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, October 29, 2010

The Blessing Of Thorns




Sorry. Blogging just hasn't been my thing lately. At one point I felt as if I was in a big cloud of mess that seemed as if it would never go away. I aint talking about in my hood either. I am talking about the war that happens when you are parenting your own children. Playing a role in Gods plan in urban missions, and parenting in the midst of homeschooling has been such an emotional roller coaster for me. I am either crying because I want perfection in my child or because I don't think I am equipped to school her.

All lies. My child will never be perfect. She will never obey outside of GODS GRACE in her life. All of the hard and exhausting work that has to be put into training and instructing in righteousness is all apart of God's plan for me as well as the plans He has for my CHILD. No doubt about that. Today, I am hopeful. Hopeful that God is working in my child's heart, even if I don't see fruit in certain places. Hopeful that Christ has the power to change sinners, and I know it because he changed me. I am Hopeful in Gods GRACE and SOVEREIGNTY. God has allowed parenting during this season to be a challenge for me for purposes only known to Him. I am trying to TRUST and learning to TRUST that they are GOOD and that HE WHO HAD CALLED ME IS FAITHFUL AND WILL DO IT! God's will for me, for us, as parents is to give THANKS in all things.
(1 Thess. 4) Let's hold each other to that.



No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it. -1 Cor. 10:13

I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. "I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them. (Ezekiel 36:26-27)


Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
-2Corinthians 12:8-9

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Love Is The Final Fight

This song is so powerful. I listened to the words and my heart begins to beat fast. Love will break all barriers, bring hope to the hopeless,life to the lifeless and is the heartbeat of reconciliation. I am so, so very much thankful for John M. Perkins and all those who have fought for us, African Americans to be where we are today. Though, sadly, the screams of racism still cries out today, we can find HOPE in this wonderful GOSPEL that brings forgiveness and love to all generations. John Perkins story is living proof that love is louder than violence, louder than hatred, and louder than racism.


Switchfoot -'The Sound' (John M. Perkins Blues)






Lyrics:
Boom... The Static comes in slow
You can feel it grow
Our stream of conscience flows
Under the streets below

The rivers made of sound
Still running underground
Runs like a silent flood
We run as thick as blood


Can you hear it rise
Up from the ground
Can’t drown it out
Can you hear it now

This is the sound of a heartbeat
This is the sound of the discontented mouths
Of a haunted nation
We are the voice of breaking down

Can you hear me?
This is the sound of the desperation bound
By our own collision
We are the voice of breaking down

The static comes alive
Beneath the broken skies
John Perkins said it right
Love is the final fight

Let it rise above
Rise above
There is no song
Louder than love


This is the sound of a heartbeat
this is the sound of the discontented mouths
of a haunted nation
we are the voice of breaking down

Can you hear me?
This is the sound of the desperation bound
by our own collision
we are the voice of breaking down

Down,Down,Down

Let it rise above
Up from the ground
Can't drown it out
Can you hear it now

This is the sound of a heartbeat
This is the sound of the discontented mouths
Of a haunted nation, we are the voice of breaking down

Can you hear me
This is the sound of the desperation bound
by our condition, we are the voice of breaking down

This is the sound
This is the sound



If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames,but have not love, I gain nothing. 1 Corinthians 13:1-3

Friday, October 22, 2010

Fall Fam Fest 2010

Last weekend, we hosted our first annual Fall Fam Fest. This joyous occasion was a time for us to give our parents a visible and practical view of what a day after school is like for their kids when they come to our ministry building. It was such a fun time! I walked around the whole day just feeling overwhelmed with happiness, and hope. This was huge for us as a ministry because we haven't really engaged the parents like this before. Though, many didn't come , we chose to give thanks to all those God sent out. The parents spent the afternoon ( in 3 groups) rotating between the five learning stations that their kids spend time in each day. In those stations they heard from each staff member as to what specifically the kids were experiencing on a daily basis. It was amazing! The only sad part about the day for me was the lack of men presence. We did have a couple of dads, and uncles, but for the most part it was all WOMEN. This is such a burden and sad reality. I know what its like to grow up in a home without a dad and mom had to play the roles as both. As a child you deal with a great amount of loneliness, bitterness, anger and you just feel so unloved by the one who isn't there. Please pray for the men in our community. Most are locked up, some are just not around, some are living down the street from their own kids and don't even acknowledge them. Leaders are so important in Gods kingdom, I am praying the Lord does an amazing work with this next generation in spite of what they grow up seeing.

