June 2014 | Business As Mission

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June 2014 | Business As Mission

Grant Skeldon

Director, INITIATIVE

1 Corinthians 4:1 - “This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God.” – Stewards of the mysteries of God. We should take this title seriously and proudly. How are you doing this for the Lord? When you’re around people who are doing things on their passions, you too will do something. Show me your friends and I will show you your future. 

We are defined by our titles. Titles give us an identity. 

  • Freelancer.
  • Chief Financial Officer.
  • Intern.
  • President of the United States.

But one title transcends all of these: we are stewards of the mysteries of God.

1 Timothy 4:12 - In this we are held accountable to our actions. Why do we not know what we want to do? We are critical, noncommittal, loose cannon people. Do we want to be a part of a movement that is not just temporary? The Church. We care about unifying the church and mobilizing the church. We also want to champion the church and build character. 

Michael Craven

Chairman and CEO, The Good-Works Company

“We are living in a period of great reformation – no less than the one 500 years ago,” Craven said as he opened his keynote. “The reason is millennials. They are disgusted with cultural Christianity and want something more muscular, and that is why I am optimistic about the future of the Church in the western world.”Craven says “business as mission” is often reduced to three concepts: 

  • Personal Piety (morals and ethics)
  • Evangelism (share the gospel with people in the workplace)
  • Philanthropy (give money to the poor if you make a lot of money)

This view is misguided because it reduces business to the meeting of another end; it implies that business has no spiritual value. But work will be the core of our lives in the new heaven and the new earth. God loves jobs; they provide an outlet for us to serve others and glorify Him. The free market glorifies God because it forces companies to serve other people, whether they are consciously Christian or consciously pagan. If our products do not meet a need or fulfill a desire, we go out of business. In essence, that’s what business is: humans doing together what no one can do on their own in service of others. Undoubtedly, this free enterprise system has been perverted as a result of the fall. But Christians should not abandon the marketplace; we should go and claim it for Christ. 

Perhaps the greatest redemptive work in the business world is its ability to alleviate people from poverty. Since 1970, more people have been lifted out of poverty than in the previous 1,000 years combined – because of the free market. The greatest poverty alleviation program has been and always will be a job. It is that reality that drove Michael Craven to found The Good-Works Company, which seeks to alleviate poverty, restore human dignity, and create flourishing communities through good work. The company has established three family companies in the Bonton neighborhood of Dallas:

  • Bonton Shade Works
  • Bonton Farm Works
  • Bonton Wood Works

These companies seek to serve their communities by providing meaningful work and decent wages for their workers, as well as providing vital services to their patrons at reasonable rates. They are for-profit companies, and Craven says there is nothing wrong with that.

“Making money is not the purpose of business, just as breathing is not the purpose of living. But try living without breathing – it’s not fun,” he said. “As Christians, we absolutely believe in the redistribution of wealth, but the voluntary redistribution of wealth, not forced redistribution by the state. Governments don’t create wealth; they take wealth.”

Panelists:

Michael Craven // Founder and CEO of The Good-Works Company

Joey Turner // Owner of Brewed Coffee

Kelsey McLain // Founder of ShopMieux

Byron Sanders // Executive Director of the Dallas Education Foundation

Trey Bowles // CEO of The DEC, Founder of the Mayor Star Council, Professor of                   Entrepreneurship at Southern Methodist University

Q: How can churches make a difference in the marketplace right now?

Turner: “It’s not about your church’s name recognition; it’s about Christ’s renown. People don’t need to know that it’s from your local Church in order for it to make a difference for the Kingdom.”

Q: How do you partner your business with the Gospel and helping others?

McClain: “We donated 20,000 pounds of clothing to a woman’s shelter ... I also came to realize that God gave me understanding of fashion and clothing, as well as talent with the internet, and I am called to use those two gifts as both a community and Kingdom effort.”

Q: What aspect of business builds the Kingdom the most?

