Hodge Podge House News

The guys at Threshold House do a ‘check in’ each morning. This is a round table time where each in turn shares answers to questions like How are you physically today? Emotionally? Spiritually? What are you grateful for? This start of the day exercise gives each an opportunity to ponder and share honestly how they are doing. On occasion I get in on these ‘check ins,’ and I shared last week that I do not often sleep well. I think the group must have started to pray because from Sunday noon until Wednesday morning I spent most of my time sleeping! It seems I caught a flu bug going around!

I got back to work on Wednesday in time to meet with three applicants and it was with real joy that we offered each a spot in our community. Another fellow decided he could benefit by another month in treatment and will come to join us in January. The beds are finally filling up.

A fellow who came to us a little over three weeks ago has successfully moved on to the second phase of life in our community. He has begun part time work with a view to finding full time work in the near future.

Three of our growing community have children and so we are boosting our efforts to create a warm welcoming space for children to visit us. I am looking for folks to volunteer to be a ‘secret Santa’ for one of our Community’s children. If you contact me I will give you the child’s age and gender.

It is our goal to see our guys grow in service to God and others. This past week a couple of men went uptown on a cold Friday night and joined a regular outreach. They gave away pizza that had been donated to us. They came back excited and ready for more opportunities. On Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Years Eve, and New Years Day we are offering all those who are struggling or lonely to drop in. We hope to offer a warm beverage and seasonal snacks and share fellowship.

When I walk into Threshold House I am often delighted to hear the air filled with Christian music. Next week, a friend, Rus Blanchet will be leading a Wednesday Night Worship time. Any are welcome to join. Rus’s idea is to lead an Evening Prayer Service. This will be a new format for several of our guys and a chance to learn and grow.

Some of our folk are not avid readers and struggle with Bible reading but have become extremely excited with the discovery of the Message. They will read something expressed in plain language and ask me “Does it really says that?” This leads to lots of wonderful conversations.

It is nice being back from the land of nod as we enter this busy season. I will not soon complain about a lack of sleep.

Thank you for your faithful prayers and please continue.

Hope Realized

Like Mary, Joseph and the Christ-child we are looking forward to three new guests this December. There are definite signs of hope! We anticipate new residents coming and bringing a sense of excitement and new life to Threshold House. For too long the building has had a hollow sense to it but that is changing. There are likely going to be days when we might pine for ‘the quiet days’ but not for long and not often!

One of the great joys of my life, of late, has been informing applicants that there was room in our ‘inn’ for them. Guys have broken down in tears at the news that there is a place of welcome especially for them.

For a minimum of the first three weeks with us a new resident will be engaged full time with us in growing in community and building a new and healthy personal network.

We are busy creating a Children’s Room full of toys and activities for the children of our residents, so that broken family relationships can begin to be repaired.

The ‘guys’ will also be involved in some outreach to the poor and marginalized of our city, joining with existing ministries that reach these populations. Our goal is to create ‘Men of Hope’ who can share the hope they have discovered.

I will be preaching Sunday at our church. The church has been studying the book B.L.E.S.S. by Dave and Jon Ferguson and I plan to revisit the final ‘S’ which stands for sharing our story. In my experience this is where the whole plan so easily falls apart. I will be examining John chapter 9, the story of the blindman who is healed. We will be concentrating on how honestly and naturally he shares his story. He candidly admits there is much he does not know but is very clear about what he does know. “I was blind and now I see!” I am convinced if the Church of God would follow his simple example that the Good News would more powerfully impact our culture, transforming lives.

I am reminded of the riddle: “How is the Church like the mighty Mackenzie River? Both are often frozen at the mouth!” Too often we fear that because we do not have all the answers that we dare not say anything but we do not need more knowledge than our own experience to share our story.

Paul tells and retells his story throughout the book of Acts, but the best role-model is this blind man who simply and powerfully told his story. Some rejected his story others may have received it, the results are up to God and others, but he alone had this particular story. No one else could tell it and no one else can tell mine but me, or you yours.

A week from Saturday we will be hosting another Breakfast & a Message of Hope. We are hoping for another good turn out to hear our speaker Jon Hallewell. Jon’s church was one of the earliest supporters of Threshold House. I am sure without them we would never have completed renovations to be where we are today.

Also in December we look forward to a visit from our National Director Jonathan Clarke. It will be great to show him the vision we shared coming to fruition. Some of the guys are looking forward to challenging him to a game of pool or of Wii.

Please continue to keep us in prayers as we transition into a busier hub, that it will remain a place of peace.

Please pray for my health. My back has caused some problems and the skin covering the wound on my back is taking a long time to completely heal.

Join The Fun

I walked into Threshold House today and experienced something I have not for a long time. I remember the wonderful days of entering this building and being met by students who were thrilled at what they were learning and experiencing of God. Today the guys of Threshold House were enthused with the afterglow of a meeting the night before. God had been evident to them in the interaction of the night before. They shared a sense of excitement that this was but a foretaste!

I have long looked back to the days when the building was bustling with God centred activity and joy. I sometimes have despaired that we would ever have experiences like that again. It was so affirming to me to witness God in the midst of this nascent community.

We have welcomed a new member to the community and a fellow who will join us in couple of weeks also came to the meeting held at Threshold House every Thursday. There is a buzz.

As I begin to think about this burgeoning hope, I am reminded of the wise words of a friend. He asked me how my back was feeling, and I replied that it was feeling quite good. He then told me “That is the time you have to be most careful!”

God is good … and we need to rely on him and not coast on our ‘good feelings.’ We know community life is not idyllic. It takes work and humility. This does not stop me from noticing God’s handywork and celebrating but I need to be aware where such blessings come.

It has been a good week. We made arrangements with Little Caesar’s Pizza to receive a donation of food every Tuesday. We are in talks with other shops to make similar arrangements. We purchased a freezer to store the goods we receive.

We are looking to fling open our doors for: Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year’s Eve, and New Year’s Day, for those who are at ‘loose ends’ during the holidays or those who struggle through these times. We are hoping to offer coffee and baked goods and we are asking for donations for this purpose.

We are creating a family room where guys can meet with their children. We are gathering toys and activities to make this a place of hospitality for little ones.

We hope to partner with a friend’s organization to reach out beyond our community and offer a turkey and all the fixings dinner for the hungry and marginalised.

Besides my studies Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, we join a Men’s Study at Forest Hills Church and I have begun an ‘in house’ study based on the Sermon on the Mount.

Lots is going on and there is a sense of life and hope, but we realize we need God and His community. Please pray for us and consider how you might join the fun.