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

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Then Sings My Soul Saturdays-Parent Me

When I first heard this song, I held back tears of conviction, and I felt very sad for the kids who spend hours in my home. After spending a week away at Camp Blue Lake, me and my staff partner took two sisters home to find, as usual, their mom and step dad not there. Theses kids have been gone for a week. The mom, whom says earlier on the phone,"I'll be there", wasn't. I have had issues with this mom in the past and her life style consist of neglect and carelessness. I am many times angry and frustrated at how these kids( and many others) have to parent themselves. What sad times. This song also made me think of my own child. It provoked me to really sit and think about how I TOO maybe neglecting my own. Me, a mom who home schools and does urban ministry, who teach bible studies and spend time with the orphan and fatherless. Has my child been a priority? Or have I been to busy working in doing other things. Its so easy to forget those who are closest to you.(which is so sad) Often times we believe the lie that ministering outside the home is more valuable and important than what we do inside. I have to check myself on this OFTEN! I am thankful for this song and the reminder that it brings, to examine myself and my motives in all that I do.

In the song Parent Me-Json puts himself into the shoes of several different children and expresses their feelings of neglect and abandonment due to parents who are simply not there for them. Again the last verse is the MOST convicting because its about a pair of parents who have invested all of their time and energy into the needs of a local church, leaving nothing remaining for their own child. Lord, may this not be ANY OUR OUR testimonies. Sorry I don't have lyrics. Its a new song off of a new album so you will have to really listen intently. Enjoy and be challenged!

City Lights: The Documentary Part II

If you missed part 1 check it out here. This just gives me GREAT HOPE for indigenous everywhere, in every hood!!! If you haven't already, purchase Json new album City Lights and be a light in ya hood!

City Lights: The Documentary Part II from DreamsOnScreen Productions on Vimeo.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Rest...What a Blessing!

Hey,hey,hey! We, as a family and STAFF will use this week to break from all the summer madness! I cant wait to post pics and vids of all that has happen in the past two weeks. In addition, I cant wait share about our newly organized after school tutoring schedule, basketball/Taekwondo program, and our NEW GYM!! (that many of YOU helped fund to make possible, in efforts of keeping kids off our dangerous streets) It was so sad to see all the kids go home,yet, they didn't really.Many of them tried to stick around at the ministry building today in hopes of coming home with me. LOL! I told them we were taking a vacation this week and their response was," Mi Nicole,(not Mrs) you mean to tell me we cant have a sleepover at ya house"?! Uh, no! LOL. We just got back from Camp Blue Lake with 80+ kids and it was amazingly fun and sanctifying! Tell you more about that later. For now, I am going to go and spend some quality time with Jesus and my family. No phone, no answering the door. I praise God for REST! He knows exactly what we need. :)

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Ups and Downs of The Summer

Tomorrow marks CGM official last day of Summer Camp and it's been a blast!! I am kinda sad that we are at the end, yet I am looking forward to our family spending sometime away before tutoring starts up. I promise to come back with a load of Camp pictures, but for tomorrow, I am posting a new video update of a few of the girls(including one of the four being my OWN daughter). I cant wait for you to meet them!! This Saturday, as I have mentioned before, the kids will put on a play production called 'The Big Picture'- Creation, Fall and Redemption. Our main verse this summer was Romans 11:36- For from him and through him and to him are all things.To him be the glory forever! Amen. The kids will have a chance to share the Gospel in front of a host of family, and neighborhood friends. Please, Please be in prayer for us. The play starts are 6pm. I'm looking forward to seeing how the Lord will use these kids in the lives of their parents, many whom have not stepped foot inside of a church in years. Pray that God moves in a mighty way.