Craven: “Setting right what sin has set wrong ... Business provides a context in which Christians can address the brokenness of the world. So, business provides the restoration of human dignity, and it helps them grow in their awareness of their identity.”

Q: In what moment did you realize that your business was making an impact?

Sanders: “I planned to climb the corporate ladder and do some good in the community. Then I read a book called ’30 Days To Live,’ and it became clear that I needed to follow my passion: tutoring and mentoring ... When God made it clear to me to leave my job, I didn’t have the right to say ‘Let me save up.’ He said, “No, go now. I’m not going to send you on a mission without the arsenal to finish it.’ ... You’ll never see God show up for you any more clearly than when you have stepped out for him.”

Q: If you could give advice to your 22-year-old self, what would it be?

Bowles: “I wanted to be a millionaire by age 30, but I was chasing after the wrong thing ... I was developing the Mayor’s Star Council when I heard about Free City International, a ministry that works with Refugees. God used this organization to correct my priorities. He said, ‘If you think for one second that your goal is to create a 50-year organization and hang out with the mayor, you’re wrong. In three years, a Sudanese woman will accept Christ on the soccer field with Free City International.’ And that’s his perspective. Worldly benefit is not the purpose behind our work.”

 

Mobilization

The Good-Works Company | http://thegoodworkscompany.com

Brewed Coffee | http://brewedfw.com

Movement Day Greater Dallas | http://movementdaygreaterdallas.com

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May 2014 | Poverty

Comment

May 2014 | Poverty

(notes taken by Mallory Bingaman)

Joe Ader

There is one dominant factor that plays a part in all things that are needed in Dallas: Poverty
Right now, there is a group of people called by their KING to make a difference in this area for the Kingdom.

89% of the world lives on less than $10 a day
99% lives on 32 per day in the US

Your socioeconomic class shapes the way you view the world. Try to open up your mind and think differently. Others in the world think differently than you! If you are middle class, you're in the top 1% of the entire world.
When I was 13, I was in and out of church, but always involved in camp. It was great. We had fun, got worked up and then everybody got saved! I got saved every year. All kidding aside, I loved camp. When I was 13, signing up for camp ended up taking us to a motel in inner city los angeles for a week. It was very eye opening. We almost had our room broken into by a drunken man and when we told the prostitutes kids at breakfast the next day, they weren't surprised. It was no big deal, because to them it was normal. It changed the way that I saw poverty, even at 13. I realized I just had a passion for poverty. What is Christ doing in all of us, no matter our status.

Biblical Understanding of Poverty

What would you do If your car breaks down?

Most of us would call AAA! simple as that. But if you're in generational poverty and your car doesn't start, you call someone that could maybe help. That person can't help that moment, but this person gives you a ride. In this, the transportation problem turns into a job problem, because you can't always rely on getting rides/catching the bus. living wage in dallas is 13.50 an hour. If you lose your job, it turns into not having money for housing; now you have a housing problem. Eventually, going back and forth of finding a job and couch surfing. You begin to stress about all the issues and problems you may have with friends or family because of this. It turns into a healthcare problem and then most turn to substance abuse. We as believers can go in and cut the webs entangling each compartment. We can help.

In poverty, if you have a car, you can use that as a commodity to get things you want in the neighborhood. It is a status symbol. With some, they say they don't need a car to get a job, but they need their teeth. It's tyranny of the moment. The present is the most important. You don't have time to think about tomorrow. In middle class, we have time to think about tomorrow, because today is taken care of and we are very future focused. Our way of seeing the world is very different.

Why should we care about this issue? "What you have done to the least of these you have done to me" that is LITERAL to him. He came to proclaim the good news to the poor. Christ came to the world from a teenage, unwed, mother. He traveled town to town with 12 men. (we would call that a gang today) He came and lived a poor man's life.

