Archive for the ‘Homelessness’ category

Loose Change

October 17, 2010

Okay, I admit it. I pick up loose change.

A penny, here. A nickel or dime, there. And, yes, the occasional quarter.

I find coins in the hallways at the school where I work, on the floor in classrooms under desks, and in the courtyards that separate the buildings on campus.

I’ve even started looking in the coin return slots of the vending machines that sell bottled water, vitamin water, and chocolate milk. Would you believe that I found a dollar coin in one last Friday? Took home $2.15 that day.

I started picking up coins late last semester. I’d take the coins home and put them in an old red plastic Folger’s coffee bucket. I glued the plastic lid on the bucket and cut a slit in it through which I drop the pennies, dimes, and quarters.

My original plan for the collected coins was to save them up and then take my wife out on a small date. Two cups of Costa Rica coffee and a slice of cheese cake at Jason’s coffee-house.

But my plans for the loose change that is slowly starting to build in value changed this summer. I read some pretty staggering figures about world poverty and homelessness that have caused me to re-think what I’m going to do with the money. Things like:

  • There are over 6,878,090,660+ people in the world
  • 1,155,439,635+ of the world’s population are overweight
  • 343,739,993+ are obese
  • $102,050,000+ was spent of food in the United States today and then tossed
  • 110,060 tons of food is wasted in the United States every day
  • $95,000,000+ is spent on weight loss programs in the USA every day
  • $218,900,000+ was spent due to obesity-related diseases today in the USA
  • $40,550,000+ (US) was spent on pet food in Europe and the USA today

And, then, there are these figures:

  • 1,028,626,457+ of the world’s 6 billion+ population is undernourished
  • Every 3.2 seconds someone in the world dies of hunger. 75% of these are children
  • 24 thousand people die every day from starvation or malnutrition
  • There are 2.2 billion children in the world and 1 billion of them live in poverty
  • 3 billion of the world’s population lives on less that $2.50 a day
  • 1,345,000 billion of the world’s population lives on less than $1.25 a day
  • $31,484,200+ would allow us to feed the world’s hungry for a day
  • Only 22,937 tons of global food aid was provided to the world’s hungry today

While Costa Rica coffee and chess cake is a good thing, and it will happen, right now the change that’s being saved in the Folger’s bucket is going to go to a better cause. At the end of the school year, the change that has been picked up at school is going to be dumped on our living room floor, rolled up in those paper wraps, counted, and deposited in our checking account. Then we’re going to write a check and send it to an agency that helps feed hungry people.

The amount may not be great, we’ll wait and see, but it may be enough to feed a family for a couple of weeks, especially if that family is one of those who are counted among the 4 billion people who live on less than $2.50 a day.

In conclusion, I have a couple of  thoughts that come out of all of this. The first is that people, that includes me, need to be better stewards of what money we have. We work hard for our money and every penny does count. So, when we drop a coin on the floor, pick it up. When we put money into a vending machine, be sure we get all of our loose change out. That’s not being greedy, it’s just being careful with what we have. After all, there is a severe repression in the land.

A second thought that I have is that we, Americans especially, spend too much money on ourselves – whether it be for bigger houses, more fashionable clothes, newer cars, or more snacks and munchies at school. In a world where the majority of the people have such great and life-threatening needs, to lavish upon ourselves the way that we do, without a thought for the poor and hungry among us, is a sin.

Let’s think about, and be grateful for, the many blessings that we have and the provision that most of us are able to make for our families. But, don’t stop there. Let’s think about the billions of hungry, malnourished, and starving in the world and about how we can be involved in meeting their very real life needs.

Prayerfully consider writing a check to an organization that feeds the hungry. Or, simply stop, pick up that penny, and start a “feed the hungry” bucket at home.

Hey, I may look like a beggar or a scavenger to people who see me picking up loose change on the floor or out of the coin return slots of the vending machines at school, but that’s okay.

Run For Compassion

April 8, 2010

Every day an estimated 24,000 children under the age of 5 die from preventable diseases.

Compassion International is a Christian organization that exists as a “child advocacy ministry that releases children from spiritual, economic, social and physical poverty and enables them to become responsible, fulfilled Christian adults.”

