Yesterday I went to see Tennessee at the hospital.
I stopped by Charlie’s room first- he has been in for a few weeks- he’s doing ok- but was on a respirator at first.
I didn’t know if I would find Tennessee’s’ room- I mean I only know him by this name- his street name.
On the way up the elevator- I recognized a guy from the bluff ‘hey- do you know Tennessee’?
‘Yeah- he’s my brother- I’m going to his room right now’.
Cool- I’ll follow.
Tennessee is the friend I have been writing about- Dirk stabbed him last week.
Now- the first day I got the news- I heard it from the street ‘yeah- he’s dead- his Aorta was cut..’
But- I knew some of these reports were from street people- and I waited for a more reliable version.
Then the mission had someone call the hospital- and they said he was alright- expected to make it.
As a matter of fact- Henry- my buddy- said ‘Yeah- if his Aorta was cut- he would be dead’.
I worked EMS for 25 years- I have never heard of someone living with a wound like that.
So- as I head to the room- I go in and Tennessee is surprised to see me.
Lots of his friends said they would go- but many didn’t make it.
He’s lying here- on the bed- with a scar that you get when you have open heart surgery.
He looks good [I’ll post the pics] and he tells me that 2 major arteries to his heart were severed [his Aorta was severed].
And he had a punctured lung.
All week doctors came to see him- they never had a case- where someone in the field [not in a hospital setting where you can do this during open heart surgery] had a severed Aorta- and lived.
They said when he came in- his heart was still pumping- a medical miracle.
Of course I prayed for him- and my buddy who stabbed him- but this is really a miracle.
I prayed for him there in the bed- his brother was there.
I told Tennessee ‘you have been sober for a week now- why don’t you give it a shot- I’m 14 months sober- you can do it’.
To be honest- I don’t think he even thought of it.
His brother admitted something while I spoke- he told Tennessee that he ‘messed up’.
Tennessee thought he meant he went and drank- but his brother- without saying it- meant worse.
I told Tennessee ‘no- he means the ‘other stuff’.
His brother was clean for 6 years- and used some stuff right after Tennessee was stabbed.
Pops- who was waiting downstairs for me- he too relapsed after a relative was severely burned in the World Trade Center attacks on 911.
So- this does happen.
Tennessee told me ‘Yeah- I know Dirks out- on the street- I won’t press charges- I’m not a snitch’.
None of these guys trust the cops- even if one of them is on his death bed.
I went and got Pop’s downstairs- he was at the hospital visiting Charly- so I gave him a ride home- spent a couple of hours with him.
I have been very busy- and I needed to spend a little time on this side of town- where the halfway house and all this other stuff is going on.
I took Pop’s back to his house- he’s distraught over Charly- Pops has been a sort of surrogate father for Charly for many years.
Charly is a severe alcoholic- and Pop’s takes care of him.
Pop’s opened up- stuff I can’t say- but he told me stuff about his past that he never told anyone.
I’m not Pop’s ‘pastor’ so to speak- but I do pray for these guys- teach in my meetings- and they see me like that.
It’s kinda funny- Pop’s has some old friend Jimmy who just moved in from out of town.
Pop’s puts up guys in his spare rooms every so often- the apt. is a wreck- and in the middle of a drug area.
Pop’s said ‘John- he won’t follow my rules- he brings hookers home- he doesn’t like me playing my gospel songs’.
I told Pop’s if he won’t abide by the rules- kick him out.
I asked pops’ about Jimmy- ‘is he helping with the bills and stuff’.
He tells me ‘when he came back to town- he was strapped out- had no cash’.
Kind of funny to hear the old man talking the street lingo.
Pop’s has a good heart- really an interesting guy.
As I left- prayed for him and stuff- Pop’s says ‘thanks John- I love you’.
‘Yeah Pop’s- I love you too’.
NOTE- As I’m writing the post- going back doing the spell check- I start laughing. Why? As I see the word AORTA- I remember about 25 years ago at the fire dept.- my captain- George Hubert- who died a few years ago. We were doing our EMT class- and after a course on the heart- going thru the circulatory system- the instructor asks us if we have any questions- you know- to see if we are grasping the material.
