Friday, March 28, 2008
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
Saturday, March 15, 2008
Vision trip to …
This past weekend we took a vision trip to . We had the opportunity to visit an exciting multicultural church and an established ministry that had been doing the same type of work (for over 30 years now!) that we are trying to do. It was an eye-opening experience for me and for Kevin. But, it was a very important trip for two of the teenagers from our neighborhood that came along also. One of them had never stayed in a hotel room before… and really hadn’t ventured out of Montgomery . For them to be able to see a Church where whites, blacks, and Latinos lived, loved, and ministered together was a very positive thing. They were able to drive around the ghetto’s and stressed neighborhoods of and to hear the different types of transformation ministry outreaches that were taking place there. We were well loved on and taken care of by dear brothers and sisters there. We also had a whole lot of fun! We laughed and dreamed together. We went up on a mountain, went to a movie, toured the city and enjoyed our time away together. The trip went a long way for our relationship with these young men. Please continue to pray for these and other young men that God has brought into our lives. Please pray that the Lord would raise up these and other young men and women as leaders in our community.
Volunteers needed for academic and arts enrichment!...
Would you consider coming over to our neighborhood one or twice a week to tutor kids and/or provide some sort of arts enrichment experience? We have recently secured access to some space at a neighborhood community center for a tutoring and arts program. We would love for our kids to have the opportunity to become familiar with various arts experiences as well as get homework help, remedial help, and also some reading development. We will include bible study as well. We are in the process of developing an enrichment program that helps us serve our kids in a very meaningful and developmental way. If you have any creative ideas in the arts arenas, or if you are interesting in volunteer tutoring, please contact Kevin King (657-7049).
Kevin King has been investigating our neighborhood in order to help us understand how we can pursue the transformation necessary to build a healthy community. We have begun by looking at the 8 blocks surrounding our homes. Here are some interesting statistics. In those 8 blocks there are 183 properties. 46 properties or 38% of all the properties in those 8 blocks are empty lots or vacant or condemned houses. Around half of houses that are occupied are occupied by the owner and the others are rentals. Many of those rentals are in very poor condition. These 8 blocks may very well be the most in tact eight blocks in the neighborhood. In other words, the blocks surrounding these are in worse condition. On some of those streets, 1 in 2 properties are empty or condemned. We are praying about creating some type of sub ministry of CGM that will look to purchase many of those empty lots and vacant houses. We would love to be able to build and remodel homes. Our goal would be to provide a good housing stock to see our neighborhood repopulated by in tact families again. We believe that we need three things to happen. First, we would love some of YOU to consider if the Lord might be leading you to come live in community with us. Second, we would love to be able to provide some home ownership opportunities for current renters. Third, we want to create the kind of community that our young emerging leaders will want to stay in and raise their families in one day. As marriages are formed (and as they become the rule and not the exception again!) we want to see our culture transformed as Christian families begin to have a powerful influence over the current strongholds of our neighborhood. Please pray for us as we seek the Lord’s will on how we might best do Christian Neighborhood community development.
An opportunity from the Lord…
This past week two young teenage girls in our neighborhood had miscarriages. Teenage pregnancy is the norm in our community. Both of the girls have been in our home on different occasions. They have also been in our home since losing their babies. Below are some of Nicole King’s (Our Executive Director’s wife) thoughts concerning her experience with one of the girls last week (taken from her blog: http://kingdombusiness07.blogspot.com).
. . . . . . “My LORD!!!!! And what a providentially hindered day it has been. I would have never thought when I awoke this morning that Delta and I would be sitting in the hall way of her home waiting for an ambulance to pick up an 16 yr old whom we believe had a miscarriage in her bathroom. Earlier today, Delta and I were hanging out at a neighbor’s house that lives a couple of doors down from me. We said our good-byes and decided to return to her house to see the guys off. As we approached her home her husband tells her that there are two girls inside from across the street. We go in and meet girl #1. Girl #2 is in D's bathroom. As we sat there, we were engaged into some fun conversation with the young girl about who she is, what school she attends, and were they live. We found out that the girl in the bathroom has an uncle who lives across the street from the Kelly’s. The two girls arrived at the uncle’s house to find themselves locked out. Girl#1’s stomach begins to cramp so they decided to walk over to the Kelly’s to use their bathroom. After 20 min or so the girl is still in the bath room so Delta (WHOM I MUST SAY HANDLED THIS SITUATION LIKE....A PRO …SHE DID ALOT OF COMMUNICATING WITH THIS GIRL) begins to talk to her from outside of the door. We found out that she was bleeding heavily and that there was a possibility that she might be pregnant. We do all we can to keep her calm and relaxed: we began to pray over her, give her towels to bathe with and just offer a little bit of humor to take the edge off of the "what if" situation. As we helped the young lady to get into the shower we hear a knock at the door. She tells us from inside the bathroom that the pain is getting worse and that something is wrong... All I hear next is a loud fall and I look up into Delta face to hear her say..." um, ok, sweetie you may want to dial 911"..... the girl had fallen out due to the amount of blood she had lost.
