Tuesday, July 31, 2012


Here is a picture of some kids in the backyard of Miss Marti's house.


She hosted Camp Splash last week in her back yard!

On Thursday evening I went by to meet up with Marti and got a chance to take a look at what was going on!

Young adults from Hope Church came out to Barton Heights to help run a camp for the neighborhood kids!

They all looked like they were having a blast!

One of the neighborhood kids took a look at me and asked "Are you a policeman?" I said no I wasn't. He continued "You look like a cop" I then told him that I worked for a Church.

He smiled!

I wasn't sure what to make of his comment other than to reflect that I too have had some preconceived notions of what life in the hood is like.

Don't always believe what you hear. You need to get out and see for yourself!

All I saw before me were some wonderful kids having a blast at Camp Splash!

Thank you Marti for making it happen!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

What's your sign?

Last week I received a sign from God as to what steps I needed to take.


Based on my prayers at the time, I felt led to have a meeting with my former partner and his wife.

I had spoken with my wife and we discussed it for a while.

We were of the same mind as to what to do!

The meeting took place this past Tuesday evening.

It couldn't have gone any better. God gets ALL the credit!

I just needed a sign!

I don't want people to think I am testing God. I'm NOT. I believe God can do anything!

I was just trying to get confirmation that I was moving in the right direction before I had the meeting.

In the old testament Gideon did it with a fleece.

I love it when God confirms the steps you take. He goes before you and prepares the way.

As I reflected on these events, I realized how much I need to live every moment doing what God would have me do.

How do I do that?

I guess I need a sign!

Friday, July 27, 2012

What is your destiny?

Craig Groeschel ‏@craiggroeschel

"To step toward your destiny, you have to step away from your security."

I love this quote from Craig Groeschel because I remember how scared I was to walk around in the neighborhoods of Highland Park and Northside!

I was in an area that was unfamiliar to me. I didn't know what to do or what to expect.

I remember praying for courage to overcome my fears!

So much has happened, but not much would have happened had I not stepped away from my security!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Divine appointment!

Have you ever heard the quote "The world is smaller than you think!"

The world population - 6,973,738,433 - 2011
Source: World Bank

In this journey I have met so many new friends that know folks that I know. Whenever we make the connection we always say "The world is smaller than you think!"

Who would of thought that I would meet a college student who knew my daughter at Charles' house on North ave!

I have lived in a bubble and now I want to break out!

I like to think the world is as BIG as 6.9 Billion, but God has the ability to make divine appointments!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

A Sign!

Shortly after I started this journey I bought a tool to pick up trash on my walks.

For the last few weeks I have tried to balance it on end as I sit by the fountain and pray!

At one point I even asked God to do it for me!

I know that a lot of people would think that I am crazy and that's ok by me.

On Saturday while I was praying by the fountain, I didn't even notice what I was doing. I looked down and there it was the Grip and Grab tool balancing on it's end. What makes it more interesting is that the patio is made of an aggregate concrete. That means it was not a smooth surface!

At the time I was praying over a very significant issue in my life.

I took it as sign for what I needed to do!

I love that we have a personal God that reaches out to us if we just ask!

Sometimes I lack the faith and I need a sign from God!

Monday, July 23, 2012

"Unconditional" The Movie

Went to see a very inspiring movie last Thursday evening.

It was a preview showing sponsored by several non-profits in Richmond!

I would recommend it to everyone!

The movie deals with the lives of kids brought up in the projects.

The Heart of Unconditional from Harbinger Media Partners on Vimeo.

I am reminded of the great work of so many in the Richmond area!

Please make a point to see this movie when it comes out 9/21/12!

Unconditional Trailer from Harbinger Media Partners on Vimeo.

My prayer is that more will be inspired to make a difference!

Take the next step of faith and get involved!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Life Change!

Saturday was another great day with Cassie and Hands Up Ministries. http://www.huministries.org/
All the effort was spent cleaning out an abandon house in Highland Park. The house was supposed to be empty, but it was obvious that someone was living there for a time!

These empty houses quite often are used as a place for the homeless to hide and for a variety of unlawful practices to take place.

There were obvious signs of drug use. I also found two boxes of of hand gun cartridges and two gun shells as well.

The exciting thing is to dream of what this house will this become!

The trash is all headed to the dump!

This house will be redeemed for God's kingdom!
There will be beautiful stories of life change that will come!

Thank You Cassie!

Friday, July 20, 2012

I'm confused, but not alone!

