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(In honor of my co-worker and friend Candace McDonald as she leaves Club Christ Ministries after five years of faithful service)

Infinite possibilities.

Yet you chose this.

High risk, low pay, long hours, little return.

Yet you couldn’t resist.

Little lost boys and girls waiting at the door.

Waiting to hear of a Savior they could adore.

“Ms. Candace,” they would say,

“What’s for snack today?”

Yet they would get more than just that.

They would get a friend, teacher, and leader to look up to.

They would get you.

No more angry words to heed.

Now they pick up a book to read.

Now they are told they can lead.

Now they get what they need.

They needed Club Christ.

They needed Christ.

And right there in their hood.

They found Him.

Slippin’ Away

(Written about a Club Christ student named Allen on 4/20/2007)

It’s sad to see him slip away,

It started so subtly this spring,

One day went by without a hi,

Then another and yet another still.

And I can’t say that I didn’t try,

I did.  At least I tell myself that I did.

I knew there was something going on,

Something painful and dark was there,

Behind his door, between his absence.

As one with spiritual eyes can see,

This boy is chained, not free.

Held down by insecurity,

Locked up by an illusion,

He thinks he must fight his fight alone,

So he foolishly falls face first,

Over his misplaced faith.

If he could only see that what he runs from,

Could set him free.

For if the Son has set you free,

You are free indeed.

So please, please Lord take the lead.

Let him feel the fall as he hits the wall.

Will I be there Lord to help him up,

To dust him off and point him up?

For you alone can save him.

You alone.

Welcome Home Allen

(Written on 08/03/2009)

“It’s like I know of God, but I don’t know God,” Allen shared with me on the car ride home.  They are the words of realization that every youth worker longs to hear.

Especially from this kid.

Man, the effort, the energy spent reaching out to him.  The knocks on his front door to see if he was going to come to Club Christ today.  The “pulling you aside” conversations that led to nothing. The prayers pushed up amidst the series of disappointments.  The two hour long car drives to Caliente to get just two minutes with him.  The looks Candace and I exchanged when we found out that he wasn’t gonna show up that day.  Yet there was something about that kid that left room for hope, for that “I’ll keep trying” attitude to stick around.

So when he told me that he wanted to commit his 15 year old life to Christ, it made sense in a strange sort of way.  There he was, humbly saying that this was what he wanted.  He wanted that peace that he couldn’t find in his heart.  He wanted that joy that would carry him above all his hurt.  He wanted that love that would accept him for who he is and who he isn’t.

He wanted Jesus.

The one who has led this pursuit.  The one who bled to do what no one else could do.  Not you, not me, not anybody but Jesus.  He held the keys to Allen’s heart.  He has set him free.  He has given him life.  He is worthy of all the worship.  He deserves all the glory.  For this young man named Allen now knows his daddy loves him.

And I hear that proud father of us prodigals saying, “We had to celebrate and be glad because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again, he was lost and is found.”  Welcome home Allen!  Welcome home : >)

The New Landsman Learning Center

The New Landsman Learning Center

Fresh paint, fresh faces, freshness is in the air.

New center, new name, newness is near.

We are about to see change happen

One day at a time

In one little neighborhood nearly no one notices.

In the lives of kids that none of us know.

Not yet at least.

Haha, I have to laugh at the absurdity of it all.

How one year ago it was just a dream,

And know we got the keys.

We got the plan.

We got the vision.

We got the money, well some of it at least.

But what we lack in finances we make up in heart.

Because no matter rain or shine,

Success or defeat,

Trial or triumph,

We won’t leave till our job is done.

Till every last man woman and child there has tasted and seen:

God in flesh, Immanuel.

Moving in their lives in a fresh way, in a new way.

There is freshness in the air.

I am a fundraiser.  Not because I neccessarily chose that position voluntarily.  It just comes with the package of being in ministry and working for a non-profit.  Fundraising is not always “fun” even though “fun” is in the name. But it is rewarding and God works miracles through the process both in my heart and in those who give.  And in a recession, I will be relying on many miracles to fund Club Christ this year.  So in preperation of what will be a year of much failure and much success I have a plan.  Here are 5 things I plan to do:

1) Pray a lot

  • Many natural, normal avenues of funding are dried up so I must seek supernatural wisdom to find new untapped opportunities for partnership.  “Oh God, open up some doors!”

