The following program is recorded content created by the Truth Network. Okay, so you're driving down the highway. If you're here in the Raleigh area, maybe you're driving down 540 or 440 some highway, but wherever you live, you're driving on the highway, you hit the off ramp, and you get to the bottom of the ramp. And guess who's waiting for you? That's right. There's some folks there, sometimes male, sometimes female, usually looking a little shoddy. And that's a panhandler. Some people call them that. Some people call them beggars. Other people call them just homeless people. Or you go down to your home.
So if you're in a town like here in Raleigh, there's a couple places downtown where you will see them. And do you ever make eye contact? The ones that really bug me when I'm pulling off the highway is they have a big smile on their face and they look right at you and they wave. So the question is what if you wave back, but you give them nothing? Is that a problem?
Are you just a cheapo, bad ambassador for Christ? Do you have to give them something? So you have this problem, right, that's out there on the highways and the byways and in the city. So what do you do about it? How do you address that? And not just the homeless. There's all kinds of needs when you start dealing with people that have a whole lot less than, well, most of us, most of you listening right now, certainly myself included. And so you have to ask that question, Lord, what do you want me to do?
And when you get into the Old Testament and the New Testament, it's pretty obvious that God has a heart for those that are downtrodden, the homeless, everybody else you want to put in that camp. The question is, what do you do about it? Well, several years ago here in Raleigh, if you've ever heard of the Dream Center, that's in L.A., which is an incredible story in and of itself, but it's several years ago here in Raleigh, Jeremy Porus felt led by the Lord to kind of move away from his job as a worship leader at a prominent church here locally and start a Raleigh Dream Center. And it's amazing what's happened ever since. So we're going to learn about that story. We're going to learn about this problem and then ask the big, tough question today, which is what do you do about it?
Do you have a responsibility to do about it? And Jeremy, welcome back. It's good to see you. Happy New Year. Thank you. Same to you.
Please. Appreciate the opportunity to be here. You're very welcome.
It's great to have you here. We were just talking before we went on the air. We both heard the same Tim Keller message and Tim Keller, who's not normally very confrontational. I remember being shocked when I heard him say this. He was talking about the impoverished and he's talking about God's heart for the downtrodden and the impoverished and the widow and the orphan and both the Old and the New Testament. And then he said, so I think if you're not doing something regularly to help those who are in that type of position, I think you should question whether you're a Christian at all.
But at first I was like, I think that's a little bit over the top, but maybe it isn't. Anyway, that's my opening salvo. What's your response to that? And then we'll talk about the Dream Center now that got started. That's a loaded question, Steve. So a lot of things come to mind. I get that question all the time. We do have a homeless outreach as part of the Dream Center. And so each week we're interacting with one hundred and twenty five people that are from the streets and building relationships. So, yes, I do know the one on one, but also there is the I'm driving up off the highway.
And what do I do? Yeah. You know, some people are creative. They have a little gift bag in their car that they can hand out. Some people, you know, will say never give out money.
My thought is, you know, if the Lord prompts you to give out money, then you give it. But otherwise, I usually don't. And but I always I shouldn't say always, I often will roll down my window, say, hey, man, I don't have anything for you today, but I'll give you a fist bump. What's your name? I'm Jeremy.
Can I pray for you? Just that little bit of dignity. You're a person.
You're there. And so I've kind of tried to stay compassionate, even if I don't always have something on me to give. Well, that that word dignity will I'm sure it will show up a lot today as we discuss this.
But let's go back in time a little bit. You were rolling along your great worship pastor at a prominent church here in the area. How did God kind of get this whole idea of a Raleigh Dream Center on your mind? Yeah, well, there's two big things. One is I grew up in Los Angeles and so I was very familiar with the L.A. Dream Center, Pastor Matthew Barnett and the great work that's going on. If you don't know it, go look it up.
It's well worth checking out. Crazy. And they bought an old hospital, right?
They did, converted it. It's like a city block. It's massive. I've been there many times now, but it's very it's inspiring. And so really, that's what we're aiming to do in our own unique way here in Raleigh, having a facility that would be able to house a lot of different programs underneath that roof.
But but that was one of the catalysts. And so, yes, I was a worship pastor. I moved here to Raleigh, start leading worship here at a local church.
And it was a Sunday that I'll never forget when somebody said, Jeremy, I know you from the stage. You don't know me. I'm going to be homeless. I don't know what to do. And just the desperation on her face. And with all this faith I had, I was like, hey, man, you're going to be OK. God's going to be with you. God's going to provide. And I just had this oomph about me.
