Saturday, December 21, 2013

There is just nothing like of true family - love of brothers and sisters in Christ with one common heart to serve the King, uniting and serving together.

We had a blessed time at Morning Glory Apartments yesterday.  We sang CHRISTmas carols and gave food boxes and homemade gift baskets. (Special thanks to Bull City Outreach Ministries for providing the boxes below for our ministry.)

We hugged the necks of residents, praised the name of Jesus, laid hands on and prayed for a resident recovering from surgery, and even had a Word from the Lord spoken over a few of us.

We gave out our ministry cards with our contact numbers and extended ourselves to be of service to these wonderful folks.  We were even able to make a near-future appointment to help one of the residents clean her house.  Ms. Dorothy is in her 80s, has to use a walker to get around, and just needs a helping hand with a simple task.....a task that I take for granted on a daily basis.

After our outreach, we came home and had a ministry, Christmas, fellowshiping night - with pizza, preaching and prayer.  Wow.....does it even get any better??

Dean and I had a conversation recently with someone about joy.....and how sometimes life gets us so entangled, bogged down, exhausted, anxious.....and we literally seem to lose our joy.  And that even in prayer and Bible reading regularly we can still feel like we are void of joy.

I've been there.


I know you may have been there too.

But Dean spoke a true word into our conversation that day that.....and that is, we can have our true joy, the Joy of the Lord, when we are walking in the Spirit in service and love - when we are sharing with others what He has done for us.  We are made complete and full when we are doing what He made us for....and that's sharing Him.

This may be a little cliche, but this deep yearning is real in my heart right now:

I just want to live and breathe and walk and talk the Lord God Almighty....

to breathe in His Spirit

to speak His Words

to be His Hands and Feet

to get lost in the Presence of His Glory each day.

Prices must be paid to have this sort of intimacy.  More of the flesh and the self has to die.  Things must be given up.  This world must be just a fleeting thought.  Popularity and materialism must go out the window.

And that's scary to's scary to all of us.  Some days I feel like a failure and I don't think I'll ever get there.  I worry that people will always only see the "old Melissa" - the Melissa of 10 years ago, the Melissa of 5 years ago, the Melissa of 1 year ago, the Melissa of last week.....

But the more of the Word that I read and study, the more I can't deny that THIS is what Jesus is really calling us I put my hope in this:

"being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ"  Philippians 1:6

And I know that this is a good work He has begun....because there is no way I could have done it myself.

Until next time - which is hopefully soon.

Loving Radically Through Christ,


Friday, December 20, 2013

Closing Out for 2013 and Looking Forward to 2014!!

Wow - 2013 has flown by!  We have been a busy family and ministry!  Life has surely changed for us over the last few months.....the biggest being my decision to follow the Lord's leading to leave my full-time job and stay home to homeschool Courtney, currently in the 9th grade.  I could probably write 10 or more pages just about that adventure, but I won't bore you with the details.  It was definitely a calling from the Lord and is something I will always cherish and never regret - even on the tough days.  (Please feel free to email me if you have any specific questions on the homeschooling.  I'd love to chat with anyone who is further interested.)

Since the last blog posting of Dean's article with The Independent Weekly, we have ministered at the NC Pride Parade in Durham, continued with jail ministry with Bull City Outreach Ministries, continued weekend food distributions to needy families in the area, participated in the Stem Christmas parade (where "Jesus" was escorted up to the front of the parade line up to remind everyone of the real reason for the season), continued weekly Bible study/fellowship in our home, and joined a new, local, in-home, women's Bible study where we learned to "say YES to God" (Lysa Terkeurst video study).

This afternoon/evening is our next outreach.  We will be taking gift baskets and individual food boxes to each resident of Morning Glory Apartments in Butner (the elderly apartment complex).  We will also sing some Christ-focused Christmas carols to them.  All of these residents are older people who live alone, and we always want them to know that we are available to serve them with anything they need.

James 1:27
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

I would like to thank three special donors that have made these gift baskets possible.  One will not allow me to mention his name, the other has never told me not to, so thank you Minette, and the last, but definitely not least, is Dean's mom, Marcia.  She is a vital part of our ministry in many aspects and is a faithful monthly donor.  Without her, we wouldn't be able to do half of the outreach activities that we do.

