Publisher-Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2006
The book is a literary gem of storytelling. It weaves together the two stories of a very unlikely pair: Ron Hall and Denver Moore. Denver is homeless in the jungles of the hood. Ron lives as a millionaire, wining and dining all over the world. Each draws upon a wealth of personal tragedy and triumph in writing their stories, forging their hearts together in the furnace of affliction. The book opens a window into gospel rescue mission like nothing else that I have read, instructing your mind, impacting your heart, and moving you into action. People might ask, “Why spend some of your time at a Gospel Rescue Mission?”
Rescue work pulls people up out of nastiness. It slowly peeled back the layers of bitterness in Denver and melted his ugly heart of stone. Likewise, Ron had his eyes opened to his own condescending pride and superficial lusts. Mission work strips away secondary and tertiary issues and focuses fundamentally on loving one another. Denver loved the unlovable and became the prayer warrior. Ron laid aside opportunities for making more money and invested his life in what is priceless: friendships forever. Gospel work pushes to the forefront the desperate, daily need for all of us. Every day, we need to be connected to gospel grace.
Everyone involved in rescue mission work ought to read this book to expand their God-given vision. Everyone who is curious about volunteering in a rescue mission in their city should read this book to solidify the inward leanings toward loving service in difficult places.
Here are some actions steps that I suggest for you:
- Purchase a hard cover or soft cover listed in Amazon. Many of the copies are being listed for 1 cent.
- Encourage some of your friends to read this book with you. Spread the word on this New York Times Bestseller. Discuss it.
- Visit the nearest gospel rescue mission operating in your city.
- Promote the new movie, soon to be released, among your church groups.
- Adopt the men, women, and children from the rescue mission shelters into your church families. Commit yourself to some “frientoring”.
Some quotes among many in the book that impacted me personally:
“I ain’t gon’ sugarcoat it: The streets’ll turn a man nasty” (4) – Denver.
“Now sin is when you misses the mark that Gaw-ud is aimin for you to hit,” he’d say. “Bein’ lazy is sin ’cause Gaw-ud is aimin for you to be diligent. Bein foolish is a sin ’cause Gaw-ud is aimin for you to be wise. And bein lustful is a sin, ’cause Gaw-ud is aimin for you to be chaste. Can I get a witness?” “Amen!” the church would holler. “Praise Jesus!” (28) – Denver.
“I have learned that even with my $500 European-designer bifocals, I cannot see into a person’s heart to know his spiritual condition. All I can do is tell the jagged of my own spiritual journey and declare that my life has been the better for having followed Christ” (61) – Ron
“Sometimes it’s drinkin or drugging that lands a man on the streets. And if he ain’t drinkin or drugging already, most fellas like me start in once we get there. It ain’t to have fun. It’s to have less misery. To try and forget that no matter how many “partners in crime” we might hook up with on the street, we is still alone” (73) – Denver
“Driving home, she reflected aloud on how society generally regards the homeless as lazy and foolish, and maybe some were. But she felt there was so much more below that surface image: dysfunction and addiction, yes. But also gifts—like love, faith, and wisdom—that lay hidden like pearls waiting only to be discovered, polished, and set” (85) – Ron commenting on his wife
“Most people don’t want the homeless close to em—think they’re dirty, or got some kinda disease, or maybe they think that kind of troubled life gon’ rub off on em. They come at Christmas and Easter and Thanksgivin and give you a little turkey and lukewarm gravy. Then they go home and gather round their own table and forget about you till the next time come around where they start feelin a little guilty ‘cause they got so much to be thankful for” (93) – Denver
“Her goal was changed lives, healed hearts. Broken men and women rejoining the ranks of the clean and sober, moving out to places of their own, spending Sundays in the park with their families” (95) – Ron commenting on his wife
“So, Mr. Ron, it occurred to me: If you is fishin for a friend you just gon’ catch and release, then I ain’t got no desire to be your friend. . . . But if you is lookin for a real friend, then I’ll be one. Forever” (107) – Denver
“She just loved em, no strings attached” (131) – Denver commenting on Debbie Hall
“There’s somethin I learned when I was homeless: Our limitation is God’s opportunity” (169) – Denver Moore
“There’s something special about a river, something spiritual that I believe goes all the way back to the river Jordan” (199) – Denver
“Just tell em I’m a nobody that’s tryin to tell everybody ‘bout Somebody that can save anybody” (231) – Denver
“But I found out everybody’s different—the same kind of different as me. We’re all just regular folks walkin down the road God done set in front of us. The truth about it is, whether we is rich or poor or something in between, this earth ain’t no final restin place. So in a way, we is all homeless—just workin our way toward home” (235) – Denver
- Thomas Nelson video (7:04)
- Courage to Care video (9:13)
- Small group study video trailer (2:19)
- Denver Moore spiritual (3:37)