Sure. And then I left going. I have no idea what to do. And I started freaking out. And that was the catalyst that where it just broke me. And I said, Lord, open my eyes to see the need.
And I warn you, if you're listening, don't pray that if you don't mean it because God will open your eyes. And then now what? Right. And so that's that was the bigger question. OK. And he did open my eyes. So now what is there to do about it?
And you get overwhelmed easily. And so where does one person start? And you're at you're at a church at the time, Crossroads Fellowship here in town. And Doug Gamble, the missions pastor who he and I have been friends for years. And you're at a church that hadn't neglected that, that the Crossroads had been involved in that world. But to go from, OK, the church is doing something. My church is doing something. Isn't that awesome?
To a person coming up to you to share personally. And then so what did you do next? Well, I had this great idea, the younger Jeremy, I'll say it that way.
There was a hotel that was permanently closed. And so I got a meeting with our pastor and said, I want Crossroads to go buy this building. And I have this great plan to turn it into a campus of Crossroads and let's go make it a dream center.
And here's what it looks like and blah, blah, blah. And he looked at me and just kind of smiled and said, Jeremy, I thought we were gonna talk about music today. But it was so simple because he lovingly guided me and said, you know, you don't I don't have twelve million dollars to go give that building right now. He said, but what do you have in your hand today?
And that thought still, I challenge my team this week, what do we have today as our resources have grown? But that first step was, well, God put it on my heart. I met somebody living in this car and started sharing groceries with them, started building a relationship, started connecting. And from there, we really birthed our food ministry. And so it was just a beautiful story, the way God let you know, God rolled it out for me and kind of just started there at your own church.
Yeah, yeah. And really, it wasn't even a ministry of the church. It was just like, well, I just felt like I needed to explore every avenue.
And so I, you know, they say this about Pastor Matthew Barnett and I kind of have an understanding of it's like he was the janitor of the city. Just go wherever, you know, and just go start cleaning stuff up. And literally I was walking the streets and just picking up trash and praying and people would come across my path. And maybe that's the person I'm supposed to talk to today. I don't know. I was just exploring and praying and saying, Lord, you placed it on my heart to start a dream center.
But I don't know where to go. But it was that simple, compelling, well, I can do something today to love somebody. Yeah, yeah. And that's where it kind of took off.
Yeah. And I think that's that's a great story and a great challenge for all of us. If you have a particular heart for a particular thing, just start exploring, just start walking your way through that. Go check it out, whether it starts small and becomes something bigger like the Raleigh Dream Center or it's just you and a personal ministry that nobody knows about except you and the Lord.
Are we going to be faithful with the things that the Lord puts in front of us? We're going to keep talking about that. The Raleigh Dream Center. Music guy, see, Jeremy Porus here, not just serving the community through the Raleigh Dream Center, but appreciating good music like the Bee Gees, because how long were you a worship pastor? Well, 20 years doing music is crazy. That is crazy. As you look back at that and then Raleigh Dream Center started when? 2014.
2014, RaleighDreamCenter.org is the website, RaleighDreamCenter.org. So if you are here in the Triangle area, I pray that this is particularly uncomfortable for you and it should be for me as well. Our mutual friend Greg Becker is here today helping out in the studio who just decided to go over there for a Bible study.
Now he's there five days a week. And we referenced Jeremy earlier. You know, I think that's a I think that's a good check on the seriousness or the depth of our Christianity is do we do anything when it comes to helping those that are less fortunate than ourselves? And I think for a lot of us, you know, we've we've we've had two compassion international kids every year for probably 20 years. And that's great. But the question, I think, is, is that enough?
They're in Africa. What about the people that live in the same zip code that I do? And that's the challenge for all of us today. So so that started with you, somebody at your church that say, OK, I'm going to be homeless in a week.
The question is, what are you going to do about it? You start big, go big, go ask the pastor for 12 million dollars. Let's go buy this.
Let's go buy this abandoned hotel, because that was like the Dream Center that bought a hospital in L.A. But then it starts small looking around. Where's this going to go? And then when did things kind of start to take off where it was going to be more than just Jeremy? Yeah, you know, it actually kind of took off quickly with it.
Just a simple Facebook page. It wasn't like the church got behind me with this big new ministry. Yeah. Just saying, hey, I'm going to be out here serving if anybody wants to join me. And it just resonated with folks.
And they they came. And that first summer, I'll never forget, we had we started an adopt a block on Saturday. That's what we call our Saturday ministry.
