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

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Wake Up Wednesday- Precious Puritans

The lyrics in this song is so strong, I don't feel the need to elaborate.
Look deeply & listen closely...



Sunday, October 21, 2012

Drop Your Nets



One of the things I love to experience is watching the Holy Spirit work in the lives of those we minister to. A couple of months ago, our church plant celebrated our 1yr anniversary and I cant even begin to tell you how excited I was to have been apart of such a hard, yet very encouraging year.

That particular Sunday, our worship service was packed with parents and kids from the community! Families that have come and gone through CGM the past 5 years, many of whom we couldn't wait to see walk into worship service. We don't know what the LORD is doing here, but we can see the Spirit moving and blowing and we're excited.

I love the markee in the picture above. This picture was taken by a neighbor of mine of a church in our community. I love it because it explains and symbolizes exactly what it is the Lord has called us to do in this community. No need to be having a good time with your neighbors when you haven't tried to point them to the ONE who is GOOD. God promises to clean them if we just GO OUT and bring/point to them to Him.
I'm witnessing many women cry out to the Lord for help. I'm having conversation with teen boys who believe its impossible to walk with the Lord and live in the hood due to the pressures of the streets, yet, I'm also watching his face light up as I tell Him about the power of God and how all things are possible with Him. I'm witnessing teen girls whom I've walked with for 4.5 years, finally wrestle with the information God allowed us to plant in their hearts back at the age of 16. It is now they are beginning to except and respond to the gospel.

Constant reminder in urban ministry, it's NOTHING I can do, it's NOT my strength, my ability, my good words, my going out to pursue that will change the hearts of man. I confess, I've been frustrated, angry, depressed, and more frustrated because I don't  see the results I want to see when I think they need to be seen. What a promise for God to leave because HE knows how heavy this burden is. God knew I would struggle and wrestle with seeing the fruit of our labor. His love amazes me!! God only wants our faithfulness. He will clean them as I point them to HIM!

I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols.I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.- Ezekiel 36:25-37



Lord, please teach me how to love, to dwell and trust YOU to work in the hearts of those I minister to. You and you ALONE change hearts, may I be as faithful to your people and this calling, as you are to me in my relationship with you.
In Jesus name, 
Amen.

Song of The Week-Tell The World

Lecrae & Mali Music : Tell The World 
Album: Gravity -Lecrae

What a privilege to be saved by the LORD, captured, transfered over from one kingdom to the other and called to live and be apart of the great commission of telling the world of all the GREAT things He has done.
Tell the World!!!

 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Calling All College Aged Folk! - CGM Summer Resident Mission 2013

The CGM Summer Resident Mission is a nine-week experience on the West Side of Montgomery, Alabama. Interns will live, serve, learn, and grow with other college age or older folks, and neighborhood friends in a neighborhood that is under resourced and stressed in many ways. The project runs an 8 week summer camp during the day that consists of about 100 neighborhood children between the ages of 6-14 that will keep them away from idle behavior that leads to destruction. You will have an opportunity to lead them in daily small group Bible studies and character development training while also engaging in sports, community service, field trips, music and many other fun activities with them throughout the summer.

Check out the video below to learn more!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Wake Up Wednesday- The Line:Poverty In America-It's Not What You Think

"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.' - Matthew 25:40


Every 4 years my stomach begins to have this ever increasing knot that doesn't seem to go away. Politics are a mess, and with this years up coming election, the knots have begun. Here's to more empty promises, deception and lies all brought to us by your favorite political party. My prayer is just that we don't forget about the least of these. The following documentary will shed some light on poverty in America- watch, tune in, and may the LORD use it to help you to WAKE UP!!


Spread the word!


"The Line- Written and directed by Emmy Award-winning producer Linda Midgett, it chronicles the very real stories of four real people struggling with real poverty in America today.

You’ll meet a banker in the suburban Midwest who used to earn six-figures a year and now, after the economic collapse, must go to a food bank to feed his three kids; a fisherman on the Gulf Coast of Louisiana who has watched his livelihood and his culture wash away in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and a devastating off-shore oil spill; a blue collar guy in North Carolina who worked hard his whole life but lost his job, became homeless, and started over as a restaurant bus boy; and a single mom in Chicago who battles daily to ensure that her son is safe, healthy, and has the opportunity to go to college.


The idea of the film is simple: People living in and struggling with poverty telling their own stories. They are beautiful, inspiring, challenging, and full of grace."



The Line premieres at 8 p.m. (EST) Oct. 2 — the night before the first presidential debate. You can watch it here. 



Sunday, September 9, 2012

Next Generation

"Bow your heads and close your eyes. Jesus thank you for allowing us to come and spend the night at Mrs Nicole and Kevin house. Thank you for allowing us to know more about each other and how to love each other. Thank you for your wurd, and please keep helping us to learn more about it, and what it means to be a disciple,and what disciple group iz. Help us to grow more into loving you and knowing how important it was that you died on the cross for our sins.We love you, In Jesus name, Amen" - 10 yr old "H"

One of the things I love is teaching younger girls/women how to study and go deep into Gods word. I remember when I first became a believer and received a concordance as a gift, my heart began to beat soo fast as I was told what I could do with it. Oh my word! I opened that thing up next to my bible and became the Queen of topical studies! LOL!! I remember being late to class and to work because I would spend HOURS studying the scriptures. Praise the LORD I learned stewardship and balance later, because that was NOT CUTE!

Having the privilege to pass this down to my daughter when she was really old enough to grasp this was all I was waiting for. To guide her and train her little mind to look for Jesus and His Holy Spirit was an overwhelming task, yet joyous one.

