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55 Responses

  1. JoelG says:

    Quick question about “ministry” for anyone out there…..

    I have been part of an outreach to low income housing in downtown Portland over the last 4 years. Within the last 6 months I’ve noticed an increased presence of bed bugs in one of the buildings we serve. I have been bit while there. I figured it just came with the territory.

    Within the last several weeks I have managed to bring some of these lovable little bugs home with my and now my wife is getting bit. We’ve had to do some extensive cleaning in our house and get rid of furniture.

    Obviously my wife isn’t too happy and I’ve made the difficult decision to quit going to this particular building and quit giving these guys rides to run errands and to church. This is by her request.

    Now this breaks my heart because I’ve built good relationships with these guys and I miss them. But it’s not fair to my wife and kids to keep risking bringing home these little critters.

    So I guess my general question is at what point in our serving do we need to consider the effect on our family? Should I be looking at this as simply a “cross” to bear and try to convince my wife of the need to keep being present at this building?

  2. Descended says:

    Where does one draw the line between “friendship with the world” and “being in the world but not of it”?

  3. JoelG says:

    I don’t know Descended. I’m stuck between “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her” and “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.”


  4. Xenia says:

    Hi Joel,

    I think this is why St. Paul says if you get married, you will have to be concerned about the well-being of your family and can’t devote as much effort towards the things of God. Yet he says marriage is good and holy and therefore, a good choice.

    But there are men and women who are able to live a life of celibacy. It’s a gift from God. These people are able to devote everything in their lives toward God-pleasing good works. This is also a good choice, if it is given to you. It’s not given to most people and I would say it has not been given to you.

    So in my opinion, you have done well to follow your wife’s wishes in this matter. God knows your heart, that you have a desire to help the poor in your town but He has also given you the gift of a family and that must come first.

    There are plenty of ways to help the poor that does not endanger your family. The gift of celibacy, often expressed in the lives of monastics, is not appreciated very much these days but in the past, they were often the ones who ventured into buggy or dangerous places. May their tribe increase!

    We once stayed in a very nice motel and came home with bedbugs and it was a major production to get rid of them. A full time job if you are going to keep going to those places where they abound. You won’t be able to practice hospitality if your house is infested, and hospitality is also a good work.

    So cheer up. πŸ™‚ God has plenty of other work you can do.

  5. JoelG says:

    Thank. You. Xenia….. For this wisdom… Like a breath of fresh air…..

    I was hesitant to ask but now I’m glad. This has been a weight…

    God bless you!!

  6. dusty says:


    I am so sorry your heart is broken over this….I will keep you in prayer that you find a solution that mends your heart.

  7. JoelG says:

    Thank you Dusty. Who would’ve thought such little things could break up relationships.

    If you could pray for the guys at The Home in downtown Portland. That they know they are loved by our Lord beyond comprehension.

    Thank you so much Dusty.

  8. ( |o )====::: says:

    Perhaps you can connect with people with the medical community for wisdom on how to deal with avoiding picking up the critters while continuing your work.

  9. ( |o )====::: says:

    Now whenever I look at these cams I will think of you and your efforts in Portland.

  10. JoelG says:

    G-Man, I will do that. I thought of putting on a disposable plastic suit before going in but I don’t think that would come off very well to the guys and manager. I will do some research this weekend.

    Thank you G-Man

  11. JoelG says:

    Its a beautiful city with beautifully unique people. The Home is located right above the World Famous Voodoo Donuts. Double check those donuts, btw. πŸ˜‰ I kid… I kid…

  12. em... again says:

    JoelG, FWIW, i don’t blame your wife one bit for not wanting an infestation of the critters in your home… from what i read on the internet it is a battle to get rid of them and not something that should be an ongoing and very disruptive part of your wife’s efforts to keep your home your family’s haven… Xenia’s words are wise and balanced… God keep your caring heart through this
    perhaps we can pray that the occupants of the shelter can be rallied to the fight and solve the problem in their quarters? as often as necessary… wouldn’t it be great if a manufacturer of a good product would donate to the shelters to help the fight…

  13. ( |o )====::: says:

    We recently bought a home in the Rose City Park / Hollywood District.
    We rent to a family member and her roommates, due for a visit in the fall.
    Voodoo soon!

