Saturday, June 29, 2013

The Move!

Yesterday I picked up three men and we took a trailer to the old homestead.

We got started packing things up about 9:00 am.

Everything went really well except for the passing shower towards the end of the day.

By then everyone was really tired and could use the break mother nature gave us.

The guys did an awesome job!

One of the highlights of the day when it was all over, two of the guys Walked home and the other Rode his bike.

Welcome to the HOOD!

God is good! All the time!

We've moved in!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Two Sides To Every Coin!

On April 15th I heard about the closing of Freedom House, a local shelter for the homeless.

Today I was reading in my prayer journal when I came across the entry for 4/15/13.

I was praying for those who would be impacted by the closing, especially the clients that live there.

It was told in the newspaper that all of the folks living there would be given the help to find a new place to stay.

I was led to believe based on what I read that everyone would have a place.

Don't always believe everything you read!

This past Sunday a gentleman named Dave came to Church.

He used to live at Freedom House.

I love how God brings people together.

You've heard it said that "there are always two sides of the story".

Dave had a totally different perspective about what went down when they closed Freedom House.

He shared with me that at least 12 people including himself were put back on the street.

Unfortunate that the very place that was trying to help the homeless, in the end contributed to some being homeless again.

You may not even believe this post.

That's ok, because the point that I want to make is that Richmond has a problem and we need to step up and make a difference.

There are people living on the streets. 

Not "Homeless", but people!

Freedom House was making a difference during its prime.

The resources are drying up for the non profits, but the Church has unlimited resources and potential.

The Church can make the difference in reaching all people including the people who happen to be homeless.

There are two sides to every coin and I like to see both sides and learn what I can.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

What Does Homelessness Have To Do With Baseball?

Along this journey of helping to solve homelessness I have heard it said over and over "You can't save everyone".

Even though I believe it to be true, I have another take on it.

I happen to believe that is actually an excuse not to try.

I believe if you can save one and only one, then maybe you can save all through that one.

I have seen what an impact one person can have on a community through my best friend Charles.

He is one man who came from homelessness and now is impacting many lives.

He lives every day striving to make another persons life better.

He is my example to live by!

In baseball, nobody bats a 1000.

Your an all-star if you bat over 300 or 30%.

In this journey of helping the homeless the statistics are much, much lower.

I just want to get one hit!

I just want to see one life changed and then maybe like Charles they will impact many more!

Today's society likes winners. 

They want to see an all star.

In God's economy things are usually the opposite than what today's society is offering.

Like the beatitudes.

Matthew 5:3-5
New International Version (NIV)

3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.

I can't save them all, but I can try to save just one.

So in this game, I'm playing just to get one hit.

I want to see just one life changed for the better.

That one person then can change another and so forth.

In this game of homelessness, you want to get in the game and just get one hit!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Another Urban Camper

I met another Urban Camper on Sunday.

He showed up for Church service.

He told me this past week he was in Caratas. 

Caritas is the local shelter system for Richmond.

They setup sleeping arrangements with local churches during the week.

In this particular case, he slept on a mat on the floor.

He looked very tired and he expressed that to me as well.

It was great getting to meet him and getting to hear his story.

I look forward to spending more time with him.

He said he loved the service. 

He called it a great "seeker service".

He understood who we were trying to reach.

I am glad he took the opportunity to join us for Church.

I enjoyed meeting another Urban Camper in order to better understand the challenges that come from being homeless.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

The Key!

It has been just over a year since David had his own place to live.

For the past few months since I have known him, he has always wanted to get back on his own.

The other day in the mail he received notice of getting his disability.

This should allow him to find a place to live.

There are a lot of resources out there that provide housing.

The key will be to find the right place.

The key to a new place will also be transforming.

The key is the answer to many prayers.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Prayer and Community Collide!

It's a lot of fun to reflect back on your prayer life.

Several months ago I started to keep a journal of my prayers.

When reading it over you see where your heart was at a particular time.

You see prayers that have been answered and prayers yet to be answered.

I can see where God has brought me on this journey.

I started praying for a neighborhood and over time God moved in my heart to consider relocating to that neighborhood.

As I continued to pray God began to build relationships with people from the neighborhood and doors began to open that I never saw before.

Over time I could see what was missing in my life and that was a sense of community with God.

I am more intentional with my relationship with God than ever before.

He has opened my eyes to what true community can be like not only with him but with each other as well.

The other day as I sat on the front porch of my new house in the hood, I saw a glimpse of this new community.

I found it exciting to sit on my front porch and I could literally speak to about 5-6 of my neighbors without getting out of my rocker!

In the old neighborhood in the burbs there are hardly any porches and you need to walk a ways to get to the neighbors house.

We have conditioned ourselves to be isolated with out even knowing it.

We get in our cars and drive away without saying a word to anyone.

This is not what God had planned.

I have seen more community happening with the Urban Camper than in my neck of the woods.

The glimpse I have seen so far gets me really excited about what the future holds in Northside.