My husband and I are very serious about discipleship. Teaching and training urban youth on the importance of walking with the Lord at school, home and on the job. Passing on the legacy of being students of the word and NOT CGM or it's staff. I sat in my home tonight and continued to remind these young girls, "one day we will be GONE. Staff will be gone and the doors of CGM will be closed,BUT, GOD will forever REMAIN with you. His Helper will be here with you as well, you must learn and know what it means to walk with Jesus and follow His Holy Spirit on your own."

It was NEVER meant (and will NEVER be) for the people in our community to depend on us. To look to US or depend on us in ways that removes Christ out of the picture. If that ever happens we are not doing what we where called here to do, and that is, to point all of our community to our Savior... Our Refuge, our Strong Tower, the ultimate Provider, our Peace, our only HOPE!

As a staff we want to develop our youth into being  healthy,mature Christians. Having the necessary tools it takes to have their OWN personal walk with Jesus apart from the ministry.We know that's what God would want as well. I loved the sincerity in "H" prayer above. We're talking about a little girl who stayed in fights and mess in our after school program, class bully, and contentious. God gripped her little heart as my daughter and a friend shared the gospel with her last week.She accepted Christ in my car last Sunday and now is excited about learning more about Jesus.

God continues to show up in my hood in some pretty amazing ways! I began to cry when I think about all that He has done while we've been here. Lord, thank you for this view!! Continue to show up, change me, and change my hood! Your works are amazing!!!

Please continue to pray for us! Thank you!!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Mother Teresa of Grant Park

The following was taken from Robert D. Lupton book, Theirs Is The Kingdom:Celebrating the Gospel in Urban America. This book was VERY instrumental in me and my husbands decision to follow the Lords calling to Urban Ministry. I HIGHLY recommend you read it.


"There is a saint who lives in our neighborhood. I call her the Mother Teresa of Grant Park. She has been an inner-city missionary for nearly thirty years. She has no program, no facility, and no staff. She lives in virtual poverty. Her house blends well with the poor who are her neighbors. There are box springs and mattresses on the porch and grass growing up around the old cars in her front yard.

She goes about feeding and clothing the poor with donations from concerned people. She works all hours of the day and night. She is difcult to reach by phone, and she doesn't give tax deductible receipts to her donors. To the consternation of her mission board, she seldom submits ministry reports (although for years she has faithfully saved all her receipts--in a large trash bag in her living room).

The Mother Teresa of Grant Park appears to have a poorly ordered life. She doesn't plan ahead much. She says she needs to stay free to respond to the impulse of God's Spirit. And that she does. Through her, God works quiet miracles day after day.

I, on the other hand, love order. I am of a people who love order. I was taught long ago to appreciate a neatly made bed and a well-trimmed yard. I am passing this value on to my children. We eat our meals together when everyone is seated and after the blessing is said. A calendar attached to our refrigerator door helps us organize our family activities. Order is a fundamental goal of our household.

Order is also a fundamental tool of achievers. It enables us to control our time, our money, our efficiency. We can arrange our thoughts, build computers, and soar to the moon. If a task of humanity is to"subdue the earth," then doubtless we achievers will provide the leadership. We are quite sure that God is a God of order. Our worship style and systematic theologies are clear reflections of that.

To the poor, order is a lesser value. Most pay little attention to being on time, budgeting money, or planning ahead. They may spend their last dollar on a Coke and a bag of chips to fill them up for three hours instead of buying rice or beans to last for three days. A mother may keep her children out of school to babysit so she can see the family's caseworker-trading the future for the present. A family seems not to mind tall grass, old tires, and Coke cans in the yard. Mealtime is whenever people get home. They seem to react rather than to prepare. Often their faith in God appears simple, emotional, even illogical. God helps you when you're in trouble and "whups" you when you're bad. He's good and does a lot of miracles.

Perhaps it cannot be otherwise when survival dominates a people's thinking. But something disquiets me when I reflect on these poor neighbors of mine and the Mother Teresa of Grant Park. Their "disorderly" lifestyles keep them from going anywhere, from achieving, from asserting control over their futures. Unless they change, they will never be upwardly mobile and self-sufficient. They will never be able to create successful organizations nor enjoy the finer things of life. They will remain dependent, simple, poor.

Now here's what bothers me. Why would Christ say, "Blessed are the poor, for theirs is the kingdom of God" (Luke 6:20)? Could it be that our achievement values differ from the values of his kingdom? And his comments about the first being last and the lastbeing first in that kingdom-what does that say to us well-ordered leader types? You see why it disturbs me, don't you?"

Thursday, September 6, 2012

The Power of Presence

"There is nothing like the power of PRESENCE that says I will "be there" for someone else, I may not have the solution but I will be there!!" -Dr. Anthony Gordon


The burdens of the inner city are many. One can't help but to at times feel this weight of wanting to "fix" all the problems that go on day and night. "W" never thought she would be the one in a domestic dispute that would leave her unconscious and in the hospital. Growing up in the worst part of the city was enough, trying to raise kids alone was enough. What more would she have to deal with?!
"S" loves to come play at our house. Every opportunity she gets , she looks for a reason to call me to come get her. I often pull up to have her running out of the home while some drug transaction is happening on her door steps. The issues that surround her should not exist for any child. A prostitute walking pass our home asked my husband to pray for her. Specifically she wanted him to pray she would one day have a husband. I often wonder was this because she just wanted to feel valued,loved, have feelings of worth?!

Presence is powerful! We have the amazing privilege to position ourselves in places that the light of Christ needs to shine so desperately. Places where those who are hopeless are able to see and experience redemption and hope, where those who are running for shelter are able to be pointed to the refuge of Christ!
I sat with "W" as I listened to her story of abuse. We cried together and I begged the Lord to give her eyes to see Him, protect her, and have a relationship with Him. In tears she thanked me for being there, she said she felt as if she didn't have any friends, but seeing me show up, was enough for her to know at least she had one person who cared. I lovingly said, "oh, but there is another, who longs to carry these burdens more than me, Jesus is here and He cares. That's why I'm here because He sent me". Showing up for your neighbors during the most darkest times is such a wonderful reminder to them of Gods presence. He sees, He knows, He is there!



