While I hope this book [A House Built on Love] will inspire, echoing the words of John, So that it may be seen that what he has done has been done through God, it is intended to be more than just a record. I hope it will further the conviction that the Church has something distinctive, something special and something necessary to offer the vulnerable and homeless in our country. Quite apart from the obvious spiritual benefits that the Church brings, she offers something sociologically unique. I hope that reading this book will give you confidence in the vital role churches can, and I would say should, be playing in the homeless sector. 

For all her faults and foibles, nothing competes with the Church in bringing people of diversity together week after week after week. 

More go to church on Sunday than attend football on a Saturday. Nowhere else do you find men and women, rich and poor, black and white, old and young, and even ex-conmen and ex-coppers, joining togetheralbeit imperfectlyover one cause. When Paul penned those radical words that there is neither Jew nor Gentile, slave nor free, male nor female, for all are one in Christ, perhaps he pictured something like our present-day Church. Certainly, he lit a radical philosophical fuse that, for two millennia, has inspired the belief that we can all be one. Since the homeless are included in that one,and since they are in need of love, the Church has something special to offer. She can offer a people who care about (not just for) those in need, who ask after them, who take them for coffee, who counsel them and who laugh with them. Likewise, the homeless have much to give the Church, and the Church becomes richer and more complete when the homeless are included in that one. 

Think of the home where you grew up. If you are lucky, you found there love, nourishment, boundaries, guidance, grace, forgiveness and much more. The homeless are not called houseless, even if it is often the case that they are not sleeping in a house. What we all need is a home: all facets of a home. 

I hope you will be encouraged by what God has done and what the Church can do. I also hope you will be encouraged that we are blessed in our own walk with God as we step out to respond to those in need. I passionately believe that we grow in our understanding of God as we encounter Jesus in the poor. 

Not that it is always easy to put ourselves in the way of such blessing. The other day, I met a lady who has been a Christian all her life and has lovingly supported no end of good overseas causes. However, she was honest enough to express her reluctance to be involved in Hope into Actions work. As she delved deeper to unravel her reticence, she was able to recognize that the root of her hesitation was a fear of the people we work with. The unknown is often accompanied by an immobilizing hurdle of anxiety. A core message of this bookand indeed the life and teachings of Christis that we meet with God when we meet with strangers. 

As we follow Jesus example, sharing bread with those we previously feared, those on the other side who are strange to us, we find that we ourselves grow. We experience love rising from within,driving out fear. We grow in our fullness as a human. 

If you enjoyed this then order copies for you and your church here.