Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Snapshot of a Neighborhood Yard Sale

My husband John loves yard sales. I have always been more cautious – they are a lot of work, and I have wondered if they are worth the effort. But our neighborhood yard sale yesterday was a truly remarkable event, and was about so much more than buying and selling stuff.

To be accurate, it is not really a yard sale, since we don’t have yards in our neighborhood. It was more of a sidewalk sale. These sidewalk sales are found wherever there are people trying to make a few extra dollars to survive. Near our apartment, on 6th street, the sidewalks are transformed into a market every weekend – families come for the day with some things to sell, hoping to make enough to pay the rent, or feed their families.
Thus our yard sales are an appropriate place to practice redistribution, sharing the wealth of one neighborhood with another less affluent neighborhood. We also like that they are eco-friendly, and things that might have gone into a land-fill find a new life.

This particular yard sale began with my colleague Dan Shaw, whose precious wife died suddenly in October. He asked if perhaps we could use her clothes. It then turned out that Dan’s neighbor, from La Canada Presbyterian Church, had collected 300 pairs of shoes that needed to find new owners. When John found out we would receive these 300 pairs of shoes, he was ecstatic. Truly. He gets that excited about the possibilities. Seeing him so excited, I decided to join in the fun.

At 7:00 am, our team joined in and helped unload the truck of shoes. Within an hour, various people had filled up a bag of clothes and shoes to send to relatives in Mexico, El Salvador and Guatemala (redistribution across borders, even better!).
My favorite part was the box of barely used children’s books – we love to see books go into the homes of the local children, and these were really nice books, of the kind that people here cannot afford to buy. We kept some of the books for our community room, to be used for our activities there or for kids to borrow.

Throughout the day, neighbors hung out together in the area of the yard sale. Two girls were able to connect with Miriam, who works at a tutoring center at a local church, and were able to go with her in the evening to a fun Christmas event on a boat in Long Beach. Other kids were able to buy shoes they really liked for $2.00.
Why do we sell the shoes instead of giving them away? Our neighbors are not homeless. They are the working poor. They have some resources, just not enough. To give the shoes away would be to turn our friends and neighbors into “charity cases.” Buying the shoes gives them choice over what to buy, and retains their dignity. It is a reciprocal exchange, they benefit, and so do those selling.

At the end, there were still plenty of shoes, and clothes. Some went to another yard sale, to support a youth ministry of a local church. Thirty pair went to the St. Francis Center, where our colleague Kathy works with the homeless as a Physician’s Assistant on Mondays. Two bags were given to a neighbor going to Mexico at Christmas. Beyond the sale itself, we wish we could convey the substance of the relationships that were nurtured and the tangible sense of love and community that has grown in our neighborhood through these kinds of events.
Thank you for your continued prayers and support.

John and Jude Tiersma Watson

Saturday, November 26, 2005

On 10 of the Ten

This was something I hadn't thought of before.

From: Francis Schaeffer's _True Spirituality_ ON THE GIVING OF THANKS

"You shall not covet your neighbor's house; you shall not covet your neighbor's
wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or
anything that is your neighbor's." (Exodus 20:17)

"Coveting is never an outward thing, from the very nature of the case. It is an
intriguing factor that this is the last command that God gives us in the Ten
Commandments and thus the hub of the whole matter. The end of the whole thing is
that we arrive at an inward situation and not merely an outward one." (TS, 7)

"Does this mean any desire is coveting and therefore sinful? The Bible makes it
plain this is not so -- all desire is not sin. So then the question arises,
when does proper desire become coveting? ...desire becomes sin when it fails to
include love of God or men. Further, I think there are two practical tests as to
when we are coveting against God or men: first, I am to love God enough to be
contented; second, I am to love men enough not to envy." (TS, 9)

"A quiet disposition and a heart giving thanks at any given moment is the real
test of the extent to which we love God at that moment."
(TS, 9)

Susan and Mark serve with InnerChange in Cambodia.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Thanks Giving.

At the core of my heart has been a growing grattitude.

I have never created one day of life.
Each day comes to me as a gift... and the fact that I get to make a difference with my life is an amazing gift.

There is a joy that comes from embracing the gift of life in the midst of pain. We have a choice to either accept and embrace the challenges of life... or to complain about them.

Today I am reminded that joy comes mixed with sorrow... and that sorrow can not be eliminated, yet it makes each choice that I do have radiate with more Joy... because today is another day I get to embrace the love of God and share it with others. Ephesians 3:14-21

Those who know me know the love I carry in my heart for each of you.

