Monday, March 28, 2011


Every day we decide how we will spend our time, where we will invest our money, etc. Many of our choices are "I" centered or "My family" centered. That is why sometimes the other children in our city may be not seen.

In Blindside, a wealthy southern woman sees a homeless black teenager known only as "Big Mike" by her son. She sees that he is cold and doesn't have any place to sleep that night.

The mother, played by Sandra Bullock, makes a choice to "bring him home" rather than let him sleep in the gym. The first thing about a choice to extend ourselves to others may be a "risk" or seeming risk. Will he steal something?

Big Mike has folded the clothes on the designer sofa and started to walk back towards the school when Luanne Foley (Sandra Bullock) goes out after him.  She invites him to stay and have Thanksgiving with them. Eating together is another choice she makes and ones which brings the TV dinner eaters to the table where God is acknowledged before the meal.

Her increasing compassionate choices from guest for the night to "one of the family" with the entire family agreeing not only make a radical change in this under resourced high schooler, but the choices of acceptance and integration change the Foley family as well. Even the Dad becomes aware that he should consider some options beyond throwing out the left over food from his multiple restaurants.

The daughter decides if she studies with Mike at home she should walk across the room away from her girl friends and sit with Mike in study hall. This choice of including him changes him into a "player" from a non player in academic and of course football.

Know your players is one of the mother's admonitions to the football coach. Luanne has done her research on this boy and knows that he scored very, very high in protective instincts. He becomes a successful defensive linesman and is recruited by various colleges.

Does a choice of one person or a few people to step over lines and help the other children really make a different?

After 15 years of experience I can say in Project Lost Sheep that God has been with us as we have been changed and seek to reach out to other cities for change as well.

Are you ready to go out and do something rather than just read the paper?

Monday, March 21, 2011

My Observations

In this story we have two feuding famillies at each others throats and blood has been spilt. But, inside one of the famillies there was a man who wanted the feud ended.

Gerald Fitzgerald inside the Cathedral took action. 
1. He ordered a hole be hacked in the oak door
2. He humbled himself by asking his enemy, Black James for a truce.
3. He took a personal risk by placing his arm in the hole in the door.
If there was no truce, he would be without an arm.

The result was that Black James shook his rival's hand ending the feud. We see here some keys to forgiveness. Wanting to stop the feud. Taking personal risk.

Forgiveness always is risking and humiliating. It is costly and dangerous but the results are worth it.
l. Families are healed
2. A pattern is set that makes forgiveness an option for future generations
3. There is a Door.
When we position ourselves to forgive we have God's grace on our side.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Door of Reconciliation

I have been thinking a great deal about Connie Rhodes (see previous) and remember that one of the things she taught me was about using the door of reconciliation. She showed me a picture of a door with a hole in it and one person reaching through the whole to the person on the other side.

I cannot remember what my problem was at that time but it was an issue with someone. She told me that forgiveness was a key to reconciliation and THAT SOMEONE HAD TO BE THE FIRST ONE TO PUT A HAND THROUGH THE DOOR as it only could fit one hand and wrist.

This stuck in my mind as a good visual. By the grace of God, we can be the first to forgive. The first to say "I'm sorry" and reach out to the person on the other side. The first to communicate anyway we want DIRECTLY to the other person.

God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself. We have power to forgive within us. We have grace. Is there someone you need to reach out your hand and forgive?
Take a few minutes and think about this.
The Story Of The Door Of Reconciliation - from Services of Halton


We are all aware of what a biological family is. But, there are family connections in friends, and even those who have been influenced by our parents values by either living with us through adoption or influence.

Because parents have a set of values that are given to their children there is a common bond in these things. For example, in my family growing up, my mother was very keen on education. All three of us daughters got teaching degrees and spent some time out there as teachers.

Beyond the common bond of blood, we have the common bond of shared influence, values and memories.

When we come to faith in Christ we are born again into the family of believers that is worldwide. We have a common teaching (The Bible) and we have a direction for our lives through that word. We are related not by the blood line but we are integrated to one another because inside us we have the same Spirit that cries out "Abba, Father". We have a heavenly Father and we share Him with each other. That is why we pray for each other and root for each other and I sure hope LOVE ONE ANOTHER which is a command.

I can remember my Dad saying when we sisters were having a fight with each other. "Will you girls just knock it off." By this he meant that we didn't need to do this and he was directing us to stop doing what we did right now.