LUKE 4:18&19---if we are his followers shouldn't we be doing the same?
2 Corinthians 4:17-20---we are trying to offer a whole new life in CHRIST.

PANEL (Q&A)
Jennifer Jeran (The Open Table), Markus Lloyd (Unite), Trey Hill, Joe Ader,

Q: What is the most practical way to help children in poverty?
A: engage relationships with the child, walk with them. The benefit is that these relationships will be mutually transforming.

Q: what is the most effective way middle class citizens can make an impact in our city?
A: any nonprofit can do food, clothing, etc. The unique thing about the church is that we have been called to make disciples. We can use those avenues to help them, but we can't let them see growth without relationship/discipleship. Meet someone in poverty and walk with them. EVEN if you get burned.

Q: What do you think the biggest way that the church is hurting the fight against poverty?
A: transactional love. You think you're doing them a service, but there is no relationship. You usually end up crushing their confidence and belief that they can help themselves.

Q: What is the most challenging place with middle class adults understanding people in poverty?
A: They don't always understand the rules that are in place to survive in those communities

Q: how do you find mental illness effects poverty?
A: constantly being rejected and seeing the things you get fall away, it does something to you mentally. You start to grab onto false things. the best thing you can do, as the church, is to be in relationship with them. You have to treat them like they're human, like any other person or friend. Try to understand them.

Q: What are your thoughts on "Poverty is a choice"?
A: in the US we say "you pull yourself up by your bootstraps" God told us after the fall that we would work and it would be more difficult. Because of the fall, sin can step in, you get lack of resources, you get

Q: what are the obstacles you see in low income neighborhoods that you see effect children getting a good education?
A: you live in a poor community, you have a poor school. This is not just a Dallas problem, this is a nation problem.

Q: in what ways does unchecked violence by the government effect poverty
A: it turns into the survival of the fittest. They say whoever is the biggest has the most power.

Q: What do we do with the homeless person asking for money right in front of us?
A: it depends on the situation and how the spirit is leading you. Sometimes they get asked and they help and provide. Sometimes they get asked and they have nothing to give, but give them the gospel. It really depends on the motivation of your heart rather than the person who is asking. Your motivation is what makes it.

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April 2014 | Creative Arts

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April 2014 | Creative Arts

A lot of us complain about Dallas, but if we don't love our city how are we going to love our neighbor? Are you going to invest or are you going to complain? If you're here, you're either going to leave or you're going to stay and do work where he's put you. [Acts 17:26]

Mike Rawlings, Mayor of Dallas, has a huge interest in bringing the arts community back, because he knows that creative communities bring life to the city.

First it was God and us in the garden, together. Then it was God for us. Jesus came down and it was God with us. Jesus died, the spirit came into us as believers and we became the presence of God. Now, it is God in us. That is why we are here to represent an incredible God.

68% of non-believers believe that church and Christians are boring. Jesus, the one that rose from the grave, is in us and using us. Our God walked on water, turned water into wine, defeated death, is any of that boring? BORING PEOPLE DON'T CHANGE THE WORLD. So, why are we boring when our savior is not?

Isaac Wimberley  | Worship Pastor with The Village Church / Spoken Word Artist / Creator

I am imagining God, before time began, perfectly completely. The trinity enjoying each other and alive. They are complete and in need of nothing. The triune God in their completeness begin to CREATE. In Genesis it tells us that God was in the beginning and he created something from nothing. From there, he began to paint day and night, earth and sky, water and land, and all of creation.

Then God created man and woman. (Gen 1:27)

 

Creation is an expression in response to God's completeness. They create as an expression in a response of their own completeness. In the IMAGE of God create as an expression in response to God's completeness. Be in response of the movement of God in your life, no matter what season. We are, as creatives, to express in response to the completeness of God.

  • Genesis 2:23- When Adam awakes, he finds that God has created woman from his side. In Adam's response to the creation of Woman, he sings of God's ways. SINGS!

