ATLANTA — The West End is a drug-infested section of Atlanta sandwiched between the city’s most notable gangs: the Bloods and the Crips. However, a spiritual oasis exists in the midst of this area known for sex trafficking, crime, drugs, and homelessness.
The spiritual oasis is centralized in the House of Luke. There, it’s facilitated by Luke Ludwinski. Joining him is a group of high school students from First Baptist Woodstock, led by Adam Biesecker.
The House of Luke, formerly a bank, is owned by a Messianic Jew who has allowed the facility to be turned into a ministry center. Ludwinski was homeless himself two years ago. But today, he’s typically present each week. It’s then he welcomes those from all walks of life into this spiritual oasis of refreshment.
Last week 15-20 people from the Woodstock church emerged from a compact white bus at 561 W. Whitehall Street in Atlanta. With Christ’s love in their hearts, they carried a smorgasbord of food in huge tin trays.
The first 30 minutes were spent in fellowship as hungry and hurting people came from all over the West End. At that time they received hospitality offered by Ludwinski, Biesecker, Robert Cuming, and Woodstock students and their leaders.
Worship began led by a vocal team from The Church at the Ridge, a Georgia Baptist church in Hiram.
Biesecker then introduced team member and Kennesaw State junior Stephon Ingram as the one who would bring the message.
Ingram read from Ephesians 4: 22-24 and talked about how Christ can change one’s life. He enthusiastically testified, “Christ has changed my life completely. Do you know who invented slavery? Satan did. He made me a slave to sin, because his agenda is to steal, kill, and destroy. However, Jesus died to give us life and life more abundantly.”
Killin’ to chillin’
Ingram used the Apostle Paul to illustrate the change Christ can make in one’s life. He declared, “The Apostle Paul started off as Saul of Tarsus. He was opposed to Christ and went to Damascus to kill Christians, but on the road to Damascus he met the Lord and his life was dramatically changed. In fact, he joined the Christian movement and partnered with the people of God. He went from killin’ Christians to chillin’ with Christians.”
Ingram gave a clear, powerful appeal to those gathered for the worship experience and several responded by trusting Christ as Savior and Lord.
Following the time of worship the people were fed a delicious meal. Those who needed clothes received an opportunity to go to the clothes closet to find what they needed. One man with holes in the bottom of his tennis shoes found some brand new ones that were a perfect fit.
Two spiritual needs
Some churches travel to other parts of the globe to bear the message of salvation and serve Christ the King. They are to be blessed and commended for their endeavors. However, there are needs in Atlanta and our own state as great as those on other continents.
There are two great spiritual needs in America. First, there are the impoverished, hungry, oppressed, and victims of a system that has overlooked them and their needs. They can be found just about everywhere.
Second, there are those who have spiritual needs and don’t even know it. They call themselves “Christian,” but God is not a priority. Those people are evidence America has lost its spiritual fire with growing materialism, secularism, humanism, and sexual immorality.
Rebecca Y. Kim, professor of Sociology at Pepperdine University and author of The Spirit Moves West: Korean Missionaries in America, writes, “[America] is no longer a ‘city on a hill’ or a ‘beacon of light,’ and may even become like the now-secular and ‘dark continent’ of Europe.
“Although the United States is a predominately Christian and the supreme missionary-sending nation, it is framed as a nation that has lost its foothold as a leading Christian influence. Its churches are great in number, but they are weak in ‘Spirit.’ Therefore, the United States is a most important mission field.”
Change the temperature
There should be at least a remnant of missionary-minded, spiritually-sensitive people in every church burdened to pray for revival and fervently asking God to use them to change the spiritual temperature of their church.
Like Adam Biesecker and the students from First Baptist Woodstock, find your mission field and work it until God blesses your efforts and sends the harvest.