Pondering. Asking. Wondering.

black-and-white-question-mark-clipart-question-mark

After a day of loving our community with Hope Church on Saturday, I am left asking myself and God a lot of questions the last few days.  We had a lot of great conversations while we worked and processed afterwards. I love, love, love to ask the question “Why?”. Sometimes it can be quite a frustrating question to ask. When I know the WHY behind something, then (and sometimes ONLY THEN) I can grasp it. Sometimes we know the why in the moment. Sometimes we have to wait a while to learn why. Sometimes we have to wait until heaven to learn the answer to a question that we long to know.  But, there’s nothing like knowing the WHY behind a situation right in the moment. If God truly cares about the details of my life, then these are questions I need to ask Him and myself regularly…

Why do I live where I live?

Why am I planted where I am planted?

Why do I work where I work?

Why am I married to the person I am married to?

For some it might be, Why do I go to the school that I go to? the tennis club, the whatever?

Regardless of the way we really want to answer those questions, if we are followers of Jesus, the honest answer SHOULD be – to glorify God. In the simplest of forms…keeping the ‘Main Thing’ the ‘Main Thing’, we live to Love God. Love others. And make disciples who make disciples. So, we don’t have to add anything extra to our calendars to fulfill this mission…God’s mission. It’s a matter of living on God’s mission in our everyday, walk-around lives….with intentionally. So, the questions, the prayers then become…

How do I love (and serve) God and love (and serve) others where I live?

How do I love (and serve) God and love (and serve) others where I go to school?

How do I love (and serve) God and love (and serve) others where I work?

How do I love (and serve) God and love (and serve) my spouse?

How do I love (and serve) those who look, act, and think different than I do?

How do I love (and serve) God and others in my everyday, walk around life?

Your life…my life… has purpose and meaning. So much more than going through the rote motions of getting up, eating breakfast and packing lunches, going to work or class, fixing dinner, playing tennis, taking your kids to a swim meet, walking the dog, fixing the brakes on the car, having a drink or ice cream with a friend, attending the PTA or civic association meeting, etc.

Imagine…

  • we were doing all these things not to simply check the box …going through the motions, but to intentionally pour ourselves out – loving our neighbors, spouses, colleagues, teachers, employees, grocery clerks, friends, frenemies and enemies as ourselves.
  • we went to bed at night with the attitude of ‘last man standing’ out-serving one another – not in a competitive way, but in a genuinely loving way only because that is what God called us to do. Jesus was sent to serve, not be served. Then, he sent us to do the same.
  • we, as those who profess to be followers of Jesus, actually believed and acted like King Jesus was really on the throne…was really in control… and that all things really do work together for my good.

Imagine that.

That’s my wish…my desire… to live my life with intentionality, out-serving one another, believing and acting like Jesus is King of my life and He has my best interest in mind….and that all things (good, bad and otherwise) work together for my good. I may not understand the why…. but I will trust him.

How can I love (serve) you today?


Quench Your Thirst This Saturday!

A few days ago, I shared about our Spiritual Family in Spiritual Family: Where We Are the Church and Do the Bible. In addition to that gathering, we have a weekly gathering for the youth as well called HIS kids where we focus on 3 things…

HOPE – The hope of Jesus Christ.

INSPIRE – Encourage and inspire the next generation.

SERVE – Giving back to the community through serving- like assisting neighbors and picking up trash.

These kids decided that they want to raise money for other activities throughout the summer The first thing they want to do is buy and cook dinner for our Tuesday Night Church gathering. Typically, we have a covered dish, but they want to make dinner and serve it their Spiritual Family. Please join us in supporting their servant’s heart by buying a cup (or 10 cups!!!) of lemonade on Saturday between 11a-2p.  And you can also donate online on our link to the right!!!

Do us a favor, please. Share this with your friends!

Thanks, y’all!
Lemonade Stand


Spiritual Family: Where We Are the Church and Do the Bible.

