Saturday, September 29, 2012

What is prayer?

One of the things that excites me about the upcoming small group on prayer are the people in attendance.

I know God will use each and every one for his own purposes.

We just need to be willing to be used by God!

What stands in our way?

What keeps us from having an intimate relationship with Christ?

Why doesn't God hear our prayers?

These questions and more are what I hope to pursue with the group.

I don't know every one at this point, but I do know some that have put themselves out there to be used by God.

Some are faithful followers, angels and street saints!

Prayer is not about us as individuals, it's about a relationship with the Father that might bring him glory!

I pray that God might teach us all more about him through prayer!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Everything comes full circle!

This journey started back in February walking around a church I knew nothing about.

Next week I will be leading a small group discussing the book "The Circle Maker" by Mark Batterson in that very Church - Northminster!

I love it that God knew what was going to take place before I did.

I had no idea of what would unfold over the following months!

At first I was a scaredy cat not wanting to get out of my car and walk around in some strange neighborhood.

The rumors of a dangerous place ran through my head whether true or false!

That first step out of my car I prayed for protection!

And then

I prayed that God would show up!

He has surpassed anything that I could have ever imagined on my own!

Next Thursday night I will have several new friends that I have met along this journey join me in this study about prayer!

This past February, I was alone and now full circle I have several others who will join in on the fun to pray Circles around your largest dreams and biggest fears! 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Prayer Walking in Highland Park!

A few weeks ago I had the privilege of joining some folks in prayer. 

We walked along Brookland Park and came to a familiar spot!

I couldn't believe what was happening! 

I was blown away that there were up to 50 -75 people all standing 

in front of the old Church that I have been praying about for 

months now!

Months ago I was all alone praying by myself for some old 

abandoned Church! I had no idea!

This day, there were numerous people standing across from this 

Church praying!

God knew what was coming!

It's a blast prayer walking in Northside! 

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Success Story!

Here is a great story from last week on an area resident who found himself homeless and how a Petersburg business owner took a chance on hiring him!

This could happen to anybody!

If only more business owners would take a chance and hire someone in need!

This is a great success story!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

What's in a restaraunt?

What I find interesting about this journey that I am on, are the new places I frequently eat at!

A year ago I would never have been caught spending time on Brookland Park Blvd much less frequently eating down there!

God has a way of changing all that!

Three places I like to visit are as follows.

For Breakfast: Firehouse 15
Eggs, Bacon, English Muffin, Grits for under $5!

This place is run by Boaz & Ruth.

For Lunch: From the Hart
 They have great chicken salad!

For Dinner: Twigggy's
Their jerk chicken is very tasty!

I have really enjoyed getting to know the folks at these places. 

The food and the service has always been great!

One way you can help make a difference in the lives of those who are struggling to make it, is to become a customer of theirs.

Just let me know and we can have a meal together in the hood!

What you find in the restaurants are great people and good food!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Burger King Challenge!

This morning I was driving to work by way of Atlee Road. As I was 

passing by Mechanicsville Church of Christ I noticed a gentleman 

walking briskly on his way on the side of the road. The reason I 

noticed, was that I had to move over into the other lane to give him 

some room.

I could see the look of determination on his face. 

As I drove by the discussion began to take place. Do I pick him up or not?

I can give you a hundred reasons why I shouldn't, but this time the Spirit won out!

I turned around and drove up next to the gentleman and asked if he wanted a ride.

He immediately said yes!

The gentleman was wearing some sort of uniform and apron that you would find at a restaurant.

He got in the car and introduced himself as Robert. 

We exchanged names and then I asked where he was going?

He said he was going to Burger King in Mechanicsville.

I then proceeded to ask where he lived.

He said he lived over off AZALEA AVE!!!!!

I had to ask again! Where?

He wasn't sure, but that he thought it was 7-8 miles away! 

He explained that it took him 2 1/2 hours to walk to work!

He said that sometimes he gets a ride from a friend, but "You do what you have to do"!

I love this man's determination and willingness to walk to work 2 1/2 hours if need be!

I dropped him off a couple of hours early from his 11am shift!

He said he would rest before he got to work.

I was inspired by this man who works at a burger joint for what I would assume to be low wages and to top it off, he will WALK to work 7-8 miles if necessary!

I would like to challenge anyone who reads this post today and go have lunch at Burger King across from Lee Davis High School and just say something nice to Robert who was willing to walk 7-8 miles to work.

