Friday, December 29, 2006

A Bowl Of Cherries?

As the days are beginning to grow longer so has my patience with my new life. God has His subtle ways of testing me and the last few days has been just a small glimpse of His powers. My cell phone quit working, the camera quit working, finding an apartment without a great credit history has been tough, and once again depression is trying to work on me. Life is not a bowl of cherries today, but I still know God is there directing me to the right path and encouraging me to take the right steps to avoid conflict with the wicked one.

God didn't intend for our lives to be without conflict and we are reminded that life here on earth is not heaven. Today my ways of thinking are gradually changing and its a real challenge, but a challenge that I'm enjoying. Yes, I'm truly blessed today even though I'm homeless and struggling slowing forward. Each day I look forward to focusing my life more on God.

I'll be searching for the right apartment for one more week, trying to find something that will be affordable yet live able. I just can't believe what some landlords call live able. One rental unit was worse than living outside at my camp, having open electrical outlets, bugs, broken windows and broken furniture, and he wanted $500 plus utilities. I'm also in the process of applying for a job at O'Currance Teleservices for inbound telesales position which will allow me to work at home after training, and I'll find out more about this next week.

The weather has been somewhat cooperative with not much snow or rain and temps have been moderate for this time of year.

I'm still working 6 hour days directing traffic at the mall and this continues to try my patience each day. I have found that those who drive hummers and expensive cars to be very inconsiderate of others and their saftey, and only seem to be concerned about themselves. I pray that this folks will pick up The Purpose Driven Life and just read the first sentence of Day One and implement it into their lives.

Again I'm off to work, for the next week it is still tough to get use of the internet so my posts will not be to consistant, however after Jan. 8th I'll be able to post daily and I look forward to this.

Today I give you a Chris Tomlin video "Enough" along with an interview.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

A Great Birthday Party

This past weekend was filled with love, joy, friendship, and miracles. My new found love for Jesus has given me a new birth in life filled with love and hope.

On Sunday I volunteered to serve at K2 The Church where I was able to meet many of the brothers and sisters who attend there regularly. K2 offered 4 services throughout the day and I was privileged to serve at all 4 services, greeting those that attended the services. The message for the day was "All I Want For Christmas Is... A Miracle", and each time I listened, I was able to gain more and more love for God. Having the opportunity for new life with God has opened many doors for me in the past month and all of them have been filled with love and care.

During 2 of the services I took a seat in the lounge area that contains a pool table, climbing wall, foose ball, and a coffee bar. I sat in one of the comfortable lounge chairs to watch the service on one of the many TV screens available. While watching the services 2 gentleman also took advantage of the relaxing chairs and the conversations began. I was blessed by the Lord with love and understanding from Norm and Bill along with some guidance on this new journey that I have begun. It was awesome how the Lord was working on that day and I was truly seeing miracles happen.

I had no plans for Christmas when, Andy, a pastor and spiritual leader for K2, ask me if I would like to join his family along with others who attend K2 for Christmas dinner, which I accepted. Andy picked me up on Christmas afternoon and off we went to the home of Brian and Mary where we joined their family and friends for a great celebration of Jesus' birthday. Yep, we even had a birthday party for Jesus, that included a cake inscribed with "Happy Birthday Jesus".

In my former years of Christmas, I always found myself being reserved and not partaking much with guests, but on this day I found myself feeling so loved and accepted that mingling and conversing was very easy, just as everyday is now since turning my life over to the Lord. You see, I don't need to lie or deceive others into being accepted and love, because I know that God and his family all love me. This is something that I really never experienced in the past, and man, it is just awesome.

Being reborn has brought many miracles during the past month and a half and this weekend was not to be without. The biggest miracle for me was LOVE.I had many people during the weekend just walk up and give me a hug and tell me that they loved me, and these were from people I've never met before. To me this was God showing me how much he loves and cares for each and everyone of his children. Another miracle that is still in the process is the offering of an apartment. Tomorrow I will start my search for a new warm place to rest my head which has been offered to me by some of my new family. I was so grateful for this offer that throughout the night I found myself waking and thanking our Lord for this opportunity.

I'm headed off to work now with one of the largest smiles and warmest feelings about my new journey which is all possible because of the birth of Jesus Christ, who's birthday party I attended yesterday.

Friday, December 22, 2006

A Homeless Merry Christmas

I had my meeting with Andy and all went well, in fact I now have a new bible with a leather cover and zipper that I can carry in a pack without tearing it apart. Andy also gave me a new book to read, "Wild At Heart" by John Eldredge. It was great just to be able to talk with Andy truthfully about my life and where I'm at. He'll be praying during the coming week on who will be the best fit to disciple me in the Lord's ways.

During my days of working at a mall I've witnessed many who I do not believe know what the true meaning of Christmas is. Most people I see running around and trying to find the right gift, the most expensive gift, the biggest gift, the best gift. I see people with short tempers, unhappy, and feeling totally pressured by their idea what Christmas is about. Well I feel they are missing out on the understanding and purpose of Christmas.

Would it really hurt just to slow down a little bit and actually remember what Christmas is about?

For me Christmas is to celebrate the birth of Christ, the one who done as his Father ask. The one who sacrificed his life for us all and its through Christ's blood that those of us who believe will have eternal life. It's about peace and joy, fellowship and purpose, and of course the biggest, love, trust and faith for someone who gave his all for you and I. It is a day to thank Jesus for all He has done for me and others around me.