  • Exodus 15- Moses is being chased out by and is leading his people away from pharaoh. Then the Lord splits the water of the sea for his people to allow them passage to safety. Then the people sing in rejoicing to his goodness.

  • 1 Samuel 2- Hannah talking on the birth of samuel, she commits him to the Lord. Hannah is in worship and creativity in response to the Lord's goodness and movement. She expresses in poetry form.

  • Psalm 51- The song of David, when Nathan the prophet comes to him about Bathsheba, is in response to God’s mercy and kindness on David. David completely open and exposed in his sin, and the movement of God has sought him out. So, David shouts out and responds in his conviction in poetry form.

  • Luke 1- Mary finds out she is pregnant with no husband by her side, but exalts the Lord for his good works. She shouts out and magnifies the Lord in complete rejoicing.

  • Acts 16.25- Paul and Silas are in jail. They were praying and singing in jail. There was an earthquake that broke the bonds and chains. It shook the jail and opened the gates.

Since the beginning of time, we have seen those who have expressed in response to the Lord and his completeness and majesty. So as creatives, we are to pour into the talent, the gift, because God deserves that worship. Book the shows. Take the photos. Sing the songs. It is on you to pour into that to give right back to Him. He is worth the time it takes to perfect and release into it. Tell him the TRUTH.

DALLAS NEEDS JESUS. Jesus doesn't need to be watered down. Jesus stands on his own and so you tell them, but you tell them the truth. If your life has been changed and you tell how, why, when, that story is powerful. Whatever stage you end up on or whatever mantle the Lord has given you. Just kill that mantle and worship in freedom; don't be jealous of other people's mantles. Handle your mantle, and let others worry about their own while you handle the one right in front of you. We do not need to worry about how loud our voice is or isn't let God take care of that and how far it carries. Let the Lord take care of it and trust him fully. When the Lord saves, he changes everything about you. He gives you the ability to see things differently. So, tell them. I want to see your photos, hear your story. So tell them, but tell them the truth.

Questions With Our Panel:

Isaac Wimberly, Jordan Laessig, Paul Tellefsenn, Kevin Walker, Shy Speaks

Q: How can you glorify God through social media?

A: Let your life speak in the way you represent yourself. Like Francis of Assisi says, "Preach the gospel at all times, and if necessary uses words."

=================

Q: How do I tell when it's time to pursue other creative endeavors?

A: The best time is when you're comfortable where you are. It is time to move forward and challenge yourself to find something new. Sometimes, the best projects are the ones you feel unequipped for, because then you get to grow and experience new things.

=================

Q: How do church leaders cultivate an environment that is diverse?

A: There is a certain amount of openness that our church leaders have. As young people, you have to push gently to get your leadership to be open to creativity.

 =================

Q: How do you keep your creativity as an act of worship when it serves as your job?

A: Keep your creativity as an act of worship? Look at it as an opportunity and not a job. Present your body as a living sacrifice. It is a reasonable service! It is the least that we can do!

 =================

Q: How does one creatively speak the truth in love to a culture that is so antagonistic towards God's word?

A: You LOVE them. No matter who they are what they have done, you love them; whatever that means. It isn't about proving ourselves to be right. It will break the divide if you just love them well with no expectations.

 =================

Q: How do you battle depression as a creative?

A: You put up a good fight in knowing that sometimes you get knocked down. Even when sometimes getting out of bed feels like the most daunting fight. I see acting on creativity as a source of putting up a good fight against darkness.

 =================

Q: I feel like being creative brings a certain type of stigma with it. How do you break that barrier?

A: “Let your freak flag fly”- Jimi Hendrix

Whatever that gift is? Let it fly and do not worry about stigma. The best creatives are the ones that are willing to go with those instincts no matter what and that's God given.

 =================

Q: How were you able to distinguish your talent? Is it because others affirm you or did you always know?

