Category Archives: Temple

Alliances… & new blogs

Those of you who are longtime CBB readers have been subjected to untold angst at my attempts to find like-minded prayer worshipers out here among about 6 million people.

Just wanted to commend my “Bodybuilder” friends and their fledgling blog to you for another perspective on prayer here in Philly. After being back in PA for 3 years I have finally connected with them and their longtime ministry. Also for an update on the 24/7 week at Temple go to the 24 philly blog. Any other Philly prayer bloggers out there? Let’s all grab a cheesesteak!

cheesesteak

Alms for the Homeless: Don’t Try This at Home

Work for FoodAfter my slot at Temple last Friday, I was driving through the back street of Philly when a most surprising thing happened:

I got to buy lunch for a homeless guy.

Now it has been about 4 years since the last time I was able to do this, when I lived in Cleveland. Now Cleveland is a much smaller, friendlier city, and I came close to perfecting a technique on how to separate the “sheep from the goats” in the panhandling arena.

Now because I am a follower of Christ, I take his words seriously regarding giving to those in need – feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting the incarcerated. I do not need to be of a particular political persuasion to have compassion for the poor. So when someone asks me for food on the street, I attempt to take them up on it. It is just so fun to buy lunch for someone who is hungry, because it is better to give than to receive.

And it can be a lot of fun too. I remember a game show called “SuperMarket Sweep” in which people have to stuff lots of food in their shopping cart. What I do is a pathetically scaled down version of the “bonus round” of that show. Without being disrespectful of the person I am helping or their plight, thinking of this interaction in terms of a game show helps me maintain an upbeat persona that assists in maintaining gentle control over the whole situation.

Unfortunately, there is a high proportion of people who choose their words rather sloppily, for when I take them up on their request for “food”, they flip-flop on me and expect “money for food” or “money” or something like that.

This guy, Lonnie, was soliciting “food” from a row of cars I was behind at a stoplight, which is a common occurrance in Philly. An effective means of fundraising for many seemingly legit organizations too. Very hard for motorists to avoid them.

Anyhow, he asked for food at my window just as the light turned green. I was running out of time, fast. I realized that I might have an opportunity on my hands to provide for the needy and even that it could be an “angel” (see Hebrews). I want to be faithful in my almsgiving, and took him up on it.

“GET IN THE CAR!” I said.

(Disclaimer: I am obviously very unique in this view. This is potentially dangerous. However I drive a 17 year old Honda and realize the key to panhandling situations is to 1. take control nicely of the situation and 2. allow the other party to be free to decline their original offer at any time, while 3. confessing Psalm 91 often)

So I took him to a tiny Philly corner market and announced to him that I would buy him all the food he wanted there, up to $10 worth of food. He immediate counter-offered to simply subcontract the allocation of these funds, to which I referred back to his original terms of request, “food”, and told him it was his decision whether he wanted food or not. Also I mentioned that I am not actually in control of the money, it is not “mine”, I am just a steward of it. I think he may have been annoyed by this, but he was the one who got us into this situation.

As we walked to the end of the block upon parking, he again attempted to solicit funds for cigarettes and a fake Rolex that was being sold on the corner. Again I referred to the original verbal terms of our agreement.

Here is where it got interesting: in Cleveland everyone, male or female, who I bought food for knew what to get: the Rotisserie Chicken! It made sense when I thought about it. Well remember, this is Philly, home of Rocky. I underwrote a gallon of milk, coke (a 2 liter of it), and 2 cartons of raw eggs. I thought “how is this guy gonna hard-boil his eggs?” But then I remembered that Rocky DRANK the eggs.

Lonnie only used up about $7 of food, and I attempted to avail him of the full amount. Turned out that he made a last attempt to cash in for the $3 that he didn’t use but it was too late and outside the terms of our deal.

The low point of the interaction was that he refused my offer to pray off his nicotine addiction. I said “I don’t mean to be disrespectful of your struggle, but I will pray for you and believe that God will break off the need for cigarettes”. He didn’t take me up on it, but I went ahead and prayed for him behind his back anyhow.

In my car at the next light, I turned my head toward a building and read the engraved words, “A HOUSE OF PRAYER”, zoomed out and it was a beautiful church with that verse on it. Go figure!