    Our next-door neighbor has this sign (not this actual photo). We felt immediately loved and accepted…

  14. ( |o )====::: says:

    Our dear friend Anne is in PDX.

    Here’s the thing about the husband/wife dynamic, you have a great opportunity to be creative in the problem solving together.

  15. JoelG says:

    Yes Em it has been a battle. They are stubborn little things. The manager sprays for them in this particular apartment complex but they are still abundant. Until there is a resolution I’m taking Xenia’s advice.

    Nice G-Man. Throw up a flare when you’re in town. Would love to meet you. Portland is a liberal city and I love it. The gospel is being spread here is very unique ways and it’s cool to witness. It’s been difficult negotiating differences regarding gay marriage and churches are sadly splitting over the issue. However there are outreaches like I’m involved with with folks putting differences aside and loving people in Jesus’ Name for the cause of the Gospel.

  16. Josh the Baptist says:

    Yep, listen to Xenia.

  17. Anne says:

    Joel G – I live in downtown Portland and bedbugs are everywhere. I have gotten good advice from the pest control fellow who monitors and treats our building in regular clothes. Using public transit visiting library, any public spaces, anywhere even the fanciest of places, airports, hotels, etc anymore there is a risk. There is even some probability your wife or child can pick up a hitchhiker and bring home these days. What our pest guy does is takes his clothes off and puts in plastic bag then straight into water as soon as he gets home. Especially if he’s been in a heavily infested area. Shoes or unwashables can go into dryer on high for 30 min. I keep a bottle of rubbing alcohol in spray bottle next to my front door and spray the bottoms of my shoes when I come in – kills them on contact if their are any babies too small to see that might have gotten picked up on my travels around town. I’ve been lucky that after living in my building through some pretty severe outbreaks to have only found them once and caught them early. Since the banning of DDT, they are just getting more common -and there spread is not due to poverty or poor housekeeping as much as proliferation and getting better at surviving. Of course the density of urban areas makes their flourishing easier. Make sure clothes bought at any store – not just thrift stores- go from store bag to washer and/or dryer too. As stores have been known to get infested as well. Now that everyone is probably itching & scratching – I hope this is helpful πŸ™‚

  18. Anne says:

    Not just “water” – Puts into washer that is at highest water temp clothes will take

  19. Anne says:

    Bed bug pages you can google have great hints for avoid bringing them home if you fly and stay even at the fanciest hotels & motels?

  20. Anne says:

    And yes, Xenia’s advice per usual is spot on!!

  21. JoelG says:

    Yes I will listen Xenia.

    Thank you so much Anne. Your advice is gold. I didn’t realize how widespread the problem is downtown. I’m sorry you have to deal with it too. πŸ™

  22. Anne says:

    It’s actually nationwide, Joel. It was a bit of a hassle, but if that’s the biggest problem I have the rest of my life I’d be really happy, LOL! For folks who have bug phobias or allergic to their bites it can be really tough!!Or big houses Where the whole house had to be treated because it didn’t get caught in time. I think you and your family had a much rougher go of it than l and it’s not on my list of do overs either πŸ˜‰

  23. JoelG says:

    Good attitude Anne! For it being so widespread I have heard nothing about it from folks we serve.

    It sounds like it’s a manageable issue. Convincing my wife of this is another story.

  24. JoelG says:

    Come to think of it we have had many requests for new mattresses. We’ve been able to help a few and I DID see bed bug traps in their place. Putting 2 + 2 together now. I’m not the sharpest tool in the shed. πŸ˜‰

  25. Anne says:

    It’s always hard when we hear of the death of a friend and former co-worker. It is especially worse when the circumstances are of such a tragic nature. I am so sorry the heaviness of heart you are feeling now, Michael.