We've had many tough times this summer as well. In earlier post I talked a little bit about the three girls and mom who was living with us. Praise the Lord, they finally found a home. Now, I am not saying that in joy that they are finally gone, yet for while, while they were here, I must confess, I struggled and did want them to leave. It wasn't easy, and for the most part its because we really didn't want to cause any dependence on us. We were trying to help the poor without our hurting them or ourselves. Anyway, the situation has yet to get better. My heart breaks for these girls, I still find myself weeping over them, over their mom. Angry at the life they have, the circumstances set before them. I have been so worried as to how they may end up if the LORD don't move and intervene in their lives. I have gots to TRUST HIM, the One who is holding it all together. As I sat in the older girls bible study this past week, the lesson was on redemption and how Jesus will return one day for His sheep, returning to make all things new. We listened to Trip Lee song 'The Invasion-Hero' and I watch this child weep. She longs for things to get better in her home. Can you imagine being in a situation where you move from house to house? At times you cant find your mom, she is missing.. Yet, not really because she doesn't want to be found at times? So you and your three sisters try to carry on the best way you know how? I long for the Lord to rescue the neglected. I long for the Lord to save the LOST and give LIFE to those who are breathing to DEATH. I cant let these girls go, I find myself being drawn right back to wanting to rescue them. I want them to see the LORD. I want them to see Him and how He gives beauty for ashes. I desire for them to know the ONE who is a FATHER to the FATHERLESS. They are not forgotten. He knows each of their names. I trust Him. Oh, Father, bring REDEMPTION now!!!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

City Lights

Christian Hip Hop artist Jason Wastson, known as Json releases his Third album 'City Lights' today!
I look forward to hearing what a lot of these artist have to say and rap about, again because they give me hope for the kids we see every single day. I am listening to his album right now as we speak and I look forward to writing a review later. For now, check out 'City Lights' The Documentary Part 1. This is reality for many living in the hood. I am so thankful we serve a God is is all about redemption. He came to make all things new!
Follow Json as he details the early parts of his life. Being a light in your own city is what this film is about. Are you a city light?

City Lights: The Documentary Part I from DreamsOnScreen Productions on Vimeo.

For more check out Citylightsmovie.com

Monday, July 19, 2010

Getting Some Rest

2 more weeks and Summer Camp is officially over. :( The Interns will head home to process all that they have learned and I will return to full time homeschooling my yougin. I am excited about that for some odd reason this year. A lot more confident I tell you. :)
I am going to miss all the interns. I am so thankful for how the LORD gave me the opportunity to get to know them and watch them struggle, learn and grow through what it means to love justice, show mercy and walk humbly with the LORD. As I met with them and our head staff girl the other night, there wasn't a dry eye in sight. The Lord y'all is raising up a young group of advocates who love Him and who are compassionate, gracious and radical, all for the gospel of Jesus Christ. Young men and women who are serious about living counter cultural and who desire to see the church be racially reconciled and actually do REAL community together. I cant wait to see what the LORD has in store for them. Some of you may be wondering why is there a picture of a bed in thise post. Well, its because that is where I will be spending the most of my time this week. I tore/pulled some muscles in my left leg dancing and cheer leading with the kids. LOL! The Lord sat me down real quick. LOL I guess I cant move like I use to huh. So, my doctor has me on bed rest for the next few days. Please keep me in ya prayers, I love to dance and it is killing me that I will miss the kids and staff this week. I trust the LORDs timing is good and perfect so I will use this time to pray, go deep in the word and maybe even blog (when I am not knocked up from all the meds-yuck) Please pray for our kids and interns as their time together comes to a close. Pray that they all finish well. Next week, its off to Camp BLUE LAKE we go! (well, them if my leg isn't better, pray it aint so!!) Good Night :)

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Following Jesus: Befriending The Poor

My heart aches for the Church in America....I pray we grasp the REAL Gospel of Jesus Christ and it transforms us to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength and LOVE our NEIGHBORS as ourselves. We are creating disciples, friends and congregations in our own image and we have forgotten/ignored what biblical Christianity is. Pray with me...

The following article is By: Arloa Sutter with Breakthrough Ministries Chicago.

"Teresa of Avila said, “Christ has no body now on earth but yours, no hands but yours, no feet but yours; yours are the eyes through which Christ’s compassion looks out on the world.”

While those words sound beautiful, many of us in the body of Christ struggle with how to care for broken people. Compassion comes easily for people who are like us, but what about people on the margins of society. How can we be the hands and feet of Christ to people who are struggling in the downward spiral of poverty and isolation?

Can you see the face of Jesus in the faces of those in need? (montage: J Fowler)
A woman sent me a note asking me to please stop sending her newsletters about our ministries’ work with the homeless in Chicago. “I don’t want to have anything to do with those people”, she wrote. “I let a homeless woman stay with me and she stole from me.”

