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This is a really awesome ministry I encourage you to check out. The founder/director, Harmony Dust, is a former exotic dancer (who also happens to be married to hip hop artist Pigeon John) who now leads the organization Treasures to reach out to exotic dancers. I had read an article about the organization in a magazine, but had the pleasure of hearing her speak in May at a conference.

Check it out!

What grade do you guess?

One of the kids turned in his camp essay recently. Overall, it’s one of the more coherent ones I’ve seen. Still, I figured I’d share it so that you can try to guess what grade he’s in, based on his writing skills. The assignment was to write a short essay about what they think the perfect president would be like — what he’d be like, what he’d do, how he’d treat the people, etc. I’ve copied everything as exactly as possible (going from handwriting to typing).

The Prefect President.

If I could clone a perfect President. He would be… Caring Respecful, Giving, loyal.

Caring to Others. He is going to Care adout the safely of his people and country. He will also try to avoid wars but if he must he will. I think this is important because there are people with cancer that have no money. He will start a fundraiser for them. The money will go straight to their families.

He would respect People and there rights. If he is in the Prime Minister Of China he will Be respectfull. He will bow to show respest.

Giving, He would give food to the poor. He would give money to suppot orphanges He would delevelope parks in low income neighborhoods. They will also have a Boys & Girls Center. This is important BeCause people need to eat and have somewhere safe to go.

Loyal to his people and Country. He will not be deceitful. When he say he is going to do something he will. This is important Because people, and I for one, do not want suprises such as wars.

In Conclusion This is my idea of a pefely cloned president, because he will put his people and country first.

So, what grade do you think he’s in?

From the mouth of babes…

I took two of our neighborhood girls to see the movie Are We Done Yet at the $2 theater last weekend. The movie was surprisingly clean, although kind of cheesy; however, that’s not the point of this post.

On the ride to the theater, the girls were goofing off and making up titles of what the sequels to this movie would be (this one was a sequel to Are We There Yet). Here’s the progression of what they came up with:

  1. Are we married yet?
  2. Are we pregnant yet?
  3. Are we divorced yet?

WHAT?!?! I mean, I was glad that they got married and pregnant in the right order, but was deeply saddened that divorced would just be par for the course in a relationship.

What makes me sadder is that I know that this is not just a ghetto issue.

Come Boldly?

This weekend at Party of Prayer, Pastor Will Dungee (Grace Community Church) spoke about the true fatherhood of God. Calling God our “Father” is not just symbolic, not simply a tool to help us understand him better, or even to help us feel comfortable around such a “huge” God. He is not like a father, he is our (F)father. Will coupled this with an illustration of his family.

As he was in his office preparing for his talk, his daughter came bursting into the room, and climbed in his lap. Anytime she goes to her brother or mother’s room, she knocks. But when it’s daddy in the room, she just goes in (boldly). If it had been anyone else to burst in and jump in his lap, we would have flipped out, but it was his daughter. His pride and joy, his beloved. BUT, the story doesn’t stop there. It didn’t take long for her to announce that she didn’t want to listen to the slow song that Will had playing; she wanted a fast song. And half-way through the fast song, she wanted a different one. So, let’s recap. Will is prayerfully preparing for a talk at InterVarsity. His daughter bursts in, sits in the middle of his work, and demands to hear the music she wants (which changes every few minutes). And you know what? He attends to her. He is glad that she is there. He delights in her.

And God is the same way. We can crawl into his lap and simply say, Daddy, I love you. Daddy, I want to spend time with you. Now, this is not to take away from the vastness, the mystery, and the overall awesomeness (and I don’t mean cool-awesome…although he is pretty cool) of God…He absolutely is all-powerful, in charge, and to be feared. But not in a cowering, lowly fear. A fear out of respect. Christ tells us to “Come boldly to the throne of Grace,” which is exactly what Will’s daughter did with him. She came boldly in and knew she would be accepted.

Why is it that we always think God will reject us? I suppose one item to consider is the fact that we live in a culture of achievement. It’s all about what you can accomplish, preferably on your own, to prove your worth. But the truth is, Jesus has us covered. When he died, his blood covered us ALL. Believers and skeptics alike. When we come before the Lord, he sees the coverage of blood, and accepts us, regardless of all the mess that lies underneath.

Now, let’s add to the mix the idea of spagkhnozomai that John Freeman talked about in service this morning. The literal gut-wrenching compassion that God has for us. He desires community with us so much that his stomach is in knots. He has a gut-wrenching desire for us to COME BOLDLY to him.

How amazing is that? How humbling?? God desires community, not from me, which implies my control, but with me, and I continually run away. I give myself away to so many inconsequential things, meanwhile the One who truly desires me I turn away from.

I pray (slightly bolder than before) that God would be patient with me as I learn to trust him more, learning not only how to trust Him as a father, but discovering what a father really is.

Prostitution 101

So, I’m finally rolling around to reading this book
that I bought this summer – Prostitution: On
Whores, Hustlers, and Johns
. I’ve only read a
little bit so far, but it’s quite interesting. It’s
basically a series of essays regarding all aspects of

I just read the introduction by Dr. Joycelyn Elders, the former Surgeon General who became infamous for her liberal views on sexuality. While I don’t agree with all of what she says, I think a lot of truth rang through this essay. A lot of it is controversial, and like I said, I might not agree with all of it, but I think it’s worth a read. Here are a few of the highlights of the essay…definitely food for thought. (On a side note, this book was published in 1998, so I’m sure some of the statistics are different now).

