Wednesday, September 12, 2012

A Twist of Faith by John Donnelly

John Donnelly has been a reporter for more than thirty years. For ten years he was a reporter for The Boston Globe throughout Africa. During his travels he continued to meet ordinary USAmericans doing independent relief work all over Africa. A Twist of Faith is the story of one of these ordinary citizens doing good work in Africa.

John Donnelly meets David Nixon in Malawi. Nixon is a carpenter from N.C. working with Malawian communities to care for the children orphaned by AIDS as it kills parents by the hundreds each month.
Nixon had a tough childhood filled with abuse and neglect, as an adult he battled addiction and loss finally having a spiritual awakening that renews faith and hope. Nixon hears about the dire need for help in Africa and travels there. During his first trip Nixon finds a new purpose; helping the people of Malawi.

With the crisp clipped style of a newspaper reporter John Donnelly does not spend ink on sentimental manipulations or emotional literary techniques. He simple tells the story of what he sees and learns from his years in Africa and relationship with David Nixon. You will follow the joys, failure, heartbreak and successes as Nixon goes from curious Christian on a short term mission trip to crusader in building a school and feeding center to care for over 350 Malawian children orphaned by the AIDS pandemic.

Chapter One alone is worth the read as Donnelly lays out the facts, figures and history of the tens of thousands of USAmerican people of faith working all over the African Continent. The rest of the book well intrigue to follow the story of a common man from the hills of N.C. This book is one you'll want to read and pass on to others.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Grass Fed Beef


We have 1500+ lbs of 90/10 ground beef. The steers were free ranged and finished on corn. They were given NO antibiotics or added hormones and were fed NO animal byproducts. The beef was processed according to NCDA standards and packaged for resell with appropriate meat handling/processing certificates. The ground beef is packaged in 1lb vacuum packed flash frozen therma-sealed bags. The ground is sold as follows: 10lbs $5.50perlb, 25lbs $5.25perlb, 50lbs $5.00perlb. We also have stew beef, roasts & steaks available with mixed packages. Fill your freezer now!


Tuesday, August 07, 2012

A Challenge & My Response


A friend is struggling with his faith in Jesus the Living, Resurrected One. That is OK as I struggle and wrestle not only with scripture but with this life of, with, by, in, through Christ on a daily basis. We were involved in a conversation and he questioned and challenged me on my understanding and experience of living what I know as the "spirit-filled-life"' I have mulled over not only his question/challenge but my simple response. Both are below.

THE CHALLENGE

I challenge you: prove there is a real supernatural, resurrected Presence that gives you power in your life; something that can't be explained or experienced by any self-actualized atheist, agnostic, Buddhist, etc.

MY RESPONSE

I have considered your question and your challenge carefully. Here is my conclusion: I can't. 

I can't prove any of it to you in a way that would satisfy the need for empirical evidence. That is not my place as a seeker of spiritual truth and understanding. I very rarely use the term "I know" any longer because frankly; I just don't know. I will continue to use and live in words like, faith, hope, trust, believe.

I might actually be involved in a life long pursuit of "self brainwashing". What I sense that I call the presence of God might indeed be the opiate of religion & spirituality "needed" by those of us too weak minded to live in human reality as it is. 

What I call prayer & many times the subsequent "still small voice" might just be a way for my subconscious to access the mind full of a life time of experiences to give me the needed answer I require to plod through life.

The sense of well being and peace I have because of my faith in the resurrected life could be a natural coping mechanism due to millions of years of evolution.

If I am living a delusional life of self brainwashing & relying on spirituality as a life drug upon which to cope in life, please let it continue and increase the dosage.

Upon death all may be oblivion. If so, then there will be no one there to point a finger in my face and tell me what a fool I was in life for living a fantasy. I truly am OK with that.

Monday, July 02, 2012

Pimento Cheese

I have always loved pimento cheese. It was one of my favorite foods as a kid and both my parents make pretty good spread. Pimento cheese is big here in the south. Farm Hand Foods pairs it with a locally made polish sausage for an outstanding sandwich. Watts Grocery has it on their lunch menu and adds a bit of bourbon for a true twist on two great southern foods. Reliable Cheese Company has great pimento cheese and they serve it on thick slices of bread from Loaf Bakery.

I have been working on my own spin on this life long favorite for a long time and believe I have created a recipe worthy of any southern kitchen.