“I’m afraid to get too involved with people who have such desperate needs,” Toni told me. “I know that if I get personally involved it’s going to get messy. I had an experience once where I was taken advantage of. I felt like an idiot. I was angry. That’s what I get scared of, that I’m just being foolish.”

None of us enjoys being duped. After experiencing two or three of these unfortunate confrontations, it is understandable that some would rather just avoid dealing with people in need. After all, aren’t there government programs that take care of the legitimately poor and the unemployed? Why should we be bothered and chance contributing to someone’s addiction or being taken advantage of?

Yet Jesus was very clear in his teaching that Christians don’t have the option not to care for the down and out.

The Good Samaritan crossed the road and was moved by compassion for the mugged man. He got involved by bandaging his wounds and then took him to the nearest rehab center and paid for his rehabilitation.

What we do for the least of these, Jesus said, is what we do for him. The list included providing food and clothing, looking after people in prison, caring for the sick and taking in strangers.

Compassionate care for the poor is central to the teaching of Scripture. Ultimately the power to overcome poverty lies in learning to live the Jesus way, to follow him in how he interacted with the poor and the marginalized, and to be willing—like Jesus, to lay down our self-centered, materialistic lives to take up the cross of loving generosity, gentle kindness, and tenacious advocacy for the rights of the poor and the oppressed.

The needs of the poor are often complicated. Generations of social castaways are plagued with inadequate education, dilapidated housing and few employable skills.

What can the church do find and serve the least of these?

As I have walked for the past eighteen years alongside thousands of men and women who have become homeless in the city of Chicago, and as I have visited impoverished communities throughout the world, I have discovered good news. We actually can, in very practical ways, find sustainable, manageable ways to make a difference in the lives of the poor.

Caring for the poor is something we do together. In the body of Christ, we each have a role to play. God raises up leaders who start movements, ministries and organizations that are feeding and clothing the homeless, providing shelter, caring for the sick and ministering to those in prison. Each of us can join these movements in some way through giving and volunteering.

When was the last time you shared a meal or had a meaningful conversation with a poor person? Find a ministry in your community that is caring for people in need and find out how you can get involved. It will change your life.

The Christian church is the largest grassroots movement on earth. How we respond to the poor is central to the life and teachings of Jesus and to what it means for us to follow Christ. Together we can make a profound impact on poverty. Indeed, I believe we are called by God to do so."

Friday, July 16, 2010

When I Grow Up

When I Grow Up from Breakthrough Urban Ministries on Vimeo.

The youth of East Garfield Park in Chicago have big dreams. What role will you play in ya hood or theirs to reach this generation for Christ? What a powerful video

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

My First Attempt @ Video Update..Yeaa, Not So Good

Note to self: 1. stop being so hoood and turn the music down. 2. step in front of the camera. 3. Figure out how to work the Mac so that we can see a complete recording. I tried friends,I tried. lol Anyway, here is a list of the things Chakira "Cha Cha" would love for you to pray about: (in her exact words)

1. Her Anger, that the Lord would help her to not provoke others and help her to not be so angry with the people around her
2. Dis obedience, because "I still disobey" when I know I'm not suppose to. She says ask God to help her do whats right.
3. For her hood- that God would save the gang bangers, drug users and dealers and that they would live for him. That many hearts in the hood would be changed.

She is an amazing girl! It has been a joy having her around. She also wanted to say that she knows that God is changing her heart because he is using her favorite camp counselor to help her memorize scripture. (Shout out to Ms. "B-Free"-Brittany Freeman). She has challenged Cha Cha to hide Gods word in her heart by carry around bible verses that will help her in whatever attitude she is dealing with for the day. So Brittany will see her and say "Cha Cha, pocket" Cha Cha knows to go into her pocket and pull out her memory verse and read it. My hub and I have had the privilege of watching her mature into such a godly young woman. I was reading Psalm 130and it reminded me of her and our hood. In verse 7 the psalmist says "O Israel, hope in the Lord! For with the Lord there is steadfast love, and with Him is plentiful redemption....."