George asks ‘yeah- was does A-O-R-T-A stand for’?
It was written on the board- he thought it was some type of acronym/acrostic.
It was funny.
Either we had a bad instructor- or George just wasn’t getting it.
It was strange- in my time with Pop’s he brought up stuff that I have been writing about.
He talked- in anger- about ‘the system’.
He told me 2 stories about police abuse [he does not know I’m writing about this stuff].
A girl- friend of Charlie’s- was raped by a guard years ago- while in prison.
And another girl- a minor- was raped by a cop years ago [not sure where this took place- it has nothing to do with the stuff I’m dealing with- these were stories from years ago].
But the girl was raped- did have a son- Pops knows them.
And Pops was saying ‘that’s the system John- the system is supposed to protect people- see- the antichrist system is here –God’s going to judge it’.
I saw real anger in Pop’s- in a way- he was tapping into what I have been dealing with- though he does not read my site- or have access to a computer.
It was so strange to sort of see the same ‘rage’ in my friend- over these issues- like a prophetic sign in a way.
SATURDAY- got a call from Pop’s yesterday- Charly [who has been in the ICU for a month] was up and eating and doing well.
Pop’s was so happy.
One day I was walking in the area of our halfway house- this was last year when I was walking 10-12 miles every day.
I saw 2 ‘street girls’ heading my way.
There are lots of hookers in that area.
One was older [the mom?]- of course they wanted to see if I was interested- I told them we have a halfway house down the road- I am friends with Jackie [David’s girlfriend- who has a history of drug problems- and has worked the streets as well].
I mean it was like I was talking to old friends- all guards were down.
I talked to the girls- she asked for a dollar or 2- I gave her a 5.
As we talked for about 5 minutes- she said ‘could I have a hug’.
Sure hon- I hugged her.
People- especially in that type of work- don’t get hugs from strangers- a hug that a friend would give.
I told David later- he asked ‘did you make her pay you 10 for the hug’.
Yesterday I texted David [partner in the halfway house]
I told him I was going to spend some time in the area- if he wanted to hook up- talk business and stuff [we are in the middle of possibly getting a new place for the halfway house].
He didn’t text back.
He called me the day before- I was on the road to the Bishop meeting- I couldn’t take the call.
I texted him later- gave him the appraisal on the property [he has no computer- another thing I told him he needs to do- about a year ago].
So- David- he still has the ‘mentality’ of the days when he used- will not text- or answer the phone- because he has told me he does this to get the people to come to him.
He does this with his boys at times [Jesse and Travis].
So- I didn’t take it personal- I still texted him- kept him up to date on my schedule.
But I’m busy- if you don’t text me—I dont have time to play these types of games- I headed back to the Bluff and figured he’ll call me when he needs to get together.
He called the next day when I was at the mission.
I don’t play the game- so I took the call and he still had some stuff to do [it would have been better the day before!] but I went over anyway.
Now- I want to give you the feel of how we work- how I have been unconventional in the ministry- my guys are all ex street guys- David murdered his friend years ago.
In many ways- they are like the disciples Jesus had- rough and tumble fisherman- hanging out around the fire- probably dropping the ‘f- bomb’ every so often.
So- I go to the other side of town- Jackie’s outside and she lets me in.
David is in his bedroom [remember- ex- Meth head alcoholic- known in the bluff as a killer].
He’s on his knees by his bed- praying.
Looked so sweet. I say ‘hey Boy- I’m here’. [Davids 62]
He turns around- scared ‘F—k- you scared the shit out of me- never walk up to someone behind their back’.
Now- this is normal- I even kidded him- I mean it wasn’t a serious thing- but I did scare the guy.
My time with these guys- seeing things that I don’t like [he’s not married to Jackie- but he tells me time and again God sent her to him].
At first I did tell him ‘you need to get married bro- you can’t just do the common law thing’
He’s been married about 3 or 4 times before- and the last ex [who lives in my neighborhood] won’t give him a divorce- she won’t sign the papers- though she too has another ‘husband’.