Sometimes I would just love to stop everyone and ask what they feel the true meaning of Christmas is. Of course many wouldn't stop because they feel they have no time. I do pray that those who do not understand Christmas' purpose, become acquainted with the person who's birth we are celebrating.

If you are thinking of donating items for those who are homeless I have a few suggestions:

Socks: Everyone of us enjoys being able to put on new socks
Knit Hats: Nothing like being able to keep the old noggin warm
Warm Gloves: Many of us tend to loose or misplace gloves during are shuttles throughout the day
Razors: Here in Salt Lake they can become a highly sought commodity for us
P38: For those of you that don't know, it's a army can opener you can carry in your pocket
Underarm deodorant: the stick kind preferably
Thermals: A must and great for the cold weather states

If you want to give something special, throw in some instant coffee bags or a couple of candy bars. Whatever you do give, you can be assured that all of us who are homeless are grateful for you help.

I most likely will be unable to post anymore until after Christmas, so I would like to wish each and everyone of you a very Merry Christmas and I thank you for your prayers, trust, and faith in me. This may be another homeless Christmas for me, but it also is a special one, because I know in my heart what Christmas truly is all about.

Trudging On

Another day of snow here in Salt Lake and a day of being ill and feeling really down in the dumps. The one thing that helped me to rise out of the sleeping bag was knowing that I have a meeting with Andy from K2 The Church.

Last night I attended the candle light vigil for the National Homeless Persons Memorial, where 42 names were read of the homeless that died during 2006. During the vigil I got to see a guy, Gary, who just 2 years ago was stabbed several times near the shelter, a person who lost homeless buddies. I know that he accepted the Lord last year and today he is doing so much better. He now has a home a smile and a purpose. Gary ask me where I was at and I explained with God and still camping out. He was concerned about me camping stating, "I don't want to hear your name read next year." This did hit me kind of hard because they stated the median age of those that perished was 48 years old, one year more that I am. I also saw many of those who help us out and they also seem to be very concerned for my saftey and warmth. To all of these I explained my new found love and that I was staying warm. They know that I'm one of those who will survive outside until the time comes for a new home.

The last few days in my reading of The Purpose Driven Life (Day 18-21) has been about the church and fellowship and it came just at the right time. You don't suppose someone had something to do with this do ya? Yea, with my meeting today with Andy, the spiritual leader for K2, it has helped me understand the purpose of the church and what I can do and what to look out for. You see I want to become an integral part of the church, learning how to take God's word to the streets. I need to find a small group to become a part of and learn how to trust, sympathize, share, and have respect with others.

I know K2 has a group for those having problems with alcohol and drugs and I'll be looking into this group today through Andy. I once attended AA but due to all of the gossip I found myself drift away and not trusting anyone there. I hope and pray that the K2 small group will be an answer for me because I do need to discuss my addictions with others and need to be able to trust them. I really look forward to my meeting today.

Yesterday I recieved a Christmas card from my grandparents and it contained a photo of them. Wow, did it really hit home. I had watery eyes but was thanking the Lord for knowing what I really needed. I've need a photo of the grandparents for sometime and now I have it in my hands.

Today I'm asking that all who read here to please pray for a family who is in real need of comfort, understanding and love. Snog Dot's wife has a brain tumor and the chemo is not working, the doctors are only giving her 3 months to live. I ask that you all stop today and take time to include this family in your prayers.

Well I'm off to meet Andy. I'll come back and let ya know how it went, until then, "Who do you love the most?" For me its God and even when I'm down and not feeling well, like today, I know He's there trying to make me feel better.


Thursday, December 21, 2006

Once Was Lost

I've come down with the gumbo once again but I've the Lord to comfort me. Throughout my life I was the walking lost but today I've seeked out the one who will continue to lead me into the light. Yep 40 plus years of not feeling like I belonged, but today I have purpose, love, and all of the treasures one could wish for. Today I'll give you a bit of my past.

I was born in Indiana where at the age of 4 was left by my mother at my grandparents and she never returned taking a brother 1 year younger with her. My father, well, he was traveling the rodeo circuit and was only there for my birthday and Christmas. The grandparents worked a dairy farm and raised me the best they knew how but I was lost at an early age trying to figure out where I belonged. The drugs and alcohol started at an early age of 14 years old and continued on until just 3 months ago. I found myself unable to hold jobs or stay in one spot for any length of time. I moved to Utah at the age of 17 after graduating HS, to snow ski and have always considered this to be home.

At the age of 21 I returned to Michigan to try and live there and found myself in a hospital not being able to cope with life. I talked with my family and stated I wanted to see my brother and mom, a meeting was setup. My mom came to the hospital where I told her that I wanted to see Greg. Well she told me he knew nothing of me and she was not going to tell him. Well, I became angry and walked out never to talk with her again.

The next 20 years found me back in Utah and I spent a couple of years working out of Seattle on a fishing boat that fished the Bering Sea. Of course alcohol once again destroyed this opportunity and I came back to Utah. In 2000 I quit my drugging but kept of drinking and not able to hold on to a job. In 2003 I found myself on the streets and just not caring to live anymore. I've had my ups and downs out here during the last 3 years but started to get familiar with God during this time. I knew there was something missing in my life but not able to cope with it. During this time I did forgive my mom for leaving me. My brother has since contacted our dad after finding out about us while trying to get an passport. I still haven't talked with him but feel that it will soon be time.

