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

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Gods Hand At Work

I have been praying and asking the LORD to do the impossible in our hood. I was encouraged by a neighbor to pray that the LORD would do such an amazing work through our ministry to the point where no one would believe it was us, but they would automatically KNOW without a DOUBT it was JESUS.

I believe before we got here the LORD had began a good work. Check out this article that was printed in our area newspaper about some of what the LORD is doing. Please continue to keep our neighborhood in your prayers.
Happy New Year!

DJ Official Entermission


Your friends over at Reach Records have done it again. Check out the debut album from DJ Official available in stores now!!! You dont want to go with out this cd being in your leather case! :)

After producing for over 10 years and serving as traveling deejay, Official finally has the opportunity to reveal the dynamic of his skill-set on one project. The album is purposed to influence Christians to think about the Great Commission (Matt 28:19) and the Great Commandment (Luke 10:27) on a local level. As Christians we have a personal mission field, which consist of those that God has placed in our sphere of influence. With a missional mindset we can affect the people around us with the Gospel message by the way we live and conduct ourselves in our everyday walk. This is a message that needs to be heard and with everything from Reggae, Downsouth, East Coast, Commercial, Underground, Electro, and Rock/Hipster featured on the album there is something for everyone!

EnterMission features over 20 artists such as Lecrae, Flame, Sho Baraka, JR, Tedashii, Trip Lee, R-Swift, Thi'sl, Jahaziel, and more! Every single track on EnterMission is produced by DJ Official.

To buy it on iTunes, click here

To order the physical album, go here

You can listen to the singles, read about the album, and create your own version of the album cover here

There are three versions to choose from:

album-now
deluxe-now
lp-now


Check back with me soon as I will write full review on this album! So far what I have heard has been VERY CONVICTING and ENCOURAGING! Happy New Year!!!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Thou Who Wast Rich Beyond All Splendor



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.

-II Corinthians 8:9


Thou Who wast rich beyond all splendor, all for love's sake becamest poor ;

Thrones for a manger didst surrender, sapphire-paved courts for stable floor.

Thou Who wast rich beyond all splendor, all for love's sake becamest poor.


Thou Who art God beyond all for love's sake becamest man;

Stooping so low, but sinners raising, heav'nward by Thine eternal plan.

Thou Who are God beyond all praising, all for love's sake becamest man.


Thou Who art love beyond all telling, Savior and King, we worship Thee.

Emmanuel, within us dwelling, make us what Thou wouldst have us be.

Thou Who art love beyond all telling, Savior and King, we worship Thee.


-Frank Houghton, 1894-1972



Just in case I forget during this holiday break... I wish you all the most Merry Christ-centered Christmas one could ever have. :)

I will be back to blogging Jan. 2010

Friday, December 18, 2009

Common Ground Weekly Update-December 17,2009




As I reflect on the last year I am extremely encouraged about the ways our ministry has grown. Some of the growth has been pretty drastic. Our team has grown from a staff of 3 to a staff of 9 (6 full time staff and 3 part time). We have staff focusing on men’s ministry, women’s ministry, biblical counseling (including family, marital, pre-marital, and abused and traumatized women and children), after school tutoring,bible studies, home building and renovation, college ministry at Alabama State, and other developmental areas of our community including job placement and financial crisis help. Last February we purchased an old building on 7 acres of land. We worked hard with folks all over the city to se e it renovated and begin to be used as our home base and a resource blessing to our community. It’s really amazing! Now, 100 kids show up daily during the week for our developing afterschool program. All of these kids stay for bible studies and dinner on Wednesday nights. Monday andTuesday nights we host women’s and men’s bible study. Also, thirty teenage and young adult drop outs come to our facility daily to work on their GED's and learn construction skills through the 'Youth Build' program. This year we have participated in an emergence of men being called out of gang and drug influences and into Kingdom living with Christ that has been a true demonstration of God's power. One is restoring his marriage, one got married a month ago, and two are pursuing marriage and look to be married over the next year! This is an incredible witness of God! God is truly using us together with the Montgomery Christian community as a light in this city. God is working! Thank yo u for joining in this effort at so many entrances!

a request.....

