Archive for the ‘Inspiration’ Category

A generational gang family in Chicago:

 

http://www.cnn.com/video/?/video/us/2013/06/03/nr-howell-mutligenerational-gang-members.cnn

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.

Cities of Lonesome Fear: God Among the Gangs

Cry of the Streets 

A Willow Creek Jail and Prison Ministry:

                                     Hebrews 13:3

“Don’t forget about those in prison. Suffer with them as though you were there yourself. Share the sorrow of those being mistreated, as though you feel their pain in your own bodies.”

http://prisonandjailministryconnection.blogspot.com/.v

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!!!!

You a banger? This is a story about another banger that made it. This is about Victor Rios, but it could be you. God has a plan for you too. Just let him have his way in your life. Read more about Victor at:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ReQar2BTlKY&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KvQzDzBIGR4    (in Spanish)

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/updates/american-graduate/jan-june12/victor_rios.html

An inspiring article about one family and the intersection of gangs and sports in Compton’s Dominguez HS, Los Angeles. See more at:

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1192636/1/index.htm.

Here are two articles about last night’s Urban Dolorosa memorial service for those slain in Chicago since 2008. The include comments from Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

http://www.nbcchicago.com/blogs/ward-room/rahm-emanuel-michael-pfleger-urban-dolorosa-133044968.html

http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2011/11/01/urban-dolorosa-march-honors-murder-victims/

I attended the first Urban Dolorosa (the sorrowing city) memorial service last night at St. Sabina and it was very moving.  I attended the event in order to (1) support Chicago families that have lost children to this senseless violence, (2) to call out the people with guns and say, “stop the killing,” and (3) to ask God’s forgiveness for not doing more to stop this epidemic of death.  With this in mind, I’d like to pose the following question to you, “What are you doing to stop the madness?”  Your answer might start here. There are four more services this week. I highly recommend attendance and participation in this effort to curb or stop youth violence in Chicago. For more information on how to get involved, go to the Urban Dolorosa website at:

http://www.urbandolorosa.org/

 Make a difference.  Get involved.  Stop the violence.

Ron

Here’s a poignant poem from someone whe was forgotten by man. Can you identify with him? If so, let me know…

http://www.streetgangstyle.com/street_gangs/street-gang-articles/forgotten/

OK, this is how I want you to think about responding to this post. Think about the world and all the goals you’ve set for yourself. What do you want to be? What do you want to accomplish). Where would you like to be and what would you like to be doing in five years?  Write it down. Do you think that the goals, hopes, and/or dreams you’ve just jotted down are possible?  Want to have a car, home, job, wife, or kids? Do you want to have a chance to get a better education or do some travelling? Want to help some other people who are down and out too?  Well, let me tell you this, God puts those dreams in your head, and if God puts those dreams there, it’s because he wants to fulfil those dreams. Not only that, he is able to fulfill them, and much more. If you are a Christian, you worship a God is bigger than anything you can imagine. He is the God “who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us…” (Ephesians 3:20). OK, here’s the kicker. Remember all those goals and dreams you just jotted down? Well God wants to do a lot more than you thought about just then.

A few years ago, I met Anthony.  He was a Spanish Lord from Humboldt Park that I had written to while he was incarcerated in Logan Correctional Center.  Those letters led to us getting together to talk after his release. When we first met, Anthony was sleeping on a backroom floor in another Gs apartment. He didn’t have a whole lot to look forward to at that moment in time.  I remember in one of our first talks, I asked him about what he wanted out of  life. He mentioned that he’d like to have an apartment of his own some day, maybe get his driver’s licence and eventually buy a car. That way, he could drive around the hood and help people he saw in need of help. Well, that was a nice vision, but way too small. Anthony eventually committed his life to Jesus and good things began to happen. Anthony now has an apartment he shares with Amanda and his son Vincent. A second child, a little girl, is on the way! Anthony works 50-60 hours a week and not only has a car, but also has use of a company car. He certainly helps old friends from the hood, but has also traveled to Turkey and Nicaragua. In Turkey he helped on an archaeological excavation and in Nicaragua he worked with the poor and destitute.  God has given Anthony way more than he imagined just two years ago as we sat and talked. On top of that, he’s only 22, so can you imagine what God has in store for him the next 60 years of his life? Way more than he or I can begin to image right now. That prospect is very exciting.

Now translate Anthony’s experience into your life. Go ahead, think about it. God wants to do the same thing for you that he did for Anthony. If you think about the dreams you wrote down and think about how God has expanded Anthony’s vision, you might be able to get an idea of what God will do in YOUR life. The message I want to leave you with here is to think big and never underestimate what God can do in your life. He is the creator of the universe and in control of all things. His ability to do more than you can think or imagine is beyond doubt and displayed in the lives of believers all over the world! So sit down, write down, kneel down, and look up. Jesus is sitting at the right hand of God just waiting to expand your horizons and do more in your life than you can ever imagine. Are you game?

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!

Fresh from the release of a new album, Lecrae sits down for a heartfelt interview. See what this well-known rap artist has to say about self, love, and God at:

http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/music/interviews/2011/rapperrehab-march15.html

A new movie is coming out in the near future about the intertwined lives of Nicky Cruz and David Wilkerson. The movie is called Thousand Pieces and is based on the book  Run, Baby, Run, the official biography of Nicky Cruz.  Information on the movie can be found at the following two websites:

http://www.runbabyrunmovie.com/main.php

http://thousandpiecesmovie.com/

There is an earlier “sanitized” film called The Cross and the Switchblade based on the book of the same name by David Wilkerson. The film is actually inspiring and worth a screening.  It’s a 70’s film that stars Pat Boone as David Wilkerson and Erik Estrada as Nicky Cruz , so it’s more on the “cute” side and not as” gritty” or realistic as a current movie on the same topic might be. Nonetheless, the film is worth watching to get a visual presentation of the story. See it at:

http://www.ovguide.com/movies_tv/the_cross_and_the_switchblade.htm

David Wilkerson impacted the life of Nicky Cruz and the gangs of New York, but he did much more, all because he was obedient to God’s whisper. If you want to change the world for the better, you might want to read this story about David Wilkerson’s journey of faith:

http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2011/aprilweb-only/rememberingdavidwilkerson.html