Well on November 11th my whole life started to change. While I was at my hillside camp, I told God that He could have all of me and that I was tired of trying to do things my way. Since this time I feel like I belong, that I'm not just wandering around aimlessly. Oh, I'm still homeless but I'm now a person with love and feel loved. All of this has been made possible by loving God. I'm thankful that for the sacrafice of Jesus so that I can become clean and will live on in eternity. I may be homeless today but I do have a permanent home that is always there.

With my family being split apart I recently have begun to hope that we all can be reunited just for one day. I haven't been home to see my grandparents or family for over 6 years and will be trying to get there sometime next month. You see, my grandparents are 89 and 91 years old and each time I call (weekly), I can hear it in their voice that they miss me and want to see me. They keep reminding me they're getting old. My granny can't hear well so when we talk she does the talking then sobbing gives the phone to grandfather saying she is unable to hear me. I also want to share my love for God and to ask them to allow Him into there life so that they also may have eternal life. I'm going to call up Greg, my brother next week, hopefully we can get together when I go back to visit the family. And I actually would like to see my mom sometime also just to tell her that I forgive her and so does God.

Well that's where things stand now. I'm no longer lost. I have a new path and direction and through Jesus this has all been made possible. Through seeking out God, I've a new life, love, hope, family and smiles. My best friend, He is always there when I call up, never to busy to comfort me, doesn't have to look at His schedule to set an appointment, is willing to trust me and love me know matter what I've done in the past. Its GREAT!!!!

Lord Forgive Me When I Whine

Today, upon a bus, I saw a lovely girl with golden hair, I envied her...she seemed so gay..and wished I were as fair. When suddenly she rose to leave, I saw her hobble down the aisle; She had one leg and wore a crutch, but as she passed...a smile!
Oh, God forgive me when I whine, I have two legs. The world is mine.

I stopped to buy some candy. The lad who sold it had such charm. I talked with him. He seemed so glad. If I were late t'would do no harm. And as I left he said "I thank you . You have been so kind It's nice to talk with folks like you. "You see" he said "I'm blind." Oh, God forgive me when I whine , I have two eyes. The world is mine.

Later while walking down the street, I saw a child with eyes of blue. He stood and watched the others play. He did not know what to do. I stopped a moment and said "Why don't you join the others, dear?" He looked ahead without a word, and then I knew he could not hear. Oh, God forgive me when I whine. I have two ears. The world is mine.

With feet to take me where I'd go, with eyes to see the sunset glow, with ears to hear what I would know...Oh, God forgive me when I whine, I'm blessed indeed, the world is mine.

Author Unknown

Today is National Homeless Memorial Day, a day to pay our respects to the homeless who died during the past year. I'll try to post more about the last few days in The Purpose Driven Life sometime tomorrow.

Today I've a song from Casting Crowns that says it all for me.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

A Focused Life

I've been putting in long days at work, yesterday 11 hours, but God has given me this opportunity to make some money which will enable me to possibly put a roof over my head sometime next month. While at work yesterday I began to think that I may actually be more blessed by being homeless and without many worldly possessions than those who have homes, families and jobs with loads of responsibility. Without this load it gives me an opportunity to focus my life more on God and what purpose He has for me. I do believe that it will be working with the homeless or low income and have started to aim in that direction. This Friday I've a meeting with the director of spiritual growth from K2 The Church, Andy, and this will give me an opportunity to discuss my life with God more. For me this is cool, I've been wanting to talk with someone about a lot of my past and I believe Andy is the person who will help guide me in the right direction.

At work yesterday I had another opportunity to share my best friend. John, another parking employee ask how I could be so calm when confronted with the customers in rude ways. I stated that this would not have happened 3-4 months ago, but now since I've acquired and new great best friend it has really helped. He ask, "A friend does that?" I stated that yes the Lord has a way of comforting me and all I need to do is pray for that person who is having a bad day, when I do that I forget about what was just said. John went, "Wow, I need to talk with you more about that and try it out myself."

Its been great to be able to wake up warm the last couple of days it's so refreshing to not be shivering when I'm thanking God for another day. I'm off to work now.

Did you say, "I love you God", today?

Monday, December 18, 2006

My Best Friend

It was a warmed filled weekend, blessed with friendship, fellowship, and love. All of this, I believe, has been possible through my faith and love for Jesus.

On Saturday I went and had breakfast at St. Vinny's has we call it and on the way I notice a group setting up tables and food at the park, just a block away. While I was at Vinny's, I mentioned this to several others and some went over there.

At the park we found a cub scout group who had setup soups cookies and other great goodies, along with a warm welcome. It was just great to see the boys interact with those who showed up. The response from the homeless was slow and one gentleman suggested moving everything down near the shelter where most of the homeless hangout during the day to keep warm. I'm sure all of the scout's soups and goodies were gone in no time and that everyone who had a chance to eat was thankful for them. I also feel that many of those fed had an opportunity to meet Glen, who had a warm greeting and a concern about how and why many of us are homeless, along with giving out encouragement.

After all of the food I had an opportunity to partake in, I walked to work just a couple of blocks away. A family, who reads this blog, had emailed a couple of days before and we arranged to meet at 4pm Saturday, where I was given a new warm sleeping bag, sweets along with encouragement and a start for my new roof. I wasn't able to talk long, but after we departed and I had gotten off of work, the flood gates opened and my true love and thankfulness rolled out for my savior Jesus.

