He executes justice for the oppressed and gives food to the hungry. The LORD sets prisoners free, the LORD gives sight to the blind, he lifts up those who are bowed down, the LORD loves those who live justly. The LORD watches over the immigrant and sustains the fatherless and the widow, but he frustrates the ways of the wicked. -Psalm 146:7-9

Friday, August 28, 2009

Ministry Family

Lord, you are amazing! It just gives me chills to think about where we are as a ministry and staff and to be able to see your hand through it all. You have hand picked each family and individual to minister to the needs of the poor in such a way that your name is glorified and your KINGDOM is displayed here on earth. Please continue to give us wisdom, compassion, hearts of justice and mercy so that our community is transformed and our neoghbors get a chance to see you in all your slendor.
Thank you for wanting to use sinners such as us to proclaim the grace,love and wrath of the gospel. May sinners repent and cling to you.

Common Ground Montgomery Staff Photo Shoot

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Hood Happenings

Hey friends!
Just wanted to post a couple of prayer request and quick updates on what we have going on! Thanks so much for standing in the gap for us as we desire to see the Shalom of God in our city.

- Pray that as families and staff we are consistent in the WORD daily and that we would guard our time with the LORD at all cost!

- Pray for our families. That they remain a priority. Pray as well that EVERY family will continue to have a consistent DATE NIGHT. We may even need to hire a special CGM sitter to make sure that this happens! PLEASE pray that the LORD provides one. Our families are VERY important to us. Those who do urban ministry know that it is very easy to become consumed with our neighbors and forget our FIRST PRIORITY! PRAY that we protect our family time.

- Ministry Building is under HEAVY renovations!! We have called all parents and informed that Tutoring will begin on the 31st. Please pray that we can get this building COMPLETED BY MONDAY!!! Our staff is working hard at making that happen :)

-On Tuesday Evening we have our FIRST EVER MENS BIBLE STUDY going on in one of the barber shops in our hood. Kevin attended last night and he tells me that it was VERY POWERFUL! It began with two of the dads of a few kids in our camp. They wanted to impact many of their old running mates for Jesus. The LORD is at work friends! Please pray for these men. All of our men staff is involved. There were a total of 18 in attendance last night! Praise GOD!

- Housing. WE are still in need of Housing for our staff. The desire is to have everyone in the neighborhood by next summer if not sooner!!! PLEEEESE PRAY!!! There are tons of abandon houses all around us, but there is sooo much legal stuff that has to be pan out as well as funds that HAVE to raised in order for this to happen.

- Please keep the the THREE new Christians I have mentioned before in your prayers. (two are getting married) Pray that the LORD gives them a STRONG desire for righteousness as well as cultivate a LOVE for HIS WORD. All three are doing well and are bearing much fruit! Praise the LORD for that!

-Pray for Joshua. He is our new staff member that heads up college ministry here at Alabama State University. A lot of times college students learn how to do ministry while on campus but very seldom do they learn how to live out their faith in their communities. Joshua job is to teach and train the students in what it means to love their neighbors. Please pray for his impact with the students he is leading as well as for the LORD to raise up mature female leaders who could assist him. Womens ministry on this campus is greatly needed. Check out his blog here if you have not already.

- We are in NEED of more after school TUTORS!!!! I forgot to mention that above! PRAY that the LORD brings them in abundantly!!

-PLEASE SPREAD THE WORD ABOUT our fund raiser we have going on. www.6000feetaway.com! Please SHARE ON YOUR BLOGS, TWITTER UPDATES, FACEBOOK, EVERYWHERE!! We rejoice as we are already at 21%! Thanks to many of you! You guys are the best!!

