Category Archives: Missional Living

Halloween 2013

This year’s Halloween Front Yard Party was the best ever! We had more trick-or-treaters than EVER before.  You would have never guessed that someone got shot in front of our house or that a bullet went through our house just 3 nights ago! Kids were out in droves and earlier they were riding bikes and scooters. I am grateful for God’s protection and safety tonight! Thanks for your prayers!!!  If you aren’t aware of what happened earlier this week…check out these posts…A Night Unlike Most Other Nights and New. Every. Morning.

Using the same plan as posted before in Trick-or-Treat 2013, we had chalk, corn hole, cupcakes, hot apple cider, music, and of course, CANDY! Here are a few pics. If you want to see more check out our post over at Miss Marti’s House >>> HalloBOOween 2013.

Our next gathering will be a Birthday Party for Jesus – Christmas Party on December 21st from 10a – 12noon.

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Guess Who’s Coming to RVA!

Jen_Head_Shot_hi_resEvery time I mention the name Jen Hatmaker, it seems like every woman wants to be her BFF. After following her blog or tweets for just a few short days (or maybe hours for some of us), we all want to know…is this reeeeaaaally the way that she, Brandon and their 5 kids live? We all want to be there…live and in person…instead of living vicariously through her writings.  In 2014, we will also be able to follow along in their every day walk around lives of loving God, loving others, loving the poor, raising a family of 3 bio kids and 2 adopted, pastoring a church and so much more while renovating a 100+ year old house on HGTV!  Check out Jen’s announcement here>>  Coming to Your TV Set: The Hatmakers , where Jen writes…

Guess what we get to be on network television? Our own selves. We told the people, “Um, we are overtly Christian. This isn’t even a gray area.” And they said, “Yes. We want it all: your family, your prayers, your church, your poor people, your nonprofits, your chaos, your humor. We want you to be exactly who you are.” This feels monumental and special and rare. Our goal is to steward this opportunity with immense care and precision. This little light of mine…we’re gonna let it shine.

Here’s the good news!!!

You will have a chance to spend time with her LIVE and in person here in RVA. We are thrilled to formally announce that Jen Hatmaker is coming to visit and share with us on August 15-16, 2014.  So, go ahead and save the date on the calendar. You won’t want to miss this! I promise!  All the details are in the works and watch for more to come.  Follow this site, so you can be the first to hear about it and get your tickets. Just scroll to the bottom of this page and Follow Into the Neighborhood. Help get the word out, too, by sharing this SAVE THE DATE with your friends.

Here’s the REALLY good news!!!  Keep reading!

In the meantime, join us for Helen Lee on October 19th where we will be giving away 2 free tickets for the Jen Hatmaker weekend.  Register here before the price goes up on October 1st. >>  Helen Lee – Family on Mission.

Neighbor 2: Needs Help

This is the second post in a series that I wrote about in a post called who is my neighbor? series.  I am reading who is my neighbor? by Wayne Gordon and exploring just one chapter a week. In addition, I hope to post on each Wednesday. The first post in the series can be found here:  Neighbor 1: Hurting.

Chapter 2 answers the question with…‘My Neighbor Needs Help’.  Churches spend a lot of time teaching us how to love God, but many take little time on how to be a good neighbor.  This series challenges me to love my neighbor in a different way.  I thought I was pretty good at it…and you know what, I’m not bad.  I can just improve on it. Helping those who need our help naturally follows those who are hurting.

Wayne Gordon writes:

On the surface, helping others seems like a very simple concept.  It’s not.  Of course, if all we mean by helping others is opening the door for someone whose hands are full, that’s one thing.  But it’s another thing if helping means that we have to get involved in another persons’ life, as the Good Samaritan did.

Getting “involved in another person’s life” requires a total change in lifestyle and the way we prioritize, not just throwing money at it.  I started small years ago.  As a youth leader at a large church in the West End, I went on youth choir tour.  These tours took us into inner-cities up and down the east coast.  It even took us into the local federal prisons.  Who knew that a few years later, I’d be called to move into the inner city of Richmond living a short 1/2 mile from the largest public housing complex between Baltimore and Atlanta?  God did.  When I moved to SBH 7 years ago, I started small.  I made time to hang out with the kids…loving on them.  Giving their parents a break because they knew their children were some place safe.  This changed my lifestyle and I had to prioritize differently.  I used to go out a lot with friends…to the movies, dinner, etc.  I used to travel to visit friends who lived out of town.  I didn’t do that as often.  My “church” activities even lessened.  I couldn’t be a true part of the community if I continued to live outside of the neighborhood.  Now, I’m completely immersed in my neighborhood.  But, living this kind of life should come with a warning label. It hurts.  It hurts a lot. Monday, I posted Heart Breaking. Soul Weeping. Head Reeling. Knees Bending on Miss Marti’s House, the blog we now use to share what’s going on with us (Louis and me) personally.   This is an example of how it can hurt….a lot.  When you invest yourselves in the life of another…their pain becomes your own.