A: What I am called to do and what I am good at are different. God will equip you for what your calling is. It is sometimes affirmed by others in encouragement, and that is a huge part, but another huge part is knowing what God has given you and what he as for you to carry out.

 =================

Q: What are some ways to foster creativity?

A: Be around people who are similar to you, but just creatives. Allow others to spark ideas in you through different perspectives.

 =================

Q: How do creatives stay humble in opportunities and not be jealous of other creatives?

A: Truly, in your heart, enjoy other people's art. Even if they are further along than you or wishing you were on their mantle. Sit back and mentally tell yourself, "I enjoy this" Face the jealousy head on.

 =================

Q: How have you been able to be creative when you're placed in an environment where creativity is not made to flow?

A: There are places where I don't feel inspired and new things were not being created and it was difficult. I was inspired by going out and driving through different places. Be inspired by God's creation, because his beauty is everywhere.

 =================

Q: What is the biggest need for creators in Dallas?

A: I view our mission is to make the city a better city, because the arts makes the city vibrant and diverse. We need more harmony with our people, as well. We bring unity and make our city come alive. Bring creativity, open mindedness and ideas of how to make this city better.

=================

Q: What is the one thing you would tell creatives in Dallas?

A: CREATE. Go into the city and work on your craft and express them for the glory of God.

Organizations at the Event:

Mercy Street | www.mercystreetdallas.org

Forge America | www.forgeamerica.com

Art House Dallas |  www.arthousedallas.com

Union Coffee | www.uniondallas.net

Socality |  www.socality.org

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ITJYC5NkkI&w=560&h=315]

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March 2014 | Prison Outreach & Re-Entry

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March 2014 | Prison Outreach & Re-Entry

“Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” || John 13:35

The mission of INITIATIVE is three-fold:

  • Connecting Passions
  • Exposing Needs
  • Empowering Young Christians

INITIATIVE Director, Grant Skeldon, took some time to dissect the idea of connecting passions. As the Church, how do we connect? As the Church, what is our passion? According to John 13:35, both questions have the same answer: love.

Why does Initiative place such a heavy emphasis on connecting? Because you can’t love someone if you don’t even know them. With 4,800 churches in the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex, there is no excuse for us to not come together for the sake of the city and, ultimately, the Kingdom.

 

DUCHE' BRADLEY

Duché Bradley was living an impressive life. As a bodyguard for J-Lo and P-Diddy, Duché traveled the world in luxury and class. Google a photo of one of his celebrity bosses and you’ll probably see him in the background.

Rewind a decade or so.

Duché became a dad at the age of 19. Having grown up without a father, Duché made a promise to his son that he meant with all his heart: “Son, I love you. Daddy’s never gonna leave you.” Despite good intentions, Duché’s day job made keeping that promise more complicated than expected. He was making bank as a cocaine dealer. He relished the rush that came with the danger of the job. At one point, he walked through security at John F. Kennedy
International Airport with cocaine wrapped around his ankles. He was daring to be caught.

And eventually, he was.

One day during his time behind bars, Duché was pulled aside by a fellow inmate. It was that inmate who said the eight words that forever changed his life: “You look burdened. Can I pray for you?” 

“That was the first time someone cared for me regardless,” Duché said.

After serving only 2.5 years of his 9 year sentence, Duché re-entered society with the goal of being about his Father’s business. However, a painful reality quickly set in: God had forgiven him, but people hadn’t. Duché failed to find a full-time job. He struggled with the new dynamic civilian life presented for his relationship with his son. Perhaps most heartbreaking, he never found an accepting community of believers.

“I cried out to God saying ‘Who am I?’” he recalled, calling it the low-point of his life.

“But I stayed about my father’s business. He had better things in store.” Duché eventually got offered a job as a bodyguard for P-Diddy and J-Lo. He later left those positions to become an “I Am Second” ambassador and do prison outreach with the Bill Glass Foundation. He hopes his story will move the Church to act on what is a pressing issue in the Dallas area.

