panhandlers. Some of the venders are able to find a place to live, while selling the Heartland News. Others meet people that might open up job possibilities for them. The North American Street Paper Association says in just 2 months a vendor could make enough money to put a permanent roof over their head.

Table Grace Café

Table Grace Café is a place that offers food for a free-will offering. They don’t suggest a certain amount of money as a donation. You just give what you feel like giving and nobody knows how much you donated because it all goes into a wooden box at the counter.

The pizza-salad-soup combo is standard fare at Table Grace Café. Owner and professional chef Matt Weber is a trained chef who studied at the Natural Gourmet Institute in New York City. Pizza and soup is handmade every day at Table Grace Café and the varieties they offer depend upon what they have available.

They have a relationship with Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s and Wohlner’s Grocery and during the growing seasons they get fresh produce donated by local farms. These donations help keep costs low, and helps Matt and his crew continue to offer nutritious food to folks who might otherwise go hungry.

It’s important to know that while Table Grace Café certainly helps people who might not otherwise be able to afford this type of meal, this place is for everyone. Everyone is welcome, and everyone is free to pay whatever they want to pay for the food. Whether you drop a couple of quarters into the donation box or a hundred dollar bill, you’re going to receive the same friendly service and wholesome meal as everyone else.

The purpose of Table Grace Café is to promote a healthy community by offering great food prepared and served in a graceful manner to anyone who walks through the door. They believe that everyone; regardless of economic status, deserves the chance to eat wonderful food while being treated with respect and dignity.

Paying it forward
Table Grace Café also has an Internship Program that allows individuals to complete a 2 week training course in restaurant work. After they complete their training they are given job placement assistance by Matt’s staff and volunteers.

Catering
Table Grace Café also caters dinners for 10-30 people. Just give them a call and they’ll be happy to work out all the details for your event. Whatever your event; Table Grace Café will work with you to accommodate your catering needs. And best of all, by choosing Table Grace Café, you’ll be helping their ministry in downtown Omaha of ‘Nourishing Hungry Bodies and Souls’.

See more at: http://www.tablegracecafe.com/our-mission.html#sthash.rEeflMLt.dpuf

 

Remember that Jesus said, “Whatever you do for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you do for me.” (Matthew 25:40)

“Now the people of Sodom were wicked and were sinning greatly against the LORD.”
(Genesis 13:13)

What was the sin of Sodom that was so great and outrageous in the eyes of God? What was the sin that so angered him, so outraged him, that he annihilated the city with fire and brimstone? Many think it was the sin of homosexuality and point to the account of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah found in Genesis chapters 18-19. Although Sodom is mentioned many times in both Old and New Testaments and is synonymous with great and outrageous wickedness, the truth is that Sodom’s greatest sins were pride, gluttony, and laziness, while the poor and needy suffered outside her door. (Ezekiel 16:49)

Just like Sodom, America has lost her way. She no longer knows right from wrong. She has turned away from the way of truth and light found in the Bible and followed in the way of lust, wickedness, immorality and evil. She has lost contact with Biblical moral standards – that set of attitudes, outlooks and values that the Bible represents. She has rejected God and followed his great adversary, the Devil, who is the master of illusion and deception. She has lost her faith in God and instead put her faith and confidence in the god of this world.

People have exchanged the truth of God for the false ideas, dogmas, religious traditions, doctrines of men and secular humanism. Spiritual darkness has descended on the land. The evidence is everywhere. There can be no better or more convincing evidence of this than the way the country has condoned and embraced that great sin of pride, gluttony, and laziness, while the poor and needy suffer on our streets.

The fact that we now live in a country in which so many people view themselves as Christians and yet condone and accept behavior that is so radically at odds with the outlooks and attitudes of the Bible shows the extent to which even Christianity has become twisted, contorted, corrupted and perverted in this land.

A person is not a Christian just because he/or she calls themselves a Christian or because they are a member of some church or denomination, or because they recited some robotic prayer to accept Jesus as Lord and Savior. Just believing in God doesn’t make one a Christian either. Even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror! (James 2:19)

Christianity is about substance. It’s about what and who you really are inside. It’s about a faith and love in God that is accompanied by serious godly, upright living. It’s about an attitude and commitment of the heart–a commitment that results in virtuous, good, moral living. It’s a mind-set, a way of thinking, a philosophy, a set of outlooks, attitudes and values based on God’s Word. It’s a lifestyle against sin and a lifestyle of goodness and virtue.