The cooler weather always leaves less time for outdoor ministry, and more time for introspection and growing closer to the Lord as we brainstorm for next year.  The last few months have seen some major spiritual battles with all members of our ministry group.  But we have held onto our hope, encouraged one another, and grown stronger through it all.  We "consider it all joy" and look forward to 2014 and what the Lord has in store for each of us as we continue to serve Him and follow the Spirit's leading.

Please continue to pray for us.  I hope to be able to update the blog soon with upcoming 2014 events.

Loving Radically Through Christ,


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The Passion of Dean

The Passion of Dean: Dean dons a brown wig and a crown of thorns. His tall, sinewy frame is shrouded in a white robe. He bears a 40-pound cross, which he drags through neglected neighborhoods. His message is simple: God can change anyone, anywhere.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Material Girl

So it's not often that I share personal parts of my journey on the blog, but sometimes I just feel like it's the right thing to hopes that it will encourage someone else or invite a fellow reader to be the prayer partner that I didn't even realize was there.

Most of you probably don't realize that I was an 80s girl.  I loved the 80s....the tv shows, the music, the clothes, etc.  And as horribly unfortunate as it was, Madonna was my iconic idol.  I just loved everything about her.  I loved her songs, her music videos, her clothes, her look, and I loved the rebel in her.  She made me feel empowered as a little girl to grow up to be this strong, independent, sexy woman - who didn't have rules and didn't have to listen to anyone.  She was wildly freeing.

Remember I said it was horribly unfortunate.

My recent calling to be a stay-at-home, homeschooling mom and wife is the total opposite of everything that I thought I would become.  It's the total opposite of what Madonna and MTV enticed me with.  I'm surely not this super rich, glamorous, sex symbol that has all the clothes and jewelry and big houses and nice cars.

One song imparticular came to mind this morning as I prayed and agonized over some flesh that I'm having to currently kill in my life.

Material none other than my precious Madonna.

Youtube it if you'd like.  I haven't watched it in years, so I don't remember all of the details to the video, but the tune and lyrics still ring clear as a bell through my brain.

Living in a material world.......Material girl......

Yes - that's what I was - that's part of who I wanted to be - that's part of the flesh that still resides in me and likes to rear it's ugly head at the most inopportune times.

I'm rolling along, and digging deep, and growing in my new journey, and BAM, out of nowhere Melissa-Madonna-Material Girl comes back and begs to get a second chance in this body.  It starts just like any other sin....with a temptation, with a desire - with a desire of my eye or a desire of my flesh or a pride of life:

1 John 2:16 - For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world.

I'm tempted the same way Eve was....and that temptation can quickly build into a full blown sinful act if I let it.

Mark 7:21-23 -For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.
Ephesians 5:5 - For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.
Luke 12:15 - And he said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”
Colossians 3:5-6 - Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming. 

But what does the precious Word of God tell me?  That this is not of's of the world. 

1 John 2:15-17 - Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.

Am I going to choose to "love the world" and risk someone being able to say "the love of the Father is not in him (her)"?

As with any recognized recovery program, the first step is always admission.  Being able to see the truth and admit the problem is the first step to being victorious and overcoming.  (Let me just stop and give God some glory.  I am so thankful for the Holy Spirit that lives in me - that cares about me and comforts me and burns within me for righteousness and holiness, even when the flesh fights for first place.  I can't fathom how I even survived life without Him all those years.)

So what do I do?  I wasn't able to stop the desire from arising in my heart and mind.  I do the only thing that I know will work.  I get on my knees and cry out to God.  I repent and nail that thing to the cross.  I put it to death under the blood of Jesus.  I read His Word of Truth and see freedom.

Yes it hurts.

Yes it brings real tears.

Yes I cried and whined like a little spoiled child over things I can't have and don't need.

But that's okay.  These are the real moments of growth.  The painful moments where I lean on God and submit an area to Jesus all over again - the moments where walking in the Spirit becomes more real that walking in the flesh.

Each day that old woman has got to go!  That Material Girl must be kicked out the back door, along with any other person that Madonna told me I could be.

John 3:30 - He must increase, but I must decrease.