Of course, Christians have fights with each other. We are human. We misread each other. We judge each other thinking we know ..but we don't. Only our heavenly Father can judge. He alone is the righteous judge.

We are born into a biological family but look around because beyong this if you have asked Jesus into your life and have accepted his death on the cross for your sins, you have a BIG BIG spiritual family with all kinds of relatives.

You have brothers, sisters, mothers and dads. You have, in fact, the body of Christ and you are very important in it. You can get taught. You can get corrected. You can get redirected. You can also help others. Pray for others. Love others. In fact, if you take this very seriously, you will discover that in the body of Christ there is a miracle for you.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


In memory of Connie Rhodes who went to be with the Lord a few months short of her 105 birthday

What can I say about Connie? She was a true friend of mine and a true friend of Project Lost Sheep. She lived in Menlo Park the entire time I knew her and lived independently until the last few years.

She was someone you could trust when you needed advice because she had walked with the Lord a very long time.

One time a number of years ago I was very discouraged about Project Lost Sheep. We had a meeting coming up but my heart wasn't in it. I was tempted to cancel the meeting.

Sitting at her kitchen table in her small apartment in Menlo Park I poured out my hear to her over a cup of tea. She listened carefully. She wrote things down on little scraps of paper. She had a bird clock that would sing on the hour. (she loved birds). She had many friends even in her golden years and a wonderful family. But the thing I loved about her most was her heart for the Lord was so constant.

She looked me in the eye after I told her I wanted to cancel the meeting and said. "Momentum, Joyce, momentum. Never forget momentum."

We held the meeting and went forward. When I think of Connie I smile. She kept me steadfast when I would have wavered. She is missed by me and the Project Lost Sheep.

We honor Connie Rhodes for her life, her example, her always being there. We will certainly miss her and look forward to our reunion someday.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


If you have ever had a house built or done an extensive remodel, you know that the foundation part really takes a great deal of time, energy and money.

The whole has to be dug. The borders set. The markers put in. The concrete poured. It seems endless and in fact NO ONE EXCEPT THE TERMITE INSPECTOR may ever see that. However, the foundation is vital for the building. If it isn't right the entire edifice will be unstable.

Whether we are laying a foundation for a building, a friendship, a marriage or a Christian work, these
things must happen.

l. there must be a plan done by an expert.
2. there needs to be checking of the specifications.
3. there needs to be time- no rush.
4. there needs to be capital to finish.

Jesus said "a wise man builds his house upon the rock." Luke 6:48.
The rock represents a stable foundation. When winds or other trouble comes the house will not blow down or be destroyed.

I have been thinking recently of the seven years of foundation work that went into the Project Lost Sheep. We prayed. We waited. We had pastoral advice. We put down a deep foundation of friendship on the team. We asked God to direct us. We called prayer home base. We weren't building it for ourselves. We wanted God's work to be established...even when we weren't sure at all what the building would look like!

Think about it....

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Looking At The Children Of Your City

One of the things we all struggle with as Christians is to get the Lord's priorities first and not be so concerned with our agendas.
In San Jose,where a new Project Lost Sheep group is forming, I have given the ad hoc team the assignment of LOOKING AT THE CHILDREN OF YOUR CITY.

This is so important because if we don't see the children, we can't see what Jesus wants us to do to serve these children. Children are important to Jesus. He said "let the little children come unto me for of such is the kingdom of God."
Children have something that we very much need. Jesus put the children in the center of the circle because the disciples were trying to keep them away from Jesus thinking he had more important things to attend to.
If we are honest and we look at our hearts, do we really care what happens to children that are not in our own family? Do we care about the children down the block or in the downtown. Do we care that children IN AMERICA have no place to play and cannot afford to go to camp and they are LOCKED in stuffy apartments by themselves to "grow up" informed by tv!
I can recommend that adults take a walk around the block or go to a park and watch children play. Really look at the faces. Look at a child when he is crying or laughing. Remember that every child is important to the Lord.
I was out recently and saw two children with their parents at a casual eating place. The parents were talking to each other. The children were not interacting with anyone except for their digital devices.
There are other children who are poorly dressed or not able to have parents who can help them with their homework. How would you feel if you had a family that could never help you with your homework?
Let's not just keep our eyes on those who are our own height. Let's look down and see what Jesus saw when he looked at children and then say.