Month: June 2014

~Having A Humanitarian Heart To Drive Change~

Posted on Updated on


Approximately 16 million United States citizens have been convicted of felony offenses. At least 14 million of these ex-felons are unconfined, and at least 9 million have completed the sanctions ordered by the criminal justice system and are under no official supervision.

Upon conviction for a felony offense and continuing past release from prison and parole, sometimes for life, ex-felons are subject to a wide array of limitations on work, education, family, and civic activities. These bans are sometimes used as explicit forms of additional punishment (i.e., voting bans) and sometimes invoked to protect vulnerable populations. Serious ethical concerns exist about these types of officially-sanctioned collateral consequences because they go beyond punishment within the criminal justice system. These ethical concerns are balanced against the fact that ex-offenders are undeniably at a higher risk for crime than non-offenders.

The exact calculus of this balance is outside the realm of social science. But social science research can calibrate the risk associated with a criminal history record, and we feel safe in concluding that explicit lifetime bans cannot be justified on the basis of safety or concerns about crime risk. Age and time since last offense can help predict current offending risk. Older offenders and individuals who stay arrest-free for 7 years or more simply have very little risk for future crime, and this risk is similar to that of non-offenders.

The issue of so many people being unemployed due to past records is causing a strain on the economic development of our community and nation at large.  Because the number of re-entering citizens is so great, “10,000 to 12,000 adults and 500 juveniles are projected to be released from incarceration and returned to communities each year, an even greater number reenter communities from local jails and federal correctional centers,”(Services).  We, the tax payers of America, are each carrying one to two additional people to our own families each year in the payment of our taxes, the cost of our goods, and the rise in the cost of housing.  Studies show that due to the ex-offenders  inability to find employment, recidivism is high, “Of the 7 million Americans (1 in 33) who were incarcerated, on probation or parole in 2010, more than 4 in 10 can be expected to return to prison within three years, according to a 2011 study by the Pew Charitable Trusts’ Center on the States.” (Lee),  thus adding to our cost of living as we must continue to build institutions, hire more officers, and offset insurance rates by raising cost in preparation of the growing numbers of convicts.   If employers were more forgiving, and ex-offenders were allowed this second chance many are fighting for, the ex-offender would be responsible for their own cost of living, and the expenses would not trickle down or spread wide, the families and small business of our immediate communities will no longer have to suffer so greatly by footing the bill.

Citizens returning to society from jails and/or institutions, known as the ex-offender, ex-felon, or ex- convict, are being denied quality employment, housing and social services due to their past mistakes although they have paid their debt to society.  This is all a part of the “tough on crime” movement.  Quantitative research shows “lifetime bans for ex-felons affect an estimated 1 in 19 adults.” It is estimated that our government spends about “$52 billion dollars a year on those incarcerated”, stated in The PEW Center on the States, (Trust).  Not only are we spending money on incarceration, but we also are losing money not employing these individuals when they return home, “the United States had between 12 and 14 million ex-offenders of working age. Because a prison record or felony conviction greatly lowers ex-offenders’ prospects in the labor market, we estimate that this large population lowered the total male employment rate that year by 1.5 to 1.7 percentage points.  In GDP terms, these reductions in employment cost the U.S. economy between $57 and $65 billion in lost output.”  Out of the thousands of jobs available, 90% of the job vacancies are vacant due to the rejection of ex-offenders and out of the 10% that is left, only 50% of those will accept someone who has been convicted of a violent or serious felony.  This makes five percent of the available jobs in our nation open to anyone, contrasting the large numbers of those re-entering society after incarceration.

Who owns the responsibility of redeveloping the economic status of our communities, of society, of the world?   Now that the government has put in place re-entry programs designed to assist those individuals wishing to turn their lives around, permitting study programs, certification, and grant options, sending prepared citizens out into society equipped and qualified, would it not be the responsibility of the corporations, organizations, and privately owned companies to take a chance and take advantage of the people who are desperate to show they can work hard and well, and also take advantage of the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) offered for hiring such candidates as the ex-offender?

There is plenty of work to go around that ex-offenders can and are qualified to do but are not being hired for.  “As many as 600,000 U.S. manufacturing jobs remained vacant across the U.S. due to shortages of skilled workers, according to the Manufacturing Institute’s most recent “skills gap” report.” (Sirkin)  Such certificates as welding, water treatment, carpentry, mechanics, machine technician, and computer operations are offered within institutions today, followed up with experience utilizing the education received while incarcerated in areas of shipping and receiving, manufacturing and telephone operators.  If our society continues on the path of refusing employment in most industries, the cost of taking care of the ex-offender will continue to be absorbed by us tax paying citizens, as these individuals continue to go in and out of jail, remaining unemployed, and re-offending to survive.  Where there is crime, there is cost to the tax payers, and “The government and the nation suffer.  In many countries the government has to pay the unemployed some benefits. The greater the number of the unemployed or the longer they are without work the more money the government has to shell out.” (Effects of Unemployment on Society and the Economy)  Why are private industries choosing to fit the bill to keep these people unemployed rather than putting them to work? Hiring the ex-offender can put the money back into the governmental budget through our employment output rates and “can” stop the cuts to other programs like the Department of Defense, that are in desperate need of funding. In many states across this nation, the government is focusing on the effects ex-offenders are having on society and individual communities due to the numbers for the year 2010 being as large as “725,000 are released from correctional facilities each year across the country,” therefore, vocational skills and career geared certifications, which are cheaper in the prisons than offered at private institutions, are being offered inside the institutions.  Skill sets such as plumbing, HVAC, IT, and basic administration, along with various needed resources and programs designed to set these citizens on the right path are being offered in these institutions, for example, the DMV is setting up satellite stations inside institutions for the issuance of state identification to be issued upon release.  Proper identification for employment is just one of the barriers ex-offenders face, but it is an obstacle that has proven to be of major importance. These training programs alongside these essential pieces needed for success place the responsibility in the hands of the public and private industries to hire these individuals who will then pay taxes, in turn, lowering our deficit.

