Thursday, February 28, 2013

What did you get out of the Homeless Retreat?

At the end of our time together, I wanted to hear from the men what they thought of the retreat. 

Here are some of the answers.

"Great to be able to get to know everyone. Gives the homeless a chance to relax and open up. Great opportunity to just build relationships. Relationships were the key to the week."  Tom

"Everything was alright!" Kevin

"More shooting range time!" Shelton

"Gives the homeless a chance to be around positive people. Gives you a chance to reflect and think about where you are in life." David

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Enough said! WOW!

Yesterday I received a phone call from Shelton who went on the retreat with us.

He asked if I was going to be at The Alpha and Omega Bible Church that night.

I told him I was going to be in a meeting, but I hoped to come later.

He said he had over heard my conversation with my wife about the funeral arrangements for my father n law who had just passed away last week.

He then said that he and the guys had gotten a card for me and wanted to give it to me that night.

Shelton said "You were there for us and now we want to be there for you!"

Tuesday, February 26, 2013


The word that was most often used by Kevin: "AWESOME"!

On Wednesday of last week one of the more adventurous things we did was the shooting range.

When asked what the men wanted to do for fun that day, the over whelming majority wanted to shoot some guns.

Paintball was an option but it was low on the totem pole compared to shooting a real gun.

There was target practice as well as skeet shooting!

While some were on the shooting range others walked across the street to the archery range.

When we were done that day on the range, Kevin walked up to me and said:

 "You can't slap this smile off my face! That was AWESOME!"

Monday, February 25, 2013


Sometimes words are not sufficient enough to describe an experience.

The homeless retreat was such a time as that.

In the next few days I hope to describe some of the events that took place this past week.

I am not a writer and I know that I will not be able to do it justice.

God has moved and I along with a lot of others have all seen what God can do when you let him guide you.

Back in the end of November I had a dream.

I was scared to death of what I was doing.

There were many who cautioned me along the way and rightfully so.

Last Monday I fretted all day and night.

What the heck was I doing? 

I was about to take 10 homeless men away for three days.

Only one of the men did I have any knowledge of.

In my world you don't take strangers off the street and go away on a trip!

A year ago I would not even have given a stranger a ride some where.

This is not my story, but God's story!

I hope you will enjoy the ride as much as I have.

Keep in mind that God wants to take you on a journey as well, but you have to be willing to be open to the impossible.

A year ago it was impossible for me to see it and now I am moved beyond words at what God can make possible.

Philippians 4:13

New Living Translation (NLT)
13 For I can do everything through Christ,[a] who gives me strength.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

A measure of success!

You never know what kind of impact you will have on one's life.

This retreat for the homeless came with so many questions going in.

I didn't know what to expect.

9 of the men were complete strangers.

One of the many stories I will share happened at the very end of the trip when we got back to Richmond.

I had just dropped everyone off at the Alpha and Omega Bible Church. I was giving Shelton a ride down the road several miles away.

We had left a few of the guys at the church as they were collecting there belongings.

When we arrived at the place where Shelton wanted to go, he began to unload his belongings. He couldn't find one of his bags!

He panicked and looked through out the van several times. He knew he needed to go back and look to see if he had left it outside the church.

He climbed back in the van and said "that was my business bag". Everything important was in that bag.

The drive back to the church was silent. You could tell he was worried.

We drove up along side the church and noticed everyone had left. 

We didn't see his bag!

As we turned the corner, there was his bag leaning up against the front door.

His first words out of his mouth "This retreat must have done some good!"

My next question out of naivety was "Would that bag have been there last week?"

Answer: "Nope"

Sometimes the measure of success can come in very small ways like a backpack sitting on the front stoop of a church. 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

I can sing!

It's 4:45 am!

I am singing Carly Simon in my head!

What do the next three days entail?

If your too young to know who Carly Simon is then watch this link

By the way I am a terrible singer!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Tomorrow's Homeless Retreat

Tomorrow the face of homelessness will be changed forever!

First ever retreat for the homeless!

Thy will be done!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Dignity and Respect!

I couldn't help but think about the possibilities with the Homeless when reading this blog post from Seth Godin.

Dignity, respect and a chance to be heard are rare in the homeless community!

But NOT this Tuesday!

Homeless Retreat!

Friday, February 15, 2013

The men who have signed up for the retreat.

Nothing great happens, without prayer!

Please pray for these men on the retreat!


Thursday, February 14, 2013

My angel can sing!

This morning I went to see Geraldine, whom I call my angel.

She is the sweetest lady I know. She drives a school bus in Northside.

Today I had the pleasure of hearing her sing to me a part of an old gospel song.

Below are the lyrics.

God has a way of showing up when you least expect it!

Hold to God's Unchanging Hand 

Time is filled with swift transition
Naught of earth unmoved can stand
Build your hopes on things eternal
Hold to God's unchanging hand
Hold (to his hand) to God's unchanging hand
Hold (to his hand) to God's unchanging hand
Build your hopes on things eternal
Hold to God's unchanging hand
Trust in Him who will not leave you
Whatsoever years may bring
If by earthly friends forsaken
Still more closely to Him cling
Covet not this world's vain riches
That so rapidly decay
Seek to gain the Heavenly treasures
They will never pass away
When your journey is completed
If to God you have been true
Fair and bright your home in glory
Your enraptured soul will view

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Liquid Courage

What is liquid courage?