Loving Radically Through Christ,


Thursday, September 12, 2013

Upcoming Outreach at the NC Pride Parade

Dean and a group of folks will be heading out again this year to the NC Pride Parade in Durham on September 28th.

He will be having a meeting to give information and discuss the details on Sunday, September 22nd at 3pm in Durham at Bethel Christian Center.

If you would like to go with the group, please contact us and let us know!

Please note that the purpose of this outreach, as with any others, is to share the gospel and truth of Jesus Christ, of His love, salvation and transforming power.

Loving Radically Through Christ,


Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Saturday's Outreach

The flyers are made up and are being distributed tomorrow night!  Dean and Bernard will take them out and hand them out to the residents in the Oxford apartment complex, and we'll be praying for a great turnout.

Would you pray for that also?  We want to reach these kids (and adults) with the Word of God!

We will probably meet at our house in Stem around 2pm on Saturday.  We'll head out and start setting up around 3pm, and will be ready to begin at 4pm.

If you would like to be a helper in any of the following areas, we would love it and could definitely use you!!

  • Games
  • Crafts
  • Food serving
  • Grill cook
  • Adult ministry/prayer
Also we will be getting the final supplies together by Friday and are still in need of:

  • paper/styrofoam plates
  • napkins
  • juice boxes (100% juice please)
  • hot dog buns
  • ketchup and mustard for hot dogs
And of course we will have a table at the very end for donated items, which will include kids toys, household items and some kids clothes.  We will probably not be doing adult clothes this time.

Thanks so much in advance for your help!  Most importantly, please pray that the Holy Spirit will guide our steps, our activities and our words.

Loving Radically Through Christ,


Friday, August 23, 2013

Mobile VBS Outreach - August 31st

We are going to have our mobile VBS/kids outreach on the Armor of God on Saturday, August 31st.

We will be having a discussion/planning meeting tomorrow night (Saturday, August 24th) at 6pm at our house in Stem.

If you are interested in helping out and would like to come to the meeting, please do!  We would love to have your help.

We will be discussing the different areas of service and the supplies that are still needed.

Loving Radically Through Christ,


Monday, August 12, 2013

National Night Out 2013

What a great time we had at National Night Out last Tuesday!

I believe this will be our 3rd year going and helping out with the outreach led by Bull City Outreach Ministries.  We are just so blessed to be able to be a part of it. 

We always have a great time fellowshipping with folks from the community, the police officers, and fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.

We handled the "kids department" and took some ideas from our upcoming mobile VBS and gave them a "test run".  We had face painting, crafts and a meet-and-greet with Armor of God Man.

One little girl that stood out to me the most of the night was a little girl local to the area (Hyde Park and Liberty Streets).  She was about 4 or 5.  She came up to me at the craft table and I immediately started helping her with a Sword of the Spirit coloring craft.  This gave me the opportunity to start asking her some questions about the Bible and Jesus and church.  Everytime I asked her if she knew what the Bible was, or if she knew who Jesus was, or if she went to church, she just shook her head "no".  But a few moments later when I asked her if she knew that Jesus died for her (she again shook her head "no"), she proceeded to tell me all about how her cousin had just he had gotten shot right outside and how her mother and grandmother were crying and screaming.  It just broke my heart.  She knew way more than any 4 or 5 year old should.  She retold the story like a teenager would. 

But this is the reality of her life. 

This is why we do National Night Out in these try and show these kids that there is more to life than just what they see....that there is JESUS and that He loves them and died for them. 

Please pray that the seeds we planted in these areas will grow, and that we will have opportunities to see these precious people again.

I did not take any pictures, but I've included a few that other people took that night.

Loving Radically Through Christ,


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Upcoming August Outreaches - We Need Your Help!!

We have been very busy this summer!  From every weekend food pick ups and deliveries, to crosswalking and street witnessing, to jail ministry and donation sorting and distributing....we are gearing up for August and beyond!  I will have some exciting news to share soon with our ministry followers and our friends and family.  (No, I'm not

We have two upcoming outreaches!  One will be on Tuesday, August 6th in Durham with Bull City Outreach - Pastor Terry Shuff.  This is for National Night Out.  We've participated in this for the past few years, and we really enjoy it.  It's a time of fellowship with ministries and law enforcement officers into the local communities.  Neighborhoods from every city in the country participate in this event each year.