We show up with groceries at an apartment complex. Games for kids is a lot of fun. And but a gospel centered ordeal. Right. With prayer teams and all the good stuff. But we had too many volunteers even in that first few months. And so we split it and started two communities at the same time.
And by the end of that summer, we had four communities within just the first few months. And what's the reaction when you just show up? Like, do you have to get permission from somebody or do you just show up? That's a whole book I can write because I made every mistake that you can. You know, the more you communicate it, the better. I'll just say it that way. But figuring out what's in the community, who's in the community, learning the community and just getting to know them. Because we did step on some toes and we made some sure, you know, wrong moves in the early days. And we learned from that. And, you know, now we have a much better process for starting a new communities. But even during the pandemic, just to give you an idea where we started in 2014, we're serving around four communities.
You've moved to the pandemic. We were serving seven communities in 2020 by the within six months. We were serving 58.
Oh, my goodness. A week. A week. So it was how many people at each location? Well, it was not not many. We'd have maybe three to five people per location, but it was 400 and something volunteers a week. And granted, the schools were closed and so people were available for that. But now we're we've kind of landed at about just under 30 communities that we're serving.
How did how did that happen? What was the because obviously there's a lot of crazy things going on with covid, but to go from seven to 50 is nuts. So, yeah, we were we just were knocking on a bunch of churches doors roughly before the pandemic, like, hey, we do the outreach, we do community outreach, come serve with us. And, you know, churches are they're interested.
But, you know, you don't always get them to the lot going on. Right. All of a sudden, the churches start closing down and they were not equipped to necessarily to go out and serve the way we were. So they were like, hey, our covid response is go serve a dream center. And there were enough big churches, small churches, everything in between.
And so instantly we had just hundreds of people flooding our website. And so it was just we were just go to more places. Yeah, we were at the right place at the right time. The county got behind us and they were saying, well, here's another community. I'm telling the county like, hey, we share the gospel. Do you have a problem with this? Like, yeah, right. We don't care. A church and state. Yeah.
No one else is doing this work. So we need you. And OK, so off we went and it just kind of exploded from there. And will you go, Jeremy, will you go to the same community every week or does it move around or how? Yeah, we are at the same place every time. So in the community, they might know, like, oh, this group's here on Wednesdays at 10 o'clock every week, every week they're here at that time. And so but on our website, you'll see more of the massive like, well, here's a site that's close to me and I can go serve, you know. And so that's yeah. So we're very consistent in the same communities, just loving on people. And we have specific leaders like they might just serve in one community, but they know that community.
They're the face of the of the Dream Center, but also they know the names, they know that the kids, they know the dog names, you know, all that kind of good stuff. So there's a really good ministry because that's the whole point. It's not a drive by ministry. Yeah.
Drop some stuff off. We all pat ourselves in the back, sound like a short term for a mission trip, which does have some value. I'm not sure how that under the bus, but boy, it's got to be a whole lot different when you actually develop a relationship with a particular apartment complex. And that's that's where the real good ministry happens, because like for us, yes, we have those groups that they serve once a month. And, you know, here comes one hundred people from this one church or whatever.
And it's great. We can use it. But it's the one person or two people who's in that community, they know the prayer requests, they they cry with them and walk with them through the hard stuff. And that's when the gospel becomes important. That's when that's when people's ears are open to hearing it. So it's really special. But but it takes both. You know, we're grateful for those that may serve twice a year and that that helps us do what we do.
Absolutely. But certainly the leaders carrying the load is well here in the Bible Belt, you would expect that most people at most communities and most apartment complexes are Christians. Sixty eight percent of Americans self identify as Christians. But something inside of me is telling me that's probably not the case.
Well, that's not what I see on the street level. I think what I would say the the Bible Belt is a familiarity and comfort level with God. But does it mean that they're actually a believer? You know, most people are going to say, yeah, I'm good with God.
Well, how do you know that you're good with God? And that's where we dig in and have some fun. Not some I shouldn't say it's fun because we take it seriously. Yeah, but that is fun. You know, I'm just getting to know somebody to watch the spiritual lights come on when God allows that to happen.
Fun, enjoyable, enriching, all of that. I don't have a problem with it because I when I'm involved in God's doing something to me, that's fun. Yeah, well, that's a Christian kind of fun. And it's but we also challenge our volunteers. Like I'm hearing weird prayers in the community, like, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, we're not here for like get your theology right. Get the gospel right. Let's let's not come out with some weird message. And so we've challenged volunteers and we've seen them grow and be challenging their faith.
It's been wonderful. That's so cool. All right. So that's adopt a block. Yeah, but I'm on your website.