The Christmas season is supposed to be about celebrating the birth of Jesus. But more than any other time of the year you will find people rushing through retail stores pushing, shoving and fighting over trinkets that will be broken or discarded within a year–while others are praying for a warm meal and a safe place for their children to sleep. A person who considers himself a Christian and sees nothing wrong with this gross depravity is deceived.

As C.S. Lewis puts it in his short essay ‘The Weight of Glory’: “It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”

The world is hungry, lonely and hurting. It needs to know the loving, accepting God of the Bible–not the haughty, uncaring and judgmental God that we have shown the world for too long.

So instead of ignoring the poor as you mindlessly drop a few coins into the Salvation Army bucket on your way out of the store, maybe you could buy a few extra things. Take them home and wrap them up to give to a few homeless people in your city. You see, sometimes God doesn’t just want our money. Sometimes he wants us to be Jesus to someone who is hungry, lonely and hurting.

Here is what God has said regarding the poor:

“Whoever oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God.” (Proverbs 14:31)

“Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will reward them for what they have done.” (Proverbs 19:17)

 

 

“This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.” (I John 1:5-7)

Today over half of the world’s population lives in large cities. Many Christians think cities are by nature, evil places. If they were asked, they would say the city is a curse, not a blessing – A breeding ground for poverty and homelessness. However, that is not God’s view. After all, the human story begins in a garden and ends in the great city, the New Jerusalem!

Most cities seem to hold a collective vision, and there is usually both a good and evil side to that vision. I believe God has participated in our cities by stationing high-ranking guardian angels over each one. However, Satan will do anything in his power to accuse your city and to malign its redemptive gift.

The experience of Elisha’s servant is recorded in 2 Kings 6:16-17: “So he answered, ‘Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them. ‘And Elisha prayed, and said, ‘Lord, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.’ And the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw. And behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.”  If our eyes were opened like Elisha’s servant, what would we see? Would God reveal a divine purpose? How would we react once we were aware of that purpose?

The Purpose For Your City
When traveling through your city have you ever asked, “Why is this town here?” God always has a reason for everything He does, and the reason your town is where it is usually stems from the geography of the location, such as a mountain pass, rich soil, mineral wealth, or a river crossing. The earth has been lovingly crafted as a habitation for people. God anticipated the development of your city. And He marked out a place in it just for you.

Consider the city of Los Angeles; on one hand, it is a technological tower of Babel, polluting the world with its communications and entertainment industry. On the other hand, it is a city with a gift in communications. Los Angeles is a city blessed by God with certain resources that can either be perverted – or used to further the kingdom of God. Even the name of the city speaks of its destiny: “Los Angeles” is Spanish for “The Angels.” The word ‘angel’ in the Greek is angeloss and means, messenger. I believe God designed Los Angeles to be a messenger, communicating the good news in the midst of an end time harvest.

Indeed, this plan of God has already enjoyed success several times in history: In 1906 through the Azusa Street Revival; in 1949 through an evangelical renewal leading to the birth of such groups as Campus Crusade For Christ and the launching of the Billy Graham Crusades as a national ministry; and in 1972 with the beginning of the Jesus Movement. But today the city is torn by violence, poverty and homelessness while it pumps pornography into the minds of millions.

Rebuilding The Walls
God desires to rebuild the walls of our cities, and I believe it must begin with the leadership in His churches. But it seems as if the Church today remains asleep as the world around us falls deeper into sin and despair. If the Church would only wake from its slumber God would pour out revelation concerning His redemptive plans for our cities. It was to the Jews living in the wicked city of Babylon that God spoke through the prophet Jeremiah, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jer. 29:11)

Unless you understand Biblical warfare you will be frustrated, confused, and ineffective in your ministry to your city. You may be attempting to coordinate Christian concerts, pioneer a church, or reach businessmen, but the principle is still the same: We need to gain a place of authority over Satan before we will see the full fruit of our labors.

