Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Trash bag of cans!

One thing I notice quit frequently on my prayer drive are the number of folks picking up cans from the streets and garbage bins.

They carry these large garbage bags over their shoulders and walk up and down the streets looking for cans.

This is not a sight I see in Chesterfield or surrounding counties!

I assume they will take the cans and turn them in to cash!

Keep in mind I don't know the person or the circumstances, but I thought to my self; I admire that person who would get up early in the morning before 7am and wonder the streets picking up cans.

Sure it may be for the wrong motives, but I don't know that.

What I do know is that someone is getting up and doing something!

They aren't sitting around waiting for a handout. They are actually doing something!

It may not seem like a lot, but the fact that they are taking some intiative is huge!

A side benefit is that there is a little less trash on the streets.

Again I don't know the full story, but it struck me that these people were actually motivated to get up and go out!

So a trash bag full of cans could be a huge step in the right direction!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Whose praying for who?

It is always uplifting to hear that someone has been praying for you!

Why not make it a point to pray for someone today!

You may learn one day that someone you didn't even know about has been praying for you!

What an encouragement that would be!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

A picture is worth a thousand words!

Jerry and Tina asleep on the bench!

37 Degrees at 6:40 am on Wed 11/21/12!

Cold weather shelter was open last night!

Why then????

This is what keeps me up at night! This is what motivates me!

This picture is worth a LOT more than a thousand words!

I am praying that God will intervene!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Have a great day! No!

The other day I was speaking with "my angel", the school bus driver Geraldine.

It was a very uplifting conversation around the topic of prayer and God's will for our lives.

I was pumped up after we shared story after story of what God was doing.

She ended the conversation as she started to drive off. 

"Have a great day, no; I have ALREADY had a GREAT day!

What a great way to start the day off!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving Breakfast!

What a great way to start the Holiday!

This morning I stopped and picked up Tina and Jerry for breakfast!

Along the way, I got a call from Charles who saw me driving through the neighborhood.

I asked him to join us at the McDonald's on Broad St near the boulevard.

We all sat down and got to know each other a little more.

After a short time we were all rolling over with laughter! 

The walls came down and we were all having a blast picking on each other.

Charles has a way of warming up to everyone!

It wasn't long before Charles and Jerry were going toe to toe about cooking!

I could see The Lord moving in a way to build these relationships with Jerry and Tina!

I am so encouraged by what is happening. 

I can see The Next Bold Prayers of a few days ago starting to come true!

Keep praying!

I am thankful for a GREAT Thanksgiving breakfast!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Answered prayer - a matter of alignment!

Isn't it amazing when you pray for something real specific and God answers it!

It's not a coincidence! 

It's God moving in your life!

Maybe it's not about what we want for ourselves, but what God wants for us!

At that one point in time you are on the same page as God.

Think about that one thought, for a minute or two.

Your thoughts and prayers at that moment are in alignment with the Creator, The Lord God Almighty!

How is that possible?

Only God!

I pray that I can be more aligned with God!

His will not mine!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Next bold prayers!

That there will be a week retreat for the homeless this coming Spring!

That leaders will rise up and be a part!

That service providers will join in!

That lives of the chronically homeless will be changed forever!

That the homeless situation in Richmond, Va will be a thing of the past!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Bold prayers!

This past Sunday Ross Wright gave a great message about Bold Prayers at Church.

Then on Thursday night my small group met and had a great discussion about praying boldly!

We heard several stories of bold prayers and then the actions that move us out in faith as a result of our prayers!

I was so inspired by the conversation that I am going to continue my bold prayers by asking God to move my wife and I into the Northside!

I don't know how or when, but I'm praying!

The thought of moving to the Northside really gets me excited!

It reminded me of a post I wrote months earlier. As a matter of fact it was my First post of the year!

What a great weekend!

In the post I mentioned praying for the sale of my house, but I didn't know where we would go.

Today months later I KNOW where to go!

I am praying BOLDLY for God to do what only he can do!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Expand your circle! What could happen?