I'm at Raleigh dream center dot org. And there's a few more there's a few more graphics here than just adopt a block. You got recovery, adopt a block, family night, street outreach.
Did you just do one of those? Greg mentioned that kids jam, mobile food pantry, food warehouse. So let's go through these. We have a couple of things. There's a lot going on here.
Yeah. So a lot of it is related under the food ministry bound banner. So our mobile food pantry, that's where we go out to apartment complexes during the weekdays. So Tuesday through Friday, we're out there serving groceries and free free groceries, kind of a set up like a mobile pop up market, if you want to call it that or whatever.
But the community knows we're coming. So we have volunteers that serve during the day and do that. It's kind of a almost like a bus stop. It's kind of a regular thing. Yep. It's and we're not there for long, but long enough to get the groceries and give them out.
And it's beautiful. So it's like an adopt a block, which is Saturday. But Saturdays, we add the kids programming and all of that fun stuff. Where do you get the groceries? Through a lot of churches that are really doing the food drives on our behalf.
That really is the engine behind a lot of this. However, I will mention Amazon gives us a huge truckload. We pick up from Amazon three days, four days a week.
Really? And so Wegmans and Costco. Just stuff that's almost expired or what's the deal with it? Well, actually, yeah, it's it's really good food.
It's not some of it's not even close to expiration date. And so we just have we're I'm amazed at like some of it is amazing. It's the best food going out there, too. I mean, you know, I can go on about that. It's amazing. So it's not just like a here's a can. Yeah. I mean, now I have a hankering to go to Wegmans right now.
That's right. It's an incredible food selection there. So there's a lot going on at the Raleigh Dream Center, RaleighDreamCenter.org.
We're going to keep hearing about all the different things the Lord is doing. What about volunteers? What about the problem itself?
How widespread is this? And then what's your place? What's my place on the wall like Nehemiah? There's obviously a problem. The question is, what do we do about it? We'll be right back with Jeremy.
This is Steve Noble. Don't go. Attention, Josh. Attention, Josh. Josh is my intern who couldn't be here today. Josh, I do have an option now with Greg in the studio who's helping and being very helpful. So, Josh, just limit how many days you don't.
You can't come in. Anyway, welcome back. It's Steve Noble, The Steve Noble Show, talking to Jeremy Porras today. The Raleigh Dream Center, RaleighDreamCenter.org, where God is just since 2014, just been doing an incredible work, reaching into the community, people that a lot of us will just drive by. We all are going to fit into the story of the Good Samaritan at one level or another. But Jeremy, when he was a worship pastor at the church he was at here in Raleigh and somebody came up to him after a service, say, hey, I'm going to be homeless in a week or so. And then you've got to decide what to do with that. And then one thing leads to another.
And then the next thing you know, the Raleigh Dream Center is coming out of the ground. You were talking about Adopt a Block. I mentioned Family Night Street outreach and the street outreach, which leads to that question about, okay, is it just enough to give him a meal, share the gospel, move on down the road? Or what about kind of long-term things? Because you also have a box here on the website that says recovery. So kind of tie all that stuff together. Yes.
Well, thank you for that question. What we found is we knew that we were called to start a recovery ministry. Like we wanted to, and we have a commitment from a local home builder, Roebuck Homes, that's helping us build five houses for recovery. And so we're in that process.
It's crazy. Two houses should be open in the coming months. So we're really getting close now. But in that process, we said, you know what, why don't we put our foot out in the recovery community, start offering recovery classes? Because that would make sense. And so by the time we open the houses, we know who needs it. And so that was our thought anyway. Recovery being drugs and alcohol. Yes.
Yes. So we were going to start these recovery meetings at the Dream Center. And so we advertised it, did all this advertising. And the first one, no one showed up. And it was humbling.
You're like, okay, Lord, what do we miss? And we had a transportation van. The Dream Center had that. So we just through prayer said, well, highways and byways. That just was overwhelmingly on our minds. So we we went and picked up people down at Moore Square. We kind of rekindled our homeless outreach that we would have at the square.
And so we go downtown Raleigh and we know where some folks hang out. And so we just invited them to come to recovery meeting. However, the van filled up. And every week we started doing that like we were sending the van twice. And then we bought a bus and started sending a bus.
And now we're sending two buses and a van on Tuesday nights. And it's just blossomed into this. But people started saying, well, I don't need recovery. And so we pivoted.
Oh, it's not recovery. It's a hot meal and worship and Bible study. So we just shifted it. And now we see one hundred and twenty five people that will come on a Tuesday night.