So- I at least tell the guys in these situations the best they can do.
I tell them ‘then- make sure it’s the only one- if you think God gave her to you- and for all these reasons you can’t do it legally- then don’t have any other ‘wives’ on the side’.
Now- I know all the scriptures on this- that is on marriage.
And I would not give this advice to the ‘normal’ person- but these guys are not normal.
And I try and do the best.
I was talking to a girl at the mission- one of the girls that I feel does want to hear the stuff I’m teaching- so I talk there at the mission.
She is a cute girl- so the other guys are trying to sit next to her and stuff.
But I was talking about co-dependence.
How some people are too dependent on others- especially in relationships.
Last year- when I left Texas- I thought I might live back north- for good.
I did check out the rents and stuff- they were high.
I was trying to hear God- I read the gospels again- and noticed the words of Jesus- especially about moving on.
He did say ‘except a man leave his father- wife- family- and follow me- he can’t be my disciple’.
Now- I know people can [and have] misread these things.
But I felt there was a sense of what I was going thru.
My wife knew I always wanted to go to N.J. and do street ministry- I told her now was the time.
The kids are older- I’m retired- the ‘s—t’ has hit the fan- what the hell- might as well give it a shot.
I told her ‘One thing God told me was- if I go [and don’t come back]- I am not to hook up with anyone else’.
That is- I’m going to finish the journey- single. [we were going thru lots of stuff at the time- and we did not know how things would work out].
I’ll come back to Texas- see everyone- but I’m not going to ‘find’ someone.
Now- these discussions were honest- and my wife knew I always wanted to go back north.
While I was there- I told someone else the same thing- that at this stage [at the time I thought I was not coming back to Texas] that from now on- I’m single.
The point I was making- and trying to share with some of the friends- is we often mistake [replace] the dependence we should have in God- with people.
Paul the apostle was single- and told the Corinthians that he would prefer them to do the same.
Then he made one of those comments that gets him in hot water- he said ‘but- if you can’t do it- it’s better to marry- then burn’.
He meant ‘burn in lust’.
Ok- marriage s honorable- a God ordained institution.
But being single is too and many in the modern Evangelical church miss this- especially when we teach so much on relationships in the church- we often leave a negative view of those called to be single.
So- in David’s case- I bend the rules- I see where he was- where he is now- and I try not to compromise- but I try and do my best.
Plus- I owe him one- I did scare the hell out of the big baby- when he was kneeling by his bed- in prayer.
NOTE- Christians have a history of going to extremes- either falling into the proverbial ditch on the left or right.
For instance- the bible speaks of the church as a Body [of people].
We need one another to fulfill Gods purpose- we are a corporate community of people.
Yet- many of the famous people in the bible did ‘go it alone’.
John the Baptist- whom Jesus said was the greatest prophet born [besides himself] was called ‘the voice of one crying in the wildernes’.
The bible speaks about finding our identity in God- not in people- spouses- girl/boyfriends- not even in ministry [many Pastors operate out of a bad self-image- and seek to find identity in ‘church’ stuff].
In order for any marriage/relationship to make it- both partners can’t see the other one as their sense of purpose.
No- we first find our identity in God- and if you are in a relationship- then you have common ground- God coming first.
The media- soap operas- commercials- even the songs I like [classic rock] often speak about the other person as the reason for their existence.
Even some Christian teaching holds the same view- which is wrong.
If any person sees the other one as ‘the reason for their fulfillment’ in life- then it won’t work.
No other person can fulfill that role- and when we in society fall for that- then it leads to bad relationships- or abusive ones.
That’s a root that leads to jealousy- which is the cause for many of the cases of domestic violence.
Even if a person’s calling in life is not be single [though some are called to be single] yet those relationships need to be grounded first in God- then you love your mate as a result of your love for God.
Paul talks about marriage ‘Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the church- and gave himself for it’.
If you’re seeking to find happiness- or fulfilment- in the other person- then you will be let down- in time.
