Bless Richmond 2013

Just a few shots from Sunday evening’s gathering Richmond’s 3rd Annual Bless Richmond gathering.  What a blessed evening of over 1800 people from countless churches all worshiping the Lord and praying for Metro RVA.  In addition, over 11 tons of food (and counting!!) were collected for Feedmore!

SAVE-THE-DATE 2014:  Go ahead and put November 23, 2014 on your calendar!  We will see you at the 4th Annual Bless Richmond!

Note: Terence Talley is a 17 year old photographer, senior at John Marshall High School and dear friend and neighbor. He does super work! Watch for more pictures coming from hime!

Bless Richmond 2013

Bless Richmond 2013

Program Outline

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Worship Team (photo cred: Terence Talley)

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1865 people in attendance (photo cred: Terence Talley)

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(photo cred: Terence Talley)

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Pastor prays for Councilwoman Mosby from 9th District – (photo cred: Terence Talley)

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Passing it on to the Next Generation (photo cred: Terence Talley)


Another Side of Father’s Day

I am reposting my post from Father’s Day 2011.  Still meaningful today…and still who and what I think of every Father’s Day.

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This week, as Father’s Day approaches, Louis works on his sermon, and I see/hear ads that encourage us to buy cards, ties, power tools, dinners, etc. for our Dads.  It’s quite inescapable and has me thinking….

Before proceeding, please know that I am NOT judging, and judgmental comments won’t be allowed. Let’s keep it respectful.

I am fully aware that Father’s Day isn’t always a joyful, loving, memorable, ‘Hallmark’ holiday for all fathers, mothers or children.  Often times…a father doesn’t have an opportunity to interact with their children on a frequent, regular basis.  This may be because the Dad may be away in the military or travel a lot for their job, may have died an untimely death, may be emotionally absent, or may be abusive.  It could also be a father who is currently incarcerated or chooses to be unengaged with their children….at any and all ages.  In addition, you have kids who were born to single moms – some with and without Dad involved…

64% of all births in Richmond occurring to women who are single at the time of birth. This is not just a teen pregnancy issue. 75% of these non-marital births are to women 20 years of age or older. Non-marital births are up from 10% in 1950, 20% in 1965, to 63% in 2007. See chart on page 3.

The Richmond Family & Fatherhood Initiative examines these costs and offers solutions in the document entitled “Cost & Solutions to Family Fragmentation & Father Absence in Richmond, VA”

There are many reasons why Father’s Day can be a tough day for many people.  Louis’s dad passed away when he and his sister were 12 and 14, respectively.  Some of my friends don’t have fond memories of their fathers due to neglect, addictions, and abuse.  Some of the kids I know and hang out with were born to single moms, and their dad’s aren’t active at all in their lives. Some Dads I know are wanting to reconcile with their families after being estranged for quite some time, yet the pain is so deep…they aren’t allowed back in….YET.

Churches across the nation celebrate and honor fathers on Father’s Day…and celebrate we should!  Fathers make a huge impact on their family when they are lovingly engaged with their wives and children.  In a recently published book, The Art of Roughhousing by Anthony DeBenedet states that fathers have a unique contribution to their kids, that nurturing mom’s can’t necessarily fill.  (You can hear more about the book on this video.)  Something as simple as rambunctious play makes a difference!  For many, many reasons children need their dads.  (Additional impacts can be found in the document link above.)

How can we, as the church, play a positive, supportive role in engaging fathers with their families, fill in the gap for fathers who aren’t able to spend time with their kids, encourage single moms and dads, etc?  This is a very complex situation in our city and nation.  There is not an easy answer.  If it were, we wouldn’t be talking about it.

So…this Father’s Day, let’s take time to honor and encourage biological and spiritual fathers.  Go buy the cake, the tie, the golf club, the dinner.  Have the special service and prayer at church.  But, let’s also remember and encourage the single moms and others who play the father role.  Let’s remember the fatherless and the orphans.  Let’s remember those who may find this day painful or just plain over-commercialized.  In addition, I’d be remiss if I didn’t include the remembering the pain of the childless, wanna-be fathers.

