Thursday, October 11, 2018

Homeless Pastor of the Park

     A number of years ago a conversation began with Joe.  He came out of a life of drugs, alcohol, and women and was beginning to recognize His need for Jesus.  For several months, I encouraged him in his new found walk with God.  I felt like the Lord was calling him to be a “pastor” of Tompkins Square Park.  He knew a lot of the guys that hung around there and was familiar with their lifestyle.  They needed to hear that Jesus can set them free.  In those conversations, I shared with him that we are not meant to be “lone ranger” Christians.  We need to be part of a local church.  At the time, it was hard for him to swallow but he took it to heart. 

     Fast forward to present day, many of the truths of those talks he is now walking out.  A local pastor continually reached out to him and encouraged him to stay for their Bible study group.  Finally, to get him off his back, he stayed.  Now he keeps going back.  Joe often shares with me how being part of the group has helped him.  He sees for himself that being part of the Body of Christ has made a difference in his life.  Not only that, the pastor speaks purpose over his life because he recognizes his calling. 

     Joe is beginning to accept it and surrendering to what God is placing in his life.  Guys from the park keep coming to him for counsel.  He often tells them how Jesus has changed his life.  Joe is also being given responsibilities in different places that he volunteers and works.  Others are recognizing his gifts and putting him in positions of influence.  God is lifting him up because he is humbling himself. 

     It is our joy to encourage him along the way.  Joe’s circumstances have not changed – he’s still homeless – but his heart has changed.  Keep Joe in prayer as he continues along the path that God has for him.