Wednesday, October 30, 2013

You Never Know

The other day I was downtown in traffic court.

No, it was not for me!

I was sitting in the lobby and there came Sharron passing me by.

Sharron is one of the neighbors that lives across the street from Northminster.

I wrote about her back in May.

I caught her attention and we chatted for a bit.

It turns out she works for the court system.

It was great to run into her when you least expect it!

You never know who you will see where?

Monday, October 28, 2013

The Other Day I Became a Rat

I looked up the definition of a rat on Wikipedia.

"It is a term (noun and verb) in criminal slang for an informant - ""to rat on someone"" is to betray them by informing the authorities of a crime or misdeed they committed."

So here's my story:

One day I was having breakfast in Highland Park and I noticed someone across the street.

The man looked familiar to me. 

I stared a little more and noticed that it was one of the men from Charles' house.

Two things occurred to me.

First off, this was not the place to be hanging out. 

It happens to be a place to drink or do drugs.

Secondly was I going to rat this guy out to Charles.

I decided the best thing to do was to call Charles.

When I spoke with him, he said he was going to do a drive by.

This means that Charles wanted this individual to know that he saw him and what he was doing.

Not long after that, Charles took the man to detox.

He was in such bad shape the man spent the day in the emergency room. He was very unstable.

He eventually ended up in a rehab facility.

Charles explained to me that ratting him out saved his life.

As Charles would say "That's what we do, we save lives!"

If being a rat saves a life, I'll be a rat!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

The Grip and Grab

When I bought the "Grip &Grab" I had no idea what impact it would have.

God has used it as a tool to guide me on my walk.

I have used it as a tool for picking up trash.

I have used it as a gift to give away to a new friend.

Willie at the barber shop across the street from my house approached me one day and said:

"I will pick up the trash in front of the shop."

I was thrilled to know that someone else cared. 

He assured me that he had that place covered.

The other day I went by to give Willie a present.

A Grip and Grab!

Willie was so excited about his new tool he was smiling from ear to ear!

Now let's see what impact that tool will have in his life.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

New Math!

Last night I went to hear Mark Batterson speak.

He is the author of the book "The Circle Maker".

This book influenced my walk with God in the single greatest way in my entire life of 54 years.


Sounds simple, but is amazing if we add faith to the equation.

Here are some quotes from last night.

"Give generously, pray regularly and watch what God will do."

"We ask God to reveal the second step before we take the first step."

"What step of faith do you need to take?"

"Sometimes God shows up and sometimes He shows off."

It's all about seeking God first, and not about seeking what we want first and then asking God for it.

I am not saying you can't ask God for what's on your heart.

I am saying if we seek Him first, he will place things on your heart to pray for.

Often we have to take the first step of faith in Him, for Him to answer our prayers.

It's not of our power but His, that prayers get answered.

Prayers + Faith = Awesome Relationship with God!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Front Porch is Where Community Starts

The other Saturday a got an email from Muhammad who is in the video on my blog.

I immediately responded to the email asking if we could have coffee together that morning.

Sure enough he said yes and I went to pick him up.

Guess what, he only lives a few blocks away!

Muhammad and I spent the morning catching up and dreaming of what God is up to.

We had very real conversations discussing some personal issues.

It was great being real and honest about our feelings.

That morning we drew closer together!

How many neighbors are you being real with?

True community will start with honest conversations even when it might hurt a bit!

Muhammad is doing great and it was a blast eating great big fattening donuts from the Sugar Shack on the front porch.

The front porch is where community can take place!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Respect of a stranger

This is the story of a man I met this past Saturday.

I was prayer walking around Northminster Church when I saw  a man riding his bike up the sidewalk.

I asked if he was collecting cans.

He said he was and could he have the ones in my bucket.

I told him I had some more at my church in Mechanicsville and would he like them.

He said he would and I tried to make arrangements to get them to him later that day.

I gave him my name and his was Mike.

We said goodbye and I told him my address and to stop by later and grab the cans.

I wasn't sure exactly what time that would be because of my crazy schedule.

So as I walked home I felt led to just get in my car right then and go get the cans.

It was early in the morning and I had some time before a wedding I was headed to.

I got in my car and headed back to Northminster hoping that Mike would still be there.

Sure enough he was sitting on the stairs waiting for the food pantry to open up.

