Hopefest Part 1

prescott-court-house

It was a beautiful fall day at the town square for Hopefest. I looked forward to Hopefest because of the opportunities for ministry and new connections.

Soon after our group, Celtic Cross Ministry, finished setting up, a homeless man with a pack came over and inquired about free haircuts. Not knowing where that booth was set up, I walked with him to the registration table to find out. He was black, his short hair dotted with gray and a few days beard starting to grow upon his chin, the latter portion which needed trimming. His eyes were bright and he had a smile.
“Why are you homeless?” I asked.
“Problems came about because of my skin color,” was his response.
“It shouldn’t be that way. Skin color shouldn’t matter.”
“It still does matter,” he said.
Arriving at our destination, we got the information he needed and he was grateful. We parted ways and I was reminded that in God’s kingdom there will be people from all nations and tribes (Rev. 7:9) and that there isn’t any partiality with God (Acts 10:34-36).

Later in the day my friend Mary-Ann and I went around the square. As we were headed back to our booth we met a homeless couple, Susan* & Jack*, along with a friend of theirs, Mitch*.  Jack mentioned, more than once, about getting married to Mary at this same event the year before. Other topics of hard times came up too. Susan and Jack put the bad times behind them and stayed more focused on the positive side of life. Before leaving I asked if they would like any prayer and Mary mentioned that she would like to pray. Soon after the prayer, Laurie*, a friend of theirs, walked up. Mitch said that she was a Christian too.
“No I’m not,” Laurie said.
“Why?” I asked.
“God doesn’t read a book,” she said. “I’m spiritual.”
“God doesn’t need to read a book…”
“I’m not going there,” she interrupted.
An image of a tall, very thick, very hard brick wall slamming down came to mind. So much so, that I could tangibly feel it. I used to be like that too, not wanting to hear about God at all. God is not always well received. Not wanting to disturb the fellowship the homeless people were having, my friend and I left. Although I was a bit disappointed that I couldn’t talk more about Jesus, praying for Laurie was something my friend and I could do. Another point was brought to mind. Sometimes when trying to present the Gospel of Christ to unwilling ears and hearts, it’s better to move on. (Matthew 7:6; 2 Peter 2:22)

*Not actual names

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Butterfly

crystalbutterfly

Butterfly, butterfly, fly so high
Such a wonder to the eye
Gently swaying in the breeze
In and out amongst the trees

Butterfly, butterfly, fly so high
Quietly dancing in the sky
Like a bubble floating freely
Like a feather in fair weather

Butterfly, butterfly, fly so high
Your patterns weave a lovely sight
Like a leaf with fall colors
Like a blossom twirling often

Butterfly, butterfly, fly so high
Such a wonder to the eye

Pardoning Iniquity

pardoning-iniquity

“He will again have compassion on us, and will subdue our iniquities. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea. You will give truth to Jacob and mercy to Abraham, which You have sworn to our fathers from days of old.” Michah 7:19-20

I am struck again in thought of how amazing it is that God casts our sins far from us. The depths of the oceans are great. In Psalm 103:6-14, David mentions that our sins are, “as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.” The East and the West, they never meet. God’s mercy is even greater. His mercies are as big as the heavens are above the Earth for those who fear Him.

Praise God that through His son, Jesus Christ, our sins can be removed. God is calling all to repent of our ways and to turn back to Him. Then we can be like David and proclaim, “He has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor punished us according to our iniquities.”  How joyful and uplifting that can be.