I am writing to request that you consider a year end gift to CGM. Like everyone, the economy has affected our giving. We still have $100,000.00 in renovation debt that we have 6 months to retire under a current loan. We also would love to start 2010 off in a position of strength as we forge ahead in new initiatives (and many creative ones are brewing!)



Thank you for prayerfully considering this. He is risen! I hope you enjoy and walk in that fact as we celebrate His birth over the holidays!

-Bryan Kelly (Founder Common Ground Montgomery)

Monday, December 14, 2009

The Impossible






Jesus replied, "What is impossible with men is possible with God." - Luke 18:27


I have had the most amazing two days. I have been challenged , convicted and encouraged with all that the LORD is doing around me, through me and through the hearts of my neighbors. Tonight I was a apart of a women's bible study where we are studying the book of First John. So many of my neighbors had some of the most encouraging things to say. I am having the chance to witness women who's hearts were as stubborn as a mule become mush in the presence and knowledge of our Lord and Savior. Last night during our second church plant meeting, one of the guys who live in our community, made one of the most powerful and refreshing comments. When asked, what are somethings you would like to see in our future church plant.. his response in so many words were, I want us to be a people who pray and believe the LORD for the impossible. The Impossible? Well, just what does that mean?

He goes on to say, we are to live our lives in such a way where everyone around us cant help but to say, "man, that gots to be God doing that!!"

The impossible my friends. I believe when Kevin and I first came into this ministry I was trusting the LORD for the impossible. Then, I believe something sad happen. I stop believing. When I stopped believing, I stop seeing and started to miss out on all that He was doing in and around me. That statement lit something in me last night. I left asking, begging the LORD to help me to trust him with the impossible. Tonight, I saw just that.

There is NO WAY.. I mean NO WAY women who once were at odds with one another, (or complete strangers for that matter ) who did not trust one another could sit peacefully together and share their hearts about broken marriages, abusive relationships, struggles with parenting, their faith in Christ without the POWER of LORD.

There is NO WAY, a group of women (or men) could cross racial barriers and form the most loving, and intimate relationships with one another apart from the POWER OF THE GOSPEL.

There is NO WAY, a woman could look a man in the face who molested her and say " I forgive you" apart from the grace of the LORD.

There is NO WAY, a man could respond in love (in tears)towards a person who spits in his face because he doesn't want to hear the truth of the gospel. The man weeps because he knows that his enemies are not prepared for Christ return.

The transformation that is happening in our hood is all because the LORD has done the impossible. The bible clearly teaches that with GOD ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE. Jesus himself has even said.. "Everything is possible for him who believes." I am and was convicted over my unbelief.

Lives are being transformed right before my eyes, marriages are being restored right before my eyes, dads are returning home right before my eyes. The Impossible friends. Things that are impossible with man, BUT VERY MUCH POSSIBLE WITH THE LORD! I must remove the lens of unbelief and trust the LORD to do the impossible in my marriages, in my parenting, in my hood. Only then will I be able to see all that the LORD is doing around, and through me.

Solo Christo.....

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Allow Me To Reintroduce The Christ

My stomach tosses and turns when I think about how the culture has given us such a faulty view of Jesus. I love how this young lady in the video below breaks down how we have tried to create/worship a god in our own imagine. Check it out...



Amen!!!!

Want to hear more from Blair Wingo and her friends check out P4cm.com .(Passion For Christ Movement).

CGM Summer Internship Video 2010

The CGM staff will begin recruiting for our summer internship this month. My husband has been working hard on the video you are about to see below. I would love to hear what you all think? Tell me, by watching this video, do you have a clear understanding of what our summer internship is about? Does it excite you ( or college students for that matter) to want to come and be a part?