Pastor Terry will be posting needs on facebook for this event, and we will also be doing a little something for the kids that show up.  Last year we did a puppet show and some face painting and also some giveaways of snacks and toys.  We hope to be able to do the same this year - along with a few other things.  Dean has been preparing an Armor of God costume that he will hopefully have done in time for this event.  I have ordered some craft supplies based on the Armor of God from  We hope to be able to incorporate those crafts and activities into the night to help the kids remember what they saw and learned.  The hands-on activities always make it easier for the kids to understand and remember the Bible truths we're sharing.

Please come and help out as a cook, food prep and serving, singer, childrens worker, tear down & clean up crew, and most important - GOSPEL SHARER!!

Towards the end of August we will do our second annual mobile VBS.  This year we will take it to an apartment complex in Oxford.  We went there earlier in the year and had such a good turn out that we want to go back and check in with the folks and share some more Bible Truth with them.  Our normal Radical Life Outreach Ministries team will be there - but we will definitely need more people to help!  We were WAY understaffed at the last outreach.  If you would like to come and be a part of the team, please let us know ASAP so we can start working on the areas that people are interested in serving in.

Also if you would like to help out financially, we always appreciate that.  So far we have spent about $250 on supplies for these outreaches, but we will still need other things like paper goods, chips, water, snacks, and kids prizes.

We appreciate your continued support of our ministry!  We know that the Lord is using us to get His Word out to people in our area, and we greatly appreciate all of your prayers and kind words and donations.  Please continue to lift us up for His service.  Sometimes the task is a bit overwhelming and exhausting, but we know that He gives us the strength when the time comes - and for that we are extremely thankful!

Loving Radically Through Christ,


Friday, July 19, 2013

Crosswalking in Raleigh - July 13th, 2013

The following is an account from Bernard Mitchell.  He went crosswalking with Dean for the first time on July 13, 2013.  I asked him to write a little something for everyone to read, so people could understand this experience from someone else's experience.

"Victory In Jesus"

Saturday, July 13, 2013 is a day I'll always remember and cherish as Brother Dean and I arrived in Raleigh, NC around 9:00am at Falls of the Neuse Road.  I was honored and proud to carry the flag of the Cross, with Brother Dean carrying the Cross of Jesus Christ up Falls of the Neuse to Millbrook Road.  Singing praises to the Lord and proclaiming the 23rd Psalm, Psalms 1 and Psalms 100.  It was like the Good Lord opened the Heavens and His Glory shined upon us!  We serve a supernatural God!  And His Divine Favor is with those who fear and reverence Him. 

Psalms 34:7,9

The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them.

O fear the Lord, ye his saints: for there is no want to them that fear him.

We walked approximately six miles and the response was great!  Form people approaching us, speaking to us from their cars and iphones everywhere, lets me know and see that there is a great hunger in our nation for the "bread of life" and a genuine thirst for "living water" that only comes through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. 

Radical Life Outreach Ministries is all about taking the love and compassion of Jesus Christ to the streets that people may know that He is alive!


Our next stop (after Falls of the Neuse Road) would be at Crabtree Valley Mall.  This venture would be a great test of our faith.  It was like Jesus walking into Crabtree Valley Mall. 

How would the people respond?  How would security respond?

All we know is that God responded with a Thunder of Praise!  Our steps were ordered by the Lord.  We felt and witnessed the convicting power of the Holy Spirit throughout the mall.  The youth responded so beautifully, approaching us and wanting pictures with Brother Dean.  Security spoke to us but never [negatively] approached us.  As I stated earlier, it was God's Divine Favor with us.

Thank God, His divine purposes will not be hindered one iota.  Prior to the outreach in Raleigh, much prayer went up for the many souls we would encounter along the way.  We spent about two hours in Crabtree Valley Mall and from there we visited the flea market at the fairgrounds.

I'm excited about the many people whose lives were impacted and touched by this love and compassion of Christ on Saturday.

This is a day I will always remember.

The River of Life is rising, and it's bringing spiritual life to all it touches.

May it touch you where you are.

(Ezekiel 47)

Bernard R. Mitchell

Friday, July 5, 2013

Taking It To The Streets on July 4th

This year for July 4th we really felt led to go out and just share Jesus with people in addition to celebrating the freedom that we have here in America.

