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Showing posts from December, 2015

Sacrifice and Hope....

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Every Christmas season, I have the honor of watching kids at the shelter rip open their gifts with a ton of excitement. I love watching the parents too. They obviously don't want their children to be living in a homeless shelter, but as soon as they're given a bag full of presents for their kids, their eyes light up and an immense burden is lifted! They realize that their Christmas just transformed from all these feelings of embarrassment and dread into something spectacular! Over the years, I've heard many parents say that their Christmas at CCO was their best ever!
There's something else that never gets old; at our men's Christmas party, I love watching grown men, (many who have struggled with addictions, frequent incarcerations, are gang members and have been "on the trail" for a long time), shed tears of happiness, simply because they've been remembered, given a good meal and a little something for Christmas. For days afterward, these fellas keep h…

Homes for Heroes!

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A few decades ago, some followers of Jesus saw the desperate need in their neighborhood and wanted to live out His basic command to "love your neighbors as yourself". This group was a young community of Christians, called Jesus People USA, who lived in Chicago's Uptown neighborhood and were surrounded by a lot of poverty and people experiencing homelessness. The members of JPUSA couldn't ignore the plight that surrounded them and Jesus' radical parable of the "Sheep and the Goats", so they opened their doors and their hearts, by providing meals to eat, food bags to take with them, clothes to wear, blankets to keep them warm and beds to sleep in.
About 40 years later, there's been many changes, but our mission remains the same; we are still trying to bring Kingdom Love into our Uptown neighborhood. This grass-roots ministry has transformed from our humble beginnings into now running a large homeless shelter, called Cornerstone Community Outreach, wh…

Waiting....

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A couple decades ago, I had a job driving taxis and one of my biggest struggles was having to wait. I'm not talking about waiting for customers, I'm talking about wanting things to happen, but I had to wait! I was in an "in-between" stage in my life; I had just finished Bible College and wanted to get into ministry, but I had no money and no doors had opened for me at that point. I had to wait! I had to be patient. 
This wasn't an easy time, in fact, it was one of the darkest times of my life. I saw and experienced a lot of pain and heartache. During this time, I was often threatened, bullied, robbed and was even a victim of aggravated battery a couple of times. Looking back, the hardest part of driving a taxi wasn't when I was stuffed in the trunk of my car or beaten by a bunch of young gangbangers; that was terrifying, but it wasn't the hardest. The hardest part about that time was how I felt so alone, things weren't working out the way I wanted them…