Those who don't know me... there is a greater love waiting to embrace us all if we are just willing.

Joyful Thanks Giving!

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Another Request for Prayer

Jude Writes:

Hello All — I am inviting you all to join me in prayer for my younger brother Ben, his wife Jeanine, and their three little ones. (This is the brother who is now on the family farm).

Last week Jeanine was diagnosed with breast cancer. She had a lumpectomy this past Friday, and today the results are back. It is not the result we were hoping for. They removed the malignant lump, and several lymph nodes, but there are residual cancer cells that they were not able to remove. So on December 8, she will again go into surgery and have her breast removed. After that she will have a season of chemo and radiation.

Right now they need wisdom about treatment. Some are suggesting they go outside the San Joaquin Valley for treatment, but with three kids aged 3, 5 & 6, and Ben’s 14 hour work days on the dairy, it is not that easy to leave.

Also pray for me (us) to know how about my (our) time, when I (we) need to go be there with them. Ben and Jeanine are the family that live next door to my mom and have been looking out for my mom, so obviously this will impact what they can do for her as well.

Thanks for your prayers.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Learning to Say Good Bye

Since 2001 over 27+ people who were somehow tied in to my conscious world have died. Some have died from violence, some from cancer, a few from old age... this has rocked my world in some ways. Growing up in a culture that was good at denying the reality of death -- in Princeton NJ. Has left me with a gap in my ability to embrace life and death for what it is...

I find myself with this quezzy feeling that I have begun to recognize as anger... but what am I angry about...

The Bible does not lie about the shortness of life itself...

slowly it has dawned on me the roots of a very dangerous spiritual toxic poison.

I live in a culture that keeps trying to get me to love things and use people rather than Loving People and using things; Death puts the value of things in perspective.

A friend of mine, has had cancer removed from his brain... He has two kids and a loving wife... he has set in front of himself the hard work of contemplating what it means to care for their life span and it's journey... even if he may not be there... he has started to write them letters for their birthdays and for their hoped for life stages... like marriage... etc.

Half the world is 15 years old or younger.

We have created a world that is extremely indulgent and does not care much about the world we are passing on to these kids. Even normal life is more twisted than we like to imagine... visit your local land fill and contemplate your contribution to it... if you think that your life is just a little messed up...

I am going to a grief group tonight because I have never really learned how to be angry in a healthy way. I am angry because we as a culture do not value life as we should... It has taught me all the wrong priorities... What thing would I not sacrifice if it meant that I could have just one more hour of quality time with Dr. James Loder, or Satoe One.

If we valued life we would honor it much more than we do... and we would struggle with what is of real value and significance much more than we do...

"NO One Gets a Second Chance To Be the Friend they Meant to Be" Mark Heard

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Thinking about my small network.

There are a few blogs that are from some friends who have come alongside InnerChange in ministry for a season. Some have continued their blogs. And some have left theirs as a record of their journey with us.

Julia an APU student will be the third APU student who has joined us and served with us as part of their studies at APU. She has just started her journey and her blog: OneUno.

Shauna & Alisha were with us last year. (Alisha’s entry on February 24, 2005 has a link to some great pictures of our neighborhood.)

Ben W served all of Innerchange through his technical skills while living with our San Francisco team.

Kathy is a Companion to InnerChange and has served with us in LA for many years. We are ever so grateful for her presence, giftedness, and passion to serve in this community.

Darren is our fearless editor of InnerChange’s quarterly publication The Inner Voice.

I could Go on and list Ginny the Poet, and JC, Jrod, and others… but my main point is to encourage you to explore my little network here. Some have just started… others have been at this blogging thing longer than I have. Not all are in the same circle of faith and works of Faith that I am in. But all have a voice worth listening to… I will clean up the list in a few weeks. If you have a favorite let me know.

Let’s keep doing this thing called life and learn to center it in the love of God. That’s what I will be seeking to do.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

The Book of Common Prayer

Today like most Tuesdays, I have the privelege of praying for all of InnerChange and our work around the world. All InnerChange missionaries take some time on Tuesdays to pray for our larger movement. Today only two of us could make it to the sceduled time of prayer. Many are away, traveling, on a much needed vacation, or had pressing work this morning.

Since neither Paul nor I had time to prepare for our time of prayer... I thought since he likes "The Book of Common Prayer" as a helpful guide for prayer... I might be able to find it online. Here is a link to what I found...

