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Luke Redus

Invisible People

By | General Post
I am a sci-fi fan. Always have been. When I was younger it was because of all of the high-tech stuff and aliens, and spaceships and things that would never be seen in the trailer park I lived in. Now that I am older, I would like to think that my reason for enjoying sci-fi so much would be different… a bit more mature perhaps. Unfortunately, that is not the case. I was a geek as a child and little has changed in that regard. From time to time though I can find deep spiritual truths in the junk I watch.

A long time ago I was watching one of those shows like The Outer Limits or Twilight Zone that contained a bunch of short stories. One of the stories was about a man who had been found guilty of a crime and sentenced to one year of invisibility. I was thinking, hmm…that could be cool. Oh the fun I could have if no one could see me! Well…it wasn’t exactly like that in the show. The government put a mark on his forehead that indicated to everyone else in the world that he was “invisible”. Now, when I saw that there was no “real invisibility” going on I was a bit miffed. What kind of sci-fi show about an invisible dude has no invisibility? I watched it anyway. So basically this story is about a guy who walks around for a whole year being ignored by everyone. He jumps behind the counter at a cafeteria and serves himself food and no one says anything to him. He walks around yelling at everyone and nothing happens. This all seems pretty cool until he gets hit by a car. He is injured and tries to call for an ambulance. The problem is that the phones have a computer screen and a camera. FINALLY something that was high-tech! (Well…it was high-tech when I saw the show). He tried to put on a hat when he called but the mark on his head burned through the hat. When the person on the screen saw that he was “invisible” she hung up on him. He goes out into the streets looking for someone to help him but no one will. Everyone ignores him. He comes across a lady who had apparently been sentenced to invisibility as well. She ignores him too. At this point, he realizes the pain of being all alone. After this realization, the next scene shows him walking down the street, but he has a kind look on his face, he is sort of smiling the way that Jesus did in all of the old Jesus movies that I have seen…kind of a hippie Zen Jesus that only Hollywood could dream up. The lady that he had approached for help earlier in the show ran up to him and begged him to acknowledge her. To do so would be a criminal act, but the guy looks down at her, then grabs her by the shoulders and pulls her into a hippie Zen Jesus embrace.

I had not thought about that show for a long time…mainly because it sucked…from a sci-fi point of view. A few months ago, we were being interviewed for the work that we do with the homeless. This interview was going to be included in a video that was used to teach about the benefits of serving others. As part of the interview, we invited one of the homeless people that we have worked with to be interviewed as well. I asked her what people watching this video could learn about someone who is homeless. Her response rocked me to the core. She paused for a moment and began to cry, then said “I just wish they would look at me.” Wow. There is a whole sub-culture of people that have been sentenced to invisibility. This is not to say that they are free of fault in the situation that they are in, but our response to them is the part that convicted me. I know that many times in my life I have pulled up to an intersection and seen a homeless person with a sign explaining their plight and followed up with “God Bless”. As the person walks toward my car, I would do anything I could to not make eye-contact. I would grab my cell phone and hold it up to my ear as though I were so terribly important that I had to talk to someone in my car while there was an invisible person right outside of the window. There was only one honest person at that intersection and it was not the one in the car holding up a cell phone with no one on the other end. It was the guy out there who was saying “my pride and my dignity are gone, I no longer care, I just need to eat, or drink to ease the pain.”

So how do we handle these situations? Do we roll down the window and throw cash at every bum with a piece of cardboard and a Marks-a-lot? I am going to answer that with another story. We serve breakfast to the homeless in a city park every Saturday morning. It is an awesome time. There is a wonderful team of volunteers that prepare a feast for the marginalized of our community. There is an old black gentleman that comes every Saturday. He is diabetic and has lost some fingers on his right hand and I swear he only has about 6 teeth. His name is Lumpy (no he is not one of the seven dwarves). Every Saturday he comes up to me and says “What’s my name?” I respond that his name is Lumpy. He then grins and shake my hand vigorously with all three remaining fingers. Now…he does not do this because he has forgotten his own name, he does it because he feels good that I remember his name. It validates him as a human being. He knows that he is special enough to me that I would put forth the effort to remember his name, shake his hand and give him a hug. Now  before you go thinking that I am a great guy that remembers all of the homeless people by name, I would just like to add that Lumpy is a name that is hard to forget. But that name is special to Lumpy, it is special to God, and it is special to me.