I just love how he says PLENTIFUL redemption... I wish you could see me, I am about to throw my bible at this computer! (lol) God promises to redeem not just us from our iniquities but from all forms of evil! Gods heart is to make all things new, to restore all that is broken. I am so encouraged, encouraged because I see that in the life of Cha Cha and other kids we minister too and I even it in my own life... God is at work, changing people around us, changing all forms of chaos to those of peace, and I see him right where we are... beginning in the hearts of these kids. That just makes my heart glad. Thanks for watching( reading and praying)...sorry about the cut off, I tried. lol

Monday, July 12, 2010

He Will Do It

I wish I had a funny story to share here, I don't... I wish I had of remembered to uploaded many of the fun pics of whats been happening at our Summer Camp over the past month, but, I didn't... I wish I could come up with a "new" cleaver way to express what I am feeling, something that would keep your drawn in so that I wouldn't lose the few readers that I have (lol) I don't....All I have is this bible verse that the Lord gave me today as I have been struggling, wrestling with conflict. Wrestling with what it looks like to love my neighbor as myself, wrestling with what it looks like to love my husband, my child and to protect our family times together. Fighting with myself to make sure that GOD is GLORIFIED WITH MY LIFE while I am here on earth and that all that come into a relationship with me SEE HIM MORE and LESS OF ME.

1 Thess. 5:16-24
"Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.Do not put out the Spirit's fire; do not treat prophecies with contempt. Test everything. Hold on to the good. Avoid every kind of evil. May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it."

God is so committed to me, and to YOU. He has not only called us to HIMSELF, but HE PROMISES to do it. "It" is sanctify us. God grants grace to the sinner to be forgiven for his sins, then HE also provides GRACE for the sinner to be sanctified, to overcome his sins. I am learning through these mini trials in my life that God purpose for it all is my HOLINESS, and HE IS FAITHFUL TO THIS WORK in my life. This pain is here for a reason and for a season. HE will DO IT. God is trust worthy, He has a plan for all of lifes most difficult and uncomfortable times, and that my friends is soo good.

"In choosing you his purpose was your holiness. In predestining you his purpose was your holiness. In dying for you his purpose was your holiness. In calling you his purpose was your holiness. And so we can say with Paul in verse 24 not only, "He who called you is faithful, he will do it—he will sanctify you," but also, "He who chose you is faithful, he will do it. He who predestined you is faithful, he will do it. He who sent his Son to die for you is faithful, he will do it." - John Piper

I am resting and choosing gratitude over all of what is going on in my life, because has said HE WILL DO it. He is committed to me, to changing me and making sure I am "set apart" for Him and His purposes. What a great reminder and joyous promise the Lord has given us all. I am thankful because I can sleep well, in peace tonight because I know the Lord is working all things out for my good and for His glory. Blessed be the name of the Lord.

Monday, July 5, 2010

No Monday Madness Here

During the summer, days in the King house are so long. Most of our days and some nights are spent at the ministry building. I don't mind it at all because I get to be around my husband who plays the roll as "Joe Clark" (LOL-do y'all know who Joe Clark is? From the movie Lean on Me-look him up) of our summer camp. Anyway, today wasn't as crazy as tomorrow will be. A lot of the kids didn't show up for camp today due to it being a holiday because the 4th fell on a Sunday. A Sunday school class from a local church came and had a Hot Dog/Chips party for the kids along with HUGE, and when I say huge I mean HUGE Cup Cakes. Yall, I will post pics later, I mean they were unreal! LOL!!
Amber and I went out with the older kids to do some paint balling,(while younger girls went bowling) needless to say, she and I both chickened out. It was hott and we were afraid of getting hit. It was a good time to just sit and talk with her about who she is, what the Lord is doing in her heart and for her to get to know me more. It was precious....until... I got HIT IN THE LEG WITH A PAINT BALL!! I wasn't even playing and someone shot me from behind the net. Ouch.. little jokas!! Amber and I both turned around and walked as fast as we could to the nearest shade and chairs. She is the most precious,real, loving girl to get to know. I was thinking that our lives would overwhelm her and that it would cause her to not want to open up or shy away from getting to know us, mainly because we always have so many people wanting to come visit or talk to us. Tonight, as I prayed with she and Kai , her request were for me to pray about her returning to school in the fall as well as for her to return to visit us again. I nearly cried. I am so thankful that our home has become a place she is comfortable in and that she feels safe enough to ask and want to come back. I have seen the Lord use our home ( and past homes) as a hospice. A place where the sick can come to know about the great Physician as well as a place for the righteous to come and drink from the fountain of living water together, in community. I was telling Amber tonight that God, before the foundation of the earth, and even while she was nitted and formed so fearfully and wonderfully in her mothers womb, He ordained for her to be with us this week and that I was so thrilled to see how He will use this time in her life and ours for His kingdom. God is so good, His ways are so perfect and I am in love at how he orders all of our times and days for His glory.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

