Thursday, May 31, 2012

Favorite Quote!

After reading the following quote I can't help, but try to apply this to my journey to help solve homelessness in Richmond and beyond!

The question for us, then, is whether we trust in his power. And the problem for us is that in our culture we are tempted at every turn to trust in our own power instead. So the challenge for us is to live in such a way that we are radically dependent on and desperate for the power that only God can provide.

Platt, David (2010-04-17). Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream (p. 45). Random House, Inc.. Kindle Edition.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Purpose of the book

Here is one of my favorite quotes from the book Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream.

We will see a purpose for our lives that transcends the country and culture we live in, and we will see our desperate need for his presence to fulfill that purpose in us. We will discover that our meaning is found in community and our life is found in giving ourselves for the sake of others in the church, among the lost, and among the poor.

Platt, David (2010-04-17). Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream (p. 22). Random House, Inc.. Kindle Edition.

We desperately need to explore how much of our understanding of the gospel is American and how much is biblical. And in the process we need to examine whether we have misconstrued a proper response to the gospel and maybe even missed the primary reward of the gospel, which is God himself.

Platt, David (2010-04-17). Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream (p. 28). Random House, Inc.. Kindle Edition.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Great Book!

I just finished this book and would highly recommend it!

It might touch a nerve! It might cause you to think! It might make you uncomfortable!

It might just cost you the American Dream!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Get out of the way!

Have you ever gotten the sense that something great was about to happen?

It doesn't happen to me very often.

This past week I spent time with a number of different people. As I reflect on this past week I could see  it all coming together for something really big!

I have been on this journey for the past few months, and I have always sensed God's presence in it all.

I have never been certain of what is going to happen, but that's the fun part!.

God likes surprises!

God has a plan and he slowly reveals it in his timing. I need to learn to let Him lead and not me.

I have always wanted to be in control because I can manipulate what is going to happen.

It takes faith to walk with God and NOT know what's going to happen.

Get out of the way and let Him show you who He is!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Dreams do come true!

Wednesday afternoon was quit the surprise!

I took the afternoon off in order to do some research on the history of Richmond. On my way to the city library downtown, I drove through Northside. 

As I drove down Brookland Park I said a prayer for the family of the man that was shot the day before. I then turned onto North Ave off of Brookland Park as I made the turn I noticed a few friends standing on the corner.

I did a u-turn and came back around to find Wendy, Beth, Rudy, Tim and others walking the streets. I got out and ran over to speak with them. As I was speaking with Rudy and Beth I noticed Wendy and Tim across the street praying with a young man. Rudy said he was the brother of the young man who had just been killed.

I love the fact that God placed them in that spot to meet and pray with that young man!

As we continued to talk Wendy called us over to Twiggy's (restaurant). I came inside to find tables setup and interviews going on. There was Charles, Q and Roger (all from Embrace Richmond) who were conducting interviews with young applicants applying for internships with Embrace Richmond.

Wendy didn't hesitate to ask me to sit down and help conduct the interviews!

I love how she gets things done! I eagerly joined in not knowing what I was getting myself into.

It was an absolute blast talking with these young men and finding out what they wanted to see happen in their neighborhood. These men were all in their early twenties.

Some of the applicants really impressed me and gave me so much encouragement about what the possibilities could be for the future of Northside!

There were probably 6 or 7 applicants. I asked where they heard about the jobs. Most of them said they had received word from a flyer that Roger had passed out on the streets. All of them wanted to work. They all were asked what would they like to see in the neighborhood.

They all shared the same dream of a safe place for teenagers to go and hang out!

I pray that God will consider their dreams as prayers and I know that prayers are answered!

It's a joy to see the youth of the city wanting a better place to live!

Thursday, May 24, 2012


Interstate 95 being built through Richmond

History is about what we learn from the past and not about carrying the burdens of the past with us today!

Tuesday night I went to a presentation called "Unpacking the census 2010".

