Embracing Peter

Peter Baptism Pic

Peter has held out his hand to God’s people a few times before just to have them push it away. At least that is what it felt like when the last two churches asked Peter and his friends to leave and not return. Peter and his friends live with developmental disabilities. Some live with mental illness. It is not they find it difficult to connect relationally with others, it is that others find it difficult to connect relationally with them. What they need is a community of people to see that they are more than the sum total of their disabilities and illnesses. They too are people, dearly loved by God and made in His image. If there’s anything I’ve learned about God, everything He creates possesses a unique beauty and should be cherished and valued. Peter and his friends are of extraordinary intrinsic value and possess a unique beauty that when clearly seen, adds vibrant colors to the palette of life and community.

It was only a year ago when I received a call that the second church asked Peter and the rest of his friends to leave. I do not know why. I guess it hints at not being able to see beyond their disabilities and illness. Or maybe it is as I suggested before, a couple of assisted living homes housing men and women with developmental disabilities and mental illness make “doing church” difficult and uncomfortable. And as in Lisa’s story, the picture shows what they missed.

This wonderful young man in his thirty’s is a talented, thoughtful and kind man. He needed to know that he was wanted by God and His people. After a few months of experiencing this kind of love and embrace he decided he wanted to be a Christian. Now he is. I am honored to have him as my brother in this journey of following Jesus.

I’m grateful for a church that welcomes all with radical embrace. Now we must press on into the difficult work of trusting God to form us into His beloved community.

Oh, and Peter would want me to tell you that he is an artist and a rapper. He likes to draw pictures that express his love for Jesus. He is quite good at it. His favorite thing to do is write songs about a God who loves him. For real, Peter has skills. He hopes that one day we will hear his songs on the radio. Wouldn’t that be beautiful?

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The Pages of Past & Present

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My wife and I watched the movie Selma. It happened only fifty years ago. Fifty years. That generation still lives as grandfathers and grandmothers who raised sons and daughters who have become fathers and mothers of children today.

Only humility will help us see that the pages of past and present demonstrate what the Scriptures have long explained: the reign of sin and death runs deep in the soil where the roots of injustice grow. 

May we be humble. May God awaken our hearts and may He have mercy.

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Institutionalization or a Movement

  
One thing that seems to keep a church from living on mission with God and from forming missional impulses is a lack of shared imagination. When I say “shared imagination” I mean a shared way of envisioning what life and society can look like when Jesus is Lord of all. When shared imagination is lacking, the Church tightens her grip on what she comfortably knows, postures her heart toward self-survival, and remains stagnant. Stagnancy always leads to death. But when a different way of being and doing life in society is imagined and shared by a community of gospel-formed people, a movement stirs and new life is created over and over again.

Institutions preserve culture. Movements create it. The gospel of King Jesus intends to create a movement in His people that through them creates a different kind of culture, one that seeks to be actively present in society in redemptive and restorative ways. This kind of community is capable of bearing witness to the alternative world God proposes to us in the Scriptures through the work of King Jesus.

In spite of what the picture suggests I have great hope for the Church. The same Holy Spirit who has worked in imperfect people for 2000 years still works in imperfect people. And He still cultivates movements.

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Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Friends,

By the grace of God through the generosity and support of many friends like you, 3e Restoration Inc. received 74 donations for a total of $8,540 plus cash prizes of $1,000 making it a grand total of $9,540! The Give Local 757 campaign was a huge success for us, especially when I remember that as an organization we are just over 1 year old! Praise the Lord! Thank you for helping us get the word out!

Here are some highlights:

1. Social media connections (Facebook, Twitter & LinkedIn) resulted in many shared status updates, stories and pictures. The stories God is writing were read by many these past two days!

2. We won two cash prizes: the Early Bird prize on Tuesday and the Midnight Hour prize!

3. We picked up several new donors and supporters!

4. Overnight and during the morning hours we almost doubled in gifts swinging from high twenties to low forties-that was huge! We asked you through this newsletter to give during the “Morning Commute” hours and you did! Thank you!

5. We received a generous challenge from a supporter for a $1 for $1 match between the final hours of 10am-11:30am that resulted in a huge upswing of new donors and an additional $1,185 in donations!

6. Just to contrast: by this time last year were only 1 month old. We received 11 gifts totaling just under $12,000 (one gift was $10,000). Though we received more money last year and are certainly grateful, this year’s effort is a greater success as our donors and supporters grew exponentially.

Thank you for making God’s love tangible to the last, least, left-out and lonely among us. We could not do with you. We praise our gracious God for you.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Grace and peace,

Fred

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We Need Your Help

Today is the day and I am asking for your help.

Beginning at 12pm through Wednesday at 12pm, 3e Restoration Inc. is participating in the Give Local 757 campaign where donations are amplified with matching funds and prizes by a local Foundation.  In God’s grace, I began 3e Restoration Inc., a registered 501c3 non-profit, of which I serve as President (not-paid, of course).