THE FACTS

  • 60% of individuals released from prison in a given year will have committed another crime within six months without community involvement
  • 75% of individuals released from prison in a given year have returned to a life of crime within a four year period unless connected with a nurturing church
  • 65% of formerly incarcerated persons have not returned to prison within a three  year period if they have had consistent involvement with a mentor or a spiritual adviser.

OUR PRAYER

  • We want to pray for incarcerated people
  • Dallas contains the 7th largest prison in America
  • Pray that they would find freedom in Christ
  • We want to pray for families
  • Peace and comfort from God
  • That they would love those in prison well and plead to God on their behalf
  • We want to pray for mentors
  • That God would raise up men and women to mentor those transitioning out of prison
  • “Church, be about your father’s business, and love people enough to say eight words –‘You look burdened. Can I pray for you?’ – and it will change their lives forever.”

TAKE ACTION

If God has used Duché’s story to ignite a passion in your heart for prison ministry, see the links below for our partner organizations.

BEHIND THE WALLS with BILL GLASS
Contact person: Duche Bradley || www.behindthewalls.com

PRISON FELLOWSHIP MINISTRIES
Contact person: Dave Baer  || Dave_bear@pfm.org || 972-935-2355

ROD MINISTRY
Contact person: Dr. Jeffrey Parker || Dr.parker@rodministries.org || 214-943-5010 || 469-487-5737

 

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February 2014 | Refugees

Comment

February 2014 | Refugees

Matthew 28:19-20: Know this: discipleship gives us four calls to action:

  • GO
  • BAPTIZE
  • MAKE DISCIPLES
  • TEACH

The church is taking these things seriously, but we are still struggling to make disciples within the church. We want to see the world radically changed for the gospel. The fear is that we decide to start separating missions/world changing from the church. We are to remember that Jesus instituted the church and has called us to work, first and foremost, through the bride of Christ. Jesus called us to go to all the nations. Dallas is one of the top recipients of refugees, and with that being said, the nations are coming to us. They're in our backyard, Vickery Meadows. The goal isn't to americanize these people, but to show them Jesus Christ.

Jason Clarke

Jason Clarke with Free City International took the stage to address some of the harder parts of addressing the subject of refugees:

  1. The Global Refugee Problem.
  2. A Biblical Response to the Global Refugee Problem
  3. How We Respond Biblically 

The reality: we see massive horrible issues, we create our own response and that may not connect with what the Lord wants.

  1. Conflict and Persecution: The number one cause of refugees and it is causing a massive influx of people around the world.
    • Afghanistan
    • Iraq
    • Somalia
  2. Famine: things just will not grow if there is no one around to harvest. Most of the people driven out, originally, are leaving due to conflict, and that causes famine.
    • Somalia
    • Ethiopia
    • Kenya
  3. Disaster: hurricanes, etc.
    • China
    • India
    • Bangladesh

The people are not the problem, the other things are. Yes, there are things we can do. There are easy things we can help with: basic needs. He has made it our purpose to glorify him in the earth and pursue justice and peace where there is conflict; it is a huge part of God's heart. We are his conduits and peace makers.

16.2 million refugees in the world.

1% are allowed to be resettled legally in a U.N. Resettlement program.

 There are only three places that outnumber Dallas in the resettling of refugees, and they are countries: Canada, Australia, and Sweden.

What is God doing in the world in the midst of this conflict? I believe he is there and everywhere--doing something. Our call is to join him. He has called us to pursue peace and justice, but we have to go with him to meet him where he is. There is war and problems everywhere so what do we do? This is a work in the spirit.