-Lastly, thank God for you. You have been the Barnabas in our lives and for that we are thankful! :)

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Urban Perspective

"Around every corner is the unexpected. Values collide. Beliefs are challenged. Emotions soar and fall. The city, I have concluded, is a dangerous place to walk, especially for those of us who carry valuable baggage. Much of what we hold dear is likely to be stripped away. But for every loss there is a gain; something of greater value is given. That is part of the wealth of the inner city, and that is why we have made the city our home."
-Robert 'Bob' Lupton

I could not agree more. Amen :)

Monday, August 24, 2009

Wartime Mentality

For the past couple of years, I have been dealing with an area of sin that has kept me in bondage and has influence those that I love in some very hurtful ways. This past Sunday, was for me I believe the hardest time I think I have ever had in my walk with the LORD. I began to confess to my husband some of the ways I believe this sin has effected us in our marriage as well as some of my relationships with others. Of course with him being my closest neighbor, he began to share with my how he had already been praying for me in this area. I have been such a complainer, such a self centered image bearer, such a disobedient child. Saturday we attended the wedding of some friends of ours and at the reception another friend of ours shared the Gospel message, yet, he also challenged those of us who are believers to not do things for the Lord in a 'half hearted' manner. I was immediately convicted! I immediately in tears begin to confess to the LORD how I have not 'whole heatedly' done all that there was to be done in KILLING SIN. I begin to ponder at that moment what it looked like for me to gouge out my eye and throw it away if it causes me to sin, or if it was my hand, foot or tongue, how I am to cut them off and throw them away. (of course I don't mean litter ally). But I am to do all that there is to be done to KILL SIN in my body before it begins to KILL ME!

I took today to go up to the community garden and pull/dig up all the weeds that were killing the herbs/vegetables. When I first stepped unto the land, I begin to become overwhelmed with fear. Fear of my life looking like this garden if I don't put to death the deeds of the body. Fear of being so entangled into my sin that it becomes nearly almost impossible for me to want to get out because of my heart becoming harden. Man, that brings me to tears. I have been a fool!! A fool to think that I can do all that the LORD places before me without Him. I have not said it literally, but with my life, that is exactly what I am saying. I was telling a friend today that my biggest fear is missing out on seeing the LORD. You can be the most excellent wife in the eyes of many (including your hubbie and kids) you can serve the fatherless, love the poor and still miss out on the LORD. I don't want to be the Christian who's life is being used to influence others for the gospel, yet I don't see the LORD myself. Oh, HOW THAT BRINGS MUCH FEAR TO MY HEART!!!!

I have been studying Romans in my time with the LORD, chapter 8 to be exact, as well as listening to John Pipers sermon series on How TO Kill Sin. Here is a brief list of what I have been learning :

-We are not debtors to the Flesh.
-If you try to survive any other way than by the spirit YOU WILL DIE!!
-If I want to enter the Kingdom of Heaven I MUST TAKE IT VIOLENTLY!! How?-Matt. 18:8;Romans 8:13
-The only 'foot hole' Satan has in my life is MY SIN. No one goes to hell because of Satan, but because of SIN. Much more important than fighting Satan is fighting my own FLESH!! My BIGGEST enemy is Nicole! Satan has already been defeated!! Christianity is WAR on our OWN SINFUL IMPULSES.. I must make WAR ON THE FLESH 24/7!!

How Do you Do This (putting to DEATH the deeds of the Body)??

-Step One: Set YOUR mind on Things Of the Spirit.
Romans 8:5-6.. I must direct my mind,my heart, and my spiritual focus in another direction, namely on the things of the Spirit.

-Step Two: Set Your mind on the words of God and the realities they stand for.
1 Cor. 2:13-14; Romans 8:6; Eph. 6:17. I must welcome and embrace the WORD of God in my mind and heart.

-Step Three: By Hearing with Faith, not Works of the Law
In temptation I am to look to the word of God, especially a word that promises he will be more for us and do more for us than what this sin promises.

Piper ends with saying " You must immerse your mind and heart in the fountain of TRUTH and life in the promises of God...When temptation comes take this all satisfying word, this sword of the spirit and BELIEVE IT, and by it SEVER the root of sin. KILL IT"

This task of KILLING SIN before IT KILLS YOU is a most challenging one. I have all day, strive to practice self control and have made it my goal through the grace of God to practice Philippians 4:8-9.

