Monday, September 28, 2009


I have to admit that as one gets older birthday celebrations aren’t that important or you want to totally pretend they don’t happen. As I celebrated my 56 birthday it was a strange week. My mom and I share the same birthday. Since my mom has been gone for 2 years my birthday is both a day to remember, mourn and celebrate. I really was hurting on the morning of my birthday and decided to have breakfast with a friend at my favorite place, Matt’s Big Breakfast. It was rather interesting looking back that Ernie, a she and the owner, recognized that I wasn’t my normal loud and laughing self. I tried to put on a face that said hey I’m ok but she saw through it.

What made this week rather strange was a call from my dad who is in crisis because of missing his lady and the reality that life alone ‘sucks’. He talked with Anne for an hour and truly believed that he would be arrested and in jail before the end of the month and that our president had it out for him. Anne calls me to alert me to the fact that dad was hurting and that I had better give him a call. So I quickly call him and end up listening for an hour about his mess. I had a difficult time not being able to get him to answer the why questions as to what had happened that put him in the panic mode.

After listening and being told that I hadn’t listened and shouldn’t talk I was emotionally drained and ready to curl up on the couch with my ipod to veg. It was a busy week for me because of back-to-back weeks with special meetings out of town. I have always tried to be respectful to my dad and listen as best as possible. As we have all aged I find it difficult to listen to someone when they talk in circles and seem to not totally see the bigger picture. I write this to express my love and concern for my dad and see this as a prayer to better understand the practical mechanics of being there for my father. We ended up arguing about the present presidential crisis and how I believed that one person wasn’t going to bring the world to an end or at least not our president.

We ended the conversation exhausted after an hour. I admit that I am a fixer type of guy who doesn’t want to walk away without having a solution. I am learning, not readily, that God wants us to trust him with the future and not get bent out of shape when there really isn’t a quick fix or a 1, 2, 3 process. I drove all night to get to San Diego to visit with my dad. I know in the past I would have high expectations to do something that would show me progress for my dad that was totally selfish. I go to visit with him and hope to get at least one thing accomplished that would make my mom happy. I am fearful that I might be a clone of my dad and become incapable of listening and accepting help from those who love you the most. It is easy to stand in judgment at present but know when I am 80 I will probably be worse because I will believe that I have the spiritual insight of a sage and all should listen and jump at what I have to offer.

I truly believe that the commandments do have real life implications. I know that sitting and listening to my dad go on about his past, when I was born, his lady and his bomber squadron can become wearisome but I need to see this as a window into my dad’s heart. Why is it that you could listen and love on the stranger but not with your own father? I do miss my mom who was the buffer zone and glue for the family. It is so difficult to understand my dad without mom being there to be his interpreter. Yet, I know that I love my dad because he blessed me with the gift of loving life, learning and being faithful to my wife and family. Lord, I need your supernatural strength to hang out with my dad today and be better equipped to be a son that adores his father.


Monday, September 21, 2009

Mad as Heaven/Hell?

I know that many view the church as being milk toast and quiet when it comes to standing up to the injustices in the world. Often Christians get involved after something horrible has happened. I truly believe that from the Genesis 1-3 account that we have a spiritually obligation to live out the cultural mandate (intersect our culture and influence it) and stand up for Biblical justice. I think having lived in the suburbs most of my life has shielded me to a large extend from the senseless violence that happens in the city. None of this really matters until something happens on your doorstep.

About six months ago we had a drive by happen over a drug deal gone south in our neighborhood. A large area was blocked off and a close friend was at home without her husband. We watched and waited to see what happened. The police patiently waited for the individual inside the drug house to come out. There were a few other drug thugs who had escaped. After waiting for hours they finally sent in the police dogs that got the guy to come out. The following morning the other two bad guys were arrested literally on our driveway as my wife was backing out the car to go shopping. She exclaimed in her usually witty fashion that it was a good thing that the drug guys were obese guys who couldn’t run because the police had them cuffed and in the car before she backed out.