There is indeed a Romantic theme in scripture- the Song of Solomon is the closest you get to an erotic book of the bible [if you read it carefully].
Some think that King Solomon- who penned it- was talking about his one true love [he had many wives and concubines].
In the New Testament we read of the relationship between Christ and the Church- also called the Bride and the Bridegroom.
So- true romance and deep love for your wife/husband is biblical- but it can only operate when we are grounded in God.
Getting ready to go to church- then to Alice [City here in Texas] to do some house shopping with my daughter Becky.
My kids came over yesterday to work on the real estate business we are getting into- looking into incorporating and stuff.
I figured it was time to give a heads up to my North Bergen crew- I told the boys I’d be coming back this year.
Now- let me tell a little story- how God kind of has to work behind the scenes- and some times you don’t know what’s going on- till after the fact.
Last year- I was on the streets with these guys- and sure- they are living the rough life- like my Texas crew.
Over time- we became good friends- even though they were a little hesitant at first.
So- as I hung out with the guys- for 3 months- I did Blog and post pictures of the whole thing.
One of my buddies [like one in Texas as well] did not like me taking their pictures.
But- I took them anyway- I had to- to be able to tell the story- and Blog as well.
So- I did realize that they probably would be pissed off if they realized what I was doing- but I did not try and hide the thing- I told them what I was doing.
I also told them the web site and all- at the start.
But- I usually hand out my ministry card that has the site on it- and I would have given them to the boys- but before I left Texas- I burned about 500 cards.
I went thru a stage of starting over- I thought I was leaving everything behind- and starting new.
I had no plans on doing any ‘big’ ministry stuff anymore- and was going to finish the journey- doing what I love most- reaching out to the street guys- and doing it where I grew up.
So- I didn’t have any cards- and most of the guys never read the sight- because of this.
But- near the end of my 3 month journey- some of the ‘normal’ guys – I call them the senior crowd- they too hung out at White Castle- and they saw me with these street boys for the past 3 months.
I’m sure they thought I was one of them [and in a way I was- but I was the only one not using].
So- one day the senior crew were talking about the bible and stuff- and for the first time- I budded in- and corrected some stuff they had wrong [the time of the writing of the New Testament].
I think they were intrigued a bit- thinking I was a user [drugs].
That’s when I started a little ‘group’ with these older guys.
One was an atheist- but I get along with these guys.
He did the standard thing they do- he was nice- but used some ‘big’ curse words and all- thinking that would rile me up [heck- I use them myself every so often].
So- we had some good talks- to be honest- I had read more of the books by atheists then he had.
The top 3 atheists in the last 10 years are Sam Harris- Christopher Hitchens [who died] and Richard Dawkins.
He was not even familiar with them [showing me he was really not up to our debates- fine with me- I knew I would 'win’ the argument- in a nice way].
I became buddies with these guys too- as a matter of fact- one day when I was not around- the atheist told Rick [the street crew] ‘hey- that guy knows his stuff’.
Now- at the end of my trip- I told the senior crew ‘just Google Corpus Christi Outreach Ministries- and you’ll find my site.’
I thought later- well- I’m sure the street boys will eventually read the site- and I’ll just let the chips fall.
I never hid the site from them- I just didn’t have the cards- and those guys were not going to Google it- they are on the streets for heaven’s sake!
So- after I got back to Texas- they kept in touch- but the only guys who have my phone number- are the street crew.
So- when the senior crowd [who were more interested in what was going on- they read the site- they would go thru Rick because they knew he was in touch].
So anyway- I finally figured I’d better call the North Bergen boys- give them a heads up on when I’m coming back.
I texted them- Rick called back- and my other buddy Nick.
Rick knew it was me- we had a good talk- he tells me the boys are asking all the time when John’s coming back. As a matter of fact he texted me back at 5 [when the senior crew get to White Castle] and he asked if I was coming before the end of the year- I said yes- I’m sure the senior crew wanted more info.
Now- Nick- who I knew would be the most pissed about me posting all their stories- he just saw the text ‘hey you boys still around’ I guess he didn’t know it was me.