Below is a post from Mark Batterson

Posted: 29 Oct 2012 07:03 AM PDT
A few years ago the Lord convicted me that it was easier for me to pray for a church that was four states away than a church that was four blocks away.  That conviction was a catalyst.
There is no room for territorialism in the Kingdom of God. It’s all His.  Yet we fight with each other instead of fighting the enemy!  So much sideways energy!  Maybe it’s because we’re more concerned about protecting our turf than taking back enemy territory!  There is a fine line between Thy Kingdom Come and My Kingdom Come. So how do we break it down?  I think the key is good-old fashioned friendships amongst pastors and churches.  Building friendships with neighboring pastors is a game-changer!
One of the things we did this year at NCC was invite local pastors to do our staff devotions. I just asked them to share their story and share their heart.  Those staff meetings turned into prayer meetings!  When churches start not just loving each other but liking each other–revival is around the corner. Each time a wall comes down between churches, we’re one step closer to revival.  The name above the door isn’t nearly as significant as the name above all names.
There is only one Church, upper-case C, in Washington, DC.  The same is true in your city!  Let’s pray for a rising tide of revival in every church, lower-case c.

Based on what I am seeing there will be revival in Richmond!

The Circle is getting bigger!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


I have really enjoyed getting to know Jerry, the homeless guy living on the streets.

The other day at breakfast he shared a couple of stories that really hit me!

At church we have been discussing the power of prayer.

In the bible it states you have not because you ask not.

Jerry shared with me that one day he asked God to give him a penny. I am not sure why, but I guess he wanted to see God show up.

That same day Jerry found a $20 bill!

How much more does God want to answer our prayers!

I love that Jerry had the faith to ask!

Then Jerry totally shocked me with the next statement that came out of his mouth.

He began to share that he had been through a lot, but nothing he has experienced will ever compare to the sacrifice that Christ made on the cross for him!

This coming from a man who lives on the street, who needs a hip replacement as well as his knees replaced. He can barely walk and is in a lot of pain all the time!

I am humbled to know Jerry!

Monday, November 12, 2012


In my travels on Friday I saw what might be a very disturbing site!

I was sitting at a stop light in the fan when I saw an older gentleman   limping along on the sidewalk.

He looked like he might have been homeless, but who knows.

He was carrying a white plastic bag full of something. At first I thought it might be trash or drink cans.

I looked a little closer and then I saw what looked like prescription drugs. I wasn't sure, but it did make me consider something new.

How many people on the streets are hurting for lack of medical care?

If they are, then how many are hooked on pain meds?

I have often considered the problem on the streets with drugs and alcohol, but not pain meds!

It makes sense, based on the circumstances.

Every day is a learning curve, but some times it can be very disturbing!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

What if you don't get your way!

Friday morning was one of those days that I had planned out for myself.

I was sure that God was going to use me in a certain way.

I was planning on picking up Tina and Jerry for breakfast and then taking them to get some help getting id's.

I knew it was going to be a great day!

I went to find Jerry, but no luck!

I tracked down Tina, but Jerry was not with her.

She pointed me back to the bus station for Jerry.

I finally found Jerry and asked him to go with me to breakfast. He said no. He had something to do.

I almost pleaded with him! I couldn't believe he wasn't going to go.

This through a monkey wrench in my plans.

I wasn't quit sure as to why. I began to pray and ask God for some answers.

It wasn't long thereafter that God showed me that it just wasn't going to be that easy.

I love an easy fix to problems.

As I am writing this post I am reminded of what Jerry shared at breakfast one day.

You have to be very patient with the homeless!

Things don't always go your way, but you can always learn something from your experiences!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Mark this down!

November 1, 2012

Don't be surprised when God shows up in your Circle!

That's all I'm saying now!

Friday, November 9, 2012

How Starbucks's hot chocolate might just save a life or two!

This past Tuesday I was having Breakfast with Jerry and Tina, who are homeless and live on a bench outside the bus station.

During breakfast Tina asked the waitress if they had "real hot chocolate"?

The waitress responded by saying no they didn't.

For some reason this morning I remembered that thought.

I made a point of trying to find a place that serves real hot chocolate!

I went to Google like any nerd would and did a search!

Starbucks's was the most logical choice.

I went by and purchased a large cup of real hot chocolate and then went to find Tina.

I found her sitting in a McDonald's on Broad st. I told her to come outside and I would give her a cup of real hot chocolate!

She was surprised and we enjoyed a brief conversation together.

I left hoping that I had made a little more headway with Tina.

If I can earn the trust of Tina and be able to help her, then I can get some help for Jerry as well.

So one cup of hot chocolate might just save two lives!

Thursday, November 8, 2012


Patience is waiting on God and not trying to get out ahead of Him!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

One of those days!

Yesterday was one of those days I will always cherish!