2) Meet more people

  • The more people I meet, the more might be blessed through the ministry.  “Jesus, please give me courage to go and to share.”

3) Give and give

  • The more I give away, the more I get back from God!  So cool, yet so counter-intuitive.  “Lord, please create in me a generous heart.”

4) Deny myself

  • Things like free time and sleep must be sacrificed for the greater good.  “Oh God, I offer my body as a living sacrifice for your glory.”

5) Get truth

  • Counteracting the media’s messages and my mind’s excuses with the truth of God is a must.  “Father, fill me with your truth to gain hope in the midst of despair.”

So if you are on your knees anytime soon and you are wondering what to pray for, remember not only me but the thousands of other missionaries around the world who are facing huge trials this year.  And if you have anyone you would like to introduce me to…  :>)

I spoke with a drug dealer yesterday.

And I wasn’t looking for a fix this time.

Nah, my puff, puff, pass days are through.

But here was this dark car with its window down,

With a man in the drivers seat leaning out like the candy man,

Offering Loritabs to all the neighborhood teens.

But these were teens were not just some hoodrats,

They were my teens from Club Christ,

And this was my turf he was on.

So with their curious eyes watching,

I approached the man in the dark car and peered through his open window to introduce myself.

“You a cop?”

“Nah man, I’m a youth worker.”

And I proceeded to say that the only thing I want these kids taking in is Jesus.

“Well” he said, “I believe in Jesus, but I still smoke a little weed.”

So I told my story to his surprisingly eager ears,

He even put his car in park and turned off the engine!

But as I spoke with him, it was plain to see that he just wanted to justify himself.

Like he could be some kind of Christian drug dealer or something.

His best defense came to be that he must provide for his family.

I said, “Man, if you seek his kingdom first, all these things will be added to you.”

But see his perspective of God was way different than mine.

One hates even the hint of sin,

The other states that the ends justify the means.

“Well, if Jesus had a family to feed and all he had was a dime sack, he would do what he got to do.”

Sadly, he was serious when he said that,

But I had to clarify that Jesus wouldn’t be having no dime sack.

By this point I knew my time with this dude had reached its conclusion.

He said, “I’m out” and drove away,

Leaving his customers behind,

still sitting on the electric box in front of Club Christ.

Those teens got to witness something stranger than fiction that night.

One dude dealing death,

The other offering hope.

One looking to poison,

The other protect.

Wow, I spoke with a drug dealer yesterday.

Five votes to decide

One site to secure

Two worlds to collide

One sacred, one secular

I want us to be there

To show them you

But that’s why they care

Because we will exalt you

Will their hearts harden?

Or will they believe?

A CC at Landsman?

Will this dream conceive?

I don’t know

But we’ll soon see

Whether yes or no,

Please Lord, surprise me :>)

(I wrote this in response to a recent conversation I had with a mother of some students I teach at Club Christ)

Wow Lord, there I was, the opportunity came.

To sow love, to change a mind, to right a wrong.

And she actually asked me to define the difference between self-defense and revenge!

Between a reaction and a deliberate action.

I hope she heard Lord, I hope she sees.

I hope she isn’t just hearing this from me.

Speak to her please, Prince of Peace.

Free her to love like you do.

That love that transcends common sense, that is divine in origin and radical in action.

No, no, no, she said, NO! They should NOT turn the other check.

But will she hear what you say?

Yes, please protect yourself but promote peace as well.

Where is the forgiveness when all one can taste is blood?

Where is reconciliation when all one feels is hate?

I know the answer but how I long for her to know it too, to own it, and teach it to her children.

But even if she refuses to bow and submit to your will, your ways, I will speak Lord.

I will speak not from political correctness, not from my middle classness, not because of my meekness, but because of the cross.

Because of the beatings, the bruises, the barrage of violence you endured.

You did not raise a fist or cause a fuss.

You practiced what you preached and said, “Father forgive them.”

So I do the same.

Please forgive her Lord, for she knows not what she is doing.