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A Cup of Cold Water or a Bus Ticket
11/20/2017 11:00:00 AM by: Rob Cook

by, Rob Cook

I knew immediately by the sight of him, he was homeless and most likely addicted to something,

He rode a much used black bike and his unruly dreadlocks strained against the dirty green bandanna tied tightly on his head.

I could have let him pass. He didn’t notice me standing at the top of the church steps. He could’ve just kept going his way, and so could I.

I had work to do. I was the keynote speaker at this conference. I had to go over my notes. There were any number of things I needed to be doing. I was here to teach people how to love people. I was going to explain that evangelism is not something you do, it’s something you live.

I was going to explain to them that they need to be the hand to help others up.

So yeah, I was busy.

Dreadlocks would pass in a second and be just a soon forgotten memory.  

What difference did I think I could really make anyway?

I was surrounded by hundreds if not thousands of down and outers.

As Dreadlocks almost reached the point of no return, something burst out of my mouth.

What was that? Did I just say something?  Dreadlocks looked right at me and hit the brakes.

I did say something.

At least, I think I did. Maybe it was God using my voice to reach one of his children.

I realized as I walked down the steps that I had yelled, “Hey! We have coffee and donuts!”

I met Dreadlocks at the curb. I shook his stained hand.

He immediately refused the coffee and donuts but started quoting scripture and preaching to me. Not as a drunk or drug addict. He was more familiar with the Bible than most Christians I know.

He shared with me how he had been robbed and beaten. He turned out his cheek to show me the injury to the inside of his mouth. They stole his clothes, his phone and a little piece of him. He told me he was homeless.

“Where you from?” 

His eyes focused on the sidewalk, “Kansas City, Missouri.”

“Do you have kids?”

He smiled and held up two fingers. “I got two daughters and two granddaughters.”

Suddenly I did not see some homeless guy but a proud grandfather.

“Why are you in Denver?” I continued to pry.

 He said to his shame, he had come to smoke the legal marijuana. 

“This was the worst mistake of my life.”

At one time he had had a good life.

He told me he was 46 years old and had been in the carpenter’s union back in Missouri for over 20 years.

“If you go back to Missoui, will you be homeless?

This time his eyes reached mine. “No. Of course not.”

As we continued to talk, he explained that he had tried heroin three months ago and died. Paramedics brought him back. He came to with them standing over him.

“I haven’t touched a drug since then, but I do have a drinking problem.”

“Why not just go home?” I dared to ask.

He said he couldn’t because he did not have the money.

“Would you go if you could?”

“Absolutely.” 

I asked him how much a bus ticket cost and, he said $160. 

“What’s your name?”

 “David.”

I told him if he came back at 2 PM when I was speaking, I would get him a ticket home. He was overcome. He just could not believe it was true.

I assured him it was true. He rode away smiling yelling, “I’ll be back.”

I shared with the conference guys what I was going to do. They asked, “What about his bike? Is he going to take it on the bus?”

I didn’t know but assured them we would work it out.

David showed up at 1 PM. He sat in the back of the church and cried. He told those around him he was overwhelmed by the feeling of God’s love for him, through us.

When I was done speaking I asked him, “Where’s your bike?”

 He shrugged, “I gave it to a homeless guy with bad feet.”

We drove David to the bus station in Denver. I purchased the ticket, and we gave him $60.00 to eat on the trip. We prayed with him. We hugged.

“Would you keep a dreadlock if I gave it to you?” he asked.

 “Absolutely, man.”

But I won’t need a dreadlock to remember David.

He thanked us profusely and asked, “How can I ever thank you?”

I told him to go to detox, get his job back and be the best father and grandfather he could be.

He promised he would. He was not going to waste a second chance.

I believe him.

I could have stood silently on the steps. I could have let the homeless guy with the crazy head full of dreadlocks just pass by.

What difference could I make? There are so many like him.

For David, I made all the difference in the world. I gave David back his daughters and his precious granddaughters. And I gave two daughters and two granddaughters their father and grandfather back.

I sent the prodigal son and father home. God sent me on a 14 hour round trip to let David know he loved him, and I was almost too busy with the work of Christ to be the Hands of Christ.

The experienced changed me as much if not more than it did David.

I pray I never get too busy to be Jesus. I pray you never do either.

I leave you with these:

Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters. Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it (Hebrews 13:1-2).

 

Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you visited me’ (Matthew 25:34-36).


Thanks for the dreadlock David.

And thanks for the memory.

 

Robert Cook has dedicated the last 20 + years of his life to reaching teens for Christ, the first 9 in traditional church youth ministry. The last 11, as the Executive Director and Pastor of 252 Underground Youth Ministry, a parachurch organization he founded in 2004. Robert has been the keynote speaker at several writers’ conferences around the country and is the winner of the Colorado Christian Writers Conference Pacesetter Award. He also won The Writer of the Year award in 2012 and 2016 at the Greater Philadelphia Christian Writer's Conference. Robert is also the author of the award winning, best selling teen devotionals, REGENER8 and ILLUMIN8. His latest book, Youthanize the death of Traditional Youth Ministry just released in August 2017

 

 

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3/4/2016 3:34:42 PM  by: Andy Lee

What's in and What's Out in Publishing Workshop
2/24/2016 12:00:01 AM  by: Blythe Daniel

How to Write for Children . . .
2/19/2016 12:00:01 AM  by: Michelle Medlock Adams

Mistakes Made After Meeting with Agents & Editors
2/17/2016 12:00:01 AM  by: Blythe Daniel

10 Secrets for a Great Writers Conference
2/15/2016 12:00:01 AM  by: Bethany Jett

A More Than Enough Kind of God
2/12/2016 12:00:01 AM  by: Michelle Medlock Adams

For Want of a Hook
2/10/2016 12:00:01 AM  by: Dan Walsh

What Does a Writers Conference Chaplain Do?
2/8/2016 10:27:44 AM  by: Marti Pieper

Author Marketing
2/5/2016 12:00:01 AM  by: Edie Melson

Move Over Clark: The Basics of Journalism
2/3/2016 12:00:01 AM  by: Michael Ray Smith

Tips to Get the Most Out of the Critique Track
2/1/2016 10:10:24 AM  by: Shellie Arnold

Who's Afraid of the Big, Bad Critique Track?
1/29/2016 12:00:01 AM  by: Shellie Arnold

An Introvert's Best Friend (Live Streaming)
1/27/2016 4:27:39 PM  by: Bethany Jett

Who am I Writing For?
1/25/2016 12:00:01 AM  by: S. Kim Henson

The Day I Decided to Keep Writing
1/22/2016 10:24:06 AM  by: Lucinda Secrest McDowell

Invest in Your Writing
1/20/2016 3:52:24 PM  by: Lucinda Secrest McDowell

Your Writers Conference Checklist
1/18/2016 3:06:23 PM  by: Andy Lee

5 Reasons to Launch a Blog
1/16/2016 12:00:01 AM  by: Andy Lee

Craft Fiction with Vivid Emotion
1/13/2016 7:15:06 PM  by: Tina Yeager

Thoughts on being a Submissive Writer
1/9/2016 8:23:46 AM  by: Edie Melson

How Fast Should Your Blog Grow?
1/6/2016 12:04:56 PM  by: Edie Melson

The ART of Exceptional Editing
1/4/2016 12:00:01 AM  by: Deb Haggerty

Happy New Year
1/1/2016 12:00:01 AM  by: Andy Lee

Finding Your Strengths and Weaknesses
12/28/2015 11:29:31 AM  by: Mary Keeley

Do Writers Need a Blog or Website?
12/22/2015 11:21:19 AM  by: Edie Melson

"Second-Fiddle" Characters Play an Important Role
12/16/2015 12:57:39 PM  by: Tom Morrisey

Let Them Eat Bread: An Editor's Thoughts on FCWC
12/14/2015 3:04:39 PM  by: Jesse Florea

Preparing for Promotion
12/10/2015 12:59:44 PM  by: Michelle Medlock Adams

Jesus Believed in the Power of Story
12/7/2015 10:02:07 AM  by: Dan Walsh

How to Use Hashtags in Social Media
12/4/2015 5:34:23 PM  by: Edie Melson

Where Writer Conference Connections Can Take You
12/2/2015 12:00:01 AM  by: Lindsey Brackett

Why Should I Attend a Writers Conference?
11/30/2015 12:00:01 AM  by: Andy Lee

How to Fight Discouragement... as a Writer
11/23/2015 12:00:01 AM  by: Andy Lee

An Interview with Acclaimed Author, Robert Benson
11/18/2015 12:00:01 AM  by: Eva Marie Everson

How to Write a Synopsis of Your Nonfiction Book
11/14/2015 12:00:01 AM  by: Kristin Stieffel

How to Write a Synopsis of Your Novel
11/9/2015 12:00:01 AM  by: Kristin Stieffel

Let God Define You
11/4/2015 12:00:01 AM  by: Michelle Medlock Adams

10 Clues that You Are a Fiction Writer
10/31/2015 10:30:07 AM  by: Taryn Souders

The Basics of a Book Proposal
10/27/2015 3:12:39 PM  by: Kristin Stieffel

What To Wear at FCWC
10/23/2015 12:28:32 PM  by: Eva Marie Everson

The Skinny on Business Cards
10/15/2015 11:14:47 AM  by: Andy Lee

Just Do Your Part
10/12/2015 12:00:01 AM  by: Michelle Medlock Adams

A Sneak Peek into a New Class at FCWC 2016
10/2/2015 12:00:01 AM  by: Shellie Arnold

50 Reasons Why You Should Never Write
9/28/2015 3:14:22 PM  by: Pro Krasta Nation Publishers

The Best First Step on Your Journey to Published
9/21/2015 2:40:54 PM  by: Eva Marie Everson

10 "Not-So-Secret" Secrets for a Great Writers Conference
2/10/2015 11:40:12 AM  by: Bethany Jett

Go Where God Leads
2/1/2015 4:24:15 PM  by: Allison Bottke

Moving From Passion to Process
1/27/2015 7:08:31 PM  by: Ava Pennington

Your Last First Conference
1/19/2015 11:57:13 AM  by: Kristen Hogrefe

What Is Compel Training?
1/9/2015 12:36:27 PM  by: Suzie Eller

That Agent Meeting
1/3/2015 7:44:41 AM  by: Tamela Hancock Murray

Three Problems with Point of View
12/21/2014 9:21:59 PM  by: Kristen Stieffel

How to Evaluate Your Options
12/5/2014 3:23:10 PM  by: Cheri Cowell

Writing Effective Book Proposals
11/29/2014 9:37:42 AM  by: Jim Watkins

Do the Math
11/21/2014 7:49:46 AM  by: Marti Pieper

Becoming More Media Savvy
11/15/2014 11:12:20 AM  by: Natalie Gillespie

The Perfect Book Pitch
11/8/2014 6:04:14 PM  by: Dawn Anderson

Moved With Compassion
10/20/2014 8:26:14 PM  by: Diana Flegal

Splickety In A Flash
10/9/2014 1:30:56 PM  by: Ben Wolf

Look into Their Eyes: Why Editors Go to Writers Conferences
9/29/2014 12:00:01 AM  by: Ramona Richards

A Writer's Life
2/21/2014 1:32:01 PM  by: Dan Walsh

The Good, The Bad, and The Gutless
2/20/2014 10:16:18 AM  by: DiAnn Mills

I Want 2 Write 4 Teens
2/13/2014 11:32:07 AM  by: Marti Pieper

6 Things Writers Should NOT Say to Editors or Agents
2/12/2014 9:03:54 AM  by: Jevon Bolden

Don't Be Labeled "Dead On Arrival"
1/30/2014 10:59:22 AM  by: Eddie Jones

Imagine. Create. For a More Confident Faith
1/28/2014 9:19:18 AM  by: Lora Zill

Burnout or Balance
1/21/2014 6:42:50 AM  by: DiAnn Mills

Money Workouts for Writers
1/18/2014 8:20:49 AM  by: Ellie Kay

The Tale of Three Authors
1/10/2014 9:27:11 AM  by: Cheri Cowell

Three Questions, Three Answers
1/7/2014 3:44:05 PM  by: B.J. Taylor

The Introvert's Guide to the Writers Conference
1/2/2014 8:11:05 PM  by: Marti Pieper

After Your Meeting with an Editor or Agent
2/23/2013 8:09:52 AM  by: Blythe Daniel

It's Headed Right Towards Us
2/16/2013 2:53:05 PM  by: Amber Weigand-Buckley

So, Tell Me About Your Platform
2/11/2013 8:44:17 AM  by: Cheri Cowell

How Will Readers Find Your Book...
2/1/2013 9:07:24 AM  by: Eddie Jones

Tips For Coming to the FCWC From a Floridian
1/26/2013 9:45:40 PM  by: Cheri Cowell

How to Write For Kids When ...
1/23/2013 4:06:57 PM  by: Michelle Medlock Adams

Why Take the Chance?
1/7/2013 8:43:58 AM  by: Fay Lamb

Having a Positive Influence
1/4/2013 11:55:00 AM  by: Deborah Raney

Managing Your Time
12/29/2012 10:20:26 AM  by: Rusty Wright

Are You Ready for the Conference?
12/26/2012 8:45:52 PM  by: W. Terry Whalin

Devoted to Devotions
12/21/2012 9:04:49 AM  by: Ava Pennington

A Different View of Story
12/18/2012 10:31:31 PM  by: Steven James