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.
Monday began a series of writing on three crucial words every believer need to understand; guilt, grace, and gospel. Today I hope to cover grace. By saying that I hope to cover grace, I mean that I will be addressing a sliver of its depth and significance to the Christian life.
Though grace is amazing, an improper understanding of grace can leave us desperate, broken, and empty. I know this to be true because there was a time in my walk with Jesus that grace was not present, let alone amazing. Even though I was serving in a full-time pastorate position, I wrestled with truly embracing the eternal kindness of the Father. In fact, I found seeking to please God to earn His favor was rather exhausting.
Thankfully, I had a grace awakening during a spiritual formation retreat in the mountains of Southern California. God overwhelmed me with a feeling of wonder, love, and acceptance that I can not fully express with words. I suddenly realized the powerful, gracious nature of my relationship with God.
Many people define grace a getting what we do not deserve or via the Christian moniker: "God's Riches at Christ's Expense." I have come to define grace as God granting us with exactly what we need when we need it. Let me explain:
To a hopeless, drug-addicted prostitute, grace is the true embrace of God's love-- delivered free of charge, unconditionally. It is laden with the phrases "I accept you for you" and "there is a future for you free of abuse and solicitation." Grace is hope, here and now.
To hypocritical religious pharisee, God's grace comes in the form of rebuke. Words of woe, names of white-washed tomb, and declarations of "hypocrite" are actually endearing words of grace as well. They are needed, whether the pharisee heeds them or not. Here God's kindness comes as a grace-spanking, one might say.
To the soul-searching young adult, questioning the meaning of life, God's grace is a gentle wooing to "follow Him" followed by the revelation of His greatness and the His great patience. Grace is the invitation to truth and a God-driven purpose, significance.
To the parents who have tragically lost their young child to cancer, the grace of God is divinely-sustaining strength. Grace then becomes the empowering testimony that He alone will bring triumph from tragedy. In this situation, 2 Corinthians 12:9 is proved true, that His "grace is sufficient."
If God did not love us immensely, nor care about our redemptive possibility, He would let us wander into an ego-centric life of high piety, delve into the darkness of our depravity, or allow life's great trials to swallow us whole. It is God's eternal kindness, His grace, that beckons us to freedom and true abundant life.
I pray that God may give you exactly what you need. May His grace be ever upon you!