To be embraced when you feel lacking, spent, gross, unseen:

As I arrived in NYC this morning shortly after 7am via NJ Transit train, I decided to take a different subway train than I have the past few months just to switch it up - and I'm so glad I did.

As soon as I walked out of Penn Station, I started making my way to Herald Square.

***When I commute, I try to always practice what I call Heads Up Commuting. This is where I really focus on taking in what is happening around me. Eyes up. Phone away. Looking for an opportunity to love out loud, with action and purpose. Praying for those who are passing by. 
Praying for the chance to make someone smile, snap out of their commute daze, or change the trajectory of their day.

On this morning I still had my headphones in, but on low volume with Jesus centered music because honestly I just was feeling a little less oomph this morning and really longing for my heart to be more connected to who I believe created my heart.

As I crossed the street I saw a married couple that usually comes and hangs out with us at the outreach we are doing later this morning in lower Manhattan. They were on the edge of the sidewalk with about 5 small bags - all their life belongings - rotating individual items, setting up and preparing for the needs of the day.

I caught their eye, giving them the chance to take in who I was, then I went in for the big joy filled hugs.

As much as they were happy to see me, I could tell they also felt shame.

Here they were, just out of the drop-in center where they "sleep" sitting up in chairs overnight.
Tired, lacking - not who they desired to be in that moment.

Shame. Ugh!

I hate shame and what it does to us - how it makes us hide. How it automatically makes us feel unqualified to receive love. How it pushes us down into a hole that is filled with more and more pressuring thoughts of despair and loneliness.

The best way to combat shame in others is to not allow it's pressuring to manifest into reality by shutting it down with extreme, no questions asked, love.

I don't care what you look like. I don't care what failure you presume to have in your life. I don't care what other people put on you. Not even a little bit.

My job is to love you so much that instead of shame and loneliness you feel alive and purposeful.

How can we do this better?

Who is walking around you, me, us, with the shame of lack? The shame of failure? The shame of separation, divorce, addiction, unemployment, poverty, singleness, you fill in the blank.

I left my friends still on the sidewalk, but with joy.

And today, they know they have a place to be where we are ecstatically excited to see them and walk with them until they can kick the shame and separation they feel.

Who can you love the shame out of today?

It might even be the person you don't agree with, have a different political view than, or your mortal enemy.

Give it a try. Message me if you have questions or want prayer to be bolder in these areas.

Much love my friends!

Feel free to share if you think this may be helpful for others. :)

27 Seconds.

27 seconds.

Today I had the opportunity to have b-day date meal with my wife at our top favorite restaurant in New Jersey, Ninety Acres!

Farm to table, super yummy, and one of my top favorite reasons I love this place is their top notch customer service.

From the moment you enter, they treat you like you are the most important person in the room, someone to be honored - not in a strange way that makes you feel like you don't belong - but they do a fantastic job and making EVERYONE feel like they deserve a seat at the table.

They do what a friend of mine, and men's pastor at Saddleback Church, Tom Kang refers to as 1%'ers - those little things that aren't huge alone, but when added up, really leave a long lasting effect on how someone feels engaged and cared for: Wiping the crumbs off of the table in between courses, repeating your order back to you how you pronounced the fancy dishes (not correcting the pronunciation to make you feel stupid), picking up your napkin to re-fold it when you get up to use the restroom, and making sure your glass is always filled.

On my first visit there two years ago, I asked the waiter we had serving us what the number one thing he was trained to do as a server at Ninety Acres was - I loved his response!

"Our job is to figure out what you needs are before you have them.

27 seconds.

Today while enjoying our meal and being served so well, I decided to do a little test. I finished my water, put it on the table, and began counting in my head.

27 seconds. It took our wait staff team 27 seconds to see I was out of water, come over, fill it up, and ask if there was anything else that would be helpful at that moment.

That's amazing, and I know that you may be thinking to yourself, "Yes Brett, but you are paying good money for that kind of service, I looked up Ninety Acres on yelp and there are four dollar signs ($$$$) next to their name - so they HAVE to do that".

My response to you is yes, maybe they have to because of the $$$$, but what if this is just the way we served people – even (or especially) people that can't afford one $ sign?

What if we - both you and me - were to flip the hierarchy of expectation making it normal service to give the best to those who have the least!?!?

*Hint* If you are a Christian, this is actually part of the deal…

That is EXACTLY what my goal is for every single person that comes to a New York City Relief outreach!

Give nothing, receive everything!

Deserve (by the world’s standard) to be shown to the basement, but given the penthouse!

27 seconds.

What if our goal was to see people’s needs before they even had them – for people to show up as strangers and be treated as the best of friends – for their glasses (of acceptance and love) to not just be filled when empty, but to be overflowing!?!?

If you came out to serve with us at NYC Relief, this is the goal.

Will you join us?

And even if you can’t join us, will you look for ways to do this right where you are – with the people around you who don’t deserve the love or patience or forgiveness – but receive it anyways?

There is hope.

You have the ability to change how someone sees themselves and sees this world we all live in together.
How else can we serve each other well, leave a comment below, or feel free to share this post!

Much love my friends!