It is just so neat to see how many new brothers and sisters I now have and without my Father this all wouldn't be possible.

On Saturday night the winter storm rolled in with high winds and snow, but me I was laying in a new warm bag shedding clothes throughout the night. You see, I was use to sleeping with my winter clothes on, but within 2 hours I was down to just shorts. Yep, temps below freezing, wind blowing 20+mph, and snowing and I was enjoying it. No more shivering mornings, I'm able to put my clothes and shoes in the bag 30 minutes before crawling out and they're warm and toasty along with me. I had prayed for a warm night and I received it.

Sunday was God's day and I spent it, after sleeping in, going to K2 and listening to the message, Dave our pastor had prepared "A White Christmas". This was good for me as it just brought me even closer to the Lord. I knew that He is a forgiving Lord, but hearing that he actually cleanses us "whiter than snow", while that just even brighten my life and my love with God. You see, I still have some things to talk about and ask forgiveness for with Dave or Andy at K2, but now, knowing that we can be "whiter than snow", well that just makes my heart beat even stronger for Jesus.

Oh yea, the parking job is going great and you know God sure has granted me patience's with the holiday shoppers. I had 2 guys who actually tried to drive over me but I was able to hold my cool, look at them smile (sort of) and just let it pass. A few months ago I would have pounced on them and their cars. And you know it felt really good to just forgive them and just ask the Lord to give them some of what I was feeling.

Sunday night I went to the dollar movies and watched a couple of shows, the best being "Facing the Giants", which was suggested to me by a friend from K2. No big names on the billboard here, but my billboard was flashing "G-O-D". He sure has a way of leading us and delivering the messages at the right time. I suggest seeing this movie if you haven't.

The weekend would not have been so warm or great if it wasn't for love. Love from friends, strangers, church and most importantly love for God.

Oh my post title, well it something I'm sure I'll hang on to for eternity. My best friend of course is Jesus and I ask others who theirs are and it gives me an opportunity to introduce mine. The responses I've gotten, well, they have been great. Most people will come up with earthly names, but when I tell them mine, most will really smile. I just leave them at that point with a smile and say, "Next time when you really need a friend, try Jesus."

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Shivering Sweet

Welcome to Utah and just hang around because the weather will change in just a few minutes.

Yep, its a proven fact. Yesterday saw temps reaching close to 60 degrees during the day, but by 5pm all had changed and temps dropped with snow falling. I noticed today a weather alert had been issued for a heavy snow warning from today until the morning tomorrow. This morning was the coldest I've been since the winter has started, I just can't seem to warm up and stop shivering, even though the temps aren't that bad.

Yesterday when I went to work at 4pm and the temps had started to drop, I felt that I wasn't dressed or prepared for it. Well, I was real fortunate last night during my job of parking cars and directing traffic the supervisor put me in the "Summer Garage". As the old Jackie Gleason would of said, "How SWEEEET it is!". Yea, the Lord was looking out for me. Nope, there are no beaches or palm trees here, but it was a heated parking garage. The good news is that the job will last through the holidays and I should be able to obtain at least 40 hours next week. Putting faith in Jesus Christ is the best thing that has ever happened to me.

Today I'll attend a breakfast buffet served out at St. Vincent DePaul Center, run by Catholic Community Services. This is a great meal normally consisting of eggs, biscuits and gravy, sometimes some fruit and of course some type of sweet roll. The great thing here is that you can keep going back for more. The thing I don't understand the most is that many people choose not to go. I'll try to get some pics here.

Yesterday's photos, well that a different story and real short. They just didn't come out good or I forgot to save them. Oh well, I'm still learning everday, and actually I'm still what I will call, "Wet behind the ears" when it comes to being a child of God also.

I got back into The Purpose Drive Life reading and yesterday was Day 15, "Formed for God's Family". My understanding here is that God wants all to become part of His family because He loves us all. I can't remember what verse it is but I'm thinking of one that says something like, "If you do not know love, you do not know God, because God is love." God loves us all and he wants to have a relationship with us all and through our faith in Jesus, God becomes our Father. Being a child of God is such an honor, we are blessed with other great brothers and sisters, along with other great treasures, the most important being eternal life. I really liked this chapter and it has brought me to understand that treating each other as brother and sister is important. One thing that came to mind here is that some of our family is lost so it is our job to go out and give them a map or plant a seed to help them out.

You know here I am without many worldly possessions, but yet I'm able to walk down the street and hold my head up and smile, sometimes that smile is huge and giggly like and sometimes can be barely seen, but its there just as long as I'm thinking about the Lord.

I'm posting this from the downtown City Library so I won't be able to share any music today. The UofU went on its break yesterday so hours are limited there during the weekends (Sat. only and for 3.5 hours) and shortened on weekdays. This will go until Jan 8th, when the spring semester starts.

Hope you all have a great weekend and I'll be back sometime Monday, the good Lord willing.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Don't Worry About A Thing

I'm sure everyone is familiar with a Bob Marley tune called Three Little Birds and the words to this described my day perfectly.Every step I took today was for a good reason and just when I would think what could happen next, God would provide me with what I needed.

Tonight I went to another food pantry, who's hours are from 5pm-7pm on Thursday nights. Man, that is great for those who may be working and not able to stop in during the day. Well, once again I was met with a closed sign, stating an emergency had come up. So, I snap a quick photo and started to head back up to the U, when it struck me that the Catholic church hands out sack lunches. Alright, here I come.