The real issues [regarding unsafe sex] occur
because of poor education – because of the things
we’ve often been taught. You know where it all
started. It started at church. We have our
ministers up there in the pulpit, preaching to the
choir and the congregation when they really need to
be out in the streets dealing with the real problems
that our society faces.

The other thing that I think we need to ask is Why do
people go into prostitution?
Most of the men and
women who become sex workers do so because they’re
having trouble with money. They’re really doing it
to stay out of poverty or because they’re poor. So
poverty is often the cause of prostitution and I
think we need to deal with that.
I’m not saying that
eliminating poverty is the only cure, but I think it
is very significant. Some of the studies show that
as the economy goes down, prostitution of both men
and women goes up
. When we start cutting Aid to
Families with Dependent Children (AFDC), we find more
AFDC moms being arrested for prostitution. We’ve
known for many years that many women marry just for
money. To me, that’s one more form of prostitution.

Nobody should be forced into prostitution or into
having sex . Let me tell you a fact. Eighty-four
percent of the girls fourteen and under who become
pregnant were abused by somebody in their own home.

Eighty-four percent! Sixty-six and two-thirds
percent of all teenagers who become pregnant have
been abused at some time during their life.
We spend
billions of dollars in this country trying to
prosecute prostitution, which is sex between
consenting adults, and we do nothing about the abuse
of children. Many children in this country and
around the world are exploited for profit and
unhealthy criminal desires. I feel that we need to
begin to spend those funds not on trying to prosecute
sex between consenting adults, but on making sure
that all children will have the opportunity to grow
up healthy, educatied, motivated, and with hope for
the future.

We [the United States] control 25 percent of the
world’s wealth and have only 5 percent of the world’s
population; yet we can’t feed and house our own
people. We have children in America who will only be
members of what I call the “5H Club
“: children who
are Hungry – every night we have 5 million children
who go to bed hungry – then Home-less; Health-less;
Hug-less; and Hope-less. That’s a real problem.

I read the report that San Francisco did on its sex
workers. I thought the most awful thing that I read
in that report was the idea of taking condoms away
from sex workers. Can you believe that? Our country
does many stupid things. When we start criminalizing
disease or medical problems, we start making
mistakes. Just think, we don’t furnish clean needles
because we say, “Well, if we furnish clean needles
that says we support legalization of durgs.”
Furnishing clean needles doesn’t mean you support
drug legalization, it means that you want to prevent
death and disease.

It’s very important to recognize that every time you
have sex with somebody, you’re not really having sex
with one person; you’re having sex with all the
people in their history. Sometimes you’re having sex
with up to 537 different people. You really can’t
tell by looking if someone has HIV. So I bemoan the
fact that we are not out there promoting safe sex.
We’re not educating people to be safe because we’re
not making condoms available. They should be
available everywhere. Condoms cost health
departments five to ten cents a piece or less. I had
a woman call me one time and she said, “Dr. Elders, I
just can’t possibly consider using my tax dollars to
pay for condoms. I said, “Ma’am, I buy condoms for a
nickel a dozen.” They were almost giving them to us
at the health department. I said, “We spend more
than 100 million dollars a year on AFDC, or food
stamps and Medicaid for teenagers who give birth to
children.” I said, “How many condoms, at a nickel a
dozen, do you think $100 million will buy?” She
said, “Thank you, Dr. Elders.”


James 4:7 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

In July, Will preached a sermon about submitting ourselves to God. Something I thought I had always done well. Sure, I depend on God, I know he’ll take care of me, I know I “need” him. But the truth is, I didn’t know that. In fact, what I did “know” is that I could handle it all on my own, and that if it did happen to fall through, that God had my back.

Needless to say, the Lord really checked me that Sunday. So, I went home, laid on the couch, and offered a simple prayer: Lord, I submit myself. I don’t really know what that looks like, but I know that I can trust you. I can’t promise that I’m going to do a very good job at this, but you have grace for that. I promise to try. Lord, just take me – I submit my life to you. And then I fell asleep.

Prior to this decision, I had chosen to live in a spiritual desert for over a year. I really struggle with complacency. I love feeling close to the Lord, but more often than not I choose the path of least resistance (but greatest consequence).

A few days later, my Glenwood family returned home from the Dominican Republic. And on their first day home, Denine & Suzanne each dropped a bombshell on me. I won’t go in to details to respect their privacy, but let’s just say my whole world was kicked off it’s axis. And I immediately remembered my decision to submit. Dang it Lord! Arrrggghhhhh….but I guess you know what you’re doing…I still submit. I’m angry, I’m sad, I want to break something, but I’m willing to see where you’re going with this.

And I still don’t know where he’s going…but I trust him.

This submission to the Lord has yielded good things as well. I am always stressed out about lots of things – work, school, money, you know…all the normal things. Not even a month after I decided to just let the Lord handle it, rather than trying to fix it all myself (and screwing it or myself up, as always) I found out that my tuition is now being covered. And, starting this month, I have health insurance for the first time in over a year and a half.

Beyond all the material relief that has come my way, I have been refreshed spiritually/emotionally as well. I’ve found myself able to enjoy worship more, and being excited to spend time with the Lord. That doesn’t mean that I’m terribly diligent, but I’m working on it 🙂 One step at a time…

I still struggle with being in control (and have the muscle tension to show for it…), but I’m working on giving it over to God. As difficult as it is, I know I can trust him. I remember hearing someone say once, that when we can’t take that leap of faith, we should rest in knowing that we can simply fall at the feet of our Father; He will always catch us.

So now, to just let go and fall. I know where I’ll land.