My prayer is that I would see MORE OF THE LORD this week, grow a even stronger HATRED towards SIN and persistently MAKE WAR On my FLESH so that I don't make a LIE out of my baptism, a mockery of Jesus and my profession.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

New Beginings

A girl once told she was not good enough to be a bride, not pure enough to wear white in her wedding, ex gang banger, child of molestation and rape..now lives a new life unto Christ one filled with hope,joy, forgiveness and grace. This girl in the hood is my friend and I cannot wait to share her story with you..more to come.

When Mercy and Justice Collide

I love Bob Luptons perspectives on Urban Ministry. I remember the first book my husband and I ever read about incarnational ministry called 'Theirs Is The Kingdom' by Lupton was profoundly life changing. The LORD really used that book to change us on our way of living. I highly recommend it. Here is another great read I found on his blog this morning. May the LORD give us all grace to worship Him as He describes Himself in the scriptures..one of mercy, justice and full of GRACE!!

Compassion is a dangerous thing. It can open a person to all manner of risks. It has caused reasonable people to make extravagant heart-decisions, like spending untold hours collecting supplies to assist flood victims, or journeying into harm’s way to feed starving refugees. Some have even left successful careers to devote full time to a cause that has gripped their hearts. Compassion is a powerful force within the human spirit, a stamp of the Divine nature. It lies within us all — from tender child to hardest criminal — waiting for the right trigger to set it off. A bird with a broken wing, a lonely widow whose family and friends have moved on, a child orphaned by a terrorist car bomb. For me it was fatherless boys growing up on mean streets with little chance of escaping the deadly undertow. So strong was that force within me that it caused me to leave a budding business career, depart my secure surroundings, and move with my family into the inner-city.

Compassion beckons us into unexplored territory. Most often it ushers us into a world of pressing human need — the destitute needing food and clothes, the homeless needing shelter, the refugee needing a connected friend. In my case it was attention-starved boys. I forged friendships with them in all sorts of male-grabbing ways — mini-bike riding, cave exploring, deep sea fishing — enticing rewards for good grades and for staying out of trouble. My friendship was the medium for showing them that they were highly valued, yes loved, by a God who care-fully created them and desired for them to know Him personally.

Some call this “mercy ministry. ”

But in time, that compassionate impulse that compels one toward acts of mercy will inevitably collide with an ominous, opposing force — injustice. Against this dark, daunting force, acts of mercy can sometimes seem meager. What good is a sandwich and a cup of soup when a severe addiction has control of a man’s life? Or a night in a shelter for a young woman who must sell her body to feed her child? Is there no treatment program to address the addiction? Is there no job training that leads to legitimate employment? Mercy inevitably points the way to justice. Building relationships with street kids seemed so right, yielded so many positive changes, until young boys became young men and faced survival on their own. Immediate cash took precedence over school attendance. Basketball and adventure trips did little to enhance their earning capacity. Bible studies did not get them jobs. I watched helplessly as one by one my young friends were pulled under by the survival ethic of the street. Mercy alone is insufficient.

Perhaps that is why scripture places equal emphasis upon both mercy and justice. The ancient prophet Micah succinctly states Yahweh’s desire:

“He has told you, oh man, what is good and what the Lord desires of you — that you love mercy and do justice and walk humbly with your God. ”

Love mercy. Mercy is “compassion, kindness or forgiveness shown especially to someone a person has power over. ” Do justice. Justice is “fairness or reasonableness, especially in the way people are treated or decisions are made. ” Twinned together these commands lead us to wholistic involvement. Divorced they become deformed. Mercy without justice degenerates into dependency and entitlement, preserving the power of the giver over the recipient. Justice without mercy grows cold and impersonal, more concerned about rights than relationships. The addict needs both food and treatment. The young woman needs both a safe place to sleep and a way out of her entrapping lifestyle. Street kids need both friendship and jobs.