Since our humble beginning just one year ago:

  • We have permanently housed eleven (11) friends/families living through homelessness (as an upstart organization!).
  • We have encouraged, equipped and empowered four (4) local Churches that are now walking with nine (9) of our formerly homeless friends toward holistic sufficiency and systemic change through the 3e Restoration Process.
  • We have formerly trained nineteen (19) different church leaders now capable of leading and implementing the 3e Restoration Process in their local Church.
  • Four (4) more local Churches are coming on as “partners” to walk with more friends living through homeless toward holistic sufficiency!
  • We have developed formal partnerships with several Civic organizations, local businesses and other Social Services/Human Services agencies to holistically and systemically alleviate poverty, specifically homelessness, one friend/family at a time.
  • We now have a full-time Executive Director and volunteer Director of Operations & Marketing (that we would like to hire as the need is there) to lead us in this incredible city-wide movement involving so many, along with our thirteen (13) Board of Directors.

As our work grows so does the demand. We are asked by other local churches and even other municipalities to equip, empower and encourage them, but we lack the organizational capacity to keep up! This is another way of saying we lack resources, both staff and financial, to faithfully move forward. We need to raise money to strengthen each area of our budget: general fund, process development fund and mission fund. Each are crucial if we are to grow.

Here’s how you can help:

For the next 24 hours (beginning at noon today) with just a minimum of a $10 donation online anyone from anywhere in any state can give to 3e Restoration Inc by clicking HERE.

Choose 1 of 3 ways to give and help us win additional $$$! If you can help, please let us know in the comment box or a private message. Thank you!

1. The Lunch Time Prize – Highest # of donations between 12 noon and 1pm on May 5 = $500 to that non-profit.

2. The Midnight Hour Prize – Nonprofit that receives the donation closest to midnight wins $500

3. The Morning Commute Prize – Highest # of donations between 7am and 9am on May 6 = $500 to that nonprofit (plus the non-profit to receive a donation at 7:57am wins an additional $500!)

Please consider giving and invite others to join you. Help us break the cycle of homelessness. One friend and family at a time.

With my sincere gratitude,

Fred

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Building Hope

Fred:

This is what happens a company takes a redemptive approach to their business. TYGES International is also a partner with 3e Restoration Inc (www.3erestoration.com) and partners with us as a “3e Coach” to alleviate homelessness by offering job interview training and resume building skills for our friends living through homelessness. It is a great company making good things happen to other people in incredible ways. It is also led by a dear friend of mine and fellow co-laborer in God’s work, Tim Saumier. I am grateful for them.

Please, read this post Tim wrote as they help my church family partner with CRF (Christian Relief Fund) to build an orphanage for 200 children living through homelessness in Eldoret Kenya.

Originally posted on Reinventing Recruiting:

By Tim Saumier, President of TYGES International

We were fortunate to have Francis Bii visit our office in Williamsburg, VA – Francis is the gentleman Kenya - Frances Biiwho is the primary point of contact in Kenya (Elderot) that is building an orphanage that will house 200 orphans with AIDS. We have joined in with this vision to help build this orphanage.  We are doing our part at TYGES by making placements (Connecting Great People with Great Companies).  For each placement, TYGES will donate $100.00 toward this cause. The plan is to break ground on the orphanage later this year.

More than building 200 rooms…we’re building hope for 200 kids that have no where to go.

TYGES has partnered with Williamsburg Christian Church (Fred Liggin is the pastor) and the church itself has stepped up and said it will collectively raise $110,000 this year to build the orphanage – so we are in essence donating money to…

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Retribution Versus Restoration and a God of Second Chances

For those of us who walk closely with people living through poverty and homelessness, or are a part of a socio-culturally diverse faith community, we know that when it comes to getting a job many of our friends face different barriers. For many of my friends living through homelessness, some barriers stem from their present situation–unmanaged hygiene, poor interpersonal communication skills, PTSD. Some barriers stem from their past–large gaps in work history, undereducated, poor choices resulting in some sort of criminal record.

I had a friend who was educated and had a fair work history (not stellar, but not terrible). She could not get a job due to an arrest from 6 years ago. The crime was theft. What did she steal? Food. From a grocery store.

Before Virginia’s Governor passed the so-called “Ban the Box” order (passed on “Good Friday”), some of our friends in need as well as some in my church family couldn’t even get an interview as their application revealed a poor choice in their past.

RichmondApp-BigGray-620x379Now this question will not appear on the application. Now a friend in need has a chance to get an interview. No doubt employers will run criminal background checks. Personally, I think that is wise. But if the employer chooses not to employ a friend in need at least they will be saying no to a person, rather than an checked box on an application. At least our friend in need had an interview and a fair shot at the job. Who knows, an employer might just like what they see and choose to give our friend in need a second chance. And that second chance may just make the difference.

I am grateful for this law. It is more restorative and less retributive, and restoration is what God’s people are supposed to be all about.

Above all I am thankful for God’s mercy and grace. He is a God of many second chances and He always seeks to forgive and restore. May we carry on in joining Him in His work of restoring lives.

Oh by the way that friend I mentioned earlier finally got a job. For some reason this particular application didn’t ask about the criminal record. It was the first in almost 85 applications that didn’t ask. She got a call back for an interview. I encouraged her to be forthright about the arrest and at the end of the interview to be sure to tell hiring manager. The hiring director appreciated her honesty and called me for a reference.

She got the job.


Virginia is the 15th state to pass the order. You can read about it here:  http://www.dailypress.com/news/politics/dp-nws-mcauliffe-ban-box-20150403-story.html

And here: http://www.nelp.org/page/content/banthebox/

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