Let's make Robert's day and just say you admire him or something like that!

PS For a description I would say a man in his 40's, bald, African American and he wears a phone ear piece!

PSS Maybe even offer him a ride home!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Slice of heaven!

What does a slice of heaven look like?

How about a church for the homeless!!!

Last night I visited a little church called The Alpha and Omega Bible Church on West Marshall St.

The church serves the homeless community!

I arrived shortly before 6pm.

I wasn't quit sure what to expect when I got there. 

I immediately found Carolyn, the pastor and told her that I had some clothes in the car for her.

She called out to some of the guys to come give me a hand unloading the car in the rain.

A few men and women followed me out to the car and we had it unloaded in no time!

I then proceeded to the kitchen and helped feed about 50-75 people.

The folks that came through the line were from what appeared to be many different backgrounds.

They were all very appreciative of the food that was being served.

After dinner, we actually ran out of the main coarse, we proceeded to make sandwiches for every one.

The sandwiches were passed out in baggies for folks to take with them or in some cases they sat and ate them there as well. 

At 6:30pm Carolyn asked that the folks who wanted to stay to quiet down and she would start the bible study.

There were about 35 people left intently listening to what she had to share. She was sharing stories about some of the people in the bible starting with Adam and Eve, Noah and others.

She did a great job telling stories from God's word!

Afterwards I met a few of the folks that were serving in this ministry. 

What a great heart they all have! 

I admire each and everyone so much for what they are doing.

I started this journey very uncomfortable. I didn't know what I was getting myself into.

I am beginning to realize the more uneasy I get going outside my comfort zone the more surprised I am about how God works.

It's a process of depending on him and not my own understanding!

Last night I saw a slice of heaven where I had never been before! 

Sunday, September 16, 2012

The copmobile!

The other morning on my prayer drive, I left Barton Heights headed towards downtown.

I was driving down North Ave headed into Gilpin Court.

I spotted a gentleman on the side of the road who was flagging me down.

Should I stop or not?

I took a chance and pulled over to see what he wanted.

He asked me for a ride down the road. I agreed with some hesitation.

He got in the car and immediately he asked "Are you a cop?"

I said "No, but I get that a lot!"

He explained that I was in a pretty rough area of town. 

What he was really saying is that some white dude driving through the hood at that hour had to be a cop!

He then proceeded to open up to me about the struggles he was having.

He said that he was headed to see his young kids and his wife. He had two roses in his hand.

He said that he had really screwed up and was about to loose his family.

You could tell he was in distress!

It was a short drive down the hill and he asked to be let out near the woods.

I knew he didn't want to be seen getting out of my car.

I wished him the best and he ran out the car.

I really felt for this man and his family. I asked God to be with him and I have prayed for him every morning since that day!

I had to stop and think why did he get out the car so fast?

Then I realized it, he didn't want anybody else thinking he was getting out of a cop car!

He would have to answer a lot of tough questions!

I never knew the police department had adopted the Prius as part of their fleet!

At least they get good gas mileage!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Hit Bottom

The past few days, I have been thinking of of what I might say to all the people on the streets holding up signs for help.

Most all of them are asking for money!

I have been told by a lot of people and social services that most of the people with signs are not homeless!

One day at The Healing Place, Charles pointed out a guy that was making up to $100 a day on the street corner asking for money.

This was his choice to live on the street and beg! 

The money continued to feed his habit!

He was not at the place where he could see his need for help!

I refer to that place as "The Bottom".

I can remember when I hit "The Bottom" and saw my need for God in my life.

I have wondered how the conversation might go with an individual on the street asking for money.

"I can give you what you need, but not what you want!"

"If you've hit "Bottom" I can show you where you can find help." 

"What you want is money! "

"Money will not heal you!"

"Money will not fill the void in your life!"

"Money will only feed the habit and help enable the cycle you are in!"

"If you really want help I can walk with you in the right direction."

"I can give you what you need, I wont give you what you want."

Ultimately I want them to realize their need for Christ!

I want to show them love and not judgement!

I want to treat all others just like myself!

I want earn the right to be heard, so that they may hear the gospel.

I don't want to fix them!

I want to walk along side the person and provide the way to a meaningful relationship with God!

We all have a choice to make!

Am I ready to walk with those who have hit bottom and want to make the right choice?