This last week we painted a house in our painting neighborhood. We had painted the house across the street five months before. Someone from that house who is helping the older gentleman came over to say hi and volunteer. She ended up coming to church that same Sunday for a dinner and the service. It was a totally shock to get a phone call from her friend saying she had been seriously beaten up by someone at the care center where she works. She was in the hospital in the ICU. The injury had required her to get her jaw wired shut and have numerous plates put in for her to be able to recover. I couldn’t understand how this could happen especially in a care center where someone is helping someone who is ill.

We went and visited this lady after she was released from the hospital. It was truly saddening to see what had been a beautiful face and smile now covered with bandages, stitches and totally swollen. How could someone do this to another human being? She had asked for us to come over and pray with her. It will be months before she is able to eat and who knows how long before her face recovers from the trauma.

Yeah, you could say I was ticked and upset about this whole thing. Why does violence continue in our world and it always seem to impact the lives of those who are outside of the problem. I know that God’s heart is for the orphan, widow and abused. How is it possible so often for Christians to walk away and ignore or choose not to get involved? I am starting to learn that it is my responsibility to stand up against the evil that is in our neighborhood. I see God’s heart to reach back to those who have been hurt and forgotten because of their injuries. I know that being an agent of reconciliation means I have to get in the way at times of those who get high off hurting someone or taking advantage of them.

I will never forget a meeting at a church close to our house. It was called because of a young teenage girl who had been murdered in that neighborhood. It is this type of incident that brings everyone out to ask the why question and want to know what the police are going to do about it. My wife even ended up on the evening news stating, edited version, that she hoped someone would find these guys that did this and get them. Ultimately all of us want justice to happen. The difficulty is understanding how this can happen in a fallen world where judgment may not happen until the last day.

Pray for our new friend who was seriously injured. Pray for me that I would learn to stand up against the evil in our neighborhood and seek the help and direction of the police and those that live here.


Birthday Blog

Aging is something that as a youth we wished time would fly by and as we get older we pray that Father Time will go at a snail’s pace. This last week I celebrated my birthday and it was mostly a sad day. My mom and I share the same day. She went home to be with the Lord almost 2 years ago. I really had intended my birthday to be busy so I wouldn’t have a lot of time to be sad. I had breakfast with a good friend at Matt’s my favorite breakfast place. I had a meeting with another pastor who is helping plan our Painting Blitz and then Tutoring Club in the evening. I have to admit that I cried a bunch while I drove around that day. My pastor friend canceled at the last minute because his sitter for his daughter was sick. At the last minute I changed my schedule to be at home.

I do confess that I get energy and hyped when we do the Tutoring Club. This was our second session after restarting because of school. We had a great turn out and had an amazing surprise I had a birthday cake from my kids and friends. It was great having a large group sing happy birthday. I was still tear-filled. After dropping off a few kids I went back to the Flores’ house. I really did expect anything but to say hi and go home. Instead it was a surprise dinner and cake number 2. I love Mexican food so this was a true birthday blessing especially with a nemo cake.

We had our family dinner on Friday and went out to one of my favorite pizza places. It was really a great evening and had my 3rd birthday cake. This one was a dud; Anne got it from Fresh and Easy. I was excited to get a PS3, which is both for video games and also Blue Ray Discs. We had a great evening and I truly felt loved. I miss my mom because she always made everything special. It isn’t that my dad is a dud or my Anne can’t do it right but there is always something different my mom’s touch. My Saturday turned out to be a busy day that wasn’t suppose to be that way. I had connected with a new pastor in the area who decided that we had to meet on Saturday. One of our families we had helped paint their house had their care taker get seriously injured so we visited this gal after she came out of the hospital with her jaw wired shut and her face very swollen. We did another night out with my older daughter and husband at Ted’s Hot Dogs. I had forgotten that it is a favorite place for ASU football fans on game night. So we waited in line for about 30 minutes.

We finished off our Saturday with visiting a young couple, who are involved with New City, in the neonatal ICU at a local hospital. Their daughter, Janel, had been born with some serious problems that required immediate surgery and ongoing care. This brought back memories of our yearlong birthing process with our Heather. Anne actually got to fed Janel. We went home and collapsed and I still thought about my mom, memories of her care for my Heather.

