september 2020 Newsletter
Pastor Jim Chapman
WHAT WOULD JESUS DO?
Luke 23:34 NIV
“Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”
Her voice choking back tears, Bethane Middleton Brown addressed the individual who had, only hours ago, murdered her brother and eight others in cold blood. Before his killing spree began, he had spent an hour with them at their weekly Bible study, in the basement of Emmanuel AME church in Charleston, South Carolina. The killer stood silent in handcuffs, with no evident traces of regret or remorse in his actions or demeanor. While acknowledging her anger, Brown expressed her forgiveness, stating, “We are the family that love built. We have no room for hate, so we have to forgive.”
“Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”
These are powerful words from Luke 23. The Creator of the Universe, the Savior of the World, and the promised Messiah, hung on a crude, Roman cross. Falsely accused, naked, beaten, bloodied, and mocked, he would die the death of a common criminal. At any moment, Jesus could have summoned legions of angels to the rescue. He did not. To those who watched Jesus’ crucifixion on that windy and dusty Judean hilltop, it seemed to be the end game. It was only the beginning.
Paul writes in Ephesians 1:7, that “in Him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God. That bloody day on Calvary was not the end game. In fact, it was only the beginning! God’s fresh gift of grace and forgiveness swept into the world. It would sweep into the lives of those who would put their faith and trust in Jesus. Their sins were forgiven. And it would become the way in which people, like Bethane Brown, who had been terribly wronged and sinned against, could find peace.
Noted Christian writer C.S. Lewis wrote, “to be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.” Forgiveness is amazingly simple. We forgive the inexcusable actions of others as we have been forgiven. Perhaps the amount of forgiveness we give to others is a barometer to how much we feel forgiven or value it? On the other hand, Jesus asked his Heavenly Father to completely forgive his tormentors and executioners.
Forgiveness is an uncommon virtue on the streets in Denver. Control and revenge are the ways to power in the homeless community. The street motto is simple: You do to others as has been done to you! In our daily work with the homeless at Christ’s Body, we work to break down that street motto by communicating the power of God’s forgiveness as a life-giving stream of hope. For many, it's hard to grasp. For most, without an inner transformation of a new faith in Jesus, it's impossible to offer authentic forgiveness.
What would Jesus do? He asked His Father to forgive “them." What then should you do? Forgive others as you have been forgiven!
As we continue to reach outside of the walls of our building to Feed, Clothe, Heal, and Share the Gospel, we have been given another GOLDEN opportunity with respect to our Mobile Outreach activities! This month we will kick off a new partnership in sunny Golden, CO with Golden United Methodist Church. We will be partnering with volunteers from this and neighboring churches, to bring food, fellowship, and showers to many homeless guests that currently call the streets west of Denver their home.
We look forward to seeing how this new outreach opportunity unfolds! How will God use us, in conjunction with other churches and members of His Body in the Golden area, for His glory? Please pray for us to have ears to hear and bring glory to Our Father in Heaven.
each outreach is unique
fishing for men
COVID is a weird animal, would you agree? Christ’s Body and so many other organizations, families, and individuals have had to examine and re-work, re-prioritize, and re-position themselves to continue to work. Here at Christ's Body we have lost so many of our wonderful volunteers because the risk of the virus is too high, but there are a few whom God has sent during this time to carry on His kingdom work. Paul Gonzalez has been a blessing to our ministry as a volunteer before COVID, but now has become a lifeline for us and to the homeless he has served as a result of the pandemic.
Paul is an avid fly fisherman, but it is apparent that fishing for men is what he has been called to do in the homeless community. He usually goes out with our outreach teams three days a week! If you see him in action, it is very apparent that God has specifically called him to this work of loving people where they are at and bringing the Good News to hurting people.
During the summer months Paul would go fly fishing up in Aspen, and true to his calling, discovered a homeless encampment near the river! He would bring clothing and burritos from our ministry to bless the homeless in Aspen! God is allowing us to reach more people through our dedicated volunteers like Paul, displaying the true body of Christ.
paul en route to a street outreach
It is humbling and amazing to see God at work through this ministry and our volunteers during these very uncertain times. It assures us that He is in control and His will is still being done… Thank you Paul for your obedience to God’s call.
another way to tie a knot
Do you remember our very own Graduate Resident Mike Stevens? Mike attended our resident program for a little over two years and graduated from the program last winter. He has played many roles at Christ’s Body including maintenance, donations acquisition, guest services, and being a member of our outreach teams. Upon graduating from our program Mike has been patiently waiting for God’s hand in the next phase of his life. Well, folks - we have fabulous news about this next phase - Mike and his beautiful bride Yolanda (Pictured right) have tied the knot! Mike has flown the coop! All in one weekend! We’re not excited because Mike moved away from us, we are excited to see Mike and Yolanda enter a new chapter in life under the Lord’s leading.
Mike and his beautiful bride Yolanda Dominguez were married on Saturday, August 28th, 2020. They met early last winter while doing street outreach. Mike recalls that he was with our Saturday Outreach team setting up the food bank line and Yolanda was volunteering for a local shelter with her sister. They were introduced at the outreach event and a few weeks after they met, Mike asked Yolanda on a date and the rest is history.
PHOTO MIKE AND YOLANDA WITH PASTOR BRUCE JUST AFTER THEY TIED THE KNOT
Yolanda can be described as a family gal. She has two daughters and a son and has played a big role in their lives for as long as she can remember. Yolanda enjoys helping people, walking alongside and supporting her kids in their endeavors, and doing many outreach activities. She has been helping with homeless communities along with her family for over 20 years. Over the years Yolanda has enjoyed countless camping trips and family activities with her kids as well.
Mike and Yolanda enjoy spending time together, going out to eat and watching movies. They also have been working a lot together on renovating their home in Denver. In the last few months the home has been completely renovated, new shed, new floors, new bathroom, new furnishings. The list goes on. A whole new coop, if you will.
What’s in store for the future? Mike and Yolanda look forward to sight-seeing and fishing trips! There is already talk of a Grand Canyon adventure on the horizon. As for Christ’s Body Ministries, we look forward to Mike’s return from his honeymoon time off so Mike can take on a new role at Christ’s Body while being a husband and homeowner.
When asked how we can all be praying for this newly wed couple Mike keeps it simple: Please pray for the Lord’s blessings on us. Mike, we are proud of you, we offer you both our congratulations, and we certainly will lift you both up in prayer. Please join us in praying for Mike and Yolanda!
verse OF THE MONTH -
“And Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” - Luke 23:34 (NIV)