I watch the three young men walk in the church. They welcome people. They stand out. They stand tall. They speak different. They look different. They are goofy, loud and annoy some people. Occasionally they mess up a golf cart.
Cry me a river...
They are a work in progress. Lets help them progress.
They are part of the youth group. Not your white bread, young life camp, singing around the fire youth group.
This is real life for many kids in my neighborhood. The kids that need us a bit more than the kids with two parents and the white picket fence.
Inner City kids.
Dad is in prison, mom is pissed and you better watch out. They know what it's like to sleep in their car, four or more deep, get beat by their mama and go hungry... on a consistent basis.
Reality. Sucks and I hate it.
A couple of the boys and I were talking in between services...
Have you been here all day?
Have you eaten today?
Yes, but we had to leave for awhile. (I'll leave that right there)
Because home is a hell hole.
No, but it's okay. No one owes us anything.
They quickly remind me it's okay, they are fine, they don't expect anything, no worries...
I appreciate that and I tell them they should not expect things handed to them, but prepare.
But lets be honest here, if you live in a hell hole how do you prepare? How do you make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and bring it to church when there isn't any bread in your house?
And when did it become okay to put that on children.... especially as the church?
Yes, fifteen is still a child, even if he stands 6'3.
To coin the phrase.... What Would Jesus DO?
Sometimes we have to go to the obvious.
I think as the church we miss the boat, literally.
Raising hand in guilt.
Repeat.... don't miss this please.
We talk about jumping out of the boat. But maybe the church is in the wrong boat.
Somedays the Church boat is bogged down with agendas, mantras, statements and we become fat with fish.
Share your fish Church.
Otherwise our boat is going to start stinking,
and then sinking.
I know everyone wants a piece of our fish... I know it's never ending... but we are the church... we are made for this... created for this... designed for this... have two hands for this.
We are fishers of men.
Did He not give us the best proof ever that He will provide all the fish we need, with leftovers
Later, two young female mentors take these three tall young men to dinner. They feed their hungry bellies. These young men ask them about their home lives. They ask about their relationship choices. They repeatedly ask, "You have good mamas, don't you?"
These boys are hungry for healthy community, they have been starved of it, just like their bellies.
When it was time to drive the boys home, they dance, tell jokes, anything to put off getting in the car, closing the door on a night of laughter.
Summer is a long reality for inner city kids.
These boys spent most of the day in the church building. They felt safe, yet they were still hungry. Hungry for food and I wonder also if they were hungry for community.
If you saw them yesterday, did you reach out to them?
Did you feed His sheep?
They are all around us, no matter where you live, attend church, streets you walk.
Invite them into your life.
At the end of the day, my sweet brothers and sisters we must remember our mission.
We are the hands and feet of Jesus.
We must not forget the faces in front of us.
From your phones.
The sheep are all around us. Feed them, sometimes a pizza.