Tag Archives: food

Book Review – Under the Overpass


To begin with let me just say this book was powerful, it was one that reached down deep inside of my heart and grabbed hold of it from the first page. If you want to understand homelessness from a different perspective read this book. As a believer, someone who works with the mentally ill and homeless and live in one of the cities written about in this book, I connected in more ways than expected.

Living in America, most of us, myself included take for granted how well off we are.  Most of us never worry where our next meal will come from, when we can take a shower or what articles of clothing we will wear today.  We know we will sleep safe and sound in our own bed tonight.   Day to-day we go through life passing strangers, mentally ill and homeless individuals, never giving them a second thought.  We see them standing on the corners with their signs, or even coming up to us and asking us for spare change.  Many times I have seen and witnessed people not wanting to be bothered by folks and brush them off. Yet they are human beings, created in the image of Christ and this is our response to them?

In our lives we have so little need for God, we take him for granted and only come running back to him when our lives are falling apart.  What happens when you don’t have any of this any longer? Mike Yankoski heard God speak to him during a church service as he meditated on Philippians 4:11-12 “I have learned what it means to be content in all circumstances, whether with everything or with nothing.” Mike’s thoughts were “What if I stepped out of my comfortable life with nothing but God and put my faith to the test alongside of those who live with nothing every day.”

After praying, planning, wise counsel and a friend to join along in this journey they set out to really experience life in a very different way.  Their trip took them to Denver, Washington, D.C., Portland, San Fransisco, Phoenix and San Diego. Mike and his friend Sam set out on a 5 month journey carrying a pair of boxer shorts, a pair of shorts, a pair of jeans, a T-shirt and a sweatshirt.  Sleeping bag, books, journals and a couple of guitars to aid in panhandling – the bare essentials for this life altering journey.

The journey began May 27th, 2003 and came to it’s conclusion November 2, 2003. The stories they share of their experiences surviving in each city is eye-opening.  How those living off the streets keep up what little dignity they have, survive and yes even live out their own faith in Jesus.  The folks they meet and the stories they shard about their lives which led to them being on the streets is what got me the most.  How members of churches responded to them and their response back to them.  They met and experienced Jesus in different ways and in doing so it challenged them as to how they would live upon returning to normal, if there is such a thing after what they went through.

In reading this book it reminded me of the movie “Into The Wild”.  There is something extremely appealing about casting off the world, (cell phones, cars, luxuries we take for granted daily) and really truly devoting ourselves to dependence on God.  It’s refreshing to me to see men like these two who weren’t afraid to go out and do it.

As I finished out this book moved to tears.  I was reminded of the passage in Deuteronomy 15:11 “There will always be poor people in the land.  Therefore I command you to be open-handed toward your brothers and toward the poor and needy in your land.”  It is true, more so today than I have ever seen or experienced in my life.  It is now estimated there are close to 2 million homeless people living here in America.  That number is shocking.

It made me realize as someone who has been given much, I need to find ways to merge taking care of the poor into my family.  What can we do out of our wealth to help others. I am once again challenged not to ignore them to but really see the person, to do more than just pass them by. This book is one I strongly urge you to read.  In reading the stories presented in this book it should change and shape your future and how you look at homelessness.  The end of the book provides you with some simple ways you can also do your part.

FTC Disclaimer – “I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review”

You can order a copy from Amazon for as cheap as $4.31 – just click on the link below

http://www.amazon.com/Under-Overpass-Journey-Streets-America/dp/1590524020/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1301366551&sr=8-1

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40 Years and a beard


This last Sunday I turned 40 years old.  To celebrate this weekend I chose a weekend get away at the beach here in Oregon.  I invited 17 guys, 11 were able to come and join the party.  I selected men who have played an important role in my life for the last 20 years.  These are men who have been allowed to speak into my life, shaping and impacting the man I am today.

Over the weekend I got to relive old memories, share a ton of laughs and just enjoy being around this group of great men.  Most of these men had never met each other before. This was the first time they all were in one place together.  What amazed me the most was how well they got along with each other, from the beginning of the weekend everyone who was there acted as if they had all been a part of each other’s lives for a long time.  Over and over throughout the weekend, I got continual compliments on how I had chosen amazing friends.

