Archive for the ‘Church in the Hood’ Category

Here are two organizations to remember if/when you are looking for help, especially on the South Side. The first organization is called is Sunshine Gospel Ministries. Find more information at:

http://www.sunshinegospel.org/

The second is Friends for Youth. While FFY is a citywide organization, it has an outreach on the South Side at 63rd and cottage Grove. Find out more at:

http://chicagofriendsforyouth.org/Mission.html

Advertisements

Do they call you the OG? Are you a mom or the sister of someone who’s gang affiliated and you don’t know what to do? Are you a female that has been affected by gang violence and in need of support? Do you have a son or daughter who is incarcerated for their gang affiliation? Do you feel threatened or embarrassed by gang-related events that you have no control over? have you lost a son or daughter to the violence? Are you affiliated and are tired of the pain? This may be a chance to find help, as well as peace of mind. God knows your pain and wants to reach out and begin healing the hurt. With that in mind, Crossfire is trying to start a  support group for women who have been affected by the violence of our city streets. You may feel powerless in yourself to make a difference, or you may feel guilty about events that family members have been involved in that have caused pain for yourself or others. We’d like to help. If you are interested in joining other women with similar feelings, please call or text me at 773.294.8849 to start the process rolling. I can also be reached by e-mail at rlg2@uchicago.edu. We’ll set up a central place to meet if we have enough women who want to get involved. There is a lot of pain, guilt, and fear in the OG world, but don’t let the pain destroy you. Let your pain become the catalyst for change and the means of keeping another mom, sister, or girlfriend from experiencing the same loss and heartache you know.

Ron

Be advised that this is a Christ-centered group that believes the local church is the hope if the world, as well as the hope of your family and neighborhood. Give him a chance and he’ll show you that he is bigger than the violence in Chicago.

i know that many of you who read this blog are Gs who are also believers in God and the LORD Jesus Christ. As believers, jesus gave us a commission to go as far as the ends of the world to take the Gospel (Good News) of salvation to every living soul. The fact is, however, that there are many people all around you who don’t know the power of salvation in Jesus Christ. God has given you and me the knowledge of salvation, the gift of his grace, and a vision of his love for us in the person of Jesus Christ. We don’t deserve it, its unmerited love, a love poured out on the cross, but imparted to us through the resurrection of Jesus and the empowerment of the spirit. Yet, in spite of the magnitude of this gift, many of us hold that love inside where it withers and dies. We need to understand that, if we are believers, that love was meant to be shared, that it should show through us and be the determining factor in how we live our lives. If we are not experiencing and sharing that love we may want to re-examine our lives.

I heard a message recently that talked about the love of God that was based on I Corinthians 13: 1-3, which states:

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,  but do not have love, I gain nothing.

In this message Pastor Colin Smith looked at the importance of love and showed from verse 1 that no matter what we think we possess spiritually, that without love we have nothing. In verse two we see that no matter what spiritual gifts we possess and no matter what are supposed spiritual standing may be,, if we do not have love, we are nothing,. Finally, in verse 3 we see that even if we give everything we have and offer the greatest sacrifices possible, even the death of our own bodies, that if we don’t have love, we will gain noting. The signficance of this is that we will one day stand before God ro answer for our livelove was not the central focus and motivator of our lives, we will 1) have nothing, 2) be nothing, and 3) gain nothing, It’s a very sobering thought.

As you read this, I hope you will pray for God to fill you again with his love and that it will overflow out of your life in a way that will touch the lives of those around you. If that happens, you will understand that the way to stop the violence in Chicago is with the love God wants to pour out and disperse across this city through you and other Gs throughout Chicago. I write this because I know God has been speaking to many of you about this very thing. My challenge to you is to listen to that whisper God has put in your ear and trust him enough to take his love and his message of salvation to every corner of Chicago. God has great plans for each of you and wants to use the Gs in Chicago to change the world for the better. It won’t be easy but God wants to use you in all your weaknesses and vulnerabilities to make a difference. That’s what so many of you tell me you want to do, help your people and help your communities. Here’s your chance: drop the gun and pick up the Gospel. There’s only one way the world will change and that’s if YOU change it. Let the love of God take you to another G in need. That’s how the Gsus Nation grows, one G at a time. Make a difference where you are at by sharing the Gospel G to G.

In closing, I return to the commentary on I Corinthians 13 above and tell you that if you allow the love of God to fulfill its purpose in your heart and life, when you stand before God, you will 1) have everything, 2) be someone, and 3) gain everything. And when you look around to see all the other Gs that are there in the presence of God with you, there will be a grand exchange of smiles from G to G.

I’m ready to help,

Ron

ps. If you want to listen to Colin Smith’s entire message you can hear it by going to this link and clicking on on the Listen button:

http://www.oneplace.com/ministries/unlocking-the-bible-this-week/listen/why-does-love-matter-9925.html

Hey Gs

I want to issue an invitation to you Gs out there. I know there are guys out there from every affiliation who are struggling and trying to survive in a very tough and unforgiving world. There are, however, men that can and want to help you. I belong to a Men’s Breakfast group that officially meets once a month, though the men are in constant contact through all sorts of additional activities. These are committed men who have helped any number of Gs to pull things together. I want to issue you an invitation to come join me and other guys in this group. We meet the second Saturday of every month at Daystar School (next meeting is January 12th). It’s located at 1550 South State Street in Chicago and there is plenty of parking in the rear of the building. We meet from 8 am until 10 am, though some of the men stay for other activities afterward including the Next Level group that helps guys grow personally and to find accountability with other men. We have a hearty breakfast at 8:00 am (I think the next one revolves around southern style biscuits and gravy) and then have a short study organized for the men in the group. This is a good place to meet a lot of men, some of whom, given the chance, may well be instrumental in helping YOU through your current difficulties. If you want to meet some men that will have your back, think about joining us on January 12th for our next Men’s Breakfast. If you”re interested, you can just show up, but it’s helpful to let me know so we can plan on how much food to make.

Hoping to meet some of you real soon,

Ron

Crossfire Gang Outreach

Once known to his Latin King colleagues as “Shadow,” Alex shared a story similar to many gang members in Chicago, drugs, thuggery, and incarceration. Alex was a friend of Edgar Orsini whose searching letter is prominently published under the headings of this blog. Together, they witnessed every dark place the gang lifestyle has to offer. Then, after a falling out, they split. Several years later, however, Alex committed his life to Christ and everything changed. Now he’s going back out to find those he left behind. See his story at:

http://dangerouspotentialministries.wordpress.com/2012/06/08/returning-in-triumph/

Also, visit his ministry website (http://dangerouspotentialministries.wordpress.com) for more about the change that Alex has experienced in his life.

This from LILCASHMONEY

REALITY AINT ALWAYZ WUT U SEEIN N PERCIEVIN,
DATZ DA REASON I QUIT BANGIN N SLANGIN D’Z, N STARTED FOLLOWIN JESUS,
I HAD PPL N $$$ LIKE U, BUT EVERY SECOND MORE KEPT CHANGIN N LEAVIN,
JUZ LIKE DA SEASONZ,
IF U DONT FOLLOW N PUT GOD 1ST, U’LL B DECEIVED QUICK,
NE OTHER PATH IZ MISLEADING N IMPOSSIBLE 2 SUCCEED IN,
DERZ A REASON A NIGGA WHO NEVER READ, HAS A BIBLE N KEEPZ ON READIN,
N DATZ DA TRUTH, IF U DONT BELIEVE ME, READ IT N U’LL BELIEVE IT,

I WENT FROM BEIN A LOST DEMON WHO WUZ HUNGRY 4 $$$ N FIEININ, 2 LEADIN N PREACHIN,
N LEAVIN NIGGAZ SPEACHLESS WHEN IM FINISHED SPEAKIN,
DATZ Y U SHUD TAKE NOTEZ WHEN IM TEACHIN,
IM DA STRONGEST, GOD IZ DA ONLY 1 IM LEANIN ON N NEEDIN,
U GOT YA GANG, FRIENDZ, FAM, U DA WEAKEST,
I GOT MY WISDOM FROM EXPERIENCE, NO1 CAN TEACH IT,
U MITE NOT NEED ME, BUT U MOS DEF NEED IT,
IM HUMBLE, NOT COCKY OR CONCEIDED,
OPEN UP YA EYEZ 2 DA TRUTH, N STOP SLEEPIN, N SEEK JESUS,
IF U CAN DREAM IT, OR C IT, U CAN B IT,
U JUZ GUTTA STAY FOCUSED N KEEP REACHIN,
IF U PUT GOD 1ST, HE GONE MAKE SURE U KEEP EATIN,
SO STOP SINNIN, BEIN BROKE IZ A TEST OF YA FAITH, CUZ HE NEVER STOP FEEDIN,
WITHOUT GOD I WUZ LIKE U, INTERNALLY BLEEDIN N NOT WANTIN 2 KEEP BREATHIN,
SHOULD I KEEP PROCEEDIN? OR HAS DA SPACE EXCEEDED?
I KNO I GOT A LOT MORE ISH 2 SAY WITH MEANING….

I KNO U ALIVE, N THINK U KNO HOW 2 SURVIVE N LIVE LIFE,
BUT U FEEDIN YA SELF LIEZ, INSIDE U FEEL LIKE U WANNA DIE,
DONT GET WEAK N CRY, INSTEAD FOLLOW GOD N RISE,
DA TRUTH IZ U BARELY GETTIN BY, N ALL DATZ GETTIN U BY IZ WHEN U GETTIN HIGH N COMMITTIN CRIME,
PUT DOWN DA BANGER N KNIFE, N DA DRUGZ N DA PIPE,
N SEEK A NEW LIFE N NEW LIGHT KALLD JESUS CHRIST,
HIS LIGHT WILL SHINE BRIGHTER DEN NE LIGHT, NE TIME, DAY OR NITE,
HE NEVER GONE LEAVE U OR LIE, N HE ALWAYZ GONE B BY YA SIDE
4 LIFE,
TAKE ADVICE FROM A NIGGA WHO FAILED MANY TIMEZ, BUT NOW IZ WISE,
EVERY1 U DEPEND ON N TRUST WILL DISAPPEAR N IZ IN DISGUISE,
IF U THINK IM LIEN, WHEN IT HAPPENZ, DONT B SURPRISED,
ALL IM ASKIN U 2 DO IZ GIVE GOD A TRY,
DONT WAIT TIL EVERY1 U KNO IZ LOCKD UP OR IN DA SKY,
Y LEARN FROM YA OWN MISTAKEZ WHEN U CAN LEARN FROM MINE?…REAL TALK!!!!

 

0 comments
Freestyle by Lil Cash Money
 
Y B SURPRISED? DIS IZ JUZ SIGNZ OF DA END OF TIMEZ, CHECK DA NEWSPAPER N LOOK OUTSIDE, LOOK AT DA TEMPERATURE N LOOK DA CRIME, ITZ ALL ON DA RISE, SAME 4 DA PRICE OF JUZ DA BEANZ N RICE, ITZ JUZ LIKE DA BIBLE PROPHESIED…ITZ NEVER LIED OR NOT BEEN RITE, NOT EVEN ONCE, N NEVER TWICE…DATZ DA REASON U SHUD PUT YA FAITH IN CHRIST N CHANGE YA LIFE, AT LEAST IF U EXPECT 2 SURVIVE N STAY ALIVE…

LISTEN 2 MY ADVICE, DONT WORRY BOUT DA NIGGAZ WHO HATIN N LOOKIN SHIFE, PRAY 4 EM N 4GIVE EM CUZ DEY DUNNO WUT DEY DOIN AINT RITE, WITHOUT GOD U ALWAYZ GONE B LOST N BLIND…

Very cool group.  Ex gang members reaching out to the community and creating leaders to go back into gang neighborhoods using dance, rap, drama and technology.  Find their site at:

http://www.godsxgangsters.org/

Hi everyone-

I know that there are a lot of people reading this blog that believe in prayer. I’d ask you to pray for Cristian Garza. Cristian is a friend of mine who was just sentenced to consecutive jail terms of 6 and 15 years. So, even if he serves 50% of those sentences, it will be 10+ years before he is a free man again. Cristian has committed his life to Christ and I’d like to ask you to pray he is able to continue serving Christ in prison. While this certainly seems like a long time, those few years of imprisonment, when placed against eternity, amount to nothing. Please pray that God will strengthen Cristian and that Cristian will sense a mission and God’s call on his life while he remains incarcerated. May Cristian remember that he can do all things through Christ who strengthens him.

Want to know more about the Church in the Hood and the Gsus Nation? Do you or your set have questions about how Jesus interfaces with gang life? I’m available to come talk with you, one-on-one or to a group of 5 or 10 (or 100!). I can also come and start a Bible Study for your set. Let me know. Call or e-mail me at rlg2@uchicago.edu and we’ll arrange a time to talk about who Jesus is and what he means to the Gs of Chicago.

Ron

When I was a kid we learned this little poem in Sunday School that was accented by hand movements.  One’s hands would be locked together with the interlocked fingers facing the speaker and the two index fingers pushed together pointing skyward like a church steeple. The poem goes:

Here’s the church,

this is the steeple;

open the doors

and see all the people!

As we said the last verse we would fling open our hands and wiggle all the fingers, a representation of all the lively people in the church. Cute, but i’m not sure just how lively the church is these days.

I just came home from driving through the South Side of Chicago this evening.  It was only 8:30 and the streets were filled with Gs, everywhere.  A perfectly refreshing night to be out and about. The sights, however, were not so perfect. The police were rousting out a big group of Gs  (maybe Blue Fin Black Disciples, but I couldn’t be sure) gathered at the southeastern corner of Washington Park. A little further on there was a fist fight going on between two 9-10 year old kids with 30 people egging them on. There were prostitutes on one corner and guys slinging drugs on the other. Oh, and there were lots of people who appeared to have already had too much to drink. Everywhere I looked there were people who were headed into eternity without Christ. I tried to do my thing but it was so little and so weak in contrast to the forces gathering out in the streets for the summer. It all seemed a little surreal and I wasn’t quite sure why I was feeling so sad.  Then, I passed a group of guys gathered in front of a church and it struck me.  Where’s all the people, the church people, that is!!!

I started looking past the gathering crowds and what I saw astounded me. Every block had a church building or two safely ensconced on the block, but they were all closed and not a light to be seen.  How ironic, I thought, that if Christians are the light of the world and the local church is the hope of the world, that each church was dark as the night, and whatever hope the building might claim to possess on Sunday was locked away for the night, just when those in the hood needed it most. How sad it seemed that in nearly every case, there were groups of men and women gathering in front of those churches who were without Christ and without hope. I guess they knew that after the Sunday services,  the church took Monday off. maybe the rest of the week too. Sin could sit at the doorstep of the church without even being challenged.

What struck me was that Christians are supposed to be the hands and feet of Jesus, but they were nowhere to be seen. What I saw, however, were the hands and feet of another, a more sinister and demanding master who was sending his cohorts out to enlist even more people to his cause. And everywhere, he was unchallenged! How can that be with Christians inhabiting every one of those blocks. How can it be with buildings everywhere that are dedicated to taking the Gospel (i.e. Good News) to the lost? I’m not trying to be overly critical and I am speaking to myself just as much as I am to all of you, but its time to open the doors of those buildings and start a procession of people going both in and out. There should be people going in who have questions about God and problems He can solve. There should be people going out to proclaim that there is a place where Gs can go to find real life and that there is a person who can give them  a living water that will refresh them and give them hope for the future. That living water will not dry up nor will it run out. If tonight seemed like a perfectly refreshing night, think what it will be like for that G who finds God because someone brought him that living water.

Let me close by saying that the pastors of my church have begun a series of messages where the theme is to “Go Outside,” sort of like the old Nike theme, “Just Do It.” That’s what we all need to do. Go outside, each day of the week, all summer long, and address those kids sitting on your steps with love, hope, and the gospel of  Jesus Christ. What if every church in every Chicago neighborhood found a way to turn the lights of their churches on at night and have people sitting on the steps of their church with a smile, a handshake, and maybe some fresh apple pie. What if every church in every neighborhood took up the challenge to Go Outside for these kids each day of  the summer. One need not go farther than the block your church was built on. In doing that, you’ll probably cross paths with Christians on the next block doing the same thing as you are. Link arms, love each other and pray for the kids you’ve both gone outside to help. Then let the Holy Spirit do his thing and watch what God does this summer. Just “Go Outside” and watch God work. Who knows what stories that will spawned, what ministries will be born, and what lives will be changed…forever. Well, God knows, so when it happens, write to us here at Crossfire. Let us know the miracles you see so that God’s work in one neighborhood will inspire His people in another neighborhood. Just “Go outside.” God will do the rest. Then, maybe some of you will write back something like:

We opened the church.

We turned on the light.

We went outside 

and God lit up the night.

You’ll probably do better with the verse, so don’t hesitate to outdo me on that! In the meantime,

JUST GO OUTSIDE!

An interesting article that was sent to me in response to one of my own  posts. I think you’ll find this article to be an interesting twist on gang intervention from the Third Side. Find the article at:

http://creatingreciprocity.wordpress.com/2011/05/12/from-bystanders-to-third-siders/

The Third Side Web page can be found at:

http://www.thirdside.org/

Hey Gs~

This is an invitation to every G out there who is wondering is God is real. Come find out what the Gsus Nation is all about. The Church in the Hood is open for Easter. Come join us for Gsus day at Willow Creek Chicago. We’re located in the Auditorium Theater on Congress and Wabash. Service are at 9 and 11 am on Easter (This Sunday). Let me know if you’re coming so I can meet you. Coffee and donuts are offered before and after the service. Dress any way you want, but come and join me in “Section G” for the 2011 Easter service.

Ron