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2005-09-22

With much of the American public, I've been getting hourly updates and wondering about the devastating effect that Hurricane Rita will have on the people of Texas and Louisiana when it hits land late this Friday evening. Of course Rita comes just 2 weeks after the landfall of Katrina, the most devastating natural disaster in the history of our country.

Sam and I chose to become homeless. We made a decision to step out of our comfortable lives and enter into poverty in order to experience what it was like, and how the churches, how the American Body of Christ responded to our needs. If you have read Under the Overpass, you know that the response we felt was varied, but at many points, was not what we would hope for from Christians.

Hurricane Katrina forced hundreds of thousands of people into a more desperate poverty than Sam and I ever experienced. Rita promises to do the same before the beginning of next week.

What action are you taking to help ensure that the response of the Body of Christ felt by the victims of these storms is different than the frustrating and disheartening encounters Sam and I had?

Here are some ideas:
1)Pray your guts out. Individually and corporately. Start a prayer group with some friends to pray on Friday night for the moms, dads, brothers, sisters, sons and daughters who will have their worlds literally turned upside down by Rita. Pray for efforts to rebuild lives in the South East.

2)Identify an organization that you will support. Follow through immediately. There are several trustworthy and effective relief organizations who are already offering aid and response after the wreckage of Katrina, and are preparing to respond after Rita. Do some research and identify at least one you will support. Talk with people in your church or community and be willing to be a voice to garner more support. Check out World Vision (www.worldvision.org) and Samaritan's Purse (www.samaritanspurse.org).

3)Go through your closet and pantry to find goods that you can donate to local charities. Most larger organizations offering aid to the hurricane victims do not have the resources (time, money, personell) to transport and organize large donations of used goods. They are already overwhelmed with trying to keep people alive. But, enable local organizations by supporting them with the supplies and resources they need. Contact your local Rescue Mission through the Association Of Gospel Rescue Mission's website (www.agrm.org) and find out how you can donate and get involved.

I believe with every fiber of my being that we can in fact make a difference in the lives of the men and women who have unwillingly been thrust into complete poverty by recent events in our country. In fact, I believe that it is our calling and Christ's command to seek ways to have impact.

This weekend, Danae and I will be doing the things that I have suggested above. Join in with us. If you have other thoughts / suggestions, please post them so that others can see them!

Grace and Peace.

-Mike.





Comment Author Comment Text
Meggis

Member Since:
2005-09-22

I heard about your book and couldnt wait to get my hands on it. Once
I got it, I could not put it down. To say thank you for such an opportunity
sounds hollow indeed..... What you did for others is affirm their humanity
in a world that seems to delight in excluding the ones who " dont fit in". In doing so, you affirmed the efforts of everyone who has reached out to the lost, forgotten, lonely, elderly, handicapped or otherwise disenfranchized
..... All my life, I have worked for justice. Many times, in this effort,
I felt like a salmon swimming upstream wondering if any of it was making a dent......that was until a schizophrenic young man I had been working with
actually uttered a cogent sentence ( to tell me thank you for listening) or
a frightened woman who had been living in her car walked in and thanked me for finding her a place to live.....Sometimes I wondered why I chose to
struggle financially myself when I saw friends making ( and spending) tons
of money in the 80s. In the end, I realized it was and is a calling and that it was God who put me in that chair in front of all those needy people.
None of us can do it alone. None of us can do it all. The important thing is
everyone needs to do something. You are putting others on notice that the
Gospel isnt just words on paper and that we are indeed our brothers keeper. God Bless and I'll be seeing you "out there"
In Christ,
Meg Heekin.

Posted: 2005-09-22 17:34:00
Bones

Member Since:
2005-09-28

I think more christians should do what you've done specaily those who preach to the homeless, I have meet more though that have at least read the book, but still dont understand. I say they need at least a week on the streets of thier town.
Its a Saturday morning in Ashland, OR. and a few local homeless people come to a "Christian" coffee shop to get free coffee and a bagel, Check there e-mail on the computor and hang-out, this week though the pastors son is getting married and the steet people are getting kicked out in the rain? Oh, well I guess its time for a shower? I pray that the Lord moves in the Body to think about the homeless more. "treat people like you'd like to be treated" the coffee & bagel are nice but they dont keep me dry.... If it was raining would you want to sit outside all day? I hope we can go "Home" soon! or that the body would grow-up and read the other half of the Bible that teaches about "being a Christian" Romans12:9~21, 1st. John 3:16~19, Matthew 25:31~46, Luke 6:20~38, 2 Timothy 3:1~9, Hebrews 13:1~6, James 2:1~13 & 14~26.......