Mercy is a door. It is an opening, an invitation to touch and be touched by a life, to make a difference. But it is not a destination. Get stuck in doing mercy ministry and we will find ourselves growing impatient with the recipients of our kindness, wondering why they don’t help themselves more, feeling a growing discomfort with the half-truths they tell us to justify their persistent returns. Mercy that doesn’t move intentionally in the direction of development will end up doing more harm than good — to both giver and recipient.

Mercy is a door. It is a portal through which we catch a glimpse of the heart of God. A gentle tug on our heartstrings draws us in. But soon we encounter brokenness so overwhelming that neither the tender hearted nor the inventive problem-solver feel up to the task. Our solutions fall short. Pathologies are too deep, poverty too entrenched. And we descend into our own poverty, a poverty of spirit, a crisis of confidence in our own abilities to rescue. We are tempted to withdraw, to retreat to a more manageable world. Yet our hearts constrain us. Or our guilt. We feel trapped. And, like the broken, we find ourselves calling out to God for answers. When our best efforts have failed us, we are left with nothing to cling to but frail faith. In a strange twist of divine irony, those who would extend mercy discover that they themselves are in need of mercy.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Distressing Disguise

He is in the pain, he is in the need
He is in the poor we are told to feed

Though he was rich for us he became poor
How could he give so much what was it for

In his distressing disguise he waits for us to surmise
That we rob our brother by all that we own
And that's not he way he has shown

He is in the hand that reaches out to give
He is in the touch that causes men to live

So speak with your life now as well as your tongue
Shelter the homeless, take care of the young

In his distressing disguise he hopes that we'll realize
That when we take care of the poorest of them
We've really done it to him.

Every time a faithful servant serves a brother who's in need
What happens at that moment is a miracle indeed
As they look to one another, in an instant it is clear
Only Jesus is visible, for they both disappear

-Michael Card

For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.-2 Corinthians 8:9

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Then Sings My Soul Saturdays-Lecrae -'Desperate'

My prayer for the past couple of months is that the LORD would continue to break me over my sin. That I would first and always realized that when I sin, it is against a HOLY God. One of my biggest fears right now is to deal with a repentance that is counterfeit. The second is to be a person used by the LORD in the lives of many, but not be transformed by the LORD myself. Kinda like in Philippians where Paul was saying that many preach the gospel for vain conceit and selfish ambition. I PRAY to the LORD thats never my hearts motive!!! This song reminds me of David and how broken his heart was when HE sinned against the LORD when her committed adultery and murder. Oh how I desire to have such a heart of Brokenness..I admit I don't at times. Oh LORD have mercy on me!!!!

"....but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God's law, but in the sinful nature a slave to the law of sin." -Romans 7

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

I'm Just Thankful

Well, helloooo blog friends! I am at home resting, and resting, and resting some more! I almost hate to leave the house because I have been gone so much this summer! I really have not had the time to go anywhere, due to us deciding to homeschool kai this year! yikes! I have been swapped this week with guest and homeschooling research. I think I am finally coming to an end and will begin schooling her the first week of September ( LORD WILLING). Please keep us in your prayers. School has begun for all the neighborhood kids and some how, after being with us for 9 weeks they still manage to find their way to my sofa after 2:45 everyday. A mentor of mine says " it's Jesus, they cannot resists Christ aroma that is evidently in your home" I'll take that anyday :)
Our building is said to be complete on the 23rd or 24!! How exciting is that!? Please be in prayer for the final phase as well as TUTORING that will be underway the end of the month! We would love more volunteers, never can have enough of them.

We have another wedding coming up in December!! We are thrilled because this couple has been involved in our ministry for a while now. The guy met Kevin and Bk earlier on during the time our homes were being renovated. He and his girl friend have 5 kids and have been living together for years. Both have some seriously rough backgrounds. From drugs, molestation, teen pregnancy, jail time, past abusive relationships,ect.. The most joyous thing about them is that they both know the LORD now as their Savior. He became a believer through CGM and she has witness the change in him and has decided to follow the LORD as well. All of our staff and some of our kids were asked to be a apart of the wonderful ceremony! She and I talked on the phone the other day and she was in tears just explaining how thankful she was to the LORD for sending us(CGM) to the hood. She continued to explain how she could not imagine her life without Jesus, and how it brought her happiness to know all of us would be in their wedding. She says she choose all of us because we have shown them the love of Jesus and have been there for them and she believes we will continue to be there even past the ceremony. She is correct. :)

