Ask Big Dog: An end of the year update
As you can see from the featured photo, Big Dog's influence continues to expand as he has taken on a new father-like role with SOS Builds. The young men and young women of Builds are recipients of his wisdom, persistence, patient instruction and Gospel-driven heart of service. I sat down with Big Dog recently for a brief chat to get acquainted with what's on his mind as this year comes to a close. Here's an excerpt from our conversation. -Jonathan So, Big Dog, what’s high and low for you from this Fall?
A high point? Observing the interest that Builds students have and the joy that Ally has - that’s been a real highlight. Feels like Builds is really getting traction - that’s a joy. We don’t just put on new roofs anymore, but we are helping neighborhood kids with the real issues of life, and I get to be a father figure there. It’s awesome. A low? Age, fatigue, knees, headaches, ear ringing. Feeling raggedy and old.
Tell me about some of your Big Dog Street ministry and side projects of late. I had a demolition day one weekend where guys from the mission and wealthy guys came together to work and help a homeowner with a much needed demolition project. It was a real highlight of the year for me. Lately, I’ve been working on a couple side jobs - a bathroom remodel for a ladies’ home whose husband has dementia and another woman who needs a new roof. Been busy pulling people and money together for these projects totalling $12,000. I want to have fun and get in the work, though. I don’t want to just be the talker who is organizing everything! I like to work.
You spoke at a large Agape fundraising event recently - what did you share?
They held the event in an old warehouse that they had turned over, which was a beautiful parallel to their theme of transformation. They asked me to speak about how my life has transformed. It was a great event. Drew Holcomb put on an awesome concert. Many of his lyrics were so practical to life. He was great!I loved the bass guy (I’m a big bass fan - Marcus Miller is my guy). Agape gave two of the best tables in the house to me and my guys from the mission, right up next to the stage, they had a bus shuttle for them and gave them the best food. One of my guys said afterwards, “I forgot I was homeless for a few hours.” That was worth my time there.
That is such a great picture of Jesus’ teaching that the people of God’s kingdom are to invite not just our friends who can pay us back, but the poor, the disabled and the hurting to our parties. How do we make that a reality in our lives and not just a one-time thing at a special fundraiser?
After the event, two women who have never had the homeless in their home approached me and wanted to know how they could invite these guys into their home for Christmas. They are trying to accommodate the guys’ interests for Christmas dinner and gifts. They got the vision and ran with it.
What’s on Big Dog’s Christmas list this year?
That’s easy. The continual reinforcement to my family that Christmas is not about gifts in our home, but about time together. I just want to do what I love: time with my family and develop a culture of enjoyment that is not based upon material things.
Thanks, Big Dog. You inspire us all to seek the way of the cross of Christ - as the apostle Paul said to the Philippian church: "Dear brothers and sisters, pattern your lives after mine, and learn from those who follow our example. 18 For I have told you often before, and I say it again with tears in my eyes, that there are many whose conduct shows they are really enemies of the cross of Christ.19 They are headed for destruction. Their god is their appetite, they brag about shameful things, and they think only about this life here on earth. 20 But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Savior."