Hanging with Tree at LGM...
Throughout December, the log will feature stories shared in our special end of year newsletter. Each story about someone who’s been helped by Lord’s Gym Ministries is accompanied by a quick devotional and a challenge that we ask you prayerfully consider.
Even in the midst of madness, Tracey or “Tree” would come to the Covington Lord’s Gym for prayer and to help others.
“He was on drugs, but he’s always had a good heart,” said Covington Chaplain James.
Tree, who stands at 6’6, recently made a commitment to himself and God to stay clean.
“I love coming to the gym,” he said. “The Bible here is put on a street level, you can understand it. I’ve gained a solid understanding of the Word while here.”
Tree has also been living out the word. For several years, he’s been volunteering at the gym, helping to feed and clothe others in need.
Devotional – Scripture: Luke 2:8-20
According to Randy Alcorn, author of “Shepherd Status,” at the time of Christ’s birth, “shepherds stood on the bottom rung of the Palestinian social ladder… The same status as tax collectors and dung sweepers.”
Shepherding was once a noble occupation, however, during the time of the Patriarchs. The wealthy sons of Isaac and Jacob, for example, tended flocks, as revealed in Genesis 30:29; 37:10.
When the Israelites came to Egypt, they discovered a different way of life. Egyptians were agriculturalists, Alcorn explains. “As farmers, they despised shepherding because sheep and goats meant death to crops. Battles between farmers and shepherds are as old as they are fierce.”
Egyptians considered sheep worthless, their art and historical records portray shepherds negatively.
In the course of 400 years, living among the Egyptians the Israelites’ attitude toward shepherding was prejudiced. “Shepherding became a menial vocation for the laboring class,” Acorn says. “These men could not fulfill judicial offices or be admitted in court as witnesses.” Some shepherds of course earned their poor reputations, while others fell victim to stereotyping. Self-righteous religious leaders labeled shepherds as “sinners.”
Yet, these lowly souls were the first to hear the Good News of Jesus’ birth. God didn’t choose the supreme religious leaders or the elite class to be the first to know of the Savior’s birth. Instead, He announced the coming of His Son to the simple shepherds. Again, this was a bold move. Makes you think.
Who are the “shepherds” of our time? What about those with little social status but all the judgment – addicts, drug dealers, prisoners? Yeah, those “sinners” we don’t associate with.
Lord’s Gym Ministries has a mission to serve those lowly lost souls. We operate the Lord’s Gym at various times during the week at three locations, Covington, Queensgate and Price Hill. The gym is a weight-lifting, work out, and long-term discipleship program designed to teach at-risk men principles to avoid destructive lifestyles while nurturing their relationship with God. Come. Meet these men. Offer them hope by sharing Jesus with them.