I'm able to rejoice as I know CHRIST presence and comfort is shinning forth as I  watch many little girls run through my home, teenage boys funk up my living room from horse playing, elderly women call me a faithful friend for taking them back and forth to the grocery store. Visiting teen moms in hospital, praying with girls late at night over phone who are heart broken over some dude, answering your door at 3am in the morning, running out in the middle of the night to be by the side of a kid who just lost their mom to cancer or  one who lost their dad to jail.

MY presence, YOUR presence, bear witness to someone far more greater than you and I. Lord help me to not forget, I'm representing you!!

We're demonstrating the Kingdom of God every time we show up and serve.

Maximize the power of your presence where you are! Let's remember our cities so desperately need to see Jesus, don't rob them of this picture!


You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand-Psalm 16:11

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Wake Up Wednesday-Shine

But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. ... -Matthew 22


Todays Wake Up Wednesday post is about education. The Lord has given me such a heavy burden for the education system and the kids across american that the system is failing, especaily those in lower income neighborhoods. The following song was recorded by John Legend for the movie Waiting for Superman.   If you haven't seen it I highly recommend you watch it.
As a church,  as Christians, we should be greatly concerned that every child in america no matter where they live or how much money their parents make have an opportunity to have an outstanding education.  It's so easy to remove ourselves from this issue, and only be concerned about our own children and their private and or homeschool education. The education system need more believers who are compassionate and full of mercy to change the way things are being done.

 Please pray how you can make a difference in your community.  Adopt a classroom,build relationships with educatiors and be salt and light in your local schools.   Fixing America's public education system won't be easy -- but together, it's possible!!



Here are a few links to get you started:

Waiting for Superman

Adopt A Classroom

Stand For Children


Thursday, August 30, 2012

Life Is Hard

"Do not let your hearts be troubled; believe in God,believe also in Me" -John 14:1
The words of Jesus are so comforting. Sometime I sit and think about the faith that HE has given our family to move into this community. The child-like faith HE has gave us to even have the desire to want to serve on staff with CGM. After years of serving, I find often that this faith sometimes is tested, and even seems to deminish. What was once bold, joyous and zealous can become a duty, mundane almost. What happens?
The changing of the seasons of life can bring great challenges, kids grow up and become rebellious teens, staff come and go, sin begins to show its ugly face, you fight to remember why you even decided to be apart of such a hard process of redemption. After much wrestling and searching for Truth, it is then you remember....
You remember what your trials are for and what they produce. Painful circumstances allowed by God to change my conduct and my character. Trials...every one experiences them.
When I sit and think about our ministry, community and our new church plant, sometimes I get overwhelmed of the thought of all that has to happen in order for them to grow into what the Lord wants them to be. I was reminded of something very encouraging this morning, the trials we face can be compared to a bounced check. What an embarrassing thing to happen! You find out you didn't have the resources you thought you did and that is very frustrating! You feel stuck with a problem that you don't have the resources to solve. I often find the temptation here is to become depressed, angry with the Lord and frustrated with life to the point where I just shut down and withdraw!!! You begin to feel so desperate!!!
I then see the Lord is trying to grab our attention. We flat out don't have the resources!!! HE is bringing us to a place of needing Him and deeper faith. This is a new level of dependence on Him and He knows exactly what we need.
He knows what my community needs, He knows what my church needs, He knows what our ministry needs in order to know the He is God and He is the one who sits on the throne!!
The answer to our trials at the end of the day is NOT a new environment, but a NEW YOU!
Ministry (life) can be and is messy, Praise God we serve a God who isn't afraid or ashamed to get His hands dirty!! May we learn to follow in his foot steps!
I'm praying today I get the full benefit from these trials I face. As I once read, life is short and eternity is very long! Learn now!!
"But He knows,the way I take; when he has tried me, I shall come out as gold"- Job 23:10
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Wake Up Wednesday-Actions Speak Louder



Today's song calls you to respond to what is happening outside the U.S..
Actions Speak Louder (Swoope, Lecrae,Tedashii & Jai)  is a song that was released through Collision Records where 100% of the proceedes from Itunes were donated to His Voice Global to build forth an orphanage in the war torn country of Sudan.

His Voice is a non profit organization that aims to equip the downtrodden, many of which are orphans, abandoned children, and widows; theologically train church leaders; and encourage the local church to get involved with what God is doing among the nations. The countries His Voice is currently involved in are South Sudan, India and North Korea.

Take a moment after listening to this song and pray. Ask the Lord how might you be involved in what HE is doing in the countries above. Even if its becoming a prayer partner, I'm sure they would love that.  SPEAK LOUD for orphans in the Sudan!!!



Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Wake Up Wednesday-Blind Eyes

I'm starting something new here. Every Wednesday I will post a song, quote, bible passage or sermon on Faith, Action, Mercy, and or Justice.
My prayer is that the post here will always encourage and challenge you to love and good deeds. I pray the post here will give you a clear vision of Jesus, the gospel and what it means to love your neighbor as yourself.

So, here it is. The first Wake Up Wednesday post is a song by Christian artist Swoope, this song is called Blind Eyes-The Good American- a closer look at social injustice and activism. Use this song as a way for you to examine your OWN stance in the turmoils of this world.





Monday, August 20, 2012

The Great Pursuit




When the LORD first spoke through Hosea, the LORD said to Hosea, "Go, take to yourself a wife of harlotry and have children of harlotry; for the land commits flagrant harlotry, forsaking the LORD."
Hosea.1:2

I remember as a young christian reading this book and thinking, " I can't imagine what that's like, to have to chase and pursue someone after they have turned their back on you"

It didn't make sense. It didn't seem fair. Why would God ask Hosea to do such a thing? I begin to read more. God chose this man to be a living illustration of His love for his chosen people. That was such a "good" and heart warming story back then as I read it. I remember journaling about it more after reading the book 'Redeeming Love' by Francine Rivers. I was excited about this love! I would have never imagined the Lord would years later ask me to do the same thing. Why?! Because He displays such love upon me everyday.