It was a very insightful picture of the history of Richmond as it pertains to race relations and the impact of poverty on the city. During the presentation I learned about discriminating lending practices called redlining.

I also learned about the destruction of neighborhoods like Jackson Ward and Navy Hill as a direct result of the construction of I95.

In November 1951 the City of Richmond voted overwhelmingly NOT to have an expressway (Interstate 95) run through the city!
                                   (start at slide 6)

This all became more personal when I learned that my grandfather, T Nelson Parker Sr was mayor of Richmond during this time!

There was so much more information presented that I could not do it justice in this blog post. I hope to bring this presentation to Atlee some time soon.

"Unpacking the census" gives me a better perspective on the history of race relations and poverty in Richmond. I have a much deeper appreciation of the challenges that we face overcoming homelessness in Richmond.

This makes it even more exciting to see what God can do through those who are willing to participate in his redemptive powers of restoration. It's an opportunity for God to show himself strong!

Let us not dwell on the past, but look forward to what the future holds!

There is reconciliation in Christ!

When Christ died for us, his grace was extended to all of us who wish to receive it.

PS Thank you Dr. John Moeser for all your work!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


Prayers are needed!

In less than a week along my prayer drive around Northside there have been two murders!

Last week in Essex Village a young man 21 years old was shot and killed and now today at 2.30 in the afternoon someone has been killed on Brookland Park Blvd.

Now is the time for prayer!

The violence and drugs are a symptom of a much bigger problem. People need the Love of Christ!

As I shared the news with Ross, He said "You can't stop now!"

The reality of people getting murdered in the area fuels my passion even more to reach the lost in Northside and beyond!

Please pray for those in the Northside!

Monday, May 21, 2012

When seeds are planted!

I love it when you see the results of seeds being planted!

A few months ago Mark from church met a young lady at the Free Market. She was in need of some furniture because she and her children were sleeping on the floor of her apartment. Mark got involved and was able to help her connect with the furniture bank and get her apartment completely furnished.

It was awesome to see people come together to help make it happen.

Just this past week she called the office to speak with Mark. She had a very difficult family matter going on and she asked if Mark would come and pray for her family.

Mark planted a seed a few months ago by getting involved and helping a mother in need. A few months passed and when she needed someone to pray, she called Mark!

Seeds are planted when we show God's love to others.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Things happen as a direct result of prayer!

God is on the move!
I'm praying that this Church will be FILLED by the end of this year!
Are you willing to join me in this prayer?

Friday, May 18, 2012

I've got Glossophobia!

It sounds REALLY bad! 

I've had it all my life!

Glossophobia or speech anxiety is the fear of public speaking according to Wikipedia!
Now most people know that I can't stand to be on the stage speaking! In school I would stay home sick rather than speak in front of my class. I also know that there are a LOT of people who have this fear as well.

I have never gotten over the fear of speaking in front of even the smallest of crowds. I even hate it more if I have to prepare what I am going to say or memorize a few lines.

However, I do love telling stories! I'm not talking about the type of stories that are not true!

I'm talking about stories of God moving. The bible is full of stories! Stories of God working in peoples lives.

I hope that this blog will become a story of how God moved in Richmond!

There are only a few times when I am willing to face my fears! Those moments are when I get to tell a story about what God is doing in my life and in the life of Atlee Community Church!

I got a call from Sammy, the Pastor of Northminster yesterday!

He wanted to know if I would be willing to speak with his leadership team about what is happening at Atlee as it pertains to this idea of generosity!

Without any hesitation I said I would love to!

I can't wait to tell the story!

I also know that God can help me overcome my Glossophobia!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

I caught God smiling!

This morning was a real blessing praying together with a new friend I just met a few weeks ago. We got together early this morning to do a pray walk around Northminster.

This was just the second time doing this together, but it was awesome!