"Maybe we’re not supposed to figure everything out on our own. Maybe we actually need others to help us—to help us find our way through the mess.”

Gongwer, Todd (2011-10-18). LEAD . . . For God's Sake! (p. 53). Tyndale House Publishers. Kindle Edition. 

This was a quote taken from a book I read a few weeks ago.

It was a great read and I would highly recommend it.

What intrigued me about this quote was the fact that I often struggle with trying to figure things out on my own.

Trying to solve homelessness is a God size dream! It's so big! It's scary!

What I am learning more and more is the need to ask others for help in the process.

Just last night, Jeff asked me what was my vision for solving homelessness.

A good friend asking questions can spur you on in your quest. The question in and of itself can force you to consider things you haven't thought of.

This morning Charles stated that I was gathering information to be a resource for the future. Charles is the master of resources.

Charles is a "Street Saint"

Even though I don't have it all figured out yet, it's fun knowing I have friends in this journey with me asking probing questions and giving great advice.

I know that I am NOT alone!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Mobile Grocery Store

This past Saturday was a day to celebrate!

Joel had a dream to create a mobile grocery store and that day had finally arrived!

Saturday he drove up in an old Coca-Cola Truck that had been converted to house a couple of commercial freezers and a refrigerator.

Joel had gone out and bought what meats he thought would sell. Wendy had brought in fresh vegetables from Shalom Farms.

What is significant about this project is that in the Northside there are NO grocery stores!

There are a lot of folks in the neighborhood who do not have transportation. Most of the people have limited resources as well.

The meats and vegetables were sold at a heavy discount in order to see what people wanted to buy.

People came by all means of transportation. I saw bikes, scooters, cars and many folks walked!

The hope would be in the future that a coop would be formed in order to create some ownership in the process as well as dignity.

Hand outs do neither!

The other part of this story, are the number of organizations that came together to help make it all possible.

I might not know them all, but the ones I do know are as follows:

Shalom Farms, Va Baptist Mission Board, Northminster Church, and Embrace Richmond





How cool is that!

Several organizations coming together to make a difference in people's lives!

But I take my hat off to Joel for having a dream and seeing it come to reality!

Thanks Joel for all your hard work!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Shut up and LISTEN!

What does it take to listen to God!

Yesterday I was having lunch with a friend, Matt. He was talking about just listening to God to see what the future holds for he and his Church.

Today as I stated my routine I rounded the turn from Moss Side to Westwood and their was Tim listening to God sitting on the steps.

I continued my way down the sidewalk towards the fountain. I stopped there for a moment to celebrate that others were there this morning praying and listening.

I continued on my walk and began to pray about all the things going on. I thought how cool would it be to see others adopt a block and pray for the Northside. 

They could even pick up some trash while their doing it!

Not a few minutes later, then it hit me.

Shut up and just listen!

It took some time and will power just to quiet myself enough to listen to God. I have too many things whirling around in my head! I have a laundry list of prayers, but God said listen!

As I continued on desperately trying to quite myself and listen, I began to reflect on all that God is doing!

I turned off of Ladies Mile Road and onto Moss Side and I could see a lady walking towards me a quarter of a block away. I couldn't quite make out if I had seen her before or not, because of the sun shining in my eyes.

As she approached me she started talking and I couldn't understand out what she was saying. She then came up to me and said something like "I knew somebody was picking up the trash. I knew there was a trash man! What block to you cover?" I pointed out the block and she said "I won't come back here then."

I was in a state of shock. Who was this person?

God already had folks out in the neighborhood picking up trash!

I just needed to shut up and listen!

Monday, July 16, 2012

It may be a small thing but!

The other day on my walk around Northminster I noticed something HUGE!

The day before, one those bad storms had blown through the neighborhood!

I stopped at my usually spot by the fountain.

It was full of water!

To most that won't mean a thing.

To me it's HUGE!

God's just letting me know of the things to come!

PS If you don't get it you will have to read through the archives to better understand!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

I want to be different

The false choice of mediocrity

Too often, we're presented with choices that don't please us. We can pick one lousy alternative or the other. And too often, we pick one.
I was struck by Apple's choice to put a glass screen on the original iPhone. Just six weeks before it was announced, Steve Jobs decided he wanted a scratchproof glass screen. The thing is, this wasn't an option. It wasn't possible, reliable, feasible or appropriately priced. It couldn't be done with certainty, and almost any other organization would have taken it off the list of appropriate choices.
It was unreasonable.
And that's the key. Remarkable work is always not on the list, because if it was, it would be commonplace, not remarkable.
Seth Godin

As I read this post from Seth Godin I am reminded that I don't want my relationship with Christ to be mediocre!