  26. Anne says:

    Oops wrong thread πŸ™

  27. Nathan priddis says:

    Joel. You got bugs biting the spousal unit. Knock it off.
    I went through a phase in my life involving extraordinary service. In hind sight, it looked different then in the moment. When I devalued the service, and increased the value of my wife, the heartache ended.
    If you are still convinced your place is to be involved with service, quite bringing the bugs home.
    1.You entered some sort of infested area and had direct contact with bed bugs.
    2. Presumably drove home in a car.
    3. Entered you home and made direct contact with your families possessions and furnishings.
    That’s disrespectful to your family. Just like my extreme acts of service that left my wife angry.
    I spent years working in nurseries, greenhouses or horticulture related activities. I took my clothes off outside when I arrived home.
    When I became disabled, I earned extra income in hospital sanitation. It would be insulting to my family to routinely be in contact with pathogens, and then slide my sorry ass all over the furnature. I put as much thought into after work sanitation, as I did on the job.
    What happens outside, stays outside.

  28. JoelG says:


    Point well taken. I am going to step it back. Letting go is hard and I was naive about bringing home unwanted guests. I need to get my priorities straight.

  29. Eric says:

    If bugs are a serious problem for anyone who visits a particular place, surely they are a bigger problem for those who live there!

  30. JoelG says:

    Eric yes drug addiction is the most prevalent issue there. Mental illness and alcohol abuse as well.

  31. em... again says:

    who would have thought that the thread on open blogging would be about bedbugs? πŸ™‚
    wish i could give Joel’s shelter folk the two xlnt twin mattresses in storage that the Salvation Army turned down, “in case they were infested with bedbugs” … oh dear, i wonder if the storage facility is infested… now i’m worried

    there used to be a quit smoking program up here that used electric shock… wonder if that would be effective in treating addicts? probably not, but might work on those thinking about using… sigh…

  32. David H says:

    Happy Summer.

    “Goodnight, sleep tight, don’t let the bedbugs bite.”

    That’s a really twisted thing to say to a child before they go to sleep.

  33. Jean says:

    Today the Church celebrates the nativity of John the Baptist. One of John’s most notable quotes was:

    “And do not begin to say to yourselves, β€˜We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham.”

    Blessing to all the stones among us!

  34. AA says:

    Looks like Phoenix OR is feeling more like Phoenix AZ at 102Β°! ?

  35. John 20:29 says:

    local weather said Medford was 105 …?… seems strange and makes me grateful for the 92 here today

    i do believe that sometimes God use nature to try to get our attention, but i think this is cyclical

    had to smile at David’s observation… at our house when i was growing up, the routine was to say “good night” as one headed upstairs to bed and the reply was always a sincere “sleep tight, don’t let the bedbugs bite” … never knew what those bugs were… kind of thought they were imaginary – just said cuz it rhymed with ‘night’ LOL

    praying for a restful good night for the PhxP peeps, God keep and, for heaven’s sake stay away from the bugs πŸ™‚

  36. Descended says:

    I know this one is late, but a question that has been puzzling me lately

    Is it the church’s role to “take back” a city by rallying community support and effort? If so, why and how is this done? If not, why?

  37. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Descended, the only purpose of the church is to forgive sins.

  38. Nathan Priddis says:

    @ descended. Everything that is packaged as The Great Commission is a lie. It has been sold to us by men that have crept in deceitfuly.

    It was appointed for us to be witnesses even unto the utmost part of the earth. And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name.

    Regarding the earth, he has no need for it to be “reclaimed” in any way. The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness therof; the World, and they that dwell therein.

    Do you remember the interpritation of Daniel? A stone was cut out of the mountain – without human hands- And the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth.
    Likewise, David said; The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.