It started about 2am Tuesday morning when I couldn't sleep.

I got up and noticed there was a voice mail that had been left on my cell phone at about midnight!

I listened to the voice mail. It was from Jerry, the homeless guy who sleeps on a bench out front of the bus station.

He wanted to have breakfast together in the morning!

He also made a point of saying that he was cold! He said if I wanted to, I could come pick him up.

This was very hard to hear! I didn't know what to do!

Keep in mind it's 2am!!!

I spent the next hour praying and reading scripture, asking God to tell me if I should go!

I decided to hold off till about 6am to get ready. I knew that I had to set some boundaries.

While driving I called Charles for his help. He was going to meet me at the bus station.

I finally got to the bus station around 6:45 am!

I found Jerry and Tina awake. They began to pack up their belongings and put them away. Tina took off and I asked Jerry if she was going to join us?

He said yes but she needed to do something. I had my doubts because I had tried several times before to have Tina join us.

This time as a result of others praying, Tina came back and had breakfast with Jerry and myself.

Meanwhile Charles had to leave to go to another meeting because the process took some time to get Tina and Jerry ready to go.

So Jerry, Tina and I had an awesome time getting to know one another over breakfast.

Why is this so significant you might ask?

Tina does not socialize with anyone. Jerry will not go any where without Tina being looked after.

The two of them are a pair. On the streets you are always looking for a companion. The streets are a very difficult place to be alone!

Breakfast was a huge step in building a relationship and trust!

Tuesday was one of those days I will cherish in this journey!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Wake Up!

It's amazing to think what can happen before 7:00 am!

I started the day as usual.

When I arrived at the intersection of Brookland Park and Chamberlayne I saw an individual who hadn't seen for almost a week.

There was this man walking briskly along the road with a bag hanging in his hand.

I have seen this man walking along quit frequently when driving around the Northside.

This morning I was convinced to take a chance. I made a u turn and chased the man down. I yelled out my window "Do you want a ride? I see you walking to work all the time." He looked puzzled but willing. He said "yes".

He hopped into the car and introduced himself as Mel. He said he worked at Kloke Moving Company. Kloke was located a couple of miles down the road behind the bus station.

We had a great time together and he said he played music. I then began to say to myself I need to get him to see our band at Church.

We parted ways and I said I would see him again soon.

I drove off excited about a new friend in the neighborhood. As I was passing the bus station I saw Jerry on the sidewalk.

I pulled over and asked Jerry to sit in the car and chat. I asked how he was doing and where did he sleep last night? He shared that he was out at the bench and went inside after it got colder. Earlier in the weekend he was at the cold weather shelter.

I then asked him if he would be willing to go on a retreat for a week at a camp. I shared the idea that there would be a bed, three meals a day and some fun things to do.

His first response was to say he had Dr appts. I said what if you didn't have any appts. He then turned and said "yes". As I drove off he said "Thanks for caring!"

I am more than ever determined to see this Dream come true!

All this took place before 7:00 am!

You have to wake up early to see what God is up to!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Cooperation within a dream!

Saturday afternoon I found myself driving around the boulevard near the bus station and I went back and forth several times.

I was looking for Jerry. I wanted to run by my idea of a week retreat for the homeless.

It turns out that when I got home I read an email that stated that the cold weather shelter was open this weekend.

Richmond, VA - The city's Cold Weather Overflow Shelter will open
tonight, November 2, Saturday, November 3, and Sunday, November 4, as
overnight temperatures are forecasted to remain at or below 40 degrees.
The emergency shelter is located at Sixth Mount Zion Baptist Church, 14
West Duval Street. The shelter opens at 7 p.m. and closes the following
morning at 6 a.m. Food will not be provided and pets are not allowed.

As I read the email I couldn't help but think, how did Jerry and Tina get there?

So if the temp is above 40 degrees then your out of luck!

Not to mention the fact that no matter what the temperature is at 6am your back on the street!

No meals included!

So back to my dream. I see a warm place available all day, three meals daily, and you won't get kicked out at 6am!

It may only be for seven days, but you have to start somewhere in order for change to take place. 

Seeds planted one day may become a full fledged dream come true!

I am sure Jerry went to the cold weather shelter. He had mentioned that shelter before.

If you didn't read my earlier post here it is.

I have a dream!

Jerry lives on a park bench in front of the bus station.

He would be considered chronic homeless because he is not in the shelter system and lives on the streets.

Who better to give you input than a chronic homeless person.