I am so proud of him, the LORD has given him some skills in the area of video programming.
Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Christmas Store 2009-How and Why

Our store is next week. I thought I would take a minute to explain the store for you just in case you have missed our heart or have never heard the explanation of what the store is, and why we do it the way we do it. We chose the ‘store’ model rather than the ‘give away’ model because, for our context, we believe it is the most dignifying way to love our neighbors. We want to partner with parents and grandparents, rather than go around them by doing for their kids and grandkids. In our neighborhood we do have a high degree of households living below the poverty line. Our strategy is to provide a way for our neighbors to both contribute to their kids, AND be blessed by the opportunity the store offers to buy toys at reduced prices (30- 40% of the retail value). The discounts help tremendously. Last year, one of our neighbors was overjoyed as she shared that she was able to pay all her bills and buy Christmas presents for her children for the first year. We have learned a lot from the store and from our neighbors. When neighbors don’t feel like ‘charity cases’ they tend to be more open to real relationships. Many of the recipients of our store now volunteer at the store, doing everything from helping us purchase and price the toys, stock the shelves, wrap gifts, run the cash registers, and help with carrying the gifts to people’s cars. The atmosphere of the store is different also. Its fun… there is joy and real conversation and participation. It’s not an ‘us vs. them’ environment. It’s just us. Of course, we get taken advantage of. Some come to the store trying to ‘get over’ on us. Some have changed price tags out, lied, been rude and acted as if w e owed them something. But this is the exception, not the rule. The store is a blessing to our community. Last year over 300 kids received 3 presents apiece through our store. This year, we honestly anticipate over 600 kids to be bought for (if we have enough presents donated). Would you consider helping pull the store off this year? We really need toys, money, or gift cards to go towards the store.
Here are some quick helpful facts:
1. The dates of the store are December 14th-18th , from 4-7 p.m. daily. We will be accepting toys and money up until the night of the 17th.
2. The store will be held at our newly renovated building (1516 Mobile Rd.)
3. If you choose to buy baby dolls, please buy ‘brown skinned’ baby dolls.
4. You can serve with us by donating toys, helping us price toys, stock shelves, help with gift wrapping, and help carry out the loot to people’s cars.
5. If you buy toys, the age range is 1-15 years old, and you would help us tremendously if you would place a new price tag on the toy at 40% of the retail value. The price range is up to you.
6. Please call Kevin King 657-7049 if you can help.


Basketball Court



We are kicking back off our new basketball court fund raiser as well. Would you consider donating a few bucks to complete this court? Check out the following video to see if you would be interested in adopting a few feet of our court. www.6000feetaway.com Also, please send the link to anyone you think in your address book that could spare a few bucks.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Burning Bush Creation


You know something that is amazing? When the LORD uses those who are young to have an IMPACT on the Kingdom of God in a way that they themselves would NOT have ever imagined!!

A guy,( who was 18yrs old at the time) was asked by two older ladies( who were headed to Africa for a missions trip) in his church to make something for them to take to the children and adults that they would be ministering to. He then took the time to pray and study and then the LORD gave him a vision. Several months later the book you see picture here was made, but only three copies were printed. One for him and two for the ladies. That would have been the end he says...at least he thought. :)

A youth leader in his church felt that this book was meant for more, and after a conference addressing Urban Ministry, and the reactions many people had towards the book, he knew that God wanted him to drop everything and get the book published. And now, after a lot of work, time, and prayer, you have one of the most amazing urban resources before us!!!

This book, is the beginning of Burning Bush Creation.

My first CCDA conference I visited the booth of Burning Bush Creation and I was amazed to see all the work they had done to make such a resource possible. I too was amazed at how humbling those two ladies were in asking and researching a resource to take so that the kids in Africa would see stories of those who look JUST LIKE THEM.

So, whether you are in urban ministry or not ,these books would make great Christmas gifts! What a blessing to have so many resource available to us.



Click on the provided links to check out the reviews,as well as more titles by the author. You won't be sorry!! :)

Friday, December 4, 2009

Just Like Me....


