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

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Humility & The Kingdom Of God -Intro.

It's amazing. God has and is reshaping my views on who He is and what is the Kingdom of God. I'm really trying to grow in learning and understanding,just what is the Kingdom of God. In the past, I would have given you a picture of the Kingdom being, Gods people being very knowledgeable in their doctrine. Being able to call out all Five Points of Calvinism(TULIP).  ( in NO way am I saying theology is NOT important, it is... I am speaking of having a theology that does not lead to application!)
I would have broken down to you half of the Puritan paperback books I would find myself immersed in day after day. If you weren't of reformed theology you or what you thought, didn't sit well at all with me. SOMETIMES, I would struggle with pride in knowing my child could quote the infamous Catechisms by age 3, oh how my pride loved that. I'm a reader, I love to read and the more I read the more I found that knowledge puffs up. After coming on staff, I found that as much as all that information I knew,which was good, and very beneficial to my walk with Christ,there was a picture of God I was lacking. There were pictures of the Kingdom I couldn't accept due to all my book readings and knowledge. When I think back, I'm wondering with all that information I had, all the books I read, where was the practical living? Where was the tolerance for others and what they believed. My brother and sisters in other denominations were busy(not in a show off way) being the hands and fit of Jesus while I was sitting around asking others, "what good books have you read by (insert favorite author here)". So, with that being said, I'm thankful for having learned all I did while being exposed to one area of scripture and view of God, yet, I'm just as thankful for where I am now. Being challenged on what I believe, and asking myself  how does it play it self out in loving and serving the poor??  What good is all your book reading and doctrine if it doesn't move or stir you to action, action that leads to God's glory( of course there is many ways to apply). Where we are as a family,and what we see and learn you can't get from out of a book. You won't learn in seminary,and you won't get it from associating yourself with certain crowds of believers. The Kingdom of God consist of many things.
My goal this year is to grow in Christ like humility!  May we all pursue all things for the sake of God's glory and the benefit of our neighbors!

I'll be back to share a few inside glimpse of what God has shown me in my life personally in another blog post.

  The pursuit of knowledge for its own sake, without seeking God, is foolishness.

“Then I applied myself to the understanding of wisdom . . . but I learned that this, too, is a chasing after the wind. For with much wisdom comes much sorrow; the more knowledge, the more grief”
- Ecclesiastes1:17:18


 "He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God".-Micah 6:8





Thursday, December 8, 2011

Smiling

God is rocking my world.
4 1/2 years into ministry and God still continues to reveal Himself to me and give me glimps of HOPE. Some days are tough, some good, some great! Even through all the difficulty, I still have days that make me feel fresh, and zealous as I did when we first began our journey. I've been studying gratitude a lot lately. I must say it has done wonders for my soul. I think this new perspective I'm gaining has a lot to do with it. I lay awake in bed tonight smiling at the future, at the possibilities for my hood and the kids. I really believe God is doing a new thing and has for a while now. I can't wait to see what the new year holds for Common Ground, the possibilities are endless!
What a privilege it is to serve the Lord!











- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

CGM-Year End Letter


transforming communities by investing in urban youth
Thank You
Bryan Kelley
 
Article Image
As I reflect over the last year my hope is to glorify God, encourage you, and ask for your help.
   Our vision continues to become a reality as we see lives and the neighborhood transformed in many ways.
   My wife drove around the corner from our home and saw a beautiful picture of the kingdom of God the other day. A father was sitting on the front porch with his daughter, calling out words for her school spelling bee. Her younger sister sat at his feet watching. The picture of a godly father and husband taking responsibility for and nurturing his children is rare in our neighborhood and my wife was overcome with thankfulness as she sat and watched. 
   If I were writing a parable to fit in with Jesus' I would write this one as: "The Kingdom of God is like a man who was lost, finding his identity in a gang and living out hate and isolation in drive-by shootings. He shot people and in return was shot. The King loved him so much, even in his rebellion and isolation, that he sent some of his own sons to show him love and share the good news of His Kingdom. His heart was changed upon hearing the gospel and he repented of his sin and lifestyle and he and his whole family called upon the name of the Lord." And now this same the man is representing the King in our neighborhood by being a father and a husband, and leading many other kids daily to the King and away from gangs.
  This snapshot of the vision God has given us is one of many we have seen this past year. Pray for us, for this family, and our community as we all have a LONG way to go.
  Consider some of the things I am thankful for:
 