12ozs white extra sharp cheddar

5-6ozs of orange/yellow sharp cheddar

2-3ozs Parmigiano-Reggiano

2ozs Asiago

12ozs pimento with liquid

1/4c sugar

1Ts crushed black pepper

1/2ts kosher salt

3/4ts cayenne pepper

11/2ts bourbon

1c Duke's mayonaise

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Been thinking about this hymn.

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly trust in Jesus’ Name.

Refrain

On Christ the solid Rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

When darkness seems to hide His face,
I rest on His unchanging grace.
In every high and stormy gale,
My anchor holds within the veil.

Refrain

His oath, His covenant, His blood,
Support me in the whelming flood.
When all around my soul gives way,
He then is all my Hope and Stay.

Refrain

When He shall come with trumpet sound,
Oh may I then in Him be found.
Dressed in His righteousness alone,
Faultless to stand before the throne.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

The twisted logic of the right on Amendment One.

NC's political and religious right,of which I count myself as one, is defying the very definition of what it means to be conservative and faithful. I am struggling as I put my thoughts to pen regarding my opposition to NC Amendment One. Luckily for me a friend jotted down a great thought on the matter. Silvanus Slaughter is a poet, artist and musician born and raised in Oxford. NC.

"One of the key components of Fascism is to pick a vulnerable target to terrorize and diminish. While it SEEMS to offer the rest some form of Specialness and Protection, what it actually, deftly, silently, accomplishes is to tell the rest to "fall in line" ...and comply with more demands to come... or YOU could be next. I don't believe most Republicans champion Fascism any more than I am deluded that all Democrats champion the workingman's good. But a dangerous extremism is at work, cynically wrapped in a flag whose meaning it shreds, and deforming Christianity for its own dreams of power and domination. Vote AGAINST Amendment One in North Carolina." ~Silvanus Slaughter~

Sunday, April 08, 2012

30 hour push for Cocoa Cinnamon

I like being part of a team!
Yesterday morning I had to drive to Albermarle, NC on honey bees business. It was a quickly planned trip so I left Oxford heading south and had not eaten breakfast. Along the road I checked my Twitter feed and realized The Durham Farmers' Market was going to be open by the time I drove through Durham. I also noticed Pie Pushers was making breakfast biscuits. Then I decided that with just a few extra moments to my day I could have a great biscuit and support a small business.

Becky was at the Pie Pushers trailer ready to take my order and get my biscuit ready. She and Mike are one of the reasons Durham is the BEST food city in the state. After grabbing my biscuits (yes, two, it was a long road trip) I walked over to CocoaCinnamon and their awesome coffee bike. Areli was there BUSY making coffee, tea, and chocolate for all thirsty folks. She made me a very good cup of lavender tea I met Areli & Leon a few weeks ago at a coffee, tea, and chocolate tasting at Milton & Ginger's house.

Areli and Leon are small business people with a dream for a community coffee, tea, and chocolate shop on Geer St in Durham. They are raising money for this shop on Kickstarter. I am a backer of the project and wanted to help again for the last few hours. Go check out their project and become a backer also, even $1 can make a difference.

With a few hours left, become part of the team.


FollowUpPost:
CocoaCinnamon had an outstanding fundraising effort using Kickstarter. With the help of 609 backers not only did they raise the $20k desired for the shop but exceeded that amount by another $12,350.00. I am looking forward to being there opening day!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Larry is just awesome sometimes.

My dearest friend Larry McGarr wrote something very profound over on my FB page. It was so well written and thought provoking I wanted all of you to enjoy. So, today, Thnx for the guest post Larry!


Apparently scripture isn't much help when it comes to how we are to share the truth. We approach the Gospel like we're throwing mud on the wall just to see what sticks. We call it 'sowing seeds', but effectively we're throwing stones at people who can't tell the difference between us and anyone else.

We claim that we are preaching the truth to justify our 'witness', but our best efforts are usually a waste of time. Our church signs read "Jesus Saves" - and that's true; but an unbeliver will ask, "From what?"

When an unbeliver looks at Christians does He see Jesus saving His followers from divorce, from disease, from additions? Hardly. For all they know by the way we act, Jesus might have saved us a bundle on our car insurance. Jesus Saves is the truth - but it's a worthless truth in a world filled with chaos, hopelessness, division, anger, and hatred. When someone has to beg for food and sleep under bridges at night, they have little hope for more than surviving another day. They don't want an eternity of more of the same.