Beth started the walk by reading a story from the book The Circle Maker. The story was called Quailmageddon.

The story talks about how God provided the Israelites, who were in the Desert with an over abundance of quail when they were in need!

What I love about the story is the description of the quail falling from the sky and how many quail were provided for the people.

Mark Batterson goes on to say that "When God enters the equation, His output always exceeds your input."

Today Beth and I prayed for each others' Churches, Northminster and Atlee!

What does the future hold, if we can come together and pray!

I'm looking for quail to start dropping from the sky!

I think God smiles when he hears the prayers of THE CHURCH!

PS If I hadn't started the prayer walk. I would never had the chance to meet and pray with Beth. Are you ready to get started!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Stay on Mission

What does it mean to stay on Mission?

To stay on Mission means to do the work God has called you to do!

It also means to totally rely on Him!

What happens when we take our eyes off the ball?

This usually occurs, when things are not going the way you want them to or times are really tough!

One of the problems that I have experienced, is that I begin to focus on how to survive and not the mission itself.

I then try to do it on my own as a leader and then I loose focus. I get off coarse and don't even see it.

I stop relying on God!

I have been there and it doesn't work.

What did God call me to do in the first place?

Seth Godin said it well in a recent blog post that mostly business folks subscribe to, but I think it applies to Churches and Non-Profits.

Is catastrophizing effective?

Often, our instinct is to make the current bump in the road far more urgent than it actually is. It focuses our attention and rallies those around us to take immediate and deliberate action.

After all, if this is the big one, of course we should drop everything and deal with it.

Missing from this equation is the cost of dropping everything. The short-term herk and jerk that is delivered by an organization that responds to those that amplify problems into catastrophes inevitably leads to poor performance in the long run.

Employees who do this ought to be counseled to cut it out. It's not what we hired you to do. Bosses who catastrophize are often hesitant to admit it, though, and if you work for one, it's going to continually hurt your ability to do your best work.

And non-profits who catastrophize to meet their next funding goal inevitably sabotage the very work they set it out to do in the first place, all because it's an easy way to raise some extra money.

Let's all stay on Mission!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Be Inspired!

Enjoy this quote from Mark Batterson!

Lion Chaser’s Manifesto

From Mark Batterson's book; In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day.

Quit living as if the purpose of life is to arrive safely at death. Set God-sized goals. Pursue God-ordained passions. Go after a dream that is destined to fail without divine intervention. Keep asking questions. Keep making mistakes. Keep seeking God. Stop pointing out problems and become part of the solution. Stop repeating the past and start creating the future. Stop playing it safe and start taking risks. Expand your horizons. Accumulate experiences. Enjoy the journey. Find every excuse you can to celebrate everything you can. Live like today is the first day and last day of your life. Don’t let what’s wrong with you keep you from worshiping what’s right with God. Burn sinful bridges. Blaze new trails. Criticize by creating. Worry less about what people think and more about what God thinks. Don’t try to be who you’re not. Be yourself. Laugh at yourself. Don’t let fear dictate your decisions. Take a flying leap of faith. Chase the lion!

Friday, May 11, 2012

I turned in my resume!

Today was an awesome day working with the men from The Healing Place! These men were all participating in the Caritas Works program.

I love the description from the website!

CARITAS Works has taken on the audacious task of preparing those exiting homelessness for transitional and long-term employment. Along the way we are revolutionizing individual lives and transforming Richmond - one student at a time.

A few weeks ago, I was asked to help perform mock interviews today with a few men. All of these men are just a few weeks away from graduating and entering back into the world of unemployment. They all have different stories and different paths of how they got there.

In no time they will need employment and affordable housing!

Two areas that I have been focusing on!

These men all shared in the path to recovery and the desire to start over! Their first step is to find a job.

Through the Caritas Works program they are trained on how to write a resume. They are also coached on how to conduct themselves during an interview. I was given a resume from each applicant and we performed an actual interview!