The night ends with Delta and I at the hospital with her mom, grandmother, sister and two friends. We sat in that emergency room for about 5 hours. Still no word on whether or not she was pregnant, still pregnant, or if she had suffered a miscarriage. We returned to the Kelly’s to joyfully before the LORD clean up the blood that was left from earlier that day
All I can think about in my heart right now is "why LORD"? ..."why Delta’s house"? ...."Why were we involved"? "What are your plans with this family and us"????? "What is there to do after all of this"???
And then it was clear to me, it's all for the sake of the GOSPEL…this is what it is all about…This is why we(Kelly's and King's) were called to this neighborhood for such a time as this. We are to look at every circumstance, and take everyday as an opportunity to preach the GOSPEL through WORD AND DEED to those around us.
Before we left the hospital, we found out that this sweet girl's grandmother and sister will be moving in RIGHT across the street from the Kelly’s this month~~ This journey with them has just begun… what an introduction.
Would you please keep this young girl and her family in your prayers? While in the hospital as well as back at Delta’s house this younger girl made it clear that she didn’t want her mom to know that she might be pregnant ( it seems that the sister who is 18 now went through the SAME EXACT situation a while back and the mom did not take it well).” (Nicole King)
(The next night after Nicole wrote this post the same two girls came back over to the house. She had a miscarriage, and had to go through the sad and excruciating health procedure of surgery after the miscarriage. The girls came back by that night to hang out with Delta and Nicole. May God bless these new relationships!)
We hope this gives you some things to think about and pray about on our behalf. Thank you for your love and encouragement.
Common Ground Montgomery
Thursday, March 13, 2008
Monday, March 10, 2008
I ran across a passage this week that has really convicted my heart and I thought I’d share!
The context of the story is the beginning of the Israelites in exile, after leaving Egypt where they were in slavery, and into the wilderness, being led by Moses and ultimately God Himself.
“Now the Lord sent a wind that brought quail from the sea and let them fall into the camp and all around it! … So the people went out and caught quail all day and throughout the night and all the next day too. … But while they were still eating the meat, the anger of the Lord burned against the people, and he caused a severe plague to break out among them. So that place was called Kibroth-hattaavah – “the graves of craving” – because they buried the people there who had craved meat from Egypt.” Numbers 11:31-35
If you just meditate for a minute on this passage you will be convicted just like I was!!
My first observation was that it was the Lord who brought the quail to the camp. The quail were not the issue… His anger began to burn when the people began to wish for the things they had back in Egypt (while they were in SLAVERY!) rather than to be thankful for what the Lord was doing for them right then.
This has really challenged me in my Fight for Contentment. I long to be satisfied by the Lord alone, and not chase the things of this world. If I am to do this, it means taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, including thoughts like these:
“I wish my life was more like it was in high school, college, before I was married, before I had kids… etc.!”
“I wish (that thing I used to do _____ ) weren’t a sin ~ it sure did bring temporary satisfaction!”
“I wish my life looked more like hers!”
“My life would be better if ____”
Really trusting the Lord means believing in His wonderful plan for my life TODAY. I want to learn from my past, but really be captivated by the Lord’s hand on my life Today and what He is faithfully accomplishing.
Here is a quote or two from "Idols of the Heart" by Elise Fitzpatrick
"What must I have for life to be meaningful or happy? If I answer that question with anything other than God Himself, then that's what functions as a god for me. Idols aren't just stone statues. No, idols are the thoughts, desires, longings, and expectations that we worship in the place of the true God. Idols cause us to ignore the true God in search of what we think we need."
I really believe that is what made God so angry at the Israelites in the above passage. They were "craving the meat from Egypt"... They needed it in order to be happy. I rejoice in the fact that my God is truly a JEALOUS God and will not stand for me bowing to other idols.
Lord, help me to be content today and not wish again for a yoke of slavery. Help me to not Crave the things of this world, but to truly long for You today, my heavenly home with you.
I would love your comments of further observation and encouragment!
Tuesday, March 4, 2008
So, I got to FINALLY talk to my dearest friend, Sarah, and then Levi actually got a much needed bath - something that is a rare occurance I embarrassingly admit, and then it was time for the photo shoot. Sarah gave him this towel, so I lovingly dedicated this post to "Aunt Sarah"!
Oh yeah, he is finally sitting up really well on his own. All in his own timing, of course.