My simple prayer, this Father’s Day weekend….

Abba Father, turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers. (Malachi 4:6)

In the name of Jesus, your son and my brother, I pray.  Amen.


“Running to the Scene of the Crime”

I am honored that Austin Stone Community Church, located in Austin, Texas chose to tell my God-story.  Louis and I were at the Verge Conference this past Spring, and they had an opportunity to tell your story.  I had no intentions of telling mine, until April Salvant – friend and missionary to Haiti – made me do it by signing me up!  I was actually the very last person they interviewed!  And….then to hear that my story was one of the first to be released was a huge surprise!  Praise God for the work He has done, is doing and will continue to do in my heart and mind, and in the community and city that I love!  I am honored to be His servant and remain vigilant and steadfast in my attempts to be obedient.  To check it out…click the picture below.  It should take you there!  In addition….you can hear April’s story as well….about how God took them on quite an adventure…leading them to now live in Haiti, working with New Hope Haiti Mission.  Check it out here > April’s God Story

Thanks to all our friends and our churches who continue to pray for and love us!  I know we have been absent from the blogosphere for a while, but will write soon on our adventures!  Peace.  To God be the glory!


Back-to-School Prayer Service – Hope You Can Come!


Another Side of Father’s Day

This week, as Father’s Day approaches, Louis works on his sermon, and I see/hear ads that encourage us to buy cards, ties, power tools, dinners, etc. for our Dads.  It’s quite inescapable and has me thinking….

Before proceeding, please know that I am NOT judging, and judgmental comments won’t be allowed. Let’s keep it respectful.

I am fully aware that Father’s Day isn’t always a joyful, loving, memorable, ‘Hallmark’ holiday for all fathers, mothers or children.  Often times…a father doesn’t have an opportunity to interact with their children on a frequent, regular basis.  This may be because the Dad may be away in the military or travel a lot for their job, may have died an untimely death, may be emotionally absent, or may be abusive.  It could also be a father who is currently incarcerated or chooses to be unengaged with their children….at any and all ages.  In addition, you have kids who were born to single moms – some with and without Dad involved…

64% of all births in Richmond occurring to women who are single at the time of birth. This is not just a teen pregnancy issue. 75% of these non-marital births are to women 20 years of age or older. Non-marital births are up from 10% in 1950, 20% in 1965, to 63% in 2007. See chart on page 3.

The Richmond Family & Fatherhood Initiative examines these costs and offers solutions in the document entitled “Cost & Solutions to Family Fragmentation & Father Absence in Richmond, VA”

There are many reasons why Father’s Day can be a tough day for many people.  Louis’s dad passed away when he and his sister were 14 and 12, respectively.  Some of my friends don’t have fond memories of their fathers due to neglect, addictions, and abuse.  Some of the kids I know and hang out with were born to single moms, and their dad’s aren’t active at all in their lives. Some Dads I know are wanting to reconcile with their families after being estranged for quite some time, yet the pain is so deep…they aren’t allowed back in….YET.

Churches across the nation celebrate and honor fathers on Father’s Day…and celebrate we should!  Fathers make a huge impact on their family when they are lovingly engaged with their wives and children.  In a recently published book, The Art of Roughhousing by Anthony DeBenedet states that fathers have a unique contribution to their kids, that nurturing mom’s can’t necessarily fill.  (You can hear more about the book on this video.)  Something as simple as rambunctious play makes a difference!  For many, many reasons children need their dads.  (Additional impacts can be found in the document link above.)

How can we, as the church, play a positive, supportive role in engaging fathers with their families, fill in the gap for fathers who aren’t able to spend time with their kids, encourage single moms and dads, etc?  This is a very complex situation in our city and nation.  There is not an easy answer.  If it were, we wouldn’t be talking about it.

