Archive for the ‘Ron’s Thoughts’ Category

Here’s a video about incarceration you may want to consider…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WkxVx-vOVWI

Kids need a mentor. Here’s a way you can help. BECOME A MENTOR! You can make a difference! Check out these sites if you want to help kids who made a mistake to get it right the next time:

Gatekeepers mentoring for incarcerated youths at the Juvenile Detention Center

http://www.thecyc.org/

All-4-One Mentoring:

http://www.gate-keepers.org/

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

You hear the daily stores about youth and gang-related shootings in Chicago and your mind begins to dull. You watch the rising death count and  you lose hope. You experience frustration and a sense that there is nothing you can do to make a difference in a world such as this. Yet, there IS something that YOU can do. I recently attended a meeting at the Cook County Juvenile Detention Center. Young men up to 16 come through the doors of the Detention Center every day, some arriving and many departing. For those that are leaving incarceration, there is a harsh world awaiting them. Most will return to the Detention Center at east once, and most will graduate on the Cook County Jail in only a very short period of time. They swiftly move from petty infractions to major crimes that land them in jail with hardened criminals. In this way the ranks of the gangs and criminal elements are reinforced by a system overwhelmed with the mandate to teach and mentor these young men, but underwhelmed by volunteers and teachers. The Juvenile Detention Center is meant to be not so much a place of punishment as it is a place of restoration and second chances. At this point in time, these young people still have a chance to turn their lives around, to make something of themselves. Once they leave and graduate to Cook County Jail, however, that chance is usually lost forever. That’s why this is such an important time, and that’s where YOU come in. The Good News Prison and Jail Ministry that oversees ministry to these kids is in dire need of people who can serve as mentors and work to bring after-Care to the young men released from the juvenile Center. You could be one of those people, a mentor who helps the releasee to center his focus and work through the difficulties that face every young person, but which impacts those who have been detained even more. YOU can help mentor a young person and provide them with hope that they can make it, they can overcome the odds, and they can make a difference themselves. If you would be interested in finding out more about Good News Prison and Jail Ministry, go to their website at:

http://www.goodnewsjail.org/

The ministry to youths in the Cook County Juvenile Detention Center is directed by Arthur Killingsworth. His e-mail address is:

arthur.killingsworth@goodnewsjail.org

His Office Telephone Number is:  (312) 433-7124

Also feel free to contact this website for more information

Ron

I was in heading down Buffalo Avenue at 83rd street this afternoon when I received a bit of a jolt. I was taking some kids home from church and as I was driving down the street I noticed a child lying on the sidewalk. I wondered if something was wrong so I slowed down to see if I could help. Then I noticed that there was a second child kneeling next to the first one. In his hands was a piece of chalk and he was drawing the outlined profile of the first child, an outline that depicted the alignment of a body at a death scene. This is gang territory, Latin Kings to be precise. And while I know the neighborhood has faced its challenges, I was shocked and saddened to see the casualness with which death was viewed by these two young children. It’s a shame that death can be taken so lightly, when it’s made to be child’s play. Please pray for this neighborhood, for the people, the children, and the gang members. God never intended child’s play to be displayed in the chalked outline of a death scene. God has better things planned for Buffalo Avenue.

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

Please pray for Miquel Huerta who has been in Cook County jail since 2008.  Miquel (aka Sappo) is a MLD from Rockwell and North Avenue. God has plans for Miguel so please pray that God’s dreams for him will be realized

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

I met Pac yesterday in Cook County Jail. He’s a Cobra from Armitage and Richmond (I believe).  I’d like to ask all you praying people out there to pray for Pac, the mother of his two kids, his mom and the rest of his family. And if you’re friends of Pac, let me know that too. I will be hearing from him and sharing books and articles with him too. I’d also like to have a chance to talk with his friends over in Cobra territory. Let me know. I’d like to share more about Gsus and the Church in the Hood.

Ron

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!

