When is knowing you going to do me any good?
Pastor Girton’s scripture of the day. Romans 12:2
I was starting to get nervous. My time away was half over and I was still waiting to see how all of this praying was going to pan out. I’d read the articles and emails and had responded to some of the authors. I’d participated in long SMS conversations on my iPhone. I’d even downloaded a faxed copy of an article that hit my email early Wednesday morning about the need to talk about the “problems linked to Expo.” And then, as I started to type it all came together.
Everyone Has A Solution
OK, let’s create a Safe Zone. Let’s create a task force to review the security measures during the Summer Celebration. Let’s search people coming downtown to reduce weapons and fire arms near the downtown district. Let’s put up a barricade or two or three. Let’s cancel events for the youth to attend. Let’s commission a report. Let’s hold hands. Let’s sing an old Negro spiritual and then how about we, after all of that, we go back to business as usual.
Sound harsh? We might as well. Why? Because none of this is going to do any good until we deal with the REAL issue. You know, the pink dinosaur in the room! Have fathers and the male figures in our teens lives been replaced with public defenders? Are there any fathers besides Reggie Clark, Sr. who are shaken by what happened last weekend? OK, let me put it another way. Are there any fathers who are willing to put aside their salary, titles, degrees, politics, or denomination to look at the continuing violence for what it is. It’s a result of lack of attention. I know paying child support is important to many single mothers. But, paying attention is just as important to a child who is developing a psychological necessity called attachment.
If your life’s ship crashed in the middle of an ocean and you can’t swim, the only way you’ll survive is to grab a hold of something . . . anything. To stay alive you don’t care if it’s a broken piece of the ship, as long as you have something to hold on to. Too many children are facing death by drowning or holding on to broken pieces. They’re faced with doing whatever they can just to stay sane within environments that are saturated by senseless violence.
Time To Step Up . . . For Real!
So, how do we put the pieces back together? It will take father’s to do what they can to learn how to be what many of them didn’t see growing up. Can it be done in one generation or will it take as long to fix the problem as it took to cause it? Look at the life of President Obama and you tell me.
Who needs to step up? Every father who knows he has a child somewhere but has left his responsibility of fathering to someone else must stand up. No one is perfect and all father’s, at home or not, incarcerated or free, divorced or married, saved or unsaved, employed or unemployed, baby boomer or buster, degreed or not, white collar or blue collar, known father or father-less, has an opportunity to initiate a New MENtality.
Every “Old Head” who knows the value of hard work, respect and education must step up in the lives of sons and daughters you know are headed down the wrong path. Every “Other Mother” who understands her value as the consciousness of the her family and community and who is the prayer worrier over the lives of those who’ve forsaken the assembly must keep the porch light on. Every pastor who steps out of the pulpit and into the arms of children who share him or her with their congregation must be willing to be the standard they preach about. Every law enforcement officer who leaves his/her own children vulnerable while protecting the lives of other people’s children must be willing to look at every child as if they were his or her own. Every mother who seeks the best for her children and understands that they must put their child’s need for paternal attachment ahead of their need to get even. Every politician who says they’re in position for the betterment of the community must put their money where their mouth is and stop wasting time and lives lining their pockets, being politically correct, roll up their sleeves and do what they were voted into office to do — Lead! Every business owner who benefits financially from our communities must stand up and be as fearless in educating and employing the children of our community as they are in profiting from our children (In other words, I’m not afraid to make money off of them, but I’m afraid to employ them). Every teacher who invests so much of their time, effort and energy into our children must be willing to be sensitive to the needs of every child and to stand up, advocate and embrace emerging methods of educating children with non-traditional learning styles. And every child who knows there is a hole in their heart that can only be filled by the compassion of a loving, attentive father must step up and acknowledge that what they’re searching for can’t be found in a gang, gun, sex, a baby, alcohol, nor drugs.
Barricades won’t do it. Safe Zones won’t cut it. Tasks forces will put forth a great effort, but their reports will fall short. As strong as Expo’s history is, they can’t do it — alone. It will take godly MEN, FATHER’S, UNCLES, GRANDFATHER’S, and MENTORS to crack the code that unleashes the best in our children, our community and our future. It’s just that simple.
As the day ends purpose seems to be coming into focus. God is directing us to deal with “family disorganization” and it’s community-level impact. Our perspective appears to rest on 1.) the extinction of men from family and community, 2.) the reasons for and degree of male absenteeism, 3.) how we program, articulate and respond positively to this negative trend and 4.) how we deal with the presence of a spiritual hole left in the lives of traumatized children, women, and communities. We will concentrate our efforts within neighborhoods engulfed by violence and criminal mentalities as well as peer groups overtaken by rampant underachievement as a way to define themselves in the face of anger, frustration and lack of self concept. Ultimately the misplaced resentment and dysfunction in one home becomes the reality for many homes in the community, as high concentrations of fatherless, men-less, mentor-less, guardian-less, resource-less, jobless and value-less residents watch their community’s social, economic and political net-worth bleed out and ignorance, violence, hopelessness and fear seep in.