I thoroughly enjoyed meeting everyone and it was a blast interviewing them.

I wished I had a job for all of them!

After each interview we would critique the session and discuss their strengths and make some suggestions for improvement.

I wish I had been given that kind of training years ago before I turned in my resume!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Be present! Show up!

What does "Be Present" mean?

Another question!

What does I just have to "Show Up" mean?

Let me see if I can answer these questions.

I have heard these terms a number of times as I am on this journey.

My definition of "Be Present" has come to mean - be there in the midst of the people. To live, work or spend time in the neighborhood. Be there!

I have read about it several times in the last book to be described as missional communities.

If your not there, your not present!

Where is God calling you to "Be Present"?

To "Show Up" means to be available!

Willing to do what God asks of you! Be ready and alert to answer to God's whispers.

Are you willing to set aside your agenda for God?

I know that is the hardest thing I do every day!

I am a planner and every day I have an agenda. Am I willing to show up and let God show me the agenda for the day?

Every day that I am "present" and I "show up" in the Northside, God reveals a little more of his plan to me!

It is more than I could have ever imagined!

Are you willing to "Be Present" and "Show Up" where God has you?

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Where prayers come from!

Martha from Boaz & Ruth really has a heart for the Bethlehem Center. The Bethlehem Center is the old Church I have been praying for for several months now. It is situated near six corners. It is across the street from Brookland plaza on Brookland Park Blvd.

I was thrilled to no end, that when I met Martha and mentioned the old Church she had a heart for the old building as well! I was excited to know that we share in our desire to see God do something great with that building.

A few weeks ago I got to go into that building and see what was on the inside. I took with me several friends including Dale, who used to do ministry there back in the 80's.

The place was so run down it wasn't even safe to be in the building. The potential for that building was huge, if it were not for all the environmental problems that exist.

Does God have a plan for the Bethlehem Center?

The memories of past ministry did come back to Dale and that alone was worth the visit.

Martha wrote me an email after my first visit with her. She wrote to say she wanted to know when I was in the neighborhood praying. She wanted to be in agreemant at the same time. This was an answer to prayer that others would join me in my prayer for the area.

I know that Martha, Wendy, Cassie, Northminster, Atlee and many more are praying for this journey.

I would encourage anyone to come join me on my prayer walk in the mornings!

God is hearing our prayers! He is on the move!

I am so encouraged by all that I see as a result of the prayers of today and those that came before!

PS Beth from Northminster joined me on my prayer walk this past Monday! We had a great time!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Are you willing to take a chance?

I received an email from a friend with the attached story!

Here is an inspiring story of how a really young person can make a huge impact because she BELIEVED she could make a difference!


LMS 6th grader, Katie Goodman is the winner of the 2012 Governor’s Volunteer and Community Service Award, Youth category. She is the youngest person to ever win this award!

"The Governor's Volunteerism and Community Service Awards are presented annually by the Governor's Advisory Board on Volunteerism and National Service and the Office on Volunteerism and Community Service on behalf of the Office of the Governor. These awards recognize the significant contributions of Virginia citizens to the life and welfare of the Commonwealth and its people."

Congratulations Katie!

Excerpt from Virginia Service email newsletter, from the Office on Volunteerism and Community Service/Va Dept of Social Services

Youth Volunteer: Katherine “Katie” R. Goodman, Richmond
Twelve year-old Katie Goodman has been described as a “little dynamo.” Despite the fact that she was only ten years old when she started her mission, she is doing more to feed the hungry than many adults. After seeing television commercials about hunger and its consequences, Katie was inspired to take action as part of her requirements for a public speaking contest for her 4-H club. Her research led her to local service organizations and a connection with the Central Virginia Food Bank; she set a goal to feed 1,100 hungry people. First she engaged her entire family by growing vegetables for the food bank and asking hunters in her family to donate venison during hunting season.

