Please Know...

As I come to know these fine people, they share with me more of their personal and sensitive stories. Their collective story is what I am trying to share with you as my way of breaking the stereotypical beliefs that exist. "Blog names" have occasionally been given to me by the person whose story I am telling. Names are never their actual names and wherever I can do so, I might use the opposite pronoun (his/her, etc.) just to help increase their privacy.

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Sunday, November 20, 2016

The old becomes new as modeled by a building and a man (Originally published 11/20/16 - Updated 12/07/16)

2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!

Today's trip to Urban Hope taught me yet another lesson as summarized in the above scripture passage.  The passage itself is referring to people becoming new in Christ.  

Sometimes that's hard to understand.  Urban Hope, gave me a more tangible example today of the old becoming a new creation.  The picture above is courtesy of Google Earth from 2008.  In that time range the building was a place for drug use and prostitution.  

That's the old and the old is gone from that building.  

Urban Hope purchased this building, reclaimed it for Christ, gutted and rebuilt the insides. Here's a picture that I took of it earlier today:

The building is cleaned up and painted but looks on the outside pretty much as it did then.  When someone accepts Christ, they get cleaned up but will always look physically, more or less, as they did before.  It's what's on the inside where you will see the real changes.

For an actual indoor picture of this building in its days of drug use and prostitution, you'll need to rely on your imagination. 

This building, having been reclaimed for Christ now looks like this inside:

I was shocked when I walked in with Ed Lewis, one of CE National's directors.

...The old has gone, the new has come...  

If ever I needed a concrete example of this concept of the old becoming new, I found it in this building.

Now, let's get back to the original context of a person becoming new in Christ...

During the prayer and praise time today in church at Urban Hope, I shared in very general terms a sadness in my life and asked for prayer.  After church, a man came up to me and told me that he related to what I shared having experienced a similar situation years ago. He explained that God intervened and healed his entire situation over a five year period.

He asked if he could pray for me and my situation.  I said "Yes, please."  He proceeded to provide a powerful prayer beseeching our LORD for intervention and healing if it is in our LORD's will.  I was shaken to the core by the depth of his prayer.  

Big deal you say?  Any long time church guy can say a good prayer...  Maybe...  

He wasn't a long time church guy.  He shared with me that he had been a broken man for years.  He shared some of the details and that he had been an inmate of our local prison here in Glen Mills, Pa.  This man who prayed for me earlier today in the fellowship hall is a living example of the new creation having come: The old is now gone from within him, the new (Christ) is within him!  

Are you thinking that you can't be a new creation in Christ?  Are you thinking it's too late to fix your life situation?  Guess again.  In Christ, ALL people and life situations can be made new!

Follow Up Added December 7, 2016:

As I have been getting to know Urban Hope more completely, I've come to know the people of the community and their impressive array of very professional videos on YouTube.  As a follow-up to what I wrote above, please take a moment to watch these two videos to better understand this concept of the "old becoming new."

In this first video, you get a photographic tour of the Balmer Building being delivered from it's life of drugs and prostitution to it's life for Christ.

In this second video, you see testimony of a man delivered from participating in the drug and prostitution life of that exact building, being directly involved in the deliverance of the building and the impact that process had on him.

In summary, I continue to be blown away by what I am experiencing at Urban Hope.  

God used two separate story lines in my life to get me to this point.  I can not begin to express my gratefulness to our LORD and to the people God brought into my life during this process.  

You know who you are... 

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