Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Help me and get free stuff (really)

As some of you know, I'm in the process of writing another book and designing an accompanying website. I need your help. The website will be a place for people to unload the shame they've been carrying around with them. They will do this through sharing their stories and reading the stories of others. In order to help people feel safe enough to share their shame, other stories need to be already posted for them to read. This is where you come in.
I am asking you to considering sharing your story (or at least a part of it) with future readers of the website. Your story can be a past victory, a current concern or anything else that speaks to the issue of shame. Whether your story involves sexual sin, addictions, abortion, neglect or anything else; I need your input.
I believe that God wants this book written and this website up. I, personally, would rather not deal with any of it (as shame seldom brings out the best in people)...but, more than my comfort, I want to obey God. You can email me your story (send it to or send it to this website as a comment. If you wish to remain anonymous, I suggest sending it as a comment because that doesn't require an email address. Comments that come to this blog are sent to me before they are published online. I will ensure that materials sent to me are only published on my upcoming website.
As an incentive, I'm going to try something that I've seen on Anne Jackson's blog (if you don't already follow her, I would suggest that you start...she's a great writer and she's hysterical!!!) I am going to give away 5 copies of my first book (Straight from Hell) to people who send me their stories. In order to be eligible for the drawing you must provide a way for me to contact you (so anonymity may not be the way to go).
Send me your story (via email or as a comment on this site), your contact info, and I will enter you in the drawing. Winners will be notified privately via email.
Thank you in advance for being willing to share your stories. I believe that we can make a difference in somebody's life...but sometimes we first have to be willing to show them our scars. Thank you for your willingness.
Send your stories, pray for me and we'll watch God move. All gory to Him!!!

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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

A stroll thru Sodom

Last Friday we did Midnight Outreach in New Orleans. It was great...we got to train some more people, share our passion with them and get them lit up for the cause of Human Trafficking. After we did the training we helped prep the roses and then headed to Bourbon Street. Say it with me, "OFF THE CHAIN".

I've been on Bourbon Street before but this time it was different. For some reason, I couldn't stop looking into the eyes of the people on the street. They were walking aimlessly, beads around their necks, drinks in hand; but their eyes seemed so lifeless. And it wasn't just a few of was the two Hispanic gentlemen sitting on the curb, it was the gaggle of scantily-dressed teenage girls on the corner, it was the quiet homeless woman that asked me for money, the tourists in their souvenir seemed like all of them were desperately lost. Some were falling-down drunk, some were catching beads from the second story bars and some were just standing and staring; drinking in the scene of perversion around them.

Usually when I'm on Bourbon Street I am going into the clubs to give roses to the ladies. Since we didn't have as many volunteers as we usually do, I stayed on the street to help watch over our group. I have to say, I think it's less offensive to be in the strip clubs. I was trying to explain the scene to my sister and she said, "It sounds like Sodom and Gomorrah". That was exactly it, she nailed it. On the drive home I was thinking about the scripture where the angels are going to destroy Sodom for its sin. I thought about Bourbon Street and the people of New Orleans. I thought about the hundreds of thousands of people who come from around the world to be a part of the debauchery. I wondered, if the angels came tonight, would New Orleans would burn?

I am so grateful for places like the New Orleans Dream Center and Church of the King. I'm so glad Pastor Dino and DeLynn let us go and be a part of reaching into the darkness. Please pray for New Orleans; for the city, for the people and for God's mercy to cover all of us. All glory to Him!

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Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Lift up your face

if you put away the sin that is in your hand and allow no evil to dwell in your tent,
then you will lift up your face without shame; you will stand firm and without fear.
You will surely forget your trouble, recalling it only as waters gone by.
Job 11:14-16 (NIV)

One of the toughest battles I’ve had to fight since my salvation has been the struggle to overcome shame. This is an excerpt from my journal just before I got breakthrough in this area:
Shame is like platelets, its just part of my blood. It runs through my body and mind on a continual basis. I am ashamed of who I am, what I am, where I came from and where I’m going. I am ashamed of how I look, how I talk, what I say and how I think. I am ashamed of my body, my weight, my intelligence, my creativity, my talents and my humor. I am ashamed of everything about me. I am ashamed that I am me. I am ashamed that I am.

Although I believe that everything in the Bible is true, I wondered if I would live long enough to see my face lifted up without shame. I simply couldn’t imagine it. I couldn’t imagine not wishing I was someone else, somewhere else or something else. I couldn’t imagine being okay with being me.

The place I had to start was to recognize that, whether I’m okay with me or not, God still loves me. I am accepted in the Beloved, and He is pleased with me. Somehow it’s easier to accept myself if I think somebody else thinks I’m okay too. If you read the scripture at the top of the page again you’ll see some of the benefits of getting free from shame: standing firm, no fear, forgetting your troubles. It’s not an easy battle, but it’s well worth the fight. You are worth fighting for.

Question of the day:
What do I need to ‘put away from my hand’ so that my face can be lifted up?


Wednesday, July 01, 2009

11-4 and lovin it!

Last week we did a 'Lewis and Clark' outreach. (For non-history buffs like myself, Lewis and Clark were explorers that went into the unknown in search of new frontiers. I only know that because I lived in St Louis for a while and they were popular there, although I still don't know why.) So last Friday a group of us met at 11pm at a bowling alley (yep, that's just how we roll) and went in search of new people to serve. We walked through bushes, climbed under overpasses and searched the levee looking for someone with whom to share the love of Christ.
I got home about 4am. I was tired, dirty and wet. My jeans were soaked up to my knees and my shoes were covered in mud. In the five hours we were out there I only talked to one person. A young woman, probably early twenties, was working in front of a motel on Airline. She was a little nervous and more than a little high. It was clear by the way she dressed that she was selling herself. She wouldn't talk to me, wouldn't take a card and didn't want anything that I tried to offer her. All she wanted was to be away from us. I wished her a good night and watched her disappear into the shadows. As she walked away I prayed that she wouldn't get beat for me talking to her. Prostitution is a brutal business.
One of the volunteers asked me what we do now. I told him we pray...and that we keep coming back. Eventually she will talk; or at least let us feed her. It's always a process, and it's always slower than I would like it to be.
Riding on the shuttle I was thinking about our team. I realized that on our team, at 2am, there were people from 4 different grants. We had Aaron from Victims Services, Charity and Jillian from Street Outreach Program, Joey from Prisoner Re-entry and Miss Alliece from Human Trafficking Coalition. It made me think about God's creativity and how He has positioned Church United and Healing Place Church for such a time as this. On our team we had people searching for victims, homeless youth, ex-prisoners and prostitutes. It made me wonder how many other organizations were searching for those particular people.
I am so glad that Pastors Dino and Delynn allow us to go into the streets in the middle of night to seek that which is lost. I believe, with everything in me, that's what Jesus would have us do. Sometimes on outreach we see miraculous healings and salvation. Sometimes we get home, at 4am covered in filth, and wonder if we made a difference. I don't know if we touched anyone's heart on Friday night but I believe God will honor our effort. And, if nothing else, I got to spend the night with some of the coolest people on earth, doing exactly what I love to do. I love my life, I love my church and I love my God. All glory to Him!

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