Step 12

Eight Ways to Help the HomelessPremium Content

What do you do when you see someone holding up a sign, “Will Work for Food”? Do you roll down your window and give them money? Do you pretend you didn’t see them?

Nobody likes to be confronted by the homeless – their needs often seem too overwhelming – but we all want to treat them fairly and justly. Here are some simple guidelines to equip you to truly help the homeless people you meet:

1. Never give cash to a homeless person
Too often, well intended gifts are converted to drugs or alcohol – even when the “hard luck” stories they tell are true. If the person is hungry, buy them a sandwich and a beverage.

2. Talk to the person with respect
Taking time to talk to a homeless person in a friendly, respectful manner can give them a wonderful sense of civility and dignity. And besides being just neighborly, it gives the person a weapon to fight the isolation, depression and paranoia that many homeless people face.

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Avoiding Burnout in Addiction Recovery WorkPremium Content

Working in with needy people can be overwhelming at times. Staff members of outreach ministries are surrounded daily by those in need and they often struggle with limited time and resources to help them. So, learning the art of "self-care" is essential. The key to this is developing healthy attitudes toward our ministries and ourselves. Here are a few tips that can help you to avoid "burn-out" and find more joy and fulfillment in the work of the Lord:

    A. Learn to Detach – Whenever we're focusing our energies on people and problems, we have little, if any time for care and nurturing of self, and meeting our own legitimate needs. We must remember that it is God who does the real work in the lives of hurting people. This helps to take a little of the load of responsibility off our own shoulders.

    B. Learn to Practice "Professional Distance" – This does not mean being callous or uncaring toward those whom we help. It does mean keeping good boundaries between ourselves and our clients. It means not becoming so wrapped up in their lives that we carry their struggles home with us at night. Over-involvement can cloud our decision-making process to the point where we end up playing "favorites." This will jeopardize our relationships with our other clients. We cannot assume responsibility for the decisions our clients make.

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Biblical References for the 12 Steps (Long Version)Premium Content

Note: all quotes are from the King James Version (KJV). If you have difficulty understanding the KJV we strongly recommend that you get a copy of a more modern language Bible such as The New Life Version Bible, New King James Version, New Revised Standard Version, Today's English Version, The Message, etc.

Step One: We admitted we were powerless over our addictions and dysfunctions and that our lives had become unmanageable.

--For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing:
for to will is present with me; but [how] to perform that which is
good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil
which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not,
it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. Romans 7:18-20

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Be ImitatorsPremium Content

1 Corinthians 11:1 RSV
Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.

Could you say this to another, younger Christian? Could you have a Christian live with you, observe you, watch you, and then trust, if they imitated you, that they would be imitating Christ?

I think that, initially, all of us want to say “yes,” but if we think about this much, if we really meditate on this, wouldn’t we more likely back off? Do we really live our lives in such a way that others can imitate us and know that, in doing so, they would be pursuing the narrow path?

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God's Will for Us

God's Will is for us to:

    1) read His Word,
    2) Consume His Word,
    3) Participate In Communion,
    4) Worship Him,
    5) Pray Daily,
    6) Share the Gospel With Those Who Have Not Yet Heard,
    7) Care for the sick and elderly,
    8) Exemplify Jesus in our life,
    9) Do everything we do as if we were doing for God alone,
    10) Obey the laws of our land,
    11) Meet with other believers on a regular basis,
    12) Prepare for the return of the Lord Jesus,
    13) Love our friends AND
    14) our enemies,
    15) Love God with your heart, soul, mind and spirit,
    16) Follow the golden rule and likely many more things I cannot alone think of.

Are You Willing to do What is Right?

Isaiah 5:20 (NRSV).
Ah, you who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!

Over the years, I have learned to try to analyze my thoughts and actions, to discover why I think the way I do or act the way I choose. I say "try" because I’m not always successful at doing it. I am greatly influenced by the society around me, a society which isn’t trustworthy and which, if I were wise, I would ignore when it comes to making choices.

I look back over my life and see many places where I should have made different decisions, where I could have made better choices. I see so many times when I have been (and still am) self-indulgent rather than obedient to God's will. Just this morning, I read a snippet written by a dear Christian sister. It said, "Will I cooperate [with God’s plan] despite emotional pain?" Will I take the hard road?

Some Advice for Urban Ministry WorkersPremium Content

Urban mission work is certainly unique. The rewards can be tremendous, as well as at the discouragements. So, here are a few things I thought about as I looked at the new year ahead:

A. Keep a life for yourself
I often struggle to the find the balance between personal priorities and ministry opportunities. It's easy to get caught up in ministry and put my own needs on the "back burner." Because urban missions can be a very stressful place to work good, "self care" practices are essential. One of the most important of them is to cultivate a life that is separate from the mission and its staff and clients. We need to leave work stress behind and pursue our own interests and relationships. For people who live in the mission facilities, failing to develop meaningful outside relationships and activities is a sure path to "burn-out."

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Is "Special Needs" Biblically Sound?Premium Content

The more I think about it the more I’m convinced that the notion of “special needs” isn’t biblically sound.

My friend Tim pastors a church in Denver, and he talks a lot about the “Y’all Come In” mentality. In that view, if the church opens the door and puts down a welcome mat, that’s enough.

Except that it’s not enough.

At Tim’s church they send people to homeless shelters and by-the-week motels. They sit with people one-on-one, talk with them, assure them they’re valued and needed.

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Is Obeying God Simply Resulting in Hardship for You?

"Does Job fear God for no reason?"
Job 1:9 ESV

This was the wicked question of Satan concerning that upright man of old, Job. But there are many today who might be asked the same question with justice, for they love God (after a fashion) because he prospers them; but if things went badly for them, they would give up their boastful faith in God. If they can clearly see that since their supposed conversion, everything has gone well for them, then they will love God in their poor carnal way; but if they endure adversity, they rebel against the Lord. Their love is the love of the table, not of the host; a love to the cupboard, not to the master of the house.

New Year's Resolutions

written January 1st but applicable to any new beginning

Today is traditionally a day of resolutions: I will eat more healthy. I will exercise more. I will spend more time with my family. To be honest, I’m just horrible with resolutions. Even if I make just one, I can do that one thing regularly... for a while... and then life comes crashing in and I find that my resolution (and all my good intentions) go right out the window. I just can’t handle looking at life over a long period of time. Too many things happen that make demands upon me... demands on my time, on my emotions, on my energy, on my focus.

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