Rescued Homes/Lives [v78]

AUGUST 2005

RESCUED ‘HOMES’…RESCUED ‘LIVES’—It was way back in the December 2004 edition of Deep Thoughts, when I was telling you about the “40 Days of Community” ‘campaign’ I was doing with a couple dozen people in my home (follow-up to the 40 Days of Purpose – http://www.spiritedesign.com/pdl ).

At the end of that newsletter, I asked the following question:

“What ACTION(s) will you take today/tomorrow in starting or continuing to become part of a community ‘group’ that you can be able to share and develop your abilities for the ‘greater’ good; to experience the multiplication ‘effect’ of a group with a ‘mission’; to ‘encounter’ the love and care of a few intimate friends; and to know the joy of what the coming Christmas ‘season’ is all about—that God came to this earth in a ‘form’ we could relate to, so He could communicate an ‘assurance’ of a life after this one that will be one BIG COMMUNITY forever and ever!”

At that time I also mentioned that our groups were planning some ‘outreaches’. Since then we did gift/food deliveries for the “Angel Tree” ministry; we ‘recycled’ Christmas decorations and donated all the monies collected to “Angel Tree”; we supported a prisoner with letters and her family with Christmas gifts, food, and clothing; and, as I mentioned last month, we got together and helped build a “Habitat for Humanity” house in Pontiac, MI during the “Blitz Build” of the Jimmy Carter Work Project  (http://www.habitat.org/how/carter.aspx ).

Well, if you remember, the 40 Days of Community (in addition to the 40 Days of Purpose) taught ME that I was not here on this earth to live a ‘self-centered’ life, and that I have a ‘short’ amount of time to MAKE A DIFFERENCE—a ‘contribution’ with MY LIFE.

Then, at the beginning of this year, in January’s newsletter, I said that I ‘figured out’ how I could PERSONALLY answer that question I posed—one that would use MY ABILITIES AND GIFTS for a “greater good” and that would assist a group with a LARGER MISSION.

So, finally after 7 MONTHS (a VERY LONG time for an ‘impatient’ person like me), I COMPLETED THE FIRST PHASE of my ‘project’ just this past weekend.!!!

To refresh you memory, I was collecting older (3-5 year-old) Macintosh’s and refurbishing them in order to install them in the ‘apartments’ of the ‘rescued’ homes that Grace Centers of Hope (formerly Pontiac Rescue mission) are refurbishing on Seneca Street in Pontiac, MI, near the main mission building.

In each home they then create 4-8 ‘apartments’ to rent out to the low-income persons (including their families) that have ‘graduated’ from Grace’s drug/alcoholism rehabilitation program.

With the aid of the Director of Fine Arts, Dr. Duren Gutierrez (also a Mac aficionado), we installed 16 COMPLETE SYSTEMS (Computer with lots of memory, CD, and pre-installed with a bunch of software; Extended keyboard; Mouse; Hi-res. monitor—some with color scanners and CD burners). For most of these people, this is the first computer they have ever used, let alone have ‘owned’. They were ECSTATIC.

[To hear some of their comments, view the following video ‘snippets’ (You only need a minimum of Quicktime 4 installed to view these)]:

http://www.spiritedesign.com/PRM/prm_joy.mov
http://www.spiritedesign.com/PRM/prm_kyle.mov
http://www.spiritedesign.com/PRM/prm_olivia.mov
http://www.spiritedesign.com/PRM/prm_wanda.mov
http://www.spiritedesign.com/PRM/prm_charles.mov
http://www.spiritedesign.com/PRM/prm_gillerys.mov
http://www.spiritedesign.com/PRM/prm_amber.mov

All of this equipment was DONATED BY MANY WONDERFUL PEOPLE in and around the Metro Detroit area that ‘saw’ the value of what their “outdated” systems could do for these people now and in the future. These computers could literally TRANSFORM THEIR LIVES giving them the opportunity to become ‘valuable’ members of society with a ‘healthy’ self-esteem coming from the confidence of being able to ‘compete’ in a higher-level job market than they would have in the past.

As mentioned earlier, I wanted to get involved with something that had a larger ‘mission’, and these computers are only a part of the larger ‘vision’ that Grace Centers of Hope CEO Kent Clark has for Seneca Street.

In the past few years, Grace Centers of Hope has completely ‘refurbished’ a half-dozen homes on Seneca Street (some needing to have the inside completely ‘gutted’). Today there are more than 20 ‘graduates’ residing within these ‘homes’. It is the vision of Kent Clark to eventually own all of the homes on Seneca Street, creating a “little village” environment that will ‘incent’ the surrounding neighborhoods to also take a bit more pride in their residences and ‘rescue’ their homes—transforming a ‘blight’ into a safe and desirable place to live. [To view what Seneca Street looks like today, click on the following link:
http://www.spiritedesign.com/PRM/prm_seneca_street_pan.mov ].

