Archive for the ‘Gangs and God’ Category

Ever wonder if God could really accept you? Ever think your sins are too bad to forgive? Ever wonder if there’s really a place in Heaven for a G?  If so, here’s a rap for you…

Take me as I am – Lecrae

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Po3k6sPHeX0&feature=related

An internet radio station repn Christ. Find it at:

http://www.christian-hiphop.net/

Donnie Sebreros talks on anger and gang life in the Mexican Community:

http://www.streetgangstyle.com/street_gangs/gang-ministries/gang-video/

For more shows and interviews on the Gang Talk Channel go to:

http://www.gangtalkchannel.com/

A rapper with something serious to say.  See his message at:

http://www.youtube.com/user/DEMinistries#p/a/u/1/fIoMzeNrgas

http://www.youtube.com/user/DEMinistries

Here’s a gangster rap with a lot of juice. Do you dare listen? Check it out at:

D-will -180 Feat Kre8tor – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mp_UgNoNjpY&feature=related

and more Kre8tor:

The battle – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m2nrvRR_s9Q&NR=1

You can do that – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T6xM8Bt0BtI&feature=related

Aint going Back – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4oLAULU1d5c&feature=related

Show me the way – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GvIYJw5e78Y&feature=related 



Cravings

Ever drive by the local White Castle restaurant and see the sign reading “Crave Pack?” It refers, of course, to a pack of sliders that’s meant to satisfy your late night craving for a burger. A craving is, as you know, an insatiable desire for something that we don’t have; something that we just can’t get enough of, that we can’t get along without.

What are your cravings? I have them.  Gangbangers have them too. Gangbanger cravings, however, can be dangerous, if not lethal. Those include a craving for drugs, a craving for sex, a craving for blood, a craving for power, a craving for thrills, and a craving for respect.  We could add more. These are cravings that you will do anything to satisfy. They’re also called addictions.

Cravings and addictions don’t spring out of nowhere and just appear one day. They are rooted in our normal needs for things such as love, safety, respect and accomplishment.  God’s original plan was that he would meet our needs as part of a two-way relationship between him and us. That plan, unfortunately, is often thwarted by the individual’s rejection of God and his role in our lives life.  When that relationship is broken and our pride spins out of control, it actually encourages our basic needs to become addictive and controlling. Since we can’t meet those needs ourselves, and we don’t allow God to meet them, we look or a third party to meet those needs. Satan subtlety moves in with his alternatives and the perversion of normal need into an addictive behavior begins.

 So, acknowledging that we do have needs, how do we address the normal needs that are built into our lives without allowing those needs to become addictive and all-consuming?  God tells us that there is a higher craving that can free us from the desires and addictions of this life. Want to be free from the craving for drugs? Want to be free from the addiction to sex? Want to be free from the lust for power? Want to be free from the need for the things of this world? What if we have allowed ourselves to become addicted to thoughts, feelings, desires, and needs that we were never meant to be enslaved to? What if we develop cravings for things that will ultimately destroy us?  What do we do?

As we noted above, we all have built-in needs in our lives, but Satan works hard to turn those needs into addictions that control our lives. God admonishes us for letting these needs become addictions because he desires to provide for our legitimate needs in a healthy productive way. How does that work? Here’s a verse from the Bible that may get you thinking.  Matthew 6:33 reads:  

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

 This is an interesting verse in many ways. In the first place, it’s a promise from God to meet the needs that we as people in this world may require in order to survive and prosper. I find it interesting, however, that the words “Seek first his kingdom” really don’t do  justice to the verse. They do not get at the real root of what Jesus is talking about. The Greek word that underlies the English word “seek” in this passage really means “crave,” so the verse in its original really means:

“Crave after his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you.”

I think this understanding gives our relationship with God a whole new perspective.  And its not the only place in the Bible where this idea is found. In Psalm 63:1-3, for instance, King David wrote:

You, God, are my God,  earnestly I seek you;  I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you  as one who longs to quench his thirst in a dry and parched land where there is no water.”

