Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Scenes from Homeless Cold Weather Shelter

When temperatures dip to 40 degrees or colder First United Methodist Church in Port Orange, Florida opens its door and provides dinner, breakfast and shelter to the homeless. This season we've opened the church two times. It looks like we'll be open again this weekend. Below you'll find some of the things I've seen at the homeless cold weather shelter.

A tweep from Twitter crocheted scarves for every homeless man and woman.

A couple of days before Christmas, a homeless man led a homeless choir as they sang "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" to all cold weather shelter volunteers.

Another tweep from Twitter made phone calls and found 30 cots so that the homeless could sleep comfortably.

A homeless man gave up his spot at the shelter so that his girlfriend would have a warm place to stay.

Tweeps from twitter brought blankets, backpacks, socks and medicine for the homeless.

A homeless man stopped me and with tears in his eyes said, "God bless you and your church for keeping us warm for tonight."

I gave a woman a warm coat and she responded as if I had given her one million dollars.

A young man found a homeless person in a parking lot and drove him to the cold weather shelter. The young man made sure his homeless friend was comfortable and then drove home to find a couple of needed items. The homeless man cried as the young man came back to the shelter and gave him a pair of pants and a bible. I remember the homeless man saying, "I don't deserve this. I don't deserve this."

A tweep from Twitter talked, listened, looked into the eyes, sat down with and entered the world of almost every homeless man and woman.

Volunteers unselfishly donated and shopped for food, prepared and cooked meals, served food, passed out socks, washed dishes, stayed up all night and sang songs.

One of our volunteers brought her daughter to help. This young girl poured dressing on salad and hugged each homeless man and woman.

Last night as I was leaving the cold weather shelter a man walked up to me. He said, "Sir, do you have room for one more person tonight? I don't have a warm place to stay." I took him into the church and found him a place to sleep. As he was lying down he said, "Just take a look at what God has done for me tonight."

If you are looking for a church in Port Orange, Florida check out my church by clicking here.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

"Like Father Like Son"

My friend Russell told me the other day that Louie Mercer wrote a post on his blog about my son and I. I finally took the time to check it out. Louie is someone I truly respect and have always appreciated his friendship and encouragement. See his post below.

My buddy Mike Ellis is a great guy. I did a cold weather shelter gig with him last night where he brings in these cats that don’t have a place to stay and when it is cold, Mike gets them to his church and gets them fed, clothed, listens to some music, a message, then a movie. Now, you may know Mike through his blog or twitter…..but I know the real Mike. It is because we are buddies. I know the real deal, flame shirt, got kicked out of a church for putting stuff in the men’s room, shorts, flip flops, bald head, big as a bouncer, knows every sly comment in the book sort of guy. When he is in front of people, he is in his prime. A man who loves life and people and his family.

Last night I saw his young son Devon serving homeless people. He was so happy. Just like his dad. A chip off of the old block. I saw something else. As I was teaching these folks, about 40 of them and about 20 helpers from Mike’s church, I gave an invitation. It was for salvation…..a gift just at Christmas ……. just like Jesus would have wanted. I also asked for those that needed to get right with God….to do it…

I saw Mike raise his hand, with 17 other people who wanted to get right with God. Mike wants to be closer to God…..just like me. And I saw his son…looking up at Dad…..seeing dad want to be closer with the Lord…..and I saw Devon raise his hand too…… like father….like son.

I could not help but think about how much Mike means to his son…..and how much his son means to Mike. That is the way Jesus is with the Father……and with us. As we share our lives with Jesus Christ….we become sons of God. It is a gift. Want to get right with God? Just do it today. Need help…email me and I will chat or call you…….just like my dad would do…and still does at 83….or so.

Louie's email address is: lmercer6@cfl.rr.com

Click here to check out Louie's blog

My friend Russell has a blog too. Check it out by clicking here.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Church of Twitter

My family and I have been going to a great church in Port Orange, FL. It's called First United Methodist Church. I also attend another great church. It's called the Church of Twitter.

In my opinion, the church should be about loving, caring, healing, sharing and helping each other. It should be about reaching out to ease the burden of others. The church should be looking and watching for those who are hurting and then taking action. I've seen all of these things in "action" while attending the Church of Twitter.

When my twitter account got hacked, tweeps were there to help me. When I had questions about blogging or facebook, tweeps were there to assist me. When I went to visit my dying Grandmother, tweeps were there to support me. When my Grandmother died, tweeps were there to comfort me. When I got a new job promotion, tweeps were there to congratulate me. When I was in the ER, tweeps were there to visit me. When a homeless woman and her son were living in a car, tweeps were there to give them a home. When the poor and the broken were hungry, tweeps were there to feed them. When a family needed a washer, tweeps were there to buy them a new one.

You're invited to the Church of Twitter. It's open 7 days a week and 24 hours a day. Just open the door and see all the tweeple.

"While most of us know this, we still need to be reminded that the church is not a specific building or location. Our buildings and programs create environments for church to happen but they are no more or less sacred than our living room or the neighborhood pub."
--Brad Ruggles

Friday, December 11, 2009

Grandma's Hands

My Grandma Eva died this week. She was 92. I loved her so much. I will miss her. This week brought back a flood of memories about my Grandma. Maple Bars. The Candy Drawer. Her special smell. Clean Windows. Dentures. Noisy Hearing Aids. Peanut Brittle. Clam Dip. Her hugs and kisses. Her encouragement. How she worried about everything. After lunch, no swimming for one hour. Cases of toilet paper. Enough food in her basement to feed everyone in the United States. Her rule that Santa never came on Christmas Eve until the dinner dishes were cleared, cleaned and put away. Our special bond. How much she missed my Grandpa Ray after he died.

The last time I saw her I will always remember what she said to me as she held my face in her hands, "Mike, don't worry. I'll see you again."

"If I get to Heaven I'll look for
Grandma's hands"

I hope you'll enjoy the YouTube video below featuring the great singer Bill Withers. You can follow along with the lyrics below.

Grandma's hands
Clapped in church on Sunday morning
Grandma's hands
Played a tambourine so well
Grandma's hands
Used to issue out a warning
She'd say, "Billy don't you run so fast
Might fall on a piece of glass
"Might be snakes there in that grass"
Grandma's hands

Grandma's hands
Soothed a local unwed mother
Grandma's hands
Used to ache sometimes and swell
Grandma's hands
Used to lift her face and tell her,
"Baby, Grandma understands
That you really love that man
Put yourself in Jesus hands"
Grandma's hands

Grandma's hands
Used to hand me piece of candy
Grandma's hands
Picked me up each time I fell

Grandma's hands
Boy, they really came in handy
She'd say, "Matty don' you whip that boy
What you want to spank him for?
He didn't drop no apple core"
But I don't have Grandma anymore

If I get to Heaven I'll look for
Grandma's hands

Friday, December 4, 2009

Who Wrote These Words?

"When Deep Injury Is Done To Us,
We Never Recover Until We Forgive...
Forgiveness Does Not Change The Past,
But It Does Enlarge The Future."

Who wrote these words? Watch the YouTube clip below for the answer.

Are You Ready To Recover? It's Time To Forgive.

Find out more about the person who wrote the powerful words above by clicking here, here and here.

(Thank you to Kevin Martineau and Desperate Pastor)