Dean prepared by getting a huge American flag to carry, having "American surveys" as conversation starters, and making signs on foam board.  Here are what the signs read - some quotes were shortened to fit on the board:

"The time has come to turn to God and reassert trust in Him for the healing of America. - Ronald Reagan"

"If God is just, then I tremble for my country. - Thomas Jefferson"

"Repent America!!  Can liberty be secure when we remove the conviction of sin?"

And then I really felt led to make a sign that used the word "freedom", since we celebrate our country's freedom on this holiday.  So I had Dean make me a sign that said:

"True freedom is only found in Jesus Christ"

I had quite a few scriptures that talked about freedom that I wanted to bring out, but they just wouldn't fit on the board.

We also received some wonderful tshirts from a facebook friend, Heather Clark.  These shirts came just in the nick of time and were perfect.  She works for the evangelistic ministry "Repent America" and also writes for  Here is a picture of the shirt:

Dean also had some surveys to start conversations.  The surveys started with American history questions and eventually led into "religious" questions which allowed a doorway to the Gospel discussion.

We set out as a group:  Me, Dean, Courtney, Alex, Marcia (Dean's mom), Bernard, and William & Deborah Reliford.  We started in Downtown Durham - walked Main Street and American Tobacco Campus areas.  The streets were almost completely bare. 

We headed out to Hillsborough Road, knowing that there might not be a lot of foot traffic, but at least there would be some street traffic and we could take to the sidewalk corners and the bus stop.

We had a wonderful time in the Lord - being together and fellowshipping - sharing the Gospel, praying with a couple of folks and displaying the signs and flag.

Here is an account that one of our favorite sisters in Christ, Deborah Reliford:

Our 4th of july was spent with Melissa Padgett and Dean Padgett their children, Dean's mother and another awesome man of God that we met today...Dean had a list of questions concerning some history facts about the fourth of july and questions about the first president a few other questions and then the last questions were spiritual which left the door wide open for ministry opportunity. I tell you it was awesome as we stood at the bus stop in Durham N.C. and poured out the love of JESUS to this lost soul but by the time GOD was finished she received an awesome word from Dean and then he gave me the honor to pray for her..then others from our team today prayed for her..we were hugging and praying for her and showing her the LOVE of GOD...she even threw her alcohol away that she was attempting to drink when we first started talking to her..the bus came and she threw it in the garbage can...even after the doors to the bus closed she was waving at us...WHOM THE SON SETS FREE IS FREE INDEED!

We really had high hopes of getting to talk to crowds of people like Dean does when he goes crosswalking, but we know that even if only one person receives the Gospel Truth, that it is all worth it.

Out of Luke 15 we see how Jesus responds to one soul......

So Jesus told them this story: “If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them gets lost, what will he do? Won’t he leave the ninety-nine others in the wilderness and go to search for the one that is lost until he finds it? And when he has found it, he will joyfully carry it home on his shoulders. When he arrives, he will call together his friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.’ In the same way, there is more joy in heaven over one lost sinner who repents and returns to God than over ninety-nine others who are righteous and haven’t strayed away!

We are just eternally grateful that He even chooses to use us.  It's the freedom that we have received in Him alone that allows us to live each day fully with no regrets.

Matthew 10:8
Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give.
 Mark 5:34
He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”
Luke 4:18
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free,
John 8:32
Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
John 8:36
So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.
2 Corinthians 3:17
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
Galatians 5:13 [ Life by the Spirit ] You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.
1 Peter 2:16
Live as
free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves.
 And one of my very favorite chapters and ultimate freedom instructional guide....

Romans 6

Dead to Sin, Alive in Christ

What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.
Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. 10 The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.
11 In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. 12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. 13 Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness. 14 For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.

Slaves to Righteousness

15 What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? By no means! 16 Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? 17 But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you have come to obey from your heart the pattern of teaching that has now claimed your allegiance. 18 You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.
19 I am using an example from everyday life because of your human limitations. Just as you used to offer yourselves as slaves to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer yourselves as slaves to righteousness leading to holiness. 20 When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness. 21 What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death! 22 But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

We would love to have you come with us anytime! 