Her 4-H project became her passion and she recruited Hunters for the Hungry and organized food drives at her elementary school. In addition, she engaged Ashland Feed and Seed Store to assist by donating plants and seeds to sell at the Master Gardener’s sale and to act as a collection site for food donations. When the Ashland Farmer’s Market began its 2011 season, she asked producers to drop off their surplus at the Ashland Feed and Seed store so that she could deliver it to the Central Virginia Food Bank. She met her goal of feeding 1,100 people in just six months and then surpassed her new goal of serving “2011 people in 2011” just two months later.

Despite her young age, Katie is motivated to serve and make a difference for others. When speaking to a Master Gardener’s Club of adults or to a group of youth, both older and younger than herself, her excitement and sincerity is infections. Her accomplishments mobilize others to get involved!

In an essay Katie wrote, “If I could speak to other young people, I would tell them that just because we are young, does not mean that we cannot make a difference, anything is possible if you just take a chance.

I say,

"It's time to get out of the boat and walk on water!"

Friday, May 4, 2012

Quit guessing and you'll get blown away!

I need to quit trying to guess what God is going to do! I get a glimpse of the possibilities and then HE shows up and blows me away!

I would say that my problem is, that I like to be in control! I like to know what's going to happen!

This week I have been blown away on several occasions and I don't have the typing skills or the patience to list them all! So I will list just a few!

Monday morning Mike came into my office to say that he had a surprise for me! I went outside into the parking lot to see a 16' box truck. We had been wanting to purchase one for the West End campus. Every Sunday we pack two trailers and haul all our stuff to the West End for Church service. It was perfect for what we needed.

I said how much? He said it was given to us for the next three years free of charge!

Buckle up!

Wednesday night I went to another meeting with Embrace for dinner at Twiggy's!

Dinner on the boulevard for the second time!

We had a great time together dreaming of what could be. Looking at all God has provided us to get the work done in Northside! It gets better! I was approached by Beth towards the end of the meeting. She asked at what time do I go on my prayer walk. I told her early in the morning and she said "Perfect, can I join you some time?"

This was a highlight for me because I had been praying as I walk around Northminster for someone to join me! Beth attends Northminster and wants to be in prayer for her Church!

Blown away again!

Thursday morning I went to a prayer breakfast for the City of Richmond and was blown away by the diversity of the Kingdom of God! Hundreds of pastors and leaders from so many different Churches and organizations, came together to be of one accord and pray for the city!

It was awesome and powerful! God has been speaking to me to open my eyes to what is happening in Richmond!

His spirit is on the move unlike any other time I have seen! THE CHURCH is coming together to make a difference in Richmond!

I need to quit trying to guess what God is going to do next!

He knows better than I do!

Back on January 1,2012 I spoke about THE CHURCH coming together to make a difference. He showed me on Thursday, a glimpse of what is to come!

I can't encourage you enough to get in the game!

God will blow you away!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

God loves the details!

I love it when God answers my prayers, despite the fact they might appear to be selfish at times.

The other day I realized that I had lost my knife. The knife was special because it belonged to my Dad who passed away a year ago. I mentioned it to Pamela and she said without hesitation that I would find it!

I knew it was going to be a problem when I put my pants on that morning. The pockets on the pants are very shallow. Anything I put in my pockets falls out when I sit down.

The next morning on my prayer walk, I asked God to help me find my knife. It might sound like a strange request, but I know God likes the little details.

So I prayed to God that I would find my knife.

I started looking in the living room in the chair I sat in the other night. I then proceeded to my car and then I looked in another vehicle that I drove earlier. No knife was found!

I went in to work and forgot about it. I sat down at my desk and started my day on the computer. I got up and continued to do my thing. After a while I came back to my desk and there was my knife sitting in the middle of my desk chair.

God is in the details because he is a personal God who loves each and every one of us!

Scripture says he knows the number of hairs on your head.

Do you believe it to be true?