Monday, February 26, 2007


(Streetlink is a local shelter for the homeless. Because there are never enough shelter beds in town for the number of homeless, there are usually a few guys hanging around the outside of Streetlink at night, trying to get comfortable enough for a few hours of sleep)

It was about 10 PM, and I asked the young guy sitting outside Streetlink how he was doing. I admit, it wasn’t an exceptionally inspired way to start a conversation, but his answer certainly hit my spirit and got me thinking.

Surviving”, he said.

Not particularly dismal or joyful. Just resigned to another night outside. No bed to sleep in, not even a blanket until one of the staff inside found him a sleeping bag.

Where is he going to be in a month or a year?

Dead? Still here, looking for a bed? Better off? Worse off? Strung out on drugs? Working? Back home?

So many possibilities, many of them not an improvement.

It’s terribly sobering, and touches me, if I let it. (It is kind of easy to get used to seeing ‘them’ panhandling, sleeping, wandering around downtown—easy until you actually take the time to talk to them. Suddenly they are people again, people with a story, people with hopes and dreams, and already more than enough pain to fill up a life-time.)

In the middle of my thoughts about the fellow who is just ‘surviving’, I remember S.

First time I talked with him, he was just another street musician, playing his guitar and singing down by the library. Just another musician, until I noticed he had a book open in front of him that looked suspiciously like a Bible.

Indeed it was, and he was praising God by putting some of the Psalms to music, gently singing there on the sidewalk.

I was blessed, incredibly blessed. I told him that his act of singing scripture on the street had a power to affect the city beyond any of our understanding (I think he might have known that already, but I wanted him to know how wonderful it was to see him doing that.)

I have talked with him many times since then, and have observed his hunger for God, his almost fanatical desire to be obedient to scripture. In the past few months he has been baptized, started getting some financial foundations in order, moved into an apartment, and is looking for a job.

Yes, God does make a change in a person, if they let Him.

Or D. A really pleasant guy who I first met hanging out with a number of First Nations people God connected me with.

Now he is moving forward. He is struggling, but on the right track. He knows where His strength comes from, although some days it’s easier to just give in to the old ways.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Q & A

If Jesus is the answer, do we what know what the questions are?

Are we trying to fix the things that aren’t really the problem? What are the root causes of this mess we find ourselves in?

Love has to be a main ingredient of life, but so often it is missing.

Daddy’s more concerned about work, security, or pleasure. Sometimes that means that daddy isn’t even part of the picture any more.

Mommy’s too busy keeping things running smoothly—work, soccer, dance classes.

So, where does that leave Johnny?

Too often, starved for love.

So, Abba, we need Your love.

‘For God so loved….’ Please love Johnny. Make sure he knows that you welcome the prodigal back home. He doesn’t even know what he’s missing, but he will know real love when he experiences it. Protect him from looking for it in the bar or on the street corner.

And Susie, she’s just as lonely, just as lost.

Worried about being accepted, affirmed, loved.

Send Your love to her special delivery before she ends up on the street, selling herself trying to fill that aching hole.

I’m beginning to see where I come in.

I bet it’s me that Christ might want to send to deliver that message of love.

And it won’t use my mouth as much as I expect.

First it needs to overwhelm my own heart—to see how deep and wide and long God’s love is. I’ll probably have to experience it for myself, to walk in that grace myself, and then I’ll be able to communicate it. Once my heart is full of love, it will come out.

My eyes will be soft, gentle, ready to cry along with the broken-hearted.

My arms will quickly ‘assume the position’ of a genuine, prolonged hug; firm, solid, with feeling.

My feet will take me to the dark side of town. I won’t be scared, knowing I’m on an errand of God’s mercy.

My ears will be attentive, listening, reading between the lines.

My lips will speak kind, affirming words. Words of God’s love and forgiveness, words of welcome.

If we recognize the answer is love, we are probably beginning to comprehend the question.

God is Love—that brings the whole matter full circle.

