Jesus Was Homeless
Church is NOT a Building
28 One of the teachers of religious law was standing there listening to the debate. He realized that Jesus had answered well, so he asked, "Of all the commandments, which is the most important?"  29 Jesus replied, "The most important commandment is this: 'Listen, O Israel! The Lord our God is the one and only Lord.  30 And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.'   31 The second is equally important: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' No other commandment is greater than these." - Mark 12:28-31 (NLT)
Newsletter Vol. I, Issue 6June 2010
In This Issue
Amy's Thoughts
Bryan's Reflections
Being Served
Wish List
Prayer Requests
Book Reviews
Personal Message
We've delivered or served over 7700 meals so far this year.  Thank you to all the dedicated volunteers that sacrifice every Thursday morning and night and faithfully continue to serve. 
If you would like to be part of building relationships, experiencing community and serving our neighbors, then join us each week. 
Every Thursday morning from 9-11 am assembling the over 300 meals and every Thursday night from 5:30-8:30 pm deliveriing the meals. 
We invite you to "Come and See" God at work.
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Heather, Amy, Brooke
Oh, how I absolutely love our "Love Your Neighbor" BBQ's!! What a blessing and a privilege to hang out with the volunteers who come to help and the residents from the hotels here in town.  Our volunteers range from a young school teacher and her 2 sons, a group of mentally challenged adults, retirees, business owners, several recovered drug addicts and alcoholics, college students and many others - all sharing the same desire to serve Jesus and others.  I have to say that people who are willing to give up a Sunday afternoon (in the overly busy society that we live in) to invest in the poor here among us are people I feel honored to spend my time with.  God has so much to say in his Holy Word about loving and helping the poor - how we are to be the hands and feet of Jesus by fellowshipping together.  How blessed I am to get to hang out with people who don't just talk about it but actually live it.  So many of our volunteers work jobs, have families and serve in other areas but yet, there they were, eating, loving and laughing with those whom society considers as outcasts.  How pleased God must have been. 
I have to admit that most of my Christian life (approx. 25 years) I thought that serving in the Church meant serving in the church building - loving those who came to "us".  I guess the word most commonly used is "seekers".  As "seekers" entered our building, we commonly stand out front to say "welcome" and hand them a bulletin.  Next we walk them to their seats and when it's over, we smile and invite them to come back next week.  We serve coffee, offer camps for people to bring their children to, invite "seekers" to small groups in our homes, help with kids events or an occasional "big"event, go to work and raise our families.  This is how I lived my life ever since I accepted Jesus at the age of 18.  Not that any of that was wrong, but for me it was very comfortable.  Most of my friends were like me - young Christian families helping at school, going to sporting events and hanging out together.  I guess this is most commonly referred to as "The American Dream".  My house was comfortable, my car was comfortable and quite honestly, my life was comfortable.  Not to say I didn't have problems - I did go through a divorce and having raised 4 kids, of course there were many issues, but as far as my "Christian" life was concerned, it was pretty uneventful and safe.  Well, I have to say that by the grace of God, those days of uneventful and safe are coming to an end.  I am just now beginning to realize (apparently I am a slow learner) that that is not how Jesus lived his life or how he called us Christians to live ours. 
The more I get to know the Jesus of the Gospels, the more I understand that He did not wait for "seekers" to come to Him but he (and His disciples) went to them.  He did not live a life of comfort but a life of sacrifice.  He hung out with the prostutes, drunkards, tax collectors and the outcasts of society.  Jesus and His disciples got out there in the trenches and as a result, lives changed.  I like what Shane Clairborne shares in his book Irrestable Revolution, "I had it together, I used to be cool.  And then I met Jesus and he wrecked my life. The more I read the gospel, the more it messed me up, turning everything I believed in, valued, and hoped for upside-down."  I think I am just beginning to "get it" - just beginning to see the tip of the iceberg.  Jesus of the Gospel was so totally radical that he was willing to risk everything for the lost - EVERYTHING, even his very life. 
Love, Amy
Click on Becky to hear why she
 helps deliver food.
Becky has a huge heart for people and has been serving with us for almost a year now.  Becky has her own seat in one of our vans and would even love to manage a weekly or extended stay motel. 
"My name's Becky Lathrop, I come because on Thursday night's to be with all these people and to help the homeless and I enjoy it.
Did you know that our word "church" comes from the Greek word "ecclesia", meaning "gathering"?  Yet I bet if you asked 10 Christians to draw the first thing they thought of when they hear the word church, all 10 would draw a building with a steeple.  But "church" does not mean a building with a steeple, stained glass windows or a fancy lighted sign.  What it means to me is people.  We have close to 150 churches in our Branson area and I can only think of a handful that get outside of their building and do "church" in our community reaching out to people.  One church does handyman work for seniors or those in need.  Another does laundry to express their love.  One reaches into several areas of the community to provide workers for a variety of events.  But that's about all I can think of.  If there are more "churches" doing things outside of their own doors please let me know. 