I don't want to be just another christian.

I want to be a Christ follower!

It should be extraordinary!

The problem is that I can easily fall into the trap of normal! I have my routines and I do them every day. It feels safe and I know what is going to happen.

I want to change up my routines and see what Christ will do, if I put myself in a place of depending on him!

I want to change into the person Christ would have me be.

This morning I drove by a homeless person on my way home holding up a sign on the side of the road.
The key word here is BY!

I passed by and as I did I felt God's Spirit tell me to turn around. I wrestled with it for several blocks and eventually made a u-turn!

I stopped, got out and asked if he needed a ride to Central Intake downtown. Central Intake is where the homeless go to seek help through out the city. He said no thanks. I then asked what did he want. He said some money to get to New Jersey. I offered to take him three blocks away to the bus station and pay for a ticket to New Jersey. He was taken back by surprise and didn't quit know what to do. He seemed very grateful, but he refused my offer. He reached out to shake my hand and say thank you, but no thanks.

I wish I could tell you something wild and crazy happened, but it didn't for the homeless guy.

I drove away wondering what was going on with him. I figured that he probably wanted money for, well who knows what?

The real key to the story is that I did something different!

I took a u-turn! I listened to God's spirit and did what was right, not what was convenient or safe!

I want to be a Christ follower! I want to be different!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

No prayers in Henrico!

"Henrico drops prayers before supervisors' meetings"

That was the headlines in the morning paper on 7/12/12.

I'm not going to speak to the politics of that decision. Sorry!

Based on my prayer journey!

They don't know what they're missing!

Friday, July 13, 2012

I'm losing control!

The last two weeks have revealed another aspect of my relationship with God that I had to be reminded of AGAIN!

This morning God revealed to me the answer!

Let me back up.

For two weeks my wife thought something was wrong with me. She would ask daily, if I am OK? On Monday evening I received an email from Beth who was with me on my prayer walk that morning. She asked in her email are you OK? Yesterday Jeff asked me if everything was OK? At dinner last night my eldest asked if I was depressed?

I felt like I was having an out of body experience.

I thought I was fine, but everyone else was seeing something I wasn't.

I know I had a lot of work to come back to after two weeks of vacation that was expected.

Yesterday I wasn't feeling that great I had a really bad headache!

Outside of all that was going on, I knew deep down something wasn't right, but it wasn't obvious to me.

What was happening? I could sense that feeling I had back in mid '90s. That summer I went through a significant bought of depression. I struggled that summer because I felt like things were falling apart and I had lost control.

My business at the time was struggling quite a bit, I wasn't sure we were going to make it. At the same time, I had my identity stolen from me and some stranger in Colorado had rung up over $15,000 of charges at different stores. My credit was in shambles!

Everyone had their own opinion of what I needed to do. Take some medication or go see a shrink.

My wife and close friends thought I might be suicidal. The depression continued for several months, until I realized what was happening.

A spiritual battle was going on inside my soul. What does that look like?

The struggle you have when you don't want to let go control of your life. You don't want God to take over.Your afraid of what God might ask you to do. Your afraid of the unknown.

That summer I came to realize that I had to give it ALL to God. Do I actually believe what the Bible teaches? Does God really love me that much?

This morning on my drive to Northminster it occurred to me that I had fallen into a trap of mediocrity!

I was going through the motions for the last two weeks without expecting God to do anything. I was on auto pilot. I moved from one thing to the next! I had lost IT!

Don't misunderstand me!

My relationship with Christ isn't solely based on something miraculous happening every day!

I will admit that I am an emotional guy that loves to get excited about what God is doing! I love seeing him show himself strong every day!

This morning I realized that God wants me to pray with FAITH that things WILL happen! I don't need them to happen to know God is with me.

God's timing is always on time and I need to release that control over to Him.

I realized today that I need to let God have it ALL!

I'm losing control over to God!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

It's time to suit up!

I have been gone on vacation for two weeks and this was my first week back in the saddle. It was exciting to think about what was in store for me on my return. I had dreams of things starting to fall in place as soon as I returned.