I don’t know how to get this across to anyone, I don’t know if I am networking with the right people to get this done, but I could use some help to fore-fill this vision. It is really needed in our community in Hemet and Riverside County. There are programs, but not like this Second Chance Alliance May & I have in our heart to birth. I need your help, not just money, but anything that you possess in line with knowledge or skills to offer please feel free to contact us @ blessedaaron08@gmail.com and I will respond because we are serious about getting this done and making a difference.  It is noted and recognized by our government and others around the world that if, “they, the ex-offender, have a proper job, are encouraged to take personal responsibility and work hard, they will feel proud to be able to support their family and would even be happy to pay tax” .This idea is supported by Blue Sky, a social enterprise in the UK who only hires ex-offenders and the success rate has had a positive influence on their economy.  In reading the supported research and text associated with the successful program offered in the UK, it is stated that, “The employee re-offending rate is only 15%: 48% obtain sustained employment on leaving.” (Jarvis).  With the success rate of this particular program, which has had a total of 500 clients participate thus far, spreading the idealism and innovative ideas throughout the UK should speak volumes to the US.  If the returning citizen honestly wishes to work hard and take care of their families, their productivity will aid in the redevelopment of our economy.

It is obvious a change needs to take place; otherwise we will continue to be victims of the convicted felons’ cycle.  It is the belief of many that we can “…reduce the recidivism rate of offenders by reintegrating them into society instead of ostracizing them as criminals. If the community is not supportive, and/or receptive to giving out second chances, are not the government’s attempts to equip the ex-offender futile, the motivation of the ex-offender to turn their lives around and make good on giving back to a society that took care of them done in vain, and also are “we” not responsible for allowing the growth of the expenses that take care of the rising number of ex-offenders to affect our own lives?

8k7la86586

Rich Society-Too Big To Jail: How Did We Get Here?

Posted on Updated on


Crime is a social concept based upon social structure (organization of society) and social norms (ideas, customs, habits, attitudes of people).  As such, crime is considered to be an offense against society.  This concept of crime as an offense against society evolved from English tradition.

Common law was an offense against the country that, as such, was to be prosecuted by the King.  It was based on custom and tradition as interpreted by the judges.  It was not written down in a code that one could easily consult; rather it took its form from the collected opinions of English judges who actually created law when they ruled on specific cases.  As new situations arose and more opinions were formed, the common law grew.

Criminal law defines forbidden offenses against society  – by formalizing the common law – and specifies conditions for enforcing and punishing offenders.

New ‘too rich to jail’ case sparks outrage:
A rich father – a Du Pont family heir – served no jail time after raping his three year old daughter. How could a convicted child rapist end up with only probation and treatment? A legal panel discusses the case.

Tolerance implies no lack of commitment to one’s own beliefs. Rather it condemns the oppression or persecution of others.

John F. Kennedy

To summarize, beginning in the 1400s, the English, and later the Americans, defined crime by:

  • the dominant morality expressed in  society – the common law;
  • the rules articulated by the most powerful members in  society; and
  • the sense of threat perceived by the most dominant, powerful members of society.

And they dealt with such crime through a criminal justice system which

  • defines crime by identifying the boundaries between right and wrong,  moral and immoral, legal and illegal;
  • patrols and enforces such boundaries;
  • judges those who fail to honor the boundaries; and
  • punishes those who have been judged guilty of a crime.

Categories of Colonial Law1. Crimes involving sexual acts.  Any sexual act other than traditional intercourse between man and wife was a crime in all colonies.  Sex-related crimes were the most frequent of all criminal offenses during the first 100 years of colonization – between 10 – 22% of all court business. Most common were �fornication before marriage;� bearing illegitimate children; and beastiality.  Sex crimes remained on the books in the 18th Century but were prosecuted less often – except for fornication which was prosecuted not because extramarital sex was immoral, but mainly because of the �practical considerations� of colonial society – adultery threatened family integrity and created the possibility of private violence/disorder; fornication among servants that resulted in childbirth left the new mother less valuable as a servant and society was left to support a bastard.

2. Crimes perceived as socially harmful misconduct.  Almost any act that contributed to public and personal disorder was considered a crime – drunkenness, blasphemy, lying, idleness, Sabbath violations.  Suchvictimless crimes appear more often in 17th Century court records than any other except sex-related crimes. Sabbath violations among the most prevalent crimes during both 17th and 18th centuries.

3. Crimes against the person – both criminal (dealing with public wrongs which involves social harm and violates the norms of the community) and civil  (dealing with private conflicts with violate relationships between individuals).  According to recent historical examinations of surviving court records in most of the colonies, the most common crimes against the person were slander -approximately 17% of all court business in all colonies; assault – approximately 6% of all court business; homocide –  almost always directed at servants and slaves, or related to domestic and inter-familial disputes; and witchcraft.

In the South, crimes against the person were punished the least of any other category.  Citizens of substance often felt it was their duty to defend themselves, their property, their family, or their honor against any real or imagined threat.  Often, when given a clear choice between observing the law or defending their honor – they choose to defend their honor.  These lawbreakers were treated with dignity and respect.  Juries were reluctant to convict a man of murder or assault if he had committed the crime to defend his honor – and action that was, at best, loosely defined.  Often, those convicted of assault were fined less than a dollar.

4. Crimes against property.   Crimes against property were rare – petty theft was uncommon and grand theft almost never occurred. Why?  Stealing property violated both the sanctity of private property and the code of honor that included a strong sense of economic morality.  People convicted of crimes against property received the most serious punishment which was designed to deter other would-be offenders and shame the culprit in the eyes of the community.

In the 18th Century, crimes against property increased as towns became bigger with more diversity and wealth.  Designating crimes became a way to protect property during the 18th Century.  For instance, in Virginia, hogs were a vital part of a family�s economy – more valuable than sheep.  Its laws made stealing hogs a more serious crime than stealing sheep.  In the late 18th Century, this changed even more.  Crimes against property increased, and in so doing, the concept of crime as a product of sin was challenged by a new social concept – crime was the product of idleness.

The Bible contains so many verses that address greed and oppression of the poor that I will not analyze them all, but I will relate as many of them as possible to modern-day scenarios. I have divided these verses by subject and will begin with a brief analysis of immigration. I will then follow with an examination of every verse that addresses greed, greed of the poor, interest, oppression, God’s judgment of the oppressors, and taxes.

Immigration

Exodus 22:21, “You shall not wrong or oppress a resident alien, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt.”

Context: Included in a listing of various laws.

Exodus 23:9, “You shall not oppress a resident alien; you know the heart of an alien, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt.”

