I’ll never forget the time Heather and I took a little trip with her parents, Melvin & Martha, to Savannah Georgia. That city was beautiful and I fell in love with the south all over again. There was one problem. In the downtown district there were homeless people everywhere. I grew up in Las Vegas were we’ve learned to keep our homeless out of sight as much as possible. I remember the judgmental, critical and pharisaical thoughts that ran through my head as I passed one smelly man after another. Oh, how far above them I really was.
I was walking out of a chocolate shop on the river walk when I saw a homeless man approaching my father-in-law. Melvin was minding his own business, sitting on a bench, and looking out into the river when suddenly the man tapped him on the shoulder. My heart began to speed up. Would I have to defend Heather’s dad from a knife wielding psycho? Would I have to karate chop a complete stranger? Would I turn the other way and run for my life leaving Melvin to his bloody fate? When I got to the bench I saw my father-in-law handing the man a twenty and muttering something about the love of Jesus.
But for the Grace of God
Do you know the difference between that homeless man and me? Nothing, really! Except, for whatever reason, God has shown me grace. God allowed me to be born in the family, country and year that I was born into. God, by His grace, allowed me to hear the gospel of Jesus Christ that gave me hope for the future and a personal relationship with God that has guided me and directed me in my dark moments. For some unknown reason God has been gracious to me. And if you are reading this, God has been gracious to you too. Pride would say, “But you’ve made wise decisions, and you’ve worked hard.” But it was the Lord that have me the strength to work and the access to wisdom in order to make some right decisions. It’s even been His grace that has kept me from the full consequences of my MANY wrong decisions. What my father-in-law knew that I had to learn was that, but for the grace of God, that could be me. Ephesians 2:4-9
What are we Going To Do?
At Southern Hills we are done ignoring the homeless problem in our city. We are choosing to take seriously the commands in Scripture that teach us to reach out to the poor and needy and reach them with the truth. This year we have combined forces with the Las Vegas Rescue Mission (www.vegasrescue.org) to help our city’s homeless. We desire to meet their physical needs and spiritual needs. In preparation for our mission’s conference Heather and I have led groups from our church down to the Rescue mission to serve dinner, lead worship and preach in the services. We, as a church, have committed finically to monthly support of this very worthy cause and have scheduled multiple nights over the next 12 months that we will take dozens of church members down to minister, serve, perform, sing and preach. Our entire church staff is on board and have served in this shelter. Our entire deacon board, including spouses, have all served and ministered to these dear people.
This sunday I will be preaching a sermon entitled: Helping the Homeless! I hope that you will come and see what you can do to help us help them. Why? But for the grace of God, it could be you too.
Would you like to help as well? Are you not from Southern Hills and would like to know what you can do to help? Comment or question below: