Welcome to REAL Men RoCK

This blog is about the issues men face and things I have experienced.

I hope you will be encouraged, challenged, and stirred to take action.

Proverbs 27:17 (The Message)

17 You use steel to sharpen steel, and one friend sharpens another


ighteous   E ncouraging   A ccountable   L oving 


ely on    C hrist's   K indness

Friday, January 21, 2011

Poor Thoughts

I want to share an letter that was sent to the Kansas City Star Newspaper and hopefully you will share with me what it stirs in you. As you read it consider what thoughts you have when you encounter the homeless or poor. At the end of this post I will share my thoughts.

What's next for the poor

Mr. Mike Hendricks
Kansas City Star Newspaper

I read your report on the raided homeless encampment with great interest.

My name Richard G. Tripp, and I'm the director of an organization here in Kansas City Missouri, Care Of Poor People, alias{ COPP INC}.

I personally have visited that homeless encampment and met with its residents on several occasions over the past couple years. And yes we have supplied materials to help them survive, and would do it again, I myself years ago lived in a camp on Cliff drive years ago.

I am appalled that the Kansas City Police Department would take the time to harass and destroy an encampment were no proof of illegal activity is apparent. And why technically they were on city property, I personally do not believe that it warranted the actions that was taken, I might add it is questionable whether or not in this case the police acted lawfully.

Fresno, California had to pay out a $2.35 million judgment for destroying the property of homeless people in a similar raid on an encampment. I do not know if this issue has been adjudicated yet in the courts in Kansas City. But the simple fact are I do not believe it's time for our city fathers to have an open season on homeless people. Even the illegal campers have rights, and there is no indication that the rights of the campers were respected by the police.

Unsheltered homeless people have a shockingly high mortality rate. Bulldozing an encampment in the middle of winter is a form of life-threatening assault that should be prosecuted not condoned. Speculation about whether these homeless people would've been better off at city Union mission or any other shelter is simply speculation, you have to walk a mile in their shoes to understand why they would rather stay in a camp or go to the shelter. In the Kansas City metro area we have approximately 15,000 homeless brothers and sisters in that same metro area we have approximately 3,040 beds, Mr. Hendricks would you please do the math.

The question of whether or not a Meth Lab was found at another homeless encampment is needlessly inflammatory. I can absolutely guarantee you that meth labs are not common among the homeless, and no one tares down private homes willy-nilly just because that's were meth Labs are frequently found.

There is a broader moral question here. Our Declaration of Independence speaks of the unalienable right to life. This is something that most American soldiers have died for and countless others have worked and organized and fought for. Should the Kansas city Police Department be empowered to callously deprive people of the very right that is at the core of our nation's founding, and for no better reason than that maybe somebody complained.

On the Times when I visited this homeless encampment I was impressed by the mutually supportive spirit of the people who live there. No evidence has been brought forward that they were harming anyone. I am alternately applauded at the police action and I feel that, at the very least the KC police chief should be questioned as to why he allows his officers to terrorize vulnerable and defenseless homeless people. Of course, that won't happen, but unless some other facts come to light-- and I will keep an open mind, I believe this action at the homeless encampment by the Kansas City Police Department was morally repugnant police misconduct that should not be tolerated in the city that boasts one of America's most livable cities.

Richard G Tripp
Director COPP INC

The homeless stir different thoughts in different people. My thoughts turn to considering how Jesus would react to encountering a homeless person. Would He focus on their need or their sin? Let's look at a couple of examples from the Bible and we will get an idea of what He would want us to do as well.

Matthew 23-25 From there he went all over Galilee. He used synagogues for meeting places and taught people the truth of God. God's kingdom was his theme—that beginning right now they were under God's government, a good government! He also healed people of their diseases and of the bad effects of their bad lives. Word got around the entire Roman province of Syria. People brought anybody with an ailment, whether mental, emotional, or physical. Jesus healed them, one and all. More and more people came, the momentum gathering. Besides those from Galilee, crowds came from the "Ten Towns" across the lake, others up from Jerusalem and Judea, still others from across the Jordan.

John 5: 1-6 Soon another Feast came around and Jesus was back in Jerusalem.

Near the Sheep Gate in Jerusalem there was a pool, in Hebrew called Bethesda, with five alcoves. Hundreds of sick people—blind, crippled, paralyzed—were in these alcoves. One man had been an invalid there for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him stretched out by the pool and knew how long he had been there, he said, "Do you want to get well?"

7 The sick man said, "Sir, when the water is stirred, I don't have anybody to put me in the pool. By the time I get there, somebody else is already in."

8-9 Jesus said, "Get up, take your bedroll, start walking." The man was healed on the spot. He picked up his bedroll and walked off.

9-10 That day happened to be the Sabbath. The Jews stopped the healed man and said, "It's the Sabbath. You can't carry your bedroll around. It's against the rules."

11 But he told them, "The man who made me well told me to. He said, 'Take your bedroll and start walking.'"

12-13 They asked, "Who gave you the order to take it up and start walking?" But the healed man didn't know, for Jesus had slipped away into the crowd.

14 A little later Jesus found him in the Temple and said, "You look wonderful! You're well! Don't return to a sinning life or something worse might happen."

15-16 The man went back and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well. That is why the Jews were out to get Jesus—because he did this kind of thing on the Sabbath.

So what should our response be? I will leave you with the following words of Jesus and you decide.

Matthew 25: 34-36 "Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Enter, you who are blessed by my Father! Take what's coming to you in this kingdom. It's been ready for you since the world's foundation. And here's why:

I was hungry and you fed me,
I was thirsty and you gave me a drink,
I was homeless and you gave me a room,
I was shivering and you gave me clothes,
I was sick and you stopped to visit,
I was in prison and you came to me.'

37-40 "Then those 'sheep' are going to say, 'Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry and feed you, thirsty and give you a drink? And when did we ever see you sick or in prison and come to you?' Then the King will say, 'I'm telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me.'

To be honest there have been times I was fearful or disgusted when encountering the homeless but then I considered the above scriptures and was convicted that I was fearing out of a lack of understanding and I was disgusted because I lack compassion.

Friday, January 7, 2011

The Traveler's Gift

2010 was a very difficult year for me. It began with me realizing I was in the wrong place for the wrong reasons.

Nine months earlier I had agreed to join a church and to be part of a team for all of the wrong reasons. I let myself be talked into joining the church because I allowed the desire to be in full-time ministry overcome my lack of feeling of being called to become involved. I made the move to make something happen that was not in God's timing.

Over the course of those nine months I became more and more disappointed by my feelings of having been mislead by the pastor I was working under and I began to question his honesty and an apparent lack of transparency. These feeling grew out of what appeared to be the same actions I had experienced from other leaders. Notice I said, "appeared to be."

One day I openly addressed my feelings with him and his response was not one of understanding. I felt instead of listening to me he had turned everything around and told me I was the one with the problem. I then reacted out of the wounds I had received from other church leaders and I did not grant him grace. I did what I had done in the past and ran from the situation. Notice that I said, "I felt".

On this very blog I wrote some strong words about the situation. Although I did not mention any names it was evident if you knew of the situation who I was talking about. I failed to live up to being who I claimed to be, "a Follower of Jesus" and instead allowed old wounds to control me.

Now you might be asking "What does this have to do with the book"? A good question.

I became stuck in a pit last year because of the events that happened to me and the actions I took. It resulted me in being in a pit that I dug for myself. I believe God led my wife to purchase this book for me to free me and lift me out of the pit I was in. This Blog post is for those who are stuck in a pit and feel there is no way out.

In this book by Andy Andrews are seven keys to us getting out of the pit, the rut, the situations we find ourselves in. But it means that you must take the seven keys and actually put them into practice. Andy uses encounters with famous people of the past to make these seven keys. What I will do is list the keys and you must go out and read the entire book to get the full benefit. You can purchase it at your local book store or at Amazon.

Here are the key points of the book that we need to exercise on a daily basis:

1. The buck stops here.

You and I are response for our lives and we should quit blaming others for our failures. I have heard people even pastors blame others for their failures. If we want to get out of the pit we must stop blaming others for us having fallen into it.

2. I will seek wisdom.

You and I need to seek wisdom founded in truth. One definition in Webster's dictionary is: the ability to discern inner qualities and relationships. One of the greatest reasons we fall into pits is because we did not discern the qualities of the people we developed relationships with.

3. I am a person of action.

You and I need to become people of action. So often all we do is talk about our dreams and visions but we never move forward to accomplish them. It might be out of fear or out of what we believe are realities. What we need to do is have the faith to act. We will never get out of the pit by feeling sorry for ourselves. We will only get out if we take action.

4. I have a decided heart.

You and I need to have a heart that is focused on the dreams and visions that God has given us. We must make the decision to move forward and not stay safely in the pit. An undecided heart will keep us in the pit but a decided heart will move us to begin the climb out.

5. Today I will choose to be happy.

You and I need to make the choice each morning that no matter what comes our way we will remain joyful because of the blessing that we already have. I do not care what situation you find yourself in there is someone else who has it worse. Choosing to be happy will help us to endure the pit as we move towards getting out of it.

6. I will greet this day with a forgiving heart.

You and I need to daily forgive someone of their actions. Often the person we need to forgive most is found in the mirror. If we cannot forgive others and ourselves then we will continually find ourselves struggling at the bottom of the pit.

7. I will persist without exception.

You and I need to persist to move forward in the pursue of the dreams and visions God has given us. Unless we do the things that God has planned for us and through us will never be accomplished. As we begin to make the effort to climb out of the pit we will face new obstacles but if we persist each of those will be stepping stones to reaching the top of the pit.

I believe that right now through this Blog post God is speaking to you. I do not have a clue what He might be saying to you but you do. I know the fears you might have, I know the feelings of doubt you might have and I know that the Creator God is SO much BIGGER than your fears and doubts. Let's begin today to truly trust Him and use the seven keys above to bring Him glory by moving forward to accomplishing the dreams and visions He has given us.

If we will do this I can promise you 2011 will be a much better year than 2010 was.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Clark Family Reunion

Some photos from the Charles Clark, SR kids family reunion.

Charles, JR, Peg, Larry, Teresa and Jim

The whole crew except for Kia and Cierra Wilson.

We hope to make this the first of many more.