Monday, December 13, 2010

Book Review: Under the Overpass

image Under the Overpass written by Mike Yankoski

Book Description:

“Ever Wonder What it Would Be Like to Live Homeless?
Mike Yankoski did more than just wonder. By his own choice, Mike's life went from upper-middle class plush to scum-of-the-earth repulsive overnight. With only a backpack, a sleeping bag and a guitar, Mike and his traveling companion, Sam, set out to experience life on the streets in six different cities: Denver; Washington, D.C.; Portland; San Francisco; Phoenix; and San Diego.

For more than five months the pair experienced firsthand the extreme pains of hunger, the constant danger of living on the streets, exhaustion, depression, and social rejection—and all of this by their own choice. They wanted to find out if their faith was real, if they could actually be the Christians they said they were apart from the comforts they’d always known…to discover first hand what it means to be homeless in America.”

Book Review:

From the first moment that I picked up this book I was inspired! I looked forward to the next time I could sit down and read another chapter. Well-written, and motivating I consider this book to be a great-read!

Mike Yankoski, was just an average 20 year old college student, when he found himself challenged during a Sunday Morning church service, and instead of  just “learning from it” he decided to actually do something about it.

I found myself relating to Mike when he explained the heart changes he felt before making the decision to live on the streets. It encouraged me to keep praying and listening to the Lord as my heart begins to soften towards the callings God has on my own life.

I loved the honesty that Mike brought into the book, regarding the tough moments of living on the streets and the relationships that came with it. Reading this book has opened my eyes to what life on the street is like and while I knew it was hard, there were aspects of it that I had never really thought about before.

Mike does a great job not only recording the journey he and Sam took, but also challenges the church regarding prejudices we have and our outlook on people who don’t fit nicely into our picture of Sunday Morning worship and loving others. I was happy to see, in the final chapter, a break down of some practical ways that we (individually and corporately) can serve the homeless, and begin taking helpful steps in the direction of sharing God’s love with those considered unlovable.

Regardless of where God is challenging you in your life whether it to serve the homeless or in some other area, this book has a lot to teach about following God to the tough, un-desired places. Because the truth is, when you follow Him where He leads, the biggest transformations  that take place are in your own heart.

Favorite Quotes:

Little things do mean a lot, especially in the kingdom of God, where giving a drink of cold water has eternal repercussions. And I am convinced that the more committed we become to impacting one person at a time – whether through a cup of coffee or a genuine conversation – the more we’ll prepare our hearts and our churches to respond at both a community and national level.”

“What if following Him is hard? What if along the way He asks you to accomplish difficult tasks or to overcome intimidating obstacles? What if it requires more of you than you have to give? Listen, that’s the way it’s supposed to be.

“God probably isn’t calling you to live on the streets like He did Sam and me, but He is calling you – like He does each of His children – to take important risks of faith that are unique to you and your opportunities. I doubt those risks will have much to do with putting on a Christian acronym bracelet or wearing a cross T-Shirt. More likely, your journey will lead you toward utter dependence on the King of kings and a resolution to follow Him wherever He may ask you to go.”

Practical Ways to Help:

  1. Fast and Pray for the Homeless in our Country
  2. Find your local homeless shelter and volunteer
  3. Cook a Pancake Breakfast with some friends for homeless people at a local city park
  4. Buy gift certificates to local restaurants/coffee shops for people who are panhandling.
  5. Throw a Christmas Party at your church for the homeless in your area.

Related Links:

Under the Overpass: Read Chapter 1

Under the Overpass Webpage

Christmas Under the Overpass Action Plan

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book for the purpose of this review. The opinions expressed are my own.

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