So- I see the call come in- it says Nick [I’m glad these guys keep the same phone numbers- in Texas they get new numbers and I lose touch].
So- incoming call- NICK.
I get it- he says ‘whose this’- ‘John- from Texas- hey buddy- what’s up’.
The phone goes dead.
I figured he read the site.
A few minutes after he does call back- but I was working on some stuff- and figured I’ll give him some time to cool off.
But he does text me twice ‘John- the phone cut off- I tried to call- you didn’t answer’.
I think he probably cooled off- when he first realized I was posting the stuff [like I did tell them].
And I texted him- told him no problem- I’ll get with him later.
Rick called back- told me how they are all waiting for me [for real- I know it’s not a set-up- I have been around the block- I can tell].
Rick says ‘yeah John- there are no more ‘regrets’- the guys want to see you again’.
He meant ‘no more hard feelings’- even though no one has said anything- I could pick up on what he meant.
Now- if I never burned the cards- things might have not gone too well.
Because I’m sure they would have gotten into it with me- not real bad- but we probably would have gotten into a little argument- maybe a ‘small’ fight or something- but this has happened over the years- and you do your best- make up later- stuff like that.
NOTE- When I was in New Jersey last year- I didn’t pray for the guys- or really do any meetings- but became friends [this year I’ll start the meetings].
But right before I left- I was sitting with Rick and his wife Stacy- right at the entrance of Hudson County Park- on the rocks.
We were saying our goodbyes and all- Rick and Stacy both drink- and do other stuff.
They were crying about stuff and all- I told them I have been clean for 9 months [at that time] and I told them I was going to the NA meetings too. I asked them ‘let me pray for you guys’.
We sat there – I prayed with them- talked about change.
Rick told me he was going to start going to AA- they wanted to make a change.
I don’t know if he went or what- but the other day he told me Stacy has been sober for 5 months [right at the time I prayed with her and had this talk].
You make friends with people- you love them thru the good and bad- and every now and then you see results.
The other week I was at the mission- and I was sitting in my spot- I always wear those sunglasses you see in my pics- I got them in New Jersey last year- and they are my only prescription glasses.
So I wear them- even at night [you know how it is- when I got the glasses- my first prescriptions in about 10 years- I picked the frames I liked- and these only came in sunglasses- so who thinks ahead?]
So- as I get up at the mission- some kid [25 year old?] is sitting right behind me- with a hat and shades on.
Staring at the back of my head.
I couldn’t care less- you know- you do make enemies over time- I didn’t recognize him- but over the years- when I was drinking- I didn’t even remember where I would park the truck [or how I even got home- bad].
So- I thought maybe it was some kid from that time- knowing where I was.
One day at the mission- from the crowd I heard ‘f—k you John’.
I didn’t see who it was- but I did say- ‘who said it!’
No one answered.
So- after a while the kid left.
Now- here’s the funny thing.
As I left the mission about a half hour later- I had no meetings to do- and as I was leaving I thought ‘you know Lord- let me do my Ayres walk today’.
Last year I walked all over the city- and there’s a street all the way on the other side of town- so I drove to a parking lot- got out- put on some classic rock with the cell phone- and off I went.
Sure enough- as I’m walking- the kid is coming the other way- he was on this street.
Now- he wasn’t following me- I was 'following’ him.
He must have thought ‘how the hell did this guy know where to find me’?
It was funny in a way.
I mean he just walked right past me- but must have thought I’m some under cover guy with a tracking device- heck- I just wanted to do my walk! [It was the first time in about 7 months that I did this walk].
So- God has ways of working stuff out- he knows what’s going on- even when we don’t
In 2nd Kings chapter 6 we read the story of Elisha- and how God used him to reveal the plans of the king of Syria- ahead of time- it says ‘Therefore the heart of the king of Syria was sore troubled for this thing [someone was spilling the beans on the king] and he called his servants and said unto them ‘will ye not show me which of us is for the king of Israel [he thought someone from his team was ratting him out] and one of his servants said ‘none my lord, but Elisha the prophet that is in Israel, tells the king of Israel the words that thou speakest in thy bedchamber’ verses 11-12.