Mission St. Clare seems to be an Orthodox group who have organized the daily prayers and other helpful resources for the bennefitt of those interested. We found the Morning service helpful today... even though I still prefer the Online Prayer Guide put together by England's branch of Youth for Christ.

What do you do to feed your soul???

Sunday, July 24, 2005

I got to share my testimony with Evelyn's "Skater" Youth

After sharing my testimony and my relationship with the God of the Bible... these youth recieved these Bibles with a lot of joy and enthusiasm.

Thanks to those who donated special extra resources in order that we could give these Bibles out to friends like Evelyn's Skater kids. Bibles and other christian resources are always useful.

I hope to speak again to this group in the fall.
Spiritual hunger often comes up to the surface when young people are talked with rather than talked at.

Friday, July 15, 2005

My first Wedding as the Pastor

Willie & Gennell... I have known them since 1993... here they are playing a little cards with my friend Steve...

It is a joy to be able to see them make this kind of committment to each other. It is the promises that we make and keep that builds honor and courage into our lives.

Pray for me. I am supposed to keep my sermon to only 12 minutes...Thank you For your prayers!!! my 10 minute sermon based on 1 John 1. Thanks!!! I will say more about this...

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Still Digging up tears from July 2001.

Sunday July third, 2005 Robert a young man that I hardly knew was gunned down a block from where I live. At first I find myself numb to these kind of realities. Then there comes the car wash on the weekend to help pay for the funeral. Seeing the signs advertising a car wash for Robert and getting a call from Jude on her cell telling me that she was at the car wash, sent my soul on a journey towards the next layer of release. (Witnessing trauma can often delay and extend the grieving process; I have not only witnessed trauma, but know over 20 people who have died since 2001.)

My soul stayed troubled all day. All things are not right with the world. Explosions in London highlight this fact. This deep sense of tension between what is and what ought to be starts to boil up in my soul. I have trouble sleeping and decide to watch a movie. I have the whole Lord of the Rings trilogy and decide to select scenes out of “The Return of the King”. After an hour of skipping forward to some of my favorite scenes I come to the end when the company must truly part and say goodbye for the last time. I sob for half an hour. Finding the release I needed, finally I could rest. This seams to be a healing door for me. “Blessed are they that Mourn for they shall be comforted.” I am like a lot of guys who have been taught not to cry. The themes in Tolkien’s, “Lord of the Rings” have helped me since I first read the novels in sixth grade. I have read them so many times that I am sure my mind fills in gaps in the movie. Meaning and sacrificial love go hand in hand; the way we give our lives away every day... that is what becomes the meaning of our lives.

Anyone who wants to watch a good movie and cry with me sometime – let me know.

Hopefully I will get the freedom one day to not need the aid of Movies to dredge up the past but will be free to cry and rejoice and release my true feelings in a friends embrace, in seasons of parting, in celebrations of life and death, and in the communion of the saints – through prayer.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Urban Jungle and the Young at Heart

Today on the way back from Pasadena a young man desperate for help begged me to help him with directions. He was on the way to a rehab home in North Hollywood. I tried pointing out the maps available... he said I can't read maps. His anger at not being able to understand the world of words and directions fueled his desperation and undermined his sense of dignity.

Half the world is young... under 15 years old... and the modern world is a challenge to understand and navigate ... even for adults...

He carried religious books with him... but what he wanted both now to get to the rehab and in life was... "Don't tell me, show me".

I am more and more struck by how much change is happening on how the young percieve things... "The Medium is the Massage"... The youth I work with do not remeber much without a visual reference to go along with what I am talking about.

We need a lot more adults not only willing to give directions... but willing to give directions in a manner that the young can absorb. The youth I know and many of the adults are on stimulation overload. They are at the point where they say... I can't figure it out... don't tell me... show me.

I am glad that Jesus said,
"Come and Follow Me"
because I needed tangible demonstrations of
Ways to live, How to live, and Truth to live out of...
... so I can't complain when I am asked... don't just tell me ... Show me...

Monday, June 13, 2005

A quick Update

Thuis week IC has it's annual conference. Pray that we grow as a community in mission... both in wisdom and strength.

Pray for Valerie as her mother Theressa has passed on to the next life. We praise God that the last year of her life she walked with Jesus and her family was strengthened because of this.

July we have Melony & Julio's Wedding -- July 9
and then we have Willie & Gennell's wedding -- July 16 (I will be the pastor for this wedding)

Thank you for your prayers for us...

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Why I am a Christian

The Good Book says that both rain and sunshine fall on the just and the unjust. I have come to believe that the brokenness of the world also remains at this time for the just and the unjust.