What did Jesus preach to the lost? He didn't go around preaching rebirth, religion, or prosperity or the Ten Commandments. Jesus preached "Blessed are the meek." We've been beat down by a fallen world and imprisoned by religion into believing we're slugs undeserving of grace and mercy. "Blessed are the lonely." Deep inside, we know that there has to be more to our existence than a life of trials and failures. That's the witness we should be preaching. We should treat others as God treats us - gently and with compassion, not condemnation.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Zesty Chicken Frittata



1/2 onion chopped
3-4ozs fresh spinach
2 large Roma tomatoes sliced
4-6ozs roasted chicken cubed
2-3ozs Feta cheese cubed
2-4 Ts Cackalacky sauce
2 ts Agave Nectar
4Ts olive oil
kosher salt
fresh black pepper
8-10 eggs beaten
1 well seasoned cast iron skillet

Preheat oven to 350ยบ  Add Cackalacky & Agave Nectar to chicken and marinate. More spicy, more Cackalacky: less spicy, less Cackalacky. In skillet saute onions in 2T olive oil until soft, add the spinach and saute until wilted and tender add salt to taste. Remove from skillet and cool 2 minutes. Add onions & spinach to eggs and stir well.  Place 2T olive oil to skillet and swirl around to coat well. Saute the chicken for 1-2 minutes. Add egg mixture to skillet and set eggs for a moment or two over med heat. Place tomatoes on top of eggs, sprinkle on black pepper to taste and place skillet in oven. Bake for 10 minutes and spread feta cheese over the top. Bake until center of eggs are set. Remove from oven and rest for 5 minutes. Slice and serve from skillet.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Wild Goose 2012

Come fly with us as God's family flocks together for a few days. Unless you join the conversation your voice will not be heard.


The 2012 Wildgoose Festival from The Work Of The People on Vimeo.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Thursday, December 08, 2011

N.C. BBQ Sauce via Haiti

I LOVE N.C. BBQ! I love bbq in general, but N.C. being my home state I am partial to the home pig. I love all the sauce variations, but grew up eating the vinegar based simple sauce of eastern N.C. I also love the Durham food scene and fell in love with the food of the Old Havana Sandwich Shop on Main St.

Though Cuban food culture does not have a hot sauce, the Haitian influence of one owner is clearly enjoyed with the Papa Bull's Hot Sauce. It is very simple: lime juice, vinegar, salt and habanero peppers. It is great on their roasted pork.

One day I was thinking about bbq and the Old Havana Hot Sauce coming together in a simple N.C./Haitian marriage for a bbq sauce. I then decided to see if I could use Cackalacky Spice Sauce as the heat base. After a bit of thought and a few tests here  is a simple N.C./Haitian/Cackalacky EASTERN style bbq sauce.


RECIPE

2 cups fresh squeezed lime juice

1 cup apple cider vinegar

1 5oz bottle Cacakalacky Spice Sauce

3 tsp sea salt

2 tsp fresh cracked black pepper

1/2 cup ketchup

1/4 cup spicy brown mustard

Throw it all in a 1 quart mason jar with a plastic lid and shake, shake, shake. Apply liberally to smoked pork or whatever meat to are taking off the  grill.


If you would like a bit more heat, float two whole habanero peppers in the jar. After a few days...the sauce will indeed be a bit more spicy.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Where's the Beef??



Several steers have been harvested and processed for immediate delivery. We have 1000+ lbs of 90/10 ground beef. The steers were free ranged and finished on corn. They were given NO antibiotics or added hormones and were fed NO animal byproducts. The beef was processed according to NCDA standards and packaged for resell with appropriate meat handling/processing certificates. The ground beef is packaged in 1lb vacuum packed flash frozen therma-sealed bags. The ground is sold as follows: 10lbs $5.50perlb, 25lbs $5.25perlb, 50lbs $5.00perlb. We also have stew beef, roasts & steaks available with mixed packages. Fill your freezer now!




Wednesday, August 31, 2011

I WILL NOT BE STANDING WITH THE NC GOP ON THIS ISSUE.

N.C. GOP leaders push to have marriage defined.

I consider myself a political conservative & have voted Republican 96% since I registered to vote in 1982. I have voted for a democrat when I considered that person to be the best qualified. I am also a Christian, a follower of Jesus and my faith is dear to me and the defining guide of my daily life. I am also a citizen of The U.S. and the great state of N.C.