Leviticus 19:33-34, “When an alien resides with you in your land, you shall not oppress the alien. The alien who resides with you shall be to you as the citizen among you; you shall love the alien as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.”

Greed

Deuteronomy 17:17, “And he [the king of Israel] must not acquire many wives for himself, or else his heart will turn away; also silver and gold he must not acquire in great quantity for himself.”

Context: God provides guidelines for future kings of Israel.

Analysis: Even the king of Israel was to avoid materialism.

Proverbs 23:4, “Do not wear yourself out to get rich; be wise enough to desist.”

Interest

Exodus 22:25, “If you lend money to my people, to the poor among you, you shall not deal with them as a creditor; you shall not exact interest from them.”

Leviticus 25:36-37, “Do not take interest in advance or otherwise make a profit from them, but fear your God; let them live with you. You shall not lend them money at interest taken in advance, or provide them food at a profit.”

Oppression

Exodus 22: 22-24, “You shall not abuse any widow or orphan.”

Context: Various laws are listed in this section on Exodus.

Analysis: Why are widows and orphans so special? Because, along with aliens, they had no inheritance in the land. In Israel, men inherited land from their fathers as they became adults (they did not have to wait for their fathers to die like we do today). As women reached adulthood, they left their fathers’ lands to live on their husbands’ lands. On these lands, people grew their food and built their homes with the resources of the land. So this inheritance of land gave young Israelite families what they needed to survive. It’s quite different from our society in which young people venture out on their own lacking both food and shelter and having to earn enough money to obtain it.

Widows, orphans, and aliens, however, could not share in Israel’s inheritance, and therefore, lacked proper food and shelter. That’s why God so frequently calls the Israelites to look out for their interests.

Exodus 23:8, “You shall take no bribe, for a bribe blinds the officials, and subverts the cause of those who are in the right.”

God’s Judgment of the Oppressors

Isaiah 3:14-15, “The Lord enters into judgment with the elders and princes of His people: ‘It is you who have devoured the vineyard; the spoil of the poor is in your houses. What do you mean by crushing my people, by grinding the face of the poor?’ says the Lord God of hosts.”

Similarly, in Jesus’ day the Pharisees and Sadducees were feuding religious parties. The Sadducees held only the first five books of the Bible to be the word of God and denied belief in the afterlife, while the Pharisees believed in the entire Old Testament and in the afterlife, too. Jesus also believed in the entire Old Testament and the afterlife. So did He support the Pharisees? No, He didn’t! In Matthew 16:6, “Jesus said to them [His disciples], ‘Watch out, and beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and the Sadducees.’” He went on to explain that He opposed not their “yeast,” but their teachings.

Despite the fact that Jesus had more beliefs in common with the Pharisees than He did the Sadducees, He opposed both sides, because both sides opposed God’s will. To support either party would have been the equivalent of supporting that party’s oppression of others and its promotion of man-made religious teachings over those of the Bible. Jesus protected His disciples from making the mistake of believing that one of two opposing parties must align with righteousness.

The way I see it, Jesus is neither a Democrat nor a Republican (but Satan is a Libertarian). The Democrats sin by promoting individual freedom to the point where we do what we want with our bodies at the expense of and to the neglect of others, while the Republicans sin by promoting individual freedom to the point where we do what we want with our money at the expense of and to the neglect of others.

I don’t mean to say that we sin by belonging to either the Democrats or the Republicans, or by supporting capitalism or socialism. But I do mean to stress that we must not let these establishments teach us right and wrong. For us Christians, right and wrong must come from the Bible alone. God’s teachings must take precedence over those of our political parties, social groups, and even our nation. Those who claimed Jesus’ name during His ministry and the days of the early church did so because they believed Jesus’ teachings, and they obeyed His teachings above all else. Today many Christians call upon His name, but promote and obey teachings contrary to His, such as the promotion of the interests of the wealthy and powerful at the expense of the poor. If we don’t believe and obey Jesus’ teachings (and the Old Testament teachings He supported), then we really don’t believe in Him.

8k7la86586

~Radical and Upside-Down~

Posted on


Luke 14:7-14

New King James Version (NKJV)

Take the Lowly Place

So He told a parable to those who were invited, when He noted how they chose the best places, saying to them: “When you are invited by anyone to a wedding feast, do not sit down in the best place, lest one more honorable than you be invited by him; and he who invited you and him come and say to you, ‘Give place to this man,’ and then you begin with shame to take the lowest place.10 But when you are invited, go and sit down in the lowest place, so that when he who invited you comes he may say to you, ‘Friend, go up higher.’ Then you will have glory in the presence of those who sit at the table with you. 11 For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

12 Then He also said to him who invited Him, “When you give a dinner or a supper, do not ask your friends, your brothers, your relatives, nor rich neighbors, lest they also invite you back, and you be repaid. 13 But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind. 14 And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you; for you shall be repaid at the resurrection of the just.”

The values of the kingdom that Jesus came to establish were radically different than those of His day. The Pharisees and teachers of the law clamored for the spotlight and sought the adulation of the crowds. Many of us still do this today. We want instant gratification from peers and outsiders. We want our praise now, WOW!!! Lord please send your glory upon us to replace our selfishness, purify our hearts and breath new life upon us.

In Luke 14, Jesus told a parable taught His followers not to be like that. The parable talks about people who chose the most honored seat for themselves at a wedding feast (vv.7-8). He said they would be embarrassed when the host asked them publicly to take their rightful place (v.9). Jesus went on in His story to talk about whom to invite to such dinners. he said they shouldn’t invite friends and family, but “when you give a feast, invite the poor, the maimed, the lame , the blind. And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay” (vv. 13-14).

Are you disappointed because you have not broken into the more elite group in your church or neighborhood? Or because you are stuck down on rung two when you’d rather be on rung eight or at least climbing the social ladder? Listen to what Jesus said: “Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted” (v.11). That’s the radical and upside-down way of  God’s kingdom!

Blessed Savior, make me humble,

Take away my sinful pride;

In myself I’m sure to stumble,

Help me stay close by your side.

Empower A Felon

In Christ’s Kingdom, humility trumps pride every time………….

~Socrates: “The unexamined life is not worth living”~

Posted on Updated on


Socrates believed that the purpose of human life was personal and spiritual growth. We are unable to grow toward greater understanding of our true nature unless we take the time to examine and reflect upon our life. As another philosopher, Santayana, observed, “He who does not remember the past is condemned to repeat it.”