I once read that our hearts are an idol factory, constantly exchanging one idol for another. Man, how I AGREE!!! Everyday, I play the harlot in some form. I'm constantly having to examine my heart and ask "whom is it today will I serve".

As a urban youth worker, I have found myself having to ask that question a lot. Having to examine closely the log that is in my own eye as I notice the speak that is in a lot of the kids we minister to. Ministry, has been so difficult the past couple of months. I know I've said that before, but this time it's serious. So serious in fact I, for the first time, told my husband I was ready to move and be done. I found myself, wanting to give up, ready to pack up, and move as far away as we could. it just seems, we keep getting hit, blow, after blow, after blow. The weight of the ministry and burden I feel for the kids and other personal issues was just too much for me to handle at one time.

After ministering to people for so long sometimes you expect things to be different, you don't expect neighbors to turn on you, or girls you disciple lie on you or to you. You don't expect parents whom your loved with every imperfect ounce of your being to tell you in so many words, they don't want to talk to with you anymore.

You don't expect to get stole from, you don't expect to be slandered or gossip about. People whom you have once considered family
now have become distant associates.

God quickly reminded me of his pursuit of me.....

Then the LORD said to me, "Go again, love a woman who is loved by her husband, yet an adulteress, even as the LORD loves the sons of Israel, though they turn to other gods and love raisin cakes."- Hosea 3:1

Even in the midst of heartache, betrayal, pain and embarrassment, God calls me to pursue my neighbor ( and their kids) as HE has ALWAYS from eternity pass pursued me in my foolishness. This is the gospel! This is what it means to forgive seventy times seven. God humbled me and is still doing so. I'm called to live out this faith I so desperately claim I believe in all the time,it's funny how life's difficulties is when I have the BEST opportunity to do so. Am I good at it? heck no, I suck! This has been the most draining couple of months ever, yet it has also been the most rewarding. Pursing others, especially your "enemies" (or non) is at the heart of Jesus message. I'm left venerable, I've had to confess so much sin to the kids I minister to. I'm sure I'm not finish.
I've had to swallow so much pride and realize that people liking me, loving me and thinking I'm great is NOT what I'm here for, that is NOT the task that I've been called to. I'm here to make His name great! WE've been called here to protect the name of the Lord and not our own reputations.

I'm learning how to die y'all! Die to my own rights, die to my controlling ways, I'm learning how to untangle myself from the lie that successful ministry means that things are "going well", growing in numbers and having many kids and adults "like" me.

I'm so thankful Jesus came to save the sinner! I'm so thankful that Jesus came to set the captives free! Praise God that message ain't just for my neighbor but that also includes ME!!


O Love that wilt not let me go,
I rest my weary soul in thee;
I give thee back the life I owe,
That in thine ocean depths its flow
May richer, fuller be.

The God I know and serve is relentless! May we all by HIS grace be as He in our love towards one another.





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The First Week




Words cannot begin to describe what it's like to not have my baby at home with me. This new season has come with so many highs and lows. Kai completed her first week of private school and it was great! She enjoys her teacher, her new friends and even though it's been a little rough, she is learning how to enjoy the new work load. I'm able to teach and live out the gospel before her in a new way because of this new season and the new challenges we are up against. I expect God to faithful, I expect His mercies to be new every morning, I expect His grace to abound to our family in ways unimaginable. Please take some time out today and pray for all those who are educators and students returning to school this week. May the peace of Christ & and the glory of God surround our schools this year and forever more.


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday, August 9, 2012

CGM Summer Camp Recap 2012

Our media director is currently working on next year's  Summer Resident Mission recruitment video. What you are about to watch is a quick video of one of the interns singing a song she says represents what this whole summer was about. As I've stated before, this was one of THE most challenging summer for me as a staff. Yet, I 'm thankful for every trial, every closed door, every conflict I've encountered. It's grown us as a staff, community and most importantly we've grown as believers. This ministry is about the LORD and His kingdom. He WILL reign here in the Washington Park community!!! Eventually, EVERY knee will bow and EVERY tongue will confess JESUS IS LORD!

Worship Him with me!!




Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Teenage Mother-Reconcile

I'm so burdened.  I've seen this and continue to see situations like this too many times in our community. Girls searching for love, significance, acceptance and joy. I pray tonight that God reveals himself to all the broken across the nation. That their hearts are healed, comforted and soft as flesh. Jesus is the only ONE who can bring hope to these streets.

God we wait for you!



FULL MUSIC VIDEO

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Summer Reading 2012

Ahhhhhh, the days of summer! I tuned into the news tonight and I  saw we Alabamians will hit the 100 degree mark this week.  You know what that means? Ya girl wont touch the door knob! I'm staying in out of this heat. Oh, and the humidity is crazy! Let's discuss how someone actually called me "Chaka Kahn" while out at the grocery story rocking my fabulous fro. (blank stare) Anyway, all this indoor speaking has me excited about all the reading I'm going to get done this summer!! (Lord willing) 

Here are a few books I have on the shelf to complete by the end of September:

This first book I listen to through my Audible.com account. :)
Has food become your source of comfort? After a hard day at work, or a long day with the kids, don't you deserve that big piece of chocolate cake? Lysa TerKeurst used to think so, but that was before God showed her that what she really needed was more of Himself. In Made to Crave, Lysa won't tell you what to eat or how much to exercise, rather she explores why we make unhealthy food choices. She'll help you discover what it is you're really seeking, and how that need can only be met in our faithful Heavenly Father. And when your cravings are satisfied with His love, a healthy body will follow.