I was reminded recently that I don’t write as much as I used to. Not sure why, really. Mostly because we are spending time doing life and not writing about it. I was encouraged to write more because people are watching us and are encouraged to live like us, as we attempt to live like Christ. So, I’m going to try and make writing a priority again. First topic – my Spiritual Family. Since Louis hasn’t been pastoring a traditional church since his time at New Hanover, people have wondered where we have attended church.

Following 2 knee replacements and 1 hip replacement in 2013, in February 2014 – Louis, a few other friends, and I gathered to talk about what it would look like to start gathering weekly as an Acts 2 expression of the church, where are not simply going to church and reading the Bible. We ARE the church and we DO the Bible.

Acts 2 The Fellowship of the Believers

42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need.46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

So, we’ve been gathering weekly on Tuesday nights at 6:30p ever since. One might ask… “What do we do and how do we do it???”
We focus on 4 main things…
  1. Divine Truth – Where we are focused UP – our relationship with God the Father through Jesus Christ and in the power of the Holy Spirit. We are called to love God. The creator of the universe wants a relationship WITH US, and that’s pretty amazing. (vs 42) On Tuesday nights, we study God’s Word together – where everyone can offer what God says to them through the scripture. We rarely have traditional sermons. (vs 42 – they didn’t have Bibles back then, so they learned from Apostle’s teaching). Throughout the week, we are reading and discussing the Word with one another as we get together outside of Tuesday nights. Each Tuesday and the rest of the week, we are in prayer for and with one another and our neighborhood and city.
  2. Nurturing Relationships – Where we are focused on being IN relationship with others. We are called to love our neighbor as ourselves. So, we focus on building relationship with one another…encouraging and loving in a familial kind of way.  On Tuesday nights, we gather around the table to eat, laugh, eat, talk and eat, but also sharing life throughout the rest of the week – in person, via text, phone calls, etc. – (vs 46). We have traveled with one as he spent 4 months in jail and welcomed his mom and family into ours. We have cried together as family members have passed away and diagnosed with cancer, dementia, and more. We remind one another of the TRUTH and not the lies of the deceiver. We have celebrated marriages, new jobs, and new schools together. We like to party! We sent one to the military and another one on the road for a job. We have pooled our resources to repair homes, yards and cars. We have found new homes for washers, dryers and more! They will know we are followers of Jesus by our love for one another.
  3. Apostolic Mission – Where we are focused on going OUT into the community in our everyday walk around lives. We aren’t meant to be in a holy huddle sequestered away from everyone else. But, called to be in, but not of the world. Sometimes we do this as a group – like at our annual Memorial Day cookout or last year’s National Night Out in Highland Park where we set up a prayer tent. Today, it happened to be with my friend Karen who lives a few blocks away. We ate lunch at a new restaurant on Brookland Park Boulevard getting to know the owner and other employees. We bought and moved a piece of furniture from another neighbor who is moving because his wife had just died of cancer. We encouraged him and prayed for him. I got to meet 2 of her neighbors – 2 young men who said they wanted to come Tuesday night. Karen used her arboring skills to teach me how to trim a bradford pear tree beside the house. And the evening ended with passing on 5 white polo shirts to a neighbor who is starting a new job tomorrow. (Special thanks to friends who lovingly donated them!!!) So, as you can see… this isn’t a project or a specific thing we did. It was in the everyday rhythms of life that we were OUT and about looking for opportunities to love and serve. People aren’t projects. No one wants to be someone’s project. We just love people where they are.
  4. Beyond – Prepare and Equip – We spend our time preparing and equipping others to live a life following Jesus on His mission, who will then prepare and equip others to do the same. We aren’t meant to do life alone, but are meant to do so with others BEYOND ourselves.
I can’t imagine life without this spiritual family, which is growing weekly (vs 47) and we are seeing lives transformed (vs.43). All are welcome to the table. We are quite a motley crew, but this crew loves one another…warts and all.
IMG_3708

Taken 2 weeks ago! Grateful for an open floor plan where 2 folding tables can be added to the end of the dining table & extend into our living room.  The person on the end sits on the coffee table. Phew. :)


Our Back Yard… Memorial Day… This Monday… Be There!

