Everyone wants to know, who I am….

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I have prayed so many times, “God, who am I?” I want to know who I am. I have pleaded for the knowledge of my purpose, to know who I am.  I thought life was about knowledge of self, I needed to find myself.  I didn’t know who I was, in the grand scheme of things.  I am here for a reason, created for a purpose, given a gift to share with others; and all of that requires me to know who I am.  It’s so much pressure to know:  I, me, myself, who are we?  My soul, my spirit, who are they.  What does my soul require at birth, what does my spirit deem necessary to continuously exist?  I am composed of melodies and rhythms, beats and phrases, love and wisdom. I must allow my Conductor, my Creator to orchestrate my music so that I am heard.  So that you can hear His music.  I am His music, I am His message, I am His messenger.  He speaks through me, He sings through me, He displays His entire being through me.  His love encompasses, embraces, exposes, endures through me.  I am His.  My gift is Him.  My purpose is His will.

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To know who I am, I must know who He is……

Matthew 6:33

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

Have You Heard The Story of LaVena Johnson?

Be Aware…

The MadMan Chronicles

Have you heard of the story of LaVena Johnson?

levana-johnson-silent-truthLaVena Johnson was a soldier who enlisted in the Army in 2003. She was the first woman from Missouri to die in Iraq. What happened to this young black woman was appalling.  She was found in her tent with a gunshot wound to the head, a broken nose, black eye, loose teeth, acid burns on her genitals, and a trail of blood leading away from her tent.  What’s even more appalling is the Department of Defense has officially ruled her death a suicide.

The autopsy report and photographs revealed that her death was inconsistent with a suicide, and looked consistent with a rape-murder, but as far as the U.S. Criminal Investigative Command for the Army is concerned the case remains closed.  Her father became suspicious when he saw her body in the funeral home and decided to investigate.  At first the…

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Dealing with Difficult People

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Difficult people are people whose mere presence is problematic; their actions are burdensome; interaction with them can be challenging and demanding; their aura is troublesome and irritating; at their very best they are still formidable and or wearisome.

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Have you ever known someone who, just the mention of their name, made your ears cringe?  Seeing their vehicle parked outside of a place you have to enter, was enough to make you want to keep driving.  Someone, whose face, literally makes the inside of your stomach turn.  Difficult people.  Those people are difficult for many different reasons.  Pessimistic people are definitely thrown into the difficult people box.  You know the ones who can find fault with a sunny day on the beach.  The typical, glass half empty with stale water, kind of people.  Then you have the difficult people who think they are above and beyond approach.  They know everything, everyone else are idiots, and if they aren’t happy, no one will be happy.  And there are the busy bodies!  The people who just cannot stay out of everyone else’s business.  They keep drama elevated, endorse rumors, cosign trouble, and are not satisfied until someone’s life has been turned upside down.  The difficult people.  What is the deal with these people?

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There are books written, blog posts published, and motivational speeches given on how to handle these people.  Advice is given from family and friends as they reach out to offer relief, but nothing changes the way your blood pressure rises at the thought of having to be around that difficult person.  You’ve tried to ignore them; keep it strictly business and move on, that doesn’t work.  You’ve tried feeling sorry for them, because only miserable people can cause others to be so miserable.  But you can only feel sorry for them but for so long, before your sympathy turns to anger and disgust.  You’ve prayed and binded that evil spirit that possess that person’s soul, but it seems to no avail; they’re still difficult.  You’ve tried everything, short of attempting murder, but for this time in your life it seems as though you’re stuck with this particular difficult person.  Maybe it’s a co work, supervisor, or boss; a teacher, principle, or instructor; a family member, acquaintance of your social group, or church member.  They come into your life under various circumstances, with different titles, and with, what seems like, their own agendas.  The difficult people.  How do you deal with these people?

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If you are one who believes that everything happens for a reason, then you must know this person is in your life for a reason.  The difficult person, in all their exhaustingly painful glory, is in your life for a reason.  There is a lesson to be learned.  My mom says, “You need that person for something.”  Perhaps they’ve been placed in your path to deter you from your purpose.   It could be an experience to make you stronger.  Perchance, it’s to make you grateful for the loving and kind people who do exist in your life.  Maybe it’s to make you more aware and better prepared to deal with an experience that will occur later on in life. There isn’t a general statement that can be given to remedy you of the anguish you feel for a difficult person.  It is an experience you must grow from along your journey.  That may take you down a path that reveals that the difficult person is a reflection of you and who you could become.

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“Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.  Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men.  If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.”  – Romans 12:9; 17-18

iCare

I think it starts as a seed, an idea that is planted in your heart somewhere throughout your life.  We all have a purpose, a gift, our own journey that leads us to salvation.  Along your journey you will meet like-minded people; people who share your passion and vision.  You will form bonds that last a lifetime and bonds that last for only a season.  Nevertheless, the work you do will change people’s lives.  The key to success, in all that you do, is obedience to God’s will.