Kay Arthur inductive study of the Gospel of John
Journey through John's Gospel with respected Bible teachers Arthur and De Lacy! Bringing you face-to-face with God's precepts, promises, and purposes, this inductive study will deepen your understanding of the Fourth Gospel by helping you to observe, interpret, and apply the text yourself.


*Kindle Edition*
If you’ve ever wanted to tear the 31st chapter of Proverbs out of your bible this book is for you.
She is a wife, mom, business owner, seamstress, she serves the needy, speaks life and wisdom, and seems to be a major overachiever, perfectionist type. Except that…she’s not. Come along and journey with Amy and take a look at the real woman of Proverbs 31. She isn’t as perfect as she seems. In fact, I think she is a lot like you and me.
In Pursuit of Proverbs 31, Amy Bayliss gives you a biblical view of the scriptures that are found tucked away at the end of the book of wisdom. With Southern charm and raw, real emotions she’ll tug at the core of your being. She’ll give you a new perspective and inspire you to pursue Proverbs 31; she’ll inspire you to pursue Jesus.



*CGM Summer Internship Book Reading*

Genocide. Terrorism. Hate crimes. In a world where racism is far from dead, is unity amidst diversities even remotely possible? Sharing from his own experiences growing up in the segregated South, pastor John Piper thoughtfully exposes the unremitting problem of racism. Instead of turning finally to organizations, education, famous personalities, or government programs to address racial strife, Piper reveals the definitive source of hope—teaching how the good news about Jesus Christ actively undermines the sins that feed racial strife, and leads to a many-colored and many-cultured kingdom of God. Learn to pursue ethnic harmony from a biblical perspective, and to relate to real people different from yourself, as you take part in the bloodline of Jesus that is comprised of “every tongue, tribe, and nation.”


The Christian faith is supposed to produce deep, positive change. So why doesn't it seem to work in "real life"? That question screamed at Pastor Peter Scazzero when his church and marriage hit bottom and every Christian remedy produced nothing but anger and fatigue. As he began digging under the "good Christian" veneer, he uncovered entire emotional layers of his life that God had not yet touched. Discovering that his emotional immaturity had fed his spiritual immaturity, Scazzero experienced a spiritual revolution by biblically integrating emotional health and contemplative spirituality. In Emotionally Healthy Spirituality, Scazzero unveils what's wrong with our conventional means of "spiritual growth" and offers seven biblical, reality-tested, transformational steps that will help you live out your faith with authenticity, awareness, and a hunger for God.


Happy Reading :)

Catching Up




*my Discipleship group-S..H.E. Wise*


Every time I return to my blog I miss it. Blogging is very therapeutic for me. You may not be able to tell now a days due to my  non writing self , but it is. I remember spending hours in front of the computer excited to write about all that I had learned in a days work. Well, now there is so much going on that I'm forced to use discernment on what it is I want to write about.Which makes things hard.  I 'll tell you this, God is still at work. Now a days with our staff number down to a few, my plate is full. I'm thankful its the summer and I'm not homeschooling as much as I had been. God is still good!

Homeschooling......

Many of you read today in our family newsletter that our homeschooling days have come to an end. I'm going to miss having my baby at home with me. We really believe God is moving us into a new season. It's been a bit scary; yet, its exciting because you sit back and wonder what it is the Lord will do. We're doing some schooling early in the morning and then we head off to summer camp. Our days are long. Nonetheless, they are full of great kids, great fun and lots of snap shots of Jesus.  

Marriage......

I love this man of mine. God has taken my little world and rocked it upside down these past couple of months. I suck at loving those around me,especially my husband. I can be so very serlfish at times. I'm working on doing better day by day. Gods grace is sufficient right? Christ knew I wouldnt get this right. I'm so thankful His mercies are new every morning. Date nights mean so much more to me, as I really desire to know this man of mine more and prove to him, he is indeed loved. I'm thankful for him and I count it a joy and privilede to labor along side of him in this community. Praying the Lord bless our marriage, and provide a way for us to attend the Love Like You Mean it Cruise! (lol) A girl can dream can't she? Did you see that starting line up of speakers?! BEASTLY!!!!!! Pray ya'll! lol


Kids in Community.......


I'm amazed at how time flies. Many of our kids we met in 2nd and 3rd grade when CGM first started are now is high school!! One has graduated from high school and a couple will enter high school in the fall. Being here to witness the Lords work is just a blessing. These kids could be doing other things with their lives, yet by Gods grace they are sticking it out with us learning about Jesus and the cost of true discipleship. I'm enjoying studying the gospel of John with my daughter and 3 other girls. Every last one of them is hungry and to watch their eyes light up when the Holy Spirit reveals truth from the scriptures is truely amazing! These girls keep me on my toes.


Summer camp has been going really well! Its been cool watching the high school kids be developed into future leaders of this community. My husband and I for a while now have been wanting to see the indiginous step up and help lead this ministry. For its theirs anyway!! This group of young kids have did an amazing job helping lead bible studies, serve food, help with academics and group activities. After we are long gone these kids may still be here, its time they are eqquipped with the necessary resources to keep the flame burning. God knows what He is doing.