I hear the term "seeker friendly church" a lot.  I have never really understood this term.  Does this mean the church is actively going outside it's own doors to seek people out and to lead them to Christ, or does it mean the "church" is friendly if people are able to seek them out?  I hope someday that "church" will not be defined by a building but by a "gathering" of how Christians treat people with love.
I say this, not to pat ourselves on the back, because I by no means have any right to judge anybody or any church, but that is what we are trying to do with our "Love Your Neighbors" BBQ's.  We are trying to have an "ecclesia" where we can love on the unlovable with no agenda.  No effort to convert the un-Christian to Christian.  We just want to show a different side of Christianity that's been lost in translation since the first "ecclesia" in Acts.  We want people to know that we accept them how they are, where they are and if they have a little dirt on them were willing to get some on us to show a different side of Christianity.  One of love, hope and acceptance.  They see enough of the self-righteous, judgmental, hypocrite kind of Christianity already.
Data, after data, after data, shows people are fleeing the "church" in record numbers because we Christians don't walk the talk, yet they are searching for God.  I got to tell you, there is no way I could ever live up to walking the talk of always following the "Christian" rules myself.  I'm way to full of pride, gluttony, lust, jealousy and many, many other sinful things, but what I can do is focus on the most important commandments "Love God and Love Others".  If we Christians could just keep it to this maybe we could change how we are viewed by the un-Christians.  I would encourage you to visit The Barna Group website.  There is a ton of research there on a variety of topics that will make your head spin.
If you disagree with me, that's okay, this is just my view point.  If you agree with me than we've got to take action to make changes.  Either way I would love to discuss, hear feedback, your thoughts, suggestions, etc.  I challenge you, better yet I challenge your "ecclesia" to get outside it's own doors, and reach out to the poor, the single mom, the widow, the sick, those in prison in our own community, or just "Come and See" at our next "Love Your Neighbors" (as yourself) BBQ.
Here is an email I received last week and my response.  The intent was well meant but the un-Christian are onto those with an agenda about conversion.  We just need to love people for who and where they are.
I would like to come thursday night and help deliver meals. What time and where do you meet for this? I could maybe come in the morning this week also depending on my work schedule. I have a few questions. Are we able to tell people about Jesus and pray for them as we deliver meals? Also, one thing that concerns me on the website is the quote by Ghandi who is not a christian and I just am not for doing good deeds just for the sake of them, but for them to ultimately know Jesus. thanks a lot!
We would love to have you come. The schedule and location is below.  Our philosophy is that we can preach the Gospel so much more powerfully by our actions of love, kindness and compassion through hugs, smiles and ears to listen then we would ever be able to do by hitting them over the head with God's word.  That being said, certainly if someone would like to have you pray for them by all means do so.  We have just found that there are many "church-damaged" people out there that don't care how much you know until they know how much you care.  Our ministry is built around building relationships and once you do that with the folks you serve they will be receptive to hear about Jesus.  It's also not only about the ones you serve but also about the ones you serve with.  We open and close each morning and night in prayer and share about what God showed us or layed on our hearts.
As far as Ghandi goes, he explored Christianity but because of us "Christians" he was rejected.  If you recall he is quoted as saying "I don't reject your Christ. I love your Christ. It's just that so many of you Christians are so unlike your Christ."  We as Christians have to be careful to Serve: Period! This means serving others without strings attached and without piling any theology or message on top of the work we do with and for others.  For once we start meeting the needs of others in order to preach to or try to convert them, our services loses it's Christlikeness, its authenticity, and its legitimacy.  Love with an agenda isn't really love.
We hope to see you Thursday.
 (Sadly, this person did not come)
34 So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other.  35 Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples." - John 13:34-35 (NLT)
HUGE Thank You to FAMOUS DAVE'S BBQ on the Branson Landing for helping provide the food for the Jesus Was Homeless "Love Your Neighbors" (as yourself) BBQ at Motel 9. Thank you to everyone that attended, served, fellowshipped and were served.  It was such an honor and blessing to part of the "community" that was experienced.  It's all about loving God and loving people.  Building relationships, doing life and experiencing true community together. Check out the complete set of photos on our Facebook page at
Famous Dave's - Branson
Motel 9 - June 6th, 2010
Motel 9 - June 6th, 2010
Motel 9 - June 6th, 2010
Motel 9 - June 6th, 2010
Motel 9 - June 6th, 2010
Thank you to those that have donated and  to those that continue to support this out-reach.  With no salaries to pay and no building costs to manage we are able to put 100% back into serving others.  
I believe part of the "blessing" of service is that everyone has an opportunity to participate.  If everyone will just donate and commit a little, the few won't have to do a lot. 
How can we get the group both on Facebook and through our email to make a commitment of only $5.00 per month? I would love to get your feedback, comments or suggestions on this.


We are in current need of the
following items:
Groups, organizations, kids - to color and put smiley faces on our bags that we deliver our "Happy Meals" in.  Please contact us to help.  They come in packages of 500.