I walked up to the Cathedral who serves up a mean bologna sandwich or two. When I arrived another gentleman was getting his lunch, so I ask if I could get a photo of him accepting his meal. He stated I would appreciate if you wouldn't, and of course I obliged. You see many who are on the street despise people taking photos of them, some for legal reasons, others because they don't want their friends or family see them, or they just may not want to ever be reminded of their current situation. I did get a photo of those who were volunteering, handing out my hot cocoa, or so I thought. Man, I forgot to save it. Oh well there will be others.

After accepting my bag with extra sandwich,(you've got to ask or you don't receive, a year ago they gave you two sandwiches but many of them were tossed to the birds.) along with a heart shaped cookie, (which I felt was a little early for Valentines or way late) and my hot cocoa I took a seat on the bus bench to enjoy. There are so many who are going hungry tonight but yet I was blessed with this meal. Oh, and that cookie, it was just sweet delight, most likely just made today, even my granny would've been impressed.

While setting on the bench I called another temporary labor service to see if they had work for tomorrow and the quick answer was yes. I've got a job for 2 days parking cars at the downtown walking mall, which was built over the homeless peoples old stomping grounds, and I start tomorrow night at 4pm. That clothing voucher I picked up earlier today will come in handy, because I need dress slacks (go figure) for my uniform.

Man, I'm so grateful God doesn't judge us by what we wear. You know Job had it right, you came in with nothing and you leave with nothing. So what is the big hassle with all of these flashy material things? Oh what the heck, I'll have the slacks for a later time, I believe God has a purpose for them.

I'm setting down after I finish this posting, to start back where I left off on the reading of Rick Warren's, The Purpose Driven Life. I was going to try to catch up on the days I missed while sick, but you know, I don't feel I'll be punished for taking my time and getting it right.

So, as that Marley dude sang, "Don't worry about a thing, cause every little thing is gonna be alright", I'll be whistling and humming it throughout this night, while I smile thanking the Lord for this day and all he has provided. If you're not familiar with the song I've talked about, well here is the video with Spanish closed caption.

Whew, That Hill

I guess I'm not the only one in Salt Lake that has been ill. I walked down the steep incline to a church which has a food pantry. It was only about 7 blocks down, but here in Salt Lake 7 blocks is about a mile. They say everything in Texas is Big, well here in Salt Lake a city block is a mountain in itself. I can normally trot right along but today even the walk downhill was a struggle after being sick.

Well, when I got the food pantry I found out it was closed because the lady that normally works there was sick. They left a note and gave those who had stopped by a couple of other options for food help. I then went to Crossroads Urban Center, where I was intending on going to for a clothing voucher. Here I picked up a "street order" of food which will help me out until I can get to another pantry, along with the clothing voucher. The Lord was with me because today was the first day that I could actually get food here. Crossroads will help a person out with a regular food order 6 times a year or a street order 12 times a year, which I'd used up long ago. You know I didn't even think about it, when I asked for the food the lady just went, "Wow, today is your first qualifying day for food." My reply was of course, "Thank you Lord!"

My "street order" consisted of a very healthy assortment of nutrition bars and drinks, spaghettio's, chili, and other items. Most of those who get the powerbars just thumb their nose, but me, I was use to eating them like candy when I once raced bicycles. This sack will get me through a couple of days, I'll return to another pantry tonight for a larger supply, which will help we out for the next week. The clothing voucher I'll use tomorrow or Saturday when I might have more wind in me.

The return trip was tough so I actually just stopped and bought a Trax ticket (train) for the ride up the hill. I would've never made it up that hill, just walking the last block up hill was tough enough.

Until I leave for tonight's journey to the other food pantry, I'll be catching up in The Purpose Driven Life and working on reintroducing an old website ( SL Streets ) I had last year dedicated to writing articles and providing valuable information for the homeless. I will also be sending out some more resumes today and hope to set up a couple of interviews for early next week.

A quick update on the New Path marketing program, I have found the ads to be to high of a price for me to currently pursue this at this time. I will be looking forward in delivering this dream sometime early next year.

Rejoicing In The Morning

I just purchased a used digital camera last night from Steve, who camped out near me, until today. I met up with him last night while walking to camp when he was carrying all of his worldly possessions in a huge suitcase rigged as a backpack. We set down on theOlympic Legacy BridgeOlympic Legacy Bridge near the UofU to have a talk. I ask him where he was off to and he stated he was going to try and buy a bus ticket to Portland Oregon, where he once lived. He needed some help adjusting the pack so he unloaded part of it and pulled out the camera. Steve ask if I knew anyone looking to buy a camera or a place to pawn it so he would have enough for the bus ticket. I told him I knew no one but most likely because of it being an old camera, pawn shops may not want it or wouldn't give him much. He said, "Man I'm 18 bucks short of getting my ticket." Well, I said you know I'll give you 20 bucks for the camera and if you come back you can have it back. Well, low and behold I now have a digital camera to carry around and Steve is on his way to Portland.

Did I need the camera? Nah. I could be using the money for many other needs than this, but I was glad to help out a fellow homeless person. This may be the start that Steve needs to put his life in order.

Meanwhile, Steve was really feeling down and said he was grateful that I was a friend. (Ah, the opportunity to tell him who my best friend is.) I explained to Steve about God and how He's become my closest friend and Savior. He said, "Wow, I never thought about that", and thanked me. I then gave him an 'In Touch' ( ) pamphlet to read on the bus today and we parted ways.

