On Tuesday February 19, 2019 at 6:00PM Visalia Rescue Mission will hold our annual “Empty Bowls” event at the VRM Community Center. The main purpose of the event is to experience first-hand what it is like to wait in line for a meal at a homeless shelter and to hear stories of how life can change for the better from some of our residents who come to us for help and end up staying and becoming part of a changing and recovering community.
Probably the most enduring and perplexing mystery of homelessness and addiction is the “human factor.” Simply stated, why is it that when sufficient resources are made available, some will use the opportunity as a springboard to escape their circumstances, and others will use the resources to only extend and perpetuate a life of despair and dependence? As the issue of homelessness and addiction becomes more embedded in our daily consciousness, the inevitable questions of the causes and contributing factors loom larger all the time. Traditional approaches of simply providing resources without conditions are being questioned as to whether this may be the wisest course of action. As more people engage the conversation, they want to know not only the causes, but also the potential solutions. While resources are indispensable, they are only part of the answer to the question. Something personal and profound needs to happen to a person for true and lasting change to begin and continue reliably into the future. This is where faith in Jesus Christ becomes indispensable for our residents.
At Visalia Rescue Mission we counsel and teach that for our lives to become ordered and restored, there must be faith in, and submission to, the living Jesus Christ. We teach that true spiritual life does not come from looking inward, but rather true spiritual life comes from the outside. It comes from the Resurrected and Living Christ into us when we believe in, and submit to Him. This is the only reliable starting point for change that begins in this earthly life and continues into eternity. The Scriptures tell us that the Living Christ sends His Spirit into us when we believe and our souls go from being woefully and terribly empty, to being “filled up with the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:19) It is only in this way that we can be reconciled to God and the emptiness of the soul is filled, not with addictions, but rather with the life and love of Christ. At this point some will doubt, thinking that a religious philosophy does not and cannot work. They are correct. The difference is, that true spiritual life in Jesus Christ is not merely a religious philosophy. For true spiritual regeneration to occur, there are several things that must be true, whether or not an individual believes them. First, Jesus must be a historical person. He also must be God in human flesh, He must have been crucified, died, resurrected and now living bodily in heaven. The apostle Paul said as much in 1 Corinthians 15 and it was reaffirmed in the well-known apostle’s creed. It also must be true that credible faith in these events and in the unique person and work of Jesus Christ, is the access point to true reconciliation with God. If these are not true, there is no “good news” and we are on our own; empty and ultimately alone.
It has been said that there is no refuting a changed life. Come out on February 19 at 6:00PM and hear personally from those who are changed and are being changed.