We need to engage this like Jesus did. He engaged inconveniently. He left perfection in heaven, to join us, his enemies, so that we could be restored to God. That is the best model that we could follow. We cannot affect what is happening without being selfless and giving it all. So how do I live in a crucified way? We have to think inconvenient actions. We have to keep striving to be like Christ. We act as his disciples. We have to be followers that desire so much to be like him and follow his will. We cannot effect the world if we are not acting selflessly. The world is broken. It means more than countries are at war. It means peoples lives are destroyed. The ministry of reconciliation is the thing we have been given to use and act upon. Dallas is not sitting in an un-strategic place. We are in the apex of it all where God is at work. He is there saying, “Join me!”

What are we to do?

  • Welcome the stranger
  • Seek justice
  • Build up the church
  • Make disciples
  • Feed the hungry
  • Heal the sick
  • Seek the good of the city
  • Make disciples
  • Correct oppression

A refugee, that currently lives in Vickery Meadows, came up and shared his experience with Northwest Bible church and how God is moving in his life.  It was an honor to listen to his story about his escape from all the genocide that was happening in Rwanda and the places they tried to escape to, at the time. He is now a US citizen and serving at Northwest Bible Church.

 Panel Questions

Question: What is one of the most practical, effective and non offensive ways to engage refugees?

It's over 50 different people groups, in Vickery Meadows. There are some general types of kind things, but there are so many cultural things. Look into how you can view and integrate things and see how you can connect with a program already working in there.

 Question: What are the refugees most common need?

There are three things: shelter, food, and a job. It is not easy because a good majority of the time, people cannot get connected or the language barrier makes it tough. Job placement is the hardest. Jesus loves enemies. What does it look like to be a peacemaker for christ in the refugee community? It is about going in and working to see who this person is that is standing in front of you. Go in and try to understand their story; be a listener and find empathy. Weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who rejoice. Especially with people in other cultures. Learn their story. Invest in them.

Question: What are the basic needs of the children and how can we make the transition easier as they settle in and look for schools?

They want attention and they need love. Whether its the generational poverty, or the refugees, they need someone to invest in their life and tell them about Jesus.

Question: What barriers have you seen trying to minister to the children and even the parents?

There are some refugees that have been here for 5 years and it is still tough. When we try to implement Jesus in caregiving and sometimes they kind of have some push back. The children are still eager and still have the desire to hear more about Jesus.

 Question: How do we get connected to an organization? What type of mindset should we have going into it?

The mindset is the most important thing. There are so many ministries and churches in which you can get involved. Sacrifice and be selfless, ask how you can serve and remember it is about what God wants to do through people in our backyard. Tell them you want to help. Go to an organization and let them know you're ready. Go into it with patience.

Great ways to get involved!

Perspectives: http://www.perspectives.org/

Free City International: https://freecity.org/

Vickery Meadows KidsClub: http://www.northwestbible.org/newsevents/calendar/vickery-kids-club/254951855/

Love Is Ministry: http://www.loveisministry.org/

Northwest Bible Church: http://www.northwestbible.org/outreach/serve/grid/

 Thank you to Northwest Bible Church for letting us use their incredible church! Also, a thank you to Brian Newby for being so involved and helpful with the event. Thank you to Jason Clarke for speaking and empowering us to act selflessly. Thank you to the other ministries that showed up. Thank you, to all that came!

 

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January 2014 | Human Trafficking

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January 2014 | Human Trafficking

It begins with worship. There was a dull roar of about 350 people. This is absolutely overwhelming, in the best possible circumstance. The worship was not contained by only chords and voices, but also by simply speaking the name, “Jesus”. The presence of His people ready to be educated and serve for his kingdom manifested in a such powerful way. Hearts prepared for the evening as Jesse Chaney set the tone for what this night was all about. Initiative is not a place that is trying to out-do the church or take people away from the church. Initiative desires to empower young people to return and help lead in the church to further the kingdom. This will especially be accomplished when hard things are addressed, solutions are sought out, and it’s decided that we are in it for the long haul.

“Jesus came and gave his life so we could live fully here. Part of that is being about his business and setting his captive free.” When your kids ask one day, “didn’t you know human trafficking was wrong? What were you doing about it?” What will you say?