So it's blossomed into this. But for us, it's sort of the idea is still as we opened a recovery house in the process. Right now, we have two recovery houses that we run.
Our program is free for men. But really, that Tuesday night has built the relationships of consistent, loving people. And I see it as even with any homeless outreach that you're going to do, it just chips away at people's tough walls.
And so before you know it, the love of God just like crashes those walls down and they trust you. And and so when we opened our house, we had guys join the program and and we watched them succeed to grad to graduation. And but some of those guys came from Tuesday nights. We met them on the streets. And now we're in the phase of getting helping them.
One of the guys get his GED, trying to help them get jobs. And you really that transition piece is even heavier and harder in many ways. But we're learning. And so but now that's been the Tuesday night street outreach has led to the the longer term program. Right. And and we're not the you know, I call it as like a dream center becomes sort of the Wal-Mart of ministries at offers everything because there's a lot of similar relationships when people are on the streets between problems that people are dealing with.
Do you is and I mentioned this earlier, I really struggle with my skepticism and in my flesh on stuff. But do you have to do people generally involved in this and this outreach? You're like, OK. Of course, they're going to show up because we're offering them a hot meal and some time and shelter where they're going to get some attention. But that's all they want.
They don't really care about anything else. Is that is that a struggle? Is that just somebody like me? That's that's definitely real. And we have folks that they come in for the meal and they just will leave. They're not interested in the Bible study.
What do you have tonight? That's free. And because we have clothing and we do hygiene packets to all that kind of good stuff. But but after a month or two or three, you start to build these relationships. And I and we just get we have that breakthrough at some point. And some people, you know, we may not get to that point, but at the same time, I'd rather err on that side of, yeah, there's maybe some, you know, they're just here for whatever what they can get. But it's worth it because look at who's getting the real message. And they're really being ministered here.
And you have to and who the spirit draws is up to the spirit. That's not your job. That's not my job.
Yeah, that's his job. Well, we have one of the guys in the program now who's he's been here for maybe two and a half months. And but we we built actually a couple of guys. They had been coming on Tuesday nights for over a year.
And they were nowhere near wanting a program or anything like that. But after that longevity, then all of a sudden something broke in them and they they joined. And now we're watching God do the miraculous. You know, they're sober and they're finding God. And it's just it's powerful. Well, hey, there was on that note for all of us personally, how how much patience did the Lord show you?
Yeah. I mean, I know a guy in my in my testimony, a guy that prayed started praying for me when I was 18. I became a Christian when I was 28. He saw because we worked together. He saw he saw me not only leading my own self down the road to perdition, he saw me leading others down the road, but he continued to pray for me 10 years. And we're like, this guy's just coming for a hot meal, free hot meal.
Really? Do you want God to have the same level of patience that we have? None of us want that because none of us would be safe.
We're talking to Jeremy Porus, the founder and executive director of the Raleigh Dream Center, Raleigh Dream Center dot org. And so the recovery and all of that, that there's do we typecast people that are poor and downtrodden and homeless? Oh, absolutely. People do. I think that we we do it, but it's not always accurate either.
Sure. You know, because certainly people we've met all come with the story. But I've I've seen some guys on the street who, you know, one guy who's downtown at that particular spot, he'll always say, you know, hey, and he's living on the streets himself. But he says, everybody's out here for a reason. We all have our own story. We all got our own reasons.
And we're probably not going to share them with very openly. And there's a lot of truth to that because there's some hard stuff that people go through and they don't want to be upfront about it. But there's a lot of trauma.
There's a lot of mental illness. There's all these pieces that you're trying to navigate. You say, Lord, how do we how do we do this? But I do feel the call from scripture, the gospel to say, yeah, we need to be out here doing this type of work, whether you're going to leave your job like I did to go start something or just you're the person that can serve once or twice a week or twice a month or twice a year or whatever you can do. You should be out there doing it.
Don't don't come up with those excuses. We'll put your talent on the table. Multiplication is God's deal. That's right. Faithfulness is ours.
This is actually a pretty sweet deal. I'm like, OK, Lord. So you want me to be faithful. And so then I'm faithful and whatever. And then you deal with the multiplicity, the success, what have you. And then so I don't have any responsibility for that. I'm just supposed to be faithful. I step up to the plate and I swing the bat and I do the best I can for the glory of God. And then I get I get to be with you in paradise forever.
Not that I earn my way in, but once I'm there, then I get eternal rewards for all that. Is that is that am I reading you? Is that the deal? Yes, Steve, that's the deal. OK, that's pretty that's pretty sweet. We got the good end of the stick.
