As I was riding my bike this morning, I found myself rejoicing in a hobby I enjoy immensely (despite the humidity!). I thought of how I had to give it up for a season due to injury and how I was so glad to be back on the bike again. There are so many freedoms and physical abilities that I too often take for granted.
Then I thought of the men (and women) I have the privilege of serving through FOCUS Ministries. Though some would only call them convicted felons, I call them my friends. Yes, some of my friends have made poor choices. And some of those choices have been separated from men and women from their families for 2 days, 200 days, or even 20 plus years!
Some people say, "They deserve it!" or "It was their choice." To those people I would say, you may be right. However, I would also challenge said persons to sit down and have a real conversation with my friends. Hear them share about the struggles of active addiction, the pains they wrestled with in their families of origin, or life situations that lead to such poor choices. I believe your heart would open and compassion and understanding would rush in.
The Real Victim
One thing is true in all of this no matter what. The real victim when it comes to incarceration is the family unit. Mothers separated from children, ashamed of failures. Fathers absent from a role God designed uniquely for them. Children looking for answers, hope and direction so they too don't end up behind the walls one day. Every single person feels the effects.
Riding Builds Understanding
On September 1 & 2 I will be riding back-to-back centuries. That is 2 days of 100-mile rides on one weekend. To me, this is a challenge of mental toughness and physical endurance. However, it doesn't even compare to the toughness and endurance needed for families to survive and thrive during a family member's incarceration and re-entry.
With that said, I ask you to help me use this 2-day bike ride to raise money for the children of incarcerated families. As I endure 2 tough days, I ask you pray for prison-affected families and the many tough days they have to endure. Maybe you could give $0.25, $0.50, or $1 a mile. The good news -- 100% of the money raised will go to benefit East Tennessee families through events like Returning Hearts Celebration and Angel Tree!
Thank you in advance for your gift. Click below to become a donor and a promoter!
Did you know 1 in 10 children in Tennessee* will have or have had a parent who was incarcerated? You can only imagine the strain this puts on the family; single-parent homes, foster care needs, and the list goes on.
FOCUS Ministries is a nonprofit seeking to minister the families of the incarcerated, especially the children. This effort takes place both behind and beyond the walls of prisons or jails through intentional parenting classes and restoration and reconciliation mentoring. Family ministry efforts are also encouraged by strategic events like Returning Hearts Celebration and the Angel Tree Christmas Party.
On September 1 & 2, I am raising money to help with FOCUS Ministries' family efforts. To do this, I will be pedaling the 200-Mile Challenge. This cycling ride leaves out of Atlanta, Georgia and ends just outside of Anniston, Alabama with a return trip the next day.
As much as this is a physical endurance challenge for me, it in no ways compares the endurance challenges so many East Tennessee families face.
So, I am asking you to consider donating a minimum of $25 a day to the cause. The goal is to raise $5,000+ that weekend. One hundred percent of all donations will go to benefit the families of the incarcerated.
Thank you in advance for your generosity!
Learn More about the Route...
It is with great excitement and honor I announce that I have accepted the position of Executive Director at FOCUS Ministries in Knoxville.
With that said, I would like to extend a special thank you to my family, Steve Humphreys, and the FOCUS Family. A new, exciting journey awaits. Your prayers are appreciated.
You can learn more about FOCUS Ministries, a great holistic prison & re-entry ministry, at www.focustn.org. Without a doubt, FOCUS is passionate about helping men and women find new beginnings in Christ -- whether behind or beyond the walls.
Life is Busy.
Writing here is distracting me from writing the second book.
Therefore, a break has come.
I am excited to have a pre-release copy of my friend's new book, An Unhurried Leader. Alan Fadling is an author, spiritual director, and newly ordained Anglican priest who has had a strong influence on my life. I met Alan during my time in California while attending The Journey, a two-year intensive spiritual formation retreat. Those retreats led to a long-term ministry partnership and friendship with him and his wife, Gem.
Alan's first book, An Unhurried Life, encourages one to properly embrace the intentional rhythms of work and Sabbath, at Jesus' pace. The teachings of Alan have been a great blessing to me through the years. I know his newest work will have many insights about creating an atmosphere of unhurry in my places of work and leadership.
Learn more about the works and ministry of Alan, and Gem, at www.unhurriedliving.com.