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Fast forward to February 08, 2014, iCare Team Members set out on a mission to find homeless people to provide them care packages and offer prayer.  As we stood in Michael’s kitchen, hand in hand, asking God for His direction, we had no idea what to expect for that day.  All we had were care packages and a common passion and goal to do God’s will.  Michael’s words of encouragement eased some of our anxieties, as he assured us that whether we serviced one person or 100 people, our efforts would be fruitful.  It’s true.  The effect you have on one person, does not stop with that person; it continues to the next person that they effect and so on.  Many reap the harvest of the seeds that we plant in other peoples’ lives when are obedient to God’s will.

We only had a couple of leads to various locations where homeless people lived throughout the city.  With four cars and trunks full of care packages, we followed each other to the different areas.  After a couple of hours searching, we were only able to find areas where someone had created makeshift beds for sleeping.

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Cold, but still determined, we kept looking. Finally, we found a gentlemen sitting off to himself, and the exuberance of servicing one person flooded in.  He graciously accepted the care package and the prayer we offered.  In sharing with us his needs, he informed us that the Salvation Army delivered meals to the homeless in that particular area around noon, and that there would be more people there at that time who needed care packages.  Although, Michael prepared us for the possibility of only finding a couple of people to service, we were thankful for the opportunity to service more.

Once we returned to the area the gentlemen informed us about, the Salvation Army was already there serving food.  Meeting the Salvation Army Team was like a purposed moment.  Not only were we able to service more people, but we got a chance to meet people who were just as passionate to serve as we are.  After introductions and sharing a common cause, the Team allowed us to follow them to their next stop.

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In total, we were able to serve around 12 to 17 people with toiletries, blankets, sleeping bags, snacks, bibles, and prayer.  We were graciously met with thank you and God bless you, from these people who are sometimes forgotten.  Sometimes they are overlooked, as we rush by them consumed by our own daily activities and thoughts.  When they were individually asked if they had a prayer request, almost every time, the request would be for better times for everyone.  It was never just about themselves.  I believe it is important to remember that the homeless people are made up of indiviuals, who all have their own story.  It’s our duty to be aware.

credit to Christian Jones Photograpy

credit to Christian Jones Photography

The iCare Team is made Kingdom Builders from numerous churches, different races, ranging from various ages with one common goal, to serve God.  With the help of Mr. Curtis and Mrs. Lynn Jones we were able to store some of our donated items at Victory Baptist Church, which also allowed us to meet and assemble the care packages.  Christian Jones from Christian Photography captured the cause through photographs.  Jeremy Purkett was our project manager, ensuring the outreach operated efficiently.  April Smith and her son, Trevor,  was instrumental in gathering the donation of supplies we needed for the outreach.  And of course, Mr. Michael Sutton is the director of the entire mission, as iCare began from his vision.  We also had two new comers that volunteered their time, Derek Sawyer and Casey Dyer.  And I am your messenger, Shurica Poyner.

Left to Right:  Jeremy Purkett, Shurica Poyner, Curtis Jones, Lynn Jones, Michael Sutton, Trevor Smith, April Smith

Left to Right: Jeremy Purkett, Shurica Poyner, Randi*, Curtis Jones, Lynn Jones, Michael Sutton, Trevor Smith, April Smith

Here are few thoughts from iCare Team Members who serviced the homeless over the weekend:

Michael:  “I can’t really explain this weekend’s ministry moments.  It’s totally awesome to see people of different backgrounds come together for one common purpose.  The one purpose was to serve this present age.  To see the joy and smiles on the faces of those we were able to serve with blankets, sleeping bags, etc. was indescribable.  I’m humbled that God would choose iCare Global to do such amazing work.”

Lynn:  “Wow, sums it up. We are such a needy person, think about it.  [We] Got to have the latest smart phone, ipad; and what about the shoes: rain boots for the rain, warm boots for the cold, and don’t forget the snow boots for the occasional snow, [and] don’t forget the many different styles of shoes for many different outfits. And how about [being] too lazy or tired, so lets go through the drive through or better yet lets go inside and have someone wait on us. The homeless are so rich in love, caring, and the thankfulness that comes along with the gift of a sleeping bag some crackers and a bible.  Rich in being humble [and] hard working for just a few dollars, to maybe buy dinner that night. I will think before I do a lot of things now, because there is a life to learn from and grow from and that would be the homeless of Elizabeth City, NC . I pray that the Lord gives me the wisdom and the compassion to make a difference in my community.”