So…this Father’s Day, let’s take time to honor and encourage biological and spiritual fathers.  Go buy the cake, the tie, the golf club, the dinner.  Have the special service and prayer at church.  But, let’s also remember and encourage the single moms and others who play the father role.  Let’s remember the fatherless and the orphans.  Let’s remember those who may find this day painful or just plain over-commercialized.  In addition, I’d be remiss if I didn’t include the remembering the pain of the childless, wanna-be fathers.

My simple prayer, this Father’s Day weekend….

Abba Father, turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers. (Malachi 4:6)

In the name of Jesus, your son and my brother, I pray.  Amen.


Northside Gathering


Pray for Trust…not Clarity

What a year it has been!  And…how quickly it has come and gone!  A year ago today, I started the Miss Marti’s House blog.  I spent some time this morning, reviewing some of my 120 posts….summarized below…

February, March and April ~ I started the blog as a Lenten project documenting the story of how I moved to SBH, the people I met along the way, the way my life has forever been changed, how I met the other half of my pair…in ministry and life….Louis, Frank getting shot 9 times and living, to name a few.

May ~ Well…May was a slow writing month!  It was a time of introspection, which I didn’t always feel like making public!  But, 2 posts stand out…Live Like You Were Dying and OH.HAPPY.DAY stand out!  How encouraging it is to read them again at this time!  I needed to be reminded of what God was saying to me in May 2010!

You might say I have been a little bit of a funk lately ~ adjusting to the new…slower…different pace of unemployment, death of a friend, illness in my family, change as a whole, etc.  and this often causes everyday struggles and disappointments to appear ginormous!!  It also serves to distract me from what I have been called to do!

But, after reading these 2 posts, like I was taking a look in my journal, I was reminded of my calling and his many provisions.  And…as I read Ruthless Trust by Brennan Manning for the second time in a month, I also remember him saying this on page 5 ~

In first century Palestine the question dominating religious discussion was, How do we hasten the advent of the Kingdom of God?  Jesus proposed a single way:  the way of trust.  He never asked his disciples to trust in God.  Rather he demanded of them bluntly, “Trust in God and trust in me” (John 14:1.  Trust was not some feature out at the edges of Jesus’ teaching; it was its heart and center.  This and only this would bring on speedily the n of God.

When the brilliant ethicist John Kavanaugh went to work for three months at “the house of dying” in Calcutta, he was seeking a clear answer as to how best to spend the rest of his life.  On the first morning there he met Mother Teresa.  She asked, “And what can I do for you?”  Kavanaugh asked her to pray for him.

“What do you want me to pray for?” she asked.  He voiced the request that he had borne thousands of miles from the United States: “Pray that I have clarity.”

She said firmly, “No, I will not do that.”  When he asked her why, she said, “Clarity is the last thing you are clinging to and must let go of.”  When Kavanaugh commented that she always seemed to have clarity he longed for, she laughed and said, “I have never had clarity; what I have always had is trust.  So I will pray that you have trust God.”2

So, that’s my prayer for 2011 and beyond.  That I will trust God.  On page 6 Manning shares,

“We ourselves have known and put our trust in God’s love toward ourselves” (1 John 4:16).  Craving clarity, we attempt to eliminate the risk of trusting God.  Fear of the unknown path stretching ahead of us destroys childlike trust in the Father’s active goodness and unrestricted love.

I can’t tell you how many times I have prayed for and asked for prayer for clarity.  Now…my prayer request is…that I will trust God…and that I will learn to Enjoy the Journey, another reminder from a April 2010.  Join me…in praying for Trust!

Prayer for Trust

O Christ Jesus,
when all is darkness
and we feel our weakness and helplessness,
give us the sense of Your presence,
Your love, and Your strength.
Help us to have perfect trust
in Your protecting love
and strengthening power,
so that nothing may frighten or worry us,
for, living close to You,
we shall see Your hand,
Your purpose, Your will through all things.

(By St. Ignatius of Loyola, 1491-1556)