To some of us, we have been gifted by God in the area of ‘helps’, and assisting others comes very naturally.  To others, this is a pretty frightening thing to do.  Getting involved. Developing relationships.  Hanging in for a season of time versus a hit-and-run help. Gordon suggests that you start off small. And so do I!!! Similar to running a marathon.  You can’t expect to jump up one day and run 26+ miles without training.  So, you may start off signing up for a 5k.  Then, work your way up to a half marathon.  You can do this with helping others.  Gordon suggests that you start small by remaining…

aware of and open to the opportunities we have to help those who cross our paths unexpectedly.  The Good Samaritan probably did not wake up in the morning expecting to come across someone who needed his help.  But when the opportunity presented itself, he embraced it.

You can help in unexpected times or in a planned response.  To name a few, it requires…

  • slowing down and paying attention to what is going on around you
  • observing the routines of the people around you and questioning when there is a change
  • leaving room to see the need and respond
  • foregoing the dinner or movie with friends you intended to make or catching a later train, flight, etc.
  • running errands or cooking a meal for a family with a new baby
  • cutting grass for the elderly widow down the street
  • fixing the car or porch railing for someone who can’t afford to or just doesn’t know how
  • waking early to give a neighborhood youth a ride to school when he misses the bus
  • speaking out for those who don’t have a voice…the poor, the orphan, the widow, the immigrant, etc.
  • relocating into an under-resourced community and participating in redistribution and reconciliation (read more at CCDA)

There are so many ways we can help those who need us. And so many people who can help us when we are need.

Lord, you are our refuge and our strength, our ever-present help in times of trouble (Ps 46:1). Teach us how to recognize people who need our help and show us how we can help them. We are so busy running here and there…often busy doing church stuff…good stuff… that we often forget to BE the church.  Teach us how to prioritize. Teach us to love others as ourselves, as you have commanded us.  It doesn’t come naturally to us, but I pray that you will show us how.  Lord, I also pray that you will teach us how to ask for help when needed and how to accept help when offered.  That’s really hard for many of us.  May our acts of helps and kindness bring glory to your Name.  In the precious name of our brother, Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Lord of the Harvest

The Next Billy Graham Might Be Drunk Right Now is MUST read, yet thankfully a short read, and a powerful reminder for all of us.  Yesterday, in the post Neighbor 1:  Hurting, we were reminded that anyone who hurting is our neighbor.  Today’s read also reminds us that this same hurting person could be the next Billy Graham, Paul, or CS Lewis or just someone that is evangelizing our children in the future.  All the more reason to make time for the hurting people in our lives.

This reminds me of the importance of praying the “other” prayer that Jesus taught us to pray.  Of course, He taught us to pray the Lord’s Prayer.  But, in Luke 10 He also taught us to pray to the “Lord of the harvest”…

2 He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.

At this time, there weren’t many Jesus Followers at all.  So, where would the workers come from?  That’s right…the Harvest!  So, we are called to pray for the Lord of the Harvest to raise up workers….from the harvest.  Let’s pray that kind of prayer!!! The author, Russell Moore, leaves us with…

And, be kind to that atheist in front of you on the highway, the one who just shot you an obscene gesture. He might be the one who evangelizes your grandchildren.

In addition, as we find ourselves frustrated with the “church”,  we also need to be praying for her.  And as one commenter to Moore’s post, Lucy Newnes, stated….

Be kind to that “Christian” sitting in the pew, the one who just slandered the Pastor, and held back his tithing. He might someday be the next Paul, or Billy Graham, or Charles Colson who would evangelize your grandchildren. With God, nothing is impossible. Focus on the Lord and be FAT – Faithful, Available & Teachable.
When you are living an incarnational or missional life, it is imperative to pray. Actually, as you know, prayer is integral regardless of the life you live.  :)

Lord Jesus, I praise your name!  You are awesome!  Thanks for teaching us how to pray and modeling it for us.  I, humbly, come to you as one whose life was once swirling the drain…and you lifted me up out of it.  Thank you for not only saving me from that life, but thanks for giving me the opportunity to glorify your name and serve in your name.  Your Word says that the “harvest is plentiful and the laborers are few.” Today, I come to you praying on behalf of the people who don’t know you.  Lift them up out of the swirl. Draw them to you. Use us.  Use me.  May we, filled with your Spirit, do our jobs of planting and watering, and when appropriate…harvest, too.  Prepare us to disciple others…disciple making disciples. In the Lord of the Harvest’s name I pray.  Amen.