6 years...6 years into this ministry, this calling and God has moved mountains, and continues to equipp, encourage and plant His people to lead and learn in broken communities. I came in this wanting to see the Lord like never before, I stand today saying the same thing. I want to see the Lord, no matter what that means or what I need to do. My soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Keisha



I have had the joy of being best friends with one of the most wise, compassionate, hilarious, and loving girl one could ever met. My friend Keisha ended her 3 year journey as our only female staff this past week. She has entered a new season of life and has entrusted her future to the ONE who holds all things together. I would love to share with you her last blog post. God has used this young girl in amazing ways amongst our community and she will be missed. I'm so emotional, so I will just end this post here. (lol)
WE will miss you Keisha. Glory to GOd for your service and life. What a gift you are. :)

Click here to read her blog.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Thursday Meditations

Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.- Eph. 4:32-33

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Missional Communities

I love this video and the message /challenge behind it. As a ministry we are right here. I'm so excited about some of the NEW things the Lord has begun to do within our ministry amongst the kids in Washington Park. This summer will begin our missional challenge to them. I'll be back to share more on that later; until then, I pray this message encourages and challenges  you in your call to disciple the next generation.


A Few of My Favorite Tim Keller Quotes



“The Bible’s purpose is not so much to show you how to live a good life. The Bible’s purpose is to show you how God’s grace breaks into your life against your will and saves you from the sin and brokenness otherwise you would never be able to overcome… religion is ‘if you obey, then you will be accepted’. But the Gospel is, ‘if you are absolutely accepted, and sure you’re accepted, only then will you ever begin to obey’. Those are two utterly different things. Every page of the Bible shows the difference."


“A frightening proportion of our churches are trapped by what Frank Tillapaugh calls the “fortress church” mentality. That mentality is made up of attitudes that may be conscious or unconscious: “Let them come to us! Our doors are open.” “We come to church to have our needs met, to escape the cold, cruel world.” But there are biblical truths that knock flat the walls of our fortress. Every member is a minister. Every member has kingdom power to destroy strongholds. Through us Jesus continues to immerses himself in the needs of the world.....“The ministry of mercy, then, is the best advertising a church can have. It convinces a community that this church provides people with actions for their problems, not only talk. It shows the community that this church is compassionate."

Rest, Rest and More Rest


Ahhh! It's vacation time around these here parts. I plan on enjoying every bit of it.  Ministry has been such an emotional roller coaster ride the past couple of months. We're  taking this time to say,NO!  NO emails, No phone calls. Just me, my man, my little one and the other two we couldn't resist in bringing with us. I know, I know. Many have made the suggestion that we leave them behind, but, for Kevin and I, these two girls are apart of our family. We count it as a joy to have them with us.


After this week, we're hitting the ground running, or maybe walking a little fast.(ha!) Summer Camp begins, another season of cheerleading is underway. In addition, we are praying about ending a 3 year run of homeschooling. We've  always said homeschooling for us would be a year by year commitment. This is the year we fill out applications to have Kai enrolled in a private school. We don't know what will happen. We'll just do as God would have us and see if this is his will for us this fall. If so, she'll be in school, and I most likely will return to Cosmetology school. Owning my own shop has always been a dream. I've always loved the idea of having a hair salon,having my daughter work along side of me all the while  using it to reproduce godly, mature disciples while providing jobs for at risk teen girls. Sounds good, but is it what the Lord has planned for us? I don't know, we shall see. Until then, I'll keep praying and seeking his wisdom, and accept whatever direction he sends our family.

Please pray we hear from the Lord clearly on what the fall will look like for us as a family.

Thanks friends!  :))





Thursday, May 17, 2012

Juggling Marriage & Ministry


"The way I was doing the work of God, was destroying the work of God in my marriage"
- Marvin Jacobo











Powerful quote!! Juggling marriage and ministry, day to day takes evaluation and prayer. Hope this sermon encourages you as much as it has encouraged me.
Let's commit to praying for one another.

Enjoy!!



No Longer Newlyweds

Psalm 84:10-12

For a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than dwell in the tents of wickedness. For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly. O Lord of hosts, blessed is the one who trusts in you

I'm sitting at home on my sofa relaxing after a long two weeks. I know I haven't blogged much, but there isn't enough space on blogger to even begin to write all we deal with on a daily basis. Lord knows!

Six years of ministry means the honeymoon is over. Yet, to be honest, I still have a zeal and love for the Lord and His purposes in this community. I never expected things to be perfect or fun the whole time we're here. I think at times I'm rocked at what the trials are and how they are birthed. Ultimately, I have to remember the Lord is sovereignty ruling through every detail , which i something I forget far too often.

Sometimes I feel like I'm everywhere emotionally. Happy one second, angry, then sad the next. Why-You ask? To be honest, I would say its because I have a tendency to look at the things and people around me and not keep my graze on Jehovah Sabaoth.
The LORD of HOST. Yes, ministry is tiring, frustrating and can damage many relationships and marriages if one isn't careful. I'm learning these pit falls happen and can happen to me when my focus and commitment to the Lord isn't where it needs to be. When I have become so busy and not sat at my Lords feet, everything is out of balance. I begin to think, act, and work in my own strength.
Soul care is so important no matter where you are in life. My devotion to Jesus is very important. I'm learning and reminding myself what it means for me to abide in the Lord. He is the vine, I am the branch.


"We are strange "branches" that are prone to wander. Staying put is something we must obey. "Abiding" for us is a discipline. We are prone to leave the "vine" because we are easily deceived into believing that we are the vines, not branches. Remember Satan original deception, " you will be like God"? We don't want to be branches, we want to be the vine, we want to bear our own fruit"- John Piper

Passing the honeymoon stage of ministry, I'm taking prayer a lot more serious then I have before. It's not that I never prayed, it's that I haven't prayed enough. You will always need to up your prayer game. :) I'm fighting for a deeper dependence on the Lord. My husband and I both are growing in what it means to not work in your own strength. As much as I love this ministry, I love JESUS more!!
My devotion to Him comes first.

I'm resting in my Savior tonight. I'm hopeful because of the gospel and the power that's found in it. Though at times we're surrounded by chaos, He will keep us in perfect peace as our minds are stayed on Him.

Abide friends...

Common Ground Montgomery-April-May News Update



We're entering a NEW season here at CGM. We covet your prayers. Thank you for support!