Hi DP-

       I want to thank you for responding to the earlier posting on “Dismantling Racism.” I can understand your feelings on many levels. I have seen the harm done by gangs in Chicago and around the country. I could probably cite a dozen socio-economic reasons why gangs have grown into the current menace they have become. As a Christian, however, I want to do everything I can to undercut the reasons why these socio-economic disparities exist and to reclaim these Gs for Christ. I am all for social justice and for trying to alleviate the poverty, pain, and hopelessness that have created an environment where gangs can grow and prosper. There are, however, many programs and organizations that have attempted to do just that. Still, the gangs grow. Why is that? It’s because there is one underlying element in the human existence that breeds this sort of behavior and it’s not addressed by these programs. It’s called sin. It’s a love of self that works not only on the mob side of things, but on the civic side as well. They feed off of each other. It’s pure selfishness on both ends of the spectrum that creates the environment where gangs grow and prosper. Governing bodies for years have allowed a system of racism to exist which perpetuates stereotypes and fosters a climate that manifests itself across town in the form of greed, political corruption, and ‘gangsterism’. People in power usually think of themselves first, so what’s a kid in the hood supposed to do? They emulate what they see from the governing officials. It’s all about selfishness and self-love as opposed to what Jesus told us to do. In Philippians 2: 3-11 Paul the Apostle writes that we should:

    “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death-even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”      

       In other words, Jesus asks us to become servants. If we all put others ahead of ourselves, like Paul asks, the nastiness of the hoods would cease to exist. If we were students of servanthood instead of students of selfishness, we would be able walk through our neighborhoods in peace and security. If we had each other’s backs instead of trying to stab each other in the back, endless possibilities for mutual reconciliation and community building would exist. Instead, we put our own wants, needs, and desire first. This goes not only for gangbangers but for those of us outside of the “ghetto.” People tend to be selfish instead of selfless. We follow the example of another instead of the example of Jesus. Because of that, we pay a heavy price. We think of our own needs before we think of those around us. The inequalities that motivate the gang lifestyle are rooted in the selfishness of those who created a political system that dehumanizes those who are different; it sucks the hope right out of their souls.

       Now, don’t get me wrong. Gangbangers make decisions too, and they need to be held accountable for their decisions. They are where they are at because they (not their fathers) chose to do the things that gangbangers do. When things get too hot for them, some of them do take advantage of organizations that try to help, like the church. They are selfish and in need of change, just like you and me, and that is what I am aiming for in this ministry, total transformation. That’s also why Jesus came. He came for the sick and not the healthy. He came for me and he came for the gangbanger wanting to change but not knowing how. He came to transform us. When we become transformed into servants as Jesus taught us, there would be more hope, trust, and possibility in this world.   

       There are many reasons why gangbangers decide to “drop their flag.” One of them is when they see that what they’re doing doesn’t work. Remember that they did not create this system. They are only the latest installment of a system that has failed them on a personal, familial, and communal level. These guys are smart, however, and they can come to the realization that what they have been espousing is just plain bad. The problem is that by the time that they recognize this, they have long rap sheets and couldn’t by a job if it was for sale. This drives even the most well-intentioned G back to the streets with jarring consistency. Gangbangers make bad decision, decisions that are contrary to God’s will and local laws. These decisions harm their communities. Admittedly, they are not commonly served by the socio-political community that they call home, they often lack the familial infrastructure that teaches them how to live, and yes, they suffer because they make their own selfish decision too. Choices are made and those choices are most commonly based on sin, giving in their own wants and desires with little or no regard to the community they live in.      

       Other reasons why a gangbanger may want to chance is out of fear of retribution from another gang, fear for his family, a fear of going back to jail, a desire to rid themselves of the drug and alcohol abuse that commonly accompanies gang life, the fear of injury and death, and, finally, pure exhaustion from that lifestyle. While some Gs may have the best intentions, one must understand that the gang lifestyle is addictive and no matter how good the intentions of the gangbanger are, they often relapse into the gang lifestyle because of the addiction. That’s why mentors who see these guys as creations of God and who are willing to serve them are so vitally important to changing the gang culture.      