Not only do I have some great neighbors that I look forward to getting to know better, but my urban camper friends live a short distance away as well.

Be careful what you pray for!

God has a better plan then anything I could come up with.

Through prayer, God has shown me the potential of true community!

I look forward to the prayers and community yet to come!

Monday, June 17, 2013


The saying goes you should never "pray for patience".

If you do, you might experience trials to test your patience.

I think my problem lies more with the idea of instant gratification.

In society we want everything now, no waiting give it to me now!

I fall into that trap as well.

I want the Dream Center so badly.

I want it now.

What I have found to be true for me, is that I must first walk up some stepping stones of learning before I can see the doors open to the Dream Center.

This journey is one of growth and learning. 

When things don't happen as quickly as I like them to, then I must still be on the path of learning.

I am not going to pray for patience as much as I am going to pray for wisdom and knowledge as I move forward closer to the Dream.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

The need to spread

The more you share a dream the better chance you have of seeing people coming together to fulfill that dream.

I believe God wants to see a Dream Center in Richmond!

I believe he wants to see people come together around this vision.

I am not stopping until it becomes a reality.

I am still circling!

This dream needs to spread!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Community For The Urban Camper

I have heard it said numerous times that there are folks on the streets that don't want any help.

They prefer to stay where they are and have no responsibilities.

That makes a lot of sense in some ways.

Free spirit and no cares in the world.

I am not sure that is truly the case when you dig a little deeper.

I believe people say they like living on the streets because they don't know any better or they have forgotten what it is like to be in a community.

I have also seen the fact that many of the urban campers ARE living in community.

Last week I watched a video of Tent City, USA put together by the Oprah Winfrey Network.

Below is the trailer for the movie.

I rented it online to watch.

I would recommend it!

What I found fascinating was the fact that 75-125 people were living in community with one another.

They were looking out for one another and caring for each other.

They met each others needs.

What I saw in the movie represented more of the Church we see in the book of Acts than what I see on a daily basis.

I believe God calls us to be in community with him and each other.

The individuals on the streets that don't want help are scared and probably have never experienced true community.

I was inspired by this movie!

What are the possibilities of creating a space for true community to take place?

It probably doesn't look like anything I am familiar with.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

You Know It's Right!

I have had a lot of people ask me why am I moving into the "hood"?

My best explanation is that God has called me to serve the Urban Camper.

I want to be closer to some of the guys I have met and to many that I hope to meet in the future.

Sure enough this past weekend I called up Shelton who went on the retreat with me.

As a matter of fact Shelton was one of my leaders on the retreat and he did a great job.

I asked Shelton Saturday morning if he wanted to come over and see the new house.

He said he would be right over. 

Sure enough it only took him minutes to ride his bike over. 

We sat on the front porch after taking a quick tour of the house.

We had a great conversation as the rain came pouring down.

Nothing better than sitting on the front porch with a friend.

At that point in time I knew this was RIGHT!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Answered Prayers and BIG Dreams!

Do you ever pray for something and later forget what you prayed for?

I don't know if it's from old age or not!

Months and months ago I prayed that a pastor from the Northside would join me on my prayer walk.

Monday morning during my prayer time with Rev Willie Woodson, I realized that God had answered my prayer.

I know that I have prayed for others to join me on my prayer walk, but this time it was a specific prayer for a pastor to join me.

It has been a real blessing to share with him the concerns for the folks in Northside and know that we both have a vested interest in our community.

We are praying and dreaming big for what God has planned for the Northside and beyond.

Join us as we pray for a Dream Center as well as a Discipleship house for men coming off the streets.

These are a couple of the Big dreams that God has laid on my heart.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Hospital Fails To Give Proper Instruction Again!

What you see in this picture is a PICC line in David's arm.

A PICC line is, by definition and per its acronym, a peripherally inserted central catheter. It is long, slender, small, flexible tube that is inserted into a peripheral vein, typically in the upper arm, and advanced until the catheter tip terminates in a large vein in the chest near the heart to obtain intravenous access. Taken from ""

Why am I showing this to you?

I want you to hear how the hospital has failed again to take proper care of their patients.

When David was released from the hospital this last time.

He was released on 5/25/13 and didn't see a Dr again until Monday 6/3/13.

When he actually had a Dr apt on 6/3/13 he was asked if the PICC line had been flushed daily and the bandage changed on a regular basis in a sterile environment.

This was the first time he had been instructed to do so.

In other words he was released from the hospital with NO instructions concerning his PICC line.

I truly believe if David was still living in the woods he would not be with us today.

My eyes have been opened to a medical world that is frightening.

The Drs have failed on several occasions to give out proper instructions to David upon his release.

Don't assume anything and always ask questions of your Dr if you find yourself in the hospital.

The consequences of not asking the proper questions could turn out to be deadly.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Exercise Your Faith

Over the last few days I have been thinking about "How do you exercise your faith".

What do I mean when I say "exercise your faith"?

If your going to run a marathon than you better train and exercise beforehand.