Sunday always comes after Saturday so it was a rather typical day with prep for church. I was again pleasantly surprised to see some of our New City kids make me a birthday cake and make a larger Happy Birthday Banner. It was incredible way to be reminded that I am loved. I still miss my mom and I know that birthdays will always be tough. I did discover this week that I shared the same birthday with numerous people involved with New City. One of the teens who is involved, twins whose Grandma’s house we painted and then another gal whose mom’s house we painted.

I know that birthdays are special especially for younger kids. So we always try to do something for those kids that are involved with New City. I don’t feel like I am 56 and hopefully I don’t act like I am old.

I love you mom! Happy BirthdayJ

Your son - David

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

No Accidents

I was returning from a Church Planting Network meeting in Dallas Texas and as usual had a three-hour flight to get back home to Phoenix. I look forward to see who God will place next to me when I fly. I was flying back with a fellow pastor and good friend. He had noticed that our flight was delayed by at least 30 minutes so we found another flight to catch that would get us home earlier without any penalty. So we board a plane that is going to stop in Austin and then onto Phoenix.

The flight going to Austin was totally packed so I sat in the back of the plane and then after landing moved to the front to sit with my friend. He got off to take care of business and as the group starts to walk by I was curious to see who would sit next to me. There is this 30 something gal who is lugging her suitcase, coffee and managing talking on a cell phone who happens to drop her purse and then asks if she can sit down. As she sits down it is obvious that she is crying her heart out. So I do the normal Dave thing and ask if she’s ok. She replies with a sobbing ‘hell no’! I then ask what’s wrong or something and then that leads into a two hour conversation of listening and leading.

She shares her life story over a couple of hours and turns out to be an adjunct college professor at a Community College in L.A. and teaches English Lit and Rhetoric. I get nosey and ask why she is so stressed out and crying. She then proceeds to talk about how she discovered a friend from High School on Facebook. This then leads to a long distance romance and friendship. She obviously didn’t want to return to her apartment close to the beach in L.A. but couldn’t leave her students whom she adores behind. As I listen and ask the obvious question she proceeds to tell me about Bob (not his real name) and discover that he has 3 kids, is divorced, remarried and getting another divorce. I do pipe in that I have been married almost as long as she has been around. (My Anne would be proud of me.) She quickly affirms her respect for her friend’s love for his kids and commitment to do the right thing. This becomes the basis upon which she is willing to have a cell phone and Facebook relationship with her High School friend.

We talk about everything from politics, religion, the environment, teaching styles, philosophy, science and her youth. She easily converses about any topic and shares her love for teaching and learning. The unfortunate thing, which wasn’t obvious at first but becomes clear, is that she lives in constant pain and has Fibro Malaga. We talk about different treatment paths and her ability to block out her pain through meditation and going for walks on the beach. I am able to talk about my life, love and passion and describe that good relationships happen and can be nurtured and grow. I share the gospel with her and she comes back with her story and proceeds to tell me her church is at the beach.

I ask her about her education and discover that she is a Purdue undergrad. So I get my friend involved in the conversation who is also a Purdue grad. We all laugh and remember about college and grad school. As we are coming close to landing I explain that I don’t believe in accidents. I told her that we were supposed to be on a different flight but because it was late we changed planes. So obviously we were supposed to talk. She shares that our 2-hour discussion had gotten her to calm down and not be an emotional basket case. She pays me a compliment in saying that obviously I am a good talker and have the ability to minister to another’s soul. We exchange business cards and bid farewell. I have no idea whether my new prof friend will e-mail or FB me in the next week. I told her when she returns to Austin she must meet one of my good friends and his family who live there.

My prayers go with her that she would have her eyes open to see the true Creator and Designer of the universe who is the greatest artist and writer wants to be her best friend.


Monday, September 14, 2009

Anxiety Attack

I know that many of my friends think I am crazy to pursue something that may never be financially sustainable without continued partnership from outside New City. This last week marked the startup of our second year of doing mercy work in our neighborhoods where we worship, work and witness. I have been part of five church plants over the years and I know one of the fears of a planter is about the first worship service and whether many will come. What is even more scary is once you get started and it is still a small group with you doing most of the work when you burn out your most prized helpers. (These are usually your good friends.)