Sometimes I find my faith and citizenship to be in conflict. I am a citizen of this nation and a follower of a Jewish Rabbi from the 1st century. When this conflict happens I must always look to love and care for my fellow secular citizens and neighbors just as much as those inside my faith. With that in mind I have chosen a more secular view on the gay/lesbian marriage debate.

I believe in LIBERTY, FREEDOM, PERSONAL RESPONSIBLITY, the PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS and that the Declaration of Independence & The U.S. Constitution are the sacred documents of our nation. If your life or lifestyle does not cause me, my family or my neighbors harm I believe you should be left alone by the law and any moral code someone else has chosen. I will not use my rights or moral code to restrict your freedom if you will give me the same courtesy. If a married lesbian or gay couple becomes my neighbor they would in no way harm me or my moral code. They would also not harm my marriage or your marriage for that matter. As a matter of fact and biblical teaching, I truly beleive I should invite them over for dinner and love/protect them like any other neighbor. On this issue I beleive my NC GOP leaders are violating the very code of liberty and freedom they say they hold so dear. LIFE, LIBERY & THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS should also include my gay and lesbian neighbors.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Lenten Thoughts


I grew up in the South. I also grew up in the evangelical church of the South. We did not celebrate Lent. Thinking back, I am not sure I had a any real understanding of the Lenten season until I was in HS. In my thirties like many I began to ask simple questions about my faith, my world view and my future. In this time of searching I read authors I had never heard of, built friendships with people from different Christian traditions & more than once asked myself, "Why did we do/believe that?".

Along the way I discovered many of my Catholic brothers & sisters of the faith had just that...faith. Faith in the same God, the same scriptures and the same Christ. Their faith and worship was rich with images not only for the eyes, ears, but also the palate of taste. I had not only discovered new members of my spiritual family, I had also re-discovered my faith in a new and vital way.

Advent & Lent are now a part of my annual worship experience and each year The Spirit teaches me something new and beautiful about following this Jesus the Christ.

I am excited about what I shall discover over the next 46 days.

PS Just so you will know, here is what I am fasting from the next 46 days.
1. I will be eating vegetarian
2. I will be consuming no desserts, sweets, candy and will avoid white sugar.
3. I will limit myself to 3 pints of local brew per week.
4. My Facebook statuses will be limited to the things I HEAR from God's presence as I practice LISTENING.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Surprise, surprise, surprise, the honey bees even shock me.


A nuc is a small five frame hive of honey bees. It is a place to start new hives and a place to store queens in the spring and summer in case you need an emergency queen for a colony.

Every year I keep 5-10 nucs around. I sometimes build them into full size colonies or divide the space and keep two queens in each nuc box. At the end of October 2010 I had two nucs left over from the season and not enough time or honey resources to, grow them into sustainable colonies. I feed them the honey I could spare and hoped they would survive.

As most of you know we have experienced a very cold winter. I never thought these two nucs could survive the year. Yesterday I popped one open just to see if they were dead and was SHOCKED to find beautiful bees. Needless to say, these queens have proven they are VERY good stock and are deserving of care and a chance to grow and thrive into the spring. Ok, so now I have decided to reach into my honey stores and keep these girls well fed until the spring. I just hope they will grow fast and strong and replace the honey i am feeding them.


Friday, December 31, 2010

Winter buzzing of the bees

Honey bees are insects. They do not hibernate in the winter but, they do go dormant in the cold weather. When our temps begin to lower the bees' internal metabolism slows down. When the temps go lower than 45'F their flight muscles move so slowly they cannot fly. The bees spend all their time and energy staying warm. They form a small ball about the size of a melon and use their kinetic energy to keep the center of the ball at or about 93'F. The outer layer of bees will expend their heat and move toward the center while those toward the center work their way to the outside.

During this time they must eat very small amounts of honey to stay alive and produce heat. Honey bees are VERY fastidious, for this reason they do not defecate inside their hive. During the cold days they will hold their waste and wait for a warmer sunny day to fly away from the colony and clean their gullets. In Northern climes beekeepers are concerned with the possibility of their colonies contracting dysentery due to the long periods of time with below freezing temps.

Our weather here in North Carolina brings us periodic relief to cold temperatures during the winter months. Christmas weekend we had 6'+ inches of snow fall here in Granville County but, today the temps at 53'F+ and the forecast is for temps above 65'F for tomorrow.