We truly wish we could do this type of work EVERY day!

Loving Radically Through Christ,


Saturday, June 29, 2013

Speaking at Durham Youth Alliance Camp

Dean was contacted by Ralph Thompson, of Emergency Chaplains, to be a guest speaker at the Durham Youth Alliance Camp being held at Braggtown Baptist Church.  Due to work interviews that week, Dean was unable to be the guest speaker.  So he asked me if I would do it instead.

Now I've known Ralph for many years.  We went to Bethesda Baptist Church together.  I was in the youth group and Ralph was an active church member.  Let's just say that Ralph knew me when I was a terrible teenager.  For him to even have half an inch of respect for me, and allow me to come and speak to a group of teenagers, is a testimony to Jesus Christ all in itself.

I had less than a week's notice, but I prayed about it and I knew that God wanted me to take this opportunity.  The Bible tells us to be ready in and out of season....and 1 Peter tells us to always be ready to give the reason for the hope that we have.  Well the reason for the hope I have is Jesus and I should ALWAYS be ready to tell about Him and what He did for me.

I didn't prepare too much for the speaking because I prayed that the Holy Spirit would give me the words to speak.  I briefly reviewed some material I had used in the past and went ready and prayed up on Thursday morning.

I was scheduled to speak from 11 to 12.  I had 15-20 minutes with the younger group (ages 4 to 10) and 30 minutes with the older group (ages 11 to 16).  This camp is a summer camp for mostly inner-city kids.  I was told ahead of time many of these kids did not have a dad or mom at home and were from "underprivileged" areas.  That just made it all the better!  I have a serious soft spot in my heart for these "types" of kids.

I walked into the gym at 11 and there were almost 30 little ones!  WOW what a large group!  I had them make a circle and sit on the gym floor.  I went around and got everyone's name and age.  Although I obviously can't remember all of their names, I think it's important for each one to get to introduce themselves.  It lets them know that I care about each one.  I introduced myself and tried to get everyone as calm as possible.  I talked to them about aliens.  Aliens?  Yes, aliens.  (Look back at our summer VBS from last year.)  They were able to tell me what they knew about aliens, and then I turned it around and explained how the Bible tells us to live as aliens and strangers, and how Jesus told His disciples that they were "not of this world" as He was not of this world.  (John and Hebrews) I explained to them that when we give our lives to Jesus and decide to follow Him, that we are suppose to live like Jesus and not be of this world anymore.  I gave them some real time examples of how they can live like Jesus and not like the rest of the world.  When we were done I lined them up and shook hands with all of them and told them all that it was nice to meet them and I hoped to see them again soon.  Next time I will definitely have a hands on activity to keep them more interested and involved, although I felt they did a really good job considering the large number of kids and the big age differences.

Next I went over to the pre-teens and teenagers.  This is the group I was most excited about.  I told God a few years ago that I would never be able to work with teenagers....that He could put me anywhere else, but I just couldn't work with them because I remember the attitude I used to have and how sneaky I was, and I just didn't want to deal with it.  Well - that was a mistake.....NEVER tell God what you won't be doing.  He might just equip you and send you right to it :)

