Friday, December 28, 2007

Grunge Again !

O.K. grab your uncles old work coat, that ugly sweater you got for your B-day three years ago, smash a glass bottle and begin to tear holes in your jeans and to top it off do not comb your hair and burn a bottle cork in order to smudge around your eyes. Welcome to grunge! I say this because I consider myself one of the great surviving members of the class of 1994. I was in first period when it was announced that Mr. C was dead (Kurt). Wow. I remember when all my aunts were excited when bell bottoms made a short comeback but I never really got why it was so exciting. Well, lately there has been this scary thing happening. Gen-x alt grunge seems to be on the rise ... again. Except there is one problem, its in the window of The Gap. I remember when my friend introduced me to the clothes by the pound thrift store. Grunge was supposed to be the big death to the man, the revolution of freedom that brought truth through insolent actions of self imposed depression and applied anti-neocolonialism. Our intentional complacency was supposed to stop the whole world, and it did ... for 15 minutes.

Anyway .. The moral ... any revolutions with someone else on the cross can just be bought and sold later to the victims of fashion.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Okay, I can't blame the kids cuz some of these santas are downright creepytown...

I found this site through tonight and some of the photos were so bizarre that I laughed right out loud...I don't normally do the whole cutesy kinda blog (except if I'm featuring the entirely adorable kids from around here) but I had to spread the santa cheer on this one and give others a chance to give their heads a shake and say aloud, "why do we do this whole sit on the knee thing again?" My personal fave is the pic where the little guy can't even handle ceramic santa...

Merry Christmas...

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Day 1 Gift Distribution

Our house has become a warehouse, but it's all good in the 'hood.

Christmas Party '07

I thought I would share some of our week. Lets start with our annualy Christmas Service and then on to gift distribution. God is good ... and Heather cry's everytime she see's all the gifts.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Friday, December 14, 2007

All I Want For Christmas is...

For some background info on this blog, check back by clicking here and here.

So this past Wednesday, I'm driving "NN" to her DSS appointment as usual, so she can have her weekly supervised visit with her 4 brothers, her mom and her grandma. When we arrived, the oldest brother "D" had a big green garbage bag and a big ole grin on his face. Before we were three steps in to the small space set aside for broken families to visit, he had thrust a gift, drawn from the garbage bag, into his sisters hands with demands to "OPEN IT! OPEN IT!" Apparently D had saved up his allowances for weeks and then made a very specific christmas list, and his foster mom had helped him to go and get the gifts and to wrap them all up.

After all those weeks of anticipation, he was just SO HAPPY to be able to give her that gift, that when she protested (rather weakly, in my opinion!) that she should wait and open it on Christmas, he practically tore it from her grip and and began to open it for her. Well, that's all the encouragement she needed and between the two of them, the present was opened. On and on would D reach into his bag and draw out gifts for his brothers and sister, and when she arrived, his mom got one too.

During this 20 minute spree, I heard exclamations like "oh dang! I wanted one of these" and "hurry NN! Open it up!" right down to the second youngest, "M" doing a dance of joy on account of the FBI set he had just received, with a real badge, a gun and a stick to beat people with...

Initially I enjoyed it all, but didn't think anything of it, however, the more I was enveloped by the spiritual atmosphere of the room, the more it dawned on me that they were celebrating Christmas together, as a family, in the only way that was available to them these days. In a crowded room on the 6th floor of a building uptown with some lady watching and recording their 'interaction' for an hour. Doing the best they can.

That was really really sad to me. Due to the fact that there are 5 children that are in DSS care, they are split between 3 homes, which is just too much to coordinate with the foster parents to make being together on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning possible - especially considering foster parents have their own children and family traditions at Christmastime.

So these kids won't see one another this year for Christmas. I don't doubt that wherever they are, they'll feel accepted and cared for and well-fed, but c'mon now, we all know it's just not the same.

It's messed up - I wouldn't wish upon them to be back in the home situation they were in for last Christmas - or maybe even 5 Christmases ago...but my heart tells me that what'll happen this year - while for their own good - just ain't right either.