This being so, I for a time have been wondering what advantage in this life is there to being a Christian. Heaven has never been the big appeal to me. I am much more passionate about the here and now… “Thy Kingdom come Thy will be done on earth…”

This past Sunday when I had the privilege of serving communion, an early childhood memory came back to me. I remember encountering a love manifested through my aunt and uncle that I did not have. This brought me to tears (I cried in my room for over an hour under the conviction that I did not have within me this kind of love); they told me that Christ was the source of this love. I remembered a time in my life when I was a stranger to the source of this kind of love.

In fourth grade I encountered Christ for myself, though I really came to appreciate Christ’s love much more in high school. This for me is the enduring gift of God. I cannot imagine what my life would have been like without Christ’s love. A love that has not always been mediated through others -- yet witnessed in others; a grace and a gift that in truth is nothing short of God extending God’s very Spirit or breath to us.

No one gets to keep their life and each of us uses it or give it away daily.
Some might say that we can love without Christ; I would say that the love we could love with would be much deeper and more profound with Christ. This is why I am a Christian to this day and this is why I wish that others would become like me at this one point – Ephesians 3:14-21.

I Cor. 13
I John 1
Matthew 24

Monday, May 23, 2005

Urban Youth Workers Institute

Jude and I presented two talks this weekend at the UYWI conference. Our material on the "Use of public Space" and "A Missional View of HIPHOP in the Latino context" was well recieved by those who came. It was the very first time I have used Power Point on my new (1 week old) Mac Power Book. Thanks to the Tech support that they had... and the great youth and youth workers that came to our seminars!!!

I promised a book list that would help folks in their journey of navigating their faith walk in this fast world of ours... I will post this latter this afternoon... peace...

Here is a Start... and this is still in progress...

The books listed here are in response to the different people that I met at the UYWI please note the reason that each resource is mentioned and pursue those that are of interest to you:

Life in Christ references:

*Disciple by Juan Carlos Ortiz – Years before the book, “40 days of Purpose” by Rick Warren, Juan Carlos Ortiz helped orient me to becoming a true disciple and follower of Jesus Christ. It is written on a sixth grade reading level without being simplistic and is still inspirational to me even though I have read it over more than 10 times.

*The Celebration of Discipline, By Richard Foster – When I got to the place where I said OK I know the truth but give me something to do with it that will bring life into my soul the church that I was attending started working through this book as a community. It Rocked my world.

*Streams of Living Water: Celebrating the Great Traditions of Christian Faith by Richard Foster

*Loving God, by Chuck Colson

*Space for God, by Don Postema – this is where I turn when my prayer life or poetry life gets old and dry.

HipHop and Youth Culture References:

* National Geographic Vol. 196, No. 2 August 1999 “Global Culture” – The cover picture and it’s contents ate worth contemplating if we are going to be ready for tomorrows world of missions.

*Code of the Streets:Dececy, Violence, and the Moral Life of the Inner City by Elijah Anderson

*The HipHop Generation by Bakari Kitwana

*Fight the Power by Chuck D

*It’s not About a Salary: Rap, Race, and Resistance in Los Angeles by Brian Cross

*Strength to Love, by Martin Luther King -- the Power of his oratory and the wisdom of the words are often still relevant to us today. The reason why his wisdom is not taken up by this HipHop generation is because my generation only half-stepped to what he was calling us to rather than fulfilling the dream. I sometimes read some of his words over beats.

Bring it together:

*Mustard Seed Versus McWorld: Reinventing Life and Faith for the Future, by Tom Sine

*Restoring At-Risk Communities: Doing it Together and Doing it Right, by John Perkins

Other thought Provokers and Helps:

*Dedication and Leadership, by Douglass Hyde – sometimes our discipleship is not working because we are not doing what can and should be done in terms of good basic leadership development and God may be blessing us in spite of our weak organizational structures and training patterns.

*Soul Survivor by Philip Yancey – a great read for those of us who struggle with our faith a times.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

One of the best B-days ever...

I want to thank everyone who joined in celebrating my birthday...

What made it such a good day for me is that I enjoy watching people -- especially my friends... What was moving to me was to watch how much love and care was in the mix. It matters to me that my friends are good to each others and for each others... and that is the way it was and is... All thanks to God for this...