The teens were looking through hymnals and song books when I came in the room.  They were in small groups at different tables in what looked like a Sunday School room.  They were obviously bored out of their minds and just making the best of their time while they waited on me.  I introduced myself and had them put their chairs in a circle in the room.  Two of the kids, a brother and sister, remembered me from McDougald Terrace Apartments Street Church from last year.  It's always so nice to see familiar faces in a group....especially welcoming, familiar faces.  I started off my testimony time by giving them a little of my childhood history.  The very first question I was asked was "Have you ever even lived in the projects?"  Praise God that I was able to have the kids look directly out the window of the church, right across Roxboro Road, in between Biscuitville and Pelican Snowballs, and show them that YES, in fact I had lived RIGHT THERE.  I lived on Brittania Avenue when I was 16 and one street over was Channing Court....and the siding of our duplex had bullet holes.  Just because I looked like a "well-to-do white girl" didn't mean that I didn't have a clue.  I wanted these kids to immediately know that I wasn't just some stranger who had nothing in common with them and didn't have a clue what they might be going through.  I was able to further relate to them by letting them know that I grew up without my dad in my house, and that he was, and still is, a drug addict that isn't there for me.  By this point they were relaxed and wanted to hear more.  I took them through my high school years.....the honor roll, the constant church attendance, the need to fit in, the partying, the dropping out of high school, and slipping deeper and deeper into sin.  I told them from the beginning that I was going to be blunt and honest with them.  I know these kids hear worse on the school bus and with their friends at school, and I knew the way to reach them was to truly open up and be honest with them.  They couldn't realize the depths of my redemption without seeing the depths of my pit of sin.  And they can spot a phony from a mile away, someone who's just there to tell them what to do.  I took them through the teen pregnancy, the sexual promiscuity, and on and on and even worse.  We discussed in detail how I incorrectly thought the whole time that I was okay with God since I had been to church and even been baptized as a kid.  I took them through my 20s and my emotional mess and how I finally turned away from that lifestyle and starting looking to fill my God-void with other worldly success and having a nice looking outer shell, and how I even started back to church thinking Sunday social club with lots of activities would make me happy and whole.  I was able to let these kids see that I had tried everything, but nothing would ever fill that whole in my heart except for a real, living relationship with the Lord.  I related it to them and how they feel and what they deal with and how I knew that God had created each one of them with a longing for Him and that no amount of money, partying, friends, sex, drugs, success, cars, houses, etc. would ever be able to satisfy them.  I was able to bring them full circle and I told them of how I finally understood what Jesus did for me and how I could have a relationship with God by the indwelling Holy Spirit.  I ended with some great scriptures (good/bad tree and its fruit) and a visual representation of the woman caught in the act of adultery.  The circle of students were the Pharisees and law givers, one girl was the woman, and I was Jesus (since I had the name of JESUS written on my shirt).  I explained Jesus' authority as the sinless judge and His love and forgiveness for the woman/sinner, but also stressed Jesus' directive to her to "Go and sin no more".  I didn't want to leave these kids where I was at their age....thinking they could just go to church, or say a repetitive sinner's prayer in a strictly emotional or obligatory moment, and leave and live like the world and just be ok.  I told them the truth directly from the Word of God.  They were able to see my care for them and their situations.  I gave our ministry cards to a few interested folks and stayed after for 15 minutes while they asked me personal questions and told me of their own stories.  Were all of the kids changed?  Probably not.  Did I have an effect on a few?  Most definitely. 

I walked with them to their next destination, which was a speaking presentation with Mayor Bill Bell....fully set up with backdrop and lights and video cameras.  Was I important like that?  Maybe not in the worlds' eyes.  Maybe not in the City of Durham's eyes.  But on the way out a few of the students stopped one of the directors and asked them if I could please come back and share again.

WOW.....they actually want me to come back.

I'm in awe.

Not of them....

Not of me....

But of how the Holy Spirit showed up in that room and used my mouth to testify of Jesus.  That's always His job and when we yield to it, He's always faithful.  He's the power behind our faith....He's the power, the strength, the peace, the comfort, the wisdom, the guidance, the living presence of Jesus Christ in ME!

I left that place and got in my car and felt like I was on top of the world!  My heart was so full I couldn't do anything but praise Him and thank Him and smile.

Loving Radically Through Jesus,


Friday, June 21, 2013

Take Me In

There are a few praise and worship songs that immediately cause me to fall flat on my face and just worship.....the following is one of those songs.

(Bear with me if you'd like....)

I have been known to listen to this song 3 or 4 times in a row.  It causes the craziest range of reactions - from hands raised, to tears, to utter humility, to goose bumps, to complete silence and awe - all within the 4 minute span of the song.   

The visual images, like a personal vivid movie scrolling through my brain, send my spirit into immediate realization of who I am and who HE is.

I think of the lady who had been bleeding for years, who just wanted to touch Jesus' robe.  I think of the crippled man, who found a way past the crowds of people, onto the roof of the house, and had himself lowered through the ceiling just to be in the presence of Jesus.

I'm entering the tabernacle....there are hundreds of people in the outer court....they are coming to offer their sacrifices, atone for their sins, wash themselves in the water and worship the Lord.  I can hear the cries of the people, the sadness and the excitement, the songs of praise being offered.

It's enveloping, but none of that matters.  Just get me to His Presence!