By grace, I have relief in my heart over this that the God who created these children, and their mom is a God of restoration...and I know that He sure needs to be too, seeing as there is so much 'messed-upedness' in the world. Like I said yesterday, "we are committed to...whatever it takes to reveal the heart of the Father..." but before I can do any of that, the Father has to reveal Himself to me. Expereincing life with people has brought me more than I baragined for in terms of knowing God, knowing myself and experiencing mankind as it truly is, apart from my sheltered life. God has become more real to me and bigger and more capable than I ever really understood before. And I need that from Him so that I can be okay...

So back to the kids - I wondered what Christmas would be like for them next year - where they'll be living, who will be caring for them. Should I hope that they remain in foster care? Should I pray that they'll be reunited with their mom so that they can move back into our neighborhood (or one like it) and we'll all pretend these last 6 months didn't happen? Or maybe they'll be farmed off to some aunt/grandma/cousin so that they stay 'in the family'.

This is where the Spirit helps me in my weakness. when I do not know what to pray either because I am totally unaware of situations in the lives of those in my parish, or because I feel so out of my league that I don't know what to say that won't sound contrite or from a hallmark special, Holy Spirit searches my heart, and intercedes on my behalf.

My responsibility in this? (and really, the key to this whole incarnational ministry thing) Is just to show-up with my head and with my heart, to keep my mind and my eyes open to see what is going on around me, to really see with the eyes of my heart, and to wonder what it must be like to be that person. God uses me through that intentional heart and head participation - He uses it to change the lives of those around me through prayer and practical helps, but even more remarkably, He uses it to shape me too. More Lord.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The Future of the Church?

We think so...but what happens in this child's life between now and then will not be left to chance! As his church family, we are committed to walk with him step by step, to shield, suffer and succor - whatever it takes to reveal the heart of the Father in ways he can understand, appreciate and adopt.

Don't be misled friends, this Great Commission, this building the Kingdom is not a spectator sport...and yet neither is it a flimsy concept, philosophical and hard to grasp...
Building the Kingdom of God means:
Befriending a troublesome boy or girl
Reconciling quarreling parties
Breaking sad news to those concerned
Searching for your missing friends
Dedicating babies
Conducting weddings
Writing letters for others
Praying for your parish
Preaching to the saved and the unsaved
Reading the scriptures
Suggesting and directing the charities of your flock
Putting the hungry in the way of a meal
Putting the weary on the road to a bed
Caring for neglected children
Saving the drunkard and outcast
Protecting the weak
Searching the night-haunts for wayward girls
Giving the ex-prisoner a new start
Staying the suicide's hand
Visiting the sick
Training the beggar to work
Showing you the way to heaven
Conducting funerals

Caught between the smile Jesus gives me and a grin from little Cam I know I'm in deep -way over my head! I'd do anything, go anywhere and give it all up just to make a difference here on earth for Christ's sake.

And I don't mind that one bit.

posted by:

list excerpted from Adjutant Jack Sullivan in the Corry Journal, October 1, 1936

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Stay Tuned!!

We closed off a chapter of our lives this week here at 614 Charlotte with the closing of the Alma Court playhouse. Opened in April of 2006, it served its purpose relatively well, but we just need more space. Stay tuned for info on our new location for "The Lois M. Walker Memorial Community House" or as the folks 'round here call it - "The Playhouse".

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Any given Sunday !

I remember back when I first got saved, I was listening to a prophecy given on a prayer CD proclaiming that in the times to come there will be a day when there will be so many people saved and such a unity in the body of Christ that there will be no longer be any venues left big enough to accomodate corporate worship services except for professional sports stadiums.

I was at an NFL game last Sunday and was blessed to vision just such a thing. The stands filled with the saints. We'd all call ourselves 'the Church in Charlotte', not the "First Apostolic Memorial Ebeneezer Southern Primitive New Conference Church of the Holy Resurrection" @ Pine and 6th.

The collections would be long though, with 70,000 people to pass the bucket to; maybe we could just charge $54.00 like the NFL instead ?!?

Imagine a cell network in a city that was completely saved! In Charlotte that would be like 80,000 house churches; cool. There would be one on every street...

Imagine meeting all the time to pray with your neighbors and worship together and then hopping in the car pool down to the Bank of America Stadium on Sunday. The whole city would get SAVED ! Then we could send missionaries to the next city.

Do it LORD !