Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Passionate Pastor

The driver of SITG success (within a church) is the passion level of the pastor. We have another "10" on the radar screen. Pastor Kevin Stewart with the Muskogee Church of Christ has come out of the blocks flying. I look forward to sharing MCC "God sightings."

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Neighbor graduation in Missouri

Marilyn on the UHBC team reports that they "were excited to be able to attend (their neighbor's) high school graduation last evening. We got to see her march in and get her diploma (when we cheered wildly). She finally spotted us in that huge crowd. Congratulations, ....! Good job!"

I'm so excited about how this Spiritual Family is forming and becoming part of each other's lives. It's awesome to have this happening for kids aging out of foster care. To have a "family" to stand and cheer as she got her deploma... well! it just doesn't get any better than that!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

A Neighbor's Pledge to Take Responsibility - Something We Can All Learn From

The neighbor that we are supporting in our spiritual family has some difficult circumstances and has made some bad decisions to get to this point. But with our prayer and encouragement she is working toward making significant changes to improve her life. At our meeting this week she shared with us a commitment she made that reflects a very healthy approach to life that I think we can all benefit from no matter what our circumstances:

"I understand that during the course of my life I will be required to make many decisions, such as where I want to live, whom I live with, where I work, how much fun I have, and how I spend my money and time, including how much time I spend waiting for things to get better and people to change, and whom I choose to love.

I understand that many events that occur will be out of my hands and that there are inherent dangers and risks in all decisions I make. Life and people have no obligation whatsoever to live up to my expectations; I have no obligations to live up to the expectations of anybody else. Life is a high-risk sport and I may become injured along the way.

I agree that all the decisions I make are mine alone, including how I choose to handle the events that are beyond my control. I hereby forfeit my right to recourse as a victim, including my rights to blame, complain, and whine or hold someone else responsible for the path I choose to take. I am responsible for my participation – or lack of it- in life. And I take complete responsibility for the outcomes and consequences of all decisions I make, understanding that ultimately it is my choice whether I become joyous and free or stay miserable and trapped.

Although people may voluntarily nurture and love me, I and I alone am responsible for taking care of and loving myself."

Signed and Dated by our Neighbor

Monday, May 11, 2009

God on the Move!

At 56 Francois and Monica will tell you I am entering the world of blogging with great resistance. But the God sightings I have encountered in the past few weeks need reporting.
We are the only re-entry model being asked to share at the national Kairos gathering. Kairos mission statement is "to bring Christ’s love and forgiveness to all incarcerated individuals, their families and those who work with them, and to assist in the transition of becoming a productive citizen." Kairos is now active in 33 states and 5 countries. The ministry is active in over 300 sites. Given our recidivism track record we have landed on their radar screen i.e., we have surrounded 50 x-offenders with spiritual families for one year or more in Tulsa, Columbus, and Cleveland and not one, not one has returned to prison. Go God!

I was blessed to attend the Catalyst West conference in Irvine, Ca. last week. 3,300 young (20 and 30 year old) Christian leaders from 48 states and 10 countries attended. And yes I stuck out, but my heart is warm with encouragement regarding the energy and deep faith these leaders bring to the body of Christ. It appears this will be an excellent distribution channel for SITG, these young leaders want to "do the Gospel."

While in Irvine I was blessed to have lunch with our SITG friend Dr. John Townsend and one of his pastors. We were sharing with the pastor the ministry model and why the church should implement SITG. It was kind of like having a color commentator with you—I would share the model and Dr. T would explain the "How People Grow" detail. By the way this church is interested and has over 700 small groups. WOW!

Similar to this California church we are working with the leadership team of Fellowship Bible Church in Little Rock. When I am with this team it is like being in a Fortune 500 board meeting. The mental capacity of this group is off the charts but they kindly bring it down to my level. Their mission statement is the most crisp, clear, and concise I have ever read: "to equip and unleash Christ followers to change the world through lives of irresistible influence."

I am about blogged out but one more God sighting. SITG-Oklahoma City. My dear friend Scott Manley started SITG under the umbrella of his non-profit Cornerstone Assistance Network last year. Scott first hired a very capable director Doug Mclerran. Doug, Scott, and I presented to 67 hand-picked churches in the 3rd and 4th Q of last year. There has been so much interest we have stopped our initial presentations and have moved into the church implementation stage. Doug is knocking the ball out of the park. Thank you Lord. I am sorry to report Scott at a young 69 years of age has gone to be with the Lord. Our loss.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

SITG at University Heights Church

UHBC Spiritual Family is discovering the power of being in a family group for the team members and for their neighbor. University Heights Baptist Church and Boys and Girls Town of Missouri are great partners for launching the aging-out expression of SITG Missouri.

SITG Missouri

Anne and Andrea, Boys and Girls Town Missouri, and I had a great visit with the leadership team at LifePoint Church, Ozark. We expect to train a Spiritual Family soon! Pray for the church leaders as they recruit a team and team leaders.