No one else around me matters.  There are no distractions, no noises, no activities that can alter my course.  I'm like a horse with blinders, only headed in one direction.

I'm through the Holy Place...the Table of Showbread, the Golden Candlestick, the Altar of Incense.  It's all so beautiful and meaningful.  But there's still only one place I want to be.

Through the veil - which was torn by Jesus for me!  It's my open invitation!

I stop and I'm barely able to breathe.  I am completely overcome by reverance and fear and love.


I am blinded and cannot speak.  I fall flat onto the ground and tears just flow.  I realize that my heart and mouth are vile.  Just one touch on my lips from a hot coal from your blazing fire.....

Just to touch one thread of your garment....the hunger is immense....your holiness is intoxicating.

I'm here - where Isaiah was:

....I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphim, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying.  And they were calling to one another:

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty;
    the whole earth is full of his glory.”

At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke.

“Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.”

Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar.  With it he touched my mouth and said, “See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?
And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

He said, “Go and tell this people:
“‘Be ever hearing, but never understanding;
    be ever seeing, but never perceiving.’
Make the heart of this people calloused;
    make their ears dull
    and close their eyes.
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
    hear with their ears,
    understand with their hearts,
and turn and be healed.”

I want to stay here all day and never leave.

Better is one day in Your courts than a thousand elsewhere Lord.

Here's the song, for anyone who dares:

Loving Radically Through Christ,


Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Roofing Repairs Update - Next Job SIDING REPAIRS

The roofing repairs were completed at the end of May.  Thank you so very much to all who donated their money or time to get this completed!  The mom and daughter are extremely grateful and don't have to worry about leaks during the rain (perfect timing considering this was finished before the tropical storm we just had!!)

The final pictures are below:

They really did a great job and put in a lot of hard work!

If you'll also recall from the original posting, the siding on this home needs to be replaced.  Thin wood siding was used on this mobile home, and it has also begun to rot and waste away after getting wet.  We have priced out the supplies for the siding and it will be around $1500.  We are going to begin praying that God will send the supplies and provision for this also.  We know He can - so do you want to be a part in helping out?

Kyle Mulholland has generously donated his handyman services again and will be instructing the laborers in how to complete this portion of the repairs also.

We have already received our first personal donation of $50 from Michael Britt and Christy Eatmon, the youth leaders at Bethel Christian Center.  Thank you guys so very much!!!

(I also believe that I forgot to post that Glen and Lindsey Newsome, Associate Pastor and wife of Antioch Baptist Church, gave a donation at the end of May for $150 that went to cover the balance of the roofing repairs.  Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!)

We look forward to working on this next project and will keep you guys updated!

Loving Radically Through Christ,


Thursday, June 6, 2013

May 2013 Outreach

We recently did out first outreach in Oxford, which is in Granville County, where we live.

We had the best adult turnout of any of our outreaches, but we shouldn't have been surprised.  The Lord prepared the way for this outreach.  He opened doors ahead of time and made clear paths. 

Dean and Bernard set out to explore the Oxford area a few weeks before the outreach, and the Lord put them in a direct, face-to-face meeting with the Director of the Oxford Housing Authority.  He 'just happened' to know Bernard very well and was a fellow believer.  We had prayed that the appropriate neighborhood would be selected and that the Lord would make it clear where He wanted us to do this outreach.  We ended up having God's favor for this area and we were also able to use the old Head Start building's tables, chairs and kitchen facilities.  This all proved to be an immeasurable blessing!

The people from the neighborhood came out and we had a great time fellowshipping with them and getting to know them a little better.  Bernard brought a wonderful message about how the race we run in the Christian life, and we had a tremendous response for prayer afterwards.  We did a puppet show, some songs and games with the kids, and had a donation table with free clothes and household goods for the families that came out.  We also made pork chops and chicken legs on the grill, baked beans, rolls, cookies and drinks. 

We are really hoping this outreach warmed us up to the area and we will be able to go back in and follow up with families and kids soon.  I would love to go back and do a mobile VBS this summer like we did in Butner last year.  I feel comfortable that we were able to display the love of Jesus through this outreach, and this will build trust for when we come back out again to share and disciple on a deeper level.

I have attached some pictures below from the outreach.