Now that’s a craving! And it’s also an example for us. May our prayer be that, like King David, that we will crave after God. May our heart and mind be addicted to his love and purpose to the extent that I would be willing to do anything humanly possible to satisfy that craving for the one person who can give my soul peace, satisfaction, and rest from the addictions of this present life. So, the next time you see the White Castle “crave” sign, think of it as a reminder to keep craving after God!

You are More

When a G sits down and takes a look at his/her life, what does he see? What lies below the cocky smile and tilted cap? What does a G feel once all the bravado is stripped away? It’s an important question because, sooner or later, the G gets slowed down and has to confront himself in prison.  It’s a good time to reflect on what is and what might be.  From talking to Gs that I’ve known, several things come to mind when thinking about this down-time. In the first place, there is insecurity founded on the fact that outside of his organization, he has little or nothing to fall back on as far as contributing to the world around him. And when he gets out, he may not have his old position and street cred. Others may have supplanted him.  Most Gs have minimal or no education so there is no hope of earning a legitimate spot in society by means of a normative lifestyle. They fall behind quickly and are hindered from making up ground through alternative high school or, GED programs. Even if they do, their rap sheet becomes impairment when they are out looking for a job. Even the most sincere attempts to transform are met with resistance from those with the jobs.  Their street appearance and lack of normal social skills, of course, do not help. That suspicion makes him small in the eyes of contemporaries and leads to an embarrassment over who he is beneath the bling and his tilted cap. Secondly, there is fear that they will never be able to change things. They look around and see few, if any, guys that have made it out of the hood. There is a sense of, “Why should I be any different?”  And finally, the G feels a cloud of negativity in the form of anger, pain, and embarrassment, feelings that tell them they are a” nobody” and always will be.  This combination of negative feelings usually results in attempts to prove one’s manliness and to prove to the world they are something, that they are somebody. Unfortunately, the G feels like a marked man, a man with a record that is destined to block any attempt he might make to improve himself.

I would submit, however, that the G is more than a man with a record. I would suggest that a G is more than even he believes. A G is more than a drug slinger, more than a shooter, more than a sex player, more than a soldier, more than a piece of flesh, more than a target, more than an angry voice, more than an inmate, more than a felon, more than a man with a record.  Instead, each G is a man with a history and that history is written, not by a punitive judge, but by God himself. Every G is a person that God loved before time began. God has pursued every rebellious G into the framework of time because of that love for him. Every G is a person that God gave his life for in the person of his son Jesus Christ. Each G is a person that was empowered by the resurrection of Jesus to do great things.  A G needs to realize that he/she is made in the image of God, that he/she has a heart and a mind that was created for more than dealing goods in the hood.  It was made for doing “good in the Hood.”  A G is someone that Jesus not only wants to spend eternity with in Heaven, but someone He wants to walk through the Hood with right now. Every G was known by God from before time began. Every G was given talents to use for good in the Hood. Gs are smart. Gs are leaders. Gs are people that matter to God. A G, however, is also a person that God presented with a choice. A G can acknowledge God’s pursuit of his heart and mind, or he can turn your back on God and continue along the path to oblivion.

So what’s it going to be? You’re a G. What are YOU going to do with God’s opportunity to make a new life for yourself?  I know that nothing has been easy for you. You may wish you could change a lot of details in the story of your life, but you cannot. What’s done is done. However, you can still change the story’s ending. God provided the final chapter to your story when he conquered death on the cross. By acknowledging his right to govern your life, you will be allowing him to place that chapter into your life story and, in so doing, give you all the benefits of heaven, regardless of all the low points that came before. And even more, if you are young when this transaction takes place, you will have a lot of years lift and there are a lot of great chapters that can still be written in your life story.  Does that sound like a book you’d be interested in buying? You have the right to decide if you want that chapter included in your life story. If not, there will be an alternative ending and it will not be pretty.

 

For more on the question of who you are, listen to this song:

You are More by Tenth Avenue North – http://www.tenthavenuenorth.com/videos/All%20Videos/273

I am New by Jason Gray – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-w6YG2NZguc

and

For more on this topic read “Murder Forgiven” in the link below:

http://www.thugexposed.com/murderforgiven.html

The Church in the Hood and the “Great Violation”

 

“Here (in Christ) there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian Scythian, slave or free (and we might add, no Latin Kings or Maniac Latin Disciples, no Vice Lords or Gangster Disciples, no Folks and no People), but Christ is all, and is in all.”

