Look closely at the photo below. It's a photo of me and three of my friends. It's a picture of what some would say are "hopeless causes".
Let me introduce you to a whole row of "hopeless causes". On the left is Sasha. I don't know all of Sasha's story but I knew her when she lived on the streets. I remember seeing her struggle and fight to survive. I'm the other "hopeless cause" in black standing next to Sasha. More about me later. Standing next to me in the sunglasses is my friend Jewels. I met Jewels for the very first time at a cold weather shelter at my church. He was homeless, hungry and he looked pretty hopeless. Freddy is in the white t-shirt. I met Freddy on the same night and the same place I met Jewels. Both homeless, hungry and some would say "hopeless causes". I guess I'd better share something about the other "hopeless cause" in the photo. That's me. The tall dude in black. I just found out a couple of weeks ago that my wife wants a divorce. There have been many times over the past couple of weeks where I have felt like a "hopeless cause". But I've have had many people tell me that my situation is not hopeless. Two of the people that have loved and encouraged me are Ray and Susan Kelley. I am sure that more than once Ray and Susan we're called "hopeless causes". They were hard core addicts. But God didn't give up on them. God used others to reach out to Ray and Susan and gave them hope. Ray and Susan share that hope with others everyday at the Daytona Outreach Center in downtown Daytona Beach, Florida. The Kelley's shared that hope with Sasha, Jewels and Freddy. Ray and Susan welcomed my homeless friends to be a part of their ministry.
Tonight after work I drove down to the Daytona Outreach Center. I saw my friends Sasha, Freddy and Jewels. Sasha and Jewels were greeting homeless men and women and inviting them to sit down for dinner. Freddy was standing behind the table serving dinner. 3 former "hopeless causes" serving others hope. Then Sasha, Freddy and Jewels served me hope and it didn't come on a plate. It came as a smile, a huge hug and a kiss. Tonight God used Sasha, Jewels and Freddy to give me hope. Hope comes from the strangest situations and from the most unlikely people.
Thank you Ray, Susan, Sasha, Freddy and Jewels for reminding of the hope we all have in Jesus Christ. Thank you God for using your people to help me feel like I'm not a "hopeless cause" and that there truly is hope.
"God will not let you go. He has handcuffed himself to you in love. And he owns the only key." -Max Lucado (Thank you Sarah)
You can find out more about the Daytona Outreach Center and the Messy Church by clicking here. The YouTube clips below will tell you Ray and Susan's story along with the hope they are sharing with others through the Daytona Outreach Center.