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Wash and Worship III: GOD Reassures!

November 25, 2012

Out in the open wisdom calls aloud, she raises her voice in the public square; on top of the wall she cries out, at the city gate she makes her speech, “How long will you who are simple love your simple ways? How long will mockers delight in mockery and fools hate knowledge? (Proverbs 1:20)

Read Part Two Here

In the past couple weeks our numbers have began to increase to around eight. The word is getting out and our friends are becoming more and more comfortable, confident and hopeful. Tara has started cooking for everyone as well and the women that come love having her to talk to. I don’t think the average woman knows how much love they can bring to a homeless woman’s life just by talking to them. Women need women to talk to, and thankfully there aren’t many homeless women on the street, but conversely this also makes it hard for them to fill that need themselves. Our goal for Wash and Worship is to start this exact program all throughout the city and bring the people who need it the most to Willow Chicago. The reason for this is I believe Willow Chicago brings people closer to GOD better than any other place in the country outside of Willow’s main campus in South Barrington. There has been thoughts of doing it at churches closer and I’m still praying about that but the concerns I have are as follows. Firstly, I believe Willow does the best job at helping people come to Christ with their services. The second week we did the program one of the gentleman we brought with us had a full-blown Holy Spirit induced break down. The service was so overwhelming that he just let it all out. It was so beautiful! Secondly, the time spent on the bus is amazing time for bonding. It also gives them autonomy and freedom since we provide them with day passes instead of single use passes, one of the many brilliant thoughts from Lawrence. Finally and I think most importantly, the getting up early, getting on the bus, going downtown, going to an hour service, getting lunch downtown and riding the bus back, demands that they invest and make a commitment. An ancillary benefit that I never expected is that going downtown for a homeless person that doesn’t live downtown is a real treat, almost like a vacation. In the end we’ve realized that the people we’re working with aren’t perfect and neither are the rest of us. So when they make a mistake or do something out of line we’re incredibly forgiving and forgetful. Creating negative feelings or embarrassing someone would be counterproductive for us. It’s become clear to me that the best way to change behavior is to allow the persons GOD given conscience to do the work. This isn’t only true in Wash and Worship; it’s true in all relationships. If you reprimand or get mad you are essentially giving the person a way to rationalize their behavior in that your negative response now allows them to make you and your reaction the prominent issue, which in turn allows them to justify their behavior because now you’re the bad guy, not them. Now there is obviously a line to this technique, you should “Above all else guard your heart” as Proverbs 4:23 states but what I argue is if you stop yourself from punishing, reprimanding and getting upset,  you’ll have a much lower recidivism rate. Consider starting out by letting the person know that they’ve disappointed you or hurt you but anger, punishment or ongoing negative interactions have no use. I pray every night that GOD will increase the numbers in the program or help me expand it to other parts of the city. If anyone reading this would like to start the program in their area of the city feel free to contact me (justinobriecht@gmail.com) and we’d be happy to train you, show you the ropes and potentially help you with the costs. I want to reiterate that none of what I’ve written here is for our glory. We can’t take credit for any of this. I’ve been trying for years to start something that I could be passionate about and I now know the reason I was frustrated all those years is because I didn’t know GOD and I didn’t know how to interpret His signs and signals. It feels so good to be working on something that GOD has specifically designed for you; something that He knows will trip your trigger. Sometimes I worry about the amount of money we spend on this program but GOD has given us reassurance after reassurance that there is nothing to worry about. This “don’t worry about the money you spend doing GODS work” seed was planted by GOD early for Tara and I. As I mentioned in a previous post Tara was saved at a John Bevere speech around June of this year. His whole message is about how when he started his ministry he was nearly homeless, but time after time GOD came through in the clutch the same way He did for Wash and Worship with Lawrence. John talks about how he almost ran out of money several times and at the last second a big donor would come along and write a check out of no where. Well in addition to Lawrence, GOD has done the same thing for us on several occasions. It may not be GOD saving us from running out of money, but He’s certainly made it clear that He approves of what we’re doing and that we’ll be paid back in spades both financially and spiritually.  The first example of this happened when I came upon a homeless woman lying on the street. I asked her if she was ok and when she looked up at me I had the wind knocked out of me by what I saw. She had a gash across the top of her entire head almost down to the skull. It was a week or two old with no treatment. I told her that I was calling an ambulance and she begged me not to. So I asked her what I could do for her. She said give me some money. I told her that’s not an option. I said that she should follow me down to Walgreens and I’d buy her some supplies to take care of it. I don’t think she could believe her ears. She jumped up off the ground and we walked down the street to Walgreens. On our way there I looked down and saw a twenty-dollar bill just sitting in the middle of the sidewalk. I picked it up and as she saw this she immediately started building a case for why it should be hers or how a part of it should be hers. I quickly and easily dismantled her case and told her how rude she was being. We got to Walgreens and got her what she needed and then I put her on the bus. She couldn’t thank me enough and I know the love and effort I put forth meant much more than any amount of money I could have given her. A few weeks later as I’m walking into Target to restock the grab bag we have on laundry days which is filled with supplies, I look down and find a five-dollar bill. About a week later I’m walking our dog Juliet in the park and under a small tree in the weirdest spot ever is another five-dollar bill with a ten wrapped inside. The final reassurance came after church one day when we took everybody to a sit down restaurant because I got the distinct feeling that they hadn’t been served in a while. When we all got done with the meal and I went to pay with my credit card, they told me they didn’t take cards. A little anxiety crept in for a moment because it was a pretty big bill and I didn’t think I had enough to cover it. So I dug in my pocket, started counting what I had and the amount in my pocket was exactly the amount I needed including the twenty percent tip. Our honeymoon was another time when Tara and I weren’t sure if we were stewarding GOD’S resources appropriately. It was a really expensive trip and we were both feeling a little anxiety over the cost of everything. That was until we sat down to eat in the airport right before we got on our plane to come back to the US. We ordered our food fully intending to use our card. When the check came we realized that we should spend all of our Euro’s and when we put all of our money together it hit it on the head. If you look at any one of these on their own it may not look like much but when you look at the whole picture it becomes pretty clear, and that’s without that indescribable feeling the Holy Spirit plants in your heart when you just know when GOD’S at work. The truth is that no one can prove that the GOD of the Bible isn’t real, and if He is, that means that there is intelligence behind everything in this world and that in turn would prove that there is no such thing as coincidence. To be continued… Don’t take my word for it! Research, Learn, Understand, Trust! SUGGESTED INDEPENDENT RESEARCH: The below is a debate that was covered by national and local media here in Chicago. They estimate that it was watched by hundreds of thousands. Even the harshest skeptic has to admit that what transpired is very important. If you’re honestly and sincerely looking for the truth, I think you’ll be on your way to finding it by watching the best debater the atheist world has, go up against the best that Christianity has to offer. Christianity vs Atheism Debate Still not sure about evolution? Hopefully this will be of some help. 100 Reasons Why Evolution is Stupid My Testimony    Whoever corrects a mocker invites insults;      whoever rebukes the wicked incurs abuse.      Do not rebuke mockers or they will hate you;      rebuke the wise and they will love you.    Instruct the wise and they will be wiser still;      teach the righteous and they will add to their learning.   (Proverbs 9:7-9)

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