EPIKOS CHURCH - REAL PEOPLE. REAL STORIES. AMAZING GOD.
I'm not typically a morning person. I like to stay up late and get up late but I guess my pastor doesn't really care because men's Bible study is Thursdays at 6am. Oh joy! Even though we meet at a coffee shop, I usually pound down a glass of cold coffee or eat some coffee grounds before heading out the door. Yes, that may seem excessive but who wants to fall asleep and die trying to drive to Bible study?
Thank God that I have a little excess of caffeine on Thursday mornings, because I was awake and alert enough to listen to Him when He told me to talk to Jack. I had just sat down to have my coffee and in walks Homeless Jack. About 5'4", bushy beard, covered head and layers of clothes. The instant I saw him I knew God had His eye on this guy. I quickly got up to go buy him a cup of coffee and invite him to join us for our Bible study. He accepted the coffee and declined the Bible study. No worries, God is patient and I've learned to be patient too. I got his number and asked if I could connnect with him later.
Within a few days Pastor Phil and I were sitting by the fire at a local restaurant, having dinner with Jack. We were asking lots of questions about life on the streets of Bend and just listening to his story. Turns out he used to be very angry at God until one day God sent an angel into his tent in Alaska. Jack started breaking up as he told us how the angel wrapped his wings around him and warmed his whole body up. One minute he was freezing to death in his tent and the next minute he was literally sweating in the arms of God's love. As I sat there and listened, I was reminded that God's love is bigger than me. I have the honor of participating with Him in loving others but there's no way I could do it all. In order to get all of His loving done, He has to go out and do some of it Himself. I'm thankful that I get to play a part and be his partner.
Jack's been coming to Bible study and church for about a month now. Yesterday he brought two young guys, Vince and Chris, with him to Bible study. Our homless crowd is growing, and not because we have a great homeless program, but because God loves them and He's drawing them in. I know this, because in the middle of Bible study, Vince told us about how God has used scores of different people to get his attention. A smiling cellmate telling him about God's love, people walking by and stopping to pray for him on the street, another homeless man reading him the Bible and now Jack bringing him to Bible study. Vince has a reputation on the street of always having a smile. Regardless of circumstances Vince is always happy and peaceful. Turns out that the secret to his un-quenchable peace is that Vince knows God loves him. He borrowed one of our Bibles to show us Psalms 91, he wants to get it tattooed on his arm because it's the testimony of his personal relationship with God. A relationship that God offers to all of us, and that He wants all of us to help Him offer to others as well.
Each day when I look in the mirror I can see God's love. I know who I was and I know what God has done for me, so each day when I look inthe mirror, I can see God's love. And now, I'm thankful for my new friends, because when I look at them I can see God's love too.
English Standard Version
My Refuge and My Fortress
1 He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
2 I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”
3 For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler
and from the deadly pestilence.
4 He will cover you with his pinions,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.
5 You will not fear the terror of the night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,
6 nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness,
nor the destruction that wastes at noonday.
7 A thousand may fall at your side,
ten thousand at your right hand,
but it will not come near you.
8 You will only look with your eyes
and see the recompense of the wicked.
9 Because you have made the Lord your dwelling
place—the Most High, who is my refuge.
10 no evil shall be allowed to befall you,
no plague come near your tent.
11 For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways.
12 On their hands they will bear you up,
lest you strike your foot against a stone.
13 You will tread on the lion and the adder;
the young lion and the serpent you will trample underfoot.
14 “Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him;
I will protect him, because he knows my name.
15 When he calls to me, I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him and show him my