Monday, February 25, 2008

Star of Hope

A week or so ago, I sang at the annual Star of Hope Gala here in Houston.

Star of Hope is one of the oldest, longest operating missions of its kind in the nation.
I had been their guest several years ago, and remember saying at the time, “Star of Hope is one of the only operations that would like nothing more than to go out of business – to simply not be necessary anymore.”

Well, all these years later, there is a greater need than ever for Star of Hope and the wonderful work they do for this city.

In 2007, they housed 5,060 homeless people in their shelter. 25% of these were children, 26% were women and 49% were men. The average client stayed 47 nights with Star of Hope.

They served 523,746 meals!

They provided 82,780 articles of clothing to the needy.

Star of Hope assisted 4,103 clients with employment counseling. 736 enrolled in school or on the job training. 288 found employment.

1,035 people confessed Christ as Savior – people that before had no relationship with Jesus.

I could go on and on.

I’m thankful that the city of Houston has such a light to its people. It makes a difference in lives – those that are helped and those that reach out to help.

It’s not just the homeless and endangered that are helped in a place like Star of Hope. The people that give of their funds to support it, the people that volunteer their time to make it run and the full-time staff that operate the mission from day to day all receive from the blessing of giving themselves.

My invitation to play there that night came at the last minute – schedule mix-ups or something and since I live here and was off that evening, it worked out perfectly.

Look around you. What is happening where you live? What are the needs?
Your town might be small or you might be in a large city. God will use you to pour into the lives in your world. Will you do it?


In the last few days, I’ve been made aware of the passing of two incredible musicians.

Gary Driskell wrote magnificent songs of truth and praise. I sang one of his very best with Sandi Patty some time ago – “Another Time and Another Place”. On my second album, I recorded the song "New Lives for Old". Later, the song "Born in Zion" was on the list. Gary just kept them coming. He will be missed. What a great loss.

This morning, I got an email that said Larry Norman had passed away. Some people, after this many years, consider me one of the early pioneers in Christian music. Compared to Larry and others of his era, I’m a pup.

I was on a panel to discuss songwriting with Larry several years ago at Estes Park, Colorado. It was a fascinating mix of personalities. While I might have not seen eye to eye with Larry on a few issues, I always respected his heart for songs about God that rocked! He hated soft songs. He said God was a big God – a rockin’ God, “Sing big rockin’ songs,” he said.

I said, “There are all kinds of ways to express ourselves about the limitless God we serve.” He sheepishly said, “Well, yeah.” It was classic.

So all that to say, if you think you’ve got forever to get you stuff together and one day you’ll serve, one day you’ll help somebody else – when you’re more on top of things – let me tell you, time is flying and you just never, never know.

Bless you.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You are so right to encourage the folks who volunteer and help those in need. It is such a blessing to the giver as well. I went as a solist and to help people on a mission trip to India. Our team of forty lay people and a few ministers prayed for miracles and the words to get the attention of the hindis an muslims there.God surely honored our prayers in a big way. It was like walking through the bible stories and seeing those miracles with my own eyes. I prayed with others for a man's sight and he recieved it! I watched as my pastor prayed for a man's hands to be restored from leoprosy and as his fingers appeared from nubs... he was joyful pastor was so speechless he said "Sing something Linda, sing".Unbelievable!As I sang one evening I noticed a group of deaf people signing, and God took my hands while I sang and helped me remember every sign I ever knew to translate the words to them. It was so surreal and extremely exciting ,and humbling. There were so many folks in the thousands of folk who came to the crusades each evening that came to know the Lord as their savior...It was such an awesome experience to have been a part of God's plan. I will never be the same ...It might sound corny but now when I meet someone from India I feel a need to slip in the conversation somewhere "I've been to your country". It is almost comical to see the puzzled look on their face when they say why would you go there? Then I get to tell them that I went to tell people about God and His son Jesus.
You know what?...The best part of the story is that as a senior at Baylor ,God woke me up with two dreams back to back . One was of me singing on a very ornate stage with very particular details in a stadium packed with thousands of people watching and holding their hands up in prayer. The other was of me singing to a packed stadium in SPAINISH. I thought God had sent the wrong dream to me. My roomate was the Spainish major. Seven years later, I was asked to sing in Quito ,Equador in Spainish! God Blessed my efforts to sing in Spainish because the locals there thought I was fluent. Sorry to ramble, but helping others helps rekindle the fire in the giver.
Love in Him,