The video was taken this morning as the temp was reading 51'F. The bees are flying away from the hive, clearing their gullets, exercising their muscles and removing any trash from the hive. In January, they might even venture out and find a wee-bit of the black pollen from the red oak.

video

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

My homeless friend is a poet.


I have a homeless friend, he is a poet. The first time you meet him you would never know such a thing. He has broad shoulders, muscles on his arms the size of tree trunks & a "I dare you to look at me wrong" look in his eye. He is always shaved and wearing clean clothing. He has a deep raspy voice and is easy with a joke; once he knows you.

The first conversation I had with him he told me about his bad habit. His bad habit? He has a habit of getting thrown in jail. Not for anything "serious", just placing his fist in the face of people who run off at the mouth.

We have become friends. We text each other every day or so and bump into each other around Durham once or twice a week. He even has a face book page. Probably one or two of your face book friends are homeless if you knew their whole story.

He spent the last two years in a tent in a secluded patch of woods in East Durham. He is a "professional" urban outdoorsmen and can teach you how to stay warm in the winter and cool in the summer using a 12 volt car battery.

Two weeks ago he asked me for a pen and a piece of paper. He sat down and penned this poem. He told me he had had it in his brains for a few days. His penmanship was legible and spelling correct. More than a few homeless have talents and skills that are amazing.

Whether you are Christian or not I hope you will enjoy the beauty of the words he penned. This is like and Christmas to him. I hope and pray 2011 brings him much joy and an extra bucket of coal for the fire ;)

TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS

Twas the night before Christmas

And all along the streets

No warmth for the homeless

Nor anything to eat

I with my sleeping bag

And an old homeless cat

Went behind the bush for a cold winter’s nap.

Then all of a sudden

I heard a wonderful sound

I jumped from the bush

In one single bound

And what did my wondering eyes did see,

A soft spoken stranger looking at me.

He spoke very softly, passing out blankets as he went

I knew in my hear he was heaven sent.

I asked the stranger, where are you from my dear friend?

He said even though I’m not there any more

I’m from Bethlehem.


May you experience a blessed, merry & warm Christmas!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Homeless Doggie Fatboy is Loved and Cherished.



This is a picture of Shelley, Joy and me with Fatboy. Fatboy is a homeless dog who lives on the streets of Durham, N.C. Fatboy might be homeless but, he is not alone. Fatboy has a human companion named Troy. Troy suffers from severe social anxiety and fear. He adopted Fatboy about six weeks ago. Fatboy has someone to love and care for him and Troy has a loving and faithful companion to help him have less anxiety and fear. Troy & Fatboy are part of our lives. We make sure Fatboy has food. We also make sure Troy has food, shelter and the other things he needs for life. During December Troy will travel home to be with family for a short time. Fatboy will need a place to stay and be loved and cared for during troy's absence.

During this upcoming season of thanksgiving and love and celebration and giving; Do not forget our neighbors who are struggling each day to be feed, clothed and sheltered. We will gladly take ALL donations and make sure folks like Troy and doggies like Fatboy are cared for.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Why I support nose studs and the ACLU at the moment.




Ariana Iacono was suspended from Clayton High School again today. She wears a small nose stud in her left nostril & face piercings are against the Johnston County school system's dress code. She will not remove the offending piece of jewelry and has been removed from school once again.

WRALnews ORIGINAL STORY.

The Johnston County School Board is flat wrong on this issue and I find myself on the side of the members of The Church of Body Modification & the rather left leaning ACLU.

Miss Iacono wears her nose stud as a part of spiritual wholeness for her mind, body and spirit as a member of The Church of Body Modification. The church is a non-theistic religion that encourages its members to seek spiritual strength by modifying their bodies through body piercings, tattoos, body implants, scarification and other physical challenges. Their faith is built by their mutual support for each other as they face the day to day challenges of life. It appears they have built some form of spiritual family, nurturing and care for each other even having clergy to lead and guide individuals/groups through spiritual rituals.

As a christian I may not believe in their view of faith or spirituality but, I have chosen to follow a Christian faith with a pretty orthodox theology & worldview; Miss Iacono, her mother and members of the Body
Modification congregation have not. They have chosen to exercise their Creator endowed unalienable right of liberty to go in a different religious direction than I.