    It is not for us to establish the Kingdom. Those that desire it to be so are enemies, just as in the rebellion of Korah.

  39. Em says:

    #37 – that makes no sense
    As the means by which the Gospel is disseminated perhaps that statement is true…
    We can forgive those who sin against us, but only God ultimately forgives sin… If some need to designate an intercessor (other than Chriist) the process… well, I pray that all of us remember against Whom we sin and Whose forgiveness is the matter of life and death.

  40. Jean says:


    MLD is not saying what makes sense to you or me, but is asserting what makes sense according to God’s Word.

  41. Josh the Baptist says:

    Jean – Do you have a verse that says the Church’s only purpose is to forgive sins?

  42. Xenia says:

    Descended, the only purpose of the church is to forgive sins.<<<<


    It may be the main purpose of the Church, but not the only purpose.

  43. Em says:

    Jean, with all respect due you and MLD, I cannot accept all of your Lutheran views of “what makes sense according to God’s word”
    we can choose different teachers and yet we walk our pilgrim journeys all clinging to the same blessed hope … I hope

  44. Jean says:

    Hi Josh,

    I was responding to Em’s comment. Here is an example verse supporting the Church’s vocation to forgive sins:


    “As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” 22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, β€œReceive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.” ”

    I think MLD was giving a summary or concise description of the church’s vocation. If the commission is to “make disciples”, then the forgiveness of sins is the essential element.


    β€œBlessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered;
    blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin.”

  45. Jean says:

    As good a theologian as Luther was, he wrote no books of the canon. Therefore, what MLD wrote, and what I concurred with, was the Word of God.

  46. Josh the Baptist says:

    Those are verses about the forgiveness of sin for sure, but that wasn’t MLD’s claim. He claim forgiving sins was the church’s “only” purpose. I don’t find that claim backed up anywhere in scripture.

    Agreeing with em and Xenia today.

  47. Michael says:

    That’s an incredibly truncated view of the church.

  48. Jean says:

    Xenia wrote:

    “It [i.e., proclaiming the forgiveness of sins] may be the main purpose of the Church, but not the only purpose.”

    I too agree with Xenia. Where we might disagree is on what those other things are.

  49. Josh the Baptist says:

    Ok, Jean, then we are in agreement, too. My objection was to “only”.

  50. Xenia says:

    Other purposes of the Church:

    1. Praising God
    2. Learning about God
    3. Learning how to draw nearer to God
    4. Helping brothers and sisters in Christ when they need help
    5. Reaching out to help others who need help
    6. Educating children in the things of the Lord
    7. Weddings, funerals, ordinations
    8. Intercessory prayer for friends, family, and the world
    9. Providing a safe haven for the oppressed
    10. Clothing the naked, feeding the poor, visiting the sick and imprisoned
    11. Remembering those who have died in the faith
    12. Care for the sick and elderly in the parish and community

    And many more things that I haven’t thought of.

  51. Xenia says:

    Yes, my objection was also to the word “only.”

  52. Em says:

    Is it fair to say that the authority to forgive sins was given to the clergy down thru the centuries is in the 20th chapter of the book of John? It may be fair to say that that is what our Lord was doing… It may be fair to say that, but I don’t find it accurate… or better stated, the teachers I trust do not…
    Therefore when some folk say that, because God says it, doesn’t have to make sense to me I totally agree – but is that what God said? My priest or yours may call me out on my sin, but God forgives (and Peter may have been the first Pope, but I dont think that God has any popes – only churches have priests and popes) but, then, I am not only Protestant, I am an evangelical funds one. ?.

  53. Em says:

    Funds? Nope. Make that ‘fundy.” This tablet spell check got me

  54. Descended says:

    This actually is quite helpful. Thank you ladies and gents. Nice little discussion.

  55. surfer51 says:

    very interesting thread

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