I have had other experiences like the few I mentioned above- where I felt the Lord wanted me to do outreach in another area- for months.
Then later found out that it was ‘good’ that I was not in a certain place for that time.
I always wondered if others thought ‘how the hell did he know not to be here!’
These things are actually funny to me- because I realize- like the king of Syria- these people probably think someone ratted them out [because I know all the guys/gals on the streets- and yes- they have told me stuff before].
But when you do ministry like this- of course you take chances- but if it’s really your purpose- God has your back.
NOTE- The story of Elisha and the spy thing is found in 2nd Kings 6-7. The king of Syria is setting up an ambush for the king of Israel. But every time he sets it up- the king of Israel finds out- because the prophet Elisha knows everything the king ‘says in his bed’. Prophetic gifts don’t just ‘predict’ the future- they can even know what the enemy is thinking. Now- the chapter says this happened ‘not once- or twice’ meaning it happened so many times that the authorities got paranoid- they did think they had a snitch in the camp.
So- the king of Syria targets Elisha- and sends his troops to surround the city- Dothan- and get the guy.
In the morning when Elisha’s servant gets up- he sees the city surrounded by soldiers and chariots- the servant panics.
Elisha is calm- he says ‘there are more with us- then with them’. He then prays for God to open the eyes of his servant- and in heaven- over the area where all this is playing out- there is an angelic host of angels and chariots waiting for the word of Elisha- it seems as if Elisha was now in charge [the stone that the builders rejected- targeted- has now become the head of the corner- he is now calling the shots].
So- instead of telling the angels and chariots to wipe out the army. He asks for God to blind them- that is for them not to recognize him. He then goes down to the army [he is right in the middle of it all] and tells them ‘hey boys- you got the wrong city- come- follow me- I’ll show you where to go’.
He leads the entire Syrian army right into the middle of Samaria- the home base of Israel.
They then realize they were set up- by this lone prophet- and they are scared.
The king of Israel asks ‘Father [he calls Elisha dad] should we kill them all now’?
Elisha says no- but FEED THEM.
Jesus- in the New Testament said when your enemy is hungry feed him- in doing this you ‘heap coals of fire on his head’.
So- the king makes a huge feast for the enemy- and sends them on their way packing.
After a while they come back [see- they had a chance to leave them alone- but like Pharaoh- they had to pursue one last time].
They do it again- surround the city and ‘lay it to siege’- back in those days the cities had walls for protection- they would open the gates for trade and supplies- but if an enemy surrounds you- they just let the city go to ruin over time- because no supplies get in. Like what we do today- in Iran we have had economic sanctions going for a long time- hoping to crumble the ruling Mullahs.
So- the king of Israel is mad- he had the chance to wipe them out- but Elisha said let them go.
The king is walking thru town one day and a woman from the wall yells ‘king- king- help me’.
He says ‘what could I do- we are all going to hell in a hand basket’ [my paraphrase].
The woman says ‘I had a deal with this other lady- we agreed that if we cooked my son one day- that the next day we would cook hers’.
They were starving.
So she tells the king they ate hers- but now the other lady hid her son.
The king hears this- he rents his clothes [a sign of mourning] and says ‘so be it to me if I don’t chop the head of Elisha off this day’.
Elisha not only has to watch out for the enemy- now he has the actual authorities pissed off too.
So the king sends a messenger to take the message to Elisha.
Elisha is sitting with some elders in his house- and before the messenger gets there- he says ‘look- this son of a murderer is now coming to kill me’.
Sure enough the messenger arrives and they stop him at the door.
Now- Elisha gives a prophetic word- he says ‘by this time tomorrow there will be so much food- it will be sold for practically nothing’.
One of the other guys says ‘even if God opened the windows of heaven- this could not happen so fast’.
Elisha tells the guy ‘you will see it with your eyes- but never taste a bite’- Elisha pronounced a prophetic judgment on the guy.