Roxy, Chris, Lance Mark, & Salvador... for setting up the decorations at Magee's Donut Shop.
Sal, Jose, and Rikki... for bringing my two favorite cakes to share with everyone.
Wil, Glen, and Nate... for Gifts of sharing Art... Keep up the Creativity!!!
Willie & Gennell... We are looking forward to you Wedding this summer...
Carmen... for her encouraging words and for encouraging her son in his creativity...
Barbie & Yoshi... for sharing your cullinary arts and the largest havest of lemons I have ever been blessed with...
Miriam, Nate... for hanging out with me for a whole day of musings and conversation...
Jesika... for spreading love wherever you go...
Paul, Kathy, Mel, Julio, Rikki, Kristin, Steve & Sandra... for so often going the extra mile for us throughout the years...
Jude with great love made a trip to the Farmers Market on Mariposa Street and brought 8 baskets of our favorite fruit / Strawbarries...
Miguel, Ramiro... for freindship over the years
Reina, and Kathy for being such good neighbors...
Natalie, and Melissa for their friendship, Paitience with questions about La Cultura Aqui, and the years of hair cuts...
LA Street Productions... Remembering our beginnings at Maggees... Active members: Wil, Miriam, Nate... Innactive Members: Sal, and Rei (by phone), and Potential new members Glen, and Yoshi...
For special guests... Kim, Alexi, and Kathy
Maria, Frank, and Ronald also came through...

Kathy also reminded me of John 13 and Jesus washing the feet of the disciples... and our care for the feet of the poor... and our shared history of sharing something of the love of God in this way... thank you for blessing my feet for my birthday... may we extend this blessing to others... may we carry the grace implied by such a blessing...

Mike & Mona...For the best breakfast I have ever had...on my real B-day... at the House of Blues Sundays Gospel Brunch.

Friday, April 22, 2005

10 Years of Marrige

There is the gift of being loved for over 10 years by someone you know as, "unique in all the world".
There is the gift of support, challenge towards growth, and encouragement through the hard times.
Free but lonely nights are forgotten and have given way to interdependence...
Then there is the gift of being loved for just who you are... including the imperfections...

This is what 10 years of marriage has meant to me... this and much more...

Thank You Jude!!!

This morning I got a phone call from a good friend saying thank you for being a role model... I have always wanted to stand up straight and tall and point to the love of God in all things... It is a gift to know that I may have succeeded at least in part...

It is a gift that once again draws me to my knees in prayer... Ephessians 3:14-21.

Thursday, March 31, 2005

A Beautiful Baby and Jealousy

Five days after Roxy and Chris had their baby I got to visit them and hold their baby. Nervous about holding a newborn in my arms I was surprised by the warmth of “Lance Mark’s” little body resting in my arms. Jude and I have waited years for this day. In fact 9 years ago we bought a special piece of cartoon cell art depicting Sylvester and his son depicting the anticipated day that Chris would become a father.

What caught me off guard was the surprising detail of Lance Mark’s hands, feet, eyebrows, and eyes. Then it happened, Lance Mark reached out with his hand and grabbed my index finger. I was lost in a whirlwind of amazement, desire, and emotions. The surprising thing is that the strongest emotion was a kind of jealousy; I longed to have a baby of my very own that would reflect in some way the heritage of Jude and I.

Not knowing exactly what to do with these feelings and the power of them, I have been staying up late at night either thinking about these things or trying not to think about these things. I also have found myself withdrawing from young children. The void here unless there is some kind of miracle is probably permanent. The question is whether good or evil will fill that void in my heart. I am still glad for Chris and Roxy. I do not want their child, nor would I want to diminish their joy. It is just the denial of my own feelings regarding having a child of my own was forced to the surface with a lot more force than I anticipated.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Before March Madness... March 1-5.. My trip to Minneapolis

Sue, One of the Executive directors of Innerchange, asked me to go to Minneapolis and get a first-hand look at some of the ministry of InnerChange Minneapolis.

It was quite a gift for me to be able to lend myself out to this part of the IC community? with the hope that I might help deepen the work there. As always, I found God challenging my own heart to grow. What is first striking about Minneapolis was the wide range of cultures.

I witnessed signs of the presence of these cultures:
African Americans, Americans (German decent, Scandinavian decent, others) / Divided also by many subcultures and self-identifications,Ethiopians,First Peoples/ Native Americans, Guatemalan, Mexicans, Hmong, Salvadoran, Somalis, and others...

I witnessed the challenge and the strain it is to constantly be shifting to relate to different people with such a wide variety of world-views. It also seemed to me that people had less experience in Minneapolis of purposely relating cross-culturally than what we see in LA. (Not that in LA we do a good job of it.)