Here are a few photos of our day. Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

What's Going On


I am starting to become a slacker (when it comes to blogging) ... I know.. please forgive me. Things are crazy busy. Its almost basketball season so me and the cheerleaders are working hard at fundraising and practicing. I have met new moms with kids in our program and I have been praying and really trying to build deep meaningful relationships with them and their kids. Homeschooling is still a BEAST.. I wont give up, though I have wanted to soo many times last week, its ridiculous!! Keep praying, we really believe God wants us to do this.
This Saturday is our first girl sleepover of the year. I am excited about that! Fun, food, and late night chatter and silliness is loong over due. I love having these kids n my home!

On Wednesdays, My hubbie and Keisha have started to the 13 Letters Bible Study with the Jr High kids and that started off great last week. I help facilitate (which I am thankful for) and boy, this is going to be great, the kids are already responding so well to the curriculum, we shall see how this goes. I really am looking forward to seeing how the Lord will work in the hearts of our middle school kids. My Lord they need it. Junior high is just soo hard on many of them.

God is doing some pruning in my heart. I have been feeling really down, confused and just plain alone. I am more emotional these days then I have ever been and very moody. Not really sure what that is all about. Please pray for ya girl.The Lord is still using my struggles with infertility to sanctify me. I am in the fight of my life ladies and gents. God wants my hearts affections and I continuously give them away to things that are temporary. I am thankful for the struggle, I am experiencing the LORD in some hard and encouraging ways. I'll be back soon until then....
Later Gators...


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Alberta













Pretty girl, I have missed you. Whenever I drive pass your old house and wave to the folks sitting I think of you often. Man, I miss you so. I prayed that you wouldn't have to live under such circumstances and God answered my prayers ( and of others of course). I miss having you in my home, I miss seeing those pretty eyelashes, and hearing that raspy voice. Your voice was so deep and you would carry on a conversation with me as if you were a 50 year old woman. I don't lie awake at night thinking about you living in such broken circumstances. I don't roll over at night when I hear an ambulance go to your old house in fear of thinking something happen to you. I am so thankful God is faithful and hears the cry of His children, He has plans for you and they are unfolding so beautifully.


That's why I cried when I SAW you the other day....

You walked pass me at the state fair. We made eye contact and I said "hello" and you smiled and waved back. You didn't seem to remember me. But you were okay. You were dressed so pretty. You were dressed so pretty, your hair was done and you looked happy. I turned around with tears in my eyes and watched you go by. I heard you speak and I just smiled. Oh, how I wish I would have hugged you.

God is good, you are doing well with your new family and He, He is so kind to have given me the chance to see you. I am so thankful. You will always have a place in my heart. I am encouraged that God continues to take care of those whom He loves, no matter how far apart we are from each other.


Praying I see you again






Keeping It Real


In my time alone with God I am studying God's grace. I am so desperate for God's power to be strong in my life. I was sharing with a group of women in our Monday night bible study that God has convicted me of my anger and frustration during the hours of 8-2. Homeschooling. I suck at this. It just brings tears to my eyes when I think about how hard this has been. I feel like such a failure. One of the heart issues the Lord just keeps bringing up is my battle to want to be in control. Most of my frustrations and anger come from not having things my way.


What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don't they come from your desires that battle within you?..... James 4:1

I love order, I wrestle with perfectionism. I freak out when things are out of wack. How in the WORLD did I end up in urban ministry, because bay,baaay, nothing EVER goes as plan here. God cracks me up!! (as I am balling like a baby right now) I am having to repent every morning towards my child, I told some friends of mine that my husband and my child will soon diagnosed me with bipolar if I don't get it together.

But...

That's it. I can't and wont have it together. God knew what He was doing when He called our family to this. This was HIS good, pleasing and acceptable will for me.I read the blogs of other moms who home school and I am amazed, many with multiple children and I'm like, "how in the world does she do all that", "SHE DID WHAT?-make HER OWN LAUNDRY DETERGENT??! What the heck?!!!! Clearly, I need to get saved!! (LOL)


That's when God uses a friend and His word to remind me, "Nicole, that's the grace God has given them, not you. What Grace looks like for me will not be the same for you." God promises to provide the GRACE I need to do what I AM SUPOSE TO DO. I cant preach this sermon enough to myself. God knows the natural bent of all our hearts and knows what idols we hold to dear. This is a way HE HAS CHOSEN to remove mine. I want to finish well with homeschooling and as one friend so wisely said the other night, "my child, is my neighbor" That's right, she is and I must love her as the LORD commanded, better than myself. Just as I want to love the poor, needy, the teenager around me, I must love my child in the same way.I must practice (because godliness just doesn't happen, it must be practiced) what it means to be slow to speak,quick to listen, slow to get angry. Remembering the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.

