Archive for September 2008

Connect and Engage

September 30, 2008

The other day I mentioned some thoughts and ideas that my wife and I have about how to connect and engage with the people and families who live on our street and in our neighborhood.

I’d be interested in hearing from you about what you, your family or your small group are doing to reach out to and serve your neighbors. When you share you, let me know how people are responding.

Your comments will encourage and give us some new ideas about how to better serve our friends and neighbors for the cause of Christ.

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Around The Neighborhood

September 29, 2008

I have run across a couple of interesting websites as I have been thinking about neighborhoods and ministry on my street.

The first one is Sterling’s BestPlaces. On this site you can type in a city or zip code and find information about cost of living, family statistics, housing values, population, schools and other facts about your immediate community. I used to use the U.S. Census Bureau website to get this kind of information. BestPlaces will save you a lot of time.

The second site is Walk Score. When you type in your address here you’ll get a “walkability” score. Do you live where it is convenient to walk to grocery and retail stores, coffee shops, eateries, churches, schools, pubs?  Or, are you “car dependent?” You already know this, of course, but you may like to see what the website says. Walk Score could be helpful to you if you’re looking for a place to live that is more “walker friendly.”

Mission: Neighborhood

September 25, 2008

My wife and I try to take a two mile walk through our immediate and surrounding neighborhoods every couple of evenings after work. We do this for exercise purposes but it also gives us some time together apart from the busyness of the day.

As we walk we share about our day and talk about and pray for our children. We see and speak or wave to neighbors and people in their yards. We nod to others driving by in their vehicles. There are bicycles and swing sets in yards and work trucks, vans and RVs in driveways. Oh!, and one Harley, can’t forget the Harley!

We know and interact with our immediate neighbors on a daily basis and have some good ministry opportunities with them – mowing a couple of yards and taking out and bringing in garbage cans for the elderly folks – but wonder about the people and families who live further down the block and across Esther. Who are they? What are their stories? What are their needs, hurts and joys? Do they know Christ?

And the Holy Spirit provokes us to ask ourselves, ‘”How do we go about meeting and getting to know them more personally and intimately than a casual wave permits so that we can share lives and Christ with them?”

So we have prayed and decided that we have to be much more intentional and purposeful in our efforts to meet and connect with our neighbors. We have begun to pray for the families behind the closed doors as we stroll down the street, for opportunities to be able to meet and visit with mom and dad and their children. We’ve asked the Lord for “eyes to see” and “ears to hear” needs that we may be able to help meet in some way. We have invited several neighbors and one young single teacher at school to join the small group that we have at our house on Sunday evenings this semester. One has joined us thus far. We are praying that others will as well.

We have also talked about having a Saturday evening “block party” under the big oak tree in our front yard when the weather starts to get a little cooler. We pray that it will be a time for people to gather, snack, meet new friends and strengthen neighborhood connections. Out of this casual, non-threatening activity we trust that the Lord will give us genuine relationship with our neighbors and opportunities to serve them in the Name of Christ, to bring the Kingdom of God to our neighborhood in tangible ways.

Neighborhood … Neighbors … Ministry

Thanks for Your Prayers

September 14, 2008

Hurricane Ike passed through our immediate area Saturday. We had rain and winds most of the day. Wind gusts did not reach as high as we had been told they might. We received about 3 1/2 inches of rain at our house. Damage to area property and businesses was minimal and there was no loss of life. For all of this we are thankful.

Please do continue to pray for those in areas south, especially along the coast, and east of us. Pray especially for those who have lost loved ones, have been injured or have lost their homes and possessions.

May we as Christ-followers be ready to serve and minister to those around us as we have the opportunity. Through acts of compassion and service may the Lord manifest Himself, receive glory and draw people to faith in and commitment to Christ.

Hurricane Ike

September 13, 2008

Hurricane Ike, a terribly dangerous hurricane, is rapidly approaching the coast of Texas. It is expected to make landfall just south of Galveston a little after midnight tonight as a Category 2, quite possibly 3, hurricane. This hurricane is so hugh that it is affecting 400 miles of Texas coastline as well as much of southwest Louisiana. An estimated one million people have evacuated the coastal areas of Texas and many more need to leave their homes and seek refuge inland. The hurricane is expected to affect as many as 13 million people as it hits the coast and moves into and across Texas and points northeast.

The community in which my family and I live, Bryan, is located 90 miles northwest of Houston. This places us approximately 150 miles northwest of Galveston. Ike will pass just to the east of us as he moves in a northly direction though the state. We expect to begin receiving rain and increasing winds as the evening progresses. Winds may reach as high as 74 miles per hour in our area by early Saturday morning.

Our community already has over 3,500 evacuees in our church and school shelters and local hotels and motels. Several schools are opening now to take in local residents who live in manufactured homes or homes that are considered unsafe.

The church which my family and I are members of is serving as a Red Cross shelter for the second time in two weeks (last week for Gustav). Two hundred evacuees are staying in our multi-use room. One wheelchair-bound lady is 98 years old!

My teenage daughters and I spent about four hours at the church this afternoon visiting with the folks who are there. I was so proud of my girls as they played with the children, sitting on the floor playing cards and taking kids outside to play in the church’s playground areas. It was such a joy to see my girls playing with, hugging and loving the kids. My prayer was that the Lord would use this experience to mature my believing daughters and give them a deeper love for Him, a growing compassion for people (especially “the least of these” ) and an increasing burden for what is important in life – loving and serving God by loving and serving others.

Please pray for those who have evacuated, those who have chosen to ride the storm out and all of those who are serving the victims of the storm – for safety, strength and protection.

May the LORD use this natural disaster to bring glory to His Name.

To learn more about and follow the storm, check out the Weather Channel and our local television channel’s coverage of the storm’s impact on our community.

The Whole Picture

September 11, 2008

This picture of a father and son was taken when I was in East Asia in May. It was taken as two friends and I were prayer-walking through a small rural community on a drizzly Sunday morning. The picture was cropped to make the header at the top of this blog.

A Thoughtful Moment

A Thoughtful Moment

I have been praying for eleven years for the country that I visited in May … the people, the underground church, the government, and the poor. As I walked, bussed and taxied through large cities, small towns and rural villages, my heart was captured by the spiritually oppressed, the elderly and the poor.
The LORD is doing a mighty work in this country. Please join me in prayer for the salvation of the hundreds of millions of people who live in this great nation.

A “Thoughtful” Header

September 10, 2008

If you have visited my blog before, you may notice that I have changed my “header” (I’m just playing around with my design). I’ve gone, for a while at least, from the “car in the tunnel” that came with the blog to this picture that I took while on a trip to East Asia in May.

This father and son were squatting and sitting outside of a warehouse/storage unit that housed a truck and what I think were stacked bags of concrete. They were both quietly looking at something or someone to their right. I thought it was a great picture of a dad and his son just hanging out outside of their place of business (the colors were pretty cool, too; you would need to see the whole picture).

While the son may have just been giving an object or person a glance, the father appears to be amused, if not thoughtful, about what was to their right. 

As the man and his son sat there, I wondered what other things the father might have been giving thought to that morning – his wife, son and home affairs? the start of another work day? the meaning and purpose of life?

“He has also set eternity in their heart….”  (Ecclesiastes 3:11)