  •   In the last year generous people contributed towards our brand new gym floor, where after-school programming occurs and new basketball teams now play.
  •   Four homes were completed by our partner ministry, House2House, that we launched.
  •   Our “Annex” building was completed across the street, which now houses our new Urban SEED Xchange youth entrepreneurship program and House2House.
  •   All the funds for the T-shirt company machinery our kids are starting have been pledged, and production on shirts will begin soon!
  •   We are now moving toward hiring teachers to help us further develop our kids academically.
  •   We have now begun “Discipleship” groups with 26 older kids outside of the programs. We trust that God would use these groups to build leaders.
  •   Strong Tower at Washington Park, a wonderful new partner church plant, has now begun in our community and is focusing much of its ministry on the families of the kids we serve.
  Would you consider a year-end gift to help us continue to invest in the kids of Washington Park and Gibbs Village? 
 
  I want to thank you on behalf of my family, our staff family, and many families in our neighborhood for the prayer and personal and financial investments you have made over the last year. It would be crazy and foolish on my part not to see that God is using us together to impact this community and to change us for the better in the process as we work together. Thank you for your partnership.
 
Psalm 34:3,
 
Bryan Kelly
Christmas Store
Toys and Gift Cards are pouring in!!! Thanks to all who are giving, have given, and those who are still planning to! We appreciate your help in making our 5th Annual Christmas Store a success for our community.
Website
If you've been to our website recently, you'll have noticed some outdated material. We are currently in the process of getting it updated and (hopefully) in a format where we can update all the time! 







Monday, December 5, 2011

2011 CGM Christmas Store Flyer

It seems Christmas is almost upon us and our annual Christmas Store is almost ready to kick off as well. I was talking with Bryan Kelly and it's apparent that the whole staff is looking forward to another successful Christmas Store.


However, we are currently only at a quarter of what we normally raise for the Christmas Store. I understand that everyone is cutting back and that budgets are tight, but we would be remiss if we didn't send out a second appeal for money, gift cards to Wal-Mart and Toys-R-Us, and volunteers to help during our Christmas Store event.

I recently talked with one of our building's pest control technicians, Richard. He was telling me about how he's trying to teach his children about what it means to give, especially during the holiday season, and not just receive. He and his family have recently begun trying to make a tradition out of finding a family in need, finding out the ages of the children, and taking his own kids to the store and allowing them to pick out toys and gifts for the family they would help. He said his youngest has already come up to him, this year, and asked: "Daddy, when are going to buy toys for the other kids?" You could see in his eyes and hear in his voice the pride of a father over his child. It was quite encouraging for me to hear his story.

Whether or not you give are able to give to our Christmas Store, or any other worthy program this Christmas season, we hope you are able to enjoy fellowship with friends and family and to have sweet, sweet communion with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ as we celebrate His birth and the arrival and manifestation of God's grace for sinners.

Grace and peace to all who love the Lord Jesus Christ with love incorruptible,
(and Merry Christmas)

Matt Wolfe
Media Director
Common Ground Montgomery





Saturday, December 3, 2011

CGM 2011 Fam Fest Video

The video below was shown today at our 2011 Fam Fest. It's a parent/kid interview on what  is Common Ground. All parents and kids in video are apart of our program and many have been for the last 4 or so years. Our Fam Fest is held twice a year, once in the fall and again in the spring. Today, was great! Great food, great fun, great fellowship with community!! God has brought us very far, and we are expecting to grow great lengths over the next couple of months. (exciting details to come)
Hope you enjoy the video. I cried as I saw it for the first time, what a picture of Gods goodness and redemption!

Enjoy!

CGM - Common Ground Be Like... from R6L [matt wolfe] on Vimeo.