The next day- in 2nd Kings chapter 7 we find the story- there are 4 Lepers sitting at the gate- they say ‘why sit we here till we die- if we go back into the city- we will starve- if we sit here we will die- what the hell- let’s just go to the Syrians- what else could happen- if they kill us- they kill us’.
You will never believe what happened next!
Now- for the rest of the story- go read the chapter- 2nd Kings 7 [John- are you trying to trick us to read the bible? Yes].
NOTE- I want to do something here that I normally would not.
If the CCPD are still reading these posts- let me give you guys a hand- for real.
This past week I talked to both Dirk and Tennessee [Dirk stabbed him last week].
When Dirk first told me what he told you guys- I did not believe the story- like you.
When I talked to Tennessee- he did indeed tell me he was on top of Dirk beating the shit out of him when it happened.
I did not think Tennessee had it in him to be honest- Dirks a big boy.
But-that’s what he says.
He didn’t say if he ‘fell on the knife’ [I frankly don’t believe that he did].
But it does look like Dirk was justified- a self-defense thing seems pretty plausible.
I know the state can pick up the charges- but from what I heard- it seems like it was self-defense.
I told Dirk that I talked with Tennessee- and that he is not talking to the cops- but told me he was getting the best of him when it happened- Dirk said yeah- like I told you.
So- I normally wouldn’t post stuff like this- I know most of the witnesses are not talking- so- if this helps- good.
TUESDAY- Got up at 3- normal for me- I did about an hour of prayer/meditation- then about an hour of listening to some classic rock on my phone [Hootie and the Blowfish- few others].
About 5 my wife comes looking for me- she just heard on the news that they found a body under the bridge at 4 am- the spot where I walk- sometimes- at 4 am.
She said ‘I wanted to see if it was you’.
Not yet- I’m on a roll right now- let’s see how long it lasts?
Ok- just a note. Someone told me once ‘John- you are trying to get shot’.
Honestly- no- at least I don’t think so.
Many years ago- in the early days of ministry- I had 2 occasions where it came very close.
At that time- I still remember them- I had a choice- run- fight- or do nothing and make a decision now that if you want to do this type of ministry- you will have to take risks.
I didn’t run- or fight- I stuck it out.
Both of these guys are now dead- long ago.
But since that time- to be honest- I never think about it.
Ok- yesterday at the mission John [new guy] told me ‘they arrested Don [aka Metal head] at the park Saturday’.
Dave- a guy who feeds the street people- feeds them on Saturday- right by the police station.
Now- Don has come to the mission stumbling drunk- he gets drunk early- and is wasted.
So- John told me he was there in the street- falling down drunk.
He said the cops went out of their way to be nice- they weren’t even going to arrest him- they offered to take him to the ‘drunk tank’ [sit in jail till you sober up].
But Don got rowdy- and swung at them.
Of course they arrested him then.
I wanted to say I’m sure the chief has tried to improve the situation that I have been writing on- and from all accounts- I think they are trying.
It was described to me that the cops went out of their way to be nice- and do right.
They did right.
Yesterday I told a few of the street crew that if they wanted to kick back at the house- watch a movie- come on over [watched Apocalypse now- Redux]
I gave one a ride- but he wanted to stop down the block real fast.
I told him ‘as long as you don’t pick anything up’ [Meth].
He said no.
Then I said ‘or drop anything off’.
He looked at me- called the other guy [I know them all].
And said ‘John wont drive me there- come over here’ [the mission].
They did their stuff- I said hi to the crew- and then took my buddy to the house.
Now- I said that to say this.
My policy has always been ‘no drugs in the car- or at my house’.
But I know these guys are on the streets- and if they have stuff- they carry it.
But this year I’m making sure they follow the rule- and they know it.
The street ministries who feed the guys- they need to tell them ‘if you show up drunk – falling down drunk- you can’t eat’.
If we want the cops to do right- and you have guys showing up- about 100 yards from the P.D. - falling down drunk- that’s illegal.
Then- if they go out of their way to do the right thing- and you swing at them- that makes it harder for them to do the right thing the next time.
Let me tell a story.
About 20 years ago- at the Fire House- we got a call- some gang kid got into trouble.
