Long-time readers here at WORLDmag.com are no doubt familiar with Denver Moore, a man who was without hope until God set him on a different course after he met up with a wealthy art dealer and his persistent wife at a homeless shelter in Fort Worth, Texas. The story of this providential meeting can be found in the bestselling book Same Kind of Different As Me, written by Moore and that art dealer, Ron Hall, with assistance from WORLD senior writer Lynn Vincent.
On Saturday, March 31, after several years of ill health, Moore, 75, died, or, as Hall shared in an email, "The gates of heaven swung open … and Denver Moore went walkin' in!" A memorial service for Moore was held yesterday at McKinney Memorial Bible Church in Fort Worth.
After Moore's life-changing encounter with Ron and Deborah Hall, and with God, he traveled the country, speaking at more than 400 fundraising events and making numerous radio and television appearances. (He also graciously agreed to an interview with me for an article in Delta Air Lines' Sky magazine.) For his tireless efforts to raise awareness and money for the homeless, the citizens of Fort Worth named Moore Philanthropist of the Year in 2006.
Vincent, who also helped Moore and Hall write a follow-up book, What Difference Do It Make? shared with me her thoughts on Moore's life.
"When Peter and John preached in Jerusalem, the Sadducees marveled because the apostles had become passionate, eloquent spokesmen for Christ even though they were uneducated men," she said. "Denver's life reminds us that God is still in the business of using simple things to confound the 'wise,' and ordinary people to change the world."
In one of his TV interviews, Moore shared with PBS's Tavis Smiley how God had transformed him, "God is in the recycling business. What most folks in Fort Worth thought was trash on the streets, God turned into a treasure!"
Moore's travels also took him to the White House, where he once had lunch with then-first lady Laura Bush and former president George H.W. Bush and his wife, Barbara. Moore humbly told his hosts, "I want to thank you for inviting me to y'all's house. You got a real nice house. I bet you all is proud of it. I'd like to thank you by name, but I can't remember none of your names. All white folks look alike to me."
Later, as they were leaving in a limousine, Moore turned to Hall and said, "Mr. Ron, I done gone from livin' in the bushes to eatin' with the Bushes. God bless America. This is a great country!"
In his email to friends, Hall shared that, despite all the attention and praise he received at these events, Moore wanted to be introduced in a certain simple way.
"Tell 'em I'm a nobody that is tryin' to tell everybody about somebody that can save anybody," Moore told Hall.
"That 'Somebody' was Jesus," Hall wrote shortly after Moore's passing, "and Denver woke up in His arms on Saturday. His famous quote and the final words in his book are 'We are all homeless workin' our way home.' Welcome home friend; you were a good and faithful servant."
Denver Moore is survived by two daughters, Tracy and Marva, and two sons, Thomas and Curtis. Donations in his memory can be made to the Union Gospel Mission of Tarrant County, 1331 East Lancaster Avenue, Fort Worth, Texas 76102.