Blessing in the name of our Lord & Savior,
Bones

Posted: 2005-10-01 11:44:00
Keightoo

Member Since:
2005-10-13

Dear Mike:

I just finished reading "Under the Overpass" and was captivated! I loved hearing about your adventures. Its something I've been talking about doing for a long time but never would or will work up the courage to do.

Your book spoke very strongly to me because I have always had a very hardened attitude toward the homeless. I'm one of those people who crosses on the other side of the street and wont look at them. I was very skeptical, thinking "if i give them money they'll spend it on booze." I know I'm not completely wrong but that's still not the right attitude to have. Your book really opened my eyes to see the difference between how Jesus treated these people and how the church treats these people. Unfortunately I can see my church doing the exact same thing that the church did that kicked you off of their property right before their potluck breakfast.

Thank you so much for opening my eyes.

I just have one question: What would you say to the skeptic who would tell you that by supporting the homeless by giving them a lunch, a blanket, or a place to sleep does more harm than good because by supporting them you are supporting the homeless way of life? What I mean is, if they had nothing to eat or nowhere to sleep they would have to take initiative for themselves and get a job or go back home or whatever. I can't help but feel like when we feed a homeless person we are only encouraging them to stay on the street because as long as people are feeding them, they have no reason to leave the streets. I recently read an article in my local paper about some people in our community who were complaining about stray cats hanging around their houses. They thought the town government should do something about the situation. The thing is, though, the people that are complaining keep putting food out for the cats because they feel bad for them. That sounds like foolishness to me because if the cats weren't getting fed, they woud leave and move on to where there is food. Do you see the parallel.

Are our rescue missions only making a problem worse?

I look forward to your thoughts.

Godspeed,
Chris Stevens.

Posted: 2005-10-13 10:03:00
There is hope

Member Since:
2005-10-24

I am almost completed with the book and felt compeled to make a comment. I work at a homeless shelter (secular) and have been skeptical a few times too. The book has helped me think about a couple of things.

I often get homeless "christians" that use Christianity as a tool to get what they want. Or so I thought. Once I started reading your experiences and really thought about it, I might be the only Christian this person has come in contact with for A LONG TIME. So, I began to think only God knows there heart and I should be a light and hope for them. If I am fooled, God will deal with them, I can only do what I know at the time. So, I have changed my thinking in that area.

I also thought about the "what if they use the money for drugs." Don't give them money as you mentioned, feed them. Then I have done what I can. Also, if they are hungry and I walk away, I am committing a bigger sin then they are abusing the system because I know Him and didn't feed Him. It is not my job to judge the situation, it is my job to give mercy like I was given.

Just some thoughts. Thanks for giving your time, your comfort, and your heart for a bigger cause than yourself. You have blessed many and made many more think so they too can be a blessing.
God continue to use you and bless you,
There is Hope

Posted: 2005-10-24 17:42:00
i love God!

Member Since:
2005-10-29

i love this page and this book! i chose to even write a boook report on it. mike keep on doing what your doing
in christ peace and love,
kara hayden

Posted: 2005-10-29 18:05:00
i love God!

Member Since:
2005-10-29

i just finished the book today! i loved it!(i new i would!) thanks for writing it, for those of you that have not read it do it you will not regret it, for those that did was it great or what?!thanks again got to go write my paper on it i will put it on here as soon as i am done
in christ more love and peace,
Kara Hayden
P.S. you rock mike!, i love you(in the jesus way!)

Posted: 2005-10-30 15:16:00
roxana s

Member Since:
2005-11-12

i got your book three days ago from a friend that lived in san francisco.(i am from Romania )this the kimd of book that once you started reading it ,you don't want to let it down ...i would say it's great but ...the truth is that i was socked to see the reality.i am 17 and i am smoking since september (2 months passed )this book showed me whait real need means ..now i am just amazed and cannot say to much but i want to come back whit another note...
i admire that there are people like u and sam that recognize God as beeing the only source of life and that are able to see beyound what is material ..
i whish this book would be translated for more romanians to read it ...
<>< roxana

Posted: 2005-11-12 11:19:00
roxana s

Member Since:
2005-11-12

i am still working on my english and on my tiping so i hope everyone will understand what i meant through my note
<><

Posted: 2005-11-12 11:22:00
i love God!