I asked Charles about it and he liked the idea so much, within a day he had a meeting setup with Caritas for Monday.

Keep in mind Charles spent 33 years homeless!

Meanwhile Travis the owner of the camp is excited about the idea.

It will take a lot of people cooperating together to see the dream become a reality!

I can't wait till next week to see what other pieces of the puzzle will fall into place!

Saturday, November 3, 2012


Friday morning Charles took me to Caritas Works for something called "Morning Motivation".

Caritas Works is part of a program that works with men at the Healing Place coming out of recovery.

I wasn't quit sure what I was getting into.

I saw a few familiar faces as I walked into Caritas.

Charles led me down the hall into a large class room.

There was a large circle of chairs with about 15 men in suits sitting there.

I sat down and the program started.

On the wall behind us were two questions. One said,  "Where do you see yourself in five years?" and the other said "What would you like to have accomplished?"

Then one of the men proceeded to the middle of the circle.

He said "Good morning Caritas family my name is Jim"

In response the rest of the men YELLED  "Jim you are awesome, motivates us!"

Jim would then proceed to answer the questions on the wall.

It was very inspiring to hear the stories from these men who have struggled with addictions and after a year have remained clean.

These men are due to graduate from the Caritas program in the next eight days!

Now the story gets a little more crazy at this point.

After answering the questions you are required to sing a song any song but you must sing!

Once the song starts the rest of the men in the circle chime on in.

They were doing all the backups and the sound effects.

There was plenty of enthusiasm and clapping!

I heard a lot of Motown this particular morning!

Now picture this, I am sitting in the circle and it comes around to me!

I know I can't sing!

Sure enough I said "Good morning my name is Nelson" and they SHOUTED "Nelson you are awesome, motivate us"

I responded by saying I hope I will be working at Atlee Community Church in the next five years and that by that time Homelessness in Richmond Va will be over!

Then the humiliation set in!

I couldn't think of any song because I was too embarrassed! 

Then I thought of my wife's ring tone on my phone! So I dedicated my song to her "Sugar Pie Honey Bunch!"

As I turned to sing I did add that I was a much better dancer! So I sang a few words and they took over the rest.

 I started to strut my stuff and soon the nightmare was over!

I can honestly say that it was awesome to hear the dreams of men who have a second chance at a new life!

I will take being humiliated any day to hear the dreams of men coming out of recovery!

Friday, November 2, 2012

I have a dream!

The other day I was inspired on my prayer walk about a new concept.

What if there was a week during the winter months that the homeless could go away for a retreat/vacation from the streets.

What would that look like?

Our new found Campus Pastor, Travis from Scottsville owns a summer camp just outside of the town on the James River.

The place is called Watermarks Camp.

Travis had shared with me that last year he had made an offer to an organization in Charlottesville, that he would allow the homeless to come and stay at the camp if need be.

The offer was never accepted!

That immediately got me thinking.

Caritas does a night time shelter in Richmond, but during the day the clients are then put back on the street at about 7am until they get picked back up again that evening.

That's a long day with nothing to do!

As the saying goes "Idle hands are the devil's workshop".

The homeless situation is not at all an easy fix!

But let me dream for a moment of a week where a group of homeless folks could go away and experience something different!

A warm bed made available all day long for those who are exhausted!

A phone available to call loved ones.

A time to relax and get rejuvenated.

Three meals a day!

A place to get away from the streets and see a new environment.

Different service providers made available to discuss services such as employment, housing, health issues, etc...

During the day there are opportunities for folks to do things they may never have tried before such as a rousing game of whiffle ball. 

How about driving some golf balls off the tee!

If golf ain't your game how about archery?

Still haven't found your game. How about basketball?

For the real adventuress there is a high ropes coarse!

At nights there is music and singing going on! 

I asked Charles for his thoughts and he liked the idea of allowing folks to see a new environment than the one they have on the streets.

Just maybe someone will see some hope!

I know they will see the love of Christ!

I believe this:

If one life out of the 50+ that came to camp for a week, was changed forever I think it would be a home run!

I am 53 yrs old and I still love the beauty of the country and to play games. I think you are never too old to play.

Now let's go a little further.

What if there was a model of this that worked?

What if all the camps around the city and state for that matter were full during the winter months?

What impact could we have on the homeless situation?

If you are interested in making this happen please let me know!

Summer Camp Teaser from Watermarks Camp on Vimeo.