If a man would move the world, he must first move himself.
– Socrates

Why is it important to let go of these identities? Perhaps you like the label or “wife” or “husband” or “teacher” and truly feel you identify with it. Matthew B. James, Ph.D. of Psychology Today, puts it like this,

“As human beings, we are quick to identify ourselves using our circumstances; how others perceive us, our behaviors, and/or our positions in life. It’s somehow comforting to clothe ourselves in these identities. But none of those are really who we are. And the problem with latching onto these identities is, in addition to limiting our growth, it leaves us lost and confused when they are stripped from us.”

Knowing who you are doesn’t mean you don’t appreciate the many roles you play. It simply means you’re not attached to the label as you’re able to recognize on a deeper level the meaning behind these roles of labels. Further, in the event that one of these labels are stripped from you, you aren’t completely lost as to who you are.

There is a new realm of counseling that is gaining increased attention related to this topic. As individuals reach retirement, they find themselves at a loss for who they are now that they are no longer working and defined by their jobs. Adjusting to such a sudden change can be incredibly difficult for some people and can lead to depression, anxiety, decreased satisfaction in life, and mental health issues.

Awesome life tip define yourself

In today’s reflection, you’ll be asked to write down who you are. It may be difficult to exclude labels, but it’s interesting to reflect on your roles on a deeper level. Do your best to avoid labels that others have given you as well. Below, I’ve listed a few of my answers.

  • I’m someone who enjoys psychology, counseling, personal-growth, helping others, and being compassionate
  • I’m someone who loves to write and connect with others and I spend time blogging to fulfill that need.
  • I’m someone who cares deeply for friends and family and thus, spend time with them often.
  • I’m someone who loves learning and so I prioritize reading, being exposed to new things, and traveling the world.

define yourself

Who are you? Have you ever really thought about this question? Who are you as a person? I’m not talking about how others define you. I mean, how do you define you? What makes you who you are internally? Sadly, the definition of ourselves’ tends to be defined by external circumstances. For example, you fail a test in school, the definition of yourself becomes, “I’m a failure”. You get married, the definition of yourself becomes, “I’m a wife” or “I’m a husband”. In contrast, if/when you get divorced, you come, “The divorcee”.  But it’s not like in the time you were a wife, to the time you were divorced, you suddenly transformed into a new self, right? Or what if you were employed in the morning as a bank teller, but by the end of the day you were laid off. You’re no longer a bank teller, but are you a different person? No, you’re not. These external labels do not define you. Inside your soul, you are so much more than these labels.

How many times have you been introduced to someone and they ask, “So, what do you do?” immediately implying that they want to know what you do for a job. How often do you respond with something other than your job? I’m guessing hardly ever, yet I’m sure most of us do much more than what’s in our job description.

What if, instead of asking, “What do you do?” when you met someone knew, you asked, “So, who are you?” What do you think their response would be? Would they take a minute baffled by your question to reflect on it? Would they simply ignore it and describe their job as if on autopilot, unsure of how to answer such a question? Think about it for a minute; if someone asked you this question, how would you answer it?

Yesterday I discussed this topic with my Pastor, we discussed personal values. This week I plan on taking it a step further and discussing our deeper self, -who we are inside, not outside. This is not what society says you are either, but who you feel you are. We’re given labels are entire life (popular girl, jock, bully, rich kid, loser, CEO, stay-at-home-mom, etc.). But we don’t have to adopt those labels as our personal truth. We can refuse those labels as a definition of self, and instead embrace our authentic selves.

Why is it important to let go of these identities? Perhaps you like the label or “wife” or “husband” or “teacher” and truly feel you identify with it. Matthew B. James, Ph.D. of Psychology Today, puts it like this,

“As human beings, we are quick to identify ourselves using our circumstances; how others perceive us, our behaviors, and/or our positions in life. It’s somehow comforting to clothe ourselves in these identities. But none of those are really who we are. And the problem with latching onto these identities is, in addition to limiting our growth, it leaves us lost and confused when they are stripped from us.”

Knowing who you are doesn’t mean you don’t appreciate the many roles you play. It simply means you’re not attached to the label as you’re able to recognize on a deeper level the meaning behind these roles of labels. Further, in the event that one of these labels are stripped from you, you aren’t completely lost as to who you are.

There is a new realm of counseling that is gaining increased attention related to this topic. As individuals reach retirement, they find themselves at a loss for who they are now that they are no longer working and defined by their jobs. Adjusting to such a sudden change can be incredibly difficult for some people and can lead to depression, anxiety, decreased satisfaction in life, and mental health issues.

In my quest to be a mentor to all disenfranchised individuals I am formulating ways to redefine who I am and model that for those whom I will be privileged to  encounter. Shaka Senghor’s story is so many of our family member’s story. If we don’t help make a difference in there life we will soon see that it will reshape our lives. I need your help to make myself and vision in Riverside County and hopefully the world.

8k7la86586

 

~Don’t Let Anyone Suppress Your Dreams~

Posted on Updated on


If women would realize what an influence they have, they would be filled with pride. If men recognized how influential women are, they would be scared to death.”

It is said that we all influence at least 250 people in our lifetime. We each have the responsibility of leadership.

Every woman can be a leader. Yet results of surveys show that most women greatly underestimate their influence.

At home it can be organizing our children to clean the house or, more important, instilling values and morals into their lives. At the workplace, it can be motivating people for sales. We influence others by what we say and do–and by how we do our work.

We recognize that Mother Teresa was one of the great religious and humanitarian leaders of the world. When we aspire to be leaders, we must learn to discern between fame and greatness. Fame is Madonna; greatness is Mother Teresa. There is a tremendous shortage of and need for truly great leaders–leaders who are trustworthy, ethical, good, honest and who have high personal standards. The world is looking for honest and upright leaders.

Thankfully there are more women in leadership now than when I first began taking on leadership responsibilities. Being in leadership roles for more than thirty years–with greater and lesser responsibilities–I have learned a great deal about good leadership. What is a leader? “A leader is a person who influences people to accomplish a purpose.” How do you become a leader? “A leader correctly assesses a situation and knows how to take the next step.”