Member Since:
2005-10-29

Mike- Thyank you for coming to my school on friday! thank you for signing my book to!i know so many more people who are reading it!
in Christ's love,kara

Posted: 2005-11-13 19:19:00
i love God!

Member Since:
2005-10-29

mike-
I LOVE YOUR BOOK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!(even though i have said that) my friend is reding it right now and she won't put it down! my brother took to collage for 5 days. he came home red it and so did alot of other people. But he told me this story.......
one day when he was sitting out side his room at Bethel University some one came up to him and asked what he was reading. So he told him and they talk for some time about you. then when they were done he asked if he could read the book(and this was at 11:30 at night) my brother said sure.The next day the guy looked tired and told him i sayed up till 4:00 reding it . I could not put it down, thanks!
love,
Kara

Posted: 2005-12-01 17:21:00
gacmin

Member Since:
2005-12-07

I just saw you Mike on a local news program in Dallas this morning. It is freezing and very icy. I have been inclined to do something like what you guys did in Ft. Worth because of trying to help the homeless in the area a couple of years ago. I have hit some snags of late in regards to debt and simply going back to college and just have not been able to attend back to this area of ministry as I used to.
Also my church had to move out of the area where homeless people were due to plumbing issues with oour facilities. I was encouraged to see what you guys are doing. I have some concern that the conservative movement in the country is in the state of overcorrection and not really addressed issues of how fundamental principles are used to reach people, equip, strengthen, nuture, and even rebuke properly.
If you give any complementary copies at all I would love to read the book. It is defintely on my list on must reads.

Gary
Fort Worth

Posted: 2005-12-07 11:38:00
vestaquarius

Member Since:
2005-12-08

Hey Mike. I saw you this morning on Great Day SA, a local morning show in San Antonio, TX. I have to say that I applaude you for what you did. I don't know if you ever read "On the Road," by Jack Kerouac, but I find your story to be kind of a modern version of what he did. I definetely plan on giving your book to a lot of people for Christmas presents. I think that this is something that everyone should be informed about. A lot of people take there lives and materialistic things for granted. I heard you talking about the guy with the Ph. D. who ended up on the streets. You could lose everything in the bink of an eye. I myself, after reading "On the Road," had decided that I wanted to do something similar. However, I know have a child, and he is my main priority. I still plan on traveling, not necessarily as a homeless person, but as an activist for the homeless. I feel a need to do something in my life, and I think this is what I need to do. I too have upheld certain believes, but have never really acted upon them. I don't think that is the point of believing in something if you aren't going to TRULY believe it. Kudos.

Posted: 2005-12-08 09:37:00
mjgray

Member Since:
2005-12-09

What we can do to help is so simple, but many are unwilling. My husband and I have been going to the inner city of Atlanta for quite a few years. When we arrived the people we met were very stand-offish, for they had experienced "christian folks" before. But week in and week out we were faithful to the Lord, and gained their trust. When they asked for things, such as social security cards, and help with state ID's, clothes and other necessities we came through. And the ones who began to trust us, we invited to our home to get their lives back, or should I say, get their lives! We have taken in over 10 people in the last 3 years and helped them to see a better tomorrow, and teach them the truth of the love of God, and how Jesus came to change us all. They have gotten jobs, been delivered from addictions, given their lives to the One who made them, and are now praising His Name.
Take them in, one at time. We have stressed this over an over in our local church, yet no one will step forward. If every CHURCH took in 3 to 4 homeless people and helped them to restore their lives, we would not have a homeless problem in America. There are churches on every corner. Yet no one wants to let a stranger in their home. Jesus said in Matthew that we are to take the stranger in, feed, clothe, and give them a drink. We don't have much, and my husband and I both work outside the home, but we know Jesus has commanded this of those who love Him, so it is such a natural response. What we have comes from Him any way, and we are only stewards, so who are we to say to the Owner of our homes and cars, etc., no we will not let You use it for Your purpose and glory.
It just takes trust on our part and God works out the rest! I know it works, and we owe it all to God! To Him be the glory forever and ever!!!
In our city, we have one mission. Millions of people and thousands of homeless, and one mission. How sad that is. Though we only make a difference one life at a time, you must start somewhere.
May this make a difference to anyone who reads this!!!!
Growing in His love and grace daily,
Marcia


