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2020 year of the Pivot

Updated: Jul 24, 2023

I grew up poor. Dad left with I was twelve. Mom worked several jobs. Food stamps helped. Hand-me-downs from “WILSON’S” code word for Goodwill kept us clothed. I have felt the pains of hunger. The embarrassment of food stamps. Food coupons for school meals. Lack of health care. I once had a “temporary” silver crown for 12 years.

Poor is poor, but there is always poorer. I’m talking about families living in cars. Our brothers in tents. Sisters on the streets. Survivors all of them scavenging for food in back alleys and dumpsters. Standing on corners, signs in hand. “Thank you & God Bless!”

One day, everything changed for me. My brother Steve, dead. He died on the streets in Eugene. Homeless. I cried like a baby. A few days later I flew to Oregon to do his funeral. As I drove into downtown Eugene, I saw a young man sitting on the median, sign in hand, and I saw the face of my brother. I pulled over and again sobed uncontrollably. I knew it wasn’t my brother. But just a few days ago—it could have been.

I never overlooked the poor again. I ask God, what can I do? His reply—do something—anything. Ouch, that stung! But I’ve been told they really don’t need the money, they’re just too lazy to work. They’re going to use it for drugs or drink.

So, I took me out of the equation. Made a deal with God. I started keeping cash in my car one-dollar bills. Saved them like they were gold bars. At times there are thirty and others only three. My deal with God? You put them (your created humanity) in front of me and I will give them every single dollar bill I have. No questions asked.

Noticed I said “You.” God! After all they are still His creation. His death, for them. They are my brothers and sisters whether in Christ or not. Black or white. On drugs or drink. Not my place to judge. God put them in my path. My job? Be faithful to Him. Do something—anything. Give! Give all the gold bars away. Every time you give. I give grace and you receive peace.

I have traveled to more than eighty countries. I have seen the poor in most circumstances. Living in heaps of trash. Mud huts. Street gutters. Some poor don’t know they are. It’s our label subjective as it is. You can be poor and happy. I was in my youth. There are many homeless that prefer to be on the streets. Free from the “man.” They have learned to thrive in their own way.

My son Sterling works among the poor in Denver. He has always had a heart for the underdog. Protecting weaker kids from bullies since preschool. As a pro soccer player for the Colorado Rapids he and a buddy would volunteer at “Jesus Saves.” No surprise he pastors the homeless in Denver at Christ’s Body Ministries ( A Day Shelter, that provides food, clothing, showers, laundry service and Hope. Hope, by way of the Gospel.

COVID-19 changed everything! COVID, protocols made it difficult or impossible to serve the homeless and protect staff and volunteers at Christ’s Body. So, they made a pivot. The rustled up a burrito brigade and made hundreds of burritos. Breakfast and lunch burritos. Along with some water and took to the streets. Caravans of care they call them. Reminds me of the church in Jerusalem. First century church. It needed a little disruption. Dispersion. To fulfill the mandate to Go. And go they did. Safe to say most people in the world have heard about Jesus. Unfortunately, many have yet to see or feel His love.

This blog, painful to write. But like me you might need a nudge. An awakening. Or maybe a deal with God. My hope is that you see the poor and homeless. See them for the first time as God does. His Creation. His son’s death—for them. With all their Junk. Just like you. When He found you! Is it your time for a pivot?

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