Whether you know it or not, whether you believe it or not, you’re a leader–an influencer. Your opinions are listened to and acted upon. The following nine principles will help you make the most of your influence:

1. Have a dream that will leave this world a better place

“Is there anything worse then being blind? Yes! The most pathetic person in the whole world is someone who has sight but has no vision.” So said Helen Keller.

Leadership is simply the ability to turn a dream or a vision of a desired future state into a reality with and through the cooperation of other people. To throw your life into something worthwhile, your dream must be worth dying for. What do you get excited about?

Have a big vision; something beyond your capabilities to keep you challenged. If we have aimed our efforts for this moment only–for ourselves, for the accumulation of material things, for pleasure–we will soon become dissatisfied and disillusioned with life. Former British Prime Minster Margaret Thatcher said, “There is little hope for democracy if the hearts of men and women cannot be touched by a call to something greater than themselves.”

Have a dream and vision that is greater then yourself–one that will leave this world a better place.

2. Know what your strengths are

To be leaders, we need each other to reach our goals. Each of us has only some of the skills needed to do a great job. We need to surround ourselves with people to fill in our gaps. Seventy-nine year-old Muriel Tower, an experienced entrepreneur, said, “You get things done through other people. Number one in business is get the best person for the job. Number two, delegate. Number three, supervise–go back and see that they did it.”

In order to be effective, you need a team to work with. We lead on the basis of our strengths; we gather our team on the basis of their strengths.

What is your leadership style? Are you a visionary? A person who can see the big picture and take risks? Or are you a detail person–an administrative type? You see the need for systems and order. You do things right and at the right time. You are efficient. Perhaps you are more of a sales person–a people gatherer. You love people and can sell anything to anyone, but don’t care about details. Or maybe you just love working by yourself. A hard worker–a producer. Let someone give you a track to run on and you’ll do it.

Before you are thirty years old, you can probably do all of those jobs without too much difficulty. But once you are over thirty, you realize you don’t want to do the things you aren’t good at. It uses up too much energy. When you know what you are good at, surround yourself with a team who are good at the other three.

When you have that team, meet with them regularly and have a purpose statement that you work toward. Review it often with your staff so you don’t lose your focus. Set short and long term goals, and evaluate two or three times a year to see how you are doing. Your team will be motivated toward reaching your goals together. Give credit where credit is due. Say “thank you” to the people you are working with. Encourage them often!

Understanding your strengths and the strengths of others is a key to effective leadership.

3. Strive for excellence

The people you want to influence will not rise to a higher standard of excellence than what they observe in you. The authors of Megatrends for Women write, “Male or female, the effective leader wins commitment by setting an example of excellence.”

We were hosting a dinner for influential women in three cities with a well-known, successful speaker. Of course we were eager to make a good impression, so we spent hours wording the invitations. However, when they were printed and we looked them over, we discovered–to our dismay–that the logo for our organization was printed upside down. It was a costly oversight.

After much discussion, we decided to reprint them even though we knew that the majority of the women would not even notice the mistake.

We wanted to influence leaders and we had to do things right, not only do the right things. Leaders must strive for excellence.

Strive for excellence and you will motivate others to do the same.

4. Be persistent

Mother Teresa was a determined woman. Margaret Thatcher was a determined woman. The key to being a good leader is endurance–being a non-quitter. You will be tempted to quit and be encouraged to quit by those who are friends and enemies. Be unwilling to throw in the towel. Be determined.

One journalist wrote of Mother Teresa: “When I met Mother Teresa, I discovered she was very tiny–less than five feet tall–and kept her head cocked to one side. She had gnarled hands and thick peasant feet that protruded from under her coarse white sari. Although there was no mistaking the aura of warmth and kindness that surrounded her, I felt I was in the presence of the most powerful, focussed and determined person I had ever met.”

According to a survey done by Deloitte and Touche, senior women executives rated Determination and Perseverance as the number one essential qualities for Women’s success in business. In order to leave this world a different place, you have to be persistent. Leaders don’t grow in a comfort zone. Leaders are not people with exceptional talent; they are people who have learned from their mistakes and get up and try again.

Persistence is a key to effective leadership.

5. Be willing to stand alone

If you have a passion, a dream or a mission, set measurable goals and work toward accomplishing them. You will find that many times you may have to work alone. You will probably be lonely.

People are looking for leaders who are willing to give it all they have, and they will follow–for a while. However, when the going gets tough, when pleasure and comfort compete with responsibility and long hours, followers will drop away. That is when you have to be sure that what you are doing is right, so that you will keep going.

James Cook said, “A person who wants to lead the orchestra must turn his back on the crowd.”

6. Be ready for resistance

One of the facts of life is that when you are in leadership, you have to solve problems.

Pastor Lloyd Ogilvie, for many years the senior pastor at First Presbyterian Church of Hollywood, California and now Chaplain of the U.S. Senate, once observed that “Everyone has problems; if you don’t have any now, you will have problems; wherever you work or live, you’ll have problems; or you just might be someone else’s problem.”

Sometimes we have the faulty notion that we should be able to go through life problem free–that if we have problems, something is wrong with our life. As leaders, we have to be responsible, no matter how painful it is. Running away is not an option.

We can easily fall into waiting for someone else to solve our problems. In her book, The Cinderella Complex, Colette Dowling writes about waiting for Prince Charming: “Like Cinderella, women today are still waiting for something external to transform their lives. We may venture out a little, but underneath lurks a wish to be saved, a deep yearning for dependence.”

You don’t need to wait for someone else’s help. You will have problems. Be ready. Expect it. If you know you are doing what is right, you won’t cave in when the going gets tough.

Facing problems and dealing with them by making good decisions is the difference between a leader and a follower.

7. Set an example for your staff

“Work hard and become a leader; be lazy and never succeed.”

I am amazed at how often people want a position, but not the responsibility. It is natural to want to escape responsibility; we all do it. However, being a leader means working long hours. It means being available to solve problems or give direction whenever necessary. Being a leader means being a servant, whether you are in your home or at work. You are always on call.

A leader works hard.

8. Be ethical

As I travel a lot, I gather stats from many different papers and magazines. USA Today stated that two in three adults believe ethics “vary by situation” or that there is no “unchanging ethical standard of right and wrong.” Only 18% of the people ages 20 – 30 said that there was one standard of right and wrong.

