Week 2 of Adopt-A-Block
Have you ever used the expression “I’d be a millionaire if I had a nickel for every time I …”? Well I must admit that “I would have enough money for five Gangland Redemption vans; If I had a dollar for every time I tried to convince myself ‘It really won’t matter if I don’t help out at Youth Group tonight; or no one will miss us if we don’t show up at first service on Sunday’.” However, I don’t allow for myself to make the decision on matters like whether or not I’m going to church on Sunday or serving at Youth Group on Wednesday night, because I can always come up with a reason to justify skipping out “just once”. Those decisions I leave up to the Holy Spirit and in four years He has never told me that my presence is not necessary at Youth Group or I already know everything that Pastor is going to share (because I don’t). As a matter of fact I have discovered that when the enemy is really trying to work on me to miss serving God’s Kingdom or attending church, and I decide to do what the LORD wills for me; that’s when I experience some of the most significant supernatural break-through moments. As Pastor Bill from Valley Christian Center Church (VCC) in Fresno often says, “God is more concerned with your commitment than He is with your comfort.” Does that mean that God doesn’t want me to feel relaxed and at peace? Absolutely not, but God knows that if we aren’t out there doing His work on the streets people like the “Bicycle Guy” may never find peace for themselves again.
Out of respect for Bicycle Guy I will not use his real name or many specific details of his life. I will say that he is a resident of our “East University” Adopt-A-Block community. He is Spanish speaking only and the message that has gotten back to me is that he has an addiction to alcohol and can be verbally abusive towards his wife and children when he is drinking. His wife and daughter actually asked for prayer from our team about this situation and are hoping to attend Celebrate Recovery as a family. Our team members met Bicycle Guy during week one of our Adopt-A-Block, and spoke with him and his family. The team members that spoke with him, shared that we would be conducting a “Bicycle Repair Station” with our partners Feed My Sheep Ministries in the cul-de-sac the following week between 10:30-12:30.
As our caravan pulled up to the cul-de-sac this past Saturday, Bicycle Guy is already standing at our spot holding two child sized bikes that needed repair. Friends, I am almost moved to tears for this man as I am writing this down, because I understand Bicycle Guy. I myself struggled with a gambling addiction of my own at one point, and understand how desperately I wanted to be free from myself during that period of my life. But my question to you is this… “What if our team of volunteers had not followed through on our commitment to be where we said we would be and when we said we would be there?” Speaking for Bicycle Guy, I would think that he would probably feel like ‘I really liked those people and I was really hoping that they would have showed up. But oh well, I guess they’re really not much different from the others that have let me down before’. We’ve all been let down in life, and I can say that when an addict is let down, his only place of “comfort” for his feelings is in the substance of his addiction (alcohol, drugs, casinos, on-line porn).
As a recovered gambling addict and grateful believer in Jesus Christ I have not gone into a casino for almost four years now. I know that there is Hope that can only be found in a loving Heavenly Father that sent His precious Son as a lamb to be slaughtered as a sacrifice for our sins. You see God certainly didn’t make it COMFORTABLE for His own Son to overcome my addiction or Bicycle Guy’s, but Jesus was COMMITTED and knew that “There was no other way”. [Luke 22:39-46]
On Saturday October 25th, Adopt-A-Block is going to vest up to help clean-up trash and cover graffiti in the “East University Neighborhood”. I have a vision of over a hundred volunteers of men, women and children wearing orange t-shirts and vests loving on the neighborhood with pickers, garbage bags and a prayer booth on our cul-de-sac. Please be praying for this and make a commitment to meeting at VCC (4649 E. Shields Ave) on Saturday October 25th at 10 AM. Let’s show the “East University Neighborhood” that we serve an AWESOME GOD and that He loves them right where they are right now, and desires to have a personal relationship with each and every one of them.
This week we are doing indoor soccer for the children in their community, so please be praying for that. Please be in agreement with me in prayer this week for the Celebrate Recovery Ministry and Bicycle Guy along with his family!
God Bless you this week. You are loved!
David J. Standley- Gangland Redemption