We got the good end of the stick there. Well, I remember a conversation I had with Dr. Paul Risser. He is the guy that helped. He he assigned Pastor Matthew Barnett of the Los Angeles Dream Center and gave him the pastorate at the local church there.
So early in the days. But I knew him personally, Dr. Paul Risser. And when I had that experience of meeting somebody and feeling the call to start Raleigh Dream Center and I called him and said, hey, here's what I've what I believe God's stirring in my heart. And I had all these excuses like I'm a worship leader. I'm the piano guy. I don't know how to start a nonprofit.
I don't know how to do all this stuff. And he was so gracious of him because he said, you know, are you done? And he said, just like Moses, Moses came with all of his excuses and God knocked down every one of those excuses and says, I'm with you. And if you want this, then let's do this.
And it just rocked my world and it changed me. And I said, OK, God, I all of my excuses are on the table. You know, my faults and weaknesses.
If you're going to call me to this, then you're going to have to pull it off somehow because I can't. Right. Exactly. Oh, people say, hey, you know, I don't like to choose the lesser of two evils.
I always remind people what choice do you have? And then with the Lord, all he has is broken vessels other than himself, his son, his spirit. Everything else is a broken vessel. And I think we limit and think I could never go back 15 years. You think I think I would be doing what I'm doing now? No, I never would have thought that everybody.
No, I'm too much of a dirtbag, blah, blah, blah, whatever. But yet here you are. It's amazing what God can do with your mustard seed. What when you think about the last eight years, Jeremy, just in terms of individual stories, things that you've seen God do in a community, whatever, what are some of the things that are like lodged in your mind when you think about the last eight years at the Raleigh Dream Center? Well, early on, Pastor Matthew Barnett, when we started the Dream Center, he we got to sit down with him and he gave us some good wisdom. And he said, if you love the people that nobody wants, God will send you the people that everybody wants. And I never really understood that until I'm now today I'm seeing it with and that's from high quality people who love this ministry, who maybe either quietly support me and have given me some great wisdom and advice along the way, or some particular donors or people that are helping fund and make this happen.
It's powerful the miracles I see behind the scenes. But I think of folks who are on the streets. There's a guy that is in one of the communities we serve. He's still not saved. He's still choosing the wrong path. And it just wrecks me.
And I feel like I'm trying to build this whole program for that one guy because I still want to reach him. And so I think it keeps you humble to think of those. But there's so many stories of folks that have been helped. They have come to Christ. We have baptized them. We've seen like on Tuesday nights with the street outreach, we've seen over 70 salvations and we've done over 40 baptisms. But the real life transformation of people joining the recovery, finding Christ and seeing their lives completely transformed never gets old. No, it never gets old, I'm sure. And the problem is always going to be there. So there's always an opportunity for all of us to get involved. We'll talk some more with Jeremy when we come back. Founder and executive director of the Raleigh Dream Center, RaleighDreamCenter.org. What can I do?
What can you do? We'll go there next. We'll be right back.
Welcome back. It's Steve Noble, The Steve Noble Show today talking with Jeremy Porus, the founder and executive director of the Raleigh Dream Center, which by the way, there's Dream Centers in other areas. There's other ministries and organizations that are like this.
Of course, the Grand Poobah, the Dream Centers is in LA. But this is a Raleigh story, but it's not just a Raleigh need and it's not just a Raleigh solution. This is going on all over the place. Do you, Jeremy, is there a way to get a handle on just how massive a problem this is?
I think we've seen the last couple of years because I wanted to ask you this and thanks for being here for the whole hour. I think a lot of this has probably gotten a lot worse in the last couple of years. COVID had this really bizarre effect, the economy and all this stuff. But this is the problem. Is it much bigger than just what we see on a street corner here and there?
Yes. And I have a mixed answer because COVID was so good for a lot of people as far as receiving financial resources and the funding that became available for the average person was higher than normal. So that kind of delayed some of those. But even just in December of this last year, some of that COVID funding went away and it's causing new problems even in 2023. But yeah, this is certainly nationwide, especially if you bring in the addiction side of it with the opioids and variants that are being, you know, just the numbers that are skyrocketing is scary for overdose issues and deaths and all that. So yes, it's a growing problem and inflation doesn't help, housing prices, housing markets, all of that stuff is just sort of feeding in, especially when you live in a place like Raleigh, one of the top cities where all these companies, businesses are moving in. And the wealthier your city gets, the more the problem of homelessness and street, that problem increases along with a growing city. So a lot of cities are dealing with the same thing.