Binding The Strong Man
Jesus said, “How can one enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man? And then he will plunder his house.” (Matt. 12.-29) Discerning the nature of principalities at work in your city can be as simple as asking God to tell you what’s going on. But God also wants us to use our minds in reasoning through the things He has already taught us and then applying them. Ask yourself the question: “Why is this city here? Is it merely a product of geography and commerce, or does God have a redemptive purpose in mind for it?” Your city is also God’s city. And the people are made in His image. Satan is an invader and a usurper operating in our territory. God did not give demons authority over your city. They have infested the earth’s atmosphere since before the creation of mankind, but they can only extend their authority into a town or an institution when people give them that authority through their sin.

This is our planet, and the only authority Satan has, he has gained through deception of human authority. He initially gains this authority when, at some point in history, human beings believe his lie, receive his accusation, and are seduced into an allegiance to his plan. An obvious example would be the spirit of greed which has infected our political system and still dominates the culture of politics to this day. But what can we do about this today? Scripture gives us an answer. Through repentance, reconciliation, and prayer, this present generation can work to repair the broken-down walls of the city.

Bringing Down Strongholds
“Those from among you shall build the old waste places; you shall raise up the foundations of many generations; and you shall be called the Repairer of the Breach, the Restorer of Streets to Dwell In.” (Is. 58:12) The strongholds that bind our urban populations have power, but they are not invincible. They’re vulnerable, and, if we move wisely, we can overthrow them. In his book, “Taking Our Cities For God” by John Dawson, he shares a five-fold approach to bringing down our cities’ strongholds:

1) Begin with worship and praise.
Everything born of God goes through a very natural process: worship, conception, gestation, travail, and birth. So always begin with worship. It’s in the place of thanksgiving and praise that God conceives within us His mind and heart for our city. No longer join with Satan, the accuser of your city, but lift up your heart in thanksgiving as you declare by faith the effect that the gospel will have! Do you want revival in your city? Do you want to defeat the powers of darkness? The way to get rid of darkness is to turn on the light, to establish the Lord’s presence in the midst of His people through praise!

2) Wait on the Lord for insight.
Don’t rely on finite reasoning or human cunning. If we listen to God with childlike dependency, He will guide us into victory. Breaking the strongholds that bind our urban populations will take prayer that will flood our hearts with conviction of sin. We must see ourselves in the light of God’s true holiness and rid ourselves of every hindrance through open confession and repentance. Even then, it may take days of prayer to receive a clear picture of the principalities and powers attempting to control our city. The Lord will expose the tactics of the enemy and give us strategies for his defeat. When we wait on the Lord and give Him room to move – He moves. This was an important factor and is a characteristic of every divine visitation in history.

3) Identify with the sins of the city.
The great intercessors of the Bible all approached God with a sense of shame and sincere repentance. (As the prophet Daniel did as recorded in the 9th chapter of Daniel. “O LORD, we and our kings, our princes and our fathers are covered with shame because we have sinned against you.”) Our communication with God must be rooted in the truth – the eternal truth of His holy standards and the awful truth about our society as God sees it. The intercessor experiences the broken heart of God through the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit. The intercessor also identifies with the sin of the people, because the intercessor has personally contributed to God’s grief. In responding to the broken heart of God, we must identify with the sins of the city in personal and corporate repentance. It is only when God has cleansed our own wicked hearts that participation in the redeeming work of intercession becomes possible. It is then that the power to change history is released through prayer.

4) Overcome evil with good.
Paul said, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Phil. 4:13) Overcoming evil with good is not merely a spiritual technique, but represents a means of applying the victory Jesus already gained. When we come against the enemy, we by faith manifest the aspect of Christ’s character that is the opposite of the temptation facing us. Take, for instance, Jesus’ statement regarding a particular evil spirit. “However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.” (Matt. 1 7:21) The admonition to abstain from food is probably because the power of God was hindered until they yielded themselves further to the control of the Holy Spirit through a particular step of obedience – a step involving the opposite spirit, an act of self-control.