One of favorite gatherings!!! Every year on Memorial Day you can find folks gathered in the backyard… eating, playing games, eating, laughing, eating, talking, and eating!

So, grab a covered dish (with some food in it!!!) and come on over! We supply the meat (chicken), drinks and dessert… you supply the rest… veggies, chips, bread, salads, fruit, beans, etc.

Monday, May 25th
4p – 8p
Please note: There is NO rain date for this event. But, the weather is looking GREAT!

2101 Barton Avenue
Richmond, VA 23222
Memorial Day 2015 photo


Can’t Miss Easter 2015 in RVA


IMG_2664

Last year, we started a new tradition. We call it Drive-by Joy, where we drive around with the Easter Bunny spreading Easter Joy! This takes an OBSCENE amount of candy! But, sooo worth it!  We are grateful for the many people who supported us with gas money and candy! And I have already received the first 2 bags of candy yesterday! WOO HOO! Stocking Up!

Check out 2014 here>> Drive-by Joy and Choosing Love

For 5 years we have held an Easter Party including an Egg Hunt, Resurrection StoryTime, Games and more! We love it!  Invitation is below.

You can catch the past few years here…

2012 – Easter – Acts 2 Style

2013 – Candy, Bunny and Eggs…Oh My!

2014 – This. Here.

Hope to see some of my old friends and meet some new ones, too!

Easter 2015 flyer png


From Jail to Jobs!

The BIGGEST announcement EVER!!!! Just a couple of weeks ago, we were approved to enter into the City of Richmond Jail (RCJC) to provide a biblically based, Christ-centered job skills training program called Jobs for Life. We could NOT be MORE THRILLED!!!!!! God is on the move!!!! (Could I use any more capital letters or exclamation points???? or question marks???)  Starting in early May!!! We have LOTS to do, and there’s room for LOTS of help from LOTS of people!

Why are jobs important? Because it gives a person DIGNITY!

attack dignitypng

The church does a lot to help alleviate poverty…

How Church Fights Poverty

But little do anything to focus on work. Imagine if…

Flip the list

We would giving people their dignity back, and they could buy their own food, clothing, and more! Imagine that. Communities, families, schools, and loves would be transformed! Yes. and Amen.

So, are you ready to be a part of this? It’s going to take time…and sacrifice. Obedience is the best sacrifice. So, pray about it. If you hear a yes and amen… Contact us below!

The Jobs for Life RCJC Team will include the following key support functions in its leadership team working in partnership with RCJC staff and residents/peer leaders. We have part of the Leadership Team confirmed and more individuals still praying about their role.

  • Site Leader: Marti Williams
    • Develops, encourages, and motivates a leadership team and a Jobs for Life training culture that promotes and builds relationships and a community among course participants that inspires, guides and equips the unemployed and underemployed to find and keep meaningful jobs.
  • Champion Team Leader:  TBD
    • Recruits, trains, directs and encourages a team of Champions (mentors); reviews student progress reports and coordinates post graduation Champion/Graduate support.
      • WE WILL NEED 10 Male Champions (Mentors) for our first class of 10 men.
  • Business Relations Leader: JaJuan Kelly
    • Recruits local business partners who agree to communicate job openings with Jobs for Life site and who are willing to interview and hire qualified Jobs for Life graduates; assists with inviting local business and community representatives to participate in job related class presentations (i.e. Employer Roundtables, mock interviews, community resources, etc.).
      • WE WILL NEED job contacts and opportunities.
  • Student Relations Leader:  TBD
    • Reviews student progress; leads class orientation, organizes class graduation and post-graduation follow-up activities.
      • WE WILL NEED snacks to be organized for all 16+ sessions, graduation, etc.
  • Instructor Leader:  Louis Williams
    • Teach and facilitate the Jobs for Life Curriculum in a caring, creative approach to set the stage for learning and to create an atmosphere for student interaction and participation; consistently role models what is expected of students; works with small Group Discussion Lead­ers and Champions to ensure that students are learning and applyingJfL principles; helps every student move closer toJfL Graduation.
      • WE WILL NEED Male and Female Instructors and guest speakers.
  • Prayer Team Leader: TBD
    • Coordinates a prayer team committed to pray generally and specifically for all components and people involved withJfL training. Collects and distributes all specific prayer requests and needs from course members on a timely basis.
      • WE WILL NEED a team of intercessors who can and will keep a confidence.
  • Administrative : Kim Bryant
    • Coordinates administrative function of tracking attendance, student progress, etc.