As I reflect back on our tutoring club and our painting projects it is amazing to see what can happen in one year. The reality is that New City is a very small church that has lots of partners; both individuals and churches that help us impact our neighborhood. So when we finished our tutoring club in April and did our summer program I didn’t know whether I would have many volunteers to get our program going in September. We had a great summer because we had five commit to help with connecting with 30 kids. We did a simple Bible study format and then did sports in the park. Because of our connections we had two groups help do urban missions in the summer. We did a 2-week outdoor Vacation Bible School in one of our painting families’ front yard. This also helped connect our tutoring kids with doing projects and then connect with another neighborhood just a few blocks away. The end result is that we started our new tutoring year with over 30 students coming our first session and then a group of new helpers that numbers over 30.

Listening to one of my core helpers this week in church it was clear God is at work. The level of enthusiasm and sense of getting it together does impact everyone. We painted Herminia Perez’s house this last Saturday. I had initially thought we’d have about 20 painters, which is minimal for doing one house. The night before the project I get a few e-mails and it is obvious that we are going to have over 40. I now have a few special helpers that make everything flow more smoothly. So we prepped the house and were ready for our massive group. I had a couple of leaders that kept everything going so we finished in about 1.5 hours. We were also able to finish a house across the street. We then left and handed out 300 bottles of cold water to the homeless that live around the downtown.

God has taught me that the kingdom is bigger than anyone person or church. It is so easy for me to become dependent upon a few so when they are gone I do get a little anxious. I am discovering that God is the one who is faithful to supply all of our needs and the right volunteers to lead. Let me give a couple of examples. I had about 40 people respond to my e-mails for tutors for this year’s program. One of the moms who was interested was obviously too busy between her own job, home schooling her kids and being involved in her church. Yet, after our training session she sensed God’s call for her to dive in with her kids. She has turned out to be an incredible leader who can get the attention of little kids without screaming or losing it. I had another guy show up to help from one of our partner churches that is primarily African American. Ray was like this angel who dropped out of the sky. He quickly jumped in for our painting project and had everything rocking as the groups showed up. He had a smile and the strength to carry around 5 gallon buckets full of paint. He didn’t lose it when some of the teens got a little crazy helping everyone to finish our house without any major messes.

What truly showed the fruit of what we are attempting is having a dinner and service for New City that invites the families we are helping. One of my favorite families is an older African American couple that has taken in their grandsons. They let me do the outdoor VBS in their front yard not once but twice. I decided to get Sarah and Jr. to seriously consider getting involved. I had asked numerous times for them to come to church. Then it struck me to bring Paul or Bookie, their grandson, to come to our summer activities and now our tutoring program. Now Bookie is coming to church with his grandpa. I do walk a fine line in reaching out to people who have serious flaws that the average evangelical would have serious issue. I was jazzed to see one of the ladies whose mom has become a good friend come to our dinner. She is someone who grew up in this primarily Black neighborhood that is now in the middle of a gang/drug war between the Hispanics and Blacks. She is someone who is presently living on welfare and many of her brothers and cousins are in jail for drug dealing. I discovered that we share the same birthday.

I have many stories now that help me look back and admit that God is the one who draws and impacts people’s lives. I still try at times to force things to happen only to discover that God always brings surprises in my life that help me trust him more and more. I know that I will still have anxiety attacks on occasion because of my sin and my passionate attempts to get believers in the burbs to see the great need in the forgotten part of the city.

Yeah, I am starting to learn about Phil. 4:6-8


Saturday, September 12, 2009

The Kingdom is Here

Today has been one of those days you look back on and feel good about what God can do through his extended body the church! I am always a little anxious when it comes to doing mercy events that involve over 40-50 people. I was expecting maybe 20 to come out and paint the Perez family house today. Instead we had almost 50. What is truly remarkable was that there were lots of teens and also older folk like me. I had the privilege of stepping back and watching the miracle unfold. Everyone worked together without any fighting, screaming and primarily had fun.

I would love to be inside Herminia’s house and listen to what she will say to her husband when he comes home from work. You won’t believe it, this is obviously in Spanish, there were close to 50 people who painted our house. They were all very nice and friendly and seemed to really care. I am sure she will show off her nice Bible that is in Spanish and English to her friends. It was a joy having a simple craft for her kids to do while we painted the house. We had some left over crosses that you decorate and then put on stands. They are made out of some type of foam rubber material.