Pray for me.




For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age,while we wait for the blessed hope—the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good. Titus 2:10-14

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Lord, Please Not Another One!!


•About 1 million teenage girls in the U.S. (which is about 10% of the girls age 15-19) become pregnant each year.
•It is estimated that approximately 1/3 of pregnant teens have abortions, 14% have miscarriages, and 52% give birth.
•About 72% of teens who give birth are not married.
•About 75% of teens who give birth are first-time mothers.
•Over 175,000 of the teens who give birth each year are under the age of 18.
•Eighty percent of young teenage moms end up in poverty and on welfare.
•The sons of young teenage moms are 2.7 times more likely to end up in prison than sons born to girls who did not bear children until they were at least 20.
•If teenage girls would delay childbearing until the age of 20.5, the incarceration rate across the U.S would decrease by 3.5%. This would amount to a long-range savings of one billion dollars in correctional costs and three billion dollars in law enforcement costs.
•If teenage girls delayed childbearing until after the age of 21, the rate and costs would be reduced even further. In addition, if less of these young men are incarcerated, then they are able to better contribute to the support of their own children.
•A study in Illinois found that children of teenage mothers are twice as likely to be abused and neglected than are children of 20 or 21 year old mothers. It is estimated that as many as 5% of foster-care placements would not be needed if teenage childbearing were eliminated.

Source: Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention — Fact Sheet #50, Jan. 1997, Adolescent Motherhood: Implications for the Juvenile Justice System by Rebecca A. Maynard, Ph.D., and Eileen M. Garry



It's been 3 odd years or so sense we have been involved in urban ministry and I don't believe the time here or any CCDA conference has helped me get use to the number of middle school and teenage pregnancies that happen around me everyday. I just dont get it. It's becoming such a huge part of our community that it isnt shoking anymore. That bothers me and I am tired of seeing it. The statiscs above bothers me and so do the reality of it all. Lord, please help!!

Monday, October 11, 2010

The Fatherless and A Couple Of Links


Now all I see is money cars jewels stars/ womanizers/ tough guys/ guns knives and scars/ drug pushers/ thug/ strippers/ fast girls/ fast life/ everything I wanted and everything I could ask life/ if this aint livin then they lied well/ Guess I married an old wives tale/ wow fail/ I don't know another way to go/ this is the way they ever showed/I got this emptiness inside that got fighting for approval cause I missed out on daddy saying way to go/ aint get that verbal affirmation/ know how to treat a woman/ know how to fix an engine to keep the car running/ so I'm look at the media/ and I'm following what they feed me/ rap stars, trap stars, who ever wants to lead me/ Even though they lie, they still tell me they love me/ they say I'm good at bad things/ but atleast they're proud of me/
-Lecrae 'Just Like you'


These lyrics are being spoken from the heart of a man who grew up in a fatherless home and the effects it had on him. Just like this artist, our boys are having to get their cues on manhood from whomever is around them at the time,drug pushers, T.V. shows, rap artist. Where have all the men gone? I sit and trying to imagine a community, as well as ministry participation where there is much men involvement. Oh, how that would transform our world as we know it. My heart breaks tonight.

I want to leave you with a link to a very good article on the Fatherless. When you are done there, go and read the statistics on the impact of boys growing up in a fatherless household. Please pray with me that God would raise up more godly men to impact our communities and churches. Pray that He would send an out pouring of his spirit amongst our generation so that the ones that follow will not suffer.Children without fathers need men who love Jesus to practice what God the Father teaches them. May the Lord raise up more men to do so.



Patrick Moynihan, 1966, America Magazine

"... there is one unmistakable lesson in American history: a community that allows large numbers of young men to grow up in broken families, dominated by women, never acquiring any stable relationship to male authority, never acquiring any set of rational expectations about the future--that community asks for and gets chaos. Crime, violence, unrest, disorder. . .are not only to be expected, they are very near to inevitable. And they are richly deserved."

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Harvest Is Plentiful-25 Most Dangerous Neighborhoods




Listed below are the 2010 Most Dangerous Neighborhoods. This exclusive data was developed by Dr. Andrew Schiller's team at Neighborhoodscout.com and based on FBI data from all 17,000 local law enforcement agencies.This year Chicago took the spot from Cincinnati, while Atlanta has the highest number of neighborhoods making the list(4).


You can review the complete list here. As you observe and read please keep each city in ya prayers, and pray that the Lord would help us, the church,RUN(as one wise man said) to such areas with the gospel.



He told them, "The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.-Luke 10:2