So you do not have to throw someone money to show compassion. In fact, sometimes throwing someone a quarter indicates that they are valued far less than if you took the time to know their name. Their name means more to them than a quarter.

If you really want to get crazy, ask them their names. Then carry a box of granola bars and a few bottles of water in your car. The next time you see them, call them by name, and tell them that you were thinking of them and wanted to bring them a snack and a cool drink of water. They would be amazed to know that someone was thinking about them. They would no longer feel invisible.

Invisible People

“Size 16”

By | CHOP Article

She smelled horrible – a mixture of urine, sweat, dirt and life.  “I’m looking for some pants, I wet on myself and then slept outside and now I’ve got a bad cough – size 16 if you have them please.”

As we checked labels for the correct size I fought back the urge to gag. She truly did smell bad.

I looked around and almost laughed at the contrast between my “shopper” and the fresh, clean faces of the 14 or so girls from Lone Star Cowboy Church that had come to volunteer in the resource room and learn about the CHOP. Downstairs more of their group was sweeping, moping, and cleaning – all part of some kind of spring break mission experience. The girls upstairs laughed and chatted as they hung up shirts, folded jeans and sweaters, and matched shoes which were then placed neatly side by side on a shelf. They rearranged furniture and talked of future plans to hang encouraging scripture verses and other artwork on the walls. They were happy, helpful and very giving of their time and energy.

Meanwhile, my “shopper” friend carried the only pair of size 16 pants and a clean shirt into the bathroom to wash up and change. When she came out she too was smiling. Clean clothes, warm water and a hairbrush had done wonders and she knew it! Just a few small details had made a huge difference and she was so very grateful.

It’s crazy that right here in Conroe, Texas someone could be blessed by something so familiar to you and me, like a pair of pants in the right size or running water, but it’s true. So, what’s my point in this little blurb about “one day in the life of CHOP”?  I’m not really sure other than to let you know that people really are grateful for all the clothes that you have donated, to thank you for the check you sent that paid the water bill, and to encourage you to come out and be like these kids from Lone Star Cowboy Church were – a blessing to others. Come and be a part of the work that’s being done in His name. It can and does make a difference.

CHOP Mornings – As unto the Lord…

By | CHOP, CHOP Video

“I came in here because I heard I could get a free cup of coffee. This place ended up changing my life.”

-Chris

In the nine years that we have had the Conroe House of Prayer, we have heard countless testimonies like this. We have seen so many lives transformed because they had an encounter with God. Have you been to CHOP? Share your experience in the comments of this post.

Compassion United – Welcome

By | Uncategorized

God’s desire is to put the world right.

  • God made the world and he said that it was good.
  • Adam chose his own version of good and it was different than God’s
  • Noah, the flood, It grieved God what humanity was doing to his “good creation” so he washed the planet clean.
  • Through Abraham, God promised that all of the people of the world would be blessed. Meaning…their lives would be filled with the intentions of God.

Isaiah 9 Prophecies this.

6 For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us;

And the government will rest on His shoulders;

And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,

Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.

7 There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace,

On the throne of David and over his kingdom,

To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness

From then on and forevermore.

The zeal of the Lord of hosts will accomplish this.

This speaks of a kingdom that will come with the Christ. It will begin growing and never stop growing.

Matthew 6:10 Your kingdom come.

Your will be done

On earth as it is in heaven.

When His Kingdom does comes, power is demonstrated that overthrows the kingdom of darkness through the Holy Spirit.

Matthew 12:28 But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you.

Matthew 6:20 For the kingdom of God is not in word but in power.

The Kingdom is preached and demonstrated. The disciples were taught the Kingdom is at hand, meaning accessible.

Matthew 4:23 And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease among the people.

Matthew 10:7 And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ 8 Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.

Luke 11:9 And heal the sick there, and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’

So much of the focus of Christianity has been what we are saved from that it has caused us to neglect what we are saved for.

We are saved to “Reign with Christ.” Unfortunately, that has become a dead metaphor to those who do not consider the ramifications of their eschatology.

18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. 19 For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. 23 And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body. 24 For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.

This tells me that all of creation is waiting to be wisely stewarded by the people of God. And that we haven’t seen it yet, but we should be hopeful in seeing it. Not giving up and waiting for the rescue mission.

Romans 5:17

17 For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.

This is the dialogue that I think we should have. What does it look like for God’s people to reign in this life?

Where have we gotten off track with this?