Businesses to sponsor a food item - If restaurants would just order 1 case of an item off our food list (see Resource page on our website) each week we could serve more of those in need.
Dessert Food Items - We really need these for our weekly meals.
Shaving Cream - We need these items for our monthly 
Razors                    toiletry bags.
Large Print NLT Bibles
Small 2 Person Tents
$25 Grocery Cards
If you have someone or something that you would like prayer for please email it to us and we will be sure to include it in our Prayer Requests.
Ron and Nancy LaDuke
- Ron had a stroke while raking ditches.  ***UPDATE*** - Ron is back at home and progressing rather quickly. 
Suzette Brawner - Suzette's dad is battling cancer.
My mom & dad, Tom & Carol Stallings - The second surgery went well but continued prayer for healing is still needed.
Bryan & Amy Stallings - We currently have our house for sale and would love prayer around if it is God's will for it to sell.  We are wanting to do more in ministry but feel that having a mortgage payment makes it difficult to make a career change.
unChristian: What a New Generation Really Thinks about Christianity... and Why It Matters
by David Kinnaman by Baker Books
List Price: $18.99
Our Price: $5.74
Buy Now
Incredible and credible book about what the un-Christian thinks about Christians.  Written by the President of the leading Christian research organization The Barna Group.  The data doesn't lie about the "make-over" we Christians need to do.  Visit and check out their research.
The Way of Jesus: Re-Forming Spiritual Communities in a Post-Church Age
by Toby Jones by Resource Publications
List Price: $18.00
Our Price: $17.00
Buy Now
Awesome book about what the future of "Church" will look like.  Toby Jones is spot on in this book about why people are fleeing the church yet searching for God.  Read about Toby at
Same Kind of Different As Me: A Modern-Day Slave, an International Art Dealer, and the Unlikely Woman Who Bound Them Together
by Ron Hall by Thomas Nelson
List Price: $14.99
Our Price: $6.95
Buy Now
Great book about an affluent couple that comes alongside a homeless man and builds a relationship that will inspire you. 
What Every Church Member Should Know about Poverty
by Bill Ehlig by aha! Process, Inc.
List Price: $22.00
Our Price: $21.00
Buy Now
If your church congregation wants to get involved with the poor or those living on the margins this is a must have book.  You will learn about the "hidden rules" of poverty.
Not Just a One-Night Stand: Ministry with the Homeless
by John Flowers by Discipleship Resources
Perfect Paperback
List Price: $14.00
Our Price: $10.73
Buy Now
Fantastic book about a church that learned the only way to be a hand-up instead of a hand-out was to build long-term lasting relationships with those living in poverty and on the margins.
Enough: Discovering Joy through Simplicity and Generosity
by Adam Hamilton by Abingdon Press
List Price: $10.00
Our Price: $4.75
Buy Now
Great tips on how we should be looking at "stuff and money". To learn more about Adam Hamilton visit
No Perfect People Allowed: Creating a Come-as-You-Are Culture in the Church
by John Burke by Zondervan
List Price: $14.99
Our Price: $1.78
Buy Now
This book is written by the pastor of Gateway Church in Austin, Texas. It is designed for those that want to become leaders within their church but I think it's a good read for anyone that wants to learn how to meet people where they are in life. Visit Gateway at
The Irresistible Revolution: Living as an Ordinary Radical
by Shane Claiborne by Zondervan
List Price: $14.99
Our Price: $5.83
Buy Now
This is by far my favorite all-time book. It's about a guy who decribes finding God among the poor. It's all about intentional living. To learn more about Shane Claiborne visit his website at
 Please join us for our next "Love Your Neighbors" (as yourself) BBQ Event - At Hillbilly Inn on W. Hwy. 76 across from Mazzios Pizza, Sunday, July 11th from 4-6 PM.  Bring a dessert item if you would like and share in this free and fun event celebrating the true spirit of "community".  Break down the walls that society has built and experience life with someone that lives on the margins.  There will be food and games for the kids as we cook-out.  This will be a great opportunity to build relationships with someone new.  See all the photos from our June BBQ on our Facebook page. 
(If anyone has connections with an ice cream man it would be awesome to have free ice cream available, and a dunk tank, and a bubble machine, and....)
Motel 9 BBQ that was held June 6th, 2010
Volunteer - Every Thursday morning or night. 
Donate - Financially, food, services - without this we can't carry the message.
Buy a T-Shirt - Help spread awareness and financial support
Invite us to speak - We will come to your group or organization to share what we do.
Provide feedback - Through your comments or suggestions we can create change.
Follow us - On Facebook & Twitter and invite your friends.
Forward us - The website, emails, events. You never know what might happen.
PRAY, PRAY, PRAY - Prayer for God to always be in front that we may be folllowers.
Jesus Was Homeless
Amy Stallings - 417.335.0266
Bryan Stallings - 417.294.1300