Yeah. And so what are the different ways that people get involved? And by the way, here in the last segment, go wherever you want. Don't feel restricted by questions I ask. So anything you want to share, anything you want us to understand and know, please feel free.
Yeah, well, I appreciate that. There's for my heart is, you know, Matthew 25, Jesus says he's giving this kind of idea, right? He's at the end times, God's going to separate the sheep from the goats and he's going to say to one segment, you know, hey, I was hungry and you fed me, I was thirsty, he gave me something to drink. And if you know that passage, there's, it's the compassion ministries of stuff.
And I, I chewed on it for a while. Like who are the sheep and goats? Cause other words, other places in scripture, he talks about the enemy as being like a wolf in sheep's clothing.
So who are these goats? And I realized maybe that's the American church that we're all sitting in the same building, but some of us are living out our faith doing the, and others are just going about their daily life, living a selfish life or whatever. And so that Matthew 25 passage really rocks my world. And I hope that others would get into that awakening. Even if you read secular books of leadership and stuff like that, they say, it's really good to be philanthropic because it just makes you feel good about yourself and all that kind of stuff. So, but it's that biblical side of saying, wow, Lord opened my eyes to see the need. So whether or not God calls you to start a dream center or some ministry or any, it doesn't have to be that, but what can you do today? What's the simple thing? I think what we've stumbled into as a dream center is we've just tried to remove every excuse that the local church or the local believer would have. We remove every excuse for serving.
We're going to make it as easy as possible. Go to our website, find a place that's close to you, get involved, just go do something. And what we found is people just get that bug and they come to the easy adopted block on the Saturday, they experience it, and it just stirs something in them. And we'll start to see people dig in and find other places.
And that's where it gets dangerous because that's where it transforms the volunteer and it impacts them. Well, we got one sitting on the other side of the glass. Our mutual friend Greg's here today and he just showed up for a Bible study.
Now he's there literally five days a week. The one thing that will never satisfy you is just taking care of yourself. Yup. Guilty. Contentment with godliness is great gain. Okay, so I struggle with this one, which is why I got off the radio the first time I got off the radio when I was on Saturdays and I just got off. I'm like, okay, this is ridiculous. I'm not getting where I think I need to go here ministry wise. And I got off the radio, canceled all this men's ministry stuff I was doing. I'm like, well, maybe I just need to run my house painting company and leave it at that. But then I realized I really don't think I have any contentment here.
So I studied it and then I taught it. And then I'm like, okay, here's the problem. The only cup I'm worried about filling is my own. I'm not a Christian should be like a Walmart distribution center. What stays in a Walmart distribution center? Nothing. It comes in, it goes out. It comes in, it goes out.
And so that I think the talk about what was Einstein doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. That the question to me, Jeremy, is simple. How often do I do anything for anybody not named Noble?
And the answer is not very often. I come in here, okay, that's good. I teach. That's good.
I got 160 students every week. So that's good. But they're all okay. They're all clothed. They all have a place to eat and sleep. They all have futures.
They're all getting educated. And I'm like, okay, should I be doing something else? I think the answer to that for all of us is yes. Isn't it?
Yeah. And I think on the flip side of it, I would share my own, now that I'm on this side of serving people so often, I think my issue becomes arrogance of saying, well, I'm doing it right and everybody else is missing the point. So I have my own struggles too.
But I think the reality is, are we loving people the way Christ would love them? And my wife said something to me probably two years ago or so or whenever it was, she said, Jeremy, something changed in you. She said, you don't see the labels anymore. You don't see homeless. You don't see addict. You see Paul. You see John. You see the person, people.
And I never really thought about it that way. But in all of the different avenues of people we see, that's my heart is that, Lord, help us not to help us to break down those walls. And that's why when you asked, we started the show. Yeah, I do roll down my window for the guys standing on the corner and saying, hey, I'm Jeremy.
What's your name? Just to value him. Yeah. And that handshake or and you can just tell it means something to them.
And because they spend all day being ignored for the most part. Yep. Yeah. I mean, none of us. I don't like being. Yeah.
I don't even put up with it. I'm like, you're going to know I'm here. Yeah. But they just get driven by all day long. And since we started our street outreach to like the way I go to work Capitol Boulevard, it's the main road in Raleigh, really. And going down that street every day, I see folks and it's transition from, hey, there's a there's a new person here now. It's like, oh, that's and I know them by name. And I remember driving home with my daughter once and she was saying, Dad, do you know that person?
Like it's a quiz. And she's and she's like, how about that one? And she's like, do you want to reach that guy? And I said, I want to reach them all.