Please keep this couple in your prayers. As exciting as they are about getting married, they still have a great deal of things to work through. Please pray that the LORD gives them the grace to not look at their circumstances but at Him.Pray as well that they are able to have the ceremony she wants. One that is honoring to the LORD and not in a court house. She says" I grew up in the court house so I definitely don't want my wedding there"

I love how the LORD gives beauty for ashes, don't you?!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Then Sings My Soul Saturdays-Flame 'HOLD ON'

But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.-2 Timothy 4:5

Whether it's being a mom, wife or missionary, I struggle many times in wanting to give up. I find myself having to fight to remember that I am to TRUST THE ONE WHO HAS ENLISTED ME AS A SOLIDER in this war. Satan wants nothing but to tempt me and discourage me to not want to run anymore. I find my heart beating Romans 8:22-23. This is one of my favorite songs when I am discouraged. Of course it's Christan Hip Hop, I want you again to see the substance that is in this genre of music.
I pray this song leaves you encouraged as well.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

GO Hard

The LORD desires for all to hear the amazing message of the gosple! Check out this young lady doing sign language to Lecrae's "Go Hard." I am speechless ...the LORD is such an AMAZING GOD!!!
**lyrics below**

GO Hard --

Go Hard or Go Home(2xs)
Lord Use Me Up(2xs)

Verse 1:
Lord kill me If I don't preach the gospel
I'm still in my 20's- but I'll die if I got to
Already dead- so forget my flesh
I done been crossed over see the full court press
I'm a full court mess if the Lord don't use me/
Running from my trials thinkin everythangs groovy
If the Cross don't move me then I don't wanna breath no mo/
If I aint seeing Christ potna I dont wanna see no mo
Rep every day withouth worrying about bruising
I been to china mayne I seen some real persecution
If U didn't know em would ya life look the same
Can they tell you value Jesus by the way you rep his name?
man what's the point of living if Im living for myself
Lord empty out my life before I put you on the shelf So for God I got Hard I dont' wanna die tonight/ It's too many people living who aint heard about my Christ
Go Hard or Go Home(2xs)
Lord Use Me Up(2xs)

Verse 2:
Went to Asia had to duck and hide-for Sharin my faith
They tell me water it downwhen I get back to states
[ Lecrae Lyrics are found on www.songlyrics.com ]
They say tone the music down you might sell a lot a records
But it's people out here dying and none of em heard the message
Took my wifey on mission trip - central america
Shared her testimony 40 people stood and stared at her
When she said Jesus shoulda seen it was insane cause 40 out of 40 never heard of Jesus name/ Aw mayne we aint focused on the war we just kickin it/ worried bout our image and our space up on the internet// take me out the game coach/ I don't wanna play no mo/ If cant give it all I got and leave it out there on the court/ Thank you for the Grace for the will and the desire/ got me living for your glory stead of living to retire/ But I pray I'll never tire of Going hard for Messiah/I don't need no motivation You the reason I'm inspired.

Verse 3:
Go Hard/Go Home, Go Hard/ Go Home/
That's what that is baby/that what that mean/that what that mean/
That what That is baby/That what that mean/that what that mean/
Wha-What that mean?/
That mean that we, should be out up in ok streets/
Not just in houses with our bible's summrizing what we read/
Man this aint deep (man this aint deep)/why we aint doing what we read/
Its like we sleep (its like we sleep)/
But sinners sleepwalk when they sleep/
So why can't we (so why can't we)/the redeemed of the LORD/
Act out, what He said/and make a scene for the LORD/
Action-cut, say what, like we was the director/
But you better get a Grip like movie sets, and get to stepping/(Martin)
I know you done it/da-done it, da-done-and heard it all
You was going hard for the Lord before you heard this song/
But don't play yourself to save ya self/and walk in fear/
Scripture's like a mirror/the truth is closer than it appears

Sunday, August 2, 2009

True Woman '10 Count Down Begins!!!!