The newest addition to the growing rescued homes ‘success stories’ is the “Children’s Home.” It will house 17 previously homeless kids that haven’t lived in the same place for more than 6 months at a time. [To see the home and hear what Kent Clark has to say about what about it, click on the following link:
http://www.spiritedesign.com/PRM/prm_kids_home-kent.mov ].

To view the Director of the Children’s Home, Amber Clark, with some of the kids, click on the following link:
http://www.spiritedesign.com/PRM/prm_kids_with_amber.mov ].

In addition to placing these computers in front of those who are going to be just learning how to use a computer, there were other ‘opportunities’ within the mission’s organization that will now be able to ‘enhance’ and ‘extend’ their current capabilities. Take a listen to Fine Arts Director Dr. Duren Gutierrez, about what his computer will be used for:
http://www.spiritedesign.com/PRM/prm_duren.mov ].

Grace Centers of Hope is doing a wonderful thing RESCUING THESE HOMES—transforming a ‘blight’ and increasing the value of the entire neighborhood. They are also doing a great ‘work’ by RESCUING THE PEOPLE that sometimes are ‘overlooked’ by society.

Though I think what Grace Centers of Hope is important, there is something I think is MORE IMPORTANT than all they and others like them do. The question is…

Have you RESCUED YOURSELF?,,,from HELL?

WHOA!…that’s a pretty ‘strong’ inquiry! Yep…and I think it’s the MOST IMPORTANT question any of us can ask ourselves (with a few ‘variations’ in the wording and ‘focus’).

There are those who I will call ‘skeptics’ who don’t believe in Heaven or hell—and they don’t believe in an afterlife.

Well, maybe a true story I’ve heard about a guy named Greg (who is probably like many at ‘graduates’ at Grace Centers of Hope) would help explain it better than I could ‘verbalize’. He is someone who spent a bit of time in jail—and was an ardent ‘skeptic’.

Previous to the jail time, he had spent 15 years taking drugs, drinking a lot, and pretty much ‘ruining’ his young adult life. He had put into his body everything that should never be put into a human frame. He spent his entire existence ‘crushing’ life from his body and soul. Then he got in trouble with the law—and that out him behind bars. In his early thirties, he knew that he could not continue in such a horrible state, totally destitute of soul, and he said the following ‘prayer’:

“If there is a God, speak to me, for I don’t want to live any longer like this.”

With that simple ‘exercise’ of faith, he was ‘gifted’ with more faith. He then started reading a Bible he found in jail. The more he read it the more he wanted to read it. He had never cared about the Bible in the past, but now, the book that he discarded because he thought it was utter nonsense, became the source of hope and life.

After a few years, Greg ‘gave his life’ to Christ—and now he is SURE THAT HE IS GOING TO HEAVEN when he dies. He knows that he does not deserve heaven. He deserves hell for he trespassed against God’s laws time and again, despising Christ and the great ‘news’ of the Gospel. He should never have come upon divine mercy. But he did find divine mercy in Christ, and so his soul was RESCUED FROM HELL, and Satan’s ‘grip’.

Knowing what the Bible promises him after his last breath, Greg knows that when he dies he will be greeted by Christ at heaven’s portals, welcomed into eternal bliss where there is no sin nor death. The Bible has informed Greg of that ‘gift’ that is prepared for him and all “believers.”

So, it comes down to what you think about the Bible and Jesus Christ. The Bible states that Jesus Christ became a ‘sacrifice’ for your sin upon the cross. God placed all of your sin upon His only Son, Jesus Christ. As your ‘sacrifice’, Jesus paid for the penalty of your sin—which was Hell. He also died to forgive you of all the sins which separated you from God. Through His sacrifice on the cross, you can have your sins forgiven, be RESCUED FROM HELL, and be restored to God’s favor.

As I mentioned before, the ‘things’ that Grace Centers are doing is definitely GREAT WORKS—and the should be commended (and helped) in their ‘mission’. But all of this won’t get Kent Clark or any of his ‘staff’ to Heaven. You cannot give anything to God to ‘earn’ salvation. You must give up your trust in your own efforts to please God, and place your complete trust in Jesus’ ‘substitutionary’ death on the cross. You need to stop trusting in your own good works, attempts to obey or follow God, or your pride in thinking you are a good enough person to face God. Instead you must rely 100% on what He did for you on the cross, where He suffered the punishment that you deserved to receive.

In the Bible, the Apostle Paul wrote this to the church in Ephesus: “For by grace* you are saved** through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift—not from works, so that no one can boast” [Ephesians 2:8-9].  (Note: *grace = undeserved favor;  **saved = rescued from hell—a ‘place’ of eternal separation from God).