It always saddens me when I see believers argue over the silliest things that must truly sadden the Father and make pagans laugh at us. Today was a day when there were many different churches represented that did have very different views of a variety of things. We could have gotten into not discussions but arguments over the end times, baptism, or fill in the blank. Instead we were truly showing the gospel in both word and deed. The Spirit clearly worked through even goofy teens that don’t always catch on when it comes to work. It was a blessing to see teens be willing to clean up the painting mess without complaining.

After finishing the house we loaded up everyone and went downtown to give out cold water to the homeless. This is always a heart-wrenching thing for me because I can’t imagine what it would be like to not have a home, car or family around you. Again it was a great testimony to see the teens handing out free water and T-shirts without complaining or reacting to the homeless. I am learning that people are people regardless of where they live, how they dress or what type of cigarette they smoke.

I can imagine Jesus himself saying that as you have loved the Perez family, Art’s family and those on the street you have truly loved me. Jesus has a heart for those who are usually forgotten and often considered to be sub-human. I pray that what New City is doing will impact both the local body of Christ and the neighborhood where God has called us to live. We finished off the morning with going to my favorite place for some great tacos or Sonoran hot dogs – the Ranch Market.


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Joys of Volunteering

I know that most people think that I volunteer for too many things and sometimes they are right. My heart is to be involved in the community around which I live. One of the things I have done over the last five years is to be on my HOA (Home Owner’s Association Board). This can be a thankless job because everyone is always mad at the property management company and assumes that the board is embezzling funds. Never the less, I am the president of my HOA’s board.

It has helped me better understand living in the urban area of Phoenix. I live in a relatively new housing subdivision, which is about 6 years old. The neighborhood looks new but there are a lot of rentals and section 8 housing. Next you add in the economic crisis and there is trouble in ‘Dodge’. So over the last year our community has lost lots of money due to many not paying their assessments and fines for violations. This has required me to learn how to be as Jesus describes as shrewd as a serpent and innocent as a dove. Because we live in a gang area there is always something going down where the police have to be involved.

My point in writing this is to reflect on the fact that life really isn’t much different living in the ‘hood’ versus living in my old neighborhood in the suburbs of Chandler in an area that use to be out in the fields and now is next to a freeway, three Starbucks, meg malls, theaters, autoplexes, etc… People are people we all have different biases, which at times drive us to do crazy things, i.e. get mad over dumb things or be the one on the receiving end of a criminal act. I have seen both the great things that people can do, i.e. volunteer to patrol our neighborhood, paint over graffiti, be on the board, do newsletters, etc…

The thing that strikes me, which is a bummer, is that most people always assume that someone else is going to clean up the mess. The church isn’t any different. Most assume that the pastor is their personal ‘slave’ who should be there for every little bump in the road. I get calls and e-mails screaming at me for having our assessments raised because we need more money or talk about tithing and commitment in church and you get the same response. Usually around 10-20% of the people do 80% of the work. We live in a world full of takers and the sad reality is there are very few givers.

Yet, one of the amazing blessings of New City’s birth is to see the average person stand up and get involved. We will paint a house this Saturday and have over 30 people help out. This means instead of sleeping in and getting coffee they will help a Hispanic family with little kids. What excites me the most are my group of kids from our different activities that are now learning that being a servant is the coolest thing in life. Yes, I understand that salvation is through faith based completely upon God’s grace but the evidence of this divine work is seen in doing incarnational mercy.

One of the passages that has always struck me is where Jesus has listened to the request of John and James about sitting on his left and right in heaven. (Yes their mom probably set them up to ask this question.) Jesus’ response as a feud erupts is that greatness in the kingdom is seen by being last, by being a servant and not seeking the spot light.

So please consider joining me in painting a house or mentoring a youth in South Phoenix.


Friday, September 4, 2009


I have to confess that I am still a rock n roller at heart who played in a rock band in High School. I had to go see ‘Taking Woodstock’ both to get a better feel for the setting surrounding this incredible event and relive a little of my teen hood. My wife and I trade off seeing Anne flicks and then seeing Dave flicks. One of the great songs that in many ways represented the mindset of my generation, at least in theory, is the Jefferson Starship song, Volunteers. I was barely a teen when all of this happened but lived for a few years in the shadow of Woodstock while playing in a band and then becoming a Christ follower.