And I know I can't reach them all. Sure. Necessarily.
But that heart that says, Lord, help us to just have that kind of love and compassion for people. And so we just have like four minutes left. So give us all an invitation to get involved and just to start somewhere. Yeah.
You know, quite frankly, I don't care if it's with Raleigh Dream Center or not. Get out of your seat. Get out of the four walls of the church and go put yourself out there to serve. Put yourself out. I don't even say dare you. I dare you to try to share the gospel with somebody, because that's a whole other topic.
Oh, yeah. But get out there and serve and love somebody. If you want to do it through the Dream Center, go to Raleigh Dream Center dot org. The easiest place to get connected to is our Saturday ministry. If you're local, if not, search for your local area and go go just go do something.
Try it once. And maybe you'll find something about yourself that you you have a new I love for folks who come like Greg Becker, who's sitting here helping behind the scenes today. He didn't come with with he's serving in our recovery every day. He's sitting with the six or seven guys in our recovery houses.
He's he does. Greg doesn't have a recovery background. He just said, God, where do you want to use me? And all of a sudden now he's known as Coach Greg and he's helping all these guys get their lives back in order. And and and so it's a skill set that Greg just sort of came alive with. And so it's not because he came with it. It's like he just put his name out there and said yes.
And we and we watched God open a whole new path, which was fabulous. And so it's just that simplicity of just get out the doors, go to the website. You can serve on the streets. You can serve. If you're good at cooking a meal, we need you. Come on out and cook a meal for us on a Tuesday night.
So you can just let people can look at Raleigh Dream Center dot org and they can just see the easy way. We'll reach out to you and get you plugged in. Yeah. And don't buy the lie. There's nothing I can do. What I do doesn't make a difference.
I don't have any special skills. Well, to quote, did you know Lewis Alexander? No. Lewis Alexander. Greg knows him Friday morning. Big, wild Christian guy.
Hilarious. You're definitely going to know Lewis is in your room or zip code. I do not. And Lewis, every once in a while, we'd have these little phrases that we would trade back and forth. And he would usually make a bookmark out of them that you stick in your Bible.
I still have one. And one of them was God don't make no joke. So they think, OK, well, you can talk about the people you're talking about who don't look at homeless people, look at them as individuals made in the image of God, who Jesus knows just as intimately as he knows us, loves them just as much as he loves us, died for them just as much as he died for us. And then so they're not junk. But also, don't don't put yourself in that category thinking that I can't do anything. I'm not specially skilled. Three years ago.
Hey, Greg, hey, you want to go help some with some recovery people? I don't have that skill set. Really? Tell that to the Lord. Tell him that what he made isn't capable. Yeah.
Nobody listening to us right now is going to have the backbone to do that. You know, you can't do that. And so that's that simple invitation. Just once. Just go once. And I want to remove the fear from people, because I remember when I served in Los Angeles before we started Raleigh Dream Center, we knew we were called to it. But my wife and I served at L.A. and we went out on the streets and we were going to it. They said they warned us it's one it's a highly populated with gang. It's a high gang territory. Don't leave the group.
Stay with the group like they pounded it into your brain. And then we got there. They said, hey, who wants to go door knocking? And I remember these two college age girls said, you will go. And off they started walking. And as a guy, I started to feel like, well, maybe I should go with it. I'm scared. I joined them. But all of a sudden they were my first time. But they just gently and lovingly, hey, would you like to come? Hey, is so-and-so here?
Do you have any children? Do you want to bring them out? And it just tore down those walls in my own heart. And I was like that intimidation left. And so many people are intimidated to serve on the street.
I guarantee the moment you try it, God will just remove those walls. And he shines a light brightly into the communities. Amen. And you get to be a part of that. That's right.
Which is a pretty awesome thing. Back to our job description from a little earlier on. Jeremy, thanks so much for being here. Let me just go ahead and make a commitment to you. I'm going to come either on a Tuesday night or a Saturday.
Yes. So I'll come out. I'll come do that with you guys. I'll serve however you want me to. We'll do a follow up show.
We'll wait till Greg's laryngitis is gone. We'll get him in here. We'll get some volunteers in here. I'd love to get some of the people you're helping if anybody's comfortable.
Yes. And we can do the show that way or we can come do it on location as well to help me and everybody else get involved. Rollydreamcenter.org. This is Steve Noble on The Steve Noble Show. God willing, I'll talk to you guys again real soon. And like my dad always used to say, Ever Forward. Another program powered by the Truth Network.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-01-12 18:50:51 / 2023-01-12 19:10:49 / 20