Monday, February 12, 2007


My head is still kind of swimming this morning. I had a pretty deep conversation with one of the street guys last night. I've known him for a while, and he's usually pretty upbeat. Always glad for a bit of conversation, a chance to talk about something more than 'Spare any change?'
I've been thinking about what name I should use for him here. I'm going to call him 'Son' because you and I need to remember that God loves him, and wants him to live in that 'son' level of relationship with his Father.
I don't know a lot about Son's background. He's been on the street for a while. I suppose he is somewhere around 30 years old. As I said, he's usually pretty positive about life, but last night he admitted that that is kind of a mask, a front to hide the pain inside.
Son showed me the pretty recent scars up both arms from cutting himself, wanting to put an end to it all. The scars are healing, but the pain inside is still there. There's some physical issues involved, some physical pain, but the bigger stuff is the emotional pain. He didn't tell me what it was about, but I can well imagine. Many of us have holes inside, places where love should be, but they are empty. We have our wounds, things from the past that may be covered over, but not healed. A lot of street people are on the street because their home life wasn't/isn't what it's supposed to be. That's what lends itself to getting addicted to drugs, alcohol, sex, unhealthy relationships. Anything to try to fill the void, or at least numb the pain.
Son admitted to using cocaine and alcohol to try to help with the inner pain. Doctors don't want him to get hooked on painkillers, so he usually has to deal with the physical pain as well.
He knows he's going to think about ending it all again.
During our conversation, he decided to give me the exacto knife he had (totally his decision) just so that at least last night it wouldn't be too easy for him to try it again.
As I'm sitting there talking with him, or mostly just sitting, I'm trying to figure out what answers I have for him. Sure, I can tell him that "God loves him, and has a wonderful plan for his life", but he needs something a lot more here and now. At least for last night, the message he will understand, the language that will touch him, is me being there. Sitting with him, taking the time to be there, to listen. The more I think about it, the more important I think the 'being there' is.
You may be aware of Dr. Gary Chapman's "The Five Love Languages". (It's a great way to understand how people give and receive love. I recommend it.) One of the languages is "Quality Time". In other words, people know you love them in various ways. One of them is by spending time with them.
Please pray for Son. That God would use people to bring His love to him. That God would bring healing to the holes in his heart. That Son would come to know who he is as a son of God.

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Be Available

At this point in my life I'm trying to figure out what God wants me to be doing, what is on His mind for me. I'm endeavoring to move in the directions He is revealing to me--wandering around downtown chatting with street people, supervising once a week at an emergency shelter, hanging out at a soup kitchen (Rainbow Kitchen), and a couple coffee joints (Blenz, Cornerstone Cafe)
So, last night at the shelter, a lady up and asks me out of the blue if I would pray for her. What do you think I said?!
Last week at the soup kitchen, a guy sits down beside me and tells me he wants to get into detox for his drug problems. Do you think I encouraged him to check out the possibilities?!
All I'm trying to do is be available, and God brings them by.
Last fall, I met a young guy at my favorite coffee joint (Blenz). Turns out that he is a Christian, studying at university, but hadn't found a church home yet that 'fit'. We started meeting every week for good conversation, to encourage each other, and to work our way through a couple books (Wild at Heart, and Blue Like Jazz). It's getting progressively harder to get through a chapter within 2 hours, because we have such a great time getting sidetracked on lots of stuff. BTW, he's found a church.
Just being available.
I suppose it sort of has to do with being in the right place at the right time, but the good thing is that God works out the timing.
Many of these kind of encounters are brief, one-time events. I don't always know what God's big plan is, or how it is turning out. Still, I know God is a big God, and can bring many things together to work His plan. It may well just be a smile, a kind work, a listening ear, a cup of cold water.
Be available.
Don't wait for the big chance, the golden opportunity.
Start now.
Be available.
(Oh yeah, keep your eyes open, be looking)

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

How it all began...