After three days I realize that wasn't going to happen. Too many meetings, emails, and messages to catch up on. The craziness of work was crowding in on me. I was getting lost in the mounds of paperwork sitting on my desk. Nothing wanted to resolve itself easily!

Meanwhile God had been put up on the shelf waiting for me to notice him.

I never much like myself when I get too engrossed in my to do list and forget about my relationship with Christ!

I was reminded Tuesday morning that when things are going well, then we will come under attack. When God is on the move in his Church then there will certainly be attacks.

I have fallen prey to the attacks of busyness!

The Armor of God

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God,so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.

Eph 6:10-18 NIV'84

I need to make a choice; ask God for help, or try to get it all done on my own. It's not about what I am doing, but what He is doing.

In need to put on the Armor of God!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Not me this time!

Quick shortcuts (in search of)

There aren't many actual shortcuts.

There are merely direct paths...

Most people don't take them, because they frighten us--too direct, I guess. It's easy to avoid the things that frighten us if we wander around for a while. Stalling takes many forms, and one of them looks like a shortcut.

Things that look like shortcuts are actually detours (disguised as less work).

Author - Seth Godin

I often wonder if I am taking a shortcut as opposed to the right path that God would have me take. My shortcuts are usually driven by the fact that I want it now and I can make it happen!

It's all about me! 

I am very selfish and prideful!

I want to be patient and not get detoured off God's path!

There have been a lot of great ideas that I have come across in this journey and a lot of questions of when will they happen.

I am waiting on God to confirm the ones he would have me pursue first.

I want to be sure it's about God and not me!

Here is my prayer below!

Proverbs 3:5-7 NLT

5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart;
do not depend on your own understanding.6 Seek his will in all you do,
and he will show you which path to take.7 Don’t be impressed with your own wisdom.
Instead, fear the LORD and turn away from evil.

Sometimes it's not about the destination, but the JOURNEY!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Message for the city!

Below is a great article from the Richmond Times Dispatch by Dr Moeser published on July 1, 2012. I met with Dr Moeser a couple of months ago to learn from him about the homeless situation in Richmond.

Poverty in Richmond: How long must we wait?

Editor's note: This column is based on remarks made by John V. Moeser, an urban affairs scholar, on May 18th at the 2012 Unpacking the Census Convocation co-sponsored by Hope in the Cities and the Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities and hosted by VCU.
At a public forum in downtown Richmond, a speaker talked about several major changes affecting metropolitan Richmond, including poverty. He discussed the lack of public transit in the counties and how it affects people without a car who need an entry-level job, most of which are beyond the bus lines.
He noted how gentrification leads to the displacement of the poor, whose only option for another place to live is moving to another high poverty-neighborhood. The only difference is that, unlike the old neighborhood — though poor it was rich with social networks — the new neighborhood is poor and also full of strangers.
My brief comments don't capture everything the speaker said, but they include the central point. In fact, what he said parallels what all of us have been discussing over the past year. Thousands of Richmonders have now seen Unpacking the Census and participated in discussions. You might wonder if these discussions prompted this speech.
They didn't. The presentation was given several years before the development of Unpacking the Census — in fact over 30 years ago, on Sept. 17, 1980. I was the speaker.

* * * * *

Thirty-two years ago, there were discussions about extending bus service to the suburbs. Thirty-two years ago, we knew about the growing numbers of Richmonders priced out of their neighborhoods, stranded and unable to find another place to live except in an adjoining poverty neighborhood.
Thirty-two years ago concern was expressed about the lack of accessible entry-level jobs. Three decades ago we knew about the huge disparities between city and county.
It's a disgrace that 30 years of talk have produced virtually nothing. There has been change, no mistake about it, but, unfortunately, the change has to do with our problems getting larger. Not only has poverty increased, but it has now spread into the counties.
It's way past time for debate. No need for more studies and fact-gathering. We either act now or we'll be here another 30 years with nothing to show for our labor.
Now is the time to overcome the resistance to providing affordable housing in stable neighborhoods throughout the metropolis. Now is the time to develop mixed-income neighborhoods experiencing gentrification so that a rainbow of people can live together and well.
Now is the time to identify and then celebrate established neighborhoods willing to welcome good citizens whose greatest need is an affordable safe place to live.
We've got to start now. And the best way to do it is to gather all of the energy generated since January from the facilitated conversations to reach thousands of more citizens, in more jurisdictions, in more houses of worship, in more businesses, civic groups, nonprofit organizations, public agencies and legislative bodies.
Energy could grow exponentially and could ignite our movement unlike anything since Richmond's Civil Rights marches.