April: “I was all pumped and excited to offer those less fortunate some items to help not only their physical needs, but their spiritual needs also. I never imagined that MY soul would be touched and changed so drastically. I can’t explain the feeling other than it just feels wonderful. I am in awe of the resilience and faith of those we met and can only wonder if I could be that strong if faced with the obstacles they endure each and every day…..”

Christian:  “This day to me was perfection. I got to capture moments that could teach people something, and I got to help people who were less fortunate than I am. This is a close passion of mine and I am so happy that I get to do it with such an awesome family as iCARE.”

Trevor: “If you’re not making someone else’s life better, then you’re wasting your time. Your life will become better by making other lives better.”
― Will Smith

Shurica:  “There are churches in this area who serve hot meals, we have two shelters (where people volunteer time), clothes drives, and other services where people come together for the common cause.  Personally, this was my first time servicing the homeless, and I am still so overcome by the experience.  The concept of serving the community is not new, however the impact of the experience is new every time someone new reaches out to help.  The genuine passion that my teammates exuded, the gratefulness that the homeless people showed, the helpfulness of the Salvation Army Team, and just the whole ambience of the day was just so aspiring to the pursuit of doing God’s will.  In short, it was amazing.”

Photography credit goes to:  Chrisitan Jones at https://www.facebook.com/Christianjonesphotos

Peculiar People

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We are a peculiar people.  The kind of people who believe in more than a dream sold to the unknown for control.  Peculiar people who crave purpose and detest the very idea of merely existing.  Those peculiar people, who can never seem to just conform to the ways of the world, the ways of their structure, the ways of their contentment.  Peculiar people, whose spiritual awareness is keen to the words of God.  Peculiar people created to change the world.

Love and Light to all my fellow, Peculiar People.  Be blessed beyond recognition!

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“But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.”  1Peter 2:9

 

Are you Awake?

Imagine, spending a normal day in your life.  You know the regular stuff; waking up (after hitting the snooze button a few times), fumbling around until you’re able to down your much needed cup of java, taking a shower, and rushing off to work.  It’s winter time, so you spend most of the day in and out of the cold; going to work, going to lunch, back to work, and stopping to the store for groceries before heading home for the day.  You spend time with your family, cooking and cleaning, and you manage to get a couple of hours of your favorite television shows in before heading to bed.  You say your prayers, thanking God for getting you and your family safely through the day.  Maybe you ask Him for a few favors for tomorrow, like warmer weather (Please, God no more snow this winter) or help to get through this pointless meeting at work tomorrow without strangling anybody.  Maybe you ask for forgiveness for having road rage that morning and flicking the guy off that pulled out in front of you, as sped by him.  “God you know, my heart.  Please help me to do better”, you prayed.  You get into your nice warm bed, and allow your body to sink into the softness of the mattress.  Your muscles relax as if your body was thanking you for finally allowing it to rest.  You turn off the lights and pull up your nice heavy blanket and snuggle into your pillow.  Finally some peace to rest.

Morning comes a little sooner than you expected, but you’re not awakened by the blaring sounds of your alarm clock.  You’re jarred by the sudden realization of the frigidly cold wind engulfing your entire body.  You roll over to see what time it is, but as you move your mattress doesn’t give into your body’s weight as usual, it has become hard and doesn’t give at all.  Slowly you open your eyes to adjust to the brightness of the sun, and you awaken to a nightmare. 

Your mattress did not give to the weight of your body, because it had become a stack of wooden pallets.  (You know, like the wooden pallets that hold boxes of products to make it easier for stockers to move merchandise from one place to another.)  You didn’t wake up from your body freezing because you loss electricity overnight.  No, that freezing wind is whipping over you, because you and your wooden pallets are outside.  Outside!  Outside with three sheets (that are too thin to be relevant) pulled up over your body.  The pillow you snuggle into as you drifted off to sleep last night, had become a thin sheet you balled up into a make shift pillow.  As you look around to take in your surroundings, all you see in concrete.  You and your wooden pallets are tucked into a corner of the back of a warehouse; you notice your only possessions to be a jar of, less than half eaten, peanut butter and the King James Version of the Holy Bible.  And as inconceivable as this whole ordeal is, you can’t think straight because you have a hunger like you’ve never felt before.  You think about times you’ve joked and said that you were so hungry it felt like your stomach was eating itself.  That feeling was nothing compared to the hunger you felt now. 

Within seconds, your body begins to quiver in shivers from the cold.  Your toes are completely numb from holes being in your socks and shoes and the sheets you used as covering weren’t long enough to cover your feet and your face.  Your face….you can barely stand to touch because it burns from lack of protection from the cold.  Your fingers feel like pins are sticking in the tips of them.  You are compelled to get up and move around from the fear of being frozen still on those wooden pallets.  And though no one is around, you scream out loud, “How did I get here!”  As your echoes fill the air, you realize yesterday was just a dream, a remembrance of a past life.  Reality is, you are homeless……Image