Desolation of Generations

Desolation of Generations

How do you rise above a poverty culture “when you’re born with it hanging around your neck?”

generation of disrepairIn the recent bestselling memoir Hillbilly Elegy, author J.D. Vance recounts the story of his chaotic family and the crises in poor working-class communities. From Appalachia, his people migrated to southern Ohio to find jobs. After securing work, they bought houses and enrolled their kids in public schools.

They were offered a chance at the American Dream.

But sadly, their poverty culture came with them. Continue reading

Interfering with God?

Interfering with God?

For a compelling novel, a good writer will keep reversing the outcome to create suspense. Setbacks and turnarounds build emotional intensity. The goal is to bring a climax or what some call, “the dark moment.” Who doesn’t enjoy the roller coaster ride of a good story?

However in our real lives, we don’t like it. We want the happily-ever-after thread in our circumstances.

Still, desperate times often bring profound turning points.

iStock_000008065336SmallFor example, by 1999 AIDS had ravaged Uganda, East Africa. Studies predicted by the year 2000, 30% of Uganda’s population would die from AIDS and another 30% would be infected. The remaining people, mostly children and the elderly, could not work leading to an economic collapse.[1]

Things had become dire.

On New Year’s Eve, 1999, President and First Lady Museveni joined over 45,000 people in Mandela National Stadium to make a public proclamation. They committed their nation to the purposes of God under the Lordship of Christ for the next 1,000 years.[2]

A shift was underway.

photo-4In August 2003, my family traveled to Uganda. My husband had recently started Uganda Orphans Fund to rescue orphans. With the pall of death still prevalent, our family prayed for a woman nearly expired from AIDS. After several months, she miraculously recovered. Many wonders were starting to happen.

Prayer Meeting in UgandaThen on December 26, 2003, the largest prayer gathering in Uganda’s history was held. All through the night for 12 hours, 25,000 pastors mobilized three million Christians to pray in 50 stadiums—one in each district of the nation.

The outcome was astonishing! Read the full story…Continue reading

Spirit Whispers – Part 2

Spirit Whispers – Part 2

A formerly homeless man was interviewed on TV. He explained how many different places in New York City he could get a hot meal, a shower with fresh clothes, and a bed for the night. All that, and more, was readily available. But he didn’t know how to escape homelessness and dependency—because his real poverty was within.

Homeless Series - No TrespassingMother Teresa said, “People are hungry for love, they are naked of human dignity and respect. They are homeless because of rejection.”

Yet, we live in a time where skeptics say, “Watch out—everybody’s working an angle.” Good people become cynical in a culture where they feel played. “Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold.” (Jesus foretold in Matthew 24:12).

Talmadge Wright, a sociology professor at Loyola University Chicago said, “When you are desperate and poor, you will do anything to survive and prosper. Somehow we seem to hold a moral standard that says as long as you don’t scam and oppress others you are okay, but if you con others you are not okay. The point is…any poor population will have both tendencies happening at the same time. If you don’t like it, make it so they are not poor.”

So how do we respond to people on our streets or in the world at large for that matter?

spiritualThe apostle John said, “Whoever has the world’s goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him?” (1John 3:17) Notice he did not say “give him stuff,” which includes money. That requires wisdom in each situation. The main point is to not close our hearts. At the very least, we can pause and pray.

Secondly, relationship may be the key—even if it’s relationship for a moment. Let me explain…

Picture 2009 169I remember strolling arm-in-arm with my two teenage daughters. While scoping out colleges in the northwest, we stopped in Seattle to shop for prom dresses. Talk about feeling privileged.

We came upon a man in a heavy brown overcoat, sitting on the curb. I’ll be honest—for a second, I considered crossing the street. Yet a still, small voice in my head urged me to go on.  He is also my son, the Holy Spirit whispered. A burning heat filled my chest.Continue reading