I asked him if he wanted to ride with me to Atlee Community Church.

Without any hesitation he jumped into the car.

We had a great time together that morning. 

We went through all the recycle bins and pulled out a bunch of cans.

I enjoyed getting to know Mike and how much he loved fishing.

I had seen Mike around the neighborhood quite a bit and had always admired his initiative and ingenuity.

I had no idea about the shooting incident in this video.

Now I respect the man even more!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

The Circle is Getting Bigger, but Not Any Larger.

This past Friday something extra special happened.

For almost two years I have been prayer walking in a big circle around Northminster Church and the surrounding neighborhood.

I started alone on this journey.

I was inspired by a book I had read called The Circle Maker written by Mark Batterson.

Along the way many people have showed up to join me.

Many prayers have been lifted up for this church and the neighborhood.

On Friday I had come to the church to pray.

When I drove up I saw a group of 4 ladies and 1 gentleman holding hands and praying at the corner of Moss Side and Westwood.

What a beautiful sight to see.

After I parked my car I tracked them down and asked if I could join them.

I knew a couple of the folks in the group. They were all from Northminster.

From what I understood, they had read the book The Circle Maker and had started praying for the church every Friday morning.

The reason I had not seen them before is because I was not there at that time of day.

This was awesome to hear because I had prayed that others would take the leap of faith and come and pray for the church as well as the neighborhood.

As if that wasn't enough as we rounded the turn for the second or third time, there stood Charles and Corey talking on the sidewalk.

These two men live a few blocks away. Both men are close friends of mine.

We had them join in on our prayer time.

This was a small picture of The Church. 

A group of people from all walks of life rich, poor, white and black holding hands and worshiping an amazing God together.

Standing on a street corner praying looks a little strange to most folks, but I know people are watching and their curiosity is on the rise.

I pray that they too will be drawn into the prayer circle.

Getting up and doing something about it requires an act of faith.

It was a privilege and an honor to join hands and be of one accord as we prayed together.

I knew at that moment not only was God smiling down on us, but God was up to something really BIG!

The prayer group was getting bigger, but the circle around the church remained the same.

There is a determination in these prayers that God will show up in this neighborhood in a refreshing way that will draw all people to himself.

We just need to be faithful and intentional in our walk with him.

God's timing is not our own, but I am loving every minute watching the circle grow bigger.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Lessons in Communication

Today I learned something new.

How I communicate may not always work for everyone.

I grew up in an upper middle class neighborhood here in Richmond.

The way I communicate, does it work in the hood?

Not necessarily.

I was asked by a friend, to be more direct and hard-hitting to make a point.

The shock factor raises the awareness that you are serious.

The language on the street is sometimes abrupt.

There is no soft peddling of words.

I am not referring to cussing either.

I am not here to say one way is better than another.

I am just saying that sometimes you may have to adapt to the culture you are living in.

I had never thought of it before until now.

I get it!

Lesson learned.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Slice of Heaven!

Yesterday I got to see God move.

On my prayer walk there is a young boy who stands at the corner waiting for the school bus.

I have seen him daily for months now.

Every morning I try to speak to him, but I hardly get a response.

I know that along this journey it takes a lot of patience to build some trust in a complete stranger.

I remember one morning long ago, I approached this particular corner and the young boy was standing next to some trash.

I said my good morning and barely got a response, but as I walked up to him to pick up the trash he said "Sir I didn't put that there!"

I replied "Don't worry I didn't think you did".

Every morning after that we continued the same routine, I would say good morning and he would barely respond.

Yesterday was different.

As I walked around the corner to pick up some trash, the boy stood beside me and asked me a question.

He asked " Is this a hobby of yours?"

I couldn't believe it!

I turned in shock and thought about what I should say.

At first I said "No".

I wasn't prepared, but God was.

I proposed a question to him.

The boy was quite puzzled. He didn't know what to say. 

I am sure he thought, what kinda question is that?

He shrugged his shoulders and said he didn't know.

I then told him about what the bible said in the Lord's Prayer.

"Thy Kingdom come thy will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven".

"I'm just trying to create a little slice of Heaven".

His response was priceless.

With a BIG ole smile on his face he said "yea, yea!"

At that point I knew he got it!

I had never seen him smile like that before.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

The Homeless Guy: Solutions For Homelessness

This is a great article about "Housing First" from the perspective of a homeless guy in San Diego.