                                                                        ~Colossians 3:11

When God saves us, he does not intend for us to then get all warm and cozy in the confines of a four-walled building. The local church is the “hope of the world,” but not if its people settle themselves behind its walls and forget those left behind in the streets. The church is the people in action and the ”Church in the Hood” is the people of the hood retrieving those left in the streets of the hood. It’s G’s remembering G’s. It’s G’s for Jesus building the G’sus Nation in anticipation of Jesus’ return. We are saved to serve. As Paul the apostle writes in Ephesians 2:8-10:,

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

What does that mean for those who come to Christ in the Hood? In the first place, it means you are brought to salvation for a purpose and that purpose is not a nice fun-filled life of ease and privilege. Ask the early followers of Jesus who were killed by the scores as they went into their hood and proclaimed the salvation of Christ. Can we expect any more than what they experienced?  You are bought with a price and that price is the” Great Violation” of Jesus on the cross.

You all know what a violation is. It’s the beating of an individual to ascertain his/her worthiness, either for getting into, or for getting out of a set.   Jesus had to undergo a violation in order to secure his position as the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. It secured, however, not only his position as the ultimate judge of mankind, but opened up the Almighty Heaven Set for you and I. It’s the violation you and I deserved but were spared from because Jesus stepped up and took it for us.  If he had not taken that violation, there would be no way that any of us could have earned our way into the Almighty Heaven Set. We could not be beaten long enough and we could not do nearly enough of anything to get in. We were just not good enough, tough enough, or strong enough to earn a spot in heaven. Jesus changed all that when he took on that violation for everything bad that you and I have done (and we both know that there is a lot of that in our lives).

You know that when someone is violated out of a set, members turn their back on that individual and he is basically dead to them.  When Jesus took on himself all of our wrongdoings, God turned his back on Jesus for a moment while Jesus was tortured and violated for you and me.  Yet, because of his sinless life, God raised him from the dead to become the master of all in recognition of his victory on the cross. This is the story of real power, and that same power that raised Jesus from the dead is available to help you change and live a new more meaningful life. So, when you see the picture or the statue of a torn, battered Jesus nailed to a cross, look a little closer and you should see visions of yourself, battered and bruised on that cross. That’s the violation that YOU and I deserved, but Jesus, who had done no wrong and possessed no sin, came from his throne in Heaven to take on that suffering so that we could be brought into His set.  It’s not because of who you are or what you’ve done, but simply because he loves you as his creation. It’s a matter of God’s grace, or his undeserved love, that you have been admitted.

In the second place, this verse means that God saved us from the ultimate violation of eternal suffering and separation from Christ so that we would share the miraculous pathway into the Almighty Heaven Set with others.  He wants us to be out in the Hood, making our presence felt in a positive way, so that others might join us in this set. These are things that God has planned for you to do from before the earth was created, things that only you can do, so get with it.  That action may manifest itself in many different ways, but will ultimately  include taking the message that saved you to others in your hood, as well as those in other hoods, because if you don’t tell them, who will? Nothing fancy about it. You’re just telling them your story and how Jesus made a difference in your life. God’s spirit will do the rest.

Thirdly, sharing in the hood is not an easy thing to do. As I mentioned earlier, becoming a Christian doesn’t buy you a ticket to the cushy land of good life. Rather, it takes you to a life of challenge, sacrifice, and maybe even death.  Being a Christian is not a cushy separatist lifestyle where everything is neat and every experience comes up smelling like a rose. It’s a down to earth get dirty job that someone has to do. If you’re living the cushy “churchstyle” life, you may not be walking the true Christian walk that Jesus described when he said “take up your cross and follow me.” In the streets you talk about a “smile now cry later” kind of life, but as a Christian it should be a “cry now, smile later” life where the “later” is an eternity with Jesus in heaven. Life is not about “feeling good” but about service and sacrifice. The” now” is doing the dirty work, getting down to the nitty-gritty of life and making a difference in the streets where it’s not so nice, not so clean, and not very cushy. That’s where Jesus went and that’s where we should follow. Take the story of your experience with Jesus to other Kings, to other Disciples, to the Stones, to the Lynch Mob, to the Albany Orchestra, and, in fact, to anyone else who has ears. In short, that’s what Jesus asks you to do.