* * * * *

That Richmond Mayor Dwight Jones created the anti-poverty commission and included among its members some elected officials from Chesterfield and Henrico is noteworthy. In fact, never before in Richmond history has such a group assembled whose sole responsibility is to develop recommendations for addressing poverty.
Once the mayor releases the final report of the commission, this army of citizens who participated in the Unpacking the Census discussions needs to be deployed to recruit other citizens and they, in turn, to enlist their friends to press for the implementation of the recommendations.
As one person said, "We need to get this knowledge and passion into the drinking water." When a legislative chamber is packed with voters who speak and demand change, the people's council members and supervisors can experience a remarkable conversion.
Were this to happen, how long would it take for us to see a new city, one defined more by its goodness rather than its greatness? How long will it take to ensure that all of God's people in Richmond, especially the people closest to God's great heart, the poor, are welcomed to live in any neighborhood, attend any school, and be given the same opportunities for a full life as the rest of us?
How long must we wait? How long?
Dr. Martin Luther King gave an eloquent response to this very question. This is what he said:
"I come to say to you this afternoon, however difficult the moment, however frustrating the hour, it will not be long, because truth crushed to the earth will rise again. How long? Not long, because no lie can live forever. How long? Not long, because you shall reap what you sow.... How long? Not long, because the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.
May it be so here in Richmond and may we be the catalyst for making it so. Amen.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Aunt Sarah's

I got up early Wednesday morning to have breakfast with Charles. Since it was the 4th of July, most of the places we normally go to were closed.

We ended up at Aunt Sarah's on broad st.

When I walked into the restaurant, it reminded me of the days back in the early 80's when I used to attend a bible study there.

I was sharing this story with Charles and how the same waitress still works there. Her name is Jackie. She happened to be off that day.

Charles began to share with me of a time he had breakfast there back around the same time.

It's fascinating to see how things have changed so much for both of us over the years. God has redeemed our lives for his work here and now!

Charles then mentioned the possibility of a building coming available in the Highland Park area. We talked about a young man showing potential for running a business. We dreamed of what it might look like.

It's a blast to dream with Charles!

Lives are being changed!

Aunt Sarah's holds a special place in my life from the times of a bible study to a conversation with Charles.

What will God do next?

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Take the next step!

I don't always know what the next step will be in this journey, but I do know that God is with me.

I will take it one step at a time!

I read the following on Monday.

Psalm 32:8-11 TNIV

8 I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.

9 Do not be like the horse or the mule,
which have no understanding
but must be controlled by bit and bridle
or they will not come to you.

10 Many are the woes of the wicked,
but the Lord ’s unfailing love
surrounds those who trust in him.

11 Rejoice in the Lord and be glad, you righteous;
sing, all you who are upright in heart!

I pray that I won't need a bit and bridle, but that I will rejoice in all that he has done and will do!

PS I don't need to know the next step, he already does!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Another one shows up!

I was back in town for a couple of days, so I got up early Monday to take my walk around Northminster. I was excited to get back out there and see what God was up to.

It wasn't long before I heard a shout from off in the distance. It was Tim!

This was the first time I had seen Tim on one of my walks. Tim actually lives in the neighborhood. He and I met a few months ago at Stir Crazy Cafe!

Tim had shared with me that he had started prayer walking around the Church a while back.

We spent some great time together considering things that God was up to. It was fun to catch up and spend some time praying together!

This one relationship is one of many that I now share, because I got out of my comfort zone and did something I KNEW God had called me to do. Prayer walk around Northminster!

As I reflect on just this one instance, I am over whelmed with excitement!

I got up Monday morning expecting God to do something and sure enough I ran into a friend that I had no idea would be there.

I started on this journey alone walking around a Church I knew nothing about and now I have a new friend and a shared vision for God to do something big in Northside!

This journey has brought together numerous folks who are praying for Northminster and the Northside!

Come and be a part of the fun that God is doing in Northside!

I can't wait to see what's going to happen next!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

To be or not to be!

The bible calls us to make disciples. If we are to make disciples then we need to reach out to others.

We must be focused outwardly and not on ourselves!

If we are truly his disciples then we must be intentional about our actions.

I think we have to do, instead of be!

I mean that our faith has to be active and we can't just sit around and be a consumer.

For a long time in my life I was just a consumer!

It's time for me to do the work God has called me to do!

I need to get out and do, not just be!