On this one the U.S. Constitution is clear. Government shall make NO law respecting any religion. They cannot make decisions that prefer Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Zoroastriansim, Neo-Paganism or any other ~ism or ~ity that comes down the road. The Supreme Court has loosely defined what it takes for a new religion to meet the standard of a new religion and by all things I understand The Church of Body Modification has met that standard. They are a religion as defined by our laws and the precedent of lower courts as well as the U.S. Supreme Court. The USSC has also made it clear that whether I like the religion or understand the religion or support the religion has nothing to do with whether it is a legitimate form of worship.

So here it is in a nutshell. I might not agree with the CofBM, I might not like the CofBM, I might not feel comfortable with the beliefs and practices of the CofBM but, I must support their Creator given right to freely exercise their faith as they believe & stand up against any and all who would attempt to hinder them in that freedom. You see, they may not agree with my church, they may not like my church, they may not feel comfortable with my beliefs of practices. Do I want them telling me I cannot exercise my faith? Never!

The Johnston County School board has shown they prefer certain religions by telling Miss Lacono she could wear a nose stud if she were Hindu or head covering if she were Muslim. I suppose she could also wear a sexual purity ring if she were Christian. They are foolish here and will waste countless hours and many dollars in defending a decision that will never stand in a court of law if it goes that far. Any ninth grader at Johnston High can see that and Miss Iacono has shown herself to be more wise than the school board on this issue.

The Johnston County School Board is barking up the wrong tree, this dog will not hunt.

May all members of the Church of Body Modification be blessed and may they prosper in their endeavors.

Miss Iacono, you are welcome to wear your nose stud or whatever body modification to my church anytime. And maybe after a conversation we will find out we are both after the same thing...a life beyond mere existence.




Friday, September 10, 2010

A homeless man sleeps in an alley of the #1 Best Place to Retire.


I had to teach a class this morning. As soon as I was free I called David Smith and met him at Blue Coffee Cafe in Durham,NC. He and Milton had been out all morning meeting the homeless and looking around the city. The early morning found them on the top of a parking deck. They looked over the edge into an enclosed alley and found a man sleeping on the ground. So compelling was the scene they snapped a picture. The man sleeps on a thin pad with a light blanket. The trash around indicates he has been "living" here for some time. David and Milton decided to let the man sleep and return later to find the alley.

After we had a short conversation at the cafe the three of us set out on a small quest to locate the "secret" alley where the gentleman in the picture "lived". We returned to the top of the parking deck and peered over the wall into the alleyway. No one was there but it was evident after a closer look that two people are living in this alley. We returned to the streets to attempt to locate the alley. After walking around a block we ducked down an alley and recognized the street level view. We found a small opening that led into the enclosed alley but did not enter. We did look around and found a shopping cart full of clothing that probably belongs to the men that "live' in this "secret" enclosure. We hope to find the inhabitants to love and care for them with what we have, God's love, some food, a sleeping bag, clean socks and some toiletries.

If you have noticed the nights are getting cooler and the sunlight getting shorter. By mid October many of you will have heat in your homes and will be donning sweaters and sweat shirts. From the look of the shopping cart these men have no warm clothes, nor do they have warm bedding. We will attempt to return and help them in any way we can but, funding will be needed for us to help people like this long term.

This is happening in Durham, NC. The city was just chosen this week by CNNMoney.com as the #1 place in the country to retire. Great medical care, good housing, world class entertainment and high incomes were just a few of the reasons Durham was chosen. With all the pats on the back the leaders of Durham will be giving themselves, I hope they will be filled with compassion for those who sleep on the streets of the fair city.

As a child of God I cannot ignore the plight of the man sleeping on the ground or the hundreds like him in and around the Triangle. Pray for us and consider helping us.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

My day "under" the bridge...





My friend David Smith is starting a new organization. The purpose will be simple. Find homeless, hapless, helpless and hurting people in Durham, NC and show them God's love in practical ways. For some it is a new sleeping bag, for others a new pair of socks or shoes or clothes or a listening and compassionate ear. The goal will also be to introduce all who are helped to the love of God & life of Jesus Christ.

David told me about his new idea four weeks ago. I was excited then, and after spending a few hours on the streets of Durham I am more excited now. Today I traveled to Durham to help David and his band of volunteers feed lunch to folks and generally listen, love and care. I did not take the bull horn or 25lb bible of the street preacher caricature. I did take my ease in meeting strangers and life of Jesus with me.

I met Sam. Sam is 49 and has no home. He does have a place to sleep other than a shelter/mission. He sleeps at the home of his girlfriend. She works second shift as a taxi dispatcher. She is a drug addict. According to Sam she mixes marijuana & crack cocaine in a drug mix that can make her mellow when high, but mean and nasty when she is "sober". She has been trapped in this destructive cycle for more than 27yrs staying just sober enough to work her second shift job and then using drugs in her free time.

