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Archive for the ‘urban’ Category

At once he began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God.  All those who heard him were astonished and asked, “Isn’t he the man who raised havoc in Jerusalem among those who call on this name? And hasn’t he come here to take them as prisoners to the chief priests?”
– Acts 9:20-21 (NIV)

When he came to Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples, but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he really was a disciple. But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles. He told them how Saul on his journey had seen the Lord and that the Lord had spoken to him, and how in Damascus he had preached fearlessly in the name of Jesus. – Acts 9:26-27 (NIV)

Look at Paul during his transition from persecutor to preacher.  He was constantly met with opposition to his change.  People repeatedly questioned him.  After all, he had been on his way to persecute the church more than what he had already done.  In their opinions, he was still “the man who raised havoc in Jerusalem.”  From where they stood, he was still a persecutor of the church.

Thank God that Paul didn’t fall for it.  If he had wimped out and succumbed to their views, he would have never accepted going forth with the message as a missionary.  He would have wallowed in self-absorbed pity and kept to himself.  He would never have raised his voice beyond his original detractors.

God inspires us to go beyond the thoughts and ideas of the very people around us.  He inspires us to impact others beyond our family and friends.  He offers us fuel to fortify us against the negative perceptions of the people that we may very well be trying to help and who act like we are not worthy of offering such help.

Think for a minute back to 1992 and the riots in Los Angeles that immediately followed the verdict of the Rodney King trial.  Many will recall the looting and burning of many parts of the city of Los Angeles.  There was Reginald Denny, the white man pulled from his truck and beaten in the streets.  The media made that gruesome footage part of our daily diet as it replayed it again and again. 

However, few will recall the name of the man who stepped in to help Denny.  Bobby Green was his name.  He witnessed the mayhem and decided that enough was enough.  He made the trek about a half a mile from his home to where Denny was being beaten on live television and saved the man’s life.  It is a shame that we cannot recall such a man as Bobby Green, but we surely must understand that we, too, must impact this very world where evil gets splashed on the front page and scandal makes the eleven o’clock news broadcast

Imagine what breaking news it would be if we all started impacting our world because we were inspired to do so.  Don’t simply go with the flow.  At times, God will direct you to simply go against the grain.  Bobby Green did so in our times.  Paul did so in his times.  John the Baptist did so.  Jesus did so. 

Let yourself become inspired to impact others.  Let God use you for you to do so.

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GOOD NEWS BIBLE TODAY'S ENGLISH VERSIONMessage: The evangelist has to have a message.  The calling of the evangelist may entail the Lord illuminating the message for the evangelist, but the bare essential is that the evangelist have a message of the saving grace of Jesus Christ through his work of redemption on the cross.  Your message should be delivered with confidence and competence.  You should know the Word and know that you know that you have been called to preach and proclaim the Word.

Calling America and the Nations to ChristMethod:  Some share the Word via verbal expression with a Bible and a bullhorn, while others blog and write lessons or strategies for churches, missionaries and shelters.  The evangelist needs a sure method for sharing his or her message.  You don’t get the message out there without some form of methodology.  It may include feeding people at a local shelter and sharing a brief message before, during or after the food has been distributed.  It may entail going down to the rescue mission with a Bible study lesson or a small group meeting in someone’s living room, but there is a method by which the message is disseminated.

YouTube and Video Marketing: An Hour a DayMedium: The modern-day evangelist needs to use a medium by which to broadcast his or her message beyond the “hearers” of the message.  Some evangelists who are into social justice issues are masters at letters to the editor or op-ed pieces for the local press.  They stir up the masses and persuade the would-be bystander to take action.  Others tend to use YouTube or Facebook, even Twitter and LinkedIn, with the mastery of tech wizards.  You have to use some form of medium, even if it is www.youversion.com or www.gracehope.com for Christian connections.
Get Connected: The Social Networking Toolkit for Business

In essence, the evangelists of today need to do more than simply say that they have been called.  They need to demonstrate their calling by acting upon their calling.  The biblical evangelists like Paul and others kept in touch with papyrus and messengers who ran messages from one place to another.  There are too many ways to connect online and make a difference in people’s lives for the evangelist to not be in touch with more than his or her local flock.  The evangelist has to at least get the essentials down in order to become effective at evangelizing.

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Today’s Youth = Tomorrow’s Leaders

We adopted that as the tagline for Youth-N2-Action during its inception.  It is a simple but profound concept.  We may see them as youth today, pants sagging and iPods or cell phones connected to their ears, but see past the present.  See them as the future.  One day they will lead the way.