I pray for wisdom, courage and strength to walk with those who have hit bottom!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Dog poop!

In today's society it is politically correct to pick up your dog's poop in public places.

It may be the reason that I don't walk my dogs in public!

One of the crazy things I like to do on my prayer walk around Northminster is approach the dog walkers.

Whenever I see a dog owner carrying a weighted plastic bag, I approach them and ask if they would like to deposit the bag in the bucket of trash that I carry. 

Most folks are very appreciative of the gesture!

Then there was the day that a woman was jogging with her dog on a leash.

As she came towards me the weighted baggie was tossing back and forth from her hand.

I approached her and extended my bucket out and she seemed somewhat startled!

If you really think about it I don't blame her in the least!

It can be a rough neighborhood, it's pretty early in the morning and she has no idea who I am or what I am doing!

After the encounter, I thought to myself that I really blew it with her!

It wasn't a couple of weeks later that she and her husband came out early to walk their dog. As they passed by me along their walk the husband made a point of talking to me. 

He expressed his appreciation to me for picking up the trash!

We extended our morning greetings and they went on their way.

Maybe he was doing reconnaissance on me!

Since then the wife has been very cordial on her runs when she passes by, but she has yet to make a deposit in my bucket!

PS The other day I chuckled as I saw a dog owner pass by in a car with his hand out the window holding onto his little baggie of poop!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Gardener!

Over the summer, Embrace Richmond working with Northminster started a garden in the courtyard of the Church.

On my morning walks it is often that I will see the regular crew going through the gate into the garden.

This past Wednesday I noticed an individual that I had never seen before pass through the gate.

Unfortunately I began to immediately think to myself was he supposed to be there?

I passed by and didn't think much more about it.

Later that day I went to the prayer walk on Brookland Park.

To my surprise as we were waiting for folks to show up, the same guy that I saw at the garden walked up to join us.

I asked if he was at the garden this morning. 

He smiled and said yes!

Richard is his name and he lives in the neighborhood. He has volunteered to help with the garden.

Richard joined us on our prayer walk handing out fresh vegetables to some of the folks we met along the way.

I love seeing the local residents extending the fruit of their labor to others!

It was fun being with Richard the Gardener!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

My Angel dropped by!

The past few weeks I have been thinking about Geraldine, the school bus driver aka "My Angel"!

I have missed seeing her all summer long!

After this first week of school I never saw her?

I thought she might have been transferred or something.

I walked by her spot along side the church every day and I never saw her this past week!

Monday as I was prayer walking I asked God to bring me another angel.

I assumed Geraldine had moved on. I wanted God to provide another person as great as she is!

No sooner had I prayed that prayer than literally 20 minutes later I hear her honking her horn and shouting out her window at me! 

She said she was excited to see me and how much she had missed me.

I couldn't believe it!

I ran over to the other side of the church to catch up with her.

I asked where she had been and she said they were still working out the bus schedule.

I told her that I had just finished praying about her!

We got caught up real fast and then before she left we prayed together for the first time!

It was something real special!

Thank you Lord for dropping your angel back in my life!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Who would have thought! God uses Facebook?

When you follow God's leading you never know what might happen!

In July I saw a video on Facebook about RJI. 

The next week I met Sara from RJI!

In August she was speaking at Atlee Community Church!

Today she moved into her new office at the Church!

It all started by watching a video posted on Facebook.

Who would have thought!

I love how God works in the strangest ways!

He did turn water into wine!!!

I guess I'm a little slow!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Twice in one week!

For the last few months I have been prayer walking Brookland Park Blvd with Embrace Richmond.

Along the journey we have met a lot of the business owners up and down Brookland Park from Fendall Ave to North Ave.

Wendy from Embrace does not hesitate to engage with people and ask if we can pray for them. I admire the heck out of her!

The other day we ended up at Roy's market which is situated on the corner of North Ave and Brookland Park.

We were having a great conversation with Roy and his family when I looked up and saw a familiar face at the counter.

Now what are the chances that I would know someone at THAT store? 

This was only the second time I had actually been in the store my entire life!

There at the register was Muhammad! 

I believe the last time I saw him was at one of the houses from Hands Up Ministries when we were doing some renovations.

Muhammad is the gentleman that shared his story in the video on this blog.

He is a personal inspiration to me. His story has a lot to do with why I am driven to find more affordable housing in Richmond!