Sam lost his job as a plumber's apprentice when a local company downsized. He does not like being dependent on his girlfriend but, jobs in the plumbing industry are scare now as out of work journeymen are taking any open positions. Sam's girlfriend uses her extra cash for her habit and is growing impatient with Sam's lack of a steady job. Sam leaves her house when she comes home from her job. He wanders the streets of Durham until she goes to work. He then goes to her house and sleeps hoping she will not return early. He sees their relationship deteriorating and feels at anytime he will return to her house to find his things dumped on the porch and the lock changed. Sam was eager to grab one of the new sleeping bags we had in hopes he would have it is needed.

The food provided today fed 60+ folks in the park at Mangun & Main streets. More than one returned for an extra plate to save until later. The volunteers treated each person with respect and honor and as we cleaned up, all the food and fruit was gone along with all the bottles of water. As this organization grows I believe feeding 60 will easy as well as many more.

David does a great job playing a small body acoustic guitar and many of the songs he sings are old gospel tunes that have a great story and are always filled with the fact that God loves ALL people right where they are.

After a short bible lesson most of the folks in the park left while 10 or so stuck around for conversation and encouragement. My goal in working in downtown Durham is NOT to have every person I meet pray a prayer or make a decision. My purpose is to listen, care and share the life and love of Jesus as I build relationships with people on the streets.

Do I think Jesus can/will change lives? Yes, yes I do. Do I think spiritual conversion toward Jesus Christ is the only way to experience life, truth and peace? Yes, yes I do. With all that said, I also believe the evangelical church may have turned more folks away from a relationship with Jesus the Christ then they ever won for God's Kingdom. I hope Meetmeatthebridge will development into a group of folks who share the love of Jesus in practical ways and are so full of God's life many will come to experience a radical-life-changing-encounter with the living Jesus the Christ.

Friday, August 20, 2010

My friend David the street preacher. His laptop was stolen.


This is my friend David Smith. For more than 40 years he has devoted himself to helping people. Actually, he has devoted himself to helping people connect themselves to their Creator. Now, they may not know they have a Creator, they may not know they need a Creator but with love and patience David tells the story of The Creator & His Son Jesus. Through the years David pointed countless folks to their Creator, their friend Jesus & the mysteries of the ancient book the Bible.

He is now on a new adventure. David spends his days walking the streets of Durham, NC & meeting the homeless, the hapless and the hopeless. Over the past several weeks he has met many people who live on the streets. They are there by bad decisions, twist of fate or choice. Regardless, David tells them their Creator cares about them, does not hold the past against them and would love for them to have an eternal-radical-life-changing experience with Jesus the Christ.

Wednesdays are becoming special in Downtown Durham. David has a group of volunteers who make lunch for 30+ folks. They meet in a park, have lunch, sing a few songs and David takes a few moments to explain a verse or two of scripture to all who will listen.

The folks on the streets of Durham have interesting and compelling stories. Over the past few weeks David has taken pictures of many of the people he has met. Each day he posts a picture or two and re-tells the stories of the adventures he has had and people he has met.

This past week he was downloading pictures on his laptop and planning to post his next story. He walked out of a local eatery and forgot his laptop. He remembered as soon as he drove away and returned to the restaurant to retrieve his laptop. It was gone, along with the pictures and the stories.

David would never ask for help. He is a man of deep faith and trust in his Creator. Even this morning he was out trying to figure out how to replace this important and valuable tool in todays culture.

David needs a laptop and I want to hear the stories of the folks he is helping in Durham. He is much more humble than I so I will ask for him. Help replace David's laptop. If 20 folks will send $50 a $1000.00 will come close to replacing his machine. Any amount will help but, I like easy round numbers ;^) All funds will be used for the laptop and any leftover will be used to feed all who come on Wednesdays at lunch. It will be simple...write a check to my church The Carpenter's Shop or use our PayPal account and we will make sure David gets the laptop he needs and a sandwich or two for hungry folks on the streets of Durham.

SEND FUNDS TO:

The Carpenter's Shop
6135 Huntsboro Rd
Oxford, NC
27565-7546

~or~

PAYPAL:

carpentersshop.gmail.com

David in a park in Durham telling folks about Jesus the Christ.