The Vancouver Province printed another study, which reflected that we tell 200 lies a day. Everything from giving excuses for our behaviour, to saying things like, “I hate to bother you . . . ” Don’t expect your staff or the next generation to do what is right if they see you doing what is wrong. It is incredibly important that we have a strong code of ethics to base our decisions and lifestyle on.

What set of values dictate your ethics–your behaviour? Or do you have a code of ethics? Do you have convictions that cause you to say, “I will never do that” or “For me, that is not an option?” If you don’t, sit down, think through and write down your non-negotiable code of ethics. Sometimes it can be the little things that erode your standards and–by the way–your self esteem. When temptation comes, you may very well do something that you will later be sorry for. Sometimes you have harmful situations to live with the rest of your life.

Margaret Thatcher once said, “I am not a consensus politician, I am a conviction politician.” What kind of leader are you? Do you have convictions of your own or do you live by the consensus of other opinions?

It is of utmost importance to have high ethical standards to be an effective leader.

9. Let God be your guide

Elizabeth Dole, President of the American Red Cross, stated in an interview: “To me it’s very important to know I have a source of strength beyond my own. When I’m undertaking a difficult assignment or making a tough decision, I’m glad I don’t have to rely on my own energy, wisdom, and judgement.”

Twenty-four years ago, I realized I needed a source of strength beyond myself. The goals I had set for myself were not satisfying and even relationships did not fill my deepest need. At the ageof thirty-two, I gave the control of my life to God. He is that source of strength I needed. I simply prayed, “I want You to be my Guide from now until I die.” He heard me.

Initially, I was filled with tremendous joy, peace and satisfaction. I felt like someone really cared for me–accepted me unconditionally. It was like finding a missing piece to a puzzle after looking for a long time.

My goals, priorities and dreams started changing. My dreams became much bigger–beyond what I could personally do. My scope of interest grew from the home base to the community, from the community to the province, from the province to our nation, from our nation to the world.

I noticed many women in my world were not maximizing their abilities; I worked hard to encourage and train them to be the best women they could be.

Yet what is more important, I realized that if Jesus Christ could satisfy me and change my life so dramatically, He could do that for anyone. So I started telling people how they could have a personal relationship with God.

Find the power to change your life and your world–let God be your guide.

Oliver W. Holmes was quoted as saying, “I find the great thing in this world is not so much where we stand, as is what direction we are heading.” What direction do you think you will be heading 5 years from now? 10 years from now? 25 years from now?

As a leader, what direction are you heading? What direction are you taking the 250 people you are influencing?

http://www.nba.com/video/channels/top_plays/2014/04/18/20140417-nyk-anthony-top10-yr.nba/

Living with hope

If you are looking for peace, there is a way to balance your life. No one can be perfect, or have a perfect life. But every one of us has the opportunity to experience perfect grace through a personal relationship with God through his Son, Jesus Christ.

You can receive Christ right now by faith through prayer. Praying is simply talking to God. God knows your heart and is not so concerned with your words as he is with the attitude of your heart. Here’s a suggested prayer:

Lord Jesus, I want to know you personally. Thank you for dying on the cross for my sins. I open the door of my life to you and ask you to come in as my Savior and Lord. Take control of my life. Thank you for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life. Make me the kind of person you want me to be.

Empower A Felon

Yes! I prayed this prayer.

~ I Am Fit To Be Used By God~

Posted on


Prisons have been in existence for thousands of years, originally as a place where people accused of crimes were held until their trial or judgment, while in more modern times imprisonment has also become a form of sentence itself. Prisons have also been used to silence or neutralize political or religious reformers. Throughout The Bible, God’s people very often found themselves in prison – in a world in which evil still reigns , their “crimes” were righteousness and truth.

Prison

Old Testament

“So Joseph’s master took him and put him into the jail, the place where the king’s prisoners were confined; and he was there in the jail. But The Lord was with Joseph and extended kindness to him, and gave him favor in the sight of the chief jailer.” (Genesis 39:20-21 NASB) (see Coat Of Many Colors)

“She said, The Philistines are upon you, Samson! And he awoke from his sleep and said, I will go out as at other times and shake myself free. But he did not know that The Lord had departed from him. Then the Philistines seized him and gouged out his eyes; and they brought him down to Gaza and bound him with bronze chains, and he was a grinder in the prison. However, the hair of his head began to grow again after it was shaved off.” (Judges 16:20-21 NASB) (see Samson And Delilah)

“Then the officials were angry at Jeremiah [see also Prophets] and beat him, and they put him in jail in the house of Jonathan the scribe [see Scribes], which they had made into the prison. For Jeremiah had come into the dungeon, that is, the vaulted cell; and Jeremiah stayed there many days. Now King Zedekiah [see Kings of Israel and Judah] sent and took him out; and in his palace the king secretly asked him and said, Is there a word from The Lord? And Jeremiah said, There is! Then he said, You will be given into the hand of the king of Babylon! [see King Nebuchadnezzar and Ancient Empires – Babylon] (Jeremiah 37:15-17 NASB)

New Testament

“For when Herod [see The Herods] had John [see John The Baptist] arrested, he bound him and put him in prison because of Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip. For John had been saying to him, It is not lawful for you to have her.” (Matthew 14:3-4 NASB)

“Also the people from the cities in the vicinity of Jerusalem were coming together, bringing people who were sick or afflicted with unclean spirits, and they were all being healed. But the high priest rose up, along with all his associates, that is the sect of the Sadducees [see also Who Were The Pharisees? andSanhedrin], and they were filled with jealousy. They laid hands on the apostles and put them in a public jail. But during the night an angel of The Lord opened the gates of the prison, and taking them out he said, Go, stand and speak to the people in the Temple [see Temples] the whole message of this Life.” (Acts 5:16-20 NASB)

“Saul was in hearty agreement with putting him to death. And on that day a great persecution began against the church in Jerusalem, and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles. Some devout men buried Stephen, and made loud lamentation over him. But Saul began ravaging the church, entering house after house, and dragging off men and women, he would put them in prison.” (Acts 8:1-3 NASB)

“I persecuted this Way [see The Way] to the death, binding and putting both men and women into prisons, as also the high priest and all the Council of the elders can testify. From them I also received letters to the brethren, and started off for Damascus in order to bring even those who were there to Jerusalem as prisoners to be punished. But it happened that as I was on my way, approaching Damascus about noontime, a very bright light suddenly flashed from heaven all around me, and I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?'” (Acts 22:4-7 NASB) (see On The Road To Damascus)

