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Anawim Christian Community is a community church made up of the homeless and the mentally ill. Our main goal is to provide for people's needs (including the need to be a disciple of Jesus) where they are at. We don't feel that a person needs to be something different before they get the help they need. Our center is in Gresham OR, which is where we lead and organize day shelters and a worship service. We also have a community house in N. Portland where housing is being provided for a few people and opportunities for community worship. We are connected to ministries in SE Portland and St. Johns, where we distribute food and clothing. And finally, through the internet, we educate people from almost every country in the world about homelessness, mental illness and the Christian response to each.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

All We Need Is Love

"All we need is love";
"What the world needs now is love sweet love"; 
"Love is all around"...
 Certainly love is a big topic, especially around Valentines Day.  So many hearts, so much red and pink...  for unromantic guys like me it makes me vomit chalky little hearts that say "be mine".

Mind you, I'm not against romance, real romance.  It's wonderful.  But so many people talk about love but don't know the first thing about it.

I think Foreigner and the Black Eyed Peas got it right (for once): "I want to know what love is", "what is love?"  That's the real questions we should all be asking ourselves.   I wrote an article just asking questions just trying to figure out what love is..   It's not easy.  Such a simple, short word, yet it's so hard to understand.

And Paul just made it more difficult by saying the things we might see as really showing love-- giving our possessions to the poor, or sacrificing our bodies for the Lord-- may not be acts of love at all.  We know love is an attitude, but it also must have right action.  

Lord, I want to know what love is.  And I need YOU to show me.  Because the rest of us are still trying to figure it out. 

"You shall love your neighbor as yourself." 
Leviticus 19:23

How Your Church Can Love The Homeless

Not every church can help the homeless to the degree that Anawim does. Every church has their own ministries that the Lord has called them to. But every church can take on a small aspect of ministry to the very poor among us.  For many of our churches, this will mean doing some work for the homeless.  But most churches are at a loss-- how can we appropriately help those in need?  Here's some ideas that other churches have tried and found successful:

-Have a collection drive in your church and give them to a local homeless ministry-- or hand them out yourselves!.  Socks are wonderful, but also blankets, sleeping bags, hand warmers, or breakfast bars.

-Make lunches with socks, hand warmers and scriptures and hand them out to the local homeless.

-Provide a "Christmas in Spring"-- a special meal for the poor and homeless in the 
community NOT at the time that traditional meals are held.

-Ask your church to have a line in their budget to support a local homeless ministry.

-Ask a local homeless ministry if they could use some volunteers once a month to help out.

-Provide a meal for the poor once a month or once a week for the poor in your area (make sure it isn't at the same time as other ministries providing meals in your area).

-Open your facility to the homeless to have a place to rest or to get out of the community once a week, for four to six hours.  This is a great way to get to know your local homeless!

Most of all, whatever you do, give with love, not grudgingly!  What does love look like?  It means you meet the needy with joy, you provide peace to your neighbor, you are patient with other's failings, you are kind to needy, you perform what is good to all, you speak with gentleness, and you remain in control no matter what chaos surrounds us.  Grant this to the homeless, and you have given a gift unspeakable.

"If I give all my possessions to the poor and give my body to be burned but have no love, I obtain no benefit." 
I Corinthians 13:3

Love Links

"If you love those who love you, what reward should you get for that?  Even the worst people love those who love them."
Luke 6:32

What is love?  Questions we should ask ourselves: 

How do we love our neighbors and our enemies?

Video: How our churches can love the homeless:

Back by popular love: More Anawim art:

The Onion loves the homeless:,10260/

Prayer and Praise

We love you, Lord!
  • We give Jesus all worship, we give him our obedience, we give him our trust!
  • Thank God for giving two of the Anawim folks trailers to live in,  Please pray that they can get places to park them with reasonable rent.
  • Thank God for three of the Anawim homeless folks deciding to remain clean and sober.  Pray that God can keep them on track.
  • Thank God for giving enough sleeping bags, tents, socks, hand warmers and more to keep our folks warm on cold nights without shelter.
  • Thank God for the shelters being open during the recent snowstorm.
  • Thank God for the City of Gresham being willing to compromise with Anawim to allow the building to be open during the coldest weather.
  • Thank God that Anawim received a couple more regular donors.  Pray that we get more- we still are unable to meet our regular costs!