The weekend didn’t start out well.  Due to the horrific Tsunami happening in Japan, the news Friday morning said they were expecting it to reach the Oregon coast.  Evacuations were taking place and we were unsure if we would be able to make it.  Later in the day we were able to head for the beach as the Tsunami warnings were removed.  4 of us arrived first, after getting settled decided to go for a walk.  As we made our way down to the beach we could see the tide was in, but heading out.  After walking about ½ mile we chose to head back.  As we made our way back we the tide had gone out and the rocks and tidal pools were exposed and we headed over to check them out  5 minutes into looking around the tide began quickly moving in and we were surrounded by water.  We mad our way towards the shore, standing on the last rock available and thinking the tide would go back out waited for a bit.  The tide wend down a little but only returned with a stronger force and the water was climbing.  One of my friends jumped and went under, we watched as he disappeared under the water, unsure what to do, quickly he came to the surface and made his way up the beach.  The water went out a small amount and my other two friends jumped for it and headed up the beach.  I stood there on the rocks waiting for the water to go down but it wasn’t.  I grabbed my digital camera in my right hand and held it above my head and placed my cell phone in my coat pocket and held it with my left hand and jumped.  I ended up falling into the water up to my neck, soaking my phone and camera both.  I quickly stood up and made my way to the beach.  We all stood there staring at each other, shaking our heads in disbelief.  Thankfully we were all safe.  The ocean had destroyed 2 cell phones and a digital camera but no lives were lost and we were incredibly thankful.

The rest of the weekend was spent hanging out, eating delicious meals, a ton of laughs and an EWOK cake.  Many games of Settlers of Catan and enjoying being around great friends.  Usually for me it’s incredibly difficult to watch weekends like this come to an end.  I was sad to see it end, I wished it could have lasted for a week.  I am so thankful for all the men who were able to come and join me.  As I think back over the last 20 years I am amazed at the men God has put into my life.  As men have come and gone in my life, other men have come in and filled that gap. For that I am incredibly thankful.

 

Oh yeah, how does the beard play into all this?  In September 2010 I contemplated growing a beard.  Never before in my life had I grown one.  I have attempted a couple of times, but after a week or so, I couldn’t stand the itchiness of it and gave up.  Since my son was born I have always had a go-tee and since the early 90’s I have kept my hair very short.  A friend of mine was getting married in October and asked me to be in his wedding.  Finding out I was going to be in a wedding I decided to hold off until after the wedding.  The wedding took place and that was the last day I shaved or cut my hair.  I made the choice to wait until my 40th birthday to shave it all off.  Despite numerous comments through the months about me looking like Moses or Grizzly Adams, I held true to my word and didn’t cut any of it.  Finally this weekend came and I was more than ready to return to my original face.  I have no intentions of ever-growing long hair or a beard again.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was thinking of adding 40 things I learned over the years, but I shall forego that.  What I will add is a few things I have learned in my 40 years.

My relationship with Jesus is the most valuable relationship I have.  When everyone else has failed me he has always been with me.  The model by which he lived his life, investing in 12 other men for 3 years, serving others and living his life for his Father’s purpose is something I will spend the rest of my life trying to emulate.

My wife is one of the greatest blessings I have.  I am by no means worthy of her.  She is truly a gifted and amazing woman.  I fell in love with her heart from the beginning and it’s still the one thing that draws me back to her daily.  After spending countless years praying for a wife, God has blessed me with the right woman for my life.

My 6 kids continue to amaze me daily.  I never thought I could love someone the way I love them.  God has perfectly designed my family and each child he has allowed me to be a Papa to is a dream come true.  My greatest desire was to be a Dad someday and it is so much more than I ever dreamed of.

Most of my 20’s and 30’s were an exercise in being unwise and selfish.  I have more regrets than I can count and that is no way to live your life.  Living a wise life, no regrets and considering others as more important is the way to go.

There are so many other valuable lessons I have learned, to many to list out here.  Most importantly live life as though it’s your last day on earth, for one day it will be.

Got any advice for me as I move into my 40’s?