Good morning all! (Please be patient with this email, I know it’s long)
For many of you it may come as a surprise that I’ve left Indianapolis and headed for the mountains for a week of focus, fasting and prayer. I was scheduled to meet or conference with some of you this week and, while I still intend to facilitate some of the calls, I’m nowhere near Indy and will have to reschedule any meetings for when I return.
Nevertheless, this email is not just about letting you all know that I won’t be available for meetings this week. There’s also a much deeper purpose for this email. After praying this morning and seeking God’s face on “FOCUS” for day 1 of my fast, I was led to include all of you in this first email. Before any documents are written or decisions are made with respect to my family, ministry and community, I wanted to share with you how God’s word spoke to me today. Right now I’m lying in the bed because my legs went totally numb as I was writing to you. I couldn’t feel my legs nor walk. Feet in the bible represent PURPOSE and DIRECTION. When my legs went numb, the first thing I thought was that I ought to be able to make it to the other room. But, I couldn’t and I had to use the strength of my arms to hold myself up and drag my legs across the floor. It was tough because I had never been so reliant on my arms to do what my legs have been doing all of my life. I instantly realized how heavy of a weight my body really was without the use of my legs.
The word that came to me from this centered around the resurrection of Lazarus (John 11). Many of you and the people you know may look at the situations and issues that our communities (Nashville or Indianapolis) faces like Martha. Especially after the events of this past weekend in downtown Indianapolis, we all shake our heads and wonder where God is in all of this. Churches are emptying and faith gets twisted because many are so wounded by the violence and turmoil in our communities that the hope that has brought us this out of slavery gets distracted and many literally say to Jesus, if only you had been here this weekend, if only you’d been here for our children, or for ME. . . If only you’d been here, my marriage wouldn’t have died. Maybe my child wouldn’t have been shot. Maybe, I wouldn’t have had to deal with the disease in my body if you’d been here for me. Maybe, Lord, if you would’ve been here for me I may not have fallen into this addiction that has a strong hold on my life.
I believe that God has prepared me for such a time as this to represent his word in the midst of all that is challenging our communities. God’s word is clear to show us ourselves. But it is also clear to tell us what to do next. Like a mirror, once we see how deranged our hair, cloths, and make up are in the morning, we must take the necessary steps to begin fixing those things that we recognize aren’t in order.
Back to my legs. After Jesus raises Lazarus from the grave, the bible says that Lazarus came forth. He came out of the darkness. He left the realities of death behind. He came back to life. But, there was still a problem. He was still bound. He was bound at the feet, the hands and the face. His purpose (feet), work (hands) and vision (face) were still in bondage. [I’ll preach on this later] Today I want to bring attention to the bondage of purpose [feet] in our communities. I found out in a very real way how difficult it is to move in a forward direction and with conviction when you don’t have full use of your feet or legs. Getting to the other room was difficult even though I knew where I wanted to go!
To be sure, Jesus had the power to remove the grave clothes before Lazarus came out. But, he didn’t. He had the ability to walk up to his friend and unwrap him, but he didn’t. Jesus turns to the community, those who were standing by and tells them to “Loose Him and let him go.” Here it’s important to note the directive of Jesus to us today. It’s so clear. It’s not complicated. There’s always a faith switch for you and I after Jesus handles his business. There’s always a response for us, in the midst of a miracle taking place. The question is, “will we respond to the command of God to involve ourselves in the miracle taking place in our communities?”
I’m calling all men, father’s, husbands, uncles, grandfathers, mentors and wanna-be’s to join me in prayer at the forefront! It’s time for all of us to make IMPACT and be a part of what God is doing in our midst. It’s time for us to start finding purpose in our lives, in our walk and in our work. God has already delivered us and we must heed the call to be a part of power and deliverance that is taking place. We have access to more resources today than ever before in our history to get focused, communicate and walk with purpose. Jesus has freed the sons in our communities, yet, our sons are still bound and waiting on us to do our part! Our daughters are free, but still bound. Our visions are still bound. Our families are still bound. And it’s our responsibility as men to handle our response-ability.
No one person can do it all. And that’s why I need every hand on deck. Every resource released and made available. If you write, I need you to set up a blog and start writing. If you speak, I need you to pray about researching and speaking on the topics of purpose and direction. If you own a business, then I need you to pray about sowing sacrificial seeds of support into an effort such as this. If you’re a prayer warrior, then I need you to start praying right now. If you have any other God-given gift (administration is always needed by the way) that can help free our communities from the grips of ignorance, violence, fear, apathy, guilt, denial, pride, you name it, then let the record show that God is calling on you to stand up and do your part. And, if you know someone who needs to heed this call of God, forward this email to them with a personal note from you.
Today, I’m praying for focus. I’m asking God to order my steps and make my path and purpose clear. I’m seeking divine order in every area of my life so that the anointing that flows through me will point back to God and not toward me. As the week continues, we’ll continue to witness the crystallization of God’s vision for how all of this will come together for me and my family, for ministry and for our community. Pray Church!
It’s time to make IMPACT!