We also did the ambulance- went to shootings at times and stuff like that.
So- that day I went on the ambulance with another EMT and responded to the call- the cops were there.
I went to check the kid- and he swung at me.
Normally the cops jump on him right there.
But they didn’t have time- I lost it- I grabbed the kid- drug him out of the house- and threw him in the back seat of the cop car.
Got back to the station- went upstairs to watch the fights [I liked boxing] and the guys called up stairs ‘Hey John P.D. called [P.D. - Police Dept.].
They said ‘Send that guy on all the runs’.
So- even I have done this stuff.
This stuff works both ways- we can’t have the homeless population walking around drunk- falling down drunk.
If the ministries that are trying to help them let this go on- then they are at fault.
Set some guidelines- and abide by them.
If we want the P.D. to do right- then we have to do right as well.
Had a good meeting in Bishop yesterday- talked about the story I mentioned above- 2nd Kings 6-7.
I guess I’ll finish it.
We left off when the 4 lepers decided to go for broke- ‘if we sit here- we die- if we go back into the city we die- what the hell- lets go to the Syrians- if they kill us- we shall but die’.
I like these boys- they gave it a shot- took some risks- but in the end it turned out well.
They go to the Syrian camp- and it’s empty- the Syrian army fled the night before- and left all their goods- for the taking.
God caused them to hear the noise of the chariots- the heavenly host that Elisha saw in chapter 6.
It seems as if Elisha had power over this angelic army- he made them blind the Syrians in chapter 6.
Then he made their sound heard by the Syrians.
So- the 4 lepers begin hoarding all the goods for themselves- and one of them says ‘we do not good- this day we have an opportunity like no other- all this stuff- and we are keeping it for ourselves’.
So- they decide to go back to the city of Samaria and tell their king what happened.
At first he is skeptical- remember- the city was under siege for months.
When we feel like the world is closing in around us- we get paranoid- we don’t see life for what it is- our view becomes jaded.
So- the king decides to send a couple of chariots and some men to see if it’s true- he thought it was a trap.
The men come back and tell him ‘yeah- we checked it out- and the Syrians fled- they even dropped all their goods right on the road’.
So the king sends his people to get all the stuff- it was a mad rush- like a Black Friday shopping day at Wal Mart- you know- we have even had people die at the doors- getting trampled for big screen TV’s and stuff.
Now- remember the prophecy Elisha gave to the guy who said ‘how can God turn this around- even if the windows of heaven were opened- he couldn’t turn it around so fast’.
Elisha said ‘you will see it with your eyes- but not partake’.
That guy was put in charge of the city gate- and when the people rushed back with the stuff- he was trampled in the gate and killed.
He saw the goods- like Elisha said- but never partook.
Ok- lets wrap up this week- lots of stuff going on.
Yesterday before I went to Bishop- I talked with my buddies at the mission.
Dirk sat outside next to me- I listened for a while- talked about life- and it reminded me of the many years when we had these talks.
I told him I was telling one of the girls at the mission how in life- we need to come to a place where we are accepted- where we know that God accepts us- we are ok- nothing wrong with us.
Now- even though we struggle- the point I was making is God makes us well- and we don’t live for the approval of men.
Many of us struggle with insecurity- and in God we find our rest.
Dirk and I talked for a while- just like the old days.
Even though there’s still a chance that he might get arrested for the stabbing- the root need- the basic thing- has not changed.
We spoke about the same things we have discussed over the years- and sometimes the best thing I could do for my friends is just listen- lots of people simply need someone to hear them.
I’ll be heading to Alice soon- to look at a house with my daughter Becky- Jeremy- the firefighter from Dallas who owns the property where we do the halfway house- he texted me last night- got back in town- wants to check out my house- I’m selling it soon- I told him if he wants he can take a look at it before I list it.
So- that’s it for this week- talk to you later.
Note- Do me a favor, those who read/like the posts- re-post them on other sites as well as the site you read them on. Thanks- John. Don’t forget to scroll down on the timeline [FaceBookl] - I have posted lots.