Today I'm rejoicing the opportunity to share the Lord.

The top photo is from this morning at the UofU Marriott Library, where I'm able to update this blog and do other research and projects. I guess the camera works great for internet photos. I'll be using the camera today to journal my trek to a food bank and a stop at a local resource center to get a clothing voucher, it will be neat to be able to share my day through photos now.

I found an interesting and fresh look at 'God In A Box'
that I really liked so check it out. I also found an interesting article about bed bugs, a problem that exists at the shelter here in Salt Lake. They even closed it early this year to spray, but several of my friends complain of being bitten regularly, some even resulting in large swellings and welts, not to mention the agony of itching.

My music for the morning is from Jars of Clay singing "God Be Merciful To Me".

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

The God Bowl

Ah yes, its that time of the year when everyone is watching all of the bowl games on whatever channel they can get it on. They're all saying this team or that coach is the greatest in the country, but if you really stop to think there is only one great coach, and He has the greatest team in the world. Yep, most of you guessed it, GOD is the greatest coach and his team is all of those who believe and go out and carry His word to the rest of the world.

Some of His players drop or fumble but He doesn’t bench them or take them out of the game. He’s there to comfort them when times are tough or when they are hurt or ill. He jumps with joy when they do what is asked of them. He doesn’t favor one player He loves them all and He rewards his team with all of the greatest treasures one can ever want at the end of their careers.

Yea, I’m proud to be a member of this great team and work everyday to give the best that great coach, God, ask of me, and it’s cool to be on the winningest team there ever could be. There is only one bowl game for me and its the GOD Bowl, so lets go team and show the world who the best is this season.

God has really been there for me during the past week while I've been sick. I spent the last 3 days in the hospital with pneumonia. I came down sick late last week and just wasn't able to kick it. Its still tough breathing today but I've at least got rid of the high temps and extreme kidney pains. I’ll be back posting more on The Purpose Driven Life this weekend when I can actually think more clearly.

Thanks to all of you for your prayers.

Oh yea I can’t leave you without a song, actually a couple. The first is a video from Sonicflood and its my battle cry today "Cry HOLY", the second is a rap mp3 from former NFL Bronco,Steve Fitzhugh, performing the "Competitor's Creed" (could you imagine each and every player singing this before they go out to play, YIKES!) there is even a Competitor's Creed bible study and more can be found at The Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA).

Thursday, December 7, 2006

It's A Struggle

The past couple of days has left me with no work, I shoveled myself right out of a job. I'm looking at trying to get a job in the customer service area and have started my search today. I've earned enough to survive for a week or two of waiting for a check from a new job. The weather has been good to me and looks to not be to bad for the next couple of weeks. Man, God sure has looked out for me in the weather conditions.

Today has been a tough day for me, the old depression seems to be hovering around me and it has been a struggle just to hold the head up, but I know I have the comfort and strength of God and that thought in it's self has pushed me on.

I'll post my last readings of The Purpose Driven Life tonight after I get back from more job searching.

As I walk through this day I'll be thinking of the band Building 429's song "Fearless" as I struggle to hold my head up and feel good about life in general. The video is lead out by a verse from Psalm 112:8 "They are confident and fearless and can face their foes triumphantly" which will also be in my mind.

Monday, December 4, 2006

Enjoying The Moment

Its late and I'll need to get some rest for work tomorrow so will just post a shorty.

Today was Day 14 in The Purpose Driven Life, the topic was,"When God Seems Distant". I actually knew there will come a time that God will test my faith by leaving me to decipher my true feelings of God. Right now I'm just going to enjoy being the infant and having God answer many of my prayers, for I know this time is short before He puts me to a real test.

I believe even during my tests from God, that he'll still be there cheering me on or trying to point me in the right direction. I may not recognize these moments, but I hope that I'll put a big smile on His face, just as He does mine today when I'm puzzled.

Tonight's music is from Tree63, the song, "A Million Lights", is just what I view each night as I trudge towards my camp to grab some shut eye. During this walk, I reflect on what God has given me and what I have given Him. I pray for those who are in need and ask for guidence for my life.

Sunday, December 3, 2006

A Homeless Reunion

Today I went to K2 The Church for the late service (easiest to attend), when walking through the parking lot I noticed a person walking towards me. At first I thought I recognized this person, but he was still in St. George, Utah, or at least that was the last place I had heard from him. Well as a miracle was in the making and another was continuing, it was Joe. The last I had seen him we were both on the streets, he, drinking and just really ready to give up life in general, me, ready to stomp on with my self seeking ways. This was all over a year ago.

We shook hands and greeted each other, both looking at each other like, "Now what is the purpose of this miracle meeting"? I led off asking Joe if he was here to attend the service. He replied, "Yea, and I know someone who is attending here and was hoping to see them". I then told him about my recent surrendering of my life to God, and how it has lifted the weight off of my shoulders along with making my life so much more bearable. Joe responded with, "I just had to let some one else take over, because I was just ruining my life, and since then the miracles have been rolling in."

Wow (#1), here was a guy who was totally bummed out on life when I last saw him. It was great to see him smiling and all enthused about having a great job, drivers license back, and a vehicle to get him around, all because he had invited the Lord to take over his life.

