Monday, July 20, 2009

Knoxville, TN Jesus in the Park July 2009


Jesus in the Park is a free event in Knoxville. It happened on Saturday, July 18, 2009 at the World's Fair Park. Although anyone can go, it's really geared to the homeless in Knoxville. This was my second year to attend.

My job at Hope for Healing.Org was offered a booth space. This gives us a chance to reach victims of domestic violence. Some of these ladies ( and men ) really needed to be reminded that Jesus loves them and can be the source of strength to get them out of an abusive relationship.

It's hard to say enough about this great event. It's touch, moving, heartbreaking and possibly one of the best things I've done. Yes, I felt God there. He was reflected in the faces of the people I spoke with. One by one, several people came by our booth. A bookstore donated Christian books to us so we gave them away. There were also brochures and hotline numbers to be handed out.

Normally, I don't write about work events on my personal blog. This time, I feel compelled because being at Jesus in the Park was a way for God to move me out of my comfort zone and into His zone.

To me, the World's Fair Park is intimidating. I'm never sure where to park. I was running late because of getting away from the ministry center late. Strangers make me nervous. Setting up the display with my back is always a challenge even though it's a simple one. There are a million and one reasons for not going. But there is an even bigger reason for going...

Jesus said, "Love thy neighbor as yourself..." Darn it! That gets me every time.

See, I grew up homeless. As a kid we had to live with my grandparents because my mom just wasn't able to keep a roof over our heads (she thought). When we lived in that situation I would have welcomed a word of encouragement.

So to me, loving my neighbor means trying to be an encouragement. Even though it gives me butterflies it's something that I feel I need to do. About 5 minutes into the event I immediately felt better about being there and could focus on the task at hand.

Jesus in the Park is an awesome event. I met some amazing people. Most of all, I met Him. It happened while I was standing there by the display table berating myself for being late, dropping the books and having an icky back.

In the middle of that moment God soothed my nerves, calmed my soul and removed all my doubts.

I can't wait for the next Jesus in the Park. It happens in August 2009. My nerves will probably be falling apart but I know that Jesus will be there to glue them back together. That's just what He does.

See you (and Jesus) at the Park!