Most people believe it has to do with drinking enough alcohol to get the courage to speak more openly, than when you were sober.

I have spoken with several folks from the streets who have given me another meaning.

"You have to be drunk to sleep in a place like that!"

I never thought of it that way before, but it helps to better understand.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

The reason for a retreat!

The other day when I was recruiting men to go on the retreat, I heard something that made it all worth while.

Twelve men have signed up to go on this first retreat. 

They are all excited about it!

When I was about to leave that night, several men who were not going on the retreat came up to me.

They all said "Thank you for doing this! It's needed!

Now I KNOW, God is up to something BIG!

Friday, February 8, 2013

It's on! A dream come true!

The date is set for the first of many retreats for the homeless!

To read more go to I have a dream!

On Tuesday 2/19/13 a group of men will go on a retreat for a few days together.

The outcome could be a game changer for the face of homelessness in Richmond and beyond.

I believe God is up to something really big and I have no clue, which makes it even more exciting!

That might have something to do with why I am writing this post at 4:30 in the morning!

I can't begin to share how excited I am!!!!!

If you want to participate, please pray first and foremost.

Then share this with others. Let's get the word out there.

If you would like to partner with us, we are in need of:

Adult size sleeping bags - new
Pillows - new
Adult size back packs
Transportation to and from Scottsville Va (2/19/13-2/21/13)

Feel free to drop off the items Mon-Thur, 9-5 or on Sunday morning at the Mechanicsville Campus.

If you have any questions feel free to write me at or call 804-730-3676

PS I am not worried about the quantity because what we don't use this time, we will use on the next retreat in March.

Oh by the way, don't EVER stop dreaming about how God can use you to change the world, you just need to take that step of faith.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Build it, and they will come!

That title is playing off a quote from the movie "Field of Dreams".

The actual quote was "If you build it, he will come".

I happen to believe both quotes are applicable.

Last night at the Alpha and Omega Church I received a list of 12 men that want to go on the first ever Homeless Retreat!

I spent time talking with half the guys and they were all very excited.

I reviewed with them some of the expectations and the rough draft of what we would be doing.

They all seemed very interested and couldn't wait.

One of the guys is even going to come to Atlee this Thursday night to help plan the retreat.

I knew it was big, when folks came up to me who were not even going on the retreat and said "Thank you for doing this. It is needed."

I say "Build it and they will come" and sure enough 12 men have signed up!

But in the movie it states "If you build it, he will come." 

I know God is going to show up in a big way!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Super Bowl has nothing to do with football!

Last night I drove up into the parking lot and saw a familiar face.

There was Vickie getting out of her car. I approached the car to say hello.

We exchanged pleasantries and then I asked if Shelton had explained to her my idea of a retreat for the homeless.

She said no, but wanted to know more.

We entered a large room that was setup to watch the big game with about 50-60 people mostly from the homeless community.

Vickie and I sat down at a table and I began to share this idea of taking some guys off the streets for a few days and building relationships with them. 

Building a level of trust and love!

She liked the idea and wanted to help make it happen.

I asked that she would share with me a list of men that might benefit from the retreat.

She said that she would begin to create a list.

As I sat and watched the game from the back of the room I could only be encouraged that this idea could be the start of something really big!

It was inspiring to see all the men and women from the streets enjoying themselves for the next few hours.

What if that same enjoyment could last a few days, weeks, months or a lifetime?

No the Super Bowl had nothing to do with football! 

It had everything to do with vision and with lives being transformed!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

It's time for a Pep Talk

"Create something that will make the world awesome!" by Kid President
Enough said!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Coincidence? I think not!

The other day I received an email from a friend who lives in the West End and happens to go to my church.


A few days ago, I stopped to talk to a guy on the corner near the Wawa gas station at Forest Hill and Chippenham Pkwy. Thought he was homeless, but turns out he is just down on his luck and looking for work. He handed me his resume, and I thought I would pass it on in case you had any opportunities or ideas on how to help him. He said he is good at working with his hands and building things.


The Wawa happens to be on the Southside!

Here is the rest of the conversation.


I can't believe you met Robert!!!!!
I wrote about him a few weeks ago!

I have been praying about how I can help him!
It's a long story but one I would enjoy telling you more about some time!
I have talked with Robert a few times and have given him a cup of coffee a couple of mornings when it was really cold!
I am still trying to build up trust with him.

I LOVE how God brings things together!


Frank replied:

Small world. I've seen him a couple times on that corner. Last week it was so cold and I wanted to make sure he at least had something warm to eat or drink.
Sorry I missed your post. Would be glad to hear more, he seems like an interesting guy.


So I asked Frank if I could share our conversation this morning and this is his reply.

Yes, you can post my email. And yes, I live in the west end. My office is near Chesterfield airport, so sometimes I take Chippenham Pkwy to work. I occasionally get gas at the Wawa on Forest Hill and that is where I saw Robert standing with his sign.

I know you said you were trying to build trust with him... but the funny thing is that Robert told me he was trying to build trust with you. I think he believes that you didn't think he was legit. He's wants to show you (and others) that he is really looking for work instead of asking for money. I told him you would be looking out for him and that we all are praying for him.

I usually take 288 to work, but have intentionally gone Chippingham Pkwy a few times lately so I could stop and talk with Robert and help him out.

So what are the chances that a friend of mine who lives in the West End would run into the same guy I have been praying for?

God is having some fun bringing the puzzle pieces together!

It's no coincidence!

It's just plain fun!