My primary role was to see if I could add additional insights into what was happening in terms of ministry through some of the InnerChange Minneapolis staff so that they might be more effective in this challenging context. What I found most striking was the number of different peoples and different places they were interacting in and with... This they were doing with an incredible energy and creativity. The work ahead of them is how to sharpen their focus meaningfully and recruit more volunteers and staff so that the impact of what they are doing will have more depth. I felt this deeply because I actually have the same challenges in my own work and ministry.

My suggestions were:
  • To dream up as many job descriptions as possible and to seek to give away any ministry that is not core to their own sense of calling / and to work on clarifying their core callings.
  • To let the IC Main office know of their recruiting needs.
  • To carve out time for recruiting new team members and volunteers.
  • To network more with existing churches and agencies.
  • To make sacred a whole day for Sabbath rest and reflection.
  • To acknowledge that they may need to let go of some ministries to be effective in others.

My only regret about the trip was the necessary time we spent in the ?Mall of America? buying a few gifts for friends and that we didn?t have more time just to be together and some time to share doing art together.

I made some of the typical errors of those just learning to share in the work of oversight and accountability.

  • I did not listen twice as much as I talked... Part of this is the excitement of a new task... And some of this is just plain old being lax with my listening skills.
  • I could have asked more questions and checked my perceptions with those who hosted me.
  • The funniest and biggest mistake... I forgot to check in and make sure that we had the same goals for the visit... And that the purposes were clear and upfront for all involved...

All is well that ends well... Some of the goals were met and we all have an opportunity to grow...

Thanks to all who hosted me... I love the people I met and the city of Minneapolis.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

My sister Sunday has had a Baby boy!!!

  1. this is an audio post - click to play
  2. Very big baby 8lbs. 11oz.
  3. Long Labor and then C-section
  4. Welcome baby Justin into the world at 1:14am March 7, 2005

Thursday, March 03, 2005


Announcing the arrival of
Who: Lance Mark Albisurez,
Son of the proud parents, Chris and Roxy Albisurez
When: March 1, 2005, 1:30 AM by c-section.
Weight: 6 pounds
Where: Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, CA
All are doing well, tired but happy.

Birth Trivia:
Anesthesiologist — Indian
OB/GYN — Japanese American
Dr. -- Philippina
RN — Mexican American
Nurse’s aide — Russian
RN — Caucasian
Technician — African American

With a heart of gratitude,
Jude Tiersma Watson (Oma — DUTCH/grandma)
John Tiersma Watson (JAW1 -- African American/Brother/Uncle/Homeboy)

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Things that deserve more than a line

Now my mother in law may have cancer...

Steve Scharf Got Married today...

And the rain in LA CA keeps on coming...

We have rented space to do more work with youth...

The LA IC Team is soon going to have it's own office...

I am dreaming of an art Studio...

I wish the whole world could see online InnerChanges new Quarterly publication called the InnerVoice.

Willie and Gennell have asked me to be the pastor for their wedding...

Chris and Roxanna are expecting their first child early March...

My sister Sunday and Kieth are expecting their first child late March...

Friday, February 04, 2005

Mentoring Initiative

I am right now prepping for a 4:30 pm meeting with a group of young leaders in our neighborhood. I get to lead the beginning ice breaker and the devotions at the end. I feel somewhat inspired for the devotions...
on Matthew 7:7-12 and thought I would leave some of my reflections on my blog...

  • This is a relational truth and not a magical formula. That is why verse 12 is not a non-sequitur. God is not a cosmic Santa Clause. God is a responsive Father. God's responsiveness to us is not unrelated to our genuine love and care for one another.
  • The world of good belongs to the pro-active: The people who ask, seek, and knock.
  • We do not always see clearly about what we are asking for, seeking, or on which door to knock... God as a loving Father is responsive to the fact that we are Asking, Seeking, and Knocking.
  • Think of the tragedy of a life lived without the help and support of God or others... That comes from a lack of Asking, Seeking, or Knocking.
  • Those who succeed in this life are defined by their persistence in the face of requests that may go unanswered, Searching that goes on unanswered for even years, and The many doors that may have been closed before the right door opened. God is encouraging us to ask. (see the life of Zachariah and Elizabeth in Luke 1&2. for encouragement. God wants us to be moved into roles of significance in this life which runs deeper than the threads of expectations and personal longings.)
  • What is most important in the journey is who we become as people in the midst of our request, longings, seeking, hopes, exploring by knocking on the doors of opportunity, and pursuits.

