Before working at Desire Street Ministries, I had a limited number of experiences around poverty. I grew up in a nice neighborhood in Colorado Springs, CO, and went to school at Colorado State University, also in the nice city of Fort Collins. Both of these cities have recently been named some of the most desirable places to live in our country. I had been on mission trips and seen poverty in short spurts, but for some reason, had never truly taken my thoughts for the poor beyond feeling sorry for them.
Upon deciding to work with an inner-city ministry which helped revitalize impoverished neighborhoods, one common phrase I heard from friends was, “That’s neat, I didn’t know you had a heart for inner-city ministry.” Well…neither did I! In fact, I’m pretty sure the “tin-man” was a good picture of my heart for the poor. But God has let me experience this promise: “I will remove your heart of stone, and give you a heart of flesh” [Ezekiel 36:26].
When I used to hear about God’s heart for the poor, I merely pictured Him caring a lot about them. Now, my understanding of His heart for the poor has expanded immensely, because I have seen how much His heart overflows with generosity towards the poor, and towards those who serve them like our Desire Street partners with inner-city ministries. They are transforming impoverished neighborhoods throughout the Southeastern U.S.
Although these ministry partners aren’t the wealthiest individuals I’ve ever met, they are far more rich than anyone I know. It makes so much sense to me now why we call these people our “heroes.” I’ve met some neat people in the last two years, including some who are well-known, even “celebrities.” But the people I’d most want to spend time engaging with are at Parker Street, Common Ground, Summerhill, Desire Fellowship, St. Roch, and Mercy Street.
I’ve wondered what it is about this group of people that draws me to them so much. Our ministry partners have experienced brokenness: they’ve seen brokenness in their neighborhoods, and have been broken themselves. But, brokenness leads to a deeper engagement with our King. And when you’re around people who are living life engaged with the King of the Universe, it’s easy to notice. These friends make me want to be more aware of my own brokenness, so I can be more engaged with Jesus, and be more amazed by Him.
God gave us His Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing us of what we have to come in eternity. I’ve been blessed to taste that deposit—tasting His Spirit in rich ways—by being around the community of Desire Street, including our staff, and especially the people in ministries who we call our partners.
It’s easy to talk about something you believe in! I believe in what God is doing through Desire Street, and somehow, I want to stay connected to them. Thank you Desire Street! Thank you God!
P.S. Working at Desire Street has also taught me the art of being frugal…like getting excited over finding a good box for shipping!
4 thoughts on “Parting Shots”
Man those people will miss you Kylo. Not only were you a pair of helping hands, a teammate, and a partner in ministry, I’m sure you were sheer entertainment 🙂 You pop out those dance moves anytime and you’ll make a friend! Your ps–I’m glad I provided you with a future box for shipping….lets get creative with a diaper box! Looking forward to what God puts on your plate next! Eat up. Love you broha
I cannot describe the great passion I experienced as I read over your words. You have set a fire beneath me.
You now see the importance of learning from those with a great deal of wisdom set before us (by no mistake), you see potential and reachable depths of relationships that focus on engagement with The King, you see what it means and how to love the seemingly unlovable, and you see the difference between being rich in things and being rich in Life.
All I can say is God is good. My heart is overwhelmed with joy for you and for our everlasting friendship. You’re stuck with me.
I am proud of you, proud to know you, and proud to call you my brother.
Loving you lots and lots.
P.S. I completely adore the tin man analogy. Perfect description…
Hi Danny. I reached out to you almost a year ago now as I was in the midst of my own battle with GBS. I would love to share more about that sometime, but for now I thought I would offer up a hardy “Amen” about brokenness and the heart of God…something I continue to learn and experience as I take time to be still.
Two things that I thought fit well with what you said are…
(1) This video that I believe reminds us that brokenness is the birthplace of restoration – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lGMG_PVaJoI.
(2) The introduction from ‘The Acceptable Sacrifice or The Excellency of a Broken Heart’ by Paul Bunyan –
‘The subject of a broken heart is one of vital importance, because it is essential to salvation. The heart, by nature, is hard, and cannot, and will not break itself. Angels have no power to perform this miracle of mercy and of justice. It is the work of the Holy Spirit in the NEW BIRTH. Some have supposed that God always prepares the heart for this solemn, this important change, by a stroke of his providence; but it is not so. Who dares limit the Almighty? He takes his own way with the sinner—one by a whisper, another by a hurricane. Some are first alarmed by the preaching of the Word—many by conversation with a pious friend or neighbour; some by strokes of Providence—but all are led to a prayerful searching of the holy oracles, until there, by the enlightening influence of the Spirit, they find consolation. The great question is, not as to the means, but the fact—Have I been born again? Have I been grafted into Christ? Do I bring forth the fruits of godliness in mourning over my sins, and, in good words and works, am I a living epistle known and read of all—men, angels, devils—and of the Omniscient God? These are the all-important inquiries which, I trust, will deeply influence every reader. Let two of Bunyan’s remarks make an indelible impression on every mind: ‘God will break ALL hearts for sin, either here to repentance and happiness, or in the world to come to condemnation and misery.’ ‘Consider thou must die but once; I mean but once as to this world, for if thou, when thou goest hence, dost not die well, thou canst not come back again and die better.’ May our spirits be baptized into these solemn truths, and our broken hearts be an acceptable sacrifice to God.’
Blessings…Jason Clubb | http://www.614restoration.org
Thank you for reaching back out, Jason. There is something about being broken that allows a heart to be closer to God. And taking the time to be still is incredibly important. Thank you for your feedback.