I ask Joe who he knew at K2, and he mentioned some girl who served meals on Sundays in the park. I knew exactly who he was talking about, and asked if it was Suzy. "Yep" he said, "She said she goes here so I wanted to check it out and may be get to see her". Wow again (#2), I had met Suzy while also helping feed at the park. I too had been keeping my eye out to see if she may still be attending K2, but hadn't seen her.

Joe and I both went inside for a cup of mud, when in comes Suzy and a friend. Wow number 3. It was great to see the work of the Lord bringing together those that had shared a small past together.

You know God sure times these moments well. I was in the need of a boost today and this was just the ticket.

At the end of the message, Joe and I, were both invited out to eat with Suzy and two of her friends. Man, this was just awesome. I was able to set down and have a conversation about how God was changing my life, all of these with a feeling of joy, trust, love and honesty. This is just a glimpse of what God has in store for me and it is just awesome, out of sight, cool, well just a down right indescribable feeling.

Thank you Lord for this day.

Day 13 in The Purpose Driven Life, "Worship That Pleases God" went together with today's message at K2 about how God would like us to pray and worship Him. Many people use the same prayers over and over, not actually having true sincerity. God expects us to pray our own way, using our personality and background that He gave us. With me this means using the words, Wow, cool, awesome, hip, and another that some say isn't proper, "dude". Yea, I've always called some of my best friends dude and God is now at the top of that list, so I might say, "Dude" in the middle of thanking Him and telling Him that, "He is an awesome dude." This is just my personality, and I believe it is genuine in showing my love for Him. The most important thing in this reading was the statement that, God wants all of our love not just part of it as it states in Mark 12:30.

Each day I work at giving all of my love to God and trust in Him leading me through each day, all of this through my prayers and worship. This gives me such a great feeling and opportunities to view His work like the reunion I had today.

It was a, WOW! WOW! WOW! day thanks to our King and, "Yes He is one awesome dude."

The recent addition to my camp is, Ahhhh warmth, the extra sleeping bag kept me nice and toasty throughout the night when temperatures dropped to 10 degrees, but please keep on praying that someday soon I'll have a place to call home with a kitchen and bed.

My music for tonight needs no explanation, and the David Crowder Band just kicks it out. I heard this for my first time at K2 The Church and it just grab me. So here it is.

Retailers Who Celebrate Christmas

I guess I've been in the dark ages about retailers who have eliminated Christmas from their marketing materials. Two days ago I noticed a blog stating that some retailers are avoiding the use of the word Christmas and use Happy Holiday this year, as a suggestion by the ACLU. The thought of this just got me jumping mad. I became upset that retailers were eliminating Christmas, when actually they should be adding niche marketing efforts for the celebrations of Hanukkah and Kwanzaa along with other non-christian celebrations.

I was ready to grab up the sword and go into battle with the ACLU!

After a quick search about the ACLU and the use of Christmas, the only article I could find written by the ACLU was, "How the ACLU Didn't Steal Christmas", which was written back during the 2005 Christmas season. It states at that time the ACLU had no lawsuits or other litigation concerning the use of Christmas. I did, however, find many articles and lawsuits against the use of Nativity scenes and other Christmas oriented forms of recognizing Christmas.

I kept my searching up on this subject and found a site Stop The ACLU, which is suggesting that the ACLU wants Christmas out of the retailers marketing plans. I found the "Committee to save Merry Christmas", which contacts retailers suggesting bringing back Christmas to their stores. They also had a list of retailers who celebrate Christmas and those who were not. After more searching I located an article stating that a couple of retailers listed by, as not celebrating Christmas had actually brought it back to their marketing programs these included Wal-Mart and Target.

I never found any strong evidence that the ACLU suggested retailers not to celebrate Christmas. Darn, there goes my battle.

For myself, Christmas is a time to show my love for our Savior by acknowledging His birth. I was into the gift thing when I was a kid but now see to much commercialism with Christmas, which has turned me off. This doesn't mean that I don't celebrate Christmas, because I will this year by thanking Jesus for His sacrifice for our sins and just spending time with God throughout the day of Christmas. My gift to others, is sharing our glorious God with them.

Saturday, December 2, 2006

Walking The Right Path

Well, I made it through the day with God lifting me up every time I was in need and that wasn't many. I nearly accomplished everything I set out to do today along with something I didn't plan on accomplishing, that is loosing my flash drive. Yep, I left it earlier today in the USB plug here at the University of Utah library and unfortunately no one has turned it in. I had my name taped to the outside, if they open the files one includes a job resume which has my phone number, address and email. I just pray that the person will do the right thing. Wow, just imagine if that was a student's finals project with weeks of work, that would be a real bummer.

During my thrift shopping I picked up a used, in great condition, gore-tex REI jacket for $10 and a new polar fleece vest for $6, all to be used for work. This will leave me with a good jacket and vest for around town. You just can't beat thrift store shopping. I'll be trying out a new sleeping bag during tonight's expected single digit temperatures, it will be used as a liner for my existing bag. With these items and a new duffel bag for laundry duty, my evening times can be spent reading the Bible, posting here, research and promoting the New Path project and just enjoying time with God.

While running around today it came to me how my life had become so much more simplified since I started to follow Jesus. Truthfulness has left my mind at ease and not racing to figure out what I've said or need to say. Laying the self centered and self seeking life to rest and taking up the cross has just taken a huge load off my shoulders. I'm so thankful for my new life with God at the helm.

