Archive for ‘gospel’

August 17, 2014

Revising Psalm 22 To Be From The Street


One of my tasks is to present the Gospel so that clients can understand it’s relevance to their lives. And one of the tools I use is rewording the Bible to street language and street situations. 

The other day, I gave our Bible study group the task of rewriting Psalm 22. It’s a “go to” Psalm for me in ministry. It teaches us how to pray in utter despair and yet still love God.

Here is one client’s complete rewrite of Psalm 22, verse by verse:

My God, my God, why have You left me? My cry is distant from all hope.
O my God, I Scream by day, Do you not hear me? And by night my voice is no softer.

Yet You are holy, O’ You who’s home is the songs of my homeland.
In You our fathers held their faith; Their Faith was rewarded.
To You they called and were answered. In You they appointed their Hopes & Fears and were not led to shame.
But I am not our fathers, A misfit I am hated by all aware of my presence.
All who see me turn blind their eye as they turn up their nose;
They point and stare, They shake their head in judgment, saying,
“Why don’t you get a job?” Or they say, “I have nothing for you! You Drunk! You Addict!”

Yet You are the one who put me in this world; You watched as I was raised by these Beasts you call Men. Under your watch I was cast from my house; Even then you were my God.
Meet me here. I see my end; I am alone. There is none at my side.

I am Surrounded By dirty cops; K-9 Unit ensures I have no escape.
They open wide their mouth at me, As a ravening and a barking wolf.
I am beaten like a sack, And all my bones are out of joint;
My veins are like fire; They Burn and are blackened.
I’m burnt out, I have lost my voice; And You leave me to rot.

For dogs have surrounded me; A church of hypocrites has circled me; They call me sinner.
I can count all my flaws. They point out every fault they can imagine;
They call dibs on my gear, And they flip coins for what I have in my pockets.

But You, O Lord, do not be distant; O’ You my friend, quick to help.
Save me from myself, Save me from the Dollar Almighty.
Save me from the hunger that bids me good morning; By my end I am saved from my means.
I will tell my Homies about you; I will praise You in Public.
You who love the Lord, sing to Him; All you in the church, do right by him,
be amazed all of you in your universities.
For He is not ashamed of me; Nor has He ignored me; But when I scream He hears me.
God is my only reason for joy; I shall promise to those who love him.
The poor will eat and be satisfied; Those who search for Him will praise the Lord.
Let your heart live forever!

All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the Lord,
And the governings will sing to him.
For the kingdom is the Lord’­s. And He governs the world.
All the wealth of the earth will eat and worship,
All the filthy will bow before Him, Even he who can’t save himself.

The small will be Soldiers; the Lord will be told of the Next generation.
They will come and Declare “He is Justified!” To our children, “It is Finished!”.

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June 29, 2013

Why do we care?


A client walked alongside me as we finished street outreach. We had given out 20 meals on a chilly Friday afternoon.  He asked me, “Why do you make life easy for the people you choose to serve by giving out food? Shouldn’t you be teaching them to fish instead?” It’s a good question.
The client at my side hasn’t come to any core events so he has only seen me reaching out to people on their home turf and on their own terms. So my first answer was, “I don’t give out food or stuff to make life easy. I do it to start building a relationship.” He worked on that for a while as we continued to walk.
“Why do you want a relationship with them? So you can mentor them and teach them how to get a job and stuff?” Another good question. I told him, “We form a relationship with them for lots of reasons, but the biggest reason isn’t to teach them how to get a job. We’ll glad to share things about getting jobs, learned mostly from successful clients over the year, as well as point you to some some people who help with jobs all the time. But that’s not the main reason we get to know people.” He puzzled on that for a bit and then asked for more.
“The main reason we want a relationship is so people will ponder important questions,” I said. “We want our clients to ask ‘Why are you here?’ and ‘What do you want from me?'” He responded, “That’s what I want to know, too.”
I continued, “I’m here because, after a journey of some years, I’ve concluded that God truly loves me and always has. And in response to that love, I want to know and serve you guys… I want you to have another chance to get to know God personally. I think it matters. I think it’s important.” He replied, “I believe in God. I know He’s out there. I just don’t believe in all that Christian stuff.”
I answered, “That’s OK. I understand, but I’ve decided that Christian stuff is real and can make a difference even out here on the street. I’m here so that you will wonder why I do it and what makes me Christian. I’m here so that in our relationship, you will feel safe enough to ask questions. So you might trust me enough to start praying and talking with God. So you might risk enough to start reading and trying to understand the Bible. So we might know one another well enough that we can be real about life, about what hurts, what we want, and how the Gospel of Jesus Christ might fit into that in a real and relevant way.”
We want our clients to be stable, sober, and have a relationship with God, and to join communities of Christian believers. When this happens–and it has been happening in record numbers this year–it’s a wonderful new beginning. But we cannot make it happen. We believe that a saving relationship with Jesus Christ is the only sustainable fix for the lives of our clients. They are unbelievably strong in so many ways, and a personal relationship with God becomes a huge asset for them. Together with God, they often repair their lives and move from the street to become productive people with friends, families, and strong futures.
It begins with a question: “Why do you care?” Volunteers, supporters and encouragers are all part of causing clients to ask this question. Thank you for being part of SYM.

“To know, love and serve street dependent youth.”
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