To My Readers--This is a continuation of my previous post "A Walk On The Wild Side," detailing my first visits to strip clubs and modeling studios with the Jesus Loves Dancers ministry.
I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.”
We prepared the gift bags and headed out on the highway, the sky ribboned with streaks of pink and orange. The first club we visited was just gearing up. Our group arrived just as the sun slipped away. The young woman at the front desk of this particular club was no fan of the "church ladies." She answered our greeting and accepted the gift bag, but her face could not hide her distaste. I couldn't help thinking she'd been hurt or judged by Christians at some point. It was clear she didn't trust us or our motives for being there. But, thankfully, the dancers did not share this woman's opinion of us!
A barrel-chested DJ accepted one of our gift bags as we walked past, the loud bass of rap music drowning out every other sound. Except of course the small audience of men and one woman sitting near in front of the stage watching the dancer's every move. The lone woman in the audience clapped and hooted loudly, her voice slurred. As our little group walked through the dark club toward the dancer's communal dressing room, the tiny audience stared at us as if confused.
There were only two dancers in the dressing room when we walked in and they both wanted prayer. One in particular, for her young son. We joined hands with these two and prayed together as the music blared outside. Another two dancers walked in, but weren't interested in joining us. Not this time, anyway.
At one of the clubs we visited before (where the managers are so kind to our group), we talked at length in the dressing rooms, praying with whom ever wanted prayer. Some dancers avoided us, but others were open and willing to share their needs as well as their hopes and dreams. My favorite memory of this club is seeing one of the ladies on our team at a trio of poles. She called the three dancers together at the middle pole and they all huddled in prayer for the longest time. The three poles brought to mind the three crosses. Jesus was clearly in the midst of them!
The manager talked with us for a long time as well. We complimented him on all the remodeling he had done on the club. Lots of cleaning as well. He proudly recounted how they cleaned and stripped the floors, tables and each of the abundant wingback chairs in the place and how difficult it had been to clean years and years of gunk off all that.
No amount of cleaning however, would ever take away the stain of sin. I realized the man is clearly in transition! Before the group started praying for him and his family, he didn't notice how dirty things were around him, but now he does and is trying to clean things up. In time, he will discover that no amount of effort on his part will succeed. Please pray that God will reach this man's heart and reveal the truth to him. Only the cleansing blood of Jesus can take away the stain of sin.
We visiting many more clubs, the same ones as the previous visit, except for one that was closed for whatever reason. Sometimes their liquor licenses are randomly revoked. Or maybe their air-conditioning situation caused them to shut down. From what the others told me, they've had air-conditioning problems for a long time.
So we visited a modeling studio instead--a different one. The glass on the door and store front had the indigenous black tint treatment, blocking all outside light. Three of us walked in to offer the gift bags and we met at the door by a middle-aged lady dressed in what looked like a bikini of sorts with a beach towel wrapped around like she'd just come from the pool. She was hungry for conversation and talked on and on about a lot of cases on court TV and those in the current news. When she wasn't busy at work, it was evident this lady watched a lot television. We talked quite a while and then asked if we could pray with her. Like many of the others, this woman was a mother and wanted prayer for her son and for their finances.
As I feared, we paid another visit to the modeling studio with the interesting smells. Two women got off the bus right away and the others, with more sensitive noses stayed behind. But not me. I decided to get off the bus and push past my discomfort. This time I made sure to avoid the incense burners near the door. Instead I moved to the middle of the room. So did the other ladies. We talked with the madam for a while and she told us the top of her foot was hurting. I knelt down to the floor and laid hands on her foot and we all prayed that God would heal her foot. Pretty cool!
We hopped back on the bus, happy and filled with hope. But the other ladies covered their noses. The smell of that incense combined with other unidentifiable smells was overpowering. Again, the stickiness of it seeped into both hair and clothing. But I felt a sense of personal victory. Sin is the aroma of death to those who are alive in Christ. And we brought the fragrance of life into that dark place.
I believe if Jesus walked the earth today, He would surely be on that bus with us. He would minister to the dancers, the bartenders and bouncers in those clubs and pour out His love and Spirit upon them. When He walked the earth, Jesus was always in the company of those who were considered the outcasts of society. When confronted by His own disciples and those who considered themselves righteous, He answered, "I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance"--Luke 5:32.
Jesus IS on that bus with us and in our hearts. He goes everywhere we go--sees what we see--hears what we hear and moves us to say what He wants to say. Every hand we extend, every prayer, every hug we offer, every gift bag we give is from Him.
Jesus loves us. And He loves people who are not like us. He wants us to love them too. He wants us to love them right into His kingdom!
"And He will cause the sheep to stand at His right hand, but the goats at His left.
Then the King will say to those at His right hand, Come, you blessed of My Father you favored of God and appointed to eternal salvation, inherit (receive as your own) the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
For I was hungry and you gave Me food, I was thirsty and you gave Me something to drink, I was a stranger and you brought Me together with yourselves and welcomed and entertained and lodged Me,
I was naked and you clothed Me, I was sick and you visited Me with help and ministering care, I was in prison and you came to see Me.
Then the just and upright will answer Him, Lord, when did we see You hungry and gave You food, or thirsty and gave You something to drink?
And when did we see You a stranger and welcomed and entertained You, or naked and clothed You?
And when did we see You sick or in prison and came to visit You?
And the King will reply to them, Truly I tell you, in so far as you did it for one of the least (in the estimation of men) of these My brethren, you did it for Me"--Matt 25:31-46.