“Now about that time Herod the king laid hands on some who belonged to the church [see What Is The Church?] in order to mistreat them. And he hadJames the brother of John put to death with a sword. When he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded to arrest Peter also. Now it was during the days of Unleavened Bread. When he had seized him, he put him in prison, delivering him to four squads of soldiers [see Roman Legions] to guard him, intending after the Passover to bring him out before the people. So Peter was kept in the prison, but prayer for him was being made fervently by the church to God. On the very night when Herod was about to bring him forward, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and guards in front of the door were watching over the prison. And behold, an angel of The Lord suddenly appeared and a light shone in the cell; and he struck Peter’s side and woke him up, saying, Get up quickly. And his chains fell off his hands.” (Acts 12:1-7 NASB)

2 Timothy 2:20-22

20In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for noble purposes and some for ignoble. 21If a man cleanses himself from the latter, he will be an instrument for noble purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.

22 Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.

I have seen men of high achievement in the world tremble with a sense of awe as they realized that on a given occasion they were the instrument of God’s working. I can tell you from personal experience that is something that is without compare in this life. It can happen anywhere, anytime. God works in wonderful ways, not always in very dramatic ways, but in ways we do not anticipate. It can happen to anybody. Being used of God is not confined to pastors, preachers or teachers. Anybody can be an instrument in God’s hands.

In the passage we are looking at this morning from Second Timothy, Chapter 2, beginning with Verse 20, the Apostle Paul describes what it takes to be used of God.

In a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver but also of wood and earthenware, and some for noble use, some for ignoble. If any one purifies himself from what is ignoble, then he will be a vessel for noble use, consecrated and useful to the master of the house, ready for any good work. (2 Timothy 2:20-21 RSV)

Most of the commentators take this reference to “a great house” to refer to the whole professing church. They see the church as the house of God, which is the term Paul used for this in his first letter to Timothy. But if we compare what other Scriptures say on this, we discover that Scripture itself forces us to extend this analogy not only to the church, but to the whole world. Every person in the world is a possible vessel for God to use, regardless of what his attitude to God may be.

Scripture reveals that God uses his enemies, even the devil, to accomplish his work. God’s sovereignty, his majesty, is such that no matter who we may be or what we may be like, we can be used by him. In the story of the Exodus, in the Old Testament, we learn that not only was Moses the instrument of God but so was Pharaoh. In Romans 9, Paul says that Pharaoh was used of God to resist the departure from Egypt in order that the greatness of God might be manifest. The apostle says that God raised up Pharaoh, set him on his throne, and used him for his purposes. In fact, in the ninth chapter of Romans, the 21st through the 23rd verses, the apostle uses this very same figure about vessels of mercy contrasted with vessels of wrath. He says, “Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for beauty and another for menial use?” (Romans 9:21 RSV). So Scripture itself supports the idea that God can use anybody, believer or nonbeliever.

In Isaiah we are told that Nebuchadnezzar was the servant of God (Jeremiah 27:6), even though he was a Babylonian pagan. Cyrus the Persian king is called “God’s anointed one,” (Isaiah 45:1). God speaks of him as “my shepherd” (Isaiah 44:28), though he too was an unbeliever. If we understand life from the Biblical point of view, we must know that all people can be used of God. So it is not a question of whether you are going to be used of God or not. As this passage points out, the question is, How does God plan to use you? What is he going to do with you? To what purpose is he going to put you in his program? Will it be a noble purpose, or will it be, as this version says, an ignoble? Will it be for good or bad, blessing or judgment? We need to clearly understand this fact.

Recently I saw a sign on someone’s desk that said, “It may be that my whole purpose in life is to serve as a warning to others.” Everyone needs a bad example as well as a good one. That may be the purpose God will put us to.The Scriptures do not teach that only the righteous people are used of God. No, God can use anyone. He used Hitler to accomplish certain purposes of judgment and correction. God uses the basest of men; we all are instruments of his work. God used Judas, placing him in the apostolic band. Jesus knew that he would betray him. Judas fulfilled the Scriptures and the predictions of the prophets on that night when he lifted up his heel against the Lord and betrayed him. So God can use anyone.

What type of vessel are you choosing to yield to today? My quest of service is to the human being that is rapidly becoming an endangered species. Our youth are targeted for prison from schools and your family members also. Please consider my passion as my part to help fit others for service in life and their communities.

8k7la86586

~My Perspective Is Faith In God~

Posted on


Our instincts are the treasure map for our soul’s satisfaction. Following our instincts can make the crucial distinction between what we are good at—our vocation or skill set—and what we are good for—the fulfillment of our purposeful potential. When you’re truly engaged with your life’s calling, whether in the boutique, the banquet hall, or the boardroom, you rely on something that cannot be taught. I’m convinced that our instincts can provide the combination we need to align our unique variables with our callings and release the treasure within us. When harnessed, refined, and heeded, our instincts can provide the key to unlocking our most productive, most satisfying, most joyful lives. We often recognize people who seem to thrive by instinct. Fashion designers who do what they do beyond the training they received, with a flair for the latest trends that’s inherent and instinctive. Interior decorators and others in the graphic arts may wield this gift as well, but they are not the only ones. Athletes in the “zone,” or investors with a keen sense of timing, performers with the courage to audition for a role outside their fans’ expectations. They all know what it means to function by their own unique internal compass.

If you have ever had the privilege of working with someone like this, then you know they can take the mundane and make it magical. They can take the most simplistic equipment and produce the most superlative results. Often they maximize their training with their unique flair. No matter what you call it, the truly gifted simply have that extra something that seemingly others don’t have or don’t tap into the way they should. Unfortunately, much of what I see today isn’t about fulfilling one’s true potential as much as it is about appearing to fulfill what other people expect. Too many people want the appearance of winning rather than the practices and hard work that create a true champion. They mistake the prize for the art of winning and will ultimately buy a trophy without ever running a race. They didn’t take the class; they bought the diploma. They aren’t successful; they just have the props. They aren’t driven to achieve something; they just bust their gut to appear busy to everyone around them.