       We sometimes think that a bad ending to a gang lifestyle is inevitable because we see it so often. Change is possible, however, both on an individual level, as well as on a communal level. It doesn’t happen often because we tend to look at gangbangers as neighborhood sludge, but when we understand that these are men and women that Christ loved and when we look them in the eye and understand that he loved them so much that he died for them, it changes everything. You realize that change is possible because that’s God’s business. He changes lives, or better yet, he transforms lives. When one gangbanger’s life changes, that change impacts the lives of everyone around him. The life of Nicky Cruz (as portrayed in the Cross and the Switchblade and Run, Baby, Run) is just one example. The problem is that, because there are not enough men going into the streets to reach them, there are not enough of those changed lives to point to as examples and, in the end, Satan turns out more Gs than we can reach out to. We need more servants willing to walk across the street and show a Gs what the love of Christ is all about. That’s how neighborhoods change, one life at a time.

       Change comes, contrary to political opinions, not from some powerful individual such as Barack Obama, but from God. We must understand that the gang problem is a spiritual battle and has to be fought on the spiritual battlefield. That’s the only way to change the “ghetto.” There are plenty of battlefields scattered across the world that were once desolate places of death and destruction, but have now returned to nature and are beautiful places to behold. That’s the way the “ghetto” will be. It’s a battlefield full of death and destruction, but some day, the Humboldt Parks of the world will be reclaimed and once again become beautiful sights to behold. That will only happen, however, when we fight the battle on the enemy’s territory and free the world from the sin of selfishness that rests at the center of all racism, hatred, pain, and gang activity. Keep in mind, gangs don’t run the city. Satan does. The Bible calls him “the Prince of this world” (see earlier post called “Asking the Wrong Question”). Gangs, however, represent just one face of Satan in a world gone wrong.    

       Truth be told, there are different forms of ghettos in Chicago. We most easily talk about the ones portrayed in pictures as deteriorating, dilapidated, and dirty blocks of crumbling apartments, but there are other ghettos that we don’t often think about, places where men and women are bound by greed, sex, and self, places where their souls are dirty and deteriorating. Sounds familiar right, but you would never recognize these places as “ghettos.” One definition is that a “ghetto” is an:

Environment of isolation: an environment where a group of people live or work in isolation, whether by choice or circumstance.”

       I know it’s stretching the definition a lot, but bear with me. These “ghettos” present an “environment of isolation” and are located in places with big fancy houses, like Barrington, and in beautiful apartments along Michigan Avenue, places where people are bound and isolated by their pride and inflated perceptions of self-worth. There are also university “ghettos” where men and women wear their accomplishments as commendations on their own self-worth. Yeah, these are ghettos too. They’re just prettier ghettos. Fancier, more respectable “ghettos.” They’re just places where people are bound to a lifestyle borne out of pride and sin where they think too highly of themselves and not nearly enough about God. So, when you talk about gangs, keep in mind that they are just one manifestation of a larger issue. Gangs are part of a spiritual battle going on for the hearts and minds of men’s souls all across this city, in Humboldt Park, at the University of Chicago, along the “Magic Mile”, and in affluent suburbs such as Kenilworth. The suburban “ghetto” may seem cleaner, more affluent, and more respectable, but they can be just as deadly to a man’s soul as any south side or west side “ghetto” you can describe. Sin is sin, no matter where it occurs. Souls are being lost in all of these places. Satan’s modus operandi is different from place to place, but just as deadly. In one he tricks people into thinking they have no hope because they are living in what seems to be perpetual poverty. In another he tricks them into a false sense of security based on the lie of accumulated wealth. In a third, he gets people to trust in their own intellect for knowledge about the universe and their own “salvation”. In each of them, however, people act out of pride, greed and selfishness. And don’t think there’s no connection. If you read your history books, you’ll find that the Black ghettos or Puerto Rican ghettos are just as much a product of selfishness in city hall and white America as it is of the gangbangers who can’t find jobs and tear apart their neighborhoods with violence. Truth be told!