"Did you know that there is FINALLY a Disney Princess who looks like all of the princesses in my neighborhood?! Imagine growing up and most of the stories you watch in the movies have heroines who don't look like you......"


One of my close friends( and staff family) sent the above statement out this week in an email to some of our supporters to help raise funds to send 25 of our young girls to view Disneys The Princess and the Frog. I immediately began to weep in tears because she hit the heart of a issue that has been around in the black community for decades. Many of the little girls I talk with in our neighborhood and beyond have self image issues (including myself). It makes it difficult, and more of a challenge to ONLY see dolls, stories, and/or your positive role models to be of another race. In the African American community many times beauty is seen as having long straight hair, blue eyes, and lighter skin. I can remember growing up not wanting to play with dolls that looked like me, simply because it wasn't what was said to be "pretty". I cant even begin to imagine what a movie like this will do to many girls that have( or had) a mindset similar to mine. That my friends makes me excited!!

We( staff wives) are just overwhelmed with joy to take our girls to see this movie. Would you please pray for out time with these girls?? Pray that the LORD would make this such a precious time together, and as my friend says, pray that each girl will long to be princesses of the TRUE KING!


Thursday, December 3, 2009

Follow Me To Freedom

I just started reading John M. Perkins and Shane Claiborne book Follow Me to Freedom and by far it has been one of the most encouraging books I have read. I wanted to share with you an excerpt from the book. (and this is only from page 28) I was most encouraged by the post below because it helped me make MUCH sense of the life that we are called to. Not just as missionaries, but as wives, and mothers.


"Interruptions are the theme in scripture. We have a God who is continually interrupting us- interrupting our routines, our patterns of inequity, the status quo. Abraham's life was interrupted. Moses' life was interrupted. John's life and my life were interrupted by the spirit. The gospels are stories of interruption after interruption. Jesus was at a wedding in Cana when His mother interrupted Him and said, "they have no more wine". He had just stepped ashore in a region called the Gerasenes when He was interrupted by the cries of a demon-possessed man. He was on His way to visit a sick child when a touch on His sleeve interrupted Him and He felt the power go out from Him. The incredible thing is that Jesus was always available and attentive to the interruptions and surprises, like someone who stops to fix a flat tire for a stranded motorist. Jesus was never so fixed on His vision for the Kingdom that He missed the needs of folks right next to Him. Sometimes Jesus even gets in trouble in most churches for wasting time with washing feet and drawing in the dirt; after all there's so much "meaningful" work to be done...like attending board meetings, raising funds for buildings and sitting in on conference calls(wink). Most days, our life in Philly feels like one interruption after another. It is packed with surprises: a knock at the door, an emergency or a kid who wants to show us the first sunflower bed. It seems that these are the very thing so many of us try to squeeze out of our lives. We love predictability. We don't want anything to alter our course, even if we know there is something beautiful on the other end of the interruption. We'd rather just keep to the daily grind and the meaningless toil that is familiar and humdrum, rather than have our rhythms broken. Yet, we have a God who is all about interrupting us. What if we missed the "interruption"?
-Shane Claiborne



We serve a God who is all about interrupting us. What a perspective!! I can choose to be thankful for all the interruptions that come my way.(and boy, there are many!! LOL) If God had of not interrupted me from the path I was on eleven years ago I would be somewhere wasting my life.


Today, give God thanks for your interruptions and continue to fight the tendency to not see HIS PROVIDENCE throughout your day.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Common Ground Weekly Update December 2

I present to one of the most emotional updates thus far. This gives me goose bumps and just excites my heart with HOPE AND JOY! The LORD is raising up leaders in our community!! Thank you for your prayers!!