The irony is what these people fail to realize. When you’re living by instinct, then you will naturally enhance everything and everyone around you. In other words, success will come naturally! When both your intellect and instincts are aligned, then producing the fruits of your labors brings satisfaction beyond measure. Now, it will still require hard work and dedication on your part, but the internal satisfaction will fuel your desire to achieve even larger dreams. Based on the fact that we are all inherently creative people, if we are in touch with our instincts, then we will naturally increase our endeavors. When you don’t become fixated on winning the prize or appearing successful, and instead pursue your passions, then you will discover the fulfillment that comes from living by instinct. My instincts have said to pursue the ministry of “Helps” and name it Second Chance Alliance. I have done all I can to reach out, I am doing all I can to stand, I am doing all I can to pray my way through while I believe in the God inspired instinct of this vision. I believe this to be the course God has called me to operate in, and although it seems insurmountable and not gaining any momentum I will stand the course.

George Mueller’s Strategy for Showing God

In one of my blessings today I spoke with someone who invested time in review of my campaign. He told me that my faith is the fleece and I shouldn’t have to solicit funding because if God led me to it , He will truly fund it and that would be the proof. Well I took a look at that by reading what he suggested.

George Mueller was a native German (a Prussian). He was born in Kroppenstaedt on September 27, 1805 and lived almost the entire nineteenth century. He died March 10, 1898 at the age of 92. He saw the great awakening of 1859 which he said “led to the conversion of hundreds of thousands.” He did follow up work for D. L. Moody, preached for Charles Spurgeon,  and inspired the missionary faith of Hudson Taylor.

He spent most of his life in Bristol, England and pastored the same church there for over sixty-six years—a kind of independent, premillennial,  Calvinistic Baptist church that celebrated the Lord’s supper weekly and admitted non-baptized people into membership. If this sounds unconventional, that would be accurate. He was a maverick not only in his church life but in almost all the areas of his life. But his eccentricities were almost all large-hearted and directed outward for the good of others. A. T. Pierson, who wrote the biography that Mueller’s son-in-law endorsed as authoritative, captured the focus of this big-hearted eccentricity when he said, George Mueller “devised large and liberal things for the Lord’s cause.”

In 1834 (when he was 28) he founded The Scripture Knowledge Institute for Home and Abroad, because he was disillusioned with the post-millennialism, the liberalism, and the worldly strategies (like going into debt) of existing mission organizations. Five branches of this Institute developed: 1) Schools for children and adults to teach Bible knowledge, 2) Bible distribution, 3) missionary support, 4) tract and book distribution, and 5) “to board, clothe and Scripturally educate destitute children who have lost both parents by death.”

The Gift of Faith vs. the Grace of Faith

So were his prayers for Mary answered? To understand how Mueller himself would answer this question, we have to see the way he distinguished between the extraordinary gift of faith and the more ordinary grace of faith. He constantly insisted that he did not have the gift of faith when people put him on a pedestal just because he would pray for his own needs and the needs of the orphans, and the money would arrive in remarkable ways.

Think not, dear reader, that Ihave the gift of faith, that is, that gift of which we read in 1 Corinthians 12:9, and which is mentioned along with “the gifts of healing,” “the working of miracles,”prophecy,” and that on that account I am able to trust in the Lord. It is true that the faith, which I am enabled to exercise, is altogether God’s own gift; it is true that He alone supports it, and that He alone can increase it; it is true that, moment by moment, I depend upon Him for it, and that, if I were only one moment left to myself, my faith would utterly fail; but it is not true that my faith is that gift of faith which is spoken of in 1 Corinthians 12:9.

The reason he is so adamant about this is that his whole life—especially in the way he supported the orphans by faith and prayer without asking anyone but God for money—was consciously planned to encourage Christians that God could really be trusted to meet their needs. We will never understand George Mueller’s passion for the orphan ministry if we don’t see that the good of the orphans was second to this.

The three chief reasons for establishing an Orphan-House are: 1. That God may be glorified, should He be pleased to furnish me with the means, in its being seen that it is not a vain thing to trust in Him; and that thus the faith of His children may be strengthened. 2. The spiritual welfare of fatherless and motherless children. 3. Their temporal welfare.

And make no mistake about it: the order of those three goals is intentional. He makes that explicit over and over in his Narrative. The orphan houses exist to display that God can be trusted and to encourage believers to take him at his word. This was a deep sense of calling with Mueller. He said that God had given him the mercy in “being able to take God by His word and to rely upon it.” He was grieved that “so many believers . . . were harassed and distressed in mind, or brought guilt on their consciences, on account of not trusting in the Lord.” This grace that he had to trust God’s promises, and this grief that so many believers didn’t trust his promises, shaped Mueller’s entire life. This was his supreme passion: to display with open proofs that God could be trusted with the practical affairs of life. This was the higher aim of building the orphan houses and supporting them by asking God, not people, for money.

The accomplishments of all five branches were significant, but the one he was known for around the world in his own lifetime, and still today, was the orphan ministry. He built five large orphan houses and cared for 10,024 orphans in his life. When he started in 1834 there were accommodations for 3,600 orphans in all of England and twice that many children under eight were in prison. One of the great effects of Mueller’s ministry was to inspire others so that “fifty years after Mr. Mueller began his work, at least one hundred thousand orphans were cared for in England alone.”

He did all this while he was preaching three times a week from 1830 to 1898, at least 10,000 times. And when he turned 70 he fulfilled a life-long dream of missionary work for the next 17 years until he was 87. He traveled to 42 countries, preaching on average of once a day, and addressing some three million people. He preached nine times  in Minneapolis in 1880 (nine years after the founding of Bethlehem Baptist Church).

I am moved by this autobiography, but I don’t see myself as asking in a sense to defraud anyone. I don’t see my being affiliated with a philanthropist  approach as begging. My faith is in tact and my course set by God. Just like those orphans my passion is ex-offenders. I being an ex-offender makes my instinct to succeed that much greater for my fellowman. That being said, If One thousand people gave ten dollars, that would be Ten Thousand dollars and 6 men afforded the opportunity to rehabilitation. If the church didn’t ask for an offering how would the church budget get paid? If the preacher doesn’t educate the congregation about giving how many people do you think would give? We as individuals have to believe with the measure of faith we have. If you believe in this vision, please pray or contribute. If you don’t, please don’t seed my faith with guilt because I am moving in faith that “He” will do what He has said unto His servant. I accept all comments and questions. I even take suggestions, but I can do without anyone’s lack of faith or belief in this dream.

8k7la86586