After School Program Update

Here is a short video on the new areas of our after school program. Check it out!


Friday, April 27, 2012

Blessings

So many of my friends are going through trials. I saw this video this morning on face book and thought I would post it here to encourage many of you. I also wanted to leave it here as a reminder for myself.

God knows us oh so well. His plans for us will prevail.
I pray this song encourages your hearts.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

S.H.E. Wise



God has given me a heavy burden and great love for discipleship. I remember when I first became a believer and learned what it meant to follow Jesus and spread the gospel message through multiplication. Ya girl was too excited! I walked up to a young lady who happens to be one of my best friends today and said to her, "aye, you GOING to disciple me!!" (lol-straight told her what she was going to do!) I was so hungry!!  I needed to be taught the elementary principals of the faith.That was the beginning of our journey.

Being discipled was huge in my growth in Christ. I overcame my fear of evangelism, I learned how to memorize scripture, study my bible, manage my time wisely, and through the help of the Holy Spirit, God cultivated within me a love for his word and women ministry.

The three young ladies in the picture happen to be the three teens God hand picked for me to do life on life with. We've had our share of laughter, tears and frustration. These girls see me in my rawest, ugliest form and still love. What a picture of the gospel! It's amazing to watch God transform them into special women. Often times I think about my past and all the Lord brought me out of and I thank Him, because that too could be these girls testimonies. To be young growing in the faith is such beautiful sight. To be young, learning what it means to be a woman and living wisely is what our aim is as a Dgroup.

We choose the name S.H.E. Wise to best represent where our hearts are ( and where we want them to be) before the Lord.



S.sisters    H.onoring     E.mmanual     Wise (ly)

God is using these girls to rock my world. I love to watch them play and love on my Kai. I love to watch my husband, train, love and correct them as if they were his own. A week ago, I planned a mini retreat with them. Our  name was used as the theme and I spent two days teaching and training over select topics of womanhood. The tongue (gossip), Appearance (modesty) & Relating to the opposite sex biblically (dating/boys). God blessed our time, convicted our hearts and Jesus was more real to us then ever before. I'm praying the Lord break generational curses amongst these girls. Bring healing, affirm dignity, and raise up female Davids of our day. Girls after Gods own heart. Please pray with me.




To God be the Glory for all that He will do and promises to accomplish in Washington Park!


Friday, April 20, 2012

Godly Young Men- Husband Blog Post



Many of you aren't on facebook or Twitter to read this post, so I thought I would post this blog for your reading enjoyment. I love when my husband blogs. I watch him day in and day out be a great example of love to our daughter as well as to the kids in our hood. I'm so blessed to have him as a leader. Here are his thoughts....




"I’ve now been around our high school boys since they graduated from the 5th grade. I’ve spent countless hours with them: hanging out, eating, playing, fussing, pranking, teaching, and conversing about our role in God’s Kingdom. They, as well as some of their biological family, have become like family to our household. As we seek to build deeper relationships and establish trust and a good rapport there still seems to be an unspoken disconnect. I’d noticed it before, but the relationships sometimes go so well that the feelings that I often experience at times seemed to be the elephant in the room who keeps on farting. I don’t want to acknowledge or bring attention to it and its kind of funny when you sit back and observe but it can also stink at times.

I noticed that no matter how close I am to the young men that I’m around there is still a slight difference in the way that they relate and open up to my wife. Not only my wife, but women who are older than they are. As I sat back, observed and analyzed the reasons why this may have been happening, reality kicked in. Some of the mothers are strong women who grind it out on a daily basis showing love by providing food, clothing, shelter, and concern for them. Many dads don’t play active roles in the lives of these young men so some grow up with a deep level of trust, respect, and admiration for older women because of their mothers and other women in their family who nurture them.

It’s funny that as I sit at my dinner table to write this, a few young men just sat near me and confirmed everything that I’m saying. I can relate to this as well because growing up I had the same experience. Going through it and realizing this reality has helped me understand our young men a lot better, but reinforced even more the importance of being affirmed, trained, and discipled by godly men.

In Acts 16 you see Paul being introduced to a disciple named Timothy whose mother was a Jewess and a believer, but his father was Greek. In 2 Timothy 1:5 you clearly see that Timothy’s mother and grandmother had a major impact on Timothy’s life and played a pivotal role in Timothy becoming a disciple of Jesus Christ. It was huge for a young Timothy, who had been impacted by the older women in his life, to also be trained, affirmed, encouraged, and discipled by Paul, and to journey with him. As I think through our mission to disciple our youth as well as connecting them with godly mentors, I think of the relationship that Paul had with Timothy. My prayer is that the CGM staff men, as well as other godly men we partner with, would effectively help us carry out our mission by investing in our young men and affirming what it means to be a godly man."

Kevin King

Monday, April 9, 2012

Casting Vision



"Where there is no vision, the people perish; but he that keepeth the law, happy is he. "-Proverbs 29:18



Gods word is so sufficient. I had the privilege of attending our first ever Spring Break College Vision tour with my husband and a couple other staff partners. It was amazing! I'm always blown away at all the new things the Lord brings into this ministry. "New" to us, but these things NEVER take God by surprise. He had all this planned before we got here.


Amazing.


The verse above as we know talks about God's word specifically. Where there is no word of God, (message of life) the people will perish and could continue in their foolish ways. God gave these kids a greater vision that week. A greater vision for the things of the Kingdom as it pertains to their worth, their dignity, their education, their overall future. God informed them that they have a chance to be different then the culture they live in, that they TOO can be great and accomplish great things for HIM! That TRUE SUCCESS ultimately comes from the Lord and not the world.



As I think about many of the kids I see from day to day walking our streets, in and out of juvie (youth detention centers), I often wonder what would happen to them if someone instilled into them a greater vision for their lives? Much of the crime I see in my hood I believes comes from kids or adults who don't dream anymore, who lack vision, who don't know their worth. God could use them to accomplish such great things for the Kingdom. How i pray everyone will hear this message.