Tomi Grover

Her presence was powerful. Though she is small in stature, the Lord has blessed her with a spirit and passion for people that towers over the city. TraffickStop is an educational initiative Tomi founded in 2009 to educate, advocate, and engage people on human trafficking. It is the second leading crime and precedent in the world today. We could do facts all day long. The real question is, why should we respond?

  • Reason 1We respond because God is compassionately responding.  Just as He heard the children who were enslaved by Pharaoh in Exodus 3, He hears them now. Go meet the Lord in the desert just as Moses did and listen for his call.
  • Reason 2: We were set free from bondage of our sins. Freed people, free people. We aren’t just setting the trafficked free, but the consumers and the traffickers as well.
  • Reason 3: The future of your children depends on what you decide to do today.
  • Reason 4: Our generation is the generation of HOPE. We can manifest global change in what we choose to do with our gifts. The sanctity of human life really hangs in the balance of how we choose to act now.  HOPE (H:honor God with your life  O: Operate in your giftedness.  P: Pursue God's agenda for freedom. PASSIONATELY pursue it. E: Engage and be empowered with great empathy for EVERYONE who has been involved in trafficking, no matter that position.)

Emily Mills

Founder and Co-executive Director of “Jesus Said Love”. A ministry that involved loving on strippers and reminding them that they’re loved by a savior. She realized this calling when she heard women speaking at a conference in Austin about sexual abuse. She was, at the time, a worship leader, singer/songwriter. She heard God say, “If the bulk of your ministry is explained on a stage, you have missed the kingdom”. She got off the platform and decided to pursue this ministry further.

Felicia Hyde

 A survivor of being sexually exploited and trafficked. It is incredible to see how she has turned her set of dark circumstances into a story for in which the power of the gospel shines bright. Her home life was full of abuse, pornography and no protection. It continued into being trafficked and set up in strip clubs. But God wanted something greater for his daughter. She was rescued and went through New Friends, New Life. She is a graduate of the program and of Dallas Baptist University, has two boys, and works as a panel speaker with Frederick Douglas. Not only that, but she also helps with prison ministry and other events.

Our Powerhouse Panel Answered Some Crowd Questions:

What is next? Where can we get involved?  We need everyone to ask God where they should be involved. When it comes to Jesus Said Love, we need people of all kinds. If you are breathing, you are qualified. Go to the low income areas where pimp culture rules and mentor boys. Research places and go help out at different organizations. There is the 6 degrees of separation, but I think there is really only 1 degree of separation from who God wants you to know.

What are tangible rules that men can take to stop sex trafficking?  Stop watching porn and don’t promote the pimp culture. Men can re-evaluate on how they view women and sexuality. How has your mind been groomed? Men need to also learn one of the most important things is having unpleasant accountability conversations.

What are some common mistakes you see ministry making that we can correct? They come not knowing about the survivor. They aren't learning what they have been through. They come not knowing how to embrace with love through the gospel. People don't want to understand the background. Just because people know Jesus doesn't mean their background is all water under the bridge. Every church should have counseling for sexual abuse, sexual addiction, pornography in WOMEN. Churches see this as just another cause or temporary issue that they can engage on. The church needs to own it's responsibilities in how it dispenses love. The trafficking is happening all the time and we have a role to play. It is NOT just once a month or in January. In this move of God, what threatens the enemy more than anything is unity in the body. We need to put our egos aside for the sake of the gospel. We need unity.

PRAY:

We have to be praying for ourselves to understand, for victims, for business that may be complicit, for traffickers, law enforcement, a mighty hand of God to be compelling a response in our country for this issue.Ask God to reveal to you who the victims are. There are needles in haystacks. They don't know that they're victims. They are living the life they have been indoctrinated to.

 [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LDAAK_YSXzo&w=640&h=360]

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