Stepping Out In Faith – A Guests Testimony

images (17)Great things continue to happen at  Project WARM when volunteers step out in faith for God. This is a testimony from a volunteer from last week. A very powerful message for the guests:

“Tonight at Project WARM was the most meaningful night of volunteering for me to date. I made special cards with the words to Amazing Grace on the inside with a handwritten message simply saying “Praying for you” on the inside.

The card and song was part of my message from Ephesians 2:1-9, message being that God’s amazing grace is what saves us and not the great works we do, or who we are in the world. None of that matters! God loves us unconditionally and I am so thankful for that!

After I prayed, talked about God’s love for us all, no matter where we are in our lives or the mistakes we make that God will always love us! I thanked them for listening and they thanked me for coming and then Jon Stevens asked me to tell them my story.

Really, my whole story? I did. I told about the first time I used cocaine and the hold it got on me at age 25 and that I was addicted for 14 years to meth and cocaine. Ashamed and not wanting my family to know anything about it, I never went to rehab to quit. I reached out to God and prayed hard letting Him know that I did not want to die like this!

A guest interrupted me at that point and said….”That was your rehab!” God was my rehab! I agreed with him!

I have not used since that day, have never looked back and have never had the urge to use drugs again.

God grabbed my hand and answered my prayer for life.

I thank Him every day for letting me live and I know that I am alive to tell my story to everyone that needs to hear it. To hear that there is life after addiction and that God loved me at my best and loved me the same at my worst, I just had to call upon Him!

When I was finished, I let them know that I come there to give them hope, I care about each of them and that I pray for their safety, health and a better life every day. If I didn’t have a family that supplied my place to live, I would have been on the streets just like them.

The man that interrupted my story apologized before I left for butting in! I let him know that he was right, God is way better than other rehab options! He wanted to give me a hug! He was high, his eyes were red, but he related to my story and knows there is hope!
He thanked me for being there, many or them thanked me for being there!

I’ve never left Project WARM with a round of applause along with handshakes and lots of hugs like tonight! I have connected with many more men on a whole new level now thanks to Jon asking for me to tell my story! He said that he wanted these guys to know why I am really there, not just a woman from a church with a bible reading lesson. Of course, I am a woman, from Clay Church with a very important message about God’s love! Thank you Jon! It was simply amazing tonight!”

Praying and Giving a Message – Part 2

imagesWe have had some great feedback over the last two months about the messages and prayer at Project WARM.   The guests have responded in some great ways after hearing the messages and we all want to make them as impactful as possible.   Here are some helpful suggestions when preparing and giving the prayer and messages while you are volunteering at Project WARM.  Keep in mind that the goal of the message time is for the guests to hear the living Word – John 6:63 states “ …The words I have spoken to you—they are full of the Spirit and life”.

  • Keep your messages short and Biblically relevant.  A message that is 3-5 minutes is more than enough to read a few verses and explain how that might be relevant to you.  Keep in mind that we aren’t trying to create a sermon here – just a time that the Bible is read and commented on how it is relevant to ALL of our lives.  Let the Word speak for itself – don’t over explain the message if there is no explanation needed.  If you would like to add an explanation describe how those verses relate to YOUR life is the best approach.  Try not to create an “us and them” message.
  • Keep the tone of the message relavant to “everyone”.  Romans 3:32 states “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”.  In giving a message or a verse to a guest remember that ALL of us fall short of the glory of God and that we all have sinned.  We are no better than the guests – pick a message that is comfortable to give not only to the guests but also your neighbors.  Don’t pick a message that is controversial or overly heavy handed to the guests situation.  When preparing a verse don’t think of one guests situation – think of everyone there.
  • Think love, not fear -Most of the guests know Christ.  1John 4:18 says ” There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love”.    Messages should be focused on love and not condemnation or what someone may lack.  Messages that continually focus on the the guests being lost can create a more negative environment that doesn’t encourage hope.

Through the reading of the Word God is at work.

Are We Just Enabling Bad Behavior?

images (15)One of the most frequent questions we receive is “Project WARM sounds great and all, but are you just enabling these men to drink every night and then come in to a safe place but never really helping them?”  Great question!

To be honest we have wrestled mightily with this question in the past.  It would be easy to keep Project WARM as a safe ministry that has a goal of keeping men in a warm environment so they do not freeze to death during the cold winters of South Bend.  We firmly believe that God does not want men to die on the streets.  If we just left it at this we would still be wrestling with the question about enabling behavior that God doesn’t agree with. (Eph. 5:18, Gal 5:21, Prov 20:1, 1Peter 5:8, and on and on).

What we have done at Project WARM is redefine the enablement.  By allowing up to 30 men to come in we are enabling the volunteers to share the love of Christ with them.  We are enabling the opportunity for Matthew 28:19 (Go and make disciples of all nations) to happen at a specific location every night. We are enabling God to show up and touch the lives of the guests.  We are enabling Christian volunteers to step way out of their comfort zone and take some risks for God.  With that enablement and those risks we have seen some really amazing things happen.

 

So are we enabling – Praise God YES! 

 

Romans 10:14-15

How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?  And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”

Project WARM Bible Study

images (14)The Project WARM Bible Study has been an interesting journey for us. Some weeks we have 15, others we have 5. We have been walking through the Gospel of John and a week ago we read, prayed and discussed John 4 – the woman at the well. There was a lot of discussion around the woman, who was so taken by Jesus and his quick discussion that she left her water jar, presumably quite valuable to her, and RAN to tell her village about Jesus. We learn later that many came to know Jesus because of her testimony. At the end of the study I handed them a printout of John 4.

What was cool is one of the guests that attended that morning stopped me over the weekend and mentioned that he really loved that so much that he shared the story of the woman at the well with 8 or 10 other people on the streets and he shared the handout with them.

As I write this I am a little struck that what I perceived as a small Bible study to show how much God loves the guests at Project WARM, is also something that God had plans for as well.

Thank you God for being so much more than we could ever dream.