Bloggin’ in the Prayer Room

A few hours ago I was in the middle of a “24” (24 hour prayer session). We do them monthly at one of the churches I go to (there are… FOUR!… yeah seriously). I know there are rules in other HOPs forbidding the practice of prayer room blogging, but we are not anywhere close to legislating such laws around here! I achieved the task of upgrading the blog Banner that you have undoubtably noticed. The picture is of Philly as well!

Well it was way intense at times. At this point in time I am sort of a displaced prayer guy without a central base of operations. I must say that there is an awful lot I have fallen into prayer wise in the last 2 months. Now my Friday and Saturday looks like this (when there is a 24).

Friday 2-4 pm – Temple HOP session. Yesterday it took almost an hour to break through.

Friday 8-12 pm – “Watch of the Lord” at Jamie’s church. Didn’t do this last night, instead…

Saturday 4-6 am – Went to bed at 730 pm after fixin’ myself a pastrami with some horseradish. Sweet. Got up too late at 3am (HOP is 30 miles away) and almost was late. There was nothing to break through here because:

1. It is 4 am – prime prayer time

2. No unauthorized people in the room at 4 am. They are all ready to go.

3. Was fresh off of breaking through at Temple. It rocked.

I did Psalm 73, and had done Psalm 37 (it’s dyslexic twin Psalm) at Temple. I find a common thread in both of these regarding near burnout and dissillusionment, that I can really relate to. So we prayed for those struggling with maintaining a redemptive view of God. Powerful.

In case you’re wondering, all this driving does add up. I’m proud to say my ’90 Honda has passed the 290K mark!

Cheesesteak Challenge Winner, Part 2

Part 2: Here is the first WINNER of the Cheesesteak Challenge:

Winner of Cheesesteak Challenge
Jamie is a worship leader out here who has been doing 12 and 24 hour prayer sessions locally for close to a decade now. When I first moved to Philly 3 years ago I found out about his past involvement and briefly swapped emails a couple times but never got to meet him… until last month!

I recently found out about a Friday Night 8-12 that they do at his church only 15 minutes away from me (in Philly, NOTHING is only 15 minutes away!).
He also showed up for my Friday 2-4pm set at the Temple HOP. The TUHOP is currently under 10 structured hours per week, so I continue to maintain that Philly is the largest city without a significant HOP presence. This HOP is about 3 miles north of center city Philadelphia, which is a very sweet spot for prayer. Conversational highlights included the following:

1. How God has been raising up 24/7 in Philly, under the radar

2. Speculations on what the prayer movement in Philly is really like in terms of Ethnicity, Style, Focus and Vision

3. Prophetic Hip/Hop and Intercessory Rap (neither of us is adept at this as you can see from the photo)

4. The role of the Cheesesteak in eschatology (the End Times)

Jamie concurs with my theory that the last commercial subsector to hold out against the mark of the Beast will be Authentic Cheesesteak Joints (ACJs). This is because one of the marks of an ACJ (pun intended) is to take CASH ONLY. I put this to the test, paying for the challenge with a $50 dollar bill. The guy didn’t even flinch at this large denomination, which is often refused by credit card-friendly merchants.

ONLY 10 DAYS LEFT for the Cheesesteak Challenge!

Cheesesteak Challenge Winner, Part 1

Well the Cheesesteak Challenge is going strong. I appreciate all the comments and interaction this blessed challenge has wrought so far.

Cheesesteak ChallengeMany of you are unable to make it to Philly during February for the challenge and I must say in the words of the late Phil Hartman (Bill Clinton impersonator) of SNL, “Ah feel your pain…”

WE HAVE A WINNER!

The Challenge was imbibed at Steve’s Prince of Steaks, one block west of Cottman (rt 73) on Bustleton in the City of Philadelphia.

Steve’s is without question a legitimate establishment, boasting

Steve’s Prince of Steaks

  1. Cash Only,
  2. Extensive Condiment Bar
  3. Metallic External Appearance
  4. Ordering Protocols (strictly enforced)

The Condiment Bar

Who will be the next winner? Stay tuned. Also please take a moment to study the photo on the right because you will see many of the features that make Steve’s Prince of Steaks such a reputable institution.

In PART 2 of this post you will meet the first Winner of the Challenge, which ENDS at the end of February.

ONLY 10 DAYS LEFT for the Cheesesteak Challenge!