He executes justice for the oppressed and gives food to the hungry. The LORD sets prisoners free, the LORD gives sight to the blind, he lifts up those who are bowed down, the LORD loves those who live justly. The LORD watches over the immigrant and sustains the fatherless and the widow, but he frustrates the ways of the wicked. -Psalm 146:7-9

Tuesday, 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