Posted: 2005-12-10 09:51:00
glgray

Member Since:
2005-12-10

Having worked with the homeless for over three years now, i do not think that we yet fully comprehend the depth of the homeless plight. Many become homeless by poor decisions and then are swallowed by the enemy's traps. They become bound even worse than before. The providing of shelters and some food does not begin to address their needs. Often it takes months to gain their trust. Trust is key. Lost identity, health and legal issues are rampant along with a litany of addictions either inherent or acquired by life under the bridges. It is going to take the willingness of our Christian leaders to put GODS resources where it is most needed. Instead of building bigger mega churches we need to take care of the widows, orphans and the poor. It is a monumental task only in that we must consider others before ourselves. The true prosperity of God is being hoarded by thousands of so called men of God for their own glory and power rather than being distributed to the needs of those who are truly lost. My prayer is that we will not have to be reminded again and again of our neglect of Gods purposes. I pray that we submit to the hand of GOD and begin to do His will not ours. The commercialism of the gospel has turned aside many a lost soul. We need to stand up and demand that our leaders begin to respond to the true calling of JESUS. If we do not then we are just as culpable as they are. What these lost souls need, is not clinical solutions but GODLY answers. The sacrifice will be great but the question is. Are we willing? We need to open up our churches and homes to tend to them on a personal level. They need to have a personal relationship with the LOVE of Christ. As GOD is all about relationship we must make it our goal to help them to gain one with GOD. It can not be accomplished except by one on one, family on family mentoring and guidance.

Posted: 2005-12-10 10:08:00
K-lat

Member Since:
2005-12-11

First off. I guess this is kinda stupid to be up til 3 am during finals week at college to write a messege on a book website.

but....

I really won't bore you with details on how I came across this book or anything else, except to say that I finished it today. (As you very well may know) In college it is pretty unusual for me not to be reading at least 3 books at a time but your book hit a cord, and all the other books came to a hault to read under the overpass.

I could tell you story after story of some of my experiences with the homeless in Chicago when I went to school there....but I am at a place of now what? And I'm glad I feel God has called me to start with the simple. I think I'm going to bake some Christmas cookies and go around to all of the places I remember homeless were in Chicago and hand them out. Something simple you know? God has really been bringing me out of the comfortable. I feel as though so many poeple have these calls to go to Africa and some far off place, but when God calls them to talk to someone across a coffee shop or reach out to a homeless person on their way to work....that somehow those calls are not as important as the calls to far off lands. So as in Comfortable I mean ...before I can go out to far off lands to preach of the Love of Christ shouldn't I be able to follow the compelling purpose of God in the everyday? Now I'm not saying the calls to far off lands (New orleans, Africa) are not important ...they are. I need to Listen for his voice in the everyday.

"Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, "This is the way; walk in it." -Isaiah 30:21

I really just want to say thank you for you and for Sam and for listening to God's forever directing voice. I am so challenged by what you did. And for now will be listening to God's call in my life ...what might he be asking me to risk? to go? to do?

Thank you

Your Brother in Christ, Kelly Latimore 1 Peter 4:7-10


Posted: 2005-12-11 04:23:00
Romans8:28

Member Since:
2005-12-21

An amazing thing happened when I was reading your book. I believe I had gotten to the part right before you had mentioned to " probably not" give money to the homeless.
Anyway. I was at work (in a convalescent hospital) and this man and woman walked into the home because it was raining outside and freezing. So my friend Pat and I let them in and gathered up some blankets and pillows and let them into a dining room that had comfy couches. We did not let them stay in a bed for the safety of our residents.
Anyway my boss seen them and quickly walked up to them and threw them out. Literally! When I saw this I almost cried because of the freezing temperatures outside and they seemed pretty honest. To top it off their names were Matthew and Rachael. So the only place i could think of shelter was my car. So they slept there. Before they left the next morning around 7:00am I gathered the last of my $ which was $60 and gave it to them...big mistake. I also gave him my Bible because that is the best gift in my opinion. Anyway I wanted to let You know that your book was a blessing because I would not have let them stay in my car. I usually would think that that was taking it too far. But God placed that in my heart through your book. And it was a blessing. Being a doer of the word is far better than a hearer only because that is when you get to see God work through you. Thanks and Glory to God

Posted: 2005-12-21 14:53:00
i love God!

