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A Homeless man Church goers ignored…

I am sure many have read this story online, as it has been around for a while now, but I just felt God urging me to share it on my blog and hoping that it touches and opens hearts to those in need in this country.

Pastor dresses as a homeless man...

Pastor dresses as a homeless man…

A pastor transformed himself into a homeless man and came 30 minutes before worship to a church of 10,000 to greet those coming to attend that morning worship. Many looked at him with stares, dirty looks, and down their nose at him. He asked for change for food and no one gave him any. Only 3 people of the 7-10,000 came up to greet him and welcome him there. He went to sit up in the front row and the ushers ushered him to the back row. He sat and listened to the morning announcements and following that the ushers got up and excitedly (they were in on him dressing this way) introduced the congregation to their new pastor. They began to clap and the clapping soon stopped when the homeless man at the back got up and began to walk to the front and the congregation became quiet. He walked up to the microphone and paused for a moment and began to recite:

“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.

“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ ‘The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” Matthew 25:35-45

After he recites these verses he looks towards the congregation and begins to tell them what he experienced before the service began and many were crying and many others hung their heads in shame. He then said to them, “Today I see a gathering of people, not a church of Jesus Christ. The world has enough people, but not enough disciples. When will YOU decide to become disciples?” He then dismisses church until next week.

Our walk with Christ should be more than talk – it should be action and we should be the feet of Jesus on earth. More importantly we are not these people’s judge, but God calls us to help our brothers and sisters in Christ. Many think it will never, ever happen to them, but one can never be sure of that – countless people have experienced hardships that they never dreamed they would ever have to face or live through. God never promises life will be without problems, besides problems make one stronger, more humble, and keeps you closer to Christ. If everything went your way and you had no troubles you would have no need for a Savior!

When I was younger I read the novel by Charles Sheldon called “In His Steps.” It was based on sermons Sheldon gave to his congregation in Topeka, Kansas. In this book Rev. Henry Maxwell encounters a homeless man who challenges him to take seriously the imitation of Christ. It was a great read and one that makes you question the things you encounter in life and ask “What Would Jesus Do?”

The homeless pastor above gave his church members something to ponder the first week he was there and to question their walk in Christ. We are to be a light in this dark world, we are to reach out and help the less fortunate whether we think they deserve it or not and treat them as we would want to be treated.

I am presently experiencing a loss of my job, which happened back in December 2013, due to no fault of my own. I know if I did not have my family, who is helping me, that I could also find myself homeless and down and out. Did I deserve to be laid off – NO, but we live in a world where there are no guarantees and what was once a sure thing today may not be a sure thing tomorrow. Even people who find themselves fired do not often deserve it, employers in most states do not need a solid reason to send you packing and it can be as lame as not wearing the right color pantyhose to work or having the wrong view point – it may have nothing to do with your work performance and may have everything to do with their personal preferences of what they are wanting in an employee. That is the evil world we live in now days.

I doubt the majority of homeless, down on their luck people wished to be in the shoes they are in now or without their job. I doubt any of them love to go up to total strangers and beg for change to get a hot cup of coffee or a sandwich for lunch that day. Can you for a moment place yourself in the shoes of those who have less and think of how it feels to have no one to help you, no one to turn to for assistance when you find yourself without money or resources to pull yourself out of a pit?

America is a country God blessed for so many years and He has given it much and the land of plenty should never have had homeless or people down on their luck living within its borders. Could this be another reason God is judging this great nation?

This week when you encounter someone homeless or down on their luck – what can you do to make a difference in their life? What can you do to get out of your comfort zone and be a bright light in their dark world? Put yourself in their shoes and ask how you would want to be treated and What Would Jesus Do if He were here? It will make your life much richer to not question, but to do what you can for another – it can change your heart and life in ways you never imagined! 🙂

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Freeing the Innocent Imprisoned…

This is happening all across our great nation – people are being imprisoned for crimes they did not commit and it is taking them years to prove they’re innocent. Do you think it cannot happen to you – the people listed below did not think it would happen to them, but yet they are or were imprisoned. Please take time to read the stories of the people listed below. Maybe you know of someone wrongfully convicted – please feel free to share. NONE of US are safe from this happening – it just takes being at or near the crime, even if you did not know a crime occurred, it takes just one eyewitness putting you at the crime scene – or someone that fits the description, it takes a false confession after hours and hours of interrogation, it is stating something and having your words twisted and used against you, and the tactics used by police, investigators, prosecutors, and the legal system becomes more and more corrupt and questionable.

