Tag Archives: generosity

Podcast 22: Alan Graham – Welcome Homeless

I’m thrilled to be having a conversation with Alan Graham on the podcast today about his ministry and his new book! He is an inspiration for sure- funny, down to earth, wise and inspiring. I’m so grateful for his “YES!” to sharing his heart with us! Listen in, you will love him!

You can buy Alan’s new book, “Welcome Homeless” here: http://mlf.org/welcomehomeless/#_preorder-now

ABOUT THE BOOK
Homeless. No other word better describes our modern-day suffering. It reveals one of our deepest and most painful conditions—not having a sense of belonging. However, Alan Graham, founder of Mobile Loaves & Fishes and Community First! Village, is improving the quality of life for a vast number of people by sharing his personal story of becoming more human through humanizing others. In Welcome Homeless, Graham delves deep into what it means to be connected to God, the earth, and each other. In doing so, he shows us the home we’ve all longed for but never had.

Graham wants to engrain the human story in you so deeply that you start being who you were made to be—that you start being like the image from which you were made. In Welcome Homeless, Graham also shares the stories of the homeless, and the stories of those whose worldviews have been shifted by the homeless in a raw, humorous, and honest voice. Home is fundamentally a place of connection and of relationships that are life-giving and foundational, and Graham invites you to make everyone feel truly at home by finally inviting those living on the fringes of society into your heart.

To learn more about Mobile Loaves & Fishes, click here: www.mlf.org You can also find a link to give for Amplify Austin, March 2nd-3rd, on the website.

 

 

 

Usher or Bouncer?

blog usher bouncer I read somewhere on the internet (I just cringed as I wrote that – I really can’t remember where I read it – sad but true – so much good stuff and I’m always reading!) a great question.  Here it is.  Are you an Usher or a Bouncer?

I love this. Especially as it applies to Christians and church and community.  To me this question is critical.

Which is it?  Are you an usher or a bouncer?

Do you welcome people in, invite them to sit, shake hands, maybe hug, smile, accept, connect?

Or do you shut people out, condemn, judge, deny, disconnect and hurt?

What are we called to do as Christians?  As humans?

I’m thinking of that song, “Rockstar” by Nickelback. “I’m through with standing in lines to clubs I’ll never get in…” Can you hear it? Aren’t we all.  Who wants to “not get in”?

I love to read about Studio 54 and it’s heyday.  I love the music and the fashion and the celebrities and the craziness.  I’m reminded now of the velvet rope and the bouncers and all of the “pretty people” getting in while others waited for hours to be rejected.

Rejection hurts.  Feeling not enough is the worst feeling – not pretty enough or rich enough or smart enough or good enough.  We’ve all felt this way at one time or another and it hurts.

 Karen Armstrong said this: “Look into your own heart, discover what it is that gives you pain and then refuse, under any circumstance whatsoever, to inflict that pain on anybody else.” 

Rejection gives me pain. I never want to make anyone feel rejected.

I want to be an usher.

An usher lightens the load for others.  They say, “Welcome, come in, sit down, we’ve saved a spot for you, we were waiting for you,  you are important, we are glad you are here.”

This is how we build community.  This is how we honor Jesus and His message.  He said “Come to me all who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.” He didn’t mention anything about the proper outfit or the right partner or the fancy background or the perfect past.

He invites everyone and when they show up in our lives…no matter where we are…we can usher them in.  If not physically into a place, we can usher them into a feeling of acceptance and love with a smile, a connection, a helping hand.  We can see them.  We can welcome them.

With regards to the church unfortunately I have known a lot of bouncers.  It makes me sad to think of this because so many people have been turned away from Jesus because of the “bouncers” at church living under a false notion that they are in charge of who gets in and out.  It’s sad and it’s maddening and frightening and infuriating and pathetic really.

We are called to be Ushers.

I am so grateful for all of the ushers in my life.  The ones who really know Jesus and His message of Love.  The ones who told me and showed me that to live in Christ is to live in Joy.  They welcomed me and showed me a path to generosity and kindness and non-judgment and wholeness and love and Freedom.

We are all invited.  Jesus is saving a place for all of us at His table.  I don’t just mean His table in Heaven but also His “table” here on earth. It’s good to know when we get to the table – no matter the path we took to get there and no matter the shape we are in when we finally accept His invitation and we show up… He will be there with open arms to usher us in.

©2013 Sue Bidstrup  Great Big Yes™  All Rights Reserved.

 

 

Tebow is in the flow

picture from
http://www.9news.com/news/article/235462/72/Tebowing-becomes-officially-recognized-as-a-word
 
Sorry but I can’t help myself.  I need to write about Tebow again.  I’m captivated!
 

Tebow is in the flow. (Flow is the mental state of operation in which a person in an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and success in the process of the activity.)

This is his time.We don’t know how long it will last but it’s thrilling and fascinating and inspiring.  Just sit back and watch and enjoy.  His message is positive.  He is filled with optimism and gratitude and generosity of spirit.  Grab the kids, pop some popcorn and turn on the Broncos. 

He has everyone talking and writing about him.   Which means they are talking and writing about faith and Jesus and witnessing and evangelizing and praying.  This is a really good thing.  This conversation is important.  Even if you don’t agree with what he believes in, he is authentic and his faith is real and you can feel it. 

This is about Tebow from an article written by Frank Bruni of the New York Times:

He reminds us that strength comes in many forms and some people have what can be described only as a gift for winning, which isn’t synonymous with any spreadsheet inventory of what it supposedly takes to win.

This gift usually involves hope, confidence and a special composure, all of which keep a person in the game long enough, with enough energy and stability, so that a fickle entity known as luck might break his or her way. For Tebow that state of mind comes from his particular relationship with his chosen God and is a matter of religion. For someone else it might be understood and experienced as the power of positive thinking, and is a matter of psychology. Either way it boils down to stubborn optimism and bequeaths a spark. A swagger.  An edge.

Click here for a link to a video essay by Bob Costas about Tebow.  http://video.nbcsports.msnbc.com/nbc-sports/45636229#null

Watching Tebow after the game last night, I was most struck by his generosity and his gratitude (and his smile).  He said his receivers “make me look better than I am”.  He thanked Jesus and complimented all of his teammates and did not take the credit.  He literally smiled the entire time.  You can tell he is really enjoying this!

Isn’t that half the battle?  It makes me wonder…is he enjoying himself because he’s winning or is he winning because he’s enjoying himself? Either way, it’s fun to watch.   

The truth is that “It’s all good”.  Until you believe that, you will be clawing and fighting your way to “winning” which will remain out of your reach as long as you are clawing and fighting. 

 Be positive. Smile. Thank God.  Thank others. Praise others. Hope for the best. Imagine yourself succeeding.  Expect the best of yourself and others. Trust. Hope. Believe.

It’s not difficult to figure out what to do but it’s very difficult to do it.  That’s why we are so drawn to him.  He is different and we can feel it.  His unbridled enthusiasm and sincerity are rare.  He’s showing us what faith in action looks like with his charities and his leadership and his testimony and his being

Thanks for the reminder Tim. Keep it up!  The whole world is watching. 

©2011 Sue Bidstrup, Great Big Yes™ All Rights Reserved