Yard sale Reflection

Saturday January 22, 2005 InnerChange and LA Street Productions did a small Benefit Yard Sale.

Recycling other people’s junk in order that treasure can be increased in heaven is a special joy to me (JAW). Will collected donations from his house and some of the other members of LA Street Productions (Special thanks also to Rei ; ). InnerChange and some of our ministry partners also contributed significantly (Special thanks to Randa, Barbie, & Sue’s sister).

Over $250.00 was raised. Half will go to LA Street Productions for their second Annual Scholarship to a deserving Belmont High School student. Half of it went to the Tsunami Relief effort Through CRM.

Neighbors were able to meet some of the needs of their extended family. One grandmother, who bought a group of coats, proudly told me that she was going to send these back to her family in Mexico.

Other Neighbors moved by the event donated their own clothing and other goods in order to contribute to our efforts. One couple arrived after the yard sale was over and donated a whole set of dishes for our next yard sale.

All the goods that were left over got donated to the Nehemiah House… a Christian discipleship house that is an extension of ministry from a local Evangelical Free Church in Pico-Union.

Because the day was a very pleasant LA day… many of the women of the neighborhood spent a significant time just being together and talking with each other. This kind of event is very helpful in nurturing a sense of community and has become a recognized community event. Norma was able to catch up with one friend and was able to restart the weekly Bible studies she has been having with their family. Will is well known and liked by many in this neighborhood… so this event became a good chance to catch up with old friends including some inactive members of LA Street Productions. On top of all this we got to meet some neighbors that we have never met before.

At the end of the day Will was having some car trouble. In old time barter/neigborhood fashion he was able to get help getting his truck fixed in exchange for one of the donated tables in the yard sale.

I also had a great time talking with Will – (thanks Will for your help with everything). We have shared hopes and dreams together over the years. May God continue to grant us the grace to receive His blessings and to share that blessing with others.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

This Little Light of...

In a recent prayer time, God gave my friend, and fellow LAIC Team member Rikki, a thought that I have been meditating on it for over a month....

I decided that I wanted to share it with you all...

"A Candle can only burn if it has enough oxygen.

*****So, if you're the Candle.....what is your Oxygen?"

Tues.Feb. 1 -- A Prayer meeting that moved me.

February 1, 2005

Silence – 5 minutes
Focus heart and mind to be here together with Christ

Read Psalm 103

Silence – God’s relationship with His children
“He does not treat us as we deserve”
His Mercy
The Cross

Prayers of Intercession
Our Teams here in Los Angeles
San Francisco
Individuals in IC who are struggling
Those in pain
Those who are sick
Pray for Kristen’s health

Prayers of Blessing for IC

Read Romans 12 together:

Romans 12

And so, dear brothers and sisters,
I plead with you to give your bodies to God. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice – the kind He will accept.

When you think of what He has done for you, is this too much to ask?

Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will know what God wants you to do, and you will know how good and pleasing and perfect His will really is.

As God’s messenger, I give each of you this warning: Be honest in your estimate of yourselves, measuring your value by how much faith God has given you. Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so it is with Christ’s body. We are all parts of His one body, and each of us has different work to do. And since we are all one body in Christ, we belong to each other, and each of us needs all the others.

God has given each of us the ability to do certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out when you have faith that God is speaking through you. If your gift is that of serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, do a good job of teaching. If your gift is to encourage others, do it! If you have money, share it generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly.

Don’t just pretend that you love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Stand on the side of the good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. Never be lazy in your work, but serve the Lord enthusiastically.

Be glad for all God is planning for you. Be patient in trouble, and always be prayerful. When God’s children are in need, be the one to help them out. And get into the habit of inviting guests home for dinner or, if they need lodging, for the night.

If people persecute you because you are a Christian, don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them. When others are happy, be happy with them. If they are sad, share their sorrow. Live in harmony with each other. Don’t try to act important, but enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all!

Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. Do your part to live in peace with everyone, as much as possible.

Dear friends, never avenge yourselves. Leave that to God. For it is written,

“I will take vengeance;
I will repay those who deserve it,” Says the Lord.

Instead, do what the Scriptures say:
“If your enemies are hungry, feed them.
If they are thirsty, give them something to drink,
And they will be ashamed of what they have done to you.”

Don’t let evil get the best of you, but conquer evil by doing good.

Close in prayer

Some of what's been keeping me Busy...

