Archive for the ‘Evangelism’ Category

This is a brief talk by Nicky Cruz who was the leader of the infamous Puerto Rican Mau Mau street gang in New York City. Nicky’s story is portrayed in books such as The Cross and the Switchblade by David Wilkerson and in his own book, Run, Baby Run.  It was through reading those two books that my own life changed and because of what happened to Nicky, I went to Chicago to work for Teen Challenge. That’s when I got involved with the Latin kings and all the other sets I got to know at that time. I even had Nicky come to Chicago back in the early 70s where he had an open meeting for north side street gangs in Humboldt Park. Nicky is just one of many examples of how Christ CAN change a life, even in the worst of circumstances.  jesus can do the same thing for you that he did for Nicky. Think about it. See what Nicky has to say about his life in the Mau Mau street gang and what happened to him when he met Jesus.

http://www.streetgangstyle.com/street_gangs/video/gangs-god-nicky-cruz-testimony/

For more on Nicky Cruz Outreach, go to:

http://nickycruz.org/

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Live in the here and now. Live for the moment. Don’t think about the end of your life, only the now. Smile now, cry later. Those are things I hear from Gs who don’t want to think about the future. I ask about what it means to break God’s laws and they say, “I don’t want to think about that”. I ask them what comes after death and they say,”I don’t want to think about that” . I ask them what’s gonna happen to their kids if they get killed, and they say, “I don’t want to think about that”. Denial like this is like an ostrich that,  seeing a lion coming and sensing danger, sticks his head in the sand so he doesn’t have to see the approaching lion. When a G says,” I don’t want to think about that”, he’s doing the same thing as he ignores the reality of the coming danger. He’s ignoring all the warnings of God, Jesus, and the Biblical prophets because “he doesn’t want to hear that.”  While they all clearly say that while God is love, God is also just and will judge the unrepentant people who have ignored his call to open their hearts to him. These Gs don’t want to hear that, however, because if that’s correct, they’re in big trouble. Everything they’ve believed, said, and done is contrary to what God says he wants us to be.  For the moment, its easy to ignore what Jesus has to say about life after death, but the time is fast approaching when you will stand before Christ and you will no longer be able to ignore him. For some it will be sooner rather than later.  And when you’re standing there, you won’t be able to say “I don’t want to think about that” any more because “that” will be staring you right in the face. No more denying the truth of God. No more denying what he expects from us. No more hiding your head in the sand. No more alternative philosophies that have lied to you and made you look the other way. No more time, period. It’s judgement day and you’re dead meat. Without the saviour, you’re roadkill.

That’s my message to you, pure and simple. Think about it, just sticking your head in the sand because you “don’t want to hear about that” doesn’t mean its not going to happen. God’s judgement is on the way, whether you want to hear about  it or not.  Without Christ, you will be judged and, quite frankly, it will not go well for you. The good news is, however, that Jesus can and will change your life if you take a moment to listen. All you have to do is think about it a little bit and you’ll understand why you need Christ. With the huge mound of sin, transgression, betrayal, and pain you’ve created, it becomes clear that you can’t be rid of that mountain of trash you created by yourself.  You begin to see that the mound is to big for anyone but Jesus. Once this realization hits you between the eyes, however, seriousness of the situation may disarm you to the point where you think you should wait and try to clean up your life before coming to Christ. Don’t be fooled. He wants you and he wants you just the way you are. If you try to clean up from the outside and gradually work inward towards your heart, you’ll fail. You can’t clean yourself up well enough good to make yourself presentable to God. You can’t do enough good things to make him change his mind about judgement. What you need to do is come to Christ, confess your sins, allow Christ into your life, and let him clean you up from the inside out. You need to trust him to do the dirty work, and that’s what he did when he gave his life for you on the cross. He did the dirty work. All you have to do is accept it. So wat up G? Wat u gonna do?  Here’s what the Bible says to those  “that don’t want to hear that.” In the famous Parable of the Sower we read that:

 4 While a large crowd was gathering and people were coming to Jesus from town after town, he told this parable: 5 “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path; it was trampled on, and the birds ate it up. 6 Some fell on rocky ground, and when it came up, the plants withered because they had no moisture. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up with it and choked the plants. 8Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up and yielded a crop, a hundred times more than was sown.”

   When he said this, he called out, “Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.”

 9 His disciples asked him what this parable meant. 10He said, “The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of God has been given to you, but to others I speak in parables, so that,

   “‘though seeing, they may not see;
   though hearing, they may not understand.’[a]

   11 “This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is the word of God. 12 Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. 13 Those on the rocky ground are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away. 14 The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature. 15 But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.

~Luke 8:4-15

The moral here? Don’t ignore the words of the Bible. Don’t stick your head in the sand because the Bible tells us  that the “devil is prowling around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. (I Peter 5:8)” If you refuse to listen to what jesus has to say, you’re like the ostrich with his head in the sand. You will be ignoring the inevitable as that roaring lion pounces on you when you’re least expecting it.

So the next time you’re tempted to say, “I don’t want o hear that,” consider the warning of Jesus when he said,  “Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.”

Here’s a song for you:

Lecrae – Take Me As I Am: http://vodpod.com/watch/448911-lecrae-take-me-as-i-am

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

Tedashii at Blacktown 2008:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F34oEiUsrog&feature=related

Lecrae at Blacktown 2008:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0y7IKrkQSyA&feature=related

A lot of Gs have told me that it scares them to have to close their eyes when they go to bed at night. It’s when you’re alone with yourself that all your misdeeds and crimes come back to haunt you in the dark. It’s when a G lays down and tries to sleep that he sees the people he’s hurt, the women he’s dishonored, the family he’s disgraced.  That’s when the faces of people he hurt come back to visit him in his sleep. It’s when he thinks of all the friends he’s lost and wonder where they’re at now. Is there a heaven, and more importantly, is there a hell?  It’s when a G wonders what’s going to happen to his own kids. Who’s going to get them? Will those kids face the same hopelessness as he faces? Will they grow up and have the same nightmares the G is facing now? What sort of legacy will this G leave for his own kids? Who’s going to remember him when he’s dead and gone, especially if the kids are dead and gone too. And that brings up another point. Its tough enough, its scary enough, when you’ve done bad stuff and have to get alone and face your past in the dead of night as you close your eyes. But that’s not the only time you lay down and close your eyes. As bad as the nightmares at night are to face, can you imagine what it will be like when you lay dying and have to close your eyes for the last time here on earth. What’s that gonna be like? What kind of fears will you face then? Oh, you’ll wake up, but this time it will be to face Christ, the divine creator that you’ve been dissing all your life, the saviour who you’ve ignored and even spit on, the eternal judge who has promised to dispense justice for those who remained unrepentant in this life. How do you think that’s gonna go…

To see how this affected a NYC gang leader go to:

https://ganglifechicago.com/2011/04/24/nicky-cruz-talks-about-his-life-as-leader-of-the-mau-mau-street-gang-in-nyc/

You might also want to try this video on for size:

Death Story by Lecrae:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cou5I3jcsRs

Here is the second part to Big D’s story of how and why this Mexican Mafia leader became a Christian:

http://www.streetgangstyle.com/street_gangs/video/big-dformer-prison-mafia-leaderborn-againpart-2/

How D got saved in prison:

http://www.streetgangstyle.com/street_gangs/video/big-dformer-prison-mafia-leaderborn-againpart-1/

Check out this interview with a Mexican Mafia Leader/co-founder who became a born-again Christian believer:

http://www.streetgangstyle.com/street_gangs/video/big-dformer-prison-mafia-leaderborn-againpart-1/

I was talking with a G over coffee and he surprised me by saying that he had gone to church for a while.  When I asked him why he stopped going, he said “It was boring.” I was taken aback by that statement, but maybe I shouldn’t have been. I find Christianity to be extremely exciting, but that’s probably because I try to stay out in the action and when I do that, I see God at work all the time.  In fact, there have been those periods of time when I woke up every morning wondering what God was going to do next. The anticipation was palpable. When I told him that, he was intrigued, but also perplexed. That wasn’t his experience at all. As we talked, it became clear that his mother had experienced a meeting with God and that the G had just been along for the ride, at his mom’s urging. His experience with Christianity had been sitting isolated in a church building and watching other people express their faith in ways he could not understand. Sitting there became boring, and ultimately it became a chore, so he left. What might have been more exciting would have been if he was out on the streets talking to people in need and seeing God respond to his prayers for those people. There is certainly a place for believers coming together and encouraging each other, but the real excitement in Christianity comes from going out and challenging the world to try Jesus. It comes from seeing human need and watching God answer your prayers for those in need. It comes from witnessing a person you might least expect, to come to Christ and have his or her life changed for eternity. Real excitement is being with jesus and going wherever he takes you. I can never tell where that will be, but the one thing I can say is that it will NOT be boring!

I was at a wedding this past Saturday. The ceremony was held at the Chicago Cultural Center. One of the distinguishing characteristics of the building is the unbelievably beautiful mosaics that have been created all over the building. As I was marvelling at the beauty of those pieces of art, it came to me that each mosaic is made up of hundreds of little broken pieces of stone. In itself, each little piece of stone appears to have little significance and usually has little to distinguish itself from all of the other little pieces of stone. However, when those little pieces are put together by an artist who sees all the shades and textures, who understands all the subtleties of each piece,  he begins to create a pattern simply by moving each broken stone individually into its own special place. By juxtaposing each color and every subtle shade against one another, he produces a patchwork of stones that, on completion, explodes in extraordinary glory. That’s when his artistry takes on meaning and clarity. That’s when simple stonework becomes  a masterpiece.

It’s the same with the gang world. Gangbangers everywhere, each one a broken piece of stone tossed aside in scrap heaps scattered throughout the hood. There is little to distinguish one Gs from any of the other Gs around him. There is little hope for the future and even less hope of creating a positive legacy. But that’s when Gsus, the master artisan, takes over and starts moving through the hood. He scours the scrap heaps and salvages Gs from everywhere. As he does so, he starts moving the Gs around, placing Gangsters next to Stones, Kings next to Disciples, Satan Disciples next to Ambrose, and Vice Lords next to Spanish Lords. In and of themselves, there is little in he way of beauty in those individual pieces of broken humanity, but when Gsus takes over and starts moving his Gs around, he creates a pattern of color and beauty, expertly fitting each piece into place, juxtaposing darker shades against the light, and gently polishing his Gs to give the finished product a luster that could never have been imagined when he started walking through the Hood. Gsus enters into the world of gang life and repositions the broken pieces. The result is to infuse the power of beauty into the despair of tragedy and to bring  joy, hope, meaning, and beauty into world of gang violence. The result is a masterpiece of eternal proportions.

So that’s my speech. Now its your call. If you’re a gangbanger and want to know what’s beautiful; if you want to know the meaning of life; if you want to have significance and fit in; if you want to know the source of true power; and if you want to understand what real love is all about; then turn to Gsus. Gsus is the key, the master of creation. By ourselves, we remain dirty pieces of broken stone without shine or luster. Each of us remains a single isolated piece of meaningless stone without place and lacking purpose; and without purpose we are in danger of ending up as one of the unusable and unworkable pieces that are disposed of in the trash (i.e. hell) or cast along the gravel road to be trodden under the feet of every passing generation. In the hands of the great artist, however, in the hands of the Gsus, we all take on true significance as we are set in the right place, next to the right people, and provided with a purpose. In the hands of Gsus we become a masterpiece, a veritable Gangster Mosaic. That’s what the Church in the Hood is, a mosaic where every gangster who comes to Christ becomes part of the larger creation of God, the Gsus Nation. It’s a place where each G, no matter his or her set, ethnicity, or rank,  has value and significance in God’s larger overall plan, where God’s grace and love give every individual a purpose, a distinct meaning, and creates a work of beauty that people everywhere will marvel at, a place where each G willcome become a legacy to the world. That’s called grace, when God picks up a G from that heap of broken stones and gives him a purposeful place in the eternal picture he is creating. So, look closely. Is that you in the middle of the Gangster Mosaic? If not, call us or a local pastor and ask how to be included in the Gangster Mosaic. Find out how you can become part of the Gsus Nation. You can begin by saying this simple prayer:



God-

I been in the hood ma whole life and done lots of things I wish i hadn’t had to do. Sometimes I see dem in ma dreams and just want them to go away. Even if I don’t see them, I know what I did and it makes me sick. I want to make it right, but I know I can’t make it right myself. I’ve tried and nuthin works. This guys sez, yu’ll forgive me of all that bad stuff – slingin, bangin, and even killin. I believe that Gsus came to earth from heaven and died to pay for my sins. I believe that he rose from the dead and that he has forgiven my sins as no one else can do. I need that forgiveness bad and I ask that all my sins be forgiven. I want to  kno that yur real and willing to help me make a new start. I got baggage so it won’t be easy but I believ that if you will help me, it will happen, just like he sez. So right now, I’m askin yu to come into my heart, and transform my life. Forgive me of evryythin bad i done. I kno i need you, without doubt, but its hard to walk away, so even if I play the G for a little while, guide my steps and watch over me. teach me your ways and open my eyes, help me to grow and walk away from this life, no matta wat. Give me and my family a new start. Reveal yourself to me just like dis guy sez yu will. Make me willing to turn away from this life and serve yu, no matta wat. Thanks God!

Why? That’s the question I’ve received on several occasions when I told people I was working with guys and gals in the Chicago street gangs. Why would I want to do that? The implication is that there are better things I could do with my time than work with a group that most people only want to ignore and stay away from. The underlying premise of that question is that these people are not worth it. Well, I believe they ARE worth it. To my way of thinking, however, it seems only logical to offer myself as a means of reaching out to a group that matters greatly to God. These are guys and gals that are smart and have a set of gifts that God has given them. The gifts may not yet have been used for what God purposed them, but the gifts are there and God wants them put to a better more worthy use. These young men and women are important to God, so they are important to me. They are so important, in fact, that God has asked me to go to them with the message of his love and forgiveness. So, I go out of my own love for these people, but out of a love that is really born in the heard of God. It’s a love he’s given me to share with them. So, knowing what God has done for me, how can I refuse to do what he’s asked me to do. If I don’t do it, he’ll find someone else to do it, but I want to be part of what he’s asked me to do. It’s there that I will find real peace, and its there that a lot of Gs will find what they are really looking for. Here’s a song that talks about this:

I Refuse by Josh Wilson: – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6B1Lv8k5pEc

When you meet Jesus it changes your destination.

That changes the way you think about life.

That changes how you perceive other people.

That changes the way you act and behave.

That changes the way people view you.

That changes the way others perceive Christ.

That changes their willingness to address Christ.

That changes their destination.

rlg

Urban Ministries is the largest independent, African American-owned and operated Christian media company. They publish Christian resources, including Sunday School and Vacation Bible School curricula, books, movies, and websites designed for African American churches and others seeking a diverse, Christ-centered perspective on faith and life issues.

http://www.urbanministries.com/

Arloa Sutter is the Founder and Executive Director of Breakthrough Urban Ministries. Breakthrough restores broken networks by providing neighborhood-based holistic services to individuals and families in Chicago’s East Garfield Park community. For more information on Arloa Sutter and Breakthrough Urban Ministries please go to:

http://www.breakthrough.org/

and

http://arloasutter.com/

Breaking Ground is a faith community characterized by grace and truth that seeks and develops those who desire to become instruments of lasting change in their community.

Vision
Breaking Ground is a mission-driven not for profit organization building strong inner city communities through self-sustaining entrepreneurial programs and services.  We are a comprehensive community development corporation focused on transforming low income individuals and their communities by offering integrated real estate development, homeownership assistance, job training, and direct employment, along with client-centered services.

Find information about this transformative ministry at:

www.breakingground.net