Look at the 2008 presidential campaign. President Obama did something extraordinary.  He got people out to vote.  He rallied others to get others to vote.  Yes, he utilized modern technology for raising funds, but he also utilized it as a medium and means for getting younger voters involved in the political process to bring about change.  Such a change led to a change that brought forth the change of a Black U.S. President, raising the level of achievement for those who have been short-changed and hamstrung in the past and the present by achievement gaps and other socioeconomic indicators.

Believe in today’s youth.  Seek to reach them through diverse programs.  They need everything from academics and athletics to the arts and sciences. Let them freely express themselves with everything from poetry to pottery, from rap to scrap booking. Allow them to develop into the well-rounded people we want leading our nation and embracing globalization. 

The last thing we would want as tomorrow’s senior citizens is for today’s youth to look at us with blank stares and ask: “Who are you? Now that you need me to step up I can’t because you you didn’t step up when I needed you.”

Let us not let that be the case for our collective futures.

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But the needy will not always be forgotten, nor the hope of the afflicted ever perish.
– Psalm 9:17 (NIV)
T.C.B. = Taking Care of the Bewildered

We read in numerous passages and verses in the Bible. The Law of Moses addresses it. The prophets speak out about it. Jesus Himself shared about it. The poor and the needy, the oppressed and neglected, are due our attention. We are to offer them hope and help, even healing. Our neighbors include those who many have stepped over and some have sidestepped, even avoided on their Christian journey.

Christ desires us to take care of the bewildered. He shared with His followers that their concern for the poor was not the focus of the moment as He was anointed with expensive perfume in Matthew 26:6-7. The Bible says that His followers called it a “waste” and that they even became indignant about the matter, saying that the perfume could have been sold and shared with the poor.

The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me.- Matthew 26:11
(NIV)

As you serve in ministry, whether it be through missions, soup kitchens, shelter, recovery or re-entry centers, or some other means of reaching the poor and the needy, understand that the Lord wants you to take care of them. Offer your services with loving care and receptive hearts. Meet people where they are and help them transition from where you meet them to where the Lord has destined them. Most people are down and out because many have failed to help out where the lord has directed us to be of help to our brothers and sisters.

Take care of the bewildered, the down and out, the poor and the needy. Take care of them with concern and compassion. Take care of His dear sheep and lovely lambs as wise stewards of the Good Shepherd’s flock.

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I am an avid “web-crawler.” I search the web for sites that can help me with my work and ministry. I have discovered some sites that truly can support you as you seek to enhance and expand your ministry for greater effectiveness in this day and age.

Here is a short list of sites for support:

  • http://www.outreach.com/ Great resources from banners to do-it-yourself templates; be sure to take a look at http://blog.outreach.com/ for tips and ideas on a wide range of outreach topics and http://www.outreachmagazine.com/ for articles and information on outreach. Look into their church-planting resources, too.
  • http://www.lifetreecafe.com/ If you are in ministry or seeking to get one started, here is a possible resource that will cause you to be “missional.” Check out what this conversational and casual gathering can do for your church and the un-churched. Read what it’s about. It will take some planning and strategies on your part.
  • http://www.lifechurch.tv/ This church is taking multi-site ministry into a whole new era. You have to check out their online worship experience as well as their resources and messages (even those that are not live.) Open is a great resource for downloads of templates and forms that will help administration and ministry leaders. YouVersion has to be one of my favorite sites on the web. With everything from “live” worship and the audio Bible to Bible reading plans and the means for sharing via Facebook and Twitter, this site will rock your world. Church Metrics is a cool free tool that allows you to track everything from attendance to commitments and baptisms. It’s web-based and even has a mobile application for on-the-go ministry and small group leaders.
  • http://www.urbanministry.org/ Tons and tons of information and resources for “street ministry” and beyond. I use the Word Press blog application for Saved2Serve, our network for ministries, faith-based organizations and parachurches. You have to check out their Church Grants and Volunteer sub-sites. This site is a real winner.
  • http://www.ebase.org/ I like E-Base for nonprofits and donor tracking because it does something different from Church Metrics. This download allows you to track donors, volunteers, and other things such as outreach campaigns. It allows you to see what works and what doesn’t in a data storage format almost like CRM software for business.

These sites are useful and worth exploring. I see them as mechanisms for strengthening and supporting your work in ministry. Be sure to visit our web database for the free download of “When the Laborers are Few.” This will help those who have few “workers” for the harvest that is before them in their part of the vineyard.

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Get a copy of my new book, Words from the Underground. It is a compilation of my poetry written from the perspective of the Street Prophet, giving voice to the stories of the inner city streets of urban America. I used the insights and ideas that I have gained from working with people from all walks of life as well as leading street ministry. My experiences and those of many who have touched my life as I sought to do good works and make a difference in their lives have led me to express such a work through poetic verse. It is available in print for $12 and for download at $5 at my online storefront.

Support independent publishing: Buy this book on Lulu.

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