This Girl has Gone Wise

One of the things I love doing in my time with God is asking Him to show me the hope that lies in the hood. Will these kids get it and pick up their crosses and follow Him? Will they love Christ more than sister, brother, mother and father(whom may be absent)? God reminded me of how He saved me, gave me a new heart as well as grace to forsake all to follow Him. I am thankful not only for the hope I see in my own life but in the lives of other once " girls gone wild" to now " girls gone wise". I would like to introduce you to Chaquana. She is a graduate of Tuskegee University and native of the boogie down Bronx. She happens to be one of our interns this summer and I tell you what, the Lord is using her greatly in the lives of the older and younger girls in our neighborhood. Check out her blog and praise GOD for HOPE. Hope that says if He can change this/that hood girl, then I know MY GOD can change anyone! Follow Chaquana as she lives Coram Deo (latin: before the face of God). Lord willing, she plans to attend bible college in philly and hopefully end up playing a part in a inner city ministry, counseling girls who grew up in such hard circumstances just as she did. Her desire is for
(hood) girls every where to have the HOPE of the gospel.
There is hope for every girl in the hood tonight living under such horrible situations. Gods hand is NEVER to short to SAVE!!
Amen for that.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

The Invasion (Hero) Feat. Jai Offical Video -Tripp Lee

Whew whoo! My second post in one day.LOL! Seriously,this is by far one of the best Christian Hip Hop vids I have seen. The production and quality and of course the concept is amazing. I love this song as you already know, I wrote a blog review on Tripp's new album not to long ago. Read here in case you missed it. The lyrics are written on that post. Enjoy!

Watching Jesus Move, Turning 32 and Summer Camp

Oh my dear blog, how I miss posting on thee. Our summer so far has been crazy! I don't remember it being like this last summer. God has just been chisling away at this ol heart of mine. I am learning so much from my husband about ministry. He is amazing! I have been in awe of the Lord at the amount of discernment He has given him. We have been in some pretty challenging situations this summer where ministering has hurt us and those we were helping. Yet, we asked God for wisdom and He, who is faithful has given it generously. I am thankful. I am also learning a lot from our interns. I am encouraged at their hunger for Gods heart. They all have been broken, challenged and stretched beyond their capacities this summer, and it aint over yet. I have watched them wrestle through some of the most toughest conversations on ministering to the poor, racial reconciliation, and conflict resolution; in addition, I have seen the Lord began to bring healing, unity, forgiveness, humility and love to this group. I am so thankful for them and their willingness to serve our community. Their love for our kids have been full of gentleness, patience and faithfulness. Their days are long and draining, yet, they, through the help of Jesus, come in the next day ready to love on kids who are broken & hopeless. Kids who's lives will never be the same after having spent all summer long with such godly college students. Please continue to pray for our summer and all of our staff as we try to finish this summer out strong in honoring Jesus in all we do.

Today is my 32nd Birthday and I'm thankful just to be alive in Christ JESUS. Ya hear me?!! I didn't think I would live to see 21, but clearly, God had other plans. I am also excited because today we will have a visitor staying with us from Texas for a whole week!!! Her name is Amber(who's 15 yrs old) and she is a part of the mentor program over at Mercy Street Ministries. I'm a little nervous because I don't know what its like to have a 15 year old around. Like, what time do they go to bed? How late are they suppose to talk on the phone? LOL I have no clue. I hope she is encouraged while she is here, and I hope we are not some boring "old" people. We are humbled that Garrett and Mindy would entrust us with her for even a short time. God is up to something I tell you, but of course that's no surprise, HE does not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. Happy 4th of July peeps!