Each of these items could deserve their own space in my blog. That said it is better to note them than toneglect blogging them completely:

  • Tues.Feb. 1 -- A Prayer meeting that moved me.
  • Sat. 22nd... a very sucessful Yardsale that made over 250.00 for a Scholarship fund and tsunami victims.
  • My weekly Internet Radio show has come to an end and been replaced with other work.
  • We have 2 neat APU Students as interns with us this Semester -- Shawna, and Alisha... See their blogs...
  • I have Joined a Gym for both Exercise and Ministry Purposes.
  • Congradulations again to Steve and Sandy who are getting married mid Feb.
  • Willie is working full time and selling stuff on Ebay... He has a perfect record and close to 100 independent positive feedback messages.
  • Miriam just got back from a short-term missions trip to Purue.
  • We are starting the Mentoring Initiative again this week.

Monday, January 31, 2005

Rikkell sent me this Poem by William Blake.

Joy and woe are woven fine,
A clothing for the soul divine;
Under every grief and pine
Runs a joy with silken twine.
It is right it should be so;
Man was made for joy and woe;
And when this we rightly know,
Through the world we safely go.


Friday, January 14, 2005

What I am reading these days

I have been reading the book Soul Survivor by Phillip Yancy and Strength To Love A collection of Surmons by Martin Luther King. I am reminded in these books of the power of those who inspire us to life.

It is not enough to wade through life... it is important that we move through life with vigor and joy. I am setting asside Mondays for the next few weeks to do some significant reading and writting as well as vision/planning for LA InnerChange. Pray for our work here in LA. More than that... Pray for our very souls... If you don't know where to start then try praying -- Ephesians 3:14-21.

Much of our work has to do with creating paths of hope with and for our neighbors even when there seems to be little hope to be found. I am glad for this assignment by LAIC because I had slipped into a mode of too much outreach and not enough inreach.

If anyone has some comments on what has been feeding their soul lately I would be glad to hear it.

Friday, January 07, 2005

My frined Alan sent me this poem and it is a good reminder to my soul these days...

My friend Alan Wrote:
Hope all is well as you engage the streets of the city.I just completed my first full semester as a PhD student atthe University of Texas at Dallas. I had the opportunity tobe a student in Fred Turner's (son of anthropologist VictorTurner who wrote "The Ritual Process") poetry class thissemester. I am no natural poet, but I thought I would sharesome of what I wrote this semester. I still remember theafternoon you tried to teach me the art of poetry.... -- this poem has references to Nietzsche.

Voice from the Sea Gull

She rides the sky and watches fishermen
Peaceful and free in grave contrast to me.
My will to power crushed on rocks again
And washed in salt that burns my troubled sea.
Subdued by waves of doubt that give no rest
I seek a drug to calm my angst and haltThe storm,
the hail that leaves my mind undressed.
Can truth be found to sear my wounds like salt?

Unfettered by the winds the gull confides,
³Homo ecco, ego remains the sourceof your despair.
The truth you seek abidesin God¹s design.
All life obeys His course,or breaks.
The storm that leaves your mind undressed
Results from fruit outside what God has blessed.²

If anyone like to share poetry with a friend... and maybe getr it posted on this blog... do send it to me at jawpoetry@yahoo.com

Thanks Alan

Monday, January 03, 2005

Jaw’s ’05 New Year Mix

Well I am back at it and spinning tunes and making mixes...

I will also be reflecting on Matthew 24 & 25...

Always Keep God in the mix -- Peace out!!!

Jaw’s ’05 New Year Mix

1. Resplendent 5:02 Bill Mallonee & Vigilantes of Love, Audible Sigh
2. Gone 3:45 Switchfoot
3. Track 12 2:57 5 Blind Boys of Alabama Spirit of the Century
4. Track 03 2:26 Blackalicious Arrow
5. Track 09 4:25 Cross Movement Human Emergency
6. Light 3:12 Apt Core #2
7. Track 16 3:23 Daniel Amos Mr. Buechner's Dream
8. Track 15 3:40 Tobby Mac
9. Track 07 1:57 RadidoHead OK Computer
10. Track 01 4:02 Steve Taylor Squint
11. Track 09 4:09 Azreil the Activist Axiomatic
12. Zombie 5:06 Cranberries No Need To Argue
13. Track 07 4:59 Lauryn Hill Un Plugged
14. Any Day 3:45 Zehnder Breathing
15. Track 01 4:08 U2 All That You Can't Leave Behind
16. Love is the Movement 5:10 Switchfoot
17. Path of Life 4:47 Ruth Naomi Floyd With New Eyes
18. Track 05 2:52 SkyPark