If you haven't watched the video please do so!

The encounter at Roy's was on Wednesday this past week. On Saturday I was with Charles at an alumni celebration for The Healing Place.

It was an awesome event set up like a block party right in the parking lot.

I was enjoying myself, when I turned and saw Muhammad walking into the tent. We just about bumped right into each other!

We took up where we left off on Wednesday!

It was really great to see him!

What are the chances we would run into each other twice in a week?

I am having a blast getting to know so many new folks in a part of the city you would have never seen me in just nine months ago!

God is GOOD!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Impact - One life at a time!

I struggle with wanting BIG things to happen fast!

I want to see homelessness solved yesterday!

I know God is going to move in big ways and he is already setting things up!

I can visualize things happening for lots of people all at once!

Jeff suggested to me - one person at a time!

Last week Charles contacted me about a girl needing some back to school clothes and supplies. He wanted to see if someone from the church would help her out. Her living circumstances were horrific!

I thought about what Jeff said "One person at a time".

I put the need on Facebook and I got responses right away!

The young teenager lives in Essex Village, a very rough neighborhood! As a matter a fact a few months ago there was a murder there.

This young woman lives with her mother, a drug addict and the apartment is filled with people all the time. The type of situation you would never wish on anyone.

A place where there is no privacy, no place to get away!

The sad fact is that this teenager never did anything to deserve her circumstances! I have seen a few situations now that make my heart ache for the children involved.

The children are the innocent victims of their parents bad behavior!

I am a child of parents who got divorced when I was a teenager, but nothing like that comes even close to the situations I have been exposed to recently.

Last night two suburban moms reached out to this young woman and made her feel loved! The moms got to see first hand what life for this young woman is like.

A small act of kindness can go a long way in a person's life. That one act may never be forgotten.

I want to say thanks to Melissa and Gayla for stepping out of their comfort zone and going where most (I was one of them!) would never go. They chose to share Christ's love with a complete stranger!

I pray for the young woman and that she will come to see a much better life in the near future! That she would come to know the true meaning of love!

One life was reached out to, but several lives were impacted by a small act of kindness!

"your kingdom come,
your will be done
    on earth as it is in heaven." Matt 6:10 NIV

Friday, September 7, 2012

What does an awesome day look like?

Thursday morning started with breakfast with Charles, Howard and a friend of Howard's at the Dairy Bar.

The conversation was all about the work Charles is doing and how could it be expanded. Charles is a real "Street Angel". He cares for those in desperate situations. He loves on people.

Charles shows Christ's love to society's "least of them"!

The work Charles does is not easily duplicated. He is one of a kind!

I was excited to participate in the conversation because I can see things happening!

I sense God is moving in a big way!

I have been ignorant for most of my life of the desperation of the "least of these".

Breakfast was over and Charles got a call in the car as we drove home. It was Karen calling needing some chairs for an event this weekend. He asked me for suggestions, I made a call and he had the chairs he needed. Thanks to Rental Works!

Charles is the master of networking! He knows how to get things done!

I went from there to my office.

My next meeting was a complete unknown going into it.

I had called a complete stranger to set up a meeting to get together and discuss what God might be up to.

The meeting was with a pastor of a church near the interection of Laburnam and 360.

As I was leaving the office I asked Jeff if he wanted to come along. He accepted the invite and we were on our way.

The church builing is up for sale.

We were greated by the pastor and I shared my desire to see "The Church" help solve the homeless situation in Richmond.

The pastor shared his heart and we had a great time of getting to know each other. It was definately a divine appointment!

In all the people I met that day I could sense God moving in a way that I could not put my finger on it.

I could only be excited that I know he was orchastrating these divine appointments!

All this took place before lunch time!

That's what an awesome day looks like!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Too busy not to pray

How do you pray a prayer so filled with faith that it can move a mountain? By shifting your focus from the size of your mountain to the sufficiency of the Mountain Mover and then stepping forward in obedience. As you walk with God, your faith will grow, your confidence will increase and your prayers will have real power.

Bill Hybels. Too Busy Not to Pray (p. 83). Kindle Edition. 

This was a great book about prayer!

I am learning more and more about my relationship with Christ through prayer.

My prayer life has really opened my eyes to what God would have me do in my life!

I am excited about what lies ahead!

