Monday, April 6, 2009

The Bible's Answer to the Recession

This is by Chad Taylor. It was sent to me by Mark Woodson, who was the head of the Sonnyside Coffee House for many years, feeding the homeless.

As the machinery of conference and meetings marches on the growing dilemma in our cities and streets grows. When I arrived in Sacramento, CA. on Friday March 20th the headlines in the city newspaper's front page read, "Tent City to be Moved..." I read further of the stunning and heartbreaking story of literally thousands of homeless men, women and children that ironically enough were camped next to the American River with the skyline of Sacramento in the distance. Nearly 2000 lived outside of the state Capitol in what is now being dubbed, "Tent City".

As we found the entrance to this sprawling landscape of tents as far as the eye could see we were dumbstruck. What was billed as a "prophetic conference" turned into a major outreach into a quickly growing tragedy on the backdrop of the American experience. As I travelled to our conference in Fresno, CA. after our week in Stockton the headlines on the front page of the New York Times blazed the news of Fresno and its homeless shanty towns and what some are calling, "Hoovervilles" reminiscent of the 30's and 40's during the Great Depression. What we saw in Fresno was shocking. Literally, tents filled the downtown streets and homeless of all ages, color and gender wandered the streets like a war zone.

Oprah Winfrey in her extensive expose on the homeless boom in America and especially the "Tent City" in Sacramento, CA. has called it, "The new faces of the Homeless" and the increasing number of families and working class people that have been laid off of work, lost their homes to foreclosure and have no other alternative but the streets. As we walked through the endless tents and saw the daunted tear stained faces our hearts were broken. Saturday night at our conference in Fresno, CA. 5 homeless people from Tent City joined us in worship as the alters filled with our cries for the streets of America. 4 more came the next day for Sunday morning and Sunday night. We grabbed the torch from Heaven for the harvest and lifted up our voices for the streets of America - and we went...

"He poureth contempt upon princes, and causeth them to wander in the wilderness, where there is no way. Yet setteth he the poor on high from affliction, and maketh him families like a flock." Ps. 107:40

My message to California was simple, God does have a "Bail out plan" and it's the poor and homeless that litter our sidewalks. God has a bail out plan for every city, church and family in America if we will give heed to it. It's not just "evangelism, charity, or empathy" it truly is the only guarantee out of what statistics clearly point to as a economic crisis that could reach historic proportions. Read carefully the promises below and ask God to make them a reality in your life:

He that has pity on the poor lends to the Lord and that which he has given He will repay." Prov. 19:17
Blessed is he that considers the poor: the LORD will deliver him in time of trouble. The LORD will preserve him, and keep him alive; and he shall be blessed upon the earth." Ps 42:1-3
He that gives to the poor shall not lack, but he that hides his eyes shall have many curses..." Prov. 28:27
But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind: And thou shalt be blessed..."Luke 14:13-14

If we respond correctly no recession or depression can touch us. God promises us that as we relieve the needs of the poor "He will repay" and "deliver us in trouble". It can be concluded that much of what we are facing now is because we DID NOT meet the needs of our poor and brought the curses mentioned in Prov. 28:27 to our cities and nation. Below you will find more of God's heart on this growing tragedy in America -

He that oppresses the poor to increase his riches, and he that gives to the rich, shall surely come to want. Prov. 22:16
The Rich man's wealth is his strong city: the destruction of the poor is their poverty. Prob. 10:15
He that oppresses the poor reproaches his Maker: but he that honoureth him hath mercy on the poor.
Prov. 14:31
Revival and the new buzz word, "glory" is not complex or some road lined with gold. Revival is a result of the cries of the poor coupled with the cries of the church that is not so self-absorbent and self-exalted that they cannot see their great need of God's grace and power. God makes if very clear in the Bible that the key to open the floodgates of His power and glory is the poor and the needy not the rich and content -
"When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue faileth for thirst, I the Lord will hear them, I the God of Israel will not forsake them. I will open rivers in high places, and fountains in the midst of the valleys: I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water." Isa 41:17-18

The road to glory is not lined with excessiveness and Christian extremes but rather the poor in spirit and the poor in body. The "glory" often seen and experienced today is not a divine glory but rather a self induced one underwritten by self proclaimed prophets that have no power to make a lasting impact on the cities they parade their goods in. The poor get poorer and the hungrier get hungrier. The time is coming when there will be no excuses left for why we never reached out to them in our convocations of excess and the preaching of a experiential gospel rather than the message of the Cross of Jesus Christ. The greatest call from God today is leaders and ministers that will make up a hedge and lead the people from the prayer lines to the front lines.

"The people of the land have used oppression, and exercised robbery, and have vexed the poor and needy: yea, they have oppressed the stranger wrongfully. And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none. Therefore have I poured out mine indignation upon them; I have consumed them with the fire of my wrath: their own way have I recompensed upon their heads, saith the Lord God." Ezek 22:29-31

Our only recourse now is to exit the prayer lines and start a bread line. To hand out water, feed the poor and minister to the growing population of homeless humanity the awesome power of Jesus Christ. We are a nation hanging in the balances and God's word is clear how we can swing the pendulum from disaster to blessing -

"And if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noonday: And the Lord shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not. And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in." Isa 58:10-12

Find your "Tent City" and take time out in every conference in America to send out teams and find the increasing number of poor and disenfranchised in your streets. Transform your meetings into major outlets of revival and blessing and turn back the curses that are already reeking havoc in the epi-centers of this nation. No one is exempt; it is a clarion call to every church, ministry and alleged revival meeting in America.
"Whoso stops his ears at the cry of the poor, he also shall cry himself but shall not be heard..." Prov. 21:13

** Visit our NEW YouTube sight for Chad Taylor and Consuming Fire and see the LIVE VIDEOS FROM TENT CITY in Fresno and Sacramento. It will break your heart and propel you to action- LINK:


Delaware Job Hunters said...

This article makes me think of this quote, "Seasonal unemployment was found to be a state which does not have much employment, for example, rural areas."

But there are career experts who conduct seminars giving concrete advice about the needed skills to compete in today's competitive job market.

JR said...

The homeless came to us here in Durham, NC. They live in the parking lot of the church, and have become some of our best friends.

We try to keep track of things and think through the challenges of communion with the poor at our blog:

cuzicare said...

Jesus said sell all your pocessions and follow me. I feel that the church is to divide the goods so that there is no one in need. instead they turn to the government and lose their passion for working where as the church has hope which brings pride and dignity not a hand out. we should never make anyone to feel that we are giving hand outs, because. It all belongs to the Lord. Amen. The lord is true to his word I have been there. but made to feel like a burden when I approached my church, I will never do that to any human child of God. takes your dignity away and it does not feel like a gift but a hand out. I have to trust in the Lord because people will let you down. NOT all just something I experienced, I have always been faithful to tithing, and helping those less fortunate due to unforeseen circumstances. and this experience has not changed that but, I feel we are the church. not a building. where we meet to feel that we are worthy because we attend regularly. our actions speak for themselves. Thanks Dee Albq