So the next time you read about or are involved in a gang violation, remember Christ and the cross and what that violation means to you. That was the Mother of all Violations and it opened the door to heaven for you and me. It actually opened the doors to the “Church in the Hood.” That church is not in a building or bound be four walls. It’s not a cushy place where people take refuge and hide from the world. Rather, it’s a community of people who understand the significance of what Jesus did for them and take that message to those both near and far, they take it to friends and they take it to those in opposition sets. God’s love is not bound by borders and boundaries, but transcends every hood and every set. The “Church in the Hood” represents the hands and feet of Jesus. It speaks on behalf of the risen Lord and loves with a passion that only God can give. YOU are the “Church in the Hood” and God asks you to go into that hood and be an example of what he can do in a G’s life. He asks you to stalk the streets and alleys of the hood in search of the lost and dying. He asks you to soothe the hurt of those in pain. He asks you to walk across the park to share Christ with the opposition before gang violence keeps him from the Kingdom of God.  You need to remember that in Christ, when you join the “Church in the Hood,” there is no opposition because we are all brothers and sisters in Christ.  We become ONE in Jesus. And because of that oneness, he wants you to follow him, wherever he may lead, even if it’s into opposition turf. You have a message to deliver, the message of God’s grace, the message of hope that you must now share with others who have no hope. Of course, its not easy, but in doing so, you will be building the “Church in the Hood” into the G’sus Nation and you will be preparing the way for Jesus to return and lay claim to all the Gs who have walked out of the hood and into Heaven. That’s a task worthy of eternity.

Music:  Gangstaz Pain by Preachas in the Hood

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t9hm84LZkts

the G’sus Nation is a community of believers drawn from gangs and the gangster lifestyle. Those who make up the G’sus Nation come from as every gang, ethnicity, and nationality. What they have in common is Jesus, the saviour of the world.  It is a group of men and women who are transformed (not perfect) by the act of love  that took Jesus to the cross to take the blame for our own broken and messed up lives. This is a Nation that is grateful to the one who took on himself the great “violation” of the cross for our violence and addictions, but one who also walks with us through our pain, hopelessness, and shame. The G’sus Nation is a living “church in the hood” where believers are “born again” into a new life of hope and grace. It is a community of believers who take the Gospel of Christ to every hood and every city in obedience to Christ’s great commission to “…go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit…” (Matthew 28:19). Our mission field is found in the neighborhoods of Chicago where gangs rule and gang life have stolen the promise of so many young men and women. The G’sus Nation is composed of young men and women who have experienced God’s grace, gangsters who follow Jesus instead of the mob. That’s not easy because other nations want to keep you down and hold you back. They lock you in chains and violate you in every way imaginable. Jesus breaks those chains and gives you freedom by being violated on the cross for you. Jesus not only makes you free, but he makes you one in the G’sus Nation. Taking a little liberty with what Paul the Apostle wrote, we learn that:

  Here (in Christ) there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, (and we might add, no Latin Kings or Latin Disciples, no Vice Lords or Gangster Disciples, no Folks and no People; no Bloods and no Crips), but Christ is all, and is in all.

                                                                                                   ~Colossians 3:11

We who have committed our lives to Christ are truly one in the Spirit. God has called us to take the message of grace and forgiveness to our brothers in the hood. It’s a big task, and dangerous, but “if God is for us, who can stand against us!” Join the G’sus Nation. Jesus wants you! Pray and ask God where he wants you to take the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He will lead as he builds the G’sus Nation through you.

Let me know if you want to learn more.