5) Travail until birth.
There are times when God’s Spirit stirs our souls through times of intense travail. We must travail in prayer until God’s purposes are birthed. That which is conceived of God will eventually come to birth. When Christians of a city unite in spiritual travail, it is an indicator of impending revival. When you truly love somebody, you don’t just mention that person before the Lord. You pray until that which is needed happens, until the answer comes, until breakthrough. Love settles for nothing less than victory. If you are praying for a family member who is in bondage, you are not released from the burden until that person is saved, set free, and set in order. This is the way we should pray for our cities. “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” (Matt. 7:7)

The level of a spiritual victory for your city is directly affected by two spiritual conditions: the intensity of your desire and the size of your faith. God wants to see if you want the minimum or the maximum. Do you want institutional survival – or citywide revival? Will you and I be prepared to pay the price for victory over our cities? There is a high price to be paid in personal discipline, prayer, and obedience. Like you, I live on a dying planet, a dark place polluted with demons, but growing in my heart is a fierce joy. Jesus came to reveal the Father, to atone for us, and to teach us how to live. He also came to destroy the works of the devil, and He has commissioned us to do likewise.

I’m not suggesting that Christians take over the city in a governmental sense or even that Christian action can halt all the institutional and personal evil of those who have rejected Christ. I’m suggesting that the power of the resurrected Christ is released when God’s people are united in citywide prayer.

Business as usual is not good enough. God has much more in mind. Are our expectations of God too low? Are we participating in the sin of unbelief when we entertain despair or indifference over the moral, environmental, social, and spiritual needs of our cities?

The power of the gospel has radically impacted the life of cities for over 2,000 years, but most importantly our cities must become places of harvest. In the early 70’s we saw the youth of the counter-culture swept into the Kingdom, but that was a long time ago. There is now an entire generation missing the true gospel message! Today’s youth culture needs a revelation of Jesus! Citywide prayer gatherings should be springing up all over America! Tears of repentance should be flowing! And if the Church doesn’t wake up we will miss the day of God’s merciful visitation. God is definitely up to something. Let’s get involved and take back our cities for God!

This article includes excerpts from Taking Our Cities For God by John Dawson. ©1989 Creation House Publishers, Lake Mary, Florida. Used by permission from Last Days Ministries. http://www.lastdaysministries.org/Groups/1000002797/Last_Days_Ministries.aspx

Me & my band, Accidental Proffit, will be performing at Sokol Auditorium Wednesday, March 6th, 2013 for Raw ‘Generation’ Showcase.

RAW is made up of creative individuals across the United States & Australia. Its mission is to provide independent artists with the tools, resources and exposure needed to inspire and cultivate creativity. All genres of art will be represented at the RAW Showcase in Omaha- including independent film, fashion, music, visual and performing arts, hairstylists, makeup artists and more.

Sokol Auditorium is located at 2234 South 13th Street Omaha, Ne. We encourage you to support the creative success of the many talented visionaries in our community who will be presenting their talents. This is a 21+ Event and Cocktail Attire is suggested. The event will run from 8 PM to Midnight. Tickets for the event are $10 in advance / $15 at the door.

Jesus said to, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.” (Mar 16:15) I believe that this will be a great opportunity to share the gospel in a secular venue.  We encourage believers to come out and help us to proclaim the “good news” to those attending this event.

As many of you know, we normally do not charge for our music or shows, but RAW sets the price for tickets to cover expenses for the venue. So everyone who purchases tickets to support Accidental Proffit, (whether you attend the event or not) will receive a FREE copy of the ‘Living In Babylon’ CD.

Buy tickets: http://www.rawartists.org/omaha/generation/?artist=127161

RAW Generation Showcase

RAW Generation Showcase

I recently read an article that immediately filled me anger. The article, in the Spokesman-Review in Washington State, reported that about 30 homeless people have died during 2012 and at least four were 17 and two others were between 18 and 20!

The National Runaway Switchboard estimates that on any given night there are approximately 1.3 million homeless youth living unsupervised on the streets, in abandoned buildings, with friends or with strangers.  Homeless youth are at a higher risk for physical abuse, sexual exploitation, mental health disabilities, substance abuse, and death.  It is estimated that 5,000 unaccompanied youth die each year as a result of assault, illness, or suicide!

The death of any young person is tragic. Kevin M. Ryan wrote in his blog that he had attended the funeral of a young man he’s known most of his life, who died unexpectedly in his sleep at the age of 21 a few days after Christmas.  He relates how, at the funeral, the church was packed with hundreds of family and friends.

While reading these sad and tragic stories I couldn’t help but think of what might have happened; how these precious lives could have been saved and changed for the better, if only someone who attended one of these funerals would have stepped up and helped them. Maybe they too, would be alive today and be following their dreams.

