Archive for August, 2010

1000th person experiences Dignity Serves

August 25, 2010

We have been teaching Dignity Serves now for roughly two years and recently led the 1000th person through the curriculum. More importantly those who have gone through the study consistently report growing in their faith, becoming more committed to God and asking for help, and report learning how to serve others more effectively. Many people claim that the principles completely reshape their understanding of how to help. Nearly everyone also claims that they would recommend the materials to a friend. This is all good news. It’s been a blessing to be involved. I’m looking forward to the next 1000.

I find myself learning something new every time I teach a lesson. People in groups bring many creative insights to the table and stretch my understanding of how best to help others. I am working to incorporate what we’ve learned from groups. Version Four is nearing completion. The main changes are the removal of some content and the addition of more instruction for leading groups through the exercises.

Here’s a picture from the group. Can’t decide who exactly is the 1000th person. I’m going to just say it’s Russ, the guy in the red shirt. We should give him a prize. The group is from Rock Orlando, a new church and outreach center. They are an awesome group. Look for them to be a part of some amazing stories of transformation.

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An Atheist’s Three Hour Prayer

August 19, 2010

Steve signed up for a prayer walk at the church because he thought it was weird. “They are going to walk around and pray…for three hours…three hours? What?” Steve was an atheist. Praying seemed kind of silly in the first place. Praying for three hours while walking around in a group seemed, well, um, like he just had to see that for himself. So he did. He signed up, showed up, and started walking. Steve didn’t really think that they would actually pray for that long. But they did. The earnest little group of Christians prayed over every seat, every office, and for every ministry of the church. They prayed for the neighborhood, the city, and for many countries throughout the world. They prayed for friends, family, the sick, the lost, the found, the wayward, the imprisoned, the exploited, and the lonely.

Then they prayed for Steve. And this changed his life. At the end of the walk they asked one another for prayer requests. Steve shared his story. He had been homeless for eight years in four different states. He was tired of it but knew nothing else. He once had a bad drug problem but that too had lost its appeal. He was bored. He was alone. He was very sad. The group of prayers asked if they could lay hands on him and lift him up in prayer. He said it was ok because he felt he could trust them a little more than he usually trusted folks he didn’t know. So they prayed that God would help him. And He did.

Steve felt something happen that day. He wasn’t sure what but he knew it was something. A week later as he was walking down the street he passed a small chapel. He noticed that the door was ajar and he wondered what would happen if he went inside and prayed for three hours by himself. So he did. Towards the end of his prayer he cried out to God, “You are going to have to change me God, because I can’t change. I give my life to you completely.” He felt it again, that same feeling he had the week before when the group prayed for him. This time he sensed it was the hand of God. He sensed something else too. He thought, “I will never sleep on the street again.”

That was ten months ago and he hasn’t slept on the street since. His life hasn’t been easy but his commitment to God is real. The next time I saw Steve was two months after the prayer walk and I hardly recognized him. His hair was cut. He had on nice clothes and emitted an infectious smile. He was with two guys he was mentoring. Amazing.

Steve was invited to be a part of a service project day at a local church. He was a long-term homeless man. He was not used to being invited to things. The invitation, the prayer, the fellowship set up the conditions for God to change his life. Dignity Serves.