Back in August 2013 I watched a Dateline piece about Barry Beach, a man serving 100 years in a Montana prison for a crime he states he did not commit – the murder of Kim Nees, a girl who went to the same school he did in Poplar, Montana. I listened to the 1-hour program and then went on an investigation of my own into his case through Montanans for Justice website and read, listened to more audio and YouTube videos in regards to his case. I came to the conclusion that this man was innocent and did not deserve to be serving a 100 year sentence, especially since this happened in his late teen years. I began to follow his case. You can read it in its entirety here: http://montanansforjustice.com/app/

A short time after that I heard another story on Dateline about a young man named Ryan Ferguson who was convicted of killing a newspaper man in Columbia, Missouri, Kent Heitholt. He had just graduated high school and he went out with a friend, Charles Erickson, to a local club, which was just a few short blocks from the newspaper. His friend Charles Erickson began to think because he could not remember what he did that night, that he might be the killer. This is where it begins to go bad when Charles confesses to killing Kent and his accomplish, he states, was Ryan Ferguson. I began to follow his story and you can read it here – http://www.ksdk.com/story/news/local/2013/11/13/ryan-ferguson-timeline/3520063/ Ryan is now a free man!!

I am following the Fairbanks Four who were convicted of killing a young man – their story is here: http://thefairbanksfour.com/ They are still fighting for their release from prison for a crime they have always stated they did not commit and were falsely convicted on one man’s eye witness of them the night of the crime.

Another success story: Michael Morton who was convicted to supposedly killing his wife in their own home, which was found to be not true – the real killer was finally revealed, but the evidence was always there pointing to his innocence: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Morton_(Criminal_Justice) and a book by Ken Johnson Sr. is available in Kindle format called Depraved Prosecution for .99 cents.

The case of Frank O’Connell who was convicted of killing Jay French by only one eye-witness identification, who has recanted his testimony and admitted he only had a fleeting eye view of the assailant. Frank was released and is now a free man. Here is his story: http://www.centurionministries.org/cases/frank-o-connell/

The story of Leonard Peltier, a political prisoner who many believe should be released from prison. He was convicted of killing two FBI agents on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation back in 1975 and has been in prison for over 29 years. Two other men involved in the shoot-out that happened on June 26, 1975 were tried in an Iowa court and found not guilty and said they fired their guns in self-defense, but they pretty much threw the book at Leonard and you can read his case here: http://www.freeleonard.org/case/index.html

It is estimated that 20,000 people in America’s prisons are innocent. Whether due to sloppy investigation of the scene, corrupt investigators/law enforcement, lack of wanting to do the foot work needed to find the true perpetrator of the crime, lawyers/judges who are climbing the ladder in their career or for political reasons – it is more than a probability that it could happen to any one of us or someone we know! You may think this does not affect you – but it DOES – because tragically it does not take much, it can be something so subtle and yet they will hold you, question you, accuse you, and convict you even if nothing else has matched you to the crime scene, no DNA, no fingerprints or footprints have to match, no hair has to match, etc. It is tunnel vision crime investigating/prosecuting and in many cases these people are deadly wrong in whom they have chosen to zero in on. The cases above prove this and countless others who are still sitting in prison awaiting a chance to tell their story and prove they are innocence.

You can help these people by writing to the Congressmen in their state, the governors, attorney generals, the FBI, anyone you think may listen and either open the investigation again or reconsider their stance on any given case – does it help – it cannot hurt, will it free them – it may and you could have been the light in this dark world who made it happen! Other ways you can help is to pray over the leaders that have control in making the decisions to release those falsely imprisoned, you can contact the prisoners and let them know you are praying for them and encourage them, you can become involved and volunteer in your local Innocence Projects within your state and help them with freeing those falsely convicted. Banding together we can make a difference and shed some light on how wrong these convictions are. It affects all of us!

God calls us to minister to those in prison – in Matthew 25:36 it states: “I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.” In Acts 12:5 it talks about when Peter was in prison and many prayed for him: “So Peter was kept in prison, but earnest prayer for him was made to God by the church.” There is much we can all do to help these people and if it was us, we would hope for someone to reach out and support us!

Become informed, read about each of these cases – take the time to do a little investigating of your own – some have been freed by Innocence projects in their own states – some are still waiting for their freedom and a chance in court, some may never gain their freedom back. Our criminal system is faulty! If this were to happen to you or a loved one – what would you hope that others could do for you or them? Don’t think it cannot happen – it is happening more and more in this country. It is time to take a stand and become informed and write to those who are in power and encourage them to change laws and stop the imprisoning of innocent people.