The question asked on our vision trip was," what does it mean to be great?"


One student responded in saying, "To be great is to follow greatness himself".


This young girl may or may not have realized what she said, but there is some profound truth in that statement. To follow Christ is to follow greatness! Our prayer is for all the kids in our program to be convinced that to follow Christ is the best success one could ever attain. May the Lord use His church to minister effectively to the spiritual as well as the social needs of his creation.



Tuesday, April 3, 2012

We Could Get Shot On Easter!
















“And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there. I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me. However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace...Acts 20:22-24



Would you take a few moments and read this blog post from our Pastor?  Would you also take the next couple of minutes after that and pray for us and our community?  Easter for us here in Washington Park can be a very scary and sad time. During the time we are called to focus on the resurrection of our Savior, the principalities of the air have other things in mind. Yet, we will not loose heart, we will focus on the resurrection power of Jesus and trust He has a plan for our community which involves restoring it back to life.

Thank you for your prayers, you have no idea how encouraging they are.



Living In The Hood Is Saving Me - Love Edition


"If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.
.." 1 Cor. 13

I stated in a tweet awhile back that I would write about the many ways I'm being SAVED in the midst of living and doing ministry in an urban context. Instead of posting a list, my plan is to do a series of blog post that explain what I mean. This being the first..

To love is a hard thing to live out. I have failed at it so many times. It's "always" easy to "love" someone who is just like you, who agrees with what you say, who is involved in the same circles as you are. I've been convicted at my poor example of love. When I'm slandered, misunderstood, mis quoted, when my feelings are hurt, my husband is slandered, my child is mistreated, I look at these as an excuse to "cut you out of my life". But...

Was this Jesus example of how to handle such offenses?


"For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, WHO COMMITTED NO SIN, NOR WAS ANY DECEIT FOUND IN HIS MOUTH;and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats....1 Peter 2

Christ continues to show me HE is the standard and the measure I'm to use when it comes to loving others. I'm horrible at this, I always feel like I have to defend myself, prove to you what I meant, seek vengeance on my own and not wait for the Lord. For the past 2 months I've cried out to Lord asking Him to make me a humble servant. It wasn't until today that I realized He is answering those prayers through the conflicts I'm facing. I have the privilege to practice humility in the midst of difficult and challenging times. Will I try to defend myself or the gospel? Will I try to show others I'm a good person or show them who Christ is and how I desperately need Him? Will I remove the log out of my eye before I try to remove the speck out of others? Will I entrust myself to the ONE judges righteously?? Will I confess whatever sin I have so that I may be healed??

Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant,does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth;bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
..1 Cor.13




Everyday as God's mercies are new so should be my slate towards those whom I feel have wronged me. As Gods mercies are new, so should my attitude (humility) be to towards those I have sinned against. We live in a culture that lives by the rule, "fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice shame on me". In other words, If someone tricks you twice, it reflects on you. It means you are the fool to be gulled twice by the same person- you already knew you couldn't trust them.


This is not the type of love Christ calls me to live out. The saying above breeds bitterness & unforgiveness.


Then Peter came and said to Him, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven...Matthew 18


As I'm called to live amongst & minister (through family life, CGM and place of worship) to those different then me, God is indeed saving me from a lifestyle of selfishness & pride.

I believe these lessons wouldn't have had this same impact on me if it wasn't coming from this place God is allowing it to stream from. Living here and doing life with this body of believers is saving me from myself and the wandering my heart wants to do when things get tough. Christ plans for us are always better. He's full of wisdom and knows us better then we will ever know ourselves. I cannot simply love the way Paul describes and Jesus lived until I myself learn to die. When Jesus calls a man, (in the words of Dietrich Bonhoeffer) he bids him come and die.


Thank you Jesus for saving me, teaching me how to love, and forgiving me when I mess up.


Sunday, March 18, 2012

Late Night Randomness




My husband and I have been married for 10 years.(2/23) WOW! I NEVER in a million years thought I would be with someone that long. I remember growing up and thinking, I would never get married. I hated marriage, mainly because I watched the ones around me never work. Women were always the leaders, dominating the relationships, the men were passive, cheaters who never stuck around. What I look like getting involved in such pain and turmoil?? God did an amazing work in my heart! He also blessed me with an godly, passionate, affectionate servant of a husband! I really am blessed!

What I thought was ugly, (marriage) is now the most beautiful, joyous, often challenging thing I have ever had to deal with. I want to be the best wife in the world!! I really do, sometimes so much so that I search blogs, read books and compair myself to every wife that I see or read about. Which in the end is leaving me depressed,sleepless and full of fear. I will admit, I need to PRAY MORE.

I'm asking the Lord for His forgiveness tonight in not being confident in who He has called Nicole to be as a helper to her husband.  I was just sharing with some friends tonight that this is still at times my struggle. I think reading books & blogs can be such a huge encouragement but not when it's taken to the level I tend to take it at times. I want the Lord to use such arenas to convict and encourage me. I want them to lead to a godly sorrow that leads to repentance in any area I need to repent in.

God is so good and merciful to me, so patient in the areas I fail from day to day as a wife. I want my husband to be blessed because of my devotion to the Lord and love for Him. I want my child to see me walking daily in repentance and humility. I want her to one day say, "I believe in Adoni, I know Emmanuel is here, because I saw Him in the life of my mother."



Please pray for me. Pray that I would exemplify Gods love to my family. Pray that I would have a healthy view of the gospel during those times I fall short. Most importantly, pray that I have a strong devotion to the Lord and not allow the enemy of "comparison" rob me of my joy.

May God's grace abound to us all as we strive to be the godly women He has called us to be!