As we start our second year both of doing our tutoring club and painting houses of low-income families I am humbled and amazed at how many friends I have who have volunteered to make New City Phoenix a reality. I admit to being a hyper type that loves multi-tasking but realize my limits. So God is teaching me about the miracle of multiplying the effort of one through many. We will paint a house of a Hispanic family in a week and will have around 30 people helping out. The morning will go by fast, everyone will get to do a little bit of work, make a new friend, get paint on themselves and leave a few hours later with the house freshly painted. The gospel will be visible to the family we have helped, to those who have helped and to the neighbors. Many will be shocked that you can have that many people in one place and not have a riot, leave trash or be totally too noisy.

I believe that one of the most powerful tools of the church is to catch a vision to be kingdom minded and see the church as more than your local fellowship. I love the diversity of the work that I do especially when you bring people to the hood from the suburbs. I totally believe that we can learn from each other if we are willing to rub shoulders and be humble enough to listen first. The sad reality is that we live in a vacuum where we shop at the same place, live and play in the same places and avoid anything that is different. The church has become totally homogeneous. The church in heaven will be multi-colored, multi-lingual, etc…. I personally want to experience that today!

My simple lesson is to see that the body of Christ is made up of many members who all are important. This last year I have been thrilled to see a group of kids help me do church and mercy work. They are incredible because they can set up for anything we do better than most adults. Yet, if I had chosen to exclude them and just do it on my own I would be missing out big time!!

Yes, there is a risk involved in allowing people to get involved who you don’t know and have different backgrounds. I believe that the benefits far out weigh any of the possible clashes. So make a new friend who speaks a different language, lives in a different neighborhood and loves food that you have never seen before. The Spirit of God is on the move to shake us up to see that Jesus isn’t a white dude or a black brother but all of the above. Heaven isn’t going to be decorated by only one people group.

So I will always remember the Starship’s song Volunteers of America as a backdrop in my life to see the church extend itself to connect with all different types of people. So volunteer, use your gifts, draws others into ministry that are afraid and discover the amazing blessing and benefit that happens in being kingdom minded!


Thursday, September 3, 2009


Do I have any moral obligation to pick up someone else’s trash along the side of the road? Often my precious wife will go out of her way to pick up trash while we are walking on the canal. She especially gets infuriated when a fisherman leaves his left over line and hooks. I know that my son will have a cow if his mom goes out of her way to help someone whose car is broken down. If I live in a family setting and someone else doesn’t clean up their mess should I take the time to rinse off dishes, take out the trash, etc… The obvious reality is that the answer to this question is seen readily by the fact that the trash in the parks has to be cleaned up by city workers. The person broken down on the freeway usually has to wait until the highway patrol stops, if there is any within their area.

Here is a more important question that deals with people, not trash, dishes and a pile of dirty clothes left on the floor. I had a great meeting connecting with the director of Prison Fellowship for Arizona yesterday. He actually contacted me and wanted to meet to find out about the type of work New City does. He was a very well dressed African American man who was very polite and polished. He brought his new assistant, a gal with a multitude of degrees who wanted to be involved in doing real life transformation type of work. William shared about PF’s in both a general context and also on a local basis. I was surprised to hear that there were only a handful of churches in Phoenix, a city of 3.5 million, helping with their ministry to prisoners, their families and then helping an ex-con transition back into the real world. Bill shared about the typical scenario of how someone will be involved in a Bible study in prison and have great fellowship. This person gets out and then in a few months is back in prison back involved with the same fellowship group worshiping, studying the Bible but back behind bars. Obviously something is missing is the make up of the discipleship or training that would see someone commit a crime after being involved with other believers behind bars.

