Come Around the Line

This fall, the girls in our Teen Council program have been individually organizing different  service projects for our group to participate in.  One of those projects involved helping out at a local soup kitchen not far from Hope House.  Before we were allowed to lift a finger to help, we first had to watch a short training video.  The video walked us through the history of the organization and shared its vision and goals.  At the very end of the video, a man shared a story that really touched me.   There was a visiting group of volunteers who had come to help prepare and serve meals.  The group worked hard prepping food and loving on the people in line as they served them. Toward the end of their time, a woman who was serving the food suddenly stopped and screamed.  She ran out from behind the serving area and grabbed a man that was in line.  It turned out that this man was her brother that she hadn’t seen in 15 years!  She smothered him with hugs and kisses, embracing him as they talked for the rest of the time.   It goes without saying that everyone in both lines was shocked.  What are the chances of something like this happening…especially after 15 years?  But what stood out to the man sharing the story was the genuine way this woman literally embraced her brother.  She had seen numerous people while volunteering and lovingly served them all well, but when she saw her biological brother, it was a completely different reaction.  He said that is the goal of their...

And Who Is My Neighbor?

When I was in college, I used to always look forward to the time when all of my friends and I could leave our Christian campus to go do ministry out in the ‘real world.’  We would often go to feed the homeless in Cass Park or go to a nearby non-profit, God’s Helping Hands, to help sort clothes and food.  I also had occasional bigger ministry opportunities, such as going to the Bronx in NYC twice to work with different organizations, heading down to Baton Rouge, Louisiana to lend a hand to the victims of Hurricane Katrina, and spending a week in Detroit working with HCC.  These moments of doing ‘real ministry’ really opened my eyes to people in need, and they always made me feel really good about myself. But then I would return to my everyday life and those positive feelings of making a difference in the lives of others would fade.  I fell back into my self-centered routine of my own spiritual journey and rarely thought much of helping others.  I longed to be back on these trips doing ‘real work’, important work.  I felt like we a Christians made the largest impact when we retreated from regular life to focus solely on ministry.  My eyes better saw the needs around me when my brain was geared towards doing ‘real ministry.’  Being on the mission field forced to me to be more intentional about thinking about others, where they were coming from, and being empathetic towards them.  And it certainly helped that a lot of the talk on those trips centered around concepts like imagining...

A Year in Review: Hope House Detroit

Embracing the Interruptions I’m constantly amazed at how Jesus treats the people who interrupted Him during His ministry. He treats each of them with great respect, kindness, and intentionality. It’s like each person is the only one in the world at that moment, and nothing else is more important. He is God for goodness sake, and He is on this earth with important things that he needs to do, but He still takes the time to stop and embrace the interruption. In fact, it usually seems that the interruption itself was where His most important ministry work took place. For it was in those crucial moments that He touched people, healed them in powerful ways, and then sent them out. Think about it…Jesus more often than not: • Embraced the interruption and gave them significance with a new name • Healed/ touched/ forgave/ saved them • Sent them out But as I reflect on what we do here, at Hope House, I have come to realize more clearly that Jesus isn’t a tool. He isn’t some program or system that can be used to get a better outcome. He is a Friend. A Healer. A Savior. And if we are really honest with ourselves, we need Him now more than ever before. We need Jesus to give us a new name, heal us, and send us out.  Only after He has done that for us can we be a witness for Christ. We become His living examples of what it looks like to go in peace after being healed and renamed. So if you are not making space in your life for embracing interruptions, think about...

Be Present

One of the coolest things that I like about Jesus is how present he is.   It’s really hard for me to slow down… The fast pace of every part of our world is so much a part of our reality that we barely notice it anymore.  This summer at Hope House Detroit has been insanely busy with all of our programs and abundant access to kids virtually every hour of the day.  We have been working tirelessly to get our kids connected to Jesus and are seeing God do some amazing things.  The more God does, it seems like; the more we want to do for Him.  More kids, more interactions, more events, more, more, more! There is a danger that when you’re in this massive rushing river of God’s Story you sometimes can lose focus on simply being present to the people in front of you.   Many times I found myself in the same place Martha was in Luke 10.  So busy running around, focused on the things that need to be done to see that Jesus is present right in front of her!  I’d be standing in the front room looking down the street for more guys to come to Guys’ Group and not paying any attention to the two young men sitting at my table.   In the season of life we are entering into now at Hope House Detroit, we are trying to see the opportunities that God has placed in front of us now.  Slowing down when needed and being intentionally present to the people God has placed in our path.   Loving...