       In the end, I know that this may not be the answer you wanted to hear from me, and the reality of the situation is that the answer is a lot more complex than I alluded to in this response. The truth I wanted to get across in all this is that life is all about spiritual battles, whether we talk about gangs or businessmen, scholars or truck-drivers. So if you think you haven’t had a fair chance, you have to ask yourself, “How am I faring in this spiritual battle? How close is my walk with God?” The Bible says that “If God is for us, who can stand against us” and “Greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world.” Never forget, God IS in control of this broken world, not only in the larger world picture, but also in your life, if you will allow him to be. That’s something that the gangbangers may not want to admit but which each of them will one day have to confess before Christ himself. The same truth, of course applies not just to gangbangers, but to you and me, and everyone who has ever lived. And eventually, we will hear God pose the question, “How have you used your talents to further my Kingdom here on earth?” May we be able to say, along with Jesus, that we used those talent so that “your kingdom will come, so that your will may be done, on earth, as it is in heaven.”

A Gangster’s Prayer (adapted from Gangstyle)

If you have come to the point where you want to make a change in your life you may feel it’s time say the prayer below. Having said this prayer you are committing yourself to change and to live a life in line with the Bible.

Three things you must do to become a Christian and inherit eternal life.

1. You must recognize that you have sinned and ask God to forgive you. The Bible says, “If we confess our sins he is faithful and just to forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

2. You must repent of your sin. To repent means to turn away, to change your direction. The Bible tells us, “Repent and be converted that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.”

3. You must believe in and receive Jesus Christ into you heart. The Bible promises, “For as many as received Him, He gave the power to become son of God.” Even as you read this Jesus is standing at the door of your life and asking you to let Him in. Jesus said, “Behold I stand at the door and knock. If any man hear My voice and open the door I will come in.”

One way to open the door is a simple prayer like this:

“Jesus, come into my heart. I know that I am a sinner, but I thank you for dying on the cross for my sin. I ask you to forgive me and cleanse my sin. Be my personal Lord and Savior. Help me now, from this day forward, to follow you.”

If you prayed that prayer sincerely, Jesus Christ will come into your life and begin to change you from the inside out.

Take a moment to let us know of your decision so we can encourage others. We’re also willing to talk with every one of you that has decided to follow Jesus, as well any of those of you who have questions or need to talk. Would you like someone from our team to contact you?

Here are a couple of useful web sites to help you in your walk:

If you do not have a bible you can go to www.crosswalk.com and access their bible study program. Chap D recommends getting started by reading the book of John and also reading from the book of proverbs. You can also go to the top of this page and look under “Studies”  for  the One 2 Won Crosstraining Studies put online by Men at the Cross. These are basic studies about what it means to follow Jesus.

To find a church near you www.american-churches.com they carry a directory of churches nationwide. Choose carefully, find a Bible believing church that you feel comfortable with and preaches the Word.

A message from a pastor who cares:

Dear friend: Please know that there is a God in heaven that loves you and is offering you a better way. He alone has the power to take the anger away from you. Jesus Christ is the person who came from heaven to make all the wrongs right in this world. It will not happen over night, it will take life times and more. But, Jesus Christ will come through for people like you and me. We may be in different places in life, but Jesus is the one that is able to make the difference and He is with you now. Invite Him into your life and He will come in. Go to a pastor near your home and ask one how you can live, don’t be afraid, He will tell you how to connect up with God and show you that He will protect you. I want you to know that only God can tell the future, no man has the power to do that. Listen my new friend, if you believe that Jesus died on a cross for you and rose up from the dead and you want to follow Him the Bible says that you will be saved.

Life is hard and we go through many things that we don’t understand. Begin to trust Jesus Christ to help you and He will. He is in the business of changing futures.
Pastor Marc P.

Gangster Quotes’

“If I could take it all back, I would. I would have died a hundred times over to let my brothers and sisters live… but i cant. All I can do now is promote an anti-gang message…drop your flag. Start your life over… it’s neva too late.'”

blue

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