Over the past five years my wife and I have opened our home to a dozen men, women and children who were in need of a home. I’m happy to report that today they all have homes of their own and doing well.

Reading articles like this should cause a righteous rage to well up inside of every Christian’s heart and spur them to action.  I pray that more people will step up and help more of these vulnerable people instead of attending their funerals.

“I tell you the truth, when you refused to help the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were refusing to help me.” (Matthew 25:45)

 

Across the country, tens of thousands of underemployed and jobless young people, many with college degrees, are struggling to house themselves in the wake of the recession, which has left workers between the ages of 18 and 24 with the highest unemployment rate of all adults. Click HERE for labor stats 

Some can move back home with their parents, but that’s not an option for those whose families have been hit hard by the economy. Without a stable home address, they are part of an elusive group that hope to avoid the stigma of public homelessness and are missed by many yearly homeless counts. They are mostly couch surfers or sleep hidden away in cars or other private places, during what they hope will be a temporary predicament.
These young adults have joined the new face of a national homeless population; one that poverty experts and case workers say is growing. Yet the problem remains mostly invisible. Most cities and states, that focus on the chronically homeless have not made special efforts to identify and help young adults and homeless families with children, who tend to shy away from ordinary shelters out of fear of being victimized by the chronically homeless who may have criminal backgrounds or who are mentally unstable.

$20.5-million complex for the chronically homeless?
The Skid Row Housing Trust in Los Angeles is building a 102-unit, $20.5-million complex by stacking pre-outfitted apartments atop one another in a Lego-like fashion to save time and money. The residents will pay 30% of their monthly job or government assistance income as rent but are not required to seek on-site medical treatment, psychiatric counseling, drug or alcohol treatment or therapy as a condition of residency.

“The thought is, how do we help people make the choice that is best for them,” said Mike Alvidrez, executive director of the Skid Row Housing Trust, who stressed the trust’s Housing First model — a philosophy that has caught fire nationwide. Alvidrez said, “The first step to helping someone recover from a chronic drug or alcohol problem is to give them a home and sense of community.”
But will someone who has a permanent residence they can afford seek out psychiatric counseling, drug or alcohol treatment on their own? Most likely, they will not. But thankfully, the problem can be hidden from the people of Los Angeles now. http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-skid-row-housing-20121216,0,1039440.story

Not all shelters agree with this “Housing First” philosophy.
Founded in 1975, the Siena/Francis House is Nebraska’s largest shelter, providing food, emergency shelter & clothing, along with outreach/case management to homeless families and individuals from Omaha and surrounding communities. The Siena/Francis House also houses a residential chemical addictions treatment center, a day services center, an employment training program, and a medical clinic. The Siena/Francis House has a policy that tries to never turn away any person or family who comes to them in need, regardless of their circumstances.

In 2011 the Siena/Francis House served 418,107 meals and provided 156,258 nights of shelter to approximately 4,000 homeless men, women and children. In pursuing the ultimate goal of breaking the cycle of homelessness – one person at a time – the Siena/Francis House provides a residential addiction recovery program, aptly named “Miracles Treatment Center”. Any person who desires to participate in the Miracles Treatment Center must be willing to commit to stay at least 120 days in the Siena/Francis House’s residential program, enter its job training program, and provide 40 service hours per week at the shelter.

The Siena/Francis House’s belief is that, by finding value and untapped abilities in people that society has overlooked, they help them find value in themselves. By providing persons in the Miracles Treatment Center with counseling, education, job training, and life and independent living skills, they furnish them the tools that will help them recover from, and successfully manage the problems that brought them to the doors of the Siena/Francis House in the first place. It is through programs like this that people receive a vision for a new future; one that is positive; because without vision people are destroyed.

“Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.” (Proverbs 29:18)

William Booth was born in Sneinton, Nottingham, the only son of four surviving children born to Samuel Booth and Mary Moss. William’s father was wealthy by the standards of the time, but during William’s childhood, as a result of bad investments, the family descended into poverty and his father became an alcoholic. In 1842, Samuel Booth, who by then was bankrupt, could no longer afford his son’s school fees, and 13-year-old William was apprenticed to a pawnbroker. Samuel Booth died later that same year.