So, how sure are you of who/what you are placing your trust in for eternal life? The Bible delineates the ‘hope’ of Heaven like this:

– Jesus said: “Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” [Matthew 25:34].

– “To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord” [2 Corinthians 5:8].

– “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him” [1 Corinthians 2:9].

-Jesus said: “Lay up for yourselves treasure in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal” [Matthew 6:20].

– “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” [John 3:l6].

– Jesus said: “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live” [John 11:25].

– “For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens” [2 Corinthians 5:1].

– “If the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His spirit who dwells in you” [Romans 8:11].

– “This is the promise that He has promised us—eternal life” [1 John 2:25].

– “He who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life” [Galatians 6:8].

– Jesus said: “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish…” [John 10:27-28].

This is a REALLY IMPORTANT thing to be ‘sure’ about—and you need to DO IT FOR YOURSELF! (Many people like myself or people like the members of “Men of Grace” from Grace Centers of Hope (http://menofgracemusic.com/home.html ) can tell you how Christ has ‘transformed’ them (ask Bob Hart about me).

There are also many good ‘references’ to help you determine this for yourself. One great one for me has been RBC Ministries—and one of the booklets that helped me with this can be downloaded from their site,”Why Does it Make Sense to Believe in Christ” ( http://www.rbc.org/ds/q1104/ ).

So, if you think it’s important for someone like a firefighter to ‘rescue’ a person from a burning building, I hope you think it is as or more important to ‘RESCUE’ YOURSELF (and those you ‘love’) from an eternal ‘burning place’!

[Excerpts from: J. Grant Swank, Jr. ]

P.S.
If this has ‘piqued’ your interest in helping at Grace Centers of Hope, click on the following link for more info:
http://www.gracecentersofhope.org/Volunteer.html

If ‘construction’ is more interesting to you, here’s a couple of ‘snipets’ of people working on the homes on Seneca Street (there are many different ‘jobs’ requiring a variety of skill ‘levels’):
http://www.spiritedesign.com/PRM/prm_demo_porch.mov
http://www.spiritedesign.com/PRM/prm_landscaping.mov

P.P.S.
As I mentioned at the beginning of this newsletter, I have completed the FIRST PHASE of my ‘project’ of putting a computer in EVERY ‘apartment’ on Seneca Street—which means I will need to collect probably a minimum of 30 MORE COMPUTERS (!)—and more than that if GCH is successful in acquiring additional homes]. So, if you know of anyone that has older Macs/accessories (PowerPC’s; G3’s or G4’s), please have them get in contact with me (mbesh@comcast.net )—I will gladly go to wherever it is convenient for them to pick up the items.

I am also in the process of creating a ‘web page’ for this project that will have more detail on what has already been done, and what we would like to do. (I will send you a link to it when it is ready).

Blessings…Mark

LIFE’S DEEP THOUGHTS (v78) for AUGUST 2005
If you have a ‘neat’ story or some thoughts about an issue or current event that you would like me to try to respond to, I would be glad to give it a try…so, send them to me at: mbesh@comcast.net

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THE SILVER LINING
The only Survivor of a shipwreck was washed up on a small, uninhabited Island.

Exhausted, he eventually gathered what he could and managed to build a little hut out of driftwood to protect himself from the elements, and to store his few possessions. He prayed feverishly to be rescued, and everyday he scanned the horizon for help, but none seemed forthcoming.

Then one day he left his fire burning in his hut, and went out scavenging for food, as was his routine. Upon returning home he found his little hut in flames, the smoke rolling up to the sky. The worst had happened. Everything was lost. He was stunned with anger and grief, and cried, “God, how could you do this to me! How could you let this happen!”

Early the next day, however, he was awakened by the sound of a ship that was approaching the island. It had come to rescue him. “How did you know I was here?” asked the weary man of his rescuers. “We saw your smoke signal,” they replied.

It is easy to get discouraged when things seem to be going wrong. But no matter what happens, it’s “how you take it” that, to a large extent, determines your happiness and outlook. One of the great secrets of life is to look for the “silver lining” in the smoking remains of adversity.  [Anon]

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DEEP THOUGHTS
“Humor does not rescue us from unhappiness, but enables us to move back from it a little.” [Mason Cooley]

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I hope you enjoyed some of these insights. Share them with your friends and colleagues, so we can have a larger ‘pool’ to receive from—and more to share with! Also, remember to include your name as the “source,” especially if some of this wisdom is of your doing—I would like to give credit where credit is due!

“Because he loves me,” says the LORD, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name”  [Psalms 91:14].

Mark

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Disclaimer: All the above jokes & inspirations are obtained from various sources and copyright are used when known. Other than our name and headers, we do not own the copyright to any of the materials sent to this list. We just want to spread the ministry of God’s love and cheerfulness throughout the world.

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