Real Men Rising Up From the Ashes


I would like to introduce you to 5 emerging leaders in our neighborhood. All five are fairly new Christians. One of them was shot in the stomach two years ago, and returned the favor shortly thereafter. Another was serving a life sentence in prison as a third strike offender before being released on parole. Another was shot in the chest a year ago while high on cocaine, lying in a pool of his own blood; he looked up and accepted that he was going to die as he blacked out with friends and family watching. A fourth man has opened up a barber shop across from our building and struggles to make ends meet with a legitimate business while many of his friends sell drugs. The fifth man is 19 years old , is a talented young artist, and is battling the temptations of the streets and the struggle of a past of abandonment, and the loss of his mother at a young age. All of these men have grown up on our streets. They have not had the experience of the presence of a father in their lives. The ‘odds’ aren’t stacked in favor of these men. They are not ‘qualified’ to do a lot of things. They have a history of pain, violence, destruction, abandonment, oppression; and yet…. God has redeemed them.

They have a hunger for God, a deep love for those who are deceived and broken in the community, and a passion to demonstrate God’s Kingdom. All of these men are involved in a bible study that Alonzo Brown, one of our staff, is leading on Tuesday nights across the street from our facility at a barber shop. They are recruiting other men from our streets to attend the bible study. It is real…. raw… and a beautiful expression of testimony, struggle, vulnerability, honesty, and a clear declaration of the Gospel every week. We are sharing life with these men. God is teaching us much through them and the wisdom he has granted them. We are coming alongside them to offer what we can to train and ‘disciple’ them in their walk with Christ. They are coming alongside us to do the same as they share their gifts, perspectives, experiences and wisdom with us.



We sat around our office the other day and talked of what God was doing in our lives and neighborhood. I listened as they shared how God was using them to talk with young boys who come in the shop. They spoke of deterring young kids from ‘gang’ fights, of destructive decisions, and hopeless behavior. Four of the five men are now standing up as the ‘first’ generation of fathers. They are accepting responsibility to raise their children ‘in Christ’ and be there for them. One of them recently lamented, “We have never seen what a father looks like. We are having to break these patterns and learn to father our kids.” When they speak of what God is doing on our streets their eyes light up. They dream of what can happen as we live out the Kingdom of God together. They are the rising leaders. I have never seen anything like watching them share their faith in the street. It is an extreme blessing to participate with them and to be used by God to invest in them. If you want to be encouraged, come over and visit these gifted and passionate men of God. Please pray for Charles, Corey, Jeremy, Jermaine, and Irvin. It is powerful for our neighborhood kids to see these men begin to ‘stand in the gap’ and model what real men look like. Resurrection is a beautiful thing

Common Ground Christmas Store

This year will be the third year that we will have our annual ‘Christmas Store’ in the neighborhood. Will you consider being a part of it? We took some wisdom from others who have gone before us in other urban contexts and decided that we would open up a Christmas ‘store’ rather than ‘give away’ free toys to kids. Rather than going around the parents for Christmas, we decided to allow parents in our neighborhood the same joy that you and I get when we get to see our children open the gifts that we were able to contribute towards for them. Knowing that many of our parents are not able to provide much and still pay the bills, we open up a store where toys are sold at 30 to 40 percent of the retail values. We take in donated toys, money, and toy store gift cards and set up our store in the ‘hood. The ages to be bought for are 1 year old through 15 year olds. This year it will be at our new building! You can help in a lot of ways. You, and any social or business group you are a part of, can either donate money, buy toys, or donate gift cards from Wal-Mart or Toys R Us, to Common Ground Montgomery and we can stock our shelves accordingly. You can also serve by helping stock and re-stock shelves, price toys, help us go and buy the toys, help us ‘gift wrap’ toys during the store after ‘check out’ and help carry the toys out to people’s cars. Sorry, but we already have two or three feisty neighborhood ladies who run the cash registers! Trust me… they are best suited for the job.



Christmas Store Quick Facts:
Store dates and hours: December 14th-18th from 4-7 P.M.
Location: 1516 Mobile Road, Montgomery, 36108.
Drop off dates: From now till the 17th of December (please call for coordination)
Number to call: 657-7049 Kevin King


Thank you for your prayer and partnership. I am humbled to be on your team.
Bryan Kelly Founder, Common Ground Montgomery