William Booth did not enjoy his job in the pawnbroker’s shop, but it made him only too aware of the poverty in which people lived and how they suffered humiliation and degradation because of it. Two years into his apprenticeship William Booth was converted and later became an evangelist. One day in 1865 he found himself in the East End of London, preaching to crowds of people in the streets outside the ‘Blind Beggar Pub’.

Slowly the mission began to grow but the work was hard and William would stumble home night after night haggard with fatigue, often with his clothes torn and bloody bandages wrapped on his head where a stone had struck him. Evening meetings were held in an old warehouse where urchins threw stones and fireworks through the window. It was not until 1878 when ‘The Christian Mission’ changed its name to ‘The Salvation Army’ that things began to happen. The idea of an Army fighting sin caught the imagination of the people and the Army began to grow rapidly. Booth’s fiery sermons and sharp imagery drove the message home and more and more people found themselves willing to leave their past behind and start a new life as a soldier in The Salvation Army.

Jesus commands us to go and make disciples of all nations. Sadly, many organizations like the Salvation Army, whose primary purpose began with winning souls and discipling new converts, have either become not much more than another social service program or have altogether dissolved.  Where are the William Booths–the Keith Greens–or the Leonard Ravenhills of today?

I fear they have been replaced with televangelists, computers, and iPhones. Our technology today gives us the ability to reach millions of people at once but it seems we don’t take the time to reach out to our neighbors right next door! And with all of our technology we’re no different today than we were during William Booth’s day:

In William Booth’s own words:

I pray that we all become more serious about the souls of mankind and Stand By The Door…

I Stand at the Door by Sam Shoemaker (from the Oxford Group)

I stand by the door.
I neither go to far in, nor stay to far out.
The door is the most important door in the world –
It is the door through which men walk when they find God.
There is no use my going way inside and staying there,
When so many are still outside and they, as much as I,
Crave to know where the door is.
And all that so many ever find
Is only the wall where the door ought to be.
They creep along the wall like blind men,
With outstretched, groping hands,
Feeling for a door, knowing there must be a door,
Yet they never find it.
So I stand by the door.

The most tremendous thing in the world
Is for men to find that door – the door to God.
The most important thing that any man can do
Is to take hold of one of those blind, groping hands
And put it on the latch – the latch that only clicks
And opens to the man’s own touch.

Men die outside the door, as starving beggars die
On cold nights in cruel cities in the dead of winter.
Die for want of what is within their grasp.
They live on the other side of it – live because they have not found it.

Nothing else matters compared to helping them find it,
And open it, and walk in, and find Him.
So I stand by the door.

Go in great saints; go all the way in –
Go way down into the cavernous cellars,
And way up into the spacious attics.
It is a vast, roomy house, this house where God is.
Go into the deepest of hidden casements,
Of withdrawal, of silence, of sainthood.
Some must inhabit those inner rooms
And know the depths and heights of God,
And call outside to the rest of us how wonderful it is.
Sometimes I take a deeper look in.
Sometimes venture in a little farther,
But my place seems closer to the opening.
So I stand by the door.

There is another reason why I stand there.
Some people get part way in and become afraid
Lest God and the zeal of His house devour them;
For God is so very great and asks all of us.
And these people feel a cosmic claustrophobia
And want to get out. ‘Let me out!’ they cry.
And the people way inside only terrify them more.
Somebody must be by the door to tell them that they are spoiled.
For the old life, they have seen too much:
One taste of God and nothing but God will do any more.
Somebody must be watching for the frightened
Who seek to sneak out just where they came in,
To tell them how much better it is inside.
The people too far in do not see how near these are
To leaving – preoccupied with the wonder of it all.
Somebody must watch for those who have entered the door
But would like to run away. So for them too,
I stand by the door.

I admire the people who go way in.
But I wish they would not forget how it was
Before they got in. Then they would be able to help
The people who have not yet even found the door.
Or the people who want to run away again from God.
You can go in too deeply and stay in too long
And forget the people outside the door.
As for me, I shall take my old accustomed place,
Near enough to God to hear Him and know He is there,
But not so far from men as not to hear them,
And remember they are there too.

Where? Outside the door –
Thousands of them. Millions of them.
But – more important for me –
One of them, two of them, ten of them.
Whose hands I am intended to put on the latch.
So I shall stand by the door and wait
For those who seek it.

I had rather be a door-keeper… So I stand by the door.