Are you game to help someone go from Jail to a Job? If so, ask God about it. Then, contact us, if, and only if, you hear a Yes from Father God. Complete form below and submit it. We will be in touch soon!

.


BIG THANKS for Supporting Mardi Bras RVA!!

UPDATE – 3/9/2015

So. You WERE invited to come and share in the presentation of the award presented by 2 City Council Members – Chris Hilbert and Ellen Robertson. And I totally got the date wrong. Totally my mistake. Totally an opportunity to keep me humble. Here is a picture my friend Valena Dixon took of them presenting the award…. and none of us were there. I am sad. I’m somewhat embarrassed. I’m beyond grateful to Ellen and Chris (and Lisa!!!!!) for honoring my work in such an awesome way. I apologize to them and the rest of council …and YOU… for getting it wrong.  I really appreciate those who were planning to come. As soon as I get the certificate, I will post a picture for all to see! Because like I said below – YOU made this happen. I just connected you to the need.  

city council award

Ellen Robertson and Chris Hilbert at City Council (photo cred: Valena Dixon)


WOW!!! I am still blown away by how you all have given so abundantly and extravagantly! We received “party favors” (as Louis began to call them!) from Dinwiddie, Chesterfield, Hanover, Henrico, Goochland, Richmond City, Petersburg, and even Norfolk!!! This was true regional cooperation! And we are grateful. Praise God for your generosity!

IMG_3333

 BEFORE!

IMG_5458

DURING!

IMG_5483

AFTER (plus more later!!!)


YOU ARE WERE INVITED!!!  

Last week,we received a call sharing that I (Marti) will be recognized by Richmond City Council for my work in the city; and I want YOU there, too! If you had any part in Mardi Bras RVA, please come! YOU made this happen! I just connected you to the need… and YOU made it happen!!

Here are the details:

DATE:  Monday, March 16th 9th at 6pm  Note:  Recognitions happen at the beginning of the meeting, so you won’t have to stay long! And I will have a few minutes to share! Pray for me!

LOCATION:  City Council Chambers on the 2nd floor of City Hall located at 900 E Broad St, RVA 23219


Because you gave, we have been able to assist women in transition, women who are homeless, women who have low or restricted income!  You gave to women through the following ministries, agencies, non-profits and churches.  Although we are no longer accepting donations and are working to empty the PODS, you can contribute directly to one or more of these organizations! True change and transformation happens through relationships! Please build relationships with one or more of these groups!  I encourage you to get connected and stay connected.

What I learned….

In addition to giving to many women, I am THRILLED that so many diverse people from various parts of Metro RVA were connected. God wants us to take our gifts and use them to HIS glory. For me, that’s taking my gift of hospitality and love of fellowship, my gift of connectedness and love for people, and my gifts of arranging and believing to help unleash YOU around a common cause. Thank YOU for saying YES!  My cup continues to overflow as I share your YES with the direct service providers (in between all these snowstorms!) One more week to unload the PODS! Pray it doesn’t snow…again.

Here are a few pictures of the 2 gatherings… Enjoy!


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 813 other followers