My question I face all of the time is do I have any spiritual moral responsibility for the ex-con, i.e. sex offender, gang banger or drug dealer, who had been in my neighborhood but gets arrested, serves time and then is released? Here is a true story that brings this home to me and is scary but I believe is what the gospel of Jesus Christ is all about. One of the houses we did recently painted, I won’t mention names, had a couple that were living with the family we helped. We got to know all of them over a month or so while we painted the house. They actually came to church a couple of times. I know that the gentleman who was living with the family who we helped had just gotten out of prison. Originally I was under the impression that this was for not paying child support. This is a horrible crime but for some reason wouldn’t be as difficult to handle then if maybe it turns out that he is a felon who was arrested for _____________. (This actually happen and we discovered through our block watch updates that he is a felon.)

Presently New City works primarily with young kids and teens that are mostly girls. So I have to be especially careful about volunteers and even circumstances around what we do. So as I listened to Bill from PF and shared my story which just reinforced in my heart that I am called to stand both for justice, the plight of the victim but also the plight of the offender whose only true hope is in Jesus Christ. I believe it is so easy for most people to walk by those in real need who are hurting and look through them. So what if I do give a dollar to a guy who goes out and buys another beer instead of a bottle of water or McDouble? (This week I had a New Testament handy to give to someone on the freeway off ramp in addition to a dollar and bottle of water.)

I share this not to say I have any answers or quick fixes but to express my own fears of being in the middle of circumstances that are bigger then me. This is actually a good thing because it forces me to trust the Father and ask for His Spirit’s empowerment. I know that at times I want to scream or hit someone who is be a totally zero when it comes to caring for a child who they are neglecting to the point of abuse. Yet, my heart doesn’t jump as quickly for the typical ex-con who abused or robbed some senior. Jesus help me see people as you do and be able to take steps to follow Micah 6:8 by standing up for the injustice being done in a way that shows your mercy and grace. The challenge is that I can do this to ‘show off’ and get attention for New City or myself instead of acknowledging your work in my midst.

Thanks Bill from PF for e-mailing and buying me a tall passion tea to listen, learn and be challenged about how I live today and tomorrow.


Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Laughing at myself

I usually consider myself as being in my ‘right’ mind most of the time. This morning I got up early to meet someone and because of cleaning our bedroom we slept downstairs and I go to put my shoes on as normal. Little did I sense that as I walked out to get into my truck in the dark that I had one sandal and a normal shoe on my feet. As I walked into a Starbucks and sat down I noticed my opps. I laughed at myself and my friend at first didn’t notice until we were finished and walking out. Yes, it is so important to step back and chuckle at times at yourself and the silly things we do that aren’t life threatening but could be.

I had a meeting with a couple manager types from my communities’ property management company yesterday and had the same kind of thing happen. I am always striving to be early to everything I do to known as someone timely but also I honestly enjoy some alone time on occasion. We were going to meet for lunch at one of my favorite places, Tradiciones. As I pull up early and am still in the middle of a conference call it didn’t matter to me whether the group would show up exactly on time. So I continue to talk with my friend and listened to his present life story and finally realize it is already time for these other people to appear so I politely tell my friend adios and pray for divine leading in his life circumstances. I wait an additional fifteen minutes only to discover no one shows. I am a little ‘miffed’ but continue with my other appointments for the day.

Later that night I e-mail the main guy I had arranged the appointment. I come home later after a date with my Anne and see an e-mail from this guy. He explains that he had left the company on Friday and that things weren't great. I then send another e-mail to the lady in charge to seek an explanation. She obviously is up late and gives the impression that this other guy is out of it and she didn’t know about the meeting. I go back and check my old e-mails and realize she might be right or realistically pretends that she didn’t know. So what do I do? Get ticked, do nothing or honestly tell her, which I did a little that regardless of what is going down that she should have contacted me and told me that the other gentleman was leaving and that any correspondence with him would be questionable.

Yes, I am learning not to get bent out of shape too quickly anymore even though I myself wouldn’t stiff someone without telling them as soon as possible.

As I was picking up one of our kids for church this last week I was able to talk to her mom while she was on her lunch break in the afternoon. She expressed how thankful she was for New City and the impact that it was having on her daughter. She is a single mom who has her grandma living with her who requires care 24/7. It was a breath of fresh air to have someone say a simple thanks. It made my day and helped me weather the misfortunes of others in the business world. Yeah it is good to laugh at yourself when you do something ‘dumb’ like put on different shoes without realizing it.