Like everyone else, I wrote my English assignments in school, wrote some poems, a few essays, and never thought of being creative again. At least not in a written sense.
Then last summer I connected with the local prayer room. (Check out some of the pictures.) I never really saw myself as a 'prayer warrior', called to hours of intercession. But still, I knew most of the people who were organizing it, and it 'felt' like the right thing to do.
It was great. It was a blast. It blew my mind. One of the big things for me was how God started my 'muse' musing while I was there. There was just an awesome sense that God was there, and for me that got me started writing. Thinking first (sometimes), and then writing.
The 24/7 only went on for 2 months, with some further prayer activities for the next couple months. However, there is certainly a sense that God started it, He is using it, and if it is His plan, it will erupt again.
So, the muse hits sporadically, and the end result is a bunch of little 'musings' that I have already written. I will likely post some of them here, as I get around to it.
Meanwhile, you get to observe some of the inner workings of my mind and spirit. And hopefully be blessed, challenged, or encouraged.
Check out for more stuff on the 24/7 prayer movement worldwide. And read Red Moon Rising.


It's considered one of the marks of a good society. We demand it of others, we expect it in a court oflaw, but why do we still seem to be missing so much of it? In our freedom and independence we want to receive our fair share, but we are often less anxious to give it.
Justice is fair dealing, equal treatment, honesty and integrity. Democracy is supposed to be equal rights for all, bur there sure seems to be different rules for the rich than the poor.
If you can afford it, you get better lawyers, more beneficial decisions handed your way, and a smoother trip through life.
Here in Victoria, there's a guy fighting for the right to sleep. His name is David Arthur Johnston. Seems pretty straighforward and logical, unless you are a street dude catching a bit of shut-eye in a doorway. "Sorry, you've got to move on." And it's the police who are charged with doing this, so complaining to them wouldn't help a bit.
It's been quite a battle for David, weeks in jail, hunger strikes, as he fights for justice. Who knows, he just might push long enough and hard enough for justice to prevail. (Like the widow in Luke 18.)
So, if I was being disturbed while at my nightly slumber (as I lay in my comfortable bed), by a noisy party next door, I'd be able to complain and probably see some justice. After all, freedom has limits.
But how about the cold, wet dude huddling in the doorway? He can't complain that the police are disturbing his sleep.
Even in our wonderful nation, with its Charter of Rights and Freedoms, there is a need to uphold justice. Stand up for the little guy. Be a voice for the voiceless. Don't cross the street to bypass the guy in need, get involved. The newspaper clippings of your arrest and night in jail for standing up for something will be a great thing to show your grandchildren!
A final thought on justice. If justice is getting what we deserve, thank God for mercy. Sometimes what we deserve wouldn't be too pleasant.

Tuesday, February 6, 2007


I hear there is a house for sale in Banff.
Mansion, really--by the sound of the price. Just under $10 mil. Not bad, if you're Bill Gates.
But it got me thinking. What determines value? Is that house worth $10 mil? If you decided to build something similar from scratch, but on some inconsequential lot next to nowhere, would it cost $10,000,000.00? Probably not.
Do the people who call this pricey little number 'home' sleep better or have better friends than I do?
But I digress...
What determines value? Basically, something is worth what someone is willing to pay for it. Take a piece of canvas,a few $$ for paint and brushes, and you could sell it for millions (especially if you have been dead for a couple centuries). Then again, you could invest millions in R & D, invent something people won't buy, and kiss your retirement good-bye.
The point?
Even when we were selfish, independent, dead in our sin, Jesus died for us.
He saw value in us and paid what He knows we are worth.
'Nuff said.

Here I Go...Musing

Musing.... I love the idea of being able to think in some kind of non-linear fashion. No particular destination, just rambling.
Over the past few months my mind has often been triggered towards a concept, and I have tried to put the thoughts and process into words. I think it is probably more accurate to say 'spirit' rather than 'mind', since I believe it is a deeper part of me that is being awakened. But then again, how (and why) do I separate the various parts of 'me'? Yeah, part of me will live forever, and part of me won't, but all that is 'me' is intertwined.
The old poets talked about 'the Muse' hitting them. For me, it is the Spirit of God that hits my creativity button. I love that God (the Creator) made us in His image (creative). There really isn't anything good that doesn't have God as its source. I know that you might argue that point, but that's how I see it.
Anyway, I expect to post some of my earlier musings here, as well as whatever else rises to the surface.

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