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Finding out what’s going on in the neighborhood is dangerous. Mainly because you’re going to get sucked into the need. When Jesus was moved with compassion for the heaving masses following him late one evening, the disciples were ready to turn them away, and Jesus pictured them being like sheep released into the darkness. Helpless and harassed, he saw them as sheep without a shepherd.

What does that mean?

To flesh that out we’d need to look at what it’s like to have a shepherd, and invert it like a reverse negative exposure snapshot of Psalm 23.

The Lord is my shepherd…

I’m on my own. Nobody cares for me, and nobody is looking out for me. When I fall, I have nobody to pick me up.

I shall not want…

I can’t keep up with the competing voices clamoring for my attention, demanding to be satisfied. Nothing satisfies no matter how much I spend or buy. I still feel empty.

He makes me to lie down in green pastures…

It’s never enough. I fear about tomorrow, like there won’t be enough for me, or my kids. Eventually, everything and everyone fails me. I’ve never known the feeling of abundance and contentment.

by still waters…

I’m restless. I would lie down if I felt safe. The times and society keep rushing by me and I have no peace.

You restore my soul…

I don’t believe in a soul. I’m a highly evolved animal.

He leads me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake

I do whatever feels right to me at the time, but why then do I always end up eventually feeling bad? Nobody else can tell me what’s right to do…it’s my life…but sometimes, I wish they would, and I’d follow if I knew that they were right. Nobody seems to have the secret though…we’re all blindly groping along.

Though I walk through the valley of death, I will fear no evil…

stuff happens. I just hope it doesn’t happen to me. If it does, I’ll probably have a nervous breakdown or need to get on stronger anti-depressants, but I can’t think about that right now. I could use a drink right now.

For you are with me…

I’d like to think that when the dark times come, my friends will stick by me, but they never have. I wouldn’t stick by them either…it reminds me of my own mortality.

Your rod and staff comfort me…

The only comfort I have is that I have tried my best, but mostly, I’m pissed off. Life is unfair. Why did this happen to me? If there is a God, he must hate me…I hate him for doing this to me…

You prepare a table in the presence of my enemies…

I’d like to tell them how I feel before my time comes. Give them a piece of my mind, or at least get them back. But I’ve never been able to tell my enemies off. I’ve always been paralyzed by fear. Even with nothing to lose, I’m still a coward.

You anoint my head with oil…

How’s my hair? Better to look good even if I don’t feel good. At least people can still think I’m hot… At least there’s that…

My cup runneth over…

My cup is empty. My whole life has been a waste. Eat up, and drink it down because tomorrow we’ll all be food for worms.

Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life…

My life has been a goat rodeo of pain and regret. Maybe checking out early will save me more of the same. I’d just always hoped it might get better so I kept going…this comes as no surprise. It’s all I’ve ever known.

And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever…

If God is there when I get to heaven, I’m gonna flip him off and cuss him out for everything that’s so messed up with the world, and tell him that’s why I don’t believe in him. If he was real, he didn’t have to act like Santa Clause. Like most children who grow up, I stopped believing long ago. It’s his problem, not mine… but… I want it to be real. It’s a nice thought. I just wouldn’t have let people suffer.  If God was ever willing to get off his high horse and come down here for a few minutes, he’d know how hard we had it. If he were willing to suffer what we do, he might act differently. That would be a God I could believe in…”


When Michael Cheshire founded the Journey church, they cleaned apartments. They called it “doing trashouts” where people had to leave suddenly and left evidence of lives that had fallen apart behind them. They found pictures of families that had been torn apart, letters of unrequited love written to estranged spouses, copies of divorce papers, containers of anti-depressant pills stacked up on the bedside tables. They were emotionally devastating. It was like being a detective tasked with piecing together the absolute destruction of numerous lives after it was too late to do anything about it. It was a 3D demographic, and Cheshire and his team were determined that their church plant was needed in that community to ensure that people in dire circumstances had hope, and that these situations played out less frequently.

One of my apostolic leaders at Refuge Long Beach wrote:

“God forbid I ever look at a person as to far gone…. I got a chance to take a drive through San Pedro tonight after meeting with some brothers and sisters out there for fellowship, I cruised up Gaffey then drove through the projects, I have to say it brakes my heart seeing the night life because it’s so much like the places I grew up in and I know some of the hopelessness that resides there, that feeling of having no other way. It’s a tough fight to reach the lost in a place, it’s not about starting a “church” that you can minister from but going out on the streets and meeting people and being real as you share the Gospel with them. If you’re going to help someone stuck in the muck you better be willing to get dirty, if you’re going to help the broken you’d better be ready to get hurt because the jagged edges of a broken life are sharp. I pray I’m bold enough by God’s grace.”


Buy Peyton’s newest book “Reaching The Unreached: Becoming Raiders of the Lost Art” over on Amazon.com. You can also download a free chapter and watch a cool trailer for the book HERE or click the image below.

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