Last year I attended the True Woman '08 in Chicago, Illinois and it was amazingly convicting and encouraging!! I have been waiting for this... registration is now open for True Woman '10!! See you in Chattanooga March 25-27, 2010!!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Common Ground Weekly Update-July 28,2009

Sorry for posting this so late..this was the update for last week
Thanks for all your support and prayers :)

Called out of prison….

After three years of doing no media we decided to do some interviews, (TV, radio, and a local magazine) to find some partners, volunteers, and potential donors to help with the renovation of our new building and to help us with our summer camp. One of our interviews was shown on the 10 o’clock news a couple months ago.
A man who was serving a ‘life’ sentence in prison was watching the news one night. He had prayed to God a couple nights earlier, “If you decide to let me out of here on parole, please show me where I can go and make a difference for you.”. He had become a Christian while in prison. He said he saw our interview on T.V. and knew that God desired that he come back to the neighborhood where he had spent so many years selling drugs and committing various other crimes… our neighborhood. He wanted to help deter others from going down the same road he had chosen.
He was stunned to see our story on the news. He made a commitment to find us if the Lord released him on parole. He got out this morning …. and came straight over to find us. We talked out in the street and it was humbling and overwhelming to hear his story. He is related to some other men who we haven gotten to know, men who have also recently begun to walk with the Lord. Please pray for this dear brother. He is hungry to grow and to serve the Lord. He grew up on our streets, has done it all, and desires to see God change those patterns he bought into while growing up. Kevin and I spoke with him and he said, “We have to stop this generational curse. We have to find a way to keep these kids from going through the same patterns I went through.” He pointed to his son standing nearby and told us, “We have to do this for him, and for them (as he pointed to the middle school)”.
He has a tough road ahead of him as well. May the Lord strengthen him and use him mightily for His Kingdom. May many hear his story and experience and receive the Gospel of the Kingdom of God.

‘The Big Picture’…..
This past Friday night 22 young girls from our camp displayed the glory of God through a drama presentation for 150 friends, relatives, and other dear brothers and sisters in the Lord who showed up for encouragement and support. The girls acted, danced, and sang a play called “The Big Picture” that they wrote about the biblical story of ‘creation, fall, and redemption.’ It was a beautiful sight. So many of us watched on with extreme pride and honor as our young girls displayed God’s story so artistically and boldly. It was beautiful… and special. I was overwhelmed as I witnessed the presentation. Many of these young girls have come to know the Lord recently through our time with them. To remember where many of these girl s were when we met them is humbling. To see Christ magnified in their bodies is even more humbling. The seed of faith and the power of transformation shine bright in the context of violence, suffering, and previous hopelessness. Redemption is a beautiful thing. May these young ladies break the cycle of teenage pregnancy, sexual and physical abuse, and destruction on our streets. May they become the models of Godly women that stand in the gap for our community for generations to come.

Workday this weekend (August 1st).....

We need volunteers to help us finish the renovation of our building. Please contact Mike Bunce (http://Mike@cgmal.org) if you can and are willing to come out and help us this weekend for our workday. It is crunch time for us. We can use your help not only for this workday but anytime you have available to come out between now and August 17th, the first day of tutoring!

Please ‘chip-in’ a few bucks to help us complete our basketball court.....

A friend of ours developed this fundraising idea and video to help us raise some money for a very nice outdoor basketball court on our property. You can ‘adopt’ a square foot of our 6,000 square foot court for only $3.00.

Click on the link www.6000feetaway.com and check out the short video and consider adopting a foot or more. Please send the link to as many people as you think could give a few bucks towards this. It’s amazing how effective it has been already as people have gotten the word out to their friends and family. It has only been a week and we are up to 10 percent of the goal already.

You can pay with a credit or debit card and it secure and easy

CGM-A Week At Camp Blue Lake