The Homeless Guy: Solutions For Homelessness: There are several ways to solve homelessness.   Back in the day, I used to say, 'by any means necessary'.  That is, if a method res...

I have seen it work numerous times! Here's just one example.

#homelessness #housingfirst

Friday, October 11, 2013

Homeless Tours in Seattle -- There's a Sucker Born Every Minute | Carey Fuller

Homeless Tours in Seattle -- There's a Sucker Born Every Minute | Carey Fuller

I can't stand watching people take advantage of the poor.

In the hood, it's Title Loans and Check Cashing business's.

One service that most people are unaware of are those who cash government checks for a THIRD of their cash value.

The homeless are the customers.

It turns my stomach that there are people who take advantage of those who have nothing.

Greed can cause many a person to do the unthinkable.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

A Local Church being THE Church

Here is a great article about a local church doing what they can to help the homeless.

I love some of the ideas they have come up with!

Monday, October 7, 2013


On 8/2/13 I wrote about a friend who was homeless.

At that time he had just gone into Good Samaritan Ministries to live.

It's been two months now and I had dinner with my friend last night to see how he was doing.

The first few weeks were rough adjusting to a new environment.

There was one or two individuals who were making it very tough.

Let's just say they were not very friendly.

The truth came to light and they have since left.

My friend has settled into a routine and seems quite content.

He's eating well and trying to stay on top of his diabetes.

The streets are no place for a diabetic.

We discussed the choices people make to stay on the streets or take a chance and live at a place like Good Samaritan Ministries.

He claimed that over 90 men have left the program in the last two months.

Most of them didn't even make it a day or two.

There is a choice!

Not a right or wrong, but a choice of where.

He was glad for the decision he made. 

We don't always agree with the choices people make, but they do have a choice to make.

Sunday, October 6, 2013


This weekend it hit me how much disgrace has been brought on Christians.

The term Christian I will define as a follower of Jesus Christ.

What I have learned from my time spent in the Hood, is how much damage has been done to the name of The Church.

The Church being made up followers of Christ or Christians.

So called Christians, have acted in ways that have confused and disgusted those watching.

The name Christian has been used as a means to get what people want.

Money, sex, and drugs are the end result.

It saddens me to see God's Church being abused as such.

Yet I know a God who can overcome such things and turn what was meant for harm into good.

It is exciting to be a part of the process of showing Christ's true love to others who have seen just the opposite.

There is a long way to go, but exciting to think about what could be and will be.

Do you want to be a part of that change?

What can you do to show what it means to be a true follower of Christ?

There are so many people who need God's love.

The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.

What may be seen as disgusting today I believe will be a beautiful picture of God's Church in the near future.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Crazy Good!!!

In less than 24 hours TWO friends of mine have asked to get BAPTIZED!!!

It must be in the air!

It's gett'n crazy good on up in here!

I would be remiss, if I didn't put it out there.

Is there anybody else who wants to get baptized?

PS Thanks MB for the lingo!!! Crazy Good!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

I don't like cats but?

Saw an old friendly face last week at Mt Moriah.

There was a luncheon being served by the Friends of the Homeless.

Luke (not his real name) was there grabbing some lunch on Friday.

I sat down with him and he asked about the retreat from this past February.

He seemed interested in the retreat, but he said he was unable to make it.

He said he couldn't make it because he cares for a lot of animals.

He feeds about 40 cats around the city as well as a bunch of birds.

I have seen him loving on a few cats over on Marshal street.

He told me he really loves animals and it shows.

I asked him about the loaves of bread he was carrying around. 

He had a large bag full and those loaves were for the birds.

Then to my surprise, he lugs around two gallons of water!

That's about 10 lbs on top of whatever else he has.

The water is for the cats.

Luke used to be an insurance salesman.

He also said that he recently worked at a Stuffy's sub shop on Libbie Ave.

I told him that I used to live a couple of blocks from there.

That opened the door for more conversation.

It turns out he used to volunteer for a friend of mine I just met a couple of weeks ago.

Luke told me that he can't cover as much ground as he used to, but he still walks about 15 miles a day!

I love the fact that he goes out of his way to love on the animals.

I am sorry, but I don't love cats.

But I love the fact that Luke does!

Sitting down and having a meal with someone opens the door to build a relationship!

Whose your next meal going to be with?