In The Purpose Driven Life, Day 11 and 12 both are about friendship with God. Day 11 "Becoming Best Friends With God", explains that He wants to be your best friend. By including God throughout the day in your work, hobbies, or menial tasks via prayer, is showing God how much you really love him and that He's your best friend.

I currently have no problem praying throughout the day and reminding Him how much I love Him and that He is my best friend. Today when I just need an ear, I turned to God, I go to the top of my friendship list for comfort. My past experience with prayer was only for my purpose or benefit and as long as I obtained what I wanted it was great, if not I was totally mad at God for not producing. I was just using God. Man, that is horrible. If some people would only pray or have a conversation with God as many times as they email, text, use chat rooms, or use the cell phone to talk with their friends, they would be building the strongest and best friendship anyone can have. This is where Day 12 comes in with "Developing Your Friendship with God".

If yesterday you were asked the question, "Who is your best friend", what would have been your answer? Until I mentioned above who your best friend should be, most would have come up with another earthly humans name and not God. This would have been my answer also up until about 2 weeks ago. You see all of my friends before then are in the bars hammering away and no having a care about or for anything else. Since I've turned my life over to God, I haven't had one phone call, email, or contact with them. This tells me how many friends I had before. Today I truly have only one best friend besides my grandparents and those who visit here and pray for me, of course it's God.

Even though God is our best friend, He can also put us to the test and give us wake up calls when we begin to wander off the path. These wake up calls are for our benefit. Remember having a great friendship with God is you choice and you'll only be as close to Him as you choose to be.

A verse which will be my verse to memorize next week, is Jeremiah 29:13 "You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart", really fits in with Day 11 & 12 readings and everyday in my life.

I'll leave you tonight with another song. Man, I just love listening these songs, it's so refreshing from my old music tastes of AC/DC, Rob Zombie and others that now I need to pray for. The cool thing is that many of the Christian rock bands have former hard rock'n, party type musicians, who also have turned their life over to God. Long live Rock-n-Roll, Christian rock that is.

Tree63's song "King" gives you the answer who your best friend should be.

Since I've been writing this another prayer has been answered, my flash drive is now in my hands. Yes, God is great and I'm so grateful to have Him in my life. How about you?

A Crisp Fresh Start

Waking up with a dusting of light powdery snow on the sleeping bag and tarp and the awe inspiring alpenglow gave me the hint that God was smiling down upon me. The cold (10 degrees) squeaky walk from camp helped me to focus on what a awesome world God created for us to enjoy.

I just wanted to thank everyone who has been praying for my welfare and continued walk with Jesus. Through these prayers and continued discipline of doing God's will, my life has been jammed full of happy moments. This is just the beginning of a wonderful journey with God, which has actually been less stressful even though being homeless.

My question for today to others is; "How many conversations have you had with God today?"

I have a day filled with responsibility to make my living and work conditions more comfortable. So, I'm off on a thrift shopping adventure and cost estimate for the New Path sandwich board.

I needed a song to keep in my head during my shuffle around the city so I stopped here at the UofU library to find one. It will be nice when I'm able to have one of those MP3 players so I can carry this music with me along with some of the great christian podcasts available. (People tend to give me weird looks when I'm trying to sing, whistle or hum my songs and I can't say if I blame them, music talent is not one of God's blessings for me.) Audio Adrenaline's, "Get Down" gives me that up beat and moving lyrics that will put my head and mind with Him during the day, even during the trying times of having to deal with impatient holiday shoppers. Oh yea, check it out, in the lyrics they state; "To live your life, you've got to loose it, and all of the loosers get a crown".

Where else can you surrender and actually come out as the winner?

Have a great day!!

Friday, December 1, 2006

Still Rock'n With Jesus

Yea, I missed a couple of days, but it was because of the recent blessing of some work. I did miss one day of reading in The Purpose Driven Life, but I have yet to be punished for it. Man, God is the greatest friend anyone can have.

Real brief, I'm working a temporary construction job in Park City, Utah, one of the premier ski resort towns in the world. It consists of having to leave Salt Lake at 6am in the morning for the drive and not returning until 6pm. It also means having to deal with some very cold mornings. On Wednesday and Thursday we had a cold front move through that dropped temperatures to -14 degrees in Park City on Thursday and in the single digits during the other days. Thanks to all of the gear that was loaned to me from my new found best friend, God, I stayed warm, dry and thankful for such a friend.

During the cold weather I was able to stay on the chapel floor of the local Rescue Mission. This meant I had to be in early so I had no access to the Internet to update the blog here. The weather has warmed back up so I'll be returning to my camp tonight to remove the snow and enjoy the stars once again.

Today was really cool, at work I left "The Purpose Driven Life" and my Bible out in the office. At the end of the day my boss inquired about where I had been staying. I told him about the Rescue Mission and my camp. When I mentioned that I'd been homeless for nearly three years and that I had now turned my life over to God, he respond with, "Yea, I'm trying to let go of running my life." He then stated he had seen my books and ask about Rick Warren's book. I explained that it was helping me to understand what God intends for me to do and that the biggest thing was that I'm now happier by letting Him run my life, rather than me running it into the disaster zone.

Wow, God has actually started to use me for a purpose and it just put a big smile on my face along with a shiver. I look forward to sharing more with my boss next week.

Tomorrow will be catch-up day for my last three days of reading, along with working more on the New Path project, until then I leave you with the song that describes our best friend.