Every year a Run for Compassion event is conducted in College Station, Texas to help raise funds to support the ministry and work of Compassion International.

This year’s Run for Compassion will take place on Saturday April 10, 2010 at 8am.

100% of all registration fees will go to Compassion’s Child Survival Programs in both Ethiopia and Haiti. These fees will help provide food, medical care, and other necessities required for children to live, grow, and develop during their critical early childhood years!

Please consider participating in this weekend’s Run.

Walk or run as if a child’s life depended on you.

(Click on the logo for information about the Run for Compassion and how you can participate.)

The Next Five Minutes

February 25, 2010

What took place in your life during the last five minutes? What do you expect to happen to you during the next five minutes?

Watch this video that tells us what will happen, and in what numbers, to people around the world over the course of the next five minutes, and is happening to people every five minutes of every day. Inhumanity, injustice, and tragedy.

Perhaps, after watching this video, you will agree that “the greatest tragedy is none of these (the tragedies documented in the video),  but instead, allowing the next five minutes to be like the last five minutes.”

Tears of the Saints

February 23, 2010

This is a very heart stirring video about the great needs of people around the world.

It is also a video about the greatest need in the lives of men, women, boys, and girls around the world –  the need for a personal relationship with Holy God through personal faith in His Son, Jesus Christ.

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” … to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.” (Matthew 25:40)

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“All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20)

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“And this gospel of the Kingdom shall be preached in the whole world for a witness to all the nations, and then the end shall come.” (Matthew 24:14)

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(“Tears of the Saints” is sung by Leeland.)

Footprints On My Blog

June 7, 2009

I started writing the tangiblethoughts blog back in August of 2008. While the Cluster Map on the front page doesn’t show it, because it was added well after I started writing the blog, the stat counter on my “dashboard”  recorded my 2,000th visit yesterday.

I know, I know, there are many blogs out there that have been around much longer and have thousands of more hits, but I was excited to hit the 2,000 mark.

Thanks to all of you who have taken the time to visit me at tangiblethoughts. Some of you just dropped by; others of you are frequent visitors. I appreciate all of you.

So, next time you’re here, like now, why don’t you leave your “footprint” and share a  “tangible thought”?

Help Me Read

March 17, 2009

Please help me earn rewards for free books, to read and review, by visiting the on-line Monergism.com bookstore by clicking on the Monergism icon at the bottom of the right-hand side bar on this page and the on-line Westminster Bookstore here or by clicking its icon at the bottom of the side bar. Thank you.

Read on.

“The Gospel and the Poor”

February 27, 2009

Evangelism? Social ministry? Or, both/and? It’s a question, and a tension, that many Christians and churches struggle with.

In a paper entitled The Gospel and the Poor, Tim Keller, pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City, helped me think through the relationship between evangelism and social ministry and how to balance them at the home and local church level.

It is a great paper that has alot of information, Scripture and insight in it for all who are committed to sharing Christ in word and in deed.  Pastor Keller also makes reference to and much use of Jonathan Edwards’ discourse, “Christian Charity”, a paper I intend to read later this week.

About half-way through the paper, after speaking about the validity and value of social ministry, Keller asks the question: “But what about the relationship of ministry to the poor to the ministry of evangelism and the preaching of the Gospel?” His answer is that:

  1. Evangelism is distinct
  2. Evangelism is more basic than ministry to the poor
  3. But ministry to the poor is inseparably connected to evangelism
  4. Inseparable does not mean a rigid, temporal order

Included among the many things said in the paper’s summary, Pastor Keller says,

Jesus calls Christians to be ‘witnesses,’ to evangelize others, but also to be deeply concerned for the poor. He calls His disciples both to ‘gospel-messaging’ (urging everyone to believe the Gospel) and to ‘gospel-neighboring’ (sacrificially meeting the needs of those around them whether they believe or not! The two absolutely go together … theologically … (and) practically.”

This is a great paper for all who are concerned not only about evangelism, but also for ministry to the poor, needy and marginalized.

You can read all of The Gospel and the Poor here.

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“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”  (Mark 10:45)