You can't afford to be too busy not to pray!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Is it rude to fall asleep at the dinner table?

When I was a teenager, I remember my Uncle Ned falling asleep at the dinner table quite often.

It wasn't until recently some 35 years later, that I have begun to truly understand why!

Uncle Ned used to get up every morning at about 4 or 5am.

This was the time he spent with God!

If dinner was served late around 8pm, then you can bet an hour or so later he would start to nod off.

I love my Uncle and more so today, because of my understanding of why he would fall asleep at the table.

About two months ago I started getting up at 5am to read the bible and pray. I then proceed to the Northside.

My wife now complains about me going to bed at 9pm or sometimes earlier!

I have no regrets because my life has never been better!

I used to think Uncle Ned was crazy.

Now I appreciate him more than ever!

If it's rude to fall asleep than I will gladly live that kind of life!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Incredible Edible Landscape

Here is an awesome video to watch!

What would Brookland Park Blvd look like if the community came together like in this video?

What do you think?

Leave your comments!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Open your eyes!

It's easy to miss what happens in your city, if you don't open your eyes!

Friday was awesome and dreadful at the same time.

I started the day on my prayer walk around Northminster. It was great to find Tim praying in the very spot where I pray every morning in front of the fountain.

I am humbled by what God is doing in the Northside.

I proceeded to breakfast at the Firehouse, the restaurant is a part of Boaz & Ruth.

I watched three men count out their change to see if they had enough money to buy breakfast. I wasn't sure how to feel, as I watched them joke and push their dimes and quarters to the side of the table.

I then went to my 9:30 appointment to give blood on the southside.

Afterwards I couldn't resist going to the Good Samaritan Thrift and checking it out. It is located in the shopping center at Westover Hills Blvd and Hull St Rd.

I was surprised to see how reasonable the pricing was. They had a great selection as well.

Then I proceeded down Hull St to Good Samaritan Ministries' office. I stopped in to look up Pastor Mike. He wasn't there.

I wasn't going to waste the rest of the morning, so I called Charles up. I told him I was on my way over.

We went to lunch and dreamed some more about all the possibilities of how to make an impact on the city!

Charles then suggested we do a drive by and pay a young mother a visit.

Just off Brookland Parkway we came across a house that was in bad shape. It happened to be up for sale because of foreclosure.

On the front steps were at least five guys drinking, shooting the breeze. Charles asked if someone would get the young lady we were looking for.

When she came out she was surprised to see us!

She walked us around the outside of the house which was in some disrepair. She then took us inside to see her room.

As we passed the men on the steps you could just see what they were thinking. Charles joked to me, that I was the policeman!

When the door to her room opened I was in shock!

Four small children all on ONE bed in one small room with one Large TV. That means SIX people live in that one room!

My heart goes out especially to those kids! They become the victims of their parents poor choices!

There is a lot more to this story, but I would ask for prayers for the family and the guys hanging out there.

Pray that hearts will change and they will seek the void in their lives who is Christ!

My eyes have been opened to a tradegy that I would not have seen, if not for my good friend Charles.

He has shown me a horrific way of life, that I had chosen not to see for all these years! 

This way of life is happening right here in our city!

I am more passionate then ever now, to pray for those who have so little and live a life trapped in their addictions.

Let's all pray and open our eyes!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

The Dairy Bar

Over a week ago, I had a blast with Charles, Jeff, and Mary (not her real name) as we had breakfast together at the Dairy Barn.

The first challenge was to get everyone up in order to have breakfast at 7am!

I met Jeff at Northminster about 6:45am and then we road together to pick up Charles.

To my delight Charles had a young woman join us as well. Mary is a very young mother of four.

She was a delight to be with. 

She wouldn't put up with anything Charles was dishing out!

I think Charles may have met his match!

Mary is an unemployed mother who has the huge responsibility of raising four young children.

She moved to Richmond from out of state about a year ago!

The conversation was all about getting to know one another.

We all laughed and had a great time. 

Mary was very pleasant to get to know.

After breakfast I dropped Charles and Mary off on North ave.

Later that morning they stopped by the church to pick up some snack boxes left over from the Global Leadership Summit.

The boxes were headed to Northminster to give out to the kids in the neighborhood. It was great to see that our left over snacks would go to a good cause.

It was a fun morning getting to know some more people who live in the Northside.

By the way The Dairy Bar has a great breakfast!