Member Since:
2005-10-29

Hi every one-merry Christmas

Posted: 2005-12-26 17:52:00
mjgray

Member Since:
2005-12-09

Hey Mike,
Does anyone ever read the comments, or journal of others? Or are they too busy telling of what the book did for them???
Missions????? I can think of no greater mission field then your "back yard", I mean even the Son of God told His disciples to start in Judea...who are we that we think we are any better, or different????
The church needs to wake up, and get busy! Jesus is coming back soon, and we each must give an account!!! Not of reading books, but of what we have done, or not done, as the case may be!!!!!!
A servant of the King,
mjgray

Posted: 2005-12-27 13:12:00
vivianmartindal

Member Since:
2006-01-02

Like many others who left comments, I just finished your book. It was amazing. Thank you... I work with the youth at our church, actually it's my job. I am the student misitries assistant and I have the joy of planning missions trip for our high school students. This past summer we took a trip to Seattle, Portland and San Francisco to work with the homeless. Just like in your book we were the groups who helped out in rescue missions, but since we took 70 students it was a difficult finding places to keep them busy every day. Most facilities would only take 10-15 students at a time. So to keep the students busy we would walk the streets of these cities handing out back packs filled with necessity items, toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, shampoo, deodarant, granola bars, socks, jackets, pants, fast food certificates, sm Bible,etc., these packs were prepared by our students and prayed over, asking God to lead them to someone who needed to know someone cared. some were given out with everything included, while others reached in each bag and handed out items to many people. The students who did this received many blessings and stories from the street people. The stories they have from there summer trip were amazing. The compassion they gave to these people was unbelievable. While reading your book the summer of 2005mission trip was remembered, the streets you walked and some of your stories brought backmany memories. Mike and Sam your stories have once again helped to inspire our weekly homeless ministry in Riverside and the summer mission trip that will take place again this June 2006. Thanks for going out into the world, thanks for leaving your comfort zone and stepping out into a world where people are not loved by most people. God has used you in not only the lives of the homeless but he will using your book and your stories with the student at FBCY. Thank you... Oh yeah, It is a dream of mine to have you come and speak to our kids and help to set a fire in there lives.

Vivian Martindale,
Student Minsitries Assistant
First Baptist Church Yucaipa

Posted: 2006-01-03 00:17:00
i love God!

Member Since:
2005-10-29

Hey every one-
This is so cool read this story. You will think it is so cool.

SOMEBODYS RAISING THEIR KID RIGHT!


One Nation, "Under God."

One day a 6 year old girl was sitting in a classroom. The teacher was going to explain evolution to the children. The teacher asked a little boy:

Tommy do you see the tree outside?

TOMMY: Yes

TEACHER: Tommy, do you see the grass outside?
TOMMY: Yes.
TEACHER: Go outside and look up and see if you can see the sky.
TOMMY: Okay. (He returned a few minutes later) Yes, I saw the sky.
TEACHER: Did you see God up there?
TOMMY: No.
TEACHER: That's my point. We can't see God because he isn't there.

Possibly he just doesn't exist.

A little girl spoke up and wanted to ask the boy some questions.
The teacher agreed and the little girl asked the boy: Tommy, do you see the tree outside?
TOMMY: Yes.
LITTLE GIRL: Tommy do you see the grass outside?
TOMMY: Yessssss!
LITTLE GIRL: Did you see the sky?
TOMMY: Yessssss!
LITTLE GIRL: Tommy, do you see the teacher?
TOMMY: Yes
LITTLE GIRL: Do you see her brain?
TOMMY: No
LITTLE GIRL: Then according to what we were taught today in school, she possibly may not even have one!
(You Go Girl!)

Don't forget to pass this on! I love this one. Everyone should
send this to everyone they know, especially today with prayer restricted in schools.






Posted: 2006-01-07 17:29:00
imbarnabus

Member Since:
2006-01-12

WONDERFUL BOOK!
I struggle to find just the right words to "Thank you" enough for writing this book. Your ABSOLUTE faith in the Lord and examples of COMPLETE trust in Him are beautiful. I pray that the Lord blesses you both the way you have blessed mine by reading this book. I laughed, cried and most of all learned by 2 great examples. Thanks for bringing some healing to old painful memories. May God TRULY bless you!
-Terri
Hebrews 13:20,21

Posted: 2006-01-12 13:48:00
 








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