So how do you grow your faith?

I mean how do you grow with intention your relationship with God?

How do you be proactive in your faith?

It may come in small steps or in leaps of faith.

For me it has been through fear.

Fear doesn't usually come to mind when you are talking about a relationship.

Fear has been a motivator for me to trust God.

With fear I have two choices, stop and don't do anything or face my fears with God's help.

It is in those times when I choose to face my fears that I see God move in mighty ways.

Some times it might be the fear of not knowing what's going to happen next.

Or how about the fear of going into a strange neighborhood.

The fear of whether or not someone will like me.

The fear of public speaking.

The fear of not knowing what I am doing or even the fear of writing a blog!

These are all some of my fears I battle with.

When I choose to run from my fears I don't see God move in my life as much.

This is when I take the calm and safe path.

As a matter of fact no action means no works.

It becomes the norm. The average way. The safe and easy path.

No consequences.

And yet there is a consequence, no growth in my relationship with God!

It doesn't take faith to do nothing!

The bible speaks of faith without works in the book of James.

James 2:17King James Version (KJV)

17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.

We need to exercise our faith!

Some times it's small like speaking to a neighbor or a stranger.

Some times it might mean taking a much larger leap of faith like moving to a new neighborhood to be closer to the Urban Camper.

The last 18 months has been a journey of facing my fears and growing my relationship with God.

If fear has been holding you back, I recommend facing that fear with God's help and watch what will happen.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Moving on Up to the Northside!

Who would have believed it a year ago?

What a journey!

I am really excited about what will happen next.

Don't ever underestimate what God can do!

Just be willing to respond to his call.

Now I will be closer to the ministry of the urban camper!

The whole family is pumped!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Where's Lucy?

Above is a picture of Lucy my granddog.

A granddog is a dog owned by a child and then left behind to live with the child's parents - thus the name granddog.

Lucy has the run of the house!

Tuesday morning I was going through my normal routine, go down stairs and feed Lucy and then put her out to do her business.

This particular morning she was not to be found in her usual spots, on the couch, in her chair or on her bed.

I went looking for her.

To my surprise she was curled up in bed with David, both of them sound asleep!

Lucy is David's care partner!

Lucy and David have found their place to lay their head down and sleep.

Nothing like a good nights sleep!

Now I know where to find Lucy.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Don't Stop Praying In Your Circle.

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about a man I met at a conference.

His name is Rev Willie Woodson.

He is the pastor of  First United Presbyterian Church on North Ave.

He has joined me on my prayer walk around Northminster Church.

This is where my prayer circle began.

We get together every Monday and Friday to pray.

What a joy it has been to see how God has brought us together.

Willie and I are praying for a Dream Center for Richmond.

We are praying for a discipleship house for the homeless.

We are praying for the Northside and Highland Park area.

Prayer is where it all starts.

In Feb 2012 I started a prayer walk around the Northside.

If you pray with faith you will see things happen like never before.

I never knew I would be moving to Brookland Park Blvd.

This blog is my witness as to what God can do if we just pray and follow his leading.

I started down this path hardly knowing anyone in the city.

God has opened the flood gates to a family I never knew.

Willie has joined me on this path for a season and I can't wait to see where God will take us.

My advice is don't stop praying and believing what God can do in you and through you!

Monday, June 3, 2013

The latest on David

Please pray for David as he has his second round of Chemo today, Tomorrow and Wednesday.

The chemo appears to be helping quit a bit.

This is very encouraging!

I know that prayers are being answered every day.

Thank you for your support!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Don't Take Things For Granted

Yesterday was a simple reminder of the things I take for granted.

A good meal, a pleasant day on the deck, and a good movie.

The day was started when David asked if I would pick up a friend of his downtown and bring him home to visit.

Tom is a friend of David's. As a matter of fact David used to live in Tom's camp in the woods near the train tracks.

Tom was also one of the ten men that went on the retreat.

So a call was made and I went downtown to meet up with Tom.

David and I went together.

As we were driving David said I had no idea what this would mean to Tom.

He further explained that something like this is huge to the people on the streets.

Every day is a grind! The same old thing every single day. 

Depending on the day of the week, that determines which direction your headed for your next meal.

Every week and every day of the week is the same routine. Day in and day out.

We found Tom in a parking lot and headed home by way of the downtown expressway.

On the drive home Tom said he couldn't remember the last time he had been on a highway.

I had to remind him that it was on the retreat back in February!

That afternoon David fixed a feast for the two of them.

They sat together on the back deck exchanging conversations.

David said to me that it's huge just to be normal for a time.

After the meal then it was time for a movie on the big screen in the basement.

The Hobbit was the movie of choice.

By the time the movie was over it was time to take Tom back downtown.

Tom really enjoyed his time with David and a chance to meet the rest of my family.

As we drove back to the southside David said that I had no idea what that meant to Tom.

I agreed.

I take for granted way too much what I have!

May God continue to bless and reach those I come into contact with.