Chris Ramsey’s Blog

11 Feb 2019

MEET NORVILLE: HE’S A PEOPLE PERSON

By |2019-02-11T11:27:59+00:00February 11th, 2019|General|0 Comments

AND HE’S A BLESSING TO SO MANY… INCLUDING ME!

Here’s my friend, Norville.  Every now and then we meet in the Aldi’s parking lot.  He’s busy waiting to return the shopping carts that folks have just used to unload their groceries into their cars.  But he’s also happy to assist anyone who would like a little help unloading.

So on this day, Feb. 6, I’d just finished shopping for our shelter–Cornerstone Community Outreach, and I’m pushing my fully loaded cart to my van when I run into Norville.  He’s quick to tell me that he’ll be right over to help me unload my cart as soon as he returns a few carts to their corrals, where he will receive a quarter for each cart.

When he arrives at our van we jump into a quick conversation.  “So you really like helping people, don’t you?” I ask

“Oh, yeah, I really like meeting people,” he says.  “I’m a people person.  And I just enjoy encouraging them,” he says.  “You know, there’s just a lot of good  people in this world.”

“Yeah, that’s true,” I say.

“I mean, I’ve met so many good people right here in the parking lot,” he says. ” I’m talking about so many folks that you wouldn’t expect to have an outstanding point of view and an understanding mentality. And they end up encouraging me.”

“Wow, that’s really nice, isn’t it?” I respond.

“Well you know, Chris, that’s what it’s all about, “he replies. “We just need to be encouraging each other each and every day.  I just figure that if I can’t encourage someone, then what am I good for?”

Norville finishes up helping me load our van, and we bid each other a good day. And I discover a little more about Jesus and how he works… right in the Aldi’s parking lot of Uptown, Chicago.  I’m just thankful for all the “Norvilles” in my life… because I can always use a little encouragement.

Thanks for stopping by. 

Chris

1 Feb 2019

Jesus is Not Ashamed of the Least!

By |2019-01-29T13:28:58+00:00February 1st, 2019|General|0 Comments

How about you? How about me?

How many of us “regular” folks know that our Lord and Savior is not ashamed of many of the most “needy or lowly” folks that we encounter in our day-to-day lives? Indeed, he loves them so much that he wasn’t too proud to even become like them.

You see, God in his wisdom believed that the very author of their salvation (Jesus) had to be made perfect through suffering. (Hebrews 2:10) And so, Jesus did not refuse to come down to their level, and to live his life amongst them, and to truly experience what “the least” feel each and every day.

So we see that this Jesus and the least (which is really all of us!) have a lot in common. It seems that they were sort of made for each other. It seems that God has always desired to make a way for anyone who wants to be “friends” with him. And that way was through Jesus.

Still, I think we need a deeper revelation of why it had to be this way. I think we all could use an “extra dose” of heartfelt recognition of just how fantastic and amazing and caring and loving and humbling are all of God’s ways.

Jesus was willing to become lowly and humble and obedient unto death-—and death on a cross for all of our sins. And why was this necessary? It was to free all those who desired to be free from not only the fear of, but the power of death. (Hebrews 2:14-15)

Whoa! So for our God to rescue us he felt that he needed Jesus to be “made like his brothers in every way.” (Hebrews 2:17) God wanted to show his “great love” for humanity . . . and he wanted everyone to make no mistake about who he was (and is!) and how much he was willing to suffer for our sins, and for our sakes.

But you ask, how does this look? “Both the one who makes men holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers.” (Hebrews 2:11) And I don’t believe that Jesus will be ashamed of anyone who calls themselves a follower of him and his teachings who is doing something for his brother and sister in need. (Matthew 25:34-40)

And that brings us to the question, “Are we ashamed of the least?” I mean, do we really care about the least “human beings” that come across our path, or our TV or computer screens?

But maybe to help us grasp this concept of being “ashamed” we need to list a few words that carry the connotation of how we “regular folks” might more accurately label our feelings and attitudes towards the least of our society and our world. And these words are: distraught, embarrassed, guilty, hesitant, or mortified.

And I have to confess that these words do describe me and my reactions to the least many times. How about you?

I guess I have a lot more to learn from Jesus. How about you?

Thanks for stopping by. And remember we’re all on this journey of discovery regarding our God and ourselves together. It’s more than obvious that we need each other.

Chris.

29 Jan 2019

The Big Q: Am I Still On an Ego Trip?

By |2019-01-29T13:17:12+00:00January 29th, 2019|Book excerpts|0 Comments

The answer: I’ll let you decide!

Am I still on an ego trip regarding how the Lord has used me? And what’s my answer, my evaluation of my “spiritual self?”

That’s a good question, I’d have to reply. And to be perfectly honest, I’d have to say I’m not really sure. There are times I feel I’ve gotten over the “value” of my own assessment of my spirituality, and then there are times when I’m still disappointed with how God has used me throughout my life.

To give you a little glimpse of what I’m talking about, I ask you to check out one of the lessons included in my book, Discovering Jesus in the Least.

Learning to Impact: Laborers for the Kingdom

I’ve been blessed—or cursed—with a great missionary zeal for most of my Christian life. I just don’t understand why more Christians don’t feel called to go across the world with this precious gospel that has saved our lives.

I always thought I’d be called to be some kind of big evangelist or missionary leader.

And I have been blessed to be a writer (of sorts), a “housing manager (of sorts), a shelter manager, and a soup-kitchen and food pantry coordinator.

But you see, it doesn’t seem like God has used me like I thought he would—or should?

Now you’re probably thinking, “Wow! This guy must really have some kind of ego!” And this I cannot deny.

This truth was brought home to me by the late Professor John Bray of North Park University in Chicago, who taught a few classes at JPUSA.

In one class he admonished us (JPUSA’s) not to compare ourselves with other Christian who may appear outwardly to . be more used of God. He calmly remarked, “If you think you have not amounted to anything for God, then you’re still on an ego trip!”

So you see a little of what I’m talking about. And as I view myself now, I’d have to say that it’s like I’m telling God that how he’s been using me throughout my adult life hasn’t really been “good enough.”

Good enough for who? For me, of course! For me and my inflated ego!

But if what God has asked me to do is good enough for him . . .  well then, who am I to be dissatisfied? Because if God wanted to use me in different ways than I thought he might, he had plenty of opportunities.

And if he chose not to . . . who am I to complain?

Don’t answer that.

So what’s my lesson for today—for this time in my life? I think that it’s to be genuinely blessed that God has chosen to use me in the many ways that he has used me. I mean, he could have done a lot worse, right?

Right. Thank you, Lord, for your calling in my life. And please forgive me whenever I tell you that it’s not “enough” for me.   For it’s not really true.

Thanks for stopping by.

Chris

20 Dec 2018

VIDEO: Homeless Person Memorial

By |2018-12-20T08:57:44+00:00December 20th, 2018|General|0 Comments

They Will Not Go Unremembered

On Dec. 18, I attended a beautiful memorial service for about 40 homeless folks in Chicago who passed away this past year–2018.  The service was sponsored by so many of Chicago’s organizations who are working together to end the injustice of homelessness.  There was some wonderful singing by the Atlanta Homeward Choir, and some heart-felt sharing about the realities of being homeless… something that Jesus, himself, knew something about.

There was a lot of lighting of candles, and each homeless person remembered was represented by a young person between the ages of 8–16.  They walked up to the front of the church and lit some more candles, while the names were read, and many folks were remembered by a short depiction or two.  A few examples of these depictions were:  “He was so humble.”  “She just radiated love with her smile.”  “He was always sharing any information he had that might help anyone else out of homelessness.”    “He could make anyone laugh and feel better about themselves.”

And after about each 10 names that were remembered, the choir would answer the question about where these precious souls had gone.  And they would sing, ” They’re goin’ up yonder (3x) …To be with our Lord.  Here’s a little taste of their singing—beautiful!

Thanks for stopping by.  Chris. 

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