I hope there’s a few gangbanging followers of Jesus who read this. I’m posting this message because God is sending His Spirtit to transform the lives of gangbangers all across Chicago and throughout the country, and he wants to do it through YOU. Just like the ragamuffin disciples of  the early church (in the book of Acts), God has chosen you, not to get happy and be comfy in some local group of believers, but to serve by taking the gospel with you to gangbangers everywhere. You know enough to do this:  acknowledge Him in all your ways, read the WORD, pray, fast, and seek his guidance. He has promised that if you do that, he will lead you in everything you do. He wants you to go. In the early 60s there was a movement of the Spirit, the “Jesus People” movement,  that spread across the country and transformed the lives of street people everywhere. It was started by hippies, druggies, and homeless people, but shook the walls of the established church. It was a most unlikely group of people to begin a spiritual movement, but it was God who chose to spread the knowledge of Jesus in this way and he honored their efforts by starting the most significant spiritual awakening of the century. Now he is doing the same thing through gangbangers and mobsters. There are many of you out there who have experienced the grace (undeserved love and forgiveness) of Jesus in your lives. Don’t bottle it up inside the walls of a church. Take it to your friends and neighbors. That’s what jesus did himself. There are other gangbangers all around you who need Jesus in their lives. Be the one to give them Jesus. Be the one to offer them the same grace you’ve found. Just go and do it. There is a movement of the spirit among the gangs and you can be part of an amazing awakening of God’s Spirit. It’s moving so just go with the flow of God’s Spirit and you will be amazed at how God works through you. He will lead. Go to the hood.  Go to your buddies in the jails. Go to the opposition. Cross borders and go where God needs you.  Be His feet for carrying the Gospel of grace. Be His hands for showing kindness. Be his voice for speaking love. Be Jesus to gangbangers and mobsters everywhere. Get up and start moving. Focus on Jesus and he will lead. I’m not sure where He will lead, but it will be amazing. You will see lives transformed, families reunited, and neighborhoods revitalized. Take your Bible. Pray. Jesus has your back.  JUST GO!

Ron

A very interesting Christian “12 Step” form of recovery program that has applications for recovering gang members. CR has developed 8 principles that are based on the Beatitudes. They are as follows:

CELEBRATE RECOVERY’S EIGHT RECOVERY PRINCIPLES
The Road to Recovery
Based on the Beatitudes

Realize I’m not God; I admit that I am powerless to control my tendency to do the wrong thing and that my life is unmanageable. (Step 1)

“Happy are those who know that they are spiritually poor.”

Earnestly believe that God exists, that I matter to Him and that He has the power to help me recover. (Step 2

“Happy are those how mourn, for they shall be comforted.”

Consciously choose to commit all my life and will to Christ’s care and control. (Step 3)

“Happy are the meek.”

Openly examine and confess my faults to myself, to God, and to someone I trust. (Steps  4 and 5)

“Happy are the pure in heart.”

Voluntarily submit to any and all changes God wants to make in my life and humbly ask Him to remove my character defects. (Steps 6 and 7)

“Happy are those whose greatest desire is to do what God requires”

Evaluate all my relationships. Offer forgiveness to those who have hurt me and make amends for harm I’ve done to others when possible, except when to do so would harm them or others. (Steps 8 and 9)

“Happy are the merciful.”  

“Happy are the peacemakers”

Reserve a time with God for self-examination, Bible reading, and prayer in order to know God and His will for my life and to gain the power to follow His will. (Steps 10 and 11)

Yield myself to God to be used to bring this Good News to others, both by my example and my words. (Step 12)

“Happy are those who are persecuted because they do what God requires.”

Find the larger website at:

http://www.celebraterecovery.com/

An interesting resource on the earlier Chicago gangs from chicagogangs.org :

http://chicagogangs.org/index.php?pr=OLDSKOOL_GANG_LIST

A Christ-centered outreach that is making a difference in the lives of fatherless teens in Chicago.

http://www.gripyouth.com/

Good stuff on gangs and related issues